Viewing posts tagged native people

28

Having devoured Harg, giant green squid monster Kroll is off to the settlement of the People of the Lakes, known to Harg's compatriots by the derogatory name of 'Swampies'. 

Constructed from tropes and white liberal guilt, these green space Indians are still better than the blue ones in Avatar.  They don't get their world back in the end (neither did the Cherokee) and don't get a white man as a leader.

"The Swampies most certainly do have some problems," chuckles Thawn - Company man, racist and boss of the Refinery.

"You know," muses his second-in-command Fenner, a cynical and cowardly man, "I don't particularly like the Swampies... but I can't say that I really hate them."  He is just decent enough to be faintly disturbed by Thawn's open callousness.

Suddenly serious, Thawn says "Oh, I don't hate them Fenner.  I just want them permanently removed.  I spent many years persuading the Company to back this project, and now that we're on the verge of success I'm not going to be stopped by lily-livered sentimentalists wailing about the fate of a few primitive savages."

Thawn is lying, of ...

Anxiety Satellite

The indefatigable Mr. Oliver Wake has put together and released the latest issue of the print fanzine Panic Moon.  It can be ordered here.


It contains (amongst other things) a judicious appraisal of the 'Day of the Daleks' Special Edition, a look at the way Hartnell's shade has taken to haunting the recent series, a clever thing about the way Daleks always seem to get some new physical ability in first episodes, an interesting look at the pre-Who 60s Pathfinders serials which are now out on DVD and an excellent analysis of 'The Sun Makers' which identifies some of its roots, going beyond the usual stuff about Bob Holmes being annoyed by a tax bill.

Once again, I've contributed two articles.  In one, I identify a blind spot in the lefty-liberal creds of 'Colony in Space' and try to tease out some of implications of this, leading me to briefly consider something badly amiss with liberalism itself.  In another article, I have a good old ramble about the various ways Doctor Who has creatively misrepresented evolution, often using it was a way of re-encoding mythic themes or addressing political concerns... though there is, I ...

Going Native

Avatar is progressive in many ways.  It represents racism towards native people as stemming from imperialism.  It notices that imperialism is about capital accumulation, indicting a corporation along the way.  It shows an 'economy' in which spines can be repaired, but only if you have the dosh.  It metaphorically revisits the violent imperialist foundations of America - and any such settler colonial state - in a forthrightly disapproving way.  It supports the right of native people to violently resist conquest, even when Americans are doing the conquering.

Fair enough.

However, it is also deeply patronising towards native people.  To quote David Brooks' article in the New York Times:

It rests on the stereotype that white people are rationalist and technocratic while colonial victims are spiritual and athletic. It rests on the assumption that nonwhites need the White Messiah to lead their crusades. It rests on the assumption that illiteracy is the path to grace. It also creates a sort of two-edged cultural imperialism. Natives can either have their history shaped by cruel imperialists or benevolent ones, but either way, they are going to be supporting actors in our journey to self-admiration.

And, even better, here's ...

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