Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

December 24, 2009

Invictus; Precious

Filed under: Africa,Film,racism — louisproyect @ 9:40 pm

After watching “Invictus” and “Precious”, two heavy doses of racially inspirational hokum that should be thrown in the same bonfire as “Blind Side”, you really have to wonder if it is no coincidence that this junk is winding up in movie theaters in the first year of a “post-racial” White House. To one degree or another, all of these wretched movies harp on the notion of Black victimhood and the key role of white paternalism in “saving” Black people. And in each case, the audience is hoodwinked into believing that the movie is about the real world rather than some liberal fantasy.

Now that Clint Eastwood has made two movies in a row incorporating the preachy liberal values of Sidney Poitier movies like “Guess Who is Coming to Dinner”, I almost feel like circulating a petition urging him to return to his Dirty Harry ways. Just as was the case in “Grand Torino”, we have white people with racist pasts being transformed like Paul on the road from Damascus. The path to racial harmony, we are led to believe, is people going through some kind of conversion rather than structural change. This is all the more galling when a movie is made about Mandela’s bid to win over South Africa’s privileged Afrikaner population by co-opting rugby, their favorite sport.

Based on a book by Independent reporter John Carlin, it tells the story of the Springbok’s victory over New Zealand in 1995. The movie is quite good at spelling out Mandela’s calculations that the team could “bring the country together”. Over the objections of his ANC deputies, he decides to attach his government’s reputation to their bid to win the world cup in more or less the same manner that Mayor Bloomberg or any other big city mayor would make sure to wear the insignias of a World Series-bound baseball team.

One can understand why the movie would leave out the unpleasant facts about why Black South Africans were so hostile to rugby since the inclusion of any scenes dramatizing the sordid past might have rendered director Eastwood’s Pollyanna vision unrealizable.

On June 24, 1995, the night that the South African team defeated New Zealand, South Africa’s Andrew Kenny wrote an article in the Age, an Australian daily, on “why I still hate rugby”:

My hatred of rugby was beaten into me at a village primary school near Cape Town, where we were terrorised by a rugby-worshipping Afrikaner schoolmaster. For Mr B, rugby, manhood and the destiny of the white races were inseparably linked. Any boy who did not play rugby was a “moffie” (a homosexual). pooftah, the word apparently derived from `hermaphrodite’).When one boy dared to bring a soccer ball to school, Mr B cut it up. When I left primary school at the end of 1960, the year of Sharpeville and a time when more and more black African countries were gaining independence, Mr B gave us his final homily. I remember it to this day.

The forces of darkness were descending upon us. Mr B drew an inverted triangle on the blackboard to represent Africa; he colored in the top three quarters to show it was lost to barbarism. He pointed to the bottom tip, a threatened promontory of civilisation. This was the citadel we must defend and the stage on which we must triumph. He, Mr B, would never quit. He would remain if he were the last white man left and, referring to the black hordes, he said, “I’ll strangle them with my bare hands!” If there was glory in fighting the savages until the end, the rugby field represented a field of greater glory yet, indeed of transcending glory.

In “Invictus”, there’s a scene that is so nakedly didactic that if it was read by a writing instructor in any of your better institutions of higher learning, it would be circled in red as needing a rewrite. As the rugby match is in progress, we see a couple of white cops in South Africa sitting in their car listening to the game that is in progress. When they spot a Black youth picking through litter near their car, they take steps to send him on their way but get caught up in the game. He lingers by their car and begins to follow the progress of the game with them. When South Africa finally wins, they hoist him on their shoulders and place one of their caps on his head. The message could not be clearer. A victory in sports healed the country’s wounds.

Leaving aside the bigger question of racial equality in South Africa, there is not much evidence that the Springboks themselves changed that much despite Mandela’s benediction in 1995.

In December of 2003, Rory Carroll filed a report in the Guardian about what was happening with the “enlightened” rugby team, including its one non-white player Chester Williams (in reality he is colored, but in “Invictus”, he played by a Black actor.)

For weeks the airwaves and headlines have been dominated by allegations that rugby, and by extension the Afrikaner community, remains deeply racist and that the euphoria of the 1995 World Cup victory and Nelson Mandela sporting a Springbok jersey was a sham. That behind the rainbow rhetoric, the old prejudices endure and that in their hearts apartheid’s masters have not changed. The controversy has flared on the eve of the World Cup, exposing the sport and the culture that underpins it to intense scrutiny just as South Africa prepares to meet England.

The picture that has emerged is not pretty. Hulking in the foreground is Geo Cronje, the 23-year-old lock and Springbok hopeful who triggered the current row by refusing to share a dormitory room with a black team-mate, Quinton Davids. Cronje, according to that favoured South African euphemism, is “conservative”, and he certainly looks the part, sporting a beard that evokes comparisons with a Boer commando or a 17th-century Dutch settler ancestor. He was expelled from the squad, but an internal investigation found no “conclusive evidence” that he shunned Davids on grounds of race.

In the ensuing brouhaha, the Springbok’s media manager, Mark Keohane, submitted a report to SA Rugby, the sport’s professional arm, alleging widespread racial intolerance, and quit his post, saying in a statement: “My decision to resign is a matter of conscience and a moral one as I can no longer be part of a squad in which prejudice is tolerated, wished away and excused.” Keohane’s report prompted the sport’s authorities to appoint a retired judge, Edwin King, to head an independent investigation into rugby at all levels, from school to country. Mud is expected to fly when hearings start next year.

If the 1991 merger of the white South African Rugby Board (SARB) and the non-racial, black-run South African Rugby Union (SARU) was a wedding, the honeymoon ended soon after the 1995 World Cup victory. The following year the Springboks selected a hooker [a rugby position, not a sex worker], Henry Tromp, who had been convicted of the manslaughter of a black farm labourer. Then the coach, Andre Markgraaff, resigned in tears after being secretly taped calling black administrators “Kaffirs”. In 1998 just four blacks were included among 120 players for a tournament, prompting a government- sponsored commission of inquiry and calls to renew the international boycott of the team.

A prop, Toks van der Linde, was sent home from a tour of New Zealand for calling a woman a Kaffir and two years ago nine members of the Noordelikes rugby club were implicated in the death of a black man on one of the player’s farms. Two were convicted of murder. Then last year Chester Williams, the black wing who was the pin-up of racial unity, revealed in his biography that he had been used. “The marketing men branded me a product of development and a sign of change. Nothing could have been more of a lie.”

