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Black Film Theory Part 3: Subversion & Liberation From The Illusions Of White Supremacy In Cinematic Narration

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by Andre Seewood
March 17, 2014 10:50 AM
20 Comments
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Forest Whitaker, "Ghost Dog"

Read Part One here. 

Read Part Two here.

Let us return to the well from whence we first attempted to quench our thirst: Alfred Hitchcock gave us one of the most famous story gaps in cinematic history during the opening sequence of his film, VERTIGO (1958).   Here detective John “Scotty” Ferguson (Jimmy Stewart) and a police officer are chasing a fleeing criminal across the rooftops of San Francisco at night.  As the criminal leaps onto a slanted roof the officer and Scotty attempt to follow suit, but Scotty loses his footing and finds himself hanging by both hands from a gutter high above an alley below.  When the police officer attempts to reach down to him, the officer slips and plummets to his death.  The sequence fades out on a medium close-up of Scotty still hanging from the gutter.  The next scene fades in, apparently months after the ordeal, with Scotty discussing his psychological condition of vertigo with his former college sweetheart, Margery “Midge” Wood (Barbara Bel Geddes) in the confines of her cozy art studio apartment.  

Hitchcock never explains how Scotty was rescued from that precarious position between life and death.  This story gap in VERTIGO, far from being a simplistic demonstration of the master assumption of White story cognition (“We shall always prevail”), instead demonstrates how a story gap can be used for poetic and/or thematic effect- as the shot of Scotty hanging from the gutter between life and death acts as a striking visual metaphor of his existential condition that permeates the entire film and its latticed plot of murder, deception, suicide, guilt and obsession.

The story gap in VERTIGO is also illustrative of the fact that well thought out and well placed story gaps can be used to subvert spectator’s expectations and has the potential of liberating spectators from their dependence upon the master assumptions of Black and White story cognition.  That is to say that a story gap can be used to elicit alternative methods of story cognition liberated from the master assumptions that we have previously discussed in parts one and two of this series.  

What we will be exploring in this installment of Black Film Theory are cinematic strategies of subversion and liberation against the master assumptions of both Black and White story cognition.  The objects of this exploration will be considered from the oeuvres of Stanley Kubrick and Jim Jarmusch, two of the most iconoclastic cinematic auteurs whose works individually or taken together are the epitome of subversion of the master assumptions of White and Black story cognition.

But before we begin we have a wide “intellectual” river that we must decide if we want to cross to get anything from the other side of this article.  You are asked to contemplate and agree with the assertion that the purpose and the aim of all art is subversion; that is to challenge and contest against orthodoxy, dogmatism, and/or the normal, the commonplace, and the ordinary which is taken for granted in our lives.  All art from the music note to the image, from the gesture to the brushstroke has this purpose of subversion as its goal; subversion to expose the spectator to the possibility of something more than what is generally known, understood and habitually repeated.  If there is any point of contention it is found in the degree of subversion and choice of the object of attack.

Even the story found in BAMBI is a form of subversion, both the 1942 Disney film and the 1979 song by Prince. (1)

As Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino remind us in their groundbreaking essay, Towards a Third Cinema,” Truth, then amounts to subversion,” in the sense that,” the possibility of discovering and inventing film forms and structures that serve a more profound vision of our reality resides in the ability to place oneself on the outside limits of the familiar, to make one’s way amid constant dangers.” (2)

If you have contemplated and can agree with this assertion then you should read on, if not, then stop here- nothing that will be discussed later will convince you otherwise.

If we want a new more racially inclusive cinema we have to recognize (and not patronize) the existence of a racially diverse spectator and since all filmmakers are spectators, but not all spectators are filmmakers, our first task must begin within ourselves.

The process involved in subverting the master assumption of White story cognition from “we shall always prevail,” to “sometimes we fail,” as well as subverting the master assumption of Black story cognition from “we shall overcome someday” to “we have overcome” is a process that must begin inside the mind of the film artist, whether White or Black.  The artist must rid him or herself of the limitations, prejudices, stereotypes and outright lies that inform conventional day-to-day reality.  It is a conventional reality fed by constantly streaming corporate controlled media and its various information delivery systems and the often repeated “truths” by respected religious, moral and political agents and representatives that are only substantiated by selecting facts that confirm rather than contradict what is being asserted.

The artist must develop a skepticism that asks of the dominant reality,” is this really true?” and set him or herself on a path of inquiry to seek evidence to the contrary.  

