December 14, 2017

When you happen to watch 2 movies in a row and see a common theme.

There are a million things you might perceive in a movie. So when you see 2 movies in a row, your brain is going to match things up, and then something looks interesting and you go running down that road.

Let me tell you about the 2 movies we happened to watch this week. Because we almost never watch movies, 2 recently watched movies are going to suggest a lot of connections with each other, even when they have little in common.

1. "Magic Trip/Ken Kesey's Search for a Kool Place." This is a documentary about Ken Kesey and his Merry Band of Pranksters driving a gaudily painted bus from San Francisco to the New York World's Fair in 1964. A man who's written a very successful novel ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest") and discovered LSD (by volunteering for a CIA-financed study) lets a speed freak (Neal Cassady) drive him and his friends across America. They take many, many reels of poorly shot film, and 50 years later, some talented filmmakers figure out how to base a watchable documentary on that sprawling footage. Highlights of the film: Kesey on his CIA/LSD trip, painting the bus, going to a blacks-only beach on Lake Pontchartrain (and not being welcomed as integrators), visiting Timothy Leary at his Milbrook Estate (and getting snubbed and looked down on), partying with Jack Kerouac (who wasn't On-The-Road Kerouac anymore, but a boring drunk), and making it back home where LSD really worked better, staying in one place and partying with the Grateful Dead as the house band.

2. "Get Out." This is a 2017 movie, by a black writer-director (Jordan Peele, who came from the world of sketch comedy), about a black man going on a short, strange trip with his white girlfriend to visit her parents, who turn out to be a real horrorshow. I recommend seeing this movie without knowing what's going to happen, so please stop now and come back later if you haven't seen it yet. It came out last winter, but maybe you're like me and you don't get excited about movies because they happen to be new. You might be noticing this movie now because it's on various year-end lists and getting nominated for awards. It's on HBO on Demand, where we watched it. Anyway, the man character — Chris Washington — feels uneasy being around so many white people and takes heart whenever he encounters a black person, but the black people there are very weird, for a reason we eventually learn: They are really white people who got surgically inserted into the black person's head. The black person is still in there, riding along, observing but unable to speak or act. The evil white people are systematically bringing black people to this place, one by one, lured by Allison Williams (of all people), and using them as shells for the aging white people to gain a new life. It's not just a way to avoid aging and death, but a way to experience life as a black person. That's something they all really want, these people who like to tell Chris about as soon as they meet him that they voted for Obama and would vote for him for a third term if they could.

Now, what are the connections I'm seeing between these 2 movies I happened to encounter in sequence?

In both, you've got a group of white people who see ordinary life as a white person in America as a predicament in need of transcendence by radical means. They take drastic, dangerous actions to break out of themselves and get somewhere else entirely. So involved and entranced with their own journey, they impose on everybody else.

51 comments:

Gahrie said...

Fucking White people...things would be so much better for everyone if they would all just die. Especially White men. Deplorable assholes.

Toby said...

Friendly correction: Get out was made by Jordan Peele, not Jason.

J. Farmer said...

This has been a reoccurring theme on Steve Sailer's blog for quite a while now. He has dubbed it the "flight from white."

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

We are all racist because Obama didn't stay on as president forever.

EDH said...

In both, you've got a group of white people who see ordinary life as a white person in America as a predicament in need of transcendence by radical means. They take drastic, dangerous actions to break out of themselves and get somewhere else entirely.

Otherwise known as "tanning".

Fernandistein said...

Ken Kesey's widow married Larry McMurtry in Texas

Fernandistein said...

Ken Kesey's widow married Larry McMurtry in Texas

Carol said...

I remember that era. I went to a Wilson Pickett show in 1966 that had a mixed audience and the white kids really were sedate. Didn't move around in our seats or try to dance at all. So repressed! Then I went to a Big Brother concert in 1967, and by then the white hippies in the front row were really grooving around.

The old white hipsters said black girls were way better at sex, and we white girls were all frigid. They really taunted us. Guess we showed them. I think a lot of the drug scene was women trying to loosen up.