Now that would have made for a much more interesting and a much more truthful movie. Chester Williams would have been a perfect symbol of how the ANC betrayed the hopes of the nation by allowing it to be used as willing tool of white capitalist interests. Ironically, Eastwood did seem to have a handle on this kind of manipulation when he made “Flags of Our Fathers” but in this era of racial feel-good politics, it would have been beyond him to challenge post-apartheid mythology.

Turning to “Precious”, we can at least say that the movie has more of a Black proprietorship than the white liberal “Invictus”. Sadly that proprietorship appears far more interested in catering to the prejudices of a middle class white audience than to get to the heart of racial oppression in the U.S. today.

Set in Harlem in the mid-1980s, “Precious” is the story of Claireece “Precious” Jones, (Gabourey Sidibe) an obese Black teenager whose two children were the result of being raped by her father, who is absent from the household throughout the movie. Her mother Mary (Mo’Nique) is a welfare recipient whose life revolves around verbally and physically abusing her daughter and staring at television. If you’ve seen “Cinderella” or “Mommy Dearest”, you’ll recognize the material instantly.

Instead of a fairy godmother, Precious gets initial help from a white schoolteacher and social worker to help deliver her from a living hell. She starts attending an “alternative” school in Harlem and eventually moves out of her mother’s apartment. The moral of the story is that Black family life, especially in conditions of poverty, is dysfunctional to the core and in desperate need of outside intervention.

Much of “Precious” is as lurid as a John Waters movie, but without the yucks. Mary is constantly throwing things at Precious, including a television set in a climactic scene. Since people on welfare tend to rely on television as their sole means of entertainment, this was simply not to be believed. Even more astoundingly, Mary’s apartment is a duplex. Since television dramas and situation comedies tend to exaggerate the size and worth of apartments and homes in general, one cannot blame director Lee Daniels for doing anything except following boneheaded conventions.

Director Lee Daniels is a gay black man who was drawn to adapt the novel “Push” by Sapphire because its main character represented everything that offended him growing up, as he told the N.Y Times:

“Precious” is so not Obama. “Precious” is so not P.C. What I learned from doing the film is that even though I am black, I’m prejudiced. I’m prejudiced against people who are darker than me. When I was young, I went to a church where the lighter-skinned you were, the closer you sat to the altar. Anybody that’s heavy like Precious — I thought they were dirty and not very smart. Making this movie changed my heart. I’ll never look at a fat girl walking down the street the same way again.

While nobody would deny Mr. Daniels the right to make a movie about whatever turned him on, including a ritual expiation for past prejudices, he should be aware that the movie reinforces stereotypes other than about body size.

Put simply, “Precious” recycles Reagan-era bullshit about “welfare queens” that are not even slightly relevant to our present age, when aid to dependent children, the program that Precious’s mother benefited from, was abolished under President Clinton. Mary is a grotesque that could have been cooked up by David Duke on a day when he got up on the wrong side of the bed. In over 50 years of watching movies with Black people in the cast, I have not seen anything more one-sided and hateful since “Gone with the Wind”.

On a personal note, I first got involved with radical politics after working in Harlem for the welfare department in 1968. After seeing the plight of poor people for the first time in my life and facing the draft, I decided that the system was inherently unjust and had to be transformed.

The main impression I got from spending time with several dozen women trying to raise children on their own was that of unstinting patience and generosity. There was not a single reported instance of child abuse and, to the contrary, the mothers were reported as being fierce defenders of their children’s right to enjoy a decent life no matter how poor they were.

The main threat to the children was not from the parents, but from the horrible conditions of slum life that were forced on them, from rat bites to a lack of steam heat in the winter months. As the schools were also rotten, the dropout rate far exceeded that of more privileged neighborhoods, a reality that has not changed.

It is very likely that this movie would not have been made without funding by Oprah Winfrey who was drawn to the project for reasons not hard to fathom. As one of the richest women in America, she incorporates the Horatio Alger ethos that is shared by whites and Blacks alike. In an interview with U.S. News, Winfrey stated:

I am never not aware of who I am, where I’ve come from–and what it took for me to give back. I am a colored girl born in Mississippi in 1954 and all that that means: poverty, isolation, discrimination, deprivation, lack of information, low self-esteem. The expectation for me was to work in white people’s kitchens. I am here because I have walked across the backs of people who made this way for me. That’s in everything that I do. I’m black and I’m female and . . . I find strength and honor in that. My responsibility is not just to myself.

Of course, her responsibility to others is not measured in the traditional manner of the civil rights movement but in handing out automobiles to her studio audience. In 2004, she gave 276 Pontiacs to the lucky people who showed up that day. For only 7 million dollars, she got publicity that was worth its weight in gold.

For those who worked for Pontiac, the picture is not so bright. This division of General Motors was liquidated as part of President Obama’s restructuring and many more African-American workers will end up with the shitty end of the stick than Oprah’s audience. Indeed, there is little likelihood that either Oprah or Obama will have much of an impact on these peoples’ lives:

Nearly half of Detroit’s workers are unemployed
Analysis shows reported jobless rate understates extent of problem
Mike Wilkinson / The Detroit News

Despite an official unemployment rate of 27 percent, the real jobs problem in Detroit may be affecting half of the working-age population, thousands of whom either can’t find a job or are working fewer hours than they want.

Using a broader definition of unemployment, as much as 45 percent of the labor force has been affected by the downturn.

And that doesn’t include those who gave up the job search more than a year ago, a number that could exceed 100,000 potential workers alone.

“It’s a big number, and we should be concerned about it whether it’s one in two or something less than that,” said George Fulton, a University of Michigan economist who helps craft economic forecasts for the state.

Mayor Dave Bing recently raised eyebrows when he said what many already suspected: that the city’s official unemployment rate was as believable as Santa Claus. In Washington for a jobs forum earlier this month, he estimated it was “closer to 50 percent.”


  1. These movies aren’t just made for “a middle class white audience.” They’re made of a middle class black audience also. That’s why Oprah loves them. She lives in her fifty million dollar home and imagines that the only things wrong with the world are racism and sexism and few other isms–like classism, because I’m sure she believes in being nice to the working class, no matter what their race or gender may be.

    Just don’t expect her to back a movie that’s critical of capitalism.

    Since tomorrow’s theoretically the birthday of a guy who was so critical of people in mansions that they killed him, Merry Christmas!