It is this evidence to the contrary that forms the guiding thematic perspective of the artist’s subsequent works of art.

For example, when we consider the works of Stanley Kubrick, we have been told over and over again that he was an idiosyncratic artist who reached for perfection in hundreds of takes and repetitions of a scene or shot- and that reputation as a maniacal perfectionist often obscures the fact that nearly all of Kubrick’s films have the failure to achieve perfection as their central theme.  From the failure of the perfectly synchronized crime in THE KILLING (1956), to the inability of Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) to stop the unjust executions of three French soldiers in PATHS OF GLORY (1957)- and even the multiple failures of Dr. Bill Hartford (Tom Cruise) in Kubrick’s final film, EYES WIDE SHUT (1999); the failure of the best laid plans of White men is the master theme that Kubrick pursued by various and diverse means throughout his career.  

How did Kubrick come to this terse skeptical perspective?

Author Michael Herr who co-wrote the screenplay for the final film in Kubrick’s failure-of-war trilogy, FULL METAL JACKET (1987) tells us that Kubrick,”…had a taste and a gift for the creative-subversive,” and that one of the books Kubrick often sent to many of his confidants was The Destruction of the European Jews by historian Raul Hilberg. (3)  He would call often to inquire if the receiver had read it yet.  Herr goes on to tell us that he,”…could see why Stanley was so absorbed by it.  It was a forbidding volume densely laid out in a two-column format, nearly eight hundred pages long, small print, heavily footnoted, so minutely detailed that…  it read like a complete log of the Final Solution.” (4)

It would appear that Kubrick, a Jew himself, had developed his powerful skepticism about the master assumption of White story cognition from the revelations of the Jewish Holocaust and the genocide against European Jews by the Nazi regime.

Now, of course, critical race theory has in its toolbox the sacred concepts of structured absence and token presence, which we will simplify here as the absence of any Black characters from what has previously been defined as a White film and the token presence of a single Black character as a symbolic representation of all Black people in a White film.  

Author Adilifu Nama in his book, Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film, presents a racially coded reading of Kubrick’s famous science fiction film, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), that many have understood as axiomatic: “In the futuristic world of 2001: A Space Odyssey humankind is technologically advanced, civilized, socially composed, and exclusively white.  The film’s white world of the future, however, stands in sharp contrast to the colored primates of the past.  In this case, the dark brown progenitors of humankind are primitive, violent, and wild apelike creatures.” (5)

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20 Comments

  • Demetrius Bagley | April 15, 2014 10:40 PMReply

    Andre, there is brief video interview with Terry Gilliam that is a nice lil' support piece to what you say here in general and certainly about Kubrick. If you Google "Terry Gilliam: The Difference Between Kubrick (Great Filmmaker) and Spielberg (Less So)" you'll get to it (since I'm unable to share a weblink here).

    Thanks for your work in general and writing here.

  • Daryl | March 23, 2014 6:37 PMReply

    Carey Carey, I don't take it personal, You miss my point. I never said Andre Seawood doesn't make good points in his articles. The sutff he presents in his article I alreday know about the films of Stanley Kubrick and Jim Jarmush. I assume you pick up on the stuff he said about these filmmakers already too Carey Carey, this is why I say his articles do nothing because the people that pay attention to them already know what he is talking about, it's like preaching to the choir. Andre Seawood took offense to me saying these articles going to go over most black people hea, I wasn't calling black people dumb, I 'm dealing with the reality of white supremacy mental warfare on black people. Look at the comments on this article, it's only 4 people that have commenting on this but you do an article on Tyler Perry you will have a 100 people comments or more that why I say it's going to go over most people head because they are not going to bother to check it out or when they check it out they might say he make some real points but continue to do the same thing to keep white supremacy going. That's why I say they have to see it to believe, they need to see things getting done. Thay why i'm going to say it again the new Spike Lee film is an important film. This film will be a game changer if it is a hit, a legendary black film director thats respected that has a platform goes outside the hollywood and makes a box office hit. It will usher in a new era of black films becuase they would have the reference point that you can do for self and make it, they will see that it is possible. You said people believing and doing for self is not a plan. It is a plan because these are the twe essential things black folks have to do to change things. Let's be real we always had a plan but we never act on it, how many time you hear black people don't want to see that stuff or the favorite one you know they not going to let you do that. Most of us already accept defeat before we even start, that why I say believing in yourself annd doing for self is the plan. I'll give you a plan of many on what we need to do. Black celebs and producers in hollywood have to start investing in black films that hollywood is not making, You going to tell me it's not enough of them to have at least 10 to 15 black films released at theaters made in the 1 to 3 million dollar range? They don't have to be a collective to do this they just have to have the attitude I'm going to use my position to make things better.

