Project 313 – Post No. 158

I recently read a review of the movie “Peppermint” on a blog I follow (HERE).

Them who know me also know I’m a sucker for action movies, revenge movies, and the combination of the two often hits my sweet-spot (think John Wick and Hitman). Paige Addams’s review confirmed what I suspected; there’s a good chance I’d like this movie.  

But then, I read THIS article. The article claims Peppermint comes with “some racist overtones”. 

I’m as sensitive as the next older white dude about these things; if I’m unknowingly racist or supporting racist propaganda, I want to know about it.

If I knowingly were a racist, I wouldn’t care because, you know, racists don’t typically care. 

Since I’ve heard it said (to my face) that the world would be better off if older white dudes (like me) all died off, I keep track of any sign of unintentional racism I might display because at some point someone might decide it’s a good idea to speed the process along and I want to say “No! Wait! It’s not me! It’s the other white guys!” 

But, having read the article, I was a tad confused.

First, the writer says “Considering the culture and world we live in, it’s just really reckless to make a movie that dehumanizes and stereotypes Mexican/Latino characters in a film that frames them as these savage brown people destroying the lives of white people.”

You know, I’m a little dense sometimes but this was a movie where the bad guys are Mexican/Latinos and part of a drug cartel. As dense as I am, I know drug cartels from Mexico and South America are real and are chillingly brutal. The neighborhoods they operate in have other Mexican/Latinos who are just as much victims as any white person and arguably even more so. 

Perhaps I’m not as sensitive as some folks but when I see a movie about Mafiosi, I recognize they’re all Italians depicted as savage white people destroying the lives of pretty much any ethnic group they can, and not just other Italians. Also, at no point do I think it’s a reflection on Italians in general.

Perhaps I’m naive in that respect but not overly so; for instance, I don’t like the Godfather movies because they glorify criminals and criminal enterprises and do so by sidestepping the day-to-day brutality of what the Mafia does, but it has nothing to do with them being Italian and has everything to do with them being criminals.

Second, the writer specifically mourns two other facts . . . she only saw Mexican/Latinos being killed and she noticed those killings showed bullets spraying blood and brains all over the place whereas we “only hear” of the “white folks” being killed but we don’t see it. Also, white folk’s deaths were not as gruesome. 

Well, if one is specifically interested in seeing lots of white men getting killed and their brains and guts being splattered all over the place, John Wick and Hitman are fine examples. Heck, if you hate cops, Hitman is doubly great because lots of white cops get killed there. But since they’re Russian no one really cares . . . unless, you know, you’re Russian. 

But, let’s examine the writer’s claims in more detail . . . the part about graphic deaths depicted by generous slow-motion brain-splatterings is common in almost any modern movie involving guns; that, to me, doesn’t per se indicate a racial overtone. It’s just the state of current special effects. 

The other part, where we don’t get to see the corrupt white judge and a few other white people actually getting killed, can perhaps be interpreted by considering the fact movies are a visual medium; as this was an action movie, audiences expect action. Also, actions movies have a sweet-spot as far as running length.  

It doesn’t seem strange to me that the white judge’s death is only described because the killing a judge in cold blood might not make for a visually exciting action scene. In addition, it might lose the heroine some sympathy points as we would see her kill an unarmed and probably weak person as he begs for his life.

That would make her a cold-blooded executioner — which she is, but we don’t want to remind the audience of that — whereas the firefights with the cartel (usually physically prone to violence and well-armed) show her in the role of the underdog hero(ine) doling out justice. Plus, you know, the point of action movies is to show action scenes with lots of shooting and the hero overcoming overwhelming odds. 

Certainly, I would have wanted to see each and every person getting killed; I mean, you could do it with a montage. That is a legitimate criticism and a matter of personal preference . . . but, I don’t attribute those omissions as proof of racial overtones.

At an hour and forty minutes, Peppermint is pretty much standard for an action movie (John Wick and Hitman have the same runtime) so adding something requires something else be removed.

Finally, I don’t expect action/revenge movies to be big on nuanced representations of good and bad guys (or gals). In fact, I expect action with no nuance; I expect cardboard characters and that’s what action movies deliver.

I don’t discount the fact the writer of that article might have felt the movie to be overly racial but I also think she might be predisposed to see everything through a racial filter. Personally, I think racism is not the only possible explanation for the movie’s artistic decisions.

There was a similar movie some time back; in “The Brave One” JodieFoster played a victim who fights back and turns into a vigilante of sorts. I think that movie was also painted as having racial stereotypes. 

But, here’s the thing . . . perhaps in the real world, we are to think thugs and people who rape and kill at will are themselves just victims of a white racist society and thus deserving of sympathy . . . but only if they are persons of color. 

Those poor white criminals who routinely get killed left and right in many, many movies and are themselves stereotypes we easily recognize as “the bad guys”, well, they don’t matter precisely because they are white. That, to me, is the definition of racism.

And now, here’s the other thing . . . just me mentioning this will get me labeled as racist. I wonder what the Russians think of me . . . I mean, I own both John Wick and Hitman and really enjoy watching many, many Russians getting killed. 

. . . except for the Russian cops in Hitman who — as far as I can tell — were just doing their job and weren’t actually bad guys; they just happen to go up against the hero.

But, note what they did in that movie . . . all the Russian cops and soldiers who were slaughtered wore helmets that completely covered their faces.

Essentially, they were dehumanized and that is my one complaint about the movie. In John Wick, no masks for the bad guys; they were dehumanized by their actions.

 I don’t recall any movies that go out of their way to present vicious gangs as fully integrated and representing all the races in equal parts and I cannot think of any revenge/action movie where we’re supposed to feel sorry for the bad guys. It’s the opposite, actually . . . we want to see them killed, preferably in slow motion and despite the odds being in their favor. 

The only requirement is that they be bad guys, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, gender preference, or any other physical or emotional characteristic one might focus on.  

. . . I won’t even try discussing Sicario . . .

And now, the photo:

Project 313 158

These classic cars details continue to offer plenty of opportunities for artistic post-processing. 

I like when jokes require an extra processing step . . . 

It seems reasonable to worry about pink-eye. 

Basic shapes come in pretty handy in all sorts of everyday activities. Driving a car, for instance, benefits greatly from using lots of round things. 

But, it’s not like humans didn’t cope before the advent of basic shapes. For instance, I give you . . . Winning in Checkers Before Squares were Invented.

Winning in Checkers Before Squares were Invented

And . . . that’s it

Some of these posts will likely be longer as the mood hits me, but most will be thus; short, uninteresting, bland, and relentless.

You can read about Project 313 HERE.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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