    Comment by Will Shetterly — December 24, 2009 @ 10:21 pm

  2. Uh, made *for* a middle class black audience. Stupid tyops!

    Comment by Will Shetterly — December 24, 2009 @ 10:23 pm

  3. These movies will enthrall those who see themselves above racism. those who hold unabashedly racist feelings wont see them. maybe a few in between will re-evaluate their thinking/behavior. But in all, feel good movies about the triumph of good over evil racism are only diversions from the real problem of an economic system so stacked in favor of those already in power and wealth that race has absolutely nothing to do with it. I can tell you from personal experience that those who have crafted the most despicable policies of war, torture, injustice pride themselves in their sense of racial justice. Obama’s policies will kill untold innocents. Black men and women will be involved in torturing suspects. War will continue as long as corporations profit from it.

    Comment by jesse MacKinnon — December 24, 2009 @ 10:48 pm

  4. And in each case, the audience is hoodwinked into believing that the movie is about the real world rather than some [white?] liberal fantasy.

    Right said, Fred!

    Which makes it all the more confusing to me that you don’t see this problem in Avatar as well.

    Comment by macon d — December 24, 2009 @ 10:53 pm

  5. Hi Louis, You are an irrelevant, boring old fart.

    Marxism as practiced by multiple dictators (i.e. Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot) has caused numerous innocent deaths for the sake of the communist ideal. I suppose you are now going to tell me that Stalin was never a true Marxist, I have heard this argument before, “yawn”.

    Why don’t you educate yourself by reading some Karl Popper.

    P.S. I now regret spending worthless minutes of my life writing this comment.

    Comment by Rob — December 24, 2009 @ 11:18 pm

  6. Couldn’t agree more. Well done. Especially loved the line about Paul on the road to Damascus.

    Comment by dave — December 24, 2009 @ 11:24 pm

  7. macon d, I haven’t decided whether to see Avatar, ’cause I am tired of the white-guy-joins-the-natives-and-helps-them-win model of critiquing capitalism, but from all I’ve read, Avatar is, at least, anti-imperialist and pro-ecology, and Cameron deserves some props for going that far. His hero may not be a red, but at least he’s a race-traitor.

    Comment by Will Shetterly — December 25, 2009 @ 12:24 am

  8. Louis, “Precious”, will probably win Mo’Nique an Oscar for best-supporting actress; Invictus will win for best screenplay adaptation; Avatar for best picture. Art is what u make it. Its all in the perception. I actually thought Precious was a good but depressing film that I will only see once. The film takes place in the 80s, so Mo’Nique’s exaggerated character fits well with the film’s timeline. The film only showed a one-sided view of Mary, which didnt make sense at all, but it is what it is. As far as middle-class audiences or film demographics in general, I have no problem with people make movies for the Oprah/Dr. Phil crowd. Mike Moore’s last 3 films, whether intended or not, have been tailor-made for well-educated middle class white progressive types. Us blue collar folks watch his movies on HBO or dvd. U dont complain about reality. John Sayles and Spike Lee were the filmmakers making blue collar movies for a blue collar audience for a long time. Now nobody does. It all about the money for the most part as with most things in our culture and society. And most films with good intentions are warped by the bourgeois moralism of the system.

    Comment by Jim — December 25, 2009 @ 8:35 am

  9. Dave Bing obviously has an impossible job, but clearly he is also part of the problem.

    Comment by David Green — December 26, 2009 @ 2:52 am

  10. Rob. Those obviously weren’t the only “worthless minutes” of your life. In my experience people who toss out Stalin & Pol Pot in such an assanine context have wasted their entire life.

    Lou is familiar enough with Karl Popper, particularly since Popper was a liberal social democrat who embraced the fatal collaborationist fantasy of Weimar, and who, along with social scientists like Max Weber & Emile Durkheim, fled Europe when the Reds were being scapegoated instead of organizing a fightback.

    Safe to say Lou views Marxism in the same way Popper views Darwinism. Just substitite the words Darwin for Marx and the concept of Natural Selection for Class Struggle in the passage from Popper below and you’ll see what I mean.

    Popper said that “Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research program…. And yet, the theory is invaluable. I do not see how, without it, our knowledge could have grown as it has done since Darwin. In trying to explain experiments with bacteria which become adapted to, say, penicillin, it is quite clear that we are greatly helped by the theory of natural selection. Although it is metaphysical, it sheds much light upon very concrete and very practical researches. It allows us to study adaptation to a new environment (such as a penicillin-infested environment) in a rational way: it suggests the existence of a mechanism of adaptation, and it allows us even to study in detail the mechanism at work.” (Wiki)

    When it comes to figuring out where the vicious bacterium known as the Imperialist Bourgoeoisie is deleteriously plunging this planet and the immunity they develope to their victims’ resistance, then Marxism is clearly invaluable. Only fools cannot grasp this.

    Like Lenin said, Marxism is not a dogma but a compass for action. Indeed Lenin, I’d argue, is still the single most influential alterer in the course of the 20th century. Lots of white guys may not like that course but the democratic majority of the planet, brown peasants & prols, will have a different take rest assured. Popper never doubted Marx’s axiom that in the end “being determines consciousness.”

    Popper’s greatest contibution to science was establishing the falsification criterion. To the social sciences Popper’s contribution was the notion that sociology necessarily has a certain indeterminancy. But Trotsky wrote those exact words before Popper, so that wasn’t a very novel idea.

    The difference between Marx and his Fabian contemporaries was that he saw no historic inevitability in anything, a notion which amounted to the gradualism he rejected.

    Jack London’s view of the class struggle in his famous novel “The Iron Heel” was closer to Marx’s view, where there could be hundreds of years of defeat, betrayal & setbacks by opportunists, carreerists, collaborationists (and even sociopathic meglomaniacs like Napoleon or Stalin) before a more rational form of society could find a way to dispense with the abject greed & anarchy of capitalist production. But class struggle wouldn’t stop there, no more than evolution stops at some point (except perhaps when the sun runs out of hydrogen).

    Just as Popper would argue Darwinism is the greatest unifying theory in biology, Lou would argue that Marxism is the greatest unifying theory of political economy. Now Lou may indeed be an old fart but such a worldview doesn’t make him boring. On the contrary. What’s boring is anybody who doesn’t incorporate such a worlview into a discussion of “who gets what” — just as Intelligent Design is boring to a Biologist.

    When it comes to figuring out the most pressing issue of the day, how to fucking expropriate the fucking expropriators, then reading Popper is truly reading a boring old fart.

    Knee-jerking up the spectre of Stalin and Pol Pot (even the late liberal Spaulding Gray in his play “Swimming to Cambodia” illustrated that Pol Pot was largely created by Uncle Sam’s illegal bombings!) — divorcing them as you did from the history of class struggle that gave rise to such phenoms — is like a biologist abandoning Darwin just because the implications of the Piltdown Man discovery lead him down a dead end.

