Thursday, February 1, 2018

Get Out: My Thoughts

I finally saw Get Out.

I wanted to blab about my various thoughts.

Note: I am a white person, so I'll probably end up saying something stupid.  I think 45-year-old Dina is much more woke than 21-year-old Dina.  But I still have a long ways to go. And I'll probably never get to the top.  It's nice to try, though.

Let me tell you something about my 21-year-old self.  I was in my third year of college and had three black roommates.  One seemed to despise me, mostly because I was white. I'm not sure about the other two. I think maybe they were indifferent. I hated the feeling of being hated. At the end of the term, I requested that for my senior year I NOT have three black roommates. Why? I felt ganged up on.  I thought it would be much better if I had two black roommates, and then one that was not black.  I figured that would make things even.

The college wisely ignored my wishes and the next year I was once again the only white person in our apartment.  I remember one of the roommates was super sweet. She had heard of my troubles and assured me this year would be better.  She was very generous. I appreciate that. The thing about ignorance is this. The victims of it don't owe us compassion and we don't often deserve it. But we do NEED it, and anyone kind enough to give it to us, should be appreciated.

If I could go back in time and talk to my past self, I'd point out certain things that are obvious to me now.  1) How often are black people forced into situations where they are the only black person?  How many times do they feel outnumbered? How many times do they feel ganged up on and hated?  And yes it does happen to white people too. But it's different when you're part of the group that has less power in society.  2) In my years of college I also had white roommates and Asian roommates.  I didn't get along well with them either. Yet I didn't request to have less white roommates or less Asian roommates.

Anyway, I should get to the movie.

There shall be spoilers, so if you haven't watched the movie and plan to, I'd advise stopping here.

A) I've heard that the movie is supposed to be about white-liberal-racism.

I don't feel that's right.  And yeah. I know.  That probably shows I'm so not woke enough.  Maybe in twenty-years I'll read this post and scold my past self.

The white people in the movie reminded me more of conservatives.

Well...no. Now I'm doubting myself.  I won't say it's conservatives. Nor will I say it's liberal.  It could be either, probably.  It's a type of people who mean well. They really don't want to be racist. But then they end up saying stupid things.  I'd divide the stupid things into two categories. One would be backhanded compliments. The other would be overcompensating for racism by saying something ridiculously positive.

An example of the first is a compliment I heard from a white person about a black person.  It was something along the lines of, She's really beautiful.  Wait for punchline....She almost looks white.  Then I've heard the second type in regards to me being Jewish.  I can't remember the where or when, or if it happened once or multiple time. But the general song is, Oh! I love the Jewish people. They're really focused on education.  Loving all Jewish people is much better than hating all Jewish people. But statements like that are still prejudice. They still make people sound ignorant.  That being said, I did have a time where I pretty much had a crush on every Australian person.  But I argue that this was different, because I understood the crush was about me being weird and not some belief that Australians have some kind of unique quality that makes them different or special.  Nor was it a psychological defense mechanism to hide a negative-prejudice from both myself and others.

Back to the white-liberal-racism. I want to believe that the majority of liberals are NOT like the white people in the movie. And for now I'm putting aside the fact that the white people in the movie were not what they were pretending to be.  I can agree that we are far from perfect. We're ignorant. We fail to understand. We fool ourselves into thinking we understand. We fail. We fail. We fail.  But I hope we're not failing as much as the people in the movie.

B) If we're going to judge the white people in the movie, do we judge them for who they pretended to be or do we judge them for who they really were?

They pretended to be liberals who were fans of Jesse Owens, Tiger Woods, and Obama. They seemed like people who try not to be racist but fail.

In reality, the white people were evil. They were as bad as slave owners of past centuries. They wanted to steal the bodies of black people and infect them with white minds.  I understand that many (some?) black people hate white people. I understand that they distrust ALL of us, no matter what we say and no matter what our political persuasion. I can accept that. But I hope they don't believe that most of us are secretly planning to do evil things like give them lobotomies.

C) (less about racial issues here).  The movie's plot reminded me of an Ira Levin novel/movie.  I went through a stage of really liking his stuff. He's the one who gave us Rosemary's Baby, Stepford Wives, Sliver, and The Boys From Brazil.

If I was going to pinpoint the genre of the film, I'd match it with Rosemary's Baby. Both kind of have that theme of just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not after you. OR, in other words, sometimes people have very good reason to feel paranoid. There's also the whole thing of having overly friendly people who are hiding something sinister.

D). I don't feel the movie really had a twist.  And I agree with the characters on The I.T Crowd and Master of None when they say learning a movie has a twist kind of ruins the movie a bit.