  • . | March 22, 2014 8:50 PMReply

    .

  • Daryl | March 23, 2014 6:54 PM

    On the indie black film Carey Carey actors, actresses got stop being so hyped about going to hollywood to be an extra on big studio film and start showing more love to independent black filmmakers who may not have the money to pay them big salaries but give them a chance to show their talent. I have seen and heard a lot of stories from black indie directors about getting actors and actresses from films that don't play to hollywood sterotypes. Black independent filmmakers got to use the resources that they have if you only got 4 people that's going to go hard for you make a story with them 4 people, if you can't get investors to do a movie that you can do, make an investment in yourself that is not going to send you to the poorhouse. Look at nollywood they started their industry with low budget camcorders and look at their industry now, Why can't black people in america do the same thing when we got more resources. The other thing the black audience has to step up and start speaking with their buying power. We always say we want to see different films but when they come out we don't support to the point that we can create change, too many of us buy into stereotypes. How many black people you know ever heard of To Sleep with Anger or Sankofa, a film that is just as good or better then 12 years a slave and countless other great black indie films that have slipeed throught the crack. I'm not saying these film should have been huge box office hits but they should had made enough money where it would have a continuous of black film by black filmmakers who want to tell stories different from the hollywood perspective at the box office. This is why I say Carey Carey believing in yourself and doing for self is a plan.

  • CareyCarey | March 22, 2014 12:56 PMReply

    The Adventure of The Black Emperor Daryl And His New Clothes.

    Excuse me Andre, again I have to intrude on your fine post because I have a little mess to clean up. Our friend Daryl has made a few unjust accusations that believe are in urgent need of attention. Well, in short, he was heard saying "The plan CareyCarey and Andre Seawood propose doesn't work." Now I don't know what plan he's referring to but what's good for the goose is good for the gander. In other words, I asked him what plan would he suggest to move the black cinema out of it's alleged doldrums. The following is what amounted to his reply.

    THE SET UP:

    Daryl is talking to a crowd of African American trying to convince them that he has THE plan which encourages black folks to believe in themselves and do for self as a working plan for success and not wait on white Hollywood to show us favor. And, in doing so, he's heard saying analyzing white Hollywood as Andre Seawood does in his Film Theory posts is a pointless endeavor. On the other hand CareyCarey has said Daryl is talking loud and saying nothing, as if he's a big man with big ideas but actually is nothing more than a urban traveling medicine man selling quick fix snake oil cures and "restoratives" for all the ills of The Black Cinema.

    The Adventure of The Black Emperor Daryl And His New Clothes

    Daryl speaks: Okay black folks, whose riding with me?

    The crowd turns silent, then one lone voice speaks out.

    "But Daryl, I thought you said you had a plan? Don't you have a foundation, organization or some group that's helping you get started? Who is going to finance this plan of yours?

    "ah... well... I know there's a lot of black celebs with plenty of money that could move with me."

    "But Daryl, who are those celebs... do you have any commitments or promises? And, why should they invest in your shell business?"

    "ah... ah... I never thought of that... but they should jump on board so we can do for ourselves"

    "Okay Daryl, but do you have anyone attached who can help in the struggle? Surely you know Holllywood will do everything in it's power to hold their power and established territory. Can't you see how Andre Seewood would be of great assistance?"

    "OH NO, not that Andre sellout, all he does is talk-talk-talk, analyze -analyze -analyze, I don't want nor need him anywhere near my camp. Hell, all he's good at "theory" and going on about white people but I'm about getting the work done."

    "But Daryl, I always thought that when one is in a war it's always best to know what you're enemy is doing. And, wouldn't it behoove us to study the history of whites in the film industry so we'll know how to beat them at their own game? I think Andre Seewood and his knowledge is a must. Come on, any camp is not complete without a spy who knows every move his enemy is planning. Besides, shouldn't we stay together and maintain unity. You know, although you obviously not a history enthusiast, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula of doing it. What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among themselves. But whenever the slaves get together, something happens in Pharaoh's court, and he cannot hold the slaves in slavery. When all African Americans get together, that's the beginning of getting us out of Hollywood's stronghold, don't you think, Daryl?"