    As an aside, perhaps next time Rob takes something as an article of faith that he reads in the NY Times, ask yourself how Pol Pot, a Cambodian, was actually guilty of genocide, when the the only people he killed were Cambodians? By that definition Ulysses S. Grant was just as genocidal as the next tyrant who shut down the opposition’s press & summarily excecuted suspected infidels. You’re not by chance one of those confederate flag wavers are you?

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — December 26, 2009 @ 3:42 am

  11. The film is excellent. End of discussion. Review the film next time.

    Comment by Otak — December 26, 2009 @ 5:35 am

  12. This critic is a COMPLETE MORON. My father worked 31 years of his life in Harlem as a child welfare social worker and my wife is currently a social worker in Washington, DC. These types of stories are NOT UNCOMMON in the ghetto — and that’s what it is — a goddamned ghetto. These folks, the makers of Precious, are doing what they can to make it better. Of course it’s not perfect, but it’s damn close to it.

    And in case you’re wondering (and I’m sure you are), I’m WHITE and my family (all WHITE) and I have worked our way into the upper-middle class — we simply live our lives in a way that we hope is morally right (and we thoroughly enjoy our lives). My dad and wife have helped hundreds (probably thousands) of disadvantaged kids lead better lives. What do you do???? Other than criticize folks who try to help??? You do NOTHING… actually LESS THAN NOTHING by criticizing this movie.

    I simply can’t stand self-important idiots like you. Reading your review made me SICK (I admittedly could stomach the whole thing). Get your head straight.

    Comment by Richard Murphy — December 26, 2009 @ 8:02 am

  13. p.s. In case your sick ass was curious, my dad worked so goddamned hard as a social worker in Harlem in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s that it actually KILLED him. You dishonor his memory with the garbage you spew.

    Comment by Richard Murphy — December 26, 2009 @ 8:08 am

  14. P.S. I now regret spending worthless minutes of my life writing this comment.

    Comment by Richard Murphy — December 26, 2009 @ 8:11 am

  15. Using your unbelievably superficial review of Precious as yet another soapbox, yet another stone on which to grind your Marxist ideology axe, neither convinces the astute, nor addresses the reality that I see in the ER of the south side inner-city hospital where I work. It also insults those of us who maintain anti-capitalist ideologies in the face of such realities. The problem with pinning one’s hopes on any ideology or ‘ism’ is that an ‘ism’ won’t rescue people like Precious; it takes actual humans to do that. But humans must first see and ADMIT that the problem exists, and isn’t a fantasy, before they will do anything about it. All your review does is tell more white college-educated, pseudo-intellectual, $5-fair-trade-coffee-drinking pseudo-Marxists that people like Mary (and, by extension, Precious) don’t really exist. That makes you as much of a fantasist and apologist as you claim Clint Eastwood is. It also gives you a convenient excuse for not suggesting any realistic solution(s) — simply declare that the problem was created by right-wing neocon racists, and doesn’t really exist, and voila! Problem solved. If only it were that easy.

    You haven’t seen the children come in to the South Side ER where I work, DOA, clearly from child abuse, with scars and wounds in various stages of healing, all over their bodies, but mostly in places that can’t be seen with clothes on. You haven’t dealt with dramatically wailing and screaming, grieving mothers like Precious’ — one who is unable to shed A SINGLE REAL TEAR because she is a sociopath who abused her own child to death, and is trying to “act” like she thinks a mother who really loved her child would act when the child dies, because she don’t KNOW how to act, because she doesn’t actually know how that FEELS, because the person who raised her did the exact same thing to her that she just did to the kid who was just declared DOA in your ER, except she *survived. And she survived her helpless, tortured, terrorized childhood by becoming a completely self- and other-destructive sociopath — and, had she not killed the child she’s wailing (and not actually crying) over, there’s a 50/50 chance she would’ve created yet another sociopath, had it lived to adulthood and had time to have/make a baby. You haven’t had to call Chicago PD and Department of Children and Family Services to report a suspicious death of a child under such circumstances. (In Illinois, all deaths of children are considered suspicious and go to coroners or medical examiners as well as local law enforcement and DCFS for investigation into the circumstances of the death.) In short, you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. You’ve never seen it, smelled it, touched it, or looked at the REALITY of the situation closely enough to have compassion both for the dead child in the bed, and the dead child in the eyes of the sociopathic mother who killed it.

    The evil of people like you is that you tell other white progressivists that people like Mary don’t really exist, that Reagan or David Duke dreamed them up. And I will grant you, they don’t exist as COMMONLY as Reagan or any of his neocon pals mentioned them or would like us to think. But they DO exist. And continued creation of Marys will not stop because the current systems for intervention don’t work, and so-called progressives and people like you haven’t come up with anything better. Yet you love to take shots at the imperfect, often uneducated people in the few failing, underfunded, and poorly trained government intervention agencies we still have that haven’t been shut down by bankrupt local, county and state governments.

    We’d all love to think that child services will catch the kids who are abused and save them from their parents. I’m here to tell you that THAT is a fantasy. More of them slip through the cracks than are saved. Far more. For many, multiple reports have been made and they all come back “unfounded” and the child remains in the home, although teachers, nurses, neighbors, and family members keep diligently reporting through the proper channels. For others, by the time the child is removed from the home — IF the child is removed from the home — it is too late, and irrevocable damage has already been done; that child is like a vicious dog — they can never be trusted again, and they bounce from foster home to foster home because of it.

    Many — with or without intervention — get pregnant (or impregnate someone) before they’re ready, have kids before they’re ready, and parent the way they were parented: perhaps not sociopathically, but certainly not with insight or self-reflection, because all one has as a preteen or teen is introspection (or self-absorption…?), which are not the same (but then, that may not be apparent to you…). But, as with the bell curve, a certain percentage WILL become Marys — because a certain percentage always do. Because the best way to create an explosively violent person prone to inexplicable and unpredictable fits of rage is to violently abuse them over their youngest, most formative years. And, believe me, right now, while you’re reading this, that’s happening, a thousandfold, all over the US, in all kinds of environments.