I knew there was supposed to be a Twist in Get Out, and this might be why I felt there wasn't one.  Maybe my expectation of being surprised led me to not being surprised.  On the other hand, with season two of The Exorcist, I expected a twist and was still blown away when I got one.

From what I understand the twist of Get Out is that Rose (Allison Williams) was as evil as the rest of her family, and that she helped lure the black people into the trap. She pretends Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is her first black boyfriend. But towards the end of the movie, we see a box of photos that tells us otherwise. She brings black people home as her date, and then they get implanted with white brains.

I'm not sure I had any suspicions against Rose in the beginning. But I think as soon as Georgina (Betty Gabriel) was introduced, I suspected Rose of being in on it.  She acted all woke, yet she didn't seem to be bothered that there was a black woman working for her parents who acted like an abused, zombified slave?

One thing I asked myself about the movie is whether I would have expected anything amiss about the family if I hadn't known it was a horror movie.  What if I thought it was an interracial romantic-comedy?  Would I immediately judge the family as awful?  Would I think they were well-meaning, but kind of creepy?  Or would I have thought, Wait...these people are evil. Is this not a romantic-comedy after all?

I was going to say Georgina would have enlightened me.  But I might have thought she had some sort of disorder or that she was a victim of severe trauma. I might have thought the parents had been kind enough to employ her despite her extreme social awkwardness.

So, I think knowing it was a horror movie immediately prejudiced me against the family. But even without that knowledge, I think I would have found the family to be somewhat annoying and creepy.  Please note: I'm talking about the beginning, when they're first introduced.  As the movie progresses, it becomes pretty obvious that the family goes beyond slightly annoying and creepy.  The hypnosis scene was terrifying to me.

E) Before seeing the movie, I saw something on Twitter about the deer.  It's something like, if you see the movie with someone, and at the end they say, that poor deer, you saw the movie with a racist.

OR they could be a person who loves nonhuman animals, and doesn't give a shit about humans in general...no matter what the ethnicity.

But yeah. I get the point.

My feeling along those lines, though, is about the police car at the end.  I think if you watch that movie and feel relief when the police car shows up.

Well....

I won't say you're racist, but I will say you're even less woke than I am.  You'd probably be close to the level or wokeness that I was in college.

I guess the exception would be if you somehow guessed/knew who was driving the police car.

For me, maybe that was the strongest scene in the movie in terms of race issues. That's one of the huge things that divides white people and black people.  White people in a dangerous situation, see a police car and probably feel relief. They feel saved. Black people see a police car, and they probably feel there's a pretty good chance this might be the day they die.

F) I can never fully understand what it's like to be black, though I think it's good to try. Sometimes there are things we should keep trying even though we know it's impossible to reach full success.

One way I try to understand is by seeing similarities in the black-experience and the female-experience.

There were aspects of the movie that reached me in that particular way. I guess it's the feeling of having to tolerate shit from the dominant group.

There's that feeling of well, as long as you're not obviously hateful and violent towards myself and my group, I'll do my best to tolerate you.  I'll tolerate the jokes to prove I'm not hyper-sensitive and that I have a sense of humor. I'll tolerate your condescending demeanor and pretend it's respect. I'll tolerate your insistence that you're a victim of reverse prejudice. I'll pretend to believe you're a true ally.  I'll pretend to believe that you're different and better than the others.

The truth is, though, I'm getting less good at tolerating.

With the MeToo movement, it's gotten hard for me to have solid faith in any man.  I'm distrustful of all of them. It's no longer a division of good vs. bad. It's....Evil; Bad; Bad-pretending-to-be-good; ignorant-thinking-they're-good, and those that recognize they're inherently part of the problem, but they're striving to be better.

It's the men in the last category that give me hope about the future relationship between men and women.  If any black people divide white people in the same way I divide men, I hope that they see me as being in the last category.





Edited to add: I just realized I got totally sidetracked and forgot to explain why I thought the movie didn't have a twist.  Being able to guess the twist doesn't equal not-having-a-twist.

BUT...I'm not sure I can explain it.

I'll try.

OR....

Maybe not.

Maybe it is just a matter of me being able to know it before the big reveal.  It's like a surprise party. If you know your friends are throwing you a surprise party, is it still a surprise party?

I think maybe I should just say the twist didn't meet my expectations. To me, the ideal twist makes me think, Holy shit. What???? And then I have that desire to go back, watch it again so I can see all the clues or watch with the new interpretation.  I guess that sort of applies to Get Out. There's the police asking for the ID. Rose seems to be fighting police-racism, but she's really trying to avoid a paper trail.  Anything else?  I'm not sure....