    "ah... well... ah.... I never thought of that"

    "Yes sir, everybody knows it pays dividends to keep your enemy close, so the addition of Andre Seewood is a no-brainer. He knows the ways of white folks. And nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point . We have to see this struggle through and every willing hand needs to be there. Be concerned about your brother and sisters. You may have a job in the film industry, but either we go up together or we go down together. Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness. Don't you think we need to project the "I" into the "thou" and to be concerned about those African Americans who are struggling to stay alive in the film industry?"

    "ah... ah... well... I never thought about it in those terms. I just know I'm gonna get in there and get the work done"

    The crowd begins to believe Daryl doesn't really have a plan. Some are saying he only had a porous idea with no real solutions. He notices the crowds growing irritation so he pulls a stack of papers from his pocket.

    "Hey now, actually I have everything written right here on these here papers. The whole outline... I call it the road to success, is right here"

    When Daryl parades before the crowd with his stack of papers, a child sneaks up behind him and cries out, "But there isn't anything on those papers, nothing at all!". The crowd breaks out in boisterous laughter as Daryl departs the stage mumbling, "I's gonna get me a sambo informant so I's knows what my's enemies is gonna do next".

    The End

  • JMac | March 21, 2014 8:16 PMReply

    I've been waiting for Part 3 for some time. Glad I managed to find it before it becomes buried in weeks of S&A posts.

    This series, and this installment in particular, reminds me of the bell hooks / Melissa Harris Perry disagreement on 12 Years A Slave. When I heard bell hooks criticism, I didn't quite get it . . . I thought I did but now I realize my "understanding" of her position was very superficial. After reading this series, I get it. I only hope there are truly subversive black filmmakers out there who will take this article to heart, those who will not just assume that making black indie films is what makes their films subversive.

    However, I was hoping for a more thorough, illustrative discussion on the solution (for us non-film creators) after such a build up the first two articles created. Luckily, the insights sparked by Rajiv filled in some details I otherwise might not have been aware of or realized w/o somone pointing them out to us ignorant audience members:) There's nothing like S&A's comment sections when the right persons comment on the right topics.

    Good job.

  • Daryl | March 21, 2014 3:07 PMReply

    Carey Carey getting black folks to believe in themselves and do for self is a working plan for success not waiting on white hollywood to show us favor. The plan Carey Carey and Andre Seawood propose doesn't work, you are not going to get anyhwere when the game is rigged, that's like playing a basketball game and the other team cheats and they got the refs in their pocket, you cannot win a game like that no matter how hard you try, you will only get some good highlights but lose the game in the end and in a nutshell that has been the black experience in hollywood, a couple of good highlights but lose in the end because the game is rigged. Carey Carey what is your plan for success for black people in the film industry? Keeping things the same and wishing for a better day thinking white hollywood is going to change their racists practices towards black people. Our problem is we give them too much power and don't realize our own power. Carey Carey you sound like an idiot with your childish responses, do they suppose to be funny. I'm going to leave this conversation alone because you are a brother that is lost, matter of fact you probably some white boy pretending to be black coming up here to cause a lot confusion and sway people with foolish talk or a well paid sambo informant to hollywood to keep things the same.

  • CareyCarey | March 22, 2014 3:18 AM

    Daryl, as I was enjoying the company of my brother as we watched the NCAA Basketball Tournament, hollering at the tv and calling the coaches stupid, I was inspired to put our little tussle in the proper perspective. First and probably foremost, here we are, 2 strangers who are vehemently arguing, calling each other out of their names, scratching and clawing -- in the comment section of A BLOG! OMG..!. OH MY GOD, the futileness of that shameful activity has been the theme of one of Sprint's popular and hilarious tv commercials starring Malcolm McDowell and James Earl Jones. I am sure everyone has seen them, the actors literally speak for the customer by reenacting mundane phone calls, emails and texts between friends and family in hilarious dramatic readings, playing the roles of linguistically florid tween girls, irritated significant others and indecisive bros Chris & Craig.