    And, by the way — you clearly don’t know much about welfare living if you think won’t throw a TV in a fit of rage. (In fact, stating “Since people on welfare tend to rely on television as their sole means of entertainment, this was simply not to be believed” says a lot more about what you DON’T know about ‘people on welfare’ than what you do know.) You haven’t seen the things people leave behind when they get evicted or move in the middle of the night after not paying the rent for several months. When you don’t pay much for something and you know you can get another one just as cheap, it becomes disposable. When there is a thriving black market — as there was in the 80s, and there still very much is — getting another TV is not difficult or expensive. (If you think a pawn shop is the only place addicts go to sell the things they steal, you’re as out of touch with reality as George Bush, Sr. was when he stopped in the supermarket and was thunderstruck by their laser bar code reader at the checkout.) God knows, we have plenty of ER patients who have no trouble coming up with more money to spend on heroin than they spend on their children’s food, clothes, and schooling, combined. Hell, last night on CHRISTMAS EVE, we had a guy stumble up to our ER doors in bare feet (in the SNOW) who had his car, wallet, and shoes stolen from him by two black guys, AND got beaten up when they told him to take them to a bank ATM to get money and he told them he didn’t have any (apparently, him sleeping in his car on xmas eve wasn’t a clue to them that he might be poor and broke… but it’s funny what years of chronic drug use can do to your cognitive skills). He had blood all over his head and in his eyes because they beat him with a brick. And if you think it is any different in all-white, poverty-stricken, meth-scourged rural areas, you’re also sadly mistaken.

    In summary, living and/or working in an actual ghetto ER yourself for a few years, instead of helping at a soup kitchen for a couple holiday weekends a year, might help you remove your impossibly large head from your ass. Try your axe-grinding with the victims of family and neighborhood violence you see there. I guarantee your “this is all a neo-con fantasy, people like those who beat you nearly to death don’t *really* exist” spiel will be a lot tougher sell while you’re cleaning their head wounds, wheeling them to X-Ray or CT, holding the light for the doctor to suture or staple their head wounds, performing chest compressions, or zipping the body bags shut before you take their bodies down to the hospital morgue.

    Comment by ERRN — December 26, 2009 @ 10:08 am

  16. Not having seen “Precious” I am in no position to defend or attack the movie itself. However, having spent the last several days researching Ayn Rand I am struck by how the reviewer sounds so much like her. Two equally repelling visions sharing so much in common. I suppose the best thing about Marxism is how thoroughly discredited it is, while Ayn Rand’s vision infects many who actually have power.

    Comment by Ray — December 26, 2009 @ 3:16 pm

  17. Apparently several readers didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas.

    I haven’t seen these two movies but I’m fascinated that this review on a blog entitled “The Unrepentant Marxist” would attract these particular attentions.

    ERRN subverts her/his entire argument with the small phrase “shoes stolen from him by two black guys.” Interesting how a little slip in an otherwise “colorblind” narrative of inner city violence reveals the fundamental racism that seems to actually reinforce Louis’ view of Precious. With the bloodthirty zeal of missionary accounts of barbarian Africa, ERRN and Richard Murphy are white people who know what they are talking about because they have seen the true depravity of the ghetto and are thankful to Precious for revealing it for all to see. It reminds us that regardless of the intentions of Precious’ filmmakers there’s nothing like a little slight rub on the wound of race in this country to reveal the rotting postules bursting just beneath the surface.

    In Karl Friedrich’s unfortunate simultaneous defense and denial of Pol Pot I find the kernel of why the American left has long gone bankrupt and why I enjoy reading Louis’ thoughtful prose here. Never mind the piles of corpses, carry on!

    Comment by ish — December 26, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

  18. Ray, you might want to spend a few days researching Marxism, because if you did, you would realize how silly it is to say it’s “thoroughly discredited.” You could start with a conservative source, Politics and principles: Marx: does he still matter?. The current recession has made many capitalists discover Marx’s relevance.

    ERRN, people who work in poor neighborhoods to treat the symptoms of capitalism are among my heroes. But so long as they only address the symptoms, the problems will continue. And the problem isn’t in those neighborhoods. It’s in the boardrooms of the USA, which includes Hollywood.

    Comment by Will Shetterly — December 26, 2009 @ 3:56 pm

  19. ish: I was neither providing a defense nor a denial but rather pointing out how the commercial press like the NY Times, when calling people like Pol Pot a “genocidal maniac,” provide only a half-truth. Maniac, to be sure, but Cambodians killing Cambodians is something other than genocide. It’s like in 1918 when the NY Times printed a headline that read: “Bolsheviks Eat Own Children” as if they were bloodthirsty cannibals leading a peasant revolt. Yet another half-truth insofar as the imperialist blockade and White Guard civil war combined with a terrible winter probably did force some Reds into eating dead relatives.

    You confound words like genocide the same as you do words like bankrupt. If the left is bankrupt then your apparent alternative isn’t far behind judging by the 50% unemployent rate in Detroit, the tidal wave of home foreclosures, chapter sevens, all amidst renditions, torture, and endless war in the name of peace.

    There’s corpses piling up alright but hardly because of the left.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — December 26, 2009 @ 4:32 pm

  20. lol @ Shetterly

    Comment by Kim B — December 26, 2009 @ 5:02 pm

  21. KF, first a note on words: I don’t love and don’t often use the word genocide. It’s overused and easily abused. Still, an awful lot of people were killed in “Democratic Kampuchea” and I don’t find any urge to excuse that fact. And by saying the left is bankrupt I’m not actually saying anything nice about capitalism at all. I’m not sure why you think my critique of the left is a defense of the status quo: Reality, sadly, is much less neat. That the bankruptcy of capitalism confronts a full spectrum of bankrupt opponents should be a clarion call of danger all around. After a lifetime of both struggle and observation I haven’t actually made up my mind about Marxism or Leninism but I’ve certainly made up my mind about many Marxists and most Leninists.

    Anyway in 1975 US imperialism was rightly made to evacuate Indochina and the actions of the Khmer Rouge regime after this fact can hardly be excused as some kind of misunderstood defensive wartime excess. I’m also not sure why you think the nationality of the murderers or their victims somehow mediates the crime: the evidence of an awful lot of dead German Jews would suggest otherwise. Anyway, I’m not actually trying to tar Marxism by suggesting that Pol Pot was the apogee of Marxist leadership–what I’m suggesting is that the corruption of morals and principles endemic on the (American?} left is illustrated by this failure to unequivocably toss certain fellows out of the bed.

    Comment by ish — December 26, 2009 @ 5:38 pm

  22. Kim B. 🙂 I s’pose I could’ve just said, “If Marxism is irrelevant, why does anyone get upset about it? I sure don’t get upset when someone mentions phlogiston.”

    ish, understanding Pol Pot’s context is not keeping him “in the bed”. Whether you’re talking about capitalist or communist tyrants, understanding how they came to power matters.

