Who Hates Who? Hollywood's Poison: Reel Bad Arabs

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Who Hates Who? Hollywood's Poison: Reel Bad Arabs

Postby AlicetheKurious » Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:53 am

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Postby American Dream » Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:46 am

Truly horrifying that they keep making this kind of crap, and that it is apparently "socially acceptable" to do so for many North Americans.

Also horrifying, but similarly valuable is Jackie Salloum's "Planet of the Arabs":

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 7976179049
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Postby AlicetheKurious » Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:29 pm

American Dream, I have a very slow line, so I'm still buffering "Planet of the Arabs".

Meanwhile, in the decades that I've been mentally assaulted with anti-Arab "hate-tasers" while innocently watching the fluffiest movies (including Father of the Bride, for god's sake!), I've observed something small but gratifying.

In every instance but one, the "Arab" villains were played by actors of diverse ethnicities, including Indians, Latin Americans, many, many Jews, but no Arabs. The only exception was the Egyptian actor who played the role of the terrorist recruiter in Syriana. He was asked about this in an Arabic tv interview, and he insisted that he'd carefully read the script to ensure that it was not an "anti-Arab" one -- but that an enormous number of scenes had been cut, many of them scenes that he'd been in.

Coincidentally, this young actor was cast almost immediately afterwards in one of the most annoying and offensive Coca-Cola commercials I've seen: imitating a demonstration in Israeli-Occupied Palestine, he was leading huge crowds of Coke flag-waving young people towards a "Coca-Cola Future" or something like that. Thank goodness that ad didn't last too long -- I must not have been the only one who found it unbearable.

It was hard to avoid speculating that he'd been rewarded with this lucrative ad. His career, which was rising before the Syriana gig, seems to have floundered since, though.

Anyway, I'm rambling, but back to my point, that it pleases me that the Hollywood Arab-hate factory must make do with fake Arabs. Some might argue that Hollywood's Arab-hating executives would naturally prefer to deprive Arab actors of jobs. That may be.

A very unusual positive depiction of an Arab character, one of only two examples that have struck me in my decades of movie-watching, was the role of the compassionate, intelligent detective Mohamed "Mo" Karaman in "A Perfect Murder", starring Michael Douglas and Gwyneth Paltrow, with David Suchet playing the role of "Mo".

What made the depiction of a "good Arab" even more unusual, even unique in my experience, was that he was not being pitted against a cartoonish "bad Arab": his was the only Arab character in the film.

There are also, of course, the roles played by Antonio Banderas and Omar Sharif in "13 Warriors" -- two Arab roles, both positive, one of them played by a real Arab! How very unique. I'd love to know how the heck that happened.

But that's a molecule of water in a vast ocean of unrelentingly heavy-handed, even ham-fisted racism of the most vicious kind, that Hollywood has been churning out, decade after decade. It's interesting, with the rivers of ink analysing every little aspect of the movie industry, it's fallen to Arab-Americans to point this large and hairy gorilla squatting dead-center in the living-room of American culture. And breaking wind.

It's kind of hard to miss, duh. Of course, this should not be interpreted as evidence that Hollywood is literally controlled by zionists, and used as a propaganda tool for Israel...
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Accuracy in naming controllers.

Postby Hugh Manatee Wins » Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:39 pm

AlicetheKurious wrote:.....
But that's a molecule of water in a vast ocean of unrelentingly heavy-handed, even ham-fisted racism of the most vicious kind, that Hollywood has been churning out, decade after decade. It's interesting, with the rivers of ink analysing every little aspect of the movie industry, it's fallen to Arab-Americans to point this large and hairy gorilla squatting dead-center in the living-room of American culture. And breaking wind.

It's kind of hard to miss, duh. Of course, this should not be interpreted as evidence that Hollywood is literally controlled by zionists, and used as a propaganda tool for Israel...


Correction: Hollywood has been the US government's propaganda mill since WWII when the Office of War Information moved in to the script business for the war effort.
This system continued covertly under the CIA's direction after WWII.

So blame the CIA, State Department, and Pentagon for Hollywood stereotypes.
Not Zionists.

The overlap of motives is historically complex and erratic but
Hollywood is the USG, not Israel.
CIA runs mainstream media since WWII:
news rooms, movies/TV, publishing
...
Disney is CIA for kidz!
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Postby orz » Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:44 pm

I agree for once!
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No!

Postby Hugh Manatee Wins » Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:53 pm

orz wrote:I agree for once!


Woa! Gonna quick mirror that on a dozen websites. :P
CIA runs mainstream media since WWII:
news rooms, movies/TV, publishing
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Disney is CIA for kidz!
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Postby AlicetheKurious » Tue Jan 15, 2008 7:31 pm

Hugh wrote:

...blame the CIA, State Department, and Pentagon for Hollywood stereotypes.
Not Zionists.