    When I think of you and I, I am reminded of the one in which Malcolm says to James Earl Jones "Look at us, having it out in the comment section" as if to say now we've gone way too far left. All that to say, might we be taking this thang we do, a little too serious? I mean, lets face it, although this may be a source of entertainment for some (it is for me) and for others a way to stroke ones ego, nothing we say here will inspire anyone to change. When the sun rises in the morning, it's back to business as usual - whatever that may be for each person. And, I've yet to see anyone come back and admit that they were "wrong" or that they got a new job because of something they said - in the comment section. Wait, check that. Truth is, I have received "offers" from more than a few because of something I've said/wrote (down here in the comment section) and I've actually accepted a few that have paid, and are paying a little bit of pocket change. See, those who are looking for "talent", writers in particular, don't care about one's political positions, skin color or if you're fat, short, black, ugly or if you eat chitlins. They're looking for and are impressed by those who show quick wit, wittiness, think outside the box and are basically super-duper "creative" people, even in an "odd" sort of way -- they DON'T CARE, just do what you do best. They don't even care if your grammar sucks b*lls, they have editors for that triviality.

    Anyway, before I drop too much of my business, lets get back to you and I. For the most part, we're not building rocket engines nor will we convince anyone to change their evil ways - down here in the comment section of a film blog. So take it easy greasy, we have a long way to slide. And don't take "it" so personal, okay?

  • CareyCarey | March 21, 2014 4:25 PM

    WOW... really!? Let's see how this works. In your mind I sound like a lost idiot white boy and/or a paid sambo informant, and yet you wrote this--> "do they suppose to be funny". Not to mention the rest of your... ah... well... lets just say, the rest of your 4th grade grammar does not speak to one who should be throwing stones.

    Listen Daryl, for reason that I believe are glaringly obvious to most, your arms are too short to sling mud with me. So stay in your lane, be respectful and we'll be just fine.

    Now, what you're submitting as a working plan "getting black folks to believe in themselves and do for self" is nothing of the sort, it's a "thought", not a working plan. In other words it's an empty shell per se, there's nothing's inside except ambiguous dreams and trite generalities.

    Anyway, giving you the benefit of doubt, I'll believe that you may not understand the errors of your ways, so it's time. It's time I show you how you're coming off as a man with big ideas but actually is nothing more than a urban traveling medicine man selling all sorts of cheap snake oil "restoratives" for all matters of The Black Cinema's ills. So it's time I present "The Black Emperor Daryl And His New Clothes".

    Now listen Daryl, although you don't appreciate my style of humor and you think I am a paid black sambo informant to Hollywood... lol ..., I believe the upcoming piece will be your mirror on the wall.

  • . | March 20, 2014 7:33 PMReply

    .

  • Daryl | March 20, 2014 6:35 AMReply

    Since you must go on just talking about analyzing white hollywood Andre Seawood instead of focusing on us. I'm going to do a little article for you on why black filmmakers should do for self. The first thing I want to talk about is one plan out of many on doing for self and building s sustainable black film market. I'm going to give you a couple examples. Melvin Van Peebles sweetback badass song created the whole blaxploitation era, Master P went outside of hollywood and created the whole rappers direct to video movement, John Singleton film Boys in the hood creat the whole hood movie era. Andre Seawood you might say these are not good examples, The point I'm making, imagine we create movements like these but one with different films and this time we actually can control our images and are able to greenlight the film ourselves, that's why I keep telling people on this website The new Spike Lee film is an important film, you don't think it's strange that Spike Lee got attacked more than any celeb that used kickstarter and they raised a lot more money than him. The powers that be know this film will be a game changer if it's a box office hit. It will usher a new era of black filmmakers controlling and telling different stories. A legendary black director thta is respected goes outside the studio system and has a box office hit without a studio greenlighting it. See the movements above if you don't believe in the ripple effect it will have on this industry, that why I say Andre Seawood people have to see it, that's going to spark change, articles are not going to change nothing. We missed the boat already on the Spike Lee film Red Hook Summer, a film he financed himself and went outside the studio system, a film that you trashed Andre Seawood which I thought was a great film and Clark Peters gave one of the best perfromance in the last decade and I will glady debate you on this film, because in your review you sounded like somebody that doesn't no a thing about the black church, because if you did the assements you made wouldn't be foreign to you on your criticism of the film that you saw not being realistic. Red Hook Summer will be a film that will be revisited in the future and get more love from the critics and audience, this happens a lot when a filmmaker makes a personal film and doesn't compromise at all, it takes the audience and critics some time to catch up. Examples see Willaim Friedkin Soceror a film the critics killed when it was released, now it consider a great film. See Brain De Palma Scarface, even Spike Lee's Bamboozled, that people are now catching up to realizing what a great film it was and how it was a prelude on where society was going to, in the coming years it will be remember on par with great satire films like Network and A face in the crowd, in my opinion I thought it was already there when it was first released. I could go on but you get the point. the oppresor is never going to help the oppressed. Just look throughtout history any group in an oppressed situation made it happen for themselves to change things and that was going outside the system even if they work in the system, what you are saying about working in the system only works if these black celebs start taking their hollywood money and financing black stories that hollywood is not telling on a consistent basis, hence working outside the system. That is the only way to realistically get things done. Nobody in power is going to hand it over to you or make it fair especially if it erodes their power.

