Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dear White People (movie review)

I'd deliberately avoided reading any reviews so wasn't sure what to expect.  I drove to within a half mile of Cinema 21 and loped a lot of the way, not wanting to miss even previews.  I got there on time.

The film is set in a somewhat timeless world called "college", not the real world at all.  Obama and current events get cursory mention, but Sam (a girl) is using a 1950s style Bell & Howell looking movie camera that helps catapult us back to some other time.  The college president is straight out of MAD.

The most disturbed individual is the shy-teased guy with the Afro, way out of style.  He's the first to break glass and turn the scene violent.  He destroys property, expensive stuff.  Then he sexually assaults another guy.

Everyone else is relatively mature and touchy issues of racism and classism are dealt with without violence.  College is a cerebral place and these kids are a brainy bunch, especially Choco or whatever she goes by, the ghetto girl from Chicago.

The anti-racists get to be segregationists as Black Pride is just another form of professional elitism and deserves its own circle in the Venn Diagram of "things to be".  The college administration had been trying to randomize "blackness" out of existence but disrupting memes-with-inertia is even harder than disrupting genes, as to accomplish the latter you just need condoms, as these students appear to comprehend.

My university had houses for social clubs like this one and we were expected to intelligently work through differences.  A Third World Center and a Womens Center helped add balance, plus the particular house I lived in junior and senior years, 2 Dickinson Street, was about balancing some of the more conservative houses.  Ours was in favor of boycott, disinvestment and sanctions (BDS) against apartheid in South Africa for example.  My roommate for a time was editor of the Daily Princetonian.

The college portrayed in this movie seems a lot less in touch with the real world than Princeton, and more stuck in a time warp, but that's fiction for ya.