The overlap of motives is historically complex and erratic but
Hollywood is the USG, not Israel.


Do you mean "U.S. government" in its Platonic ideal sense?

Because your implication that the two are somehow mutually exclusive is incomprehensible otherwise.

Like I said, it's this big, hairy gorilla -- Hugh, sometimes it's not that subtle, and it's possible to miss the forest for the trees. Back up a little.

When otherwise smart, perceptive people start bending themselves into a pretzel to avoid the obvious, it's a safe bet that Israel and zionism are the subject at hand.

I still haven't figured out whether the zionists are brilliant for being so in-your-face about who they are and their racist/supremacist agenda and getting away with mass murder, bleeding America dry in wars for Israel goals that are also very lucrative for Israel, turning the U.S. into an international pariah, betraying America repeatedly, as Americans continue to gush over them and their "special friendship", or whether they just lucked out with the American people.

Hugh wrote:

Hollywood has been the US government's propaganda mill since WWII when the Office of War Information moved in to the script business for the war effort.
This system continued covertly under the CIA's direction after WWII.


Newsflash: Hollywood is still the US government's propaganda mill, but there have also been a few changes in who calls the shots in the US government since then.

Hint: it's related to the one subject upon which all candidates for any office, always agree, regardless of any other differences, no matter how extreme...or they're out.
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Bump

Postby chlamor » Thu Jan 17, 2008 12:52 am

up
Liberal thy name is hypocrisy. What's new?
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Re: Accuracy in naming controllers.

Postby KeenInsight » Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:59 am

Hugh Manatee Wins wrote:
Correction: Hollywood has been the US government's propaganda mill since WWII when the Office of War Information moved in to the script business for the war effort.
This system continued covertly under the CIA's direction after WWII.

So blame the CIA, State Department, and Pentagon for Hollywood stereotypes.
Not Zionists.

The overlap of motives is historically complex and erratic but
Hollywood is the USG, not Israel.


I agree with Hugh.

It's quite sad that Hollywood nurtures racism to children even. I watched Alladin as a kid, but I never thought of it in that way. Enhancing stereotypes in films gives those with no common sense, or a shred of humanity, a chance for them to say, "See! That's how they are!" This can go for any type of racism, really, but the way Arabs and Islam is treated is so plainly obvious (and WRONG), even if actors aren't really of that ethnicity, there's always an "image" of what people expect them to be. I simply can not comprehend how or even WHY this is allowed to continue...

I have grandparents that really are nice people, but of course finding out they were Bush supporters was a shocker (they are Christian). My grandpa traveled to many countries when he was younger (one of them being Iran) and I believe his words about Middle Easterns, is that they are "crazy." I just couldn't believe he would say something like that. And that is truly how many people that support Bush view Arab people, even if Bush himself claims, "Oh, we have nothing against Arabs or Islam..." Hmm, but somehow it is justified to kill thousands of innocents and make their lives a living hellhole for eternity, because they are "crazy."
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Postby AlicetheKurious » Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:41 pm

Keeninsight said:

My grandpa traveled to many countries when he was younger (one of them being Iran) and I believe his words about Middle Easterns, is that they are "crazy." I just couldn't believe he would say something like that. And that is truly how many people that support Bush view Arab people, even if Bush himself claims, "Oh, we have nothing against Arabs or Islam..." Hmm, but somehow it is justified to kill thousands of innocents and make their lives a living hellhole for eternity, because they are "crazy."


Yes, well. Crazy....


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Postby John E. Nemo » Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:39 pm

Here's a pic of evil Americans showing their hatred of Arabs by giving one a so-called "award".

Image

Here's a pic of happy people from the Middle East celebrating their love of the U.S.

Image
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Postby Attack Ships on Fire » Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:48 pm

I watched that video and I found it slanted towards thinking that Hollywood is out to demonize Arabs as villains. I can offer counter-arguments for several of the examples cited in that short and I feel that the makers offered only the negative portrayals in the film clips, in effect cherry-picking, to make their case that Hollywood is biased against Arabs -- when in fact it's been exploitative against everyone. I'll get to that in a moment. First, consider the following:

In "Back to the Future" the Libyan terrorists were used because that was the prerequisite boogeymen for Americans back in the days of Reagan. Villain #1 was the Soviets, but since the Russkies already had nuclear technology there was no need to have them try and give it to Doc Brown. Enter the Libyans.