  • CareyCarey | March 21, 2014 7:13 AM

    "I'll be getting things done" ~ Daryl

    Please come back when your mission is completed, my crow sandwich will be sitting by bedside or more likely my grave stone. Because you my friend do not have a working plan or even an outline.

  • Daryl | March 21, 2014 5:54 AM

    Carey Carey you are the foll the way you and Andre Seawood are talking black folks going to have to wait forever to get things done. We have tried the way both of ya'll have talked about doing. It has gotten nowhere but having these samce conversations year in and year out, The reason Andre Seawood is not going to debate me is because I challenge him to do more than just be about talk.He has yet to show me something that's going to be constructive for black people to build a strong film market controlled by us. Both of ya'll think is a dream because ya'll accept white supremacy doctrine, I don't, that's why I'm going to say again we continue to have this same discussions year in and year out because its this type of thinking, it's a pipe dream or the other favorite one you know they ain't going to let you do that. So you and ya boy Andre Seawood can continue having these useless discussions analyzing white people on why they don't show black people no love and telling black people not to do for self, it's a pipe dream, I'll be getting things done.

  • CareyCarey | March 20, 2014 6:18 PM

    Damn Daryl, don't you get it?!

    Daryl will you please go now!
    The time has come.
    The time has come.
    The time is now.
    Just go.
    Go.
    Go!
    I don't care how.
    You can go by foot.
    You can go by cow.
    Daryl please, will you please go now!
    You can go on skates.
    You can go on skis.
    You can go in a hat.
    But
    Please go.
    Please!
    I don't care.
    You can go
    By bike.
    You can go
    On a Zike-Bike
    If you like.
    If you like
    You can go
    In an old blue shoe.
    Just go, go, GO!
    Please do, do, do, DO!
    Get off your soap-box!
    I don't care how.
    Daryl
    Will you please
    GO NOW!
    You can go on stilts.
    You can go by fish.
    You can go in a Crunk-Car
    If you wish.
    If you wish
    You may go
    By lion's tale.
    Or stamp yourself
    And go by mail.
    Daryl, leave Andre alone
    Don't you know
    The time has come
    To go, go, GO!
    Get on your way!
    Please Daryl, the ambiguous dreamer
    You might like going in a Zumble-Zay.
    You can go by balloon . . .
    Or broomstick.
    Or
    You can go by camel
    In a bureau drawer.
    You can go by bumble-boat
    . . . or jet.
    I don't care how you go.
    But leave Andre alone
    Just get!
    Daryl
    I don't care how.
    Will you please
    GO NOW!
    I said
    GO
    And
    GO
    I meant . . .
    The time had come for you to go because you're arms are too short to box with Andre Seewood. Can't you see he has no intentions of debating with you? To do so would be an act of child abuse and Andre is nobodies fool. So please go now.

    Now Daryl, if you don't stop the nonsense you're go to force my hand. I mean, don't have me write a piece on "The Black Emperor's New Clothes".

    Well, if you didn't know, that's taken from a short tale by Hans Christian Andersen about two weavers who promise an Emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. When the Emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, a child cries out, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!".

