Saturday, August 22, 2009

District 9--Don't Believe the Hype

Touted as a great work of science fiction and an allegory of apartheid, District 9 has been the number one movie at the box office for the past week. The only tie it has to apartheid is its setting in a South African shanty town. Otherwise, it does nothing to deal with the evils of apartheid and only serves to perpetuate racist stereotypes. Our "hero" is a nebbishy white man who has procured his position as the overseer of alien interlopers through age-old nepotism. He only sees fit to come to the aid of aliens when he starts to become one, but not before spending much of the movie acting selfishly and cowardly. In the meantime, Nigerians are portrayed as opportunistic, flesh-eating prostitutes, witch doctors, and gang-bangers. And so they get their heads blown off. Other African characters are lowly side kicks who cowtow and say "Yes, Boss." They die or end up in jail. And yes, there are good and bad white people in this story. But they learn nothing. Is it still 2009? I want my $10 back.

[I'd like to thank my mother for her contribution to this post.]

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