    Comment by Will Shetterly — December 26, 2009 @ 5:47 pm

  23. ish: I view Cambodia the same way Chomsky does, which contrary to his critics, is not apologetics for Pol Pot but rather, as Will has said above, “understanding how they came to power” in a proper historical context. Sure Pot consolidated power after after US Imperialism was defeated in Indochina just as Stalin consolidated Power after 10,000 Marines were driven from Russia. It’s not just coincidence that such people come to power after force is required to drive Uncle Sam out.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — December 26, 2009 @ 6:21 pm

  24. You completely missed the point of Invictus. It captured the mood of the country, which was incredible at the time. After the victory we all felt a mood of optimism that was brought about by Madiba’s leadership. But you seem to only focus on people who still suffer from apartheid of the mind. Bitter expats who have nothing but negative things to say about the country. Get a life

    p.s Commies are dead

    Comment by 1995 Saffer — December 26, 2009 @ 6:36 pm

  25. Saffer: Your understanding of history is dead. If it weren’t for the self-sacrificing struggle and organizational skills of the “Commies” in the ANC then the apartheid regime would have lasted much longer, if not forever. Unfortunately the CP there was so ideologically dependent on weasels in the USSR that the Soviet collapse truncated Mandella’s reforms and curtailed the real expropriation of the expropriators that Blacks in South Africa deserve.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — December 26, 2009 @ 6:56 pm

  26. Hi Karl and Lou,

    You really are boring old farts, the both of you. My personal theory is that the ramblings of irrelevant intellectuals, such as Karl and Lou, is a major contributor to global warming. Karl, your comment about Popper and Marx generated enough hot air to add at least another half a degree to the global temperature. Let the destruction of the ice caps hang heavy on your shoulders. Although considering the size of your head, your shoulders should be able to handle it.

    Anyway, before I ramble on myself, the problem with Lou and Karl is that they assume due to their incredible intellect they can dictate to the rest of us how we can solve the worlds ills. Another intellect, ironically educated in England by his old colonial masters, Robert Mugabe has had a very “successful” expropriation program. This program his caused Zimbabwe to have the lowest expected lifespan in the world.

    Interestingly, a civilian organized grass roots movement initiated by the Trade Unions of Southern Africa as well as the South African Communist party prevented the Zimbabwean government from receiving Chinese arms. (article at http://allafrica.com/stories/200804220109.html)

    But Lou and Karl would have us believe that state backed expropriation is the right way to ensure equality. Both Hugo Chavez and our friend Mugabe are actively steam rolling free speech to implement the types of government that Lou and Karl approve of.

    Lou and Karl, get out of the library and don’t try to pretend that working at soup kitchens on weekends means you know anything about the communities around you. Marxism does not work. We need grass roots movements to rise up and solve local problems.

    Anyway, Karl and Lou, why don’t you move to Zimbabwe and see how the people there are suffering you arrogant twits. I am sure if you agree with Mugabe’s policies he will organize a comfortable life for you two at the expense the Zimbabwean people.

    Comment by Rob — December 28, 2009 @ 10:23 am

  27. P.S. I am really enjoying the debate on this blog. A great entertaining time filler while I am waiting at the airport.

    Comment by Rob — December 28, 2009 @ 12:02 pm

  28. These are some good grass root movements that are doing some great work in South Africa if anyone is interested.

    (http://www.tac.org.za/community/) is a civil group organized in ensuring, contrary to the ANC government, that HIV positive pregnant woman get the anti-retro viral medication they need to prevent mother to baby transmission of HIV.

    (http://www.ncr.org.za/) is a quasi government regulator that assists families in dire need with regard to debt obligations. This organization helps communities understand and handle debt problems.

    I am currently working with many of these community organizations.

    Comment by Rob — December 28, 2009 @ 12:35 pm

  29. The TAC has been a major force in assisting the ANC government to change its tact on its AIDS policy.

    Comment by Rob — December 28, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

  30. Dear Rob: May your next flight be filled with frustrated religious intellectuals from countries touched by the Pentagon over the last few decades.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — December 28, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

  31. Rob appears to be employed by Accenture, which used to be called Arthur Anderson Consulting before the accounting wing crashed and burned in the aftermath of the Enron scandal. Accenture’s main gift to the world is outsourcing jobs and leaving the newly unemployed desperate. He is what we call the “class enemy”.

    Comment by louisproyect — December 28, 2009 @ 2:27 pm

  32. Good reviews, Louis, especially with regard to Precious. I was startled and slightly disgusted to see it received positively in the pages of Socialist Worker: http://socialistworker.org/2009/12/17/when-precious-life-means-little

    Comment by sam w — December 28, 2009 @ 5:13 pm

  33. […] didn’t mention this, but overall gave it a good review. Through Rotten Tomatoes, I found this review, which documents the several ways in which the Rugby Team continued in its racist ways after the […]

    Pingback by Post-racial movies « Roses Supposes — December 29, 2009 @ 7:00 am

  34. “But Lou and Karl would have us believe that state backed expropriation is the right way to ensure equality. Both Hugo Chavez and our friend Mugabe are actively steam rolling free speech to implement the types of government that Lou and Karl approve of.

    Anyway, Karl and Lou, why don’t you move to Zimbabwe and see how the people there are suffering you arrogant twits. I am sure if you agree with Mugabe’s policies he will organize a comfortable life for you two at the expense the Zimbabwean people.”

    May I issue a collective ‘what the fuck?!’?

    Comment by dk — December 30, 2009 @ 8:40 am

  35. dk – stop regurgitating nonsense out your ass hole. Nobody mentioned either Zimbabwe or Venezuela on this thread so it’s strange & unclear why you would but since you so ignorantly brought them up please name a single expropriator that got expropriated by either Mugabe or Chavez?

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — December 30, 2009 @ 1:38 pm

  36. dk – I apologize. It’s early and the coffee’s still brewing. I didn’t understand at first you were simply quoting Rob who talks out his ass, who throws out Chavez & Mugabe in the same sophomoric breath that he throws out Stalin & Pol Pot. Your collective WTF was appropriate. Clearly his understanding of the history of 3rd World class struggle goes a long way towards making Black friends in South African AIDS clinics.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — December 30, 2009 @ 2:13 pm

  37. Invictus was just aweful. Racism is a personal problem. Yawn. You couldn’t find a more inferentially racist cultural project if you tried.

    And the production was insipid: music that sounded like something out of one of those old Sunday night movies that made your Mom cry, where Patty Duke dies from a brain tumor and the music bed for end credits is Cher singing Burt Bacharach. And Eastwood managed to turn Madella into a bumbling dolt who has to be explained the recondite organization of a 16 team elimination tournament. “So, in order to advance to the semi-finals we must beat Australia?” Mandela asks an aide as if he has just decoded the encrypted plans of a Martian battle plan to destroy Earth. Eastman has the old fool slowly 0scribbling in the names of teams on a placard on an easel in the president’s office. Just terrible. Laughably bad.