    In this case you're the Black and Proud unknowing Emperor standing on your soap-box, talking loud but saying absolutely nothing any of us can use. Now don't make me expose your shortcomings. Before I do, one mo time, this is your last warning. You're arms are waaaaay too short to box with Andre, so Daryl will you please go now!
    The time has come.
    The time has come.
    The time is now.
    Just go.
    Go.
    Go!
    NOW!
    Shoo fly don't bother him

  • CareyCarey | March 17, 2014 4:06 PMReply

    It's an All-Star field in this Monday morning special feature race here at Shadow and Act Downs. It's packed with best of the best writers in the world of cinema of the African Diaspora. Today, the jockey Andre Seewood is riding the thoroughbred "Black Film Theory". The DP Cybel Martin is riding Canon 7D. You can see her other work at CybelDP(dot)com and chat film @CybelDP. The ever popular Tambay will be riding the 4 year old mare "HNIC". He's sure to be near the top as they come down the stretch. The crowd favorite, Sergio Mims, will be riding the sure and steady filly "Weekend B.O." And, last but not least, representing all females of the African Dispora, the event is pleased to have Tanya Steele riding "Scandalous". Unfortunately, there is one down-note. The casting agent "Twinkie" was scheduled to ride "Choose Me" but had to scratch-out because the filly pulled-up lame at the 11th hour. Twinkie sends her heartfelt regrets.

    As the horses leave the paddock, Sergio is seen talking with the replacement jockey, Gustavo Ramalho. The rookie rider asks Sergio... "what the hell is going on here. Why are so many black folks in this field? I mean, excuse me if I appear rude or just plain stupid, but I thought you guys only covered sports and ghetto bullsh*t? ". Sergio, feeling offended, reached for his razor but quickly realized that his fellow rider was simply a garden variety dumb-ass. So, he looked him in the eye and said... "Obviously you're not a regular S&A reader. We cover EVERYTHING. And yes especially if it's black film made my black folks. That's what we do here."

    "But CareyCarey, what'sup with the set-up, man?"

    Well, to be honest, I couldn't find a better way to express how Shadow and Act's stable of writers moves me on a weekly basis. For example, on any given Sunday I can be found screaming Cybel's name and nodding my head (up and down) as if she'd just opened my eyes to a new understanding. Her posts are always chuck-full of so much information that I wanna bestow upon her the crown of "Shadow & Act's Best". But then I'll read one of Sergio's post which takes me to another place of enjoyment, leaving me to wonder who's really "the best"? And, of course, Tambay is the HNIC, without him out front we'd have nothing. But he has been a busy man as of late so we don't get "all" of him as we once did. He shoots and scoots on. But, again, he has the best hand.

    Then we have Andre Seewood. A few years ago... well... we didn't see eye-to-eye, to say it mildly. Looking back, I have to say I believe he was a bit too strong for me. Yep, to some degree (maybe a large degree) his articles were so deep and so intellectual that they sort of intimated ol'CareyCarey. Okay, I said it, he pushed me off my and out of my comfort zone, so I wallowed in my sorrow :-(. But when I jacked-up my slacks and wiped the tears from my eyes (so I could see what he was saying and actually adsorb what he was putting down) I realized he WAS and IS the man about this town and I was the biggest fool of them all. He always brings supporting info to support all of his arguments. And, as I love saying, the devil's in the details and I like that in him. So I was torn. Who now is my new king of S&A, I wondered? Anyway, I can go on and on about the fulfillment's his posts gives me, but of special note, I love reading the readers his posts attract. Generally, they are not the "drive-by" bit*h and shoot crowd. Nope, he attracts the intellectual crowd of well-written deep thinkers. Now, I can't hang with them but I sho-nuff love reading what they bring to the table. They always give me something to ponder other than "who shot John" and who's doing who, and what Tyler Perry is, or is not doing. That reminds me, whenever someone does "challenge" Andres propositions, I ask myself "is this reader a newbie... do they know that Mr. Seewood studies and LIVES this sh*t? I hope they're ready for what they're asking for?". In the end, Andre is generally the last man standing. Unlike many who post, he WILL mix it up in the comment section with anyone who knocks on his down... and from my perspective, that's a good thang because as I said, I love reading the comments his posts inspire.

    BACK TO THE RACE:

    Tambay is the first out of the gate, followed closely by Tanya Steele riding "Scandalous". Cybel is wearing a helmet-cam so we see the push and shove of the jockeys trying to find the right lane. Sergio is wearing a mic, the grunts and groans of the jockeys and the audience are crystal clear, giving the viewer the sense of being in the middle of the shuffle.

    As they pass the quarter pole and head for the stretch, one reader, Beemooree, is heard complaining and screaming at the jockeys/writers... "They ain't doing it right. HEY Sergio, if you think, I think, that you're right, then you're a damn fool."

    Sergio's mule is no longer in the race as they head for the finish line, so he pulls back the reigns of his tired horse as he peers into the crowd to find the face of his new naysayer. Upon spotting her, he yells... "Hey genius since you're so smart go create your own film website so you can stop reading us since you know every goddamn thing!!!"

