« on: May 11, 2008, 04:11:29 PM »
Hi lola! I've watched that movie and it seems the directors have left unclear on purpose the issue whether the man/woman was erotomanic.
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'He loves me, he loves me not...'
The magical negro is typically in some way outwardly or inwardly disabled, either by discrimination, disability or social constraint, often a janitor or prisoner. He has no past; he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist. He is the black stereotype, prone to criminality and laziness. To counterbalance this, he has some sort of magical power, rather vaguely defined but not the sort of thing one typically encounters. The magical negro serves as a plot device to help the protagonist get out of trouble, typically through helping the white character recognize his own faults and overcome them. In this way, the magical negro is similar to the deus ex machina; a simple way for the protagonist to overcome an obstacle almost entirely through outside help. Although he has magical powers, his magic is ostensibly directed toward helping and enlightening a white male character. It is this feature of the magical negro that some people find most troubling. Although the character seems to be showing African-Americans in a positive light, he is still ultimately subordinate to whites. He is also regarded as an exception, allowing white America to like individual black people but not black culture.
Obama is there to assuage white "guilt" (i.e., the minimal discomfort they feel) over the role of slavery and racial segregation in American history, while replacing stereotypes of a dangerous, highly sexualized black man with a benign figure for whom interracial sexual congress holds no interest.
Like a comic-book superhero, Obama is there to help, out of the sheer goodness of a heart we need not know or understand. For as with all Magic Negroes, the less real he seems, the more desirable he becomes. If he were real, white America couldn't project all its fantasies of curative black benevolence on him.
The social event which interested me about Simpson trial was not so much the connection between wealth and acquittal. Though it is a disappointment, I was not so suprised about that. The thing which interested me, was how public support for Simpson or for the prosecution followed roughly racial lines.
This suggests to me a variety of associations. One is that many black Americans are for some reason racial thinkers -- the support was almost undeniably black, while the opposition had people of many colors. The reason could be general lack of education, or general cultural separatism (or, among a number of other options, just plain unmotivated math, though that is unlikely). Both are well documented. Folks who ain't too bright think he didn't do it just cuz he's black. What assumption has the author used in the syllogism above?
Another association which I find deplorable is the issue of spousal abuse. The Simpson trial should rightly have been couched as a question of domestic violence and the irresponsibility of male partners in marriages, and sadly the African American community generally is remarkably weak in that regard already. That the members of that community then derailed a discussion which could have been valid and helpful to them -- that of male irresponsibility and violence against spouses -- to retrack it on a line that neither bore much relation to the evidence, nor served their community's best interests because it ignored the real issue ... well, that was a disappointment to me. It was a chance for America's blacks to think clearly, recognize a rot at the core of things, and perhaps address it. They dropped the ball. As one of Nicole Brown Simpson's sisters said at some press conference or other (I paraphrase, "If he says he's going to kill you, he probably is, and you need to seek protection.") The more germane spousal-abuse issue was largely left uninvestigated amid the cries for or against the "race card."
A third association is simply, the one of publicity. I watched the verdict live on TV. How many Americans can say, "I was there" about (for example) Congressional hearings about the deteriorating wetlands in Louisiana, the Carolinas, and Florida? Or Greenspan's last pronouncements about interest rates? We as a society take an interest in that which has a sound byte, a sudden and decisive impact at a moment of decision. We don't like long slow committee processes and an eventually carefully drafted report. Rather, we want drama, a sudden moment of decisive pressure, an all-or-nothing break. Courtrooms are good drama: the choices are near to absolute and the stakes are high. It's probably just human nature, but it's dissappointing that people who probably can't identify the Vice President or the Attorney General (when we HAVE one ...) watched in rapt attention to one defendant's verdict in a jurisdiction thousands of miles away from their own homes.
But I'm generalizing about social groups, here, and about the roles of popular impression and interpretation of the trial thanks to the media. That's not really on topic for this thread. I'm departing from the strictly rational questions of legality. And anyway I'm only a pre-LSAT prepper. I don't belong here at all.