It's kinda not surprising things turned out the way they did.

Curious George said...

I still a common theme in movies these days. They suck. Which is why I don't watch them.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Obama was replaced by a white guy.
We are all racist Nazis because of it. Two white people were on the ballot, but that doesn't compute.

That right there is the theme. We are a racist nation because Obama had to abide by the traditions of our 2-term system.

Ann Althouse said...

"Friendly correction: Get out was made by Jordan Peele, not Jason."

Thanks! Fixed.

So many Jordans and Jasons in the last few decades. Also Jacob. The J names.

Sorry to have disrespected him. I think he's really great.

james james said...

I never quite got the reasoning in 'Get Out'.

The white people are rich, and want to continue to live, after their own bodies fail them.

But they come back as vegetative, and are mostly treated as subservient. A maid, a groundskeeper, etc.

You would think they would want to come back as at least rich. And that their rich friends would treat them as they had previously.

A disconnect, somewhere.

Or he is saying that being a vegetative subservient black person is still better than death.

But I don't think that was the point he was making.

- james james

rhhardin said...

Those are awful-sounding movies. I could never be that socially responsible.

Social truths in Taken (I, II, III) are more interesting. No matter how many loving good deeds you do for your ex you won't get laid.

Temujin said...

They take drastic, dangerous actions to break out of themselves and get somewhere else entirely.

Which is why God created San Francisco. And the rest is history.

William said...

I saw the movie. White people were depicted as uniformly awful. Although there was some variation in the ways in which white people were awful, they were all horrible. White people are portrayed the way Japanese were depicted in WWII movies. It is simply impossible to understate the depth and breadth of the evil in white people. That's the lesson to be drawn from this movie...... This isn't a satire on white people's attitude towards blacks but rather a comment on black people's grotesque misunderstanding of those attitudes.....If you ever wonder how people in Rwanda came to hack their neighbors to death with garden tools, it's because they were informed by agitprop such as this.

Matthew Sablan said...

"But they come back as vegetative, and are mostly treated as subservient. A maid, a groundskeeper, etc."

-- I thought that was just part of the act while the auction was happening.

David said...

"So involved and entranced with their own journey, they impose on everybody else."

And millions embrace the imposition.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Hence the advent of james james?

Michael K said...

Another reason I rarely go to movies. A theater near here has a series of classic movies from 50 years ago that they advertise and you can buy tickets for the whole series. I'll bet they get a pretty good turnout.

We went to see "American Assassin" a few weeks ago because I thought it would be pretty good. It wasn't . It was basically a rerun of the Jason Bourne moves with a skinny hero who looks like a high school kid. More explosions.

Brando said...

Wasn't a big fan of "Get Out". Maybe the hype raised my expectations too much.

Only movies I'm anticipating right now are the new Star Wars and the Disaster Artist. The book for the latter was hilarious.

Nonapod said...

Only movies I'm anticipating right now are the new Star Wars and the Disaster Artist.

The Red Letter Media guys gave a somewhat middling review of the Disaster Artist movie, and they're both big fans of the book as well as The Room.

buwaya said...

Its time for white-people empowerment.
I suggest a return of colonialism.
The pith-helmet should be, again, a symbol of power.
I think it would be quite a success actually.

Gahrie said...

I suggest a return of colonialism.

If European colonialism returned to Africa...would the life of the average African get better or worse? Has life improved or gotten worse for the average African since the end of colonialism?

buwaya said...

The most important thing is technology.
Much more so than governance, it has improved conditions everywhere (usually). It takes extremey bad governance to overcome technological improvements and roll back a significant populations' physical standard of living.

There is a good argument that the post-colonial era saw a collapse in standards of living, in some places. Sometimes with a considerable delay. However, the great increase in birth rates and similarly extreme fall of infant mortality, everywhere, argues against this as a general thing.

Mountain Maven said...

Tired tropes from the 60's. Living it was enough.

Bay Area Guy said...

Definitely wanna see Movie 1 --I lived thru that hippie nonsense too, but as a kid.

Amazingly, in the uptight, politically correct, modern era, we need a bit more nonsense.