In "True Lies" the villain was a crazy Arab. But where was the example of the Arab spy agent that works alongside Schwarzenegger? He's not seen in the clip. Why is that? There are several examples of good Arabic characters also in "Aladdin" yet all we get to see are the bad guys holding swords. How come we are shown a short clip from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" showing Indiana Jones shooting a masked swordsman (an Arab) and not shown Indy's Arabic ally Sallah?

I saw a brief clip showing material from "United 93", well, according to the official story it was Arab terrorists (specifically Saudis) responsible for the hijacking. Would it make more sense to cast WASP actors in these roles? If not what was the point in showing this clip?

As long as we're considering how Arabs are portrayed in films why not stop and examine how white anglo-saxon males and females are shown in Hollywood mainstream movies? Take for instance "Back to the Future": the lead character is shown to be fixated on rock and roll, making out with his girlfriend and if someone calls him a chicken he will always respond with his fists. Is that a positive portrayal of a white teenager in America?

When Bruce Willis leaps off the top of a skyscraper and smashes his body into the side of the building's windows, and is still mentally/physically capable of standing upright and tossing out one-liners to the villain, is that an accurate presentation of what a middle-aged white male in America can do when faced with a terrorist situation? If it's not then how come there are so many of these kinds of action movies being made every year and how come there isn't a lot of complaining about it? Is the hooker with the heart of gold portrayed by Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman" the reality or the illusion? Do most young, rising businessmen decide to side with morality instead of making big money at the expense of others? No? Then why is it shown to be this way in Oscar-winning films like "Wall Street"?

Further still, do you think that the "Police Academy" movies serve as a good example of large black men, or shy black females, or smart-assed white guys or ultra-aggressive white men with bones to pick on the smart-assed white guys? If not, then why is a C-grade movie like "Cannonball Run 2" used as a serious example of how Arabs are shown in movies? "Police Academy" is about the same cultural quality as "Cannonball Run".

And the stereotypes continue on. How many Asian actors do you see in Hollywood movies or TV network shows? Are they seemingly always martial arts masters? Have you seen a Hollywood movie where an "Asian" character is called Chinese or Japanese or Korean or Malaysian or something else besides asian?

If anyone deserves to be angry at Hollywood these days it's people of asian, indian (eastern) and polynesian descent. Ever seen an Indian or Inuit character on "Star Trek"? Of course the Arabs don't seem to exist in Star Trek's future based on the people that we've seen flying their starships and such yet there is no complaint about that aspect of that franchise. Fans are more upset that a gay character hasn't been introduced so far into the series.

I'll even go a step further: the largest group that gets portrayed with stereotypical characterizations are whites and that's because Hollywood produces a WASP-centric perspective with its storytelling. You even get white character actors that play the same stereotypical roles again and again, the prude woman, the mean cop, the bitter spinster, the elderly and senile old lady, the sexually aggressive middle-aged woman, the loveable but constantly henpicked husband and so on. Taking it a step further, how many Spanish or Mexican action heroes can you name? Yet Halle Berry and Denzel Washington win Oscars in the same year and it's seem as a huge stride forward for minorities in Hollywood. Excuse me? How many Oscar nominations has there been for asian-American people? How many for Latin-Americans? This is why I tend to roll my eyes when I hear about how underrepresented black actors are in movies. Go ask the asian actors or the latin actors or the native American actors what their chances are of being cast as the hero in "I Am Legend" or "American Gangster" or "National Treasure". A guy like Adam Beach who starred opposite Nicolas Cage in "Windtalkers" should be getting roles like Will Smith too. Go take a look at his acting resume and see what he gets: role after role where his race is the most important aspect of his character's identity.

Getting back to the original topic of this thread, I can take any demographic and easily make a short film using excerpts from Hollywood movies and make a case for the inaccurate portrayal of that caste/segment. It's a simple thing to do when all you have is 5 minutes of screen time. It's a lot harder to explain what's going on when you view the entire spectrum of movies and you begin to ask yourself why Hollywood is interested in lumping all people or all colors into stereotypes.
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Postby theeKultleeder » Fri Jan 18, 2008 2:05 pm

Great post, Attack Ships!

You said everything I didn't feel like taking the time to type...
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Postby AlicetheKurious » Fri Jan 18, 2008 3:05 pm

Yes, Attack Ships on Fire, thank you for clarifying things so well. There is no deliberate/systemic anti-Arab racist propaganda in Hollywood films.

In "True Lies" the villain was a crazy Arab. But where was the example of the Arab spy agent that works alongside Schwarzenegger?


Oh, I get it. The "crazy" Arab opposes Schwarzenegger, the "good" Arab works with Schwarzenegger, against the "crazy" Arab. Gotcha.