    NOW HERE THEY COME DOWN THE STRETCH!!! Tanya's in front by a nose... half a length back sits Tambay... Cybel is gaining speed. The jockey Andre Seewood, known to be a fast finisher and riding the talented thoroughbred "Black Film Theory" is still in the race! HERE THEY COME....!!!!

    OH NO... it's a photo finish... 3 horse crossed the line at about the same time!!! Who will wear the crown of this week's star perform at Shadow and Act!? We await the judges decision. :-)

  • Andre Seewood | March 19, 2014 11:24 AM

    @CareyCarey, Even though we've had some pretty epic battles over the years, your commentaries have been greatly appreciated. Looking back, those fire sermons of yours have helped me hone my perspective and try to simplify my assertions without oversimplifying my intentions. The comments sections are a dialogue that I often look forward to having, even if I have to take a few punches and dodge a few kicks from those who are either unwilling or unable to understand that it takes a nation of millions to hold us back, therefore we are fighting a war that has many fronts and needs many approaches to get to victory. Peace.

  • CareyCarey | March 18, 2014 11:54 PM

    Andre, it's highly likely this post would have received my comments had I not gorilla(ed) the comment section. So, I am sorry for the unjust intrusion. I'll try to do better in your next posting. I'll just read and stay as quiet as a church mouse. Deal?

  • Daryl | March 17, 2014 4:04 PMReply

    Andre Seawood you make good points but one thing I disagree with you on this, the black people doing for self won't solve our problem. It would. You assume it will just be counter -cinema, no it would be a chance for black filmmakers and writers to show the diversity of black life and start erasing sterotypes about black people. You make another mistake by assuming if we do this it will just be black people seeing these films and they won't have no appeal outside of black people. Last time I checked black people start a lot of trends that other races pick up on and emulate. You also propose we try and work our way up in a system that is rigged to keep us in a certain place and keep stereotypes going, that's some bs. We want get there in that system not because we are not talented and intelligent enought to get there, it's because white supremacy is not going to get a moral code all of a sudden and start playing fair. That's why I say these articles even through they make some valid points does nothing in the long run, because you are trying to make people see the light and that just want to stay in the darkness. Andre Seawood another thing about us rising to the top in that system, you already have had black people that have risen to the top being box office stars and black directors that have made blockbuster films. Did this help black cinema, no actually you have had a decrease in the number of black films released at the box office by the studios. This is just another example of in the white supremacy hollywood system we can only be tokens of fake diversity or the illusion we can rise to the top of that system when reality it will only be a couple of tokens of success to keep things the same and have people like you Andre Seawood saying we should try and infiltrate a system that is rigged. This is why we have to do for self if we ever want things to change, white supremacy hollywood has no intentions of real diversity and inclusion, when more of us realized this then we will have the change we want for black filmmakers, actors, actresses, and writers. Andre Seawood why don't you try writing an article on us using our resources to make change instead of spending so much time analyzing white supremacy and co -signing black filmmakers to join that system when we don't have too. You are starting to sound like one of them guys who just like to hear theyselves talk and be on some self important kick, instead of going out and getting things done. I guest you just like being the expert on black people around your white collegues at your social events. These articles are really about getting people to buy into this for you can write another book for them to buy.

  • Rajiv Pandit | March 17, 2014 12:41 PMReply

    Here's more ammunition to support your thesis regarding Kubrick's use of black characters in his film. In THE KILLING, the sniper who shot the racehorse is captured because of the horseshoe the black parking lot attendant threw to the ground, a token of friendship rebuffed by the sniper. And in DR. STRANGELOVE, the only crew member to question the "go code"order is the black officer.

  • Andre Seewood | March 19, 2014 12:35 PM

    Yes, without question Kubrick's use of "token presence" is always incisive and contributes to what I assert is his overall critique of White supremacy in his films. He has used Black characters four times throughout his oeuvre: James Edwards as the Track Parking attendant in THE KILLING (1956); James Earl Jones as Lt. Lothar Zogg in DR. STRANGELOVE (1964); Scatman Crothers as Dick Halloran in THE SHINING (1980) and finally Dorian Harewood as Cor. Eightball in FULL METAL JACKET (1987). It is fascinating to see how each Black character is used at a decisive point in his films where the pursuit of perfection by Whites leads to failure and ultimately defeat.

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