Saw Movie 2 -- not bad! Interesting premise, as far as schlock horror movies go. Leftwing elite whites always trying to keep the black man down......

JAORE said...

Jack Kerouac (who wasn't On-The-Road Kerouac anymore, but a boring drunk)...

I worked near the Oregon coast many years ago. Found myself frequenting a bar also frequented by Mr. Kerouac. I never approached him. I'm a fan not a fan boy. Very quickly I observed the "boring drunk" to be an accurate description.

buwaya said...

A creepier movie, possibly, than #2 could be premised on a "smart drug" gene-editor that resolves black peoples brain-wiring problems and gives those who have taken it a mean IQ of say 120. But it has to be taken in early childhood.

The impact on black culture, and community, would be profound and jarring.

And this premise is not out of the realm of possibility. It gets closer every day.

William Chadwick said...

A character based on me would be terrible for one of these movies. I'm comfortably Caucasian. (Hey, maybe that would be a good title for a movie.) I have no desire to be part of a Master Race; but I infinitely prefer what would be called "white culture" to what I see of "black culture," particularly as it is portrayed in mass media, where it is identified with Black Ghetto Culture. (If I were African American, I would find that insulting, much as I would if I were told being "true to my roots" consisted of adopting Shanty Irish customs and folkways: i. e., getting drunk and fighting a lot.)* White culture seems primarily a product of the Enlightenment and therefore is based on individualism and reason. Black Ghetto culture seems essentially collectivist (hence the constant references to "The Community" and the subservience to "liberal" Democratic politics). So thanks but no thanks, Hollywood. Probably all cultures have something to teach us; but I don't need funny Blacks to instruct me on "keeping it real."

*See Thomas Sowell's essay on Black Rednecks on how the more destructive aspects of low-class Black behavior was influenced by the more destructive aspects of low-class Celtic behavior. Also, see the speech by the Info-Pal good guy in Raspail's CAMP OF THE SAINTS about what, to him, is White European culture and why he identifies with it.

William Chadwick said...

I meant "Indo-Pak" not "Indo-Pal," although I wouldn't mind having an Indo-Pal. We could watch Bollywood movies together.

J. Farmer said...

@buwaya:

And this premise is not out of the realm of possibility. It gets closer every day.

It is certainly "not out of the realm of possibility," and in some sense I suppose we are getting "closer every day," but I am very skeptical that either of us will see such a product in our lifetimes.

D. B. Light said...

John McWhorter has some interesting things to say about "Get Out" here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=790&v=-jeiPKh7jEA

Michael K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael K said...

That comment somehow ended up on the wrong thread. I moved it.

William Chadwick said...

Speaking of Kerouac and hipsters, remember Norman Mailer's now-notorious essay on race? If I recall correctly, it was called "The White Negro" or some such, and held The Negro up as a role model of anti-White Middle Class behavior. I think Mailer deemed low-class Negro behavior as "psychotic"--and thought this was a GOOD thing!--to be emulated by the Beatniks and other evolved types. Nowadays I think of the "Wiggahs" I had the misfortune to live next to for two hellish years. Mailer was already dead by then; too bad they couldn't have moved next to him. I don't believe in drug laws; but I was happy when the cops--after numerous visits for noise complaints throughout those two years--finally staged a large drug raid on the place. End of Problem. (At least mine.) Made me re-appreciate much-maligned White Middle Class culture.

John Scott said...

In the movie, "Sleeping with the Enemy" Julia Roberts character fakes her death in order to get away from her abusive husband. Of course the husband figures it out and spends the rest of the movie tracking her down. At the very exact moment he comes in contact with her she shoots him. End of movie. Get Out wasn't quite as bad as that but it was close. As soon as we find out what's what the Whities get dispatched in less than five minutes. Not a lot of suspense.

Also, maybe someone can help me out here? The daughter had at least a dozen pictures of her with assorted black men (and one woman) but I only counted 3 in the movie other than the protagonist and his TSA buddy. What happened to all the others? I'm guessing some were used for their bodies while others were used for their brains in order to pass on their "coolness." Grandma and grandpa were physically OK, but the one at the party was built like a bean pole. Maybe he had a big penis. But if the rest were used for their personalities the daughter must have snagged a bunch of Urkels. Not one person at the garden party came across as anything but a stodgy old white person.

buwaya said...

