Who is the “good nigger” in all this?

January 4, 2013 at 1:31 am 1 comment

After my dad figured how to work the VHS, proceeded by two hours of goraning, interrupted by warm-napping, and then more groaning from the kids a mile around, who were sitted [as is proper] on the floor next to the new orangy-brown flower-patterened sofa that was covered in plastic and reserved [like the fancy plates my mom got from her “arab ager” friends] for the two grown ups in the house and any other grown-up who might show up at our door, of the two room “house” that used to serve as a “kushina” for Gash Alemayehu’s family [whose version of “civil disobedience” was “meQdeding” a “boi” and “melQeQing” his “shint bet” by our front door]; we have watched a lot of movies. We have watched movies of the silent-film era. We’ve watched movies of the techni-color era. And we have watched movies of the sci-fi persuation. We’ve watched Bollywood Movies, British Classics and Cowboy movies. Of all these movies, three have stuck as the best movie-memories of my life – maybe because these were rare moments through which “yebettu lijoch” were able to bond with their parents. Every time I thought of them, I think of them fondly; with the warmth and longing and flawlessness of times the forgiving past removed all blemishes from. RiIsachew endemiketelewu yihonal:

Mother India
Five Man Army
Django

“Mother India” was an addiction of my dad’s. He talked about how he used to watch it, before “Empire cinema” burned to the ground, after skipping school and managing to scrape enough coins to help him afford the ticket. He talked about how it reminded him of his mother and how he never watched it without crying. Which he did, every time “Mother” shot her son, then realized what she has done, dropped the gun, run to him, carried him down the horse, saying stuff mothers who just shot their sons would.

“Five Man Army” was a cow-boy movie with colorful characters: there was “Dutchman” – a dutch, a fat man, a [hispanic] acrobat, an explosives specialist and a samurai who didn’t say much, but had a crush on this gorgeous raven-haired girl; who liked him back, but was unable to show it since girls didn’t pursue guys back then. Then — well — it was kind of sweet!

My mom loved Django! She said “[ayy] Django wondu” in the same way she said “[ayy] Rambo Wondu” every time he threw the omnious casket he dragged around with him open, brought out a machine gun and start firing rounds into the crowd of villians and the idiots that followed them. It also has a catchy theme song, that “yebettu lijoch” knew by heart, songs are the one medium fully-comprehended by both adults and kids – in that they don’t need to actually be understood to be sung along. It has all that. Plus a romance. Plus a desire for revenge that drove the main character. And a code of honor by which men lived. There is crime. There is punishment. And redumption. It’s the sort of movie that affects you, an Ethiopian nobody, and a hollywood Director somebody in the same way.

“Django Unchained”, the modern-day Quentin Tarantino version of the movie, which – according to Wikipedia – has received very positive reviews and has garnered a rating of 89% on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 153 critical reviews with an average rating of 7.9 out of 10″; follows the typical hollywood pattern of having a good, a bad and an ugly character.

There is the good [“nigger loving”] German – played by the beautifully creepy Christoph Waltz
There is the bad – Played by Leonardo DiCaprio, my Leo, – revisiting his evil-twin character from “The Man in the Iron Mask”
There is the ugly – the town’s people, most of them mumbling idiots who wear sheets they can’t even look through when doing their KKK rounds. And a house-slave Stephen [played by, you guessed it!, Samuel L. Jackson] who first appears to be an innocent “enabler” [a reference, perhaps, to Africans who “sold their own people to slavery”] who needs the support a cane to shuffle his way around but turns into an out-and-out bad guy by the movie’s end and after he dropped the act with the cane to confront the title character.

And there is Jamie Foxx, the title-character. He is a butt-wiggling, gun-totting, literate slave who dropped his blanket and completely morphed into somebody unrecognizable [more importantly, hard to swallow] the minute a “white knight” comes [riding] to his rescue. He is cast, first, as a guide. Then a “valet”. Then graduates into a [“I-love-killing-white-folk-for-money”] bounty hunter who would play mind games and sacrifice lives to find his pretty wife [played by Kerry Washington; whose false eyes and pairs of lips that feel stuck to her mouth with a gum makes her, as always, hard to like]. He rides like white folk. He shoots like white folk. And acts like a hollywood actor who made it thus far through good looks and slap-stick, a comedian. And not a good one at that!

It’s hard to take Jamie Foxx seriously.

So the question comes: Who is the “Good Samaritan” black man who goes out of his way to rescue a run-away white trash at the risk of his own life; proving, as most movies try to do, that there beats but the same heart in all of us?! That black folk were almost as good as white folk when it comes to taking responsibilities for their own lives, solving their own problems and being their own “knights” in “shinning armors” – or leather pants, four to six-inch brimmed sombreros and boots made with high heels to keep them from slipping through saddle stirrups and as a brace in roping?!

Who, is all i am asking, is the “good nigger” in all this?!

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A Christmas Miracle Year IV: Of losses & Gains

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. mitin  |  January 6, 2013 at 4:49 am

    abesheet u are extra- fabulous and everybodyelse is fabulous except may be for a case of blindness :). love u

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