Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Black Panther’

Is it just me, or is there a weird thing in American storytelling where outrageously sexual and violent conduct is depicted as being “traditional” for some outsider culture?

I’ve mentioned the movie Aquaman, where two different women are subject to forced marriages, while the leading man is compelled to fight a death duel. A similar ritual of combat is a central theme in Black Panther. In both movies, we are told that this behavior is a sacred tradition, that to refuse would be a huge dishonor.

The underlying impression I get is that the modern screenwriters are setting themselves up (and by extension, the Americans in the audience) as superior to the cultures in the movie. “Look at those barbarians, how they need the American hero to civilize them.”

This really struck me in Black Panther, where all the natives are black. It isn’t quite so glaring in Aquaman, where most of the Atlanteans appear to be white people. (Except for the ones who look like mutated sea creatures, of course.) I had the impression that the creative team on Black Panther were all or mostly black themselves. This led me to wonder why they couldn’t come up with a more interesting “tradition” than hand-to-hand combat. Like, I don’t know, maybe something that actually is traditional in one or more African cultures?

Maybe it’s just me seeing this in the work. But I don’t think so.


Did you know I have an author newsletter? You can get it! I’ll even give you a free e-book for signing up. Just click here.

Read Full Post »

In the past, I’ve written about negative tropes around women in literature and media. In fairness, I want to mention one that my husband pointed out to me. This is when men are forced into single combat as a method of deciding leadership.

Daron first told me this while we were watching the movie, Black Panther. Our Hero, T’challa, inherits the throne of his homeland, Wakanda. But as part of the coronation, he has to fight challenges in single combat against any citizen who aspires to the throne. Later in the story, he is suddenly challenged by a cousin, Killmonger. (Honestly, who thinks of these names?) After apparently killing T’challa, Killmonger is allowed to assume the throne. “It’s our tradition,” T’challa’s friends and family say.

Bear in mind, Wakanda is supposed to be the most advanced civilization on Earth. They have all kinds of gee-whiz technology and spies in place all over the globe. Daron found it ridiculous that such an “advanced” society would choose its leaders through a ritual of combat.

Last night, we were watching another comic book, movie, Aquaman. Once again, Our Hero was told that he had to fight a duel to the death in order to seize the throne of Atlantis and stop his brother from making war against the Surface World.

Again, Atlantis is supposed to be the most advanced civilization on the planet. Yet they have this “tradition” of choosing leaders through battle and the outcome is binding. What gives?

Sure, fist fights are exciting and comic book movies are full of dazzling effects that amp up the drama. But, still. We modern people like to think that we’re pretty advanced, too. Most nations in the world today choose our leaders through the ballot box. Why do we have this myth that leadership isn’t real until somebody is bleeding?


Did you know I have an author newsletter? You can get it! I’ll even give you a free e-book for signing up. Just click here.

Read Full Post »