"Camp of the Saints" would make a very good, very scary cult film. Something like a zombie flick, but the zombies would be people.

A bit like "I am Legend" but far worse.

And enormously more realistic and contemporary.

Brando said...

"The Red Letter Media guys gave a somewhat middling review of the Disaster Artist movie, and they're both big fans of the book as well as The Room."

Hmm...I might lower my expectations a bit so as not to be too disappointed! Of course few films can be as hilarious as "The Room" itself.

One thing about "Get Out" that never made sense is why would white people want to be in black bodies if these same white people seem to believe blacks are so oppressed? The reverse would make more sense!

William Chadwick said...

John Scott: I hope the Roberts character shot the guy with a licensed handgun.

grimson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
grimson said...

"It's not just a way to avoid aging and death, but a way to experience life as a black person." And also for older white women to have sex with young black men.

I agree with others that the groundskeeper and housekeeper don't make much sense, but mostly this appears to be rich white people buying black bodies for an attribute, not to have "the black experience."

A pretty good movie, in my opinion, with a nice sense of humor. Will Althouse be checking out Key & Peele? It won a Peabody for its third season.
www.peabodyawards.com/award-profile/key-peele-comedy-central

Lucid said...

To anyone thinking that colonialism had any sort of good, I'd suggest reading King Leopold's Ghost, by Adam Hochschild. It shows just how horrible things were, and why isn't it more widely known.

It grates when I hear praise for colonialism.

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
buwaya said...

"It grates when I hear praise for colonialism."

I am from an ancient family of colonialists.
My ancestor conquered five provinces for Spain, taking the territory from the Muslims; another led an assault column over the walls of the Citadel of Saigon in 1859. He got the Legion d'Honneur for it, from Napoleon III.

We lived it.
It had its good points.

rhhardin said...

That comment somehow ended up on the wrong thread. I moved it.

I believe it's the browser moving the link when you click by expanding some pic or youtube that hadn't expanded yet and you wind up clicking on some other link.

Michael K said...

"It grates when I hear praise for colonialism."

You might read Theodore Dalrymple's essay, "After Empire, "

I guess you prefer Zimbabwe as it is now.

Unknown said...

Not unlike Borat, which makes fun of middle class Americans and the horrible lives they lead. Of course, many extend unconditional friendship and hospitality to Borat, who they believe to be real, only to be abused and humiliated on camera by Sacha Baron Cohen's character.

What a jerk.

William said...

After the fall of the Roman Empire, people didnt live better for another thousand years. On the other hand, the Roman Empire would have never given birth to the Enlightenmnt or the Industrial Age, The plot of history has got all kinds of tragedies, surprise twists, and, just to drive you crazy, happy endings. A tale told by an idiot.

narciso said...

Fascinating story, buwaya, I didn't know there was a Spanish French confrontation over saigon.

Yes its a wretched film as for kesey, want he one of those who normalized mental illness

narciso said...

The French undertook the conquest of Algeria, which tom about 30 years. Ecayse they were tired of dealing with the barnary pirates, the Brits did a similar thing with the Niger river delta, Egypt because the vizier defaulted that also gilt them involved in the Sudan.

Saint Croix said...

Thomas Sowell's essay on Black Rednecks on how the more destructive aspects of low-class Black behavior was influenced by the more destructive aspects of low-class Celtic behavior.

It wasn't "Celtic" it was Scotch-Irish, which I remember because I am Scotch-Irish.

"Oh, great, I'm the bad guy. Again!"

As a sidenote, I once met a guy from Scotland, and I told him, "hey, I'm Scotch-Irish," and he got so mad you wouldn't believe it. "I'm a Scotsman! I'm not a fooking drink!" He was a little guy and the madder he got the more he reminded me of Yosemite Sam.

I got some English in me too but like Obama I ignore that part.