    83% top critics rating on RT.

    What the hell?

    Comment by slothrop — January 1, 2010 @ 1:13 am

  38. The funny thing is that both these reviews were a not so nuanced attack on more righteous than thou white liberal ideals, which i would add, also dominate racial discourse in the US MSM.
    What does Lou get? appropriately he gets pummeled and cursed out by white liberal brainwigs for whom the Clint Eastwood view of race is the highest order of racial tolerance. Less we get into knots with their white men’s burden.

    Comment by Michael T — January 2, 2010 @ 8:43 pm

  39. I liked ‘Precious’, but I wasn’t in love with it. Your review made me think, so thank you.

    Comment by Lisa Westerfield — January 4, 2010 @ 6:16 pm

  40. This was a well thought out lashing that I somewhat can atleast appreciate. Your statements all lean toward the “fact” that this is some “fairy tale” image (for lack of better terminology) and maybe it is for the “average” but are you really going to tell me then that this NEVER has gone on in a household, be it black or white? Because the movie/book really is just about ONE family and ONE protagonist you know. So what is the problem?

    Comment by Mandy L Cantrell — January 6, 2010 @ 10:05 pm

  41. The “problem,” as the reviewer sees it, is that “the movie reinforces stereotypes other than about body size….[and it] recycles Reagan-era bullshit about “welfare queens” that are not even slightly relevant to our present age, when aid to dependent children, the program that Precious’s mother benefited from, was abolished under President Clinton.”

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — January 7, 2010 @ 12:26 am

  42. I would be interested to know what Louis thinks of Killer Of Sheep http://www.killerofsheep.com/
    It’s almost a musical, without musical breaks.. Like a black Jean Renoir trapped in Watts with the best soundtack imaginable.

    Comment by Michael T — January 9, 2010 @ 2:41 am

  43. Karl, are you even South African? Have you ever been there? Reading articles does not make you knowledgeable. The situation in South Africa is way more complicated than that!

    Comment by A real Saffa — January 10, 2010 @ 1:45 pm

  44. It’s not so complicated, as an old ANCer once told me. You see, when the whites first came to Africa they had all the bibles and the blacks had all the land. Now it’s the other way around.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — January 10, 2010 @ 2:35 pm

  45. Oh Karl, you are funny…

    Comment by A real Saffa — January 11, 2010 @ 1:21 am

  46. I wonder if this critic attacks “white paternalism” as much as he does the myth of the “the Magic Negro”?

    Comment by MagicCracka — January 16, 2010 @ 7:16 pm

  47. Wow. I’m so glad I picked out one of only two rotten tomatoes. I’ve had my suspicions, so thanks for your refreshing and enlightening reminder that all is not well even on the good guys side. But Will, what to do?

    Comment by Marg — January 22, 2010 @ 10:15 am

  48. Sorry Louis I got your name wrong

    Comment by Marg — January 22, 2010 @ 10:22 am

  49. So much anger and invective! I have always (as a democratic socialist or a social democratist) believed that De Toqueville’s “Democracy is the apotheosis of mediocrity” was a succinct, if unintended, statement of the main strength of democracy. After all the majority are, almost by definition, mediocre, and so unlikely to go on mad rampages. Populist film, being reliant on a form of democracy (voting with your bottom) is therefore generally mediocre. Haven’t seen either film but looking forward (with dread) to seeing them as they are both films about things that aren’t normally the subject of American film. But its not reality and it never will be. Here endeth the lesson.

    P.S. It is a couple of hours in a dark room with strangers.

    Comment by rewcricket — January 26, 2010 @ 7:44 pm

  50. “Mary is constantly throwing things at Precious, including a television set in a climactic scene. Since people on welfare tend to rely on television as their sole means of entertainment, this was simply not to be believed.”

    The film itself clearly addresses the point – Mary was so enraged when Precious challenged her that she threw the TV at her – then she sat down with the remote, only to see… there’s no TV!

    The film explained this away, that Mary was so angry at Precious that she threw the TV without really thinking about the consequences.

    “Put simply, “Precious” recycles Reagan-era bullshit about “welfare queens” that are not even slightly relevant to our present age, when aid to dependent children, the program that Precious’s mother benefited from, was abolished under President Clinton.”

    Well, welfare queens may have existed, but the question is whether it was a significant drain on the system or whether the system makes it too easy for people to take advantage of it.

    I don’t think the movie was insinuating that everybody in the apartment was like Precious’s mother (there was one other woman in the film who was revealed to be like that) – Dysfunctional families exist in every single American neighborhood or community.

    “he should be aware that the movie reinforces stereotypes other than about body size.” – It could possibly reinforce stereotypes, but this would be to people who already believe them. I’m not sure if those people would be watching this film.

    “The main threat to the children was not from the parents, but from the horrible conditions of slum life that were forced on them, from rat bites to a lack of steam heat in the winter months. As the schools were also rotten, the dropout rate far exceeded that of more privileged neighborhoods, a reality that has not changed.”

    Yes, in most poor neighborhoods parents love their children. For some reasons they may be unable to turn them away from gangs, or unable to help them graduate from high school, but the parents are still loving and encouraging. I would imagine that this would be the case for most of the kids in the Each One Teach One program. As stated above, dysfunctional families exist in every American community, and Precious just happened to be in a slum and in a dysfunctional family.

    Comment by Sukin Gorange — January 28, 2010 @ 12:22 am

  51. I am another person who has yet to see Invictus, but whose interest has been piqued, not least of all because I am a Southern Afican (but not a South African). I was perusing the comments on the film-review site “Rotten Tomatoes” and Louis’ paraphrased remarks from the above article have certainly generated the most comments. I so feel a little historical context is missing from this review. I myself commented on the aforementioned site, the meat of which I insert below:

    What can be said for certain is that it (rugby) is supported avidly by many, if not most, white South Africans. One might well say it has become a major facet in the identity of the “white African”, certainly where men are concerned. There are no doubt parallels in North America and their version of football etc.
    Is it any surprise then that under Apartheid and its rigid racial and class hierarchies that sporting participation along racial lines became polarised? Bare in mind that soccer was very popular amongst the white working classes in South Africa in the first half of the 20th century, before it became a “black sport” with all its apartheid-inspired stigmas.

