Queequeg's Mark

Make, Teach, Culture

Lone Ranger Film Review 11/07/2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Queequeg's Mark @ 7:35 am
Tags: , , ,

First off, it’s been a while. I started this review as a facebook post, but it got out of control, so I moved it here. Anyway, come share in my turn to bash the Lone Ranger.

To touch on the whole Johnny Depp fiasco about another white dude wearing red face and how stereotypical the role is, let me say it doesn’t feel as bad as I was expecting. I had read that Natives informed some of the comedy in the writing, and that felt true, like when Tonto was asked why he was arrested and his answer was “being Indian.” It was good, but the introduction of mysticism doesn’t help the stereotype, nor does Depp’s wise but soft-spoken Tonto. The film does lay the groundwork for disbelief by starting with the metaphor of masks early on. Tonto says to never take off the mask. The only problem is Tonto/Depp either too subtly let the mask slip, they wear the mask the whole time, or there is no mask at all. Either way, Tonto lacks the depth to make him anything more than an in’din we’ve already seen.

As far as the movie as a whole, the lone ranger felt like pirates of the caribbean (think number 4 quality not number 1) only on trains and with american businessmen as the villan instead of the british empire. the film tried to sweep major issues/plot points like race and patriotism and genocide aside for the typical Disney ending. In the end, I was both offended as an American and as a minority, and here’s why:

A consistent note throughout is that the Natives are dying, that they are disappearing. In fact, one of the natives says it. To emphasize this theme, aside from Tonto, every single native character dies and Tonto is literally on display at the end, as if his people are gone. As the husband to a partially-native hawaiian woman and future father of partially hawaiian children, I saw part of my present and my future being erased. Indigenous people may have been killed off in genocidal numbers, but they’re still here. 

The other problem I had was with the lack of remorse for “progress.” The movie centers around the transcontinental railroad. In the name of progress, the villans take part in wiping out a tribe of natives. While justice at the end is served, no one questions or cares about the price for progress. Everyone is kind of okay with it. Now, I love my country, but we have done some bad things in our past, which we try to make right years after the fact. Just because we have ignored transgressions in the past doesn’t mean we should ignore them now.

Overall, the Lone Ranger was a bad movie because it tried to be polished and dirty, pertinent and unoffensive at the same time. In other words, it uses hipster racism to ironically poke fun at racism, but it does so in a period piece where racism was absolutely deadly. It tries to poke fun at the white hat/black hat hero/villan, but resorts back to that dynamic for its happy ending with Lone Ranger become almost Superman at the end. It tries to say that capitalism/corporatism is the cause for these grand problems like corrupt government officials and genocide, but it offers no solution other than turn bandit and find justice with a gun.



Filed under: Uncategorized — Queequeg's Mark @ 6:01 pm

Queequeg's Mark:

Here’s my review of Manzanar Fishing Club originally posted on HILA

Originally posted on Hawaiians In Los Angeles:

Lessa and I went to see the Manzanar Fishing Club documentary at the Del Amo Galleria last night. I wasn’t expecting much of a turn out. Yeah the movie has such a limited release that it was only at that theater for that day, but come on, it’s a documentary about our negative past and fishing. That’s not a wide net the film makers were casting. I was surprised by the size of the audience and the diversity? (It’s a question because there were Asians, of course, but quite a few white people including a family sitting next to us). But more on the audience later.

At the forefront of the movie is the interviews with internees and their descendants. Their stories about finding ways to sneak out of the camp to fish, building their own tackle before they were allowed to use the Sears catalog, and rebuilding a life…

View original 923 more words


The Next Batman Movie 29/08/2012

Filed under: Make,Writing — Queequeg's Mark @ 5:49 pm

I was just reading rumors that, if it ever happens, the Justice League movie will introduce the new Batman story arc.  I was thinking, though, that while Christopher Nolan is done with the series, the arc he created should continue with Jason Gordon Levitt not as Batman but as Robin or Nightwing.  All three movies cover the mythos of heros and their roles in society, questioning our need of them.  At the same time, there are questions about the kinds of heros we have and how Batman needed to be as dark as they come with Harvey Dent more of the face of a white knight.  What if Levitt’s vigilantism is a hybrid of the two?  What if he maintains principles that the Batman couldn’t and dances that line between moral and above the law in ways the Batman couldn’t?  He obviously has an army of children to help him with the orphanage above the Batcave, so why couldn’t he be more than Batman while at the same time exploring the same issues or going beyond them.  Instead of a violence versus violence hero, we have a hero that deals with intimate problems like child abuse and poverty.  It’s really a missed opportunity, I think.