How could I have been so deluded. Hollywood films exhibit no more hateful stereotypes of Arabs, and Muslims, than of any other ethnic/racial/religious/gender/whatever group. That short clip in the OP, on the other hand, was very biased against Hollywood. How unfair. Hollywood gave an award to an Arab actor (who doesn't play Arab characters), after all.

PS: John E. Nemo, there's no caption with that photo of people burning the American flag; without a context, it's hard to respond. I mean, are these women Iraqis, protesting the invasion, rape, pillage and occupation of their country? Tsk, tsk. Such hatred. Must be an Arab thing. I mean, if it were America that had been invaded and occupied by a foreign country, they'd presumably be expressing their love for their occupier's flag.

PPS: Seriously, as an Arab woman myself, who lives in an Arab country, I can tell you that if you base your perception of Arab women (or Arab men, for that matter) on Hollywood films, even if only slightly, I guarantee that you are not only tremendously ignorant, but are the victim of racist indoctrination.

That bothers some people. Not everybody, though.

On edit:

PPPS: If anyone can point to one, or even better, more than one vicious/evil Jewish/Israeli character on TV or in movies produced by Hollywood, similar to those ubiquitous Arab/Muslim villains, that would be a far more effective rebuttal than a rambling post that boils down to: 'move along, nothing to see here.'
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Postby IanEye » Fri Jan 18, 2008 3:59 pm

AlicetheKurious wrote:PPPS: If anyone can point to one, or even better, more than one vicious/evil Jewish/Israeli character on TV or in movies produced by Hollywood, similar to those ubiquitous Arab/Muslim villains, that would be a far more effective rebuttal than a rambling post that boils down to: 'move along, nothing to see here.'


Image

does “the running of the Jew” from Borat count?


No? how about John Turturro as the scheming, cowardly Bernie Bernbaum in “Miller’s Crossing”?

Image

also, I have always felt that Robert Zemeckis’ best movie was his first, called “Used Cars”. In the film, there is a “Boston Tea Party” moment where white people commit several crimes including hijacking the broadcast of President Carter’s State of the Union Address, but the crimes are blamed on Iranian’s (at the time the movie was filmed, Iran was holding Americans hostage)


[President Carter on TV]
President Carter: -high inflation. What is the solution?

[TV cuts to commercial for Luke's yard taking place in Roy's yard]

Jeff: You want the solution to inflation? Hi, friends. Marshall Lucky here for New Deal Used Cars, where we're lowering inflation not only by fighting high prices, not only by murdering high prices, but by blowing the living shit out of high prices. Yessir. Here's an example. It's a 1972 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, for sixty-two ninety-nine. That price is too high.

[shoots car]

Jeff: Yessir. Here's another one. It's a Lincoln Continental, Mark IV, 1973. It's loaded. It's got air conditioning. It's got a stereo. It's got white-wall radial tires. It's got power steering, power brakes, power seats, power windows. And a price that is just too high.

[shoots car]

Jeff: Yessir.

[Jim appears on car behind him in costume]

Jim: YAAAAAAHHHH.

Freddie: [on microphone] Look out, Marshall Lucky. It's High Prices.

Jeff: Take this, you dirty ol' High Prices.

["shoots" Jim, who puts on a very convincing act]

Jim: AHHHH. Ya got me Marshall. Ahhhhh...

Jeff: [shocked] Jesus Christ.

[winks at screen]

Jeff: Yessir, that's New Deal Used Cars... Now wait just a Goddamn minute. What the hell is this? Is this a 1974 Mercedes 450SL for *twenty-four thousand dollars*? That's too fucking high.

[blows up car with dynamite. Roy watches at home]

Roy: You sonova bitch.

Jeff: [laughs] Yessir. We blew the shit out of that over-priced motherfucker just the way we blow the shit out of *all* high prices, down here at New Deal Used Cars. So y'all come on down. Did you hear what I said? New Deal Used Cars. So y'all come on down. Did you hear what I said?

[TV cuts back to President]

President Carter: I have heard you, with unmistakable clarity...

Roy: You sonova bitch.

[kicks TV and electrocutes himself]

later on……..
FBI Inspector: You want to give me that again?

Jeff: Uh, well, yes. As I say, Inspector, I heard this large explosion and I rushed out, I couldn't tell what was going on. I saw the car over there in flames and all these strange little characters, you know, with towels on their heads, weird little goatees and stuff, running around yelling: "Ayatollah, Ayatollah." Then they all got in a car and drove away. I guess it was Iranian students out to discredit the American way of life. I can't imagine who else would do such a thing.


Honestly, I wish Zemeckis had just stopped making movies after this, he never made a better one.
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