    It is unfortunate that unfavourable comparisons are frequently made between the national soccer team, Bafana Bafana, and the two times IRB World Cup-winning national rugby side. It is arguably considerably more difficult to qualify and win a FIFA World Cup and I would be amazed if Bafana Bafana did. That said, having watched a promising performance at the Confederations Cup, I believe they may have the firepower and belief that previous sides lacked. Time and again we have seen teams playing “outside themselves” in front of a home crowd. If South Africans believe in a future for their nation then they should give their team a rousing reception and support from day 1 of the tournament.

    Comment by Leo — January 28, 2010 @ 6:52 pm

  52. BTW the full commentary on the film-review site and others can be found @ http://uk.rottentomatoes.com/m/invictus/comments.php?reviewid=1862421

    Comment by Leo — January 28, 2010 @ 6:55 pm

  53. Karl Friedrich @ 10:

    Lou is familiar enough with Karl Popper, particularly since Popper was a liberal social democrat who embraced the fatal collaborationist fantasy of Weimar, and who, along with social scientists like Max Weber & Emile Durkheim, fled Europe when the Reds were being scapegoated instead of organizing a fightback.

    Max Weber died in Munich in 1920, Durkheim died in Paris in 1917. Neither of them ever fled Europe, let alone when communists and anarchists were being scapegoated.

    Comment by Nullifidian — February 3, 2010 @ 1:18 am

  54. In the Spring of 1917 30,000 French troops in the trenches of WWI, lead primarily by Bolshevik sympathizers, mutineed & deserted en masse. Many of the captured were executed as Reds and an ugly witch hunt began in France. Any sociologist worth a damn would have vociferously protested not only the slaughter of the war but would have used their clout to defend the persecuted. Durkheim did virtually nothing to stop the war so while he may not have fled bodily he fled spiritually long before he died.

    In 1919 Liebnecht & Luxemburg were executed during Germany’s Red witch hunt and Max Weber was guilty of the same political & spiritual apathy.

    They were both anti-communists at a time in Europe when such influential intellectuals could have made a positive difference toward a very viable socialist revolution that would have undoubtedly changed the fate of the Russian Revolution.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — February 3, 2010 @ 4:08 am

  55. Why should Durkheim have gone out of his way to defend Bolshevik revolutionaries? He was a lifelong conservative. You’re going to have to accept that there are people who disagree with your principles and are consequently not going to help you. Attacking such people retrospectively for their failure to act against their own political beliefs is futile.

    Furthermore, the whole idea that Durkheim and Weber could have made any difference to a socialist revolution throughout Europe, or even limited to the Russian Revolution, smacks of the kind of vanguardism that has most of today’s intellectuals in the communist left uselessly spinning their wheels.

    Comment by Nullifidian — February 5, 2010 @ 1:53 am

  56. Sorry to disturb your slumber Nullnvoid. The only question I care about when judging a dead person’s character is this: in the class struggle — which side were they on?

    Durkheim, the French patriotic jew, objectively supported imperialist turpitude & a bankrupted system that, had he lived, would have wound up persecuting him to death from the anti-semetic Right, which he came to realize at the end of his life, the fear of which was probably decisive in bringing about the stroke that killed him.

    Weber’s case differs little objectively. They were both reactionary douchebags, warmongering tools of the establishment, precisely the kind of social scientists I find contemptible.

    They were the opposites of people like Chomsky and the late Howard Zinn who go about their academic careers while still engaging the world they live in politically, the highest calling of a sentient being in this reactionary epoch.

    Too bad you think otherwise, perhaps I suspect because of wasted time in the university milieu, for who else would give such a shit about those two patriotic scoundrels, and then lurk about like a troll on a Marxist forum?

    Being determines consciousness, after all, and few jobs are as cushy as the modern sociologist who gets all bunched up over statistical correlations involving “coital frequencies” and other dogshit that amounts to studying the thicknesses of blades of grass.

    Granted that Durkheim & Weber provided far keener insights into the human condition than do most modern sociologists, but so did Nazi doctors.

    The point is not to reinterpret the world but to change it.

    Who are you to say that if a couple of European intellectuals like that weren’t to have become teachers & activists on the other side of reaction, combating the disgusting patriotism & racism of the day, that they couldn’t have made a difference? They might have influenced thousands who might have influenced tens of thousands more.

    Like Margaret Mead said, don’t ever underestimate the ability of how “a small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — February 5, 2010 @ 4:13 am

  57. dude, who the fuck are you? haha im fowarding this to everyone i talk to, you are the fucking laughingstock of everyone i know. Dude, you’re a no name. either you think you’re gods gift to man, or you’re trying to be edgy and go against what’s popular or succesful movies, because you prize your psuedo-intelligence above all your other “talents”. you believe yourself to be so fucking smart when you aren’t at all. like, jesus christ, you are the exact type of “critic” that we learn about in film school, the arrogant asshole that is just a dick for attention or whatever your fucked up motivation is, you are just spewing bullshit. as i print this review out to bring to my film class tomorrow to make an example out of your shitty review, you should seriously reconsider how you do your “job” or hobby or whatever the fuck this is. just stop trying to bullshit yourself and others into thinking you’re a genius. haha nice detective work nancy drew, you found the hidden racism in Precious..not. jesus christ. I would love to see you make a movie, i garuntee it would be garbage. like, you are the fucking artsy bitch wood nympth that doesnt deserve to open his mouth

    Comment by Greg — March 14, 2010 @ 5:37 am

  58. Oh how exhausting! Sometimes stereotypes ARE real, sorry-it happens. That’s how they came to be stereotypes in the first place.

    Comment by Mandy L Cantrell — March 26, 2010 @ 4:14 am

  59. I haven’t seen “Precious”, but when I saw the trailer for it, the first thought that popped into my brain was that it was racist garbage. Reading reviews has only confirmed my suspicion. I am not going to waste my money renting this reprehensible shit.

    Comment by Brandon P. — April 15, 2010 @ 4:15 am

  60. Anybody further interested in this terrible movie “Precious” should read Ishmael Reed’s take on it because he’s right on!


    Comment by Karl Friedrich — May 21, 2010 @ 11:09 pm

  61. […] and incidents that had the country once again calling to disband the team.  As Louis Proyect writes about such films: “in each case, the audience is hoodwinked into believing that the movie is […]

    Pingback by Fever Pitch « Seductive Banter — June 14, 2010 @ 9:38 pm

  62. […] were generally good. Even the New York Times did not question the movie’s historicity. But a Marxist reviewer sought out the aftermath of that rugby season, and wrote about all the racial violence that the […]

    Pingback by Winter Break Movies | s-usih.org — February 3, 2013 @ 9:57 pm

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