my english is not yours 25/08/2012

Filed under: Poetry — Queequeg's Mark @ 12:53 pm

english is my father’s third language

my older brothers’ second

california english is my transplanted mother’s adopted tongue

and my southern grandmother’s bane

my english is in the middle

between the situational sing-song slang

of the inner city i was born in and visit

where words are chopped short or completely

because we are too poor or proud to speak like you

and the affluent suburbs i moved to

where words are chopped short or completely

because it’s situationally ironic

your english is a shell game

its rules changed by situational slight of hand

rules that can be broken

but not by me

never by me


let me be honest 23/08/2012

Filed under: Poetry — Queequeg's Mark @ 8:02 pm

it wasn’t the first time,

when my younger

less committed



got the promotion i applied for

it wasn’t the second, third, or fourth time

when the pattern of comparative experience

and fairness

were promoted over my comparative experience

and unfair skin

it wasn’t the two times temporary promotions were created

so i could earn the pay and responsibility

before filling the position with

comparative experience

and fairness

let me be honest with you

i am both fair and unfair

i can be whatever you want me to be

do whatever you want me to do

but i cannot stop unfairness

and, it seems,

you cannot be fair because of it


California Writers Contest 16/08/2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Queequeg's Mark @ 6:22 pm

The California Writers Exchange contest introduces emerging writers from California to the New York literary community and provides them a network for professional advancement. Every third year, writers in California are invited to submit manuscripts. Judges review the entries and select a winning poet and fiction writer. Winners are flown to New York City for an all-expenses-paid, weeklong trip to meet with literary agents, editors, publishers, and writers, and to give a public reading.

We are currently accepting submissions for the 2013 California Writers Exchange contest. Download the application here. The deadline is August 31, 2012.

The California Writers Exchange is funded by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation.

Past winners of the California Writers Exchange are:

Craig Santos Perez (poetry)
Sean Bernard (fiction)

Elaine Beale (fiction)
Larry Colker (poetry)

Dylan Landis (fiction)
Allison Benis White (poetry)


Worrying about the New Red Dawn: Why Do We Dislike Factory Workers So Much?

Filed under: government,middle class — Queequeg's Mark @ 1:34 pm

I went to the movies Tuesday and saw the trailer for the new Red Dawn movie.  I was really excited for it because I am definitely a Wolverine at heart, but something didn’t sit right about China being the enemy.  The original was about a band of teens fighting an invasion of Cuba/Soviet Communist forces.  This movie came out during the cold war, so the paranoia against Communism was still running strong.  And why shouldn’t it have?  We had gone to war with Communism in Korea and Vietnam and didn’t do as well as we thought while the Red countries were spreading out as were our images of their breadlines and harsh living conditions.  All of this attacks the heart of the American dream of equality and wealth.  It makes sense.

This new move, however, is kind of bullshit and is a symptom of our distaste or outright hate for those people that actually build shit, which is the backbone of any and all economies, don’t fool yourselves otherwise.  In the new movie, the enemy is China or some other Asian country with a penchant for red flags.  The same mostly white, midwestern teens are still fighting  the invasion with the same urge toward patriotism from the audience–I’ll admit I was with them, but there is a huge difference between Cuba/Soviet Union and China being our enemies: China builds our shit.  We are trade partners.  The offer us goods that we don’t want to pay for but want to own.  How are they our enemies?  The problem here is the devaluation of physical labor–China is the master of this, but we also import labor from south of the border–to the point that we stop caring where the shit comes from and the people who make it.  I bought my ipad knowing full well of the working conditions in China.  I’ll be more inclined to buy an Apple TV or Google’s competing system because Apple’s China-made system will be 3 times less than Google’s American made product.

Why do we dislike factory workers so much?  Why are we not only okay with those jobs going away but also okay with the organizations formed to fight for their rights (unions) to dissolve?  Why are we okay with seeing the country that supplies us with so many of our goods as the enemy and not the people who put them in a position to take our jobs away, the people who helped dissolve the unions and are working to dissolve regulations that are intended (not entirely successfully for those zero sum readers out there) to protect them or at least make their lives livable when their bodies can no longer perform the labor that we already don’t like?

I’m going through one of those spells where I am weary for the world’s lack of empathy, foresight, and common sense.  Libertarianism is an awesome form of thought if the populace understands how the system works, but we don’t, so that’s out.  Progressivism tries to protect the populace but it is run by people who are people and who end up just collecting power.  The questions that I ask aren’t accusatory to either side or to the wealthy; they are questions that every individual in America should ask themselves when they see our economy not working.



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