So... anybody seen “Django Unchained” yet?
Well, I hope so, because...
If you haven't seen the movie yet, I highly recommend it! Simply put, it's one of the greatest movies I've ever seen (as well as Quentin Tarantino's best work), and had the same impact on my perception of the world as “Schindler's List” did, all those years ago.
For those of you who haven't yet seen the movie and who want the basic synopsis, read on; but understand that I will be discussing parts of the movie that might tell you more than you want to know. If, however, you HAVE seen the movie, please either bear with me, or jump ahead to where I start to make my point.
“DjangoUnchained” is the story of a slave who comes into the employ of a German-American bounty hunter, in order to identify certain specific bounties he wants to collect. The two enter into a pact. Django (the slave, played by Jaime Foxx) agrees to help the bounty hunter find the men he's after, and the bounty hunter agrees to help Django track down his estranged wife (who had been sold to another plantation), once the winter months have passed.
This movie is an exquisite example of Quentin Tarantino's ability to simultaneously tell an amazing story and shock viewers with harsh reality and extreme violence. The script and it's portrayal are equally engaging, which makes the three hours you're sitting in the movie theater pass as quickly as a commercial break.
The Academy Award given to Christoph Waltz, while appropriate, fails to demonstrate the captivating nature of both the character and the performance of the character. I hold this character and corresponding actor in the highest regard. I believe that his is one of the greatest performances in cinematic history.
… but I'm not here to talk about the movie, itself...
I'm here to talk about the movie as a reflection of society and history... I just wouldn't be “me” if I didn't put it into a greater context, now, would I?
Perhaps I should include a little personal context, as well...
This movie held a very personal meaning to me, because I know slavery from first-hand experience.
I was held as a slave by my ex-wife for over four years (of the six and a half that we were together). Until I saw the treatment of the slaves in the movie, I failed to fully see the reality of my own previous situation. While sitting in that movie theater, I found myself confronted by ghosts of my own past; which may have had an impact on my own personal feelings about the movie.
Aside from my own history, I also saw frightening correlations to modern American society, as well... things that angered me... things that disgusted me... echoes of the past that are re-visited in the modern future.
Let me put it this way... rich, white assholes haven't changed much. They still seek to own slaves; and the fact of the matter is, they've been widely successful in doing so; with a few caveats. Let's be honest, here... the only thing that's changed is the fact that slavery isn't confined to one race anymore. If you've been working for one of the corporate giants that rule America, then you are either one of the slaves, or you're one of the slave masters (if you're one of the executives in charge of these criminal enterprises).
I don't think a lot of the people in the workforce realize that fact. I don't think a lot of people realize that they, themselves, are slaves to the billionaires and executives who have the ability to simply buy our government in order to change the laws to fit their own narcissistic whims.
Where's the proof?
Well, let's start with the lack of balance with regards to wealth distribution. The rich keep getting richer, while the rest of us are drowning. The executives get raise after raise, and massive bonuses, and other benefits that they don't seem to think they can afford the rest of us. Their wages have gone up while ours have gone down... that says to me that we're doing all the work while they're reaping all the rewards of our work...
… sure as fuck SOUNDS like slavery to me...
We're threatened with termination if we get sick...
We're threatened with homelessness if we lose our jobs...
We're threatened with disease and death because our meager wages can't afford visits to the doctor...
We're threatened with termination if we speak up about what we perceive to be problems in the workplace...
… so, if our very existence is threatened by the way these douchebags run their companies, and we have no choice but to bow to their narcissistic whims, and our lives are in constant jeopardy due to their lack of accountability regarding working conditions, and we have no voice as to the way things are, then doesn't that make us all slaves?
Yep, it does.
Sure, it doesn't FEEL like it; because we DO have the freedom to live where and how (to a point) we want, and we do receive SOME pay (however insufficient). But the wages we receive aren't really very different than the cost of upkeep for the slaves owned by the honkey plantation owners before the Civil War (as adjusted for inflation). They still reap all the benefits of our labor, and we get little more than we need to afford basic housing and food... but no more than that.
Maybe our employers CAN'T whip us or beat us; but they would, if they could... gotta keep us peons in line, you know. Believe me, I've had more than a few jobs where I knew the bosses wanted to hold us hostage to their greed (American Web Printing, I'm looking at you)!
So, when a company decides that they DO want to be able to beat their workers into submission, then they just move their operation overseas somewhere that WILL allow them to do so; as seen by Apple (and other technology companies like Hewlett Packard), with regards to their manufacturing operation at Foxconn factory in China.
The workers(slaves) weren't allowed to go home to see their families... they hadto live at the factory. They were forced to work 18-30 hours a day. They were denied food, reasonable living arrangements, and humanetreatment as workers. It got so bad that the workers were threatening a protest by mass suicide, which Foxconn addressed byputting up “suicide nets” around the buildings, instead ofimproving working conditions. Yeah, they REALLY care about their “employees,” don't they...
… all of this, just so you can have your shiny, new iPhone... don't you just LOVE the injustice you've bought just so you can stay current in technology?
Now, they couldn't get away with treating their laborers that way, here in America; so they had to go somewhere that WOULD allow them to do it. Doesn't that say something about how THEY THINK we should be treated? Doesn't that just show the malice that they feel towards all of us, whom they deem to be “beneath them?”
Want another example? How about the garment factory in Bangladesh, who made clothing for Wal Mart, Sears, Disney, and other American retailers?
Apparently, Wal Mart doesn't think that their employees deserve such basic things as EMERGENCY EXITS in case of a fire... I guess emergency exits are simply not “cost-effective” expenditures. The factory's ownerdidn't even know that there weren't any fire exits, until they were faced with the fire and all the people dying around them as they were trampled and burned alive. What a compassionate asshole... he must REALLY care about his employees, huh?
Either way, American corporations prove, time and time again, that they really don't think their employees are worth a shit. They don't seem to think that we're human beings, deserving of reasonable lives. They don't seem to think that we're worthy of being viewed as actual “people”... which demonstrates the fact that they view us as SLAVES! If they saw us as PEOPLE, then this shit wouldn't happen!
Getting back to my point about “Django Unchained,” there was a pivotal scene near the end, where Leonardo DiCaprio's character (Calvin Candie); who ran the biggest plantation in Mississippi, called “Candieland;” posed the question as to why the slaves didn't rise up and overthrow the white people. He pointed out the fact that white people were vastly outnumbered, and nobody could possibly LIKE living in slavery, so why didn't they rise up?
His physiological explanation was racist beyond ridiculosity; but the question, itself, was valid. Sure, there were a few slave uprisings; but nothing successful until the Civil War. In truth, things didn't improve for the slaves unless they jumped on Harriet Tubman's“underground railroad.”
It seems to me that there was both a lack of ability to organize (primarily because the slave owners went to great lengths to keep them from communicating with other plantation slaves), and a deep-seated terror as to the consequences if a rebellion was unsuccessful (which was entirely warranted, as only white people could own guns; the Second Amendment was put in place, in part, to allow for enforcement of such laws by militias of racist crackers with guns).
Putting this back in a modern context, I beg the question...
Why DON'T we overthrow the slave lord billionaires, bankers, and executives?
Are we blind to our own plight? Yes... most of us are.
Are we afraid of the consequences? Some of us are.
Are we lacking the organization? ABSOLUTELY!!!
In Part 2, the answers; the pressure WE can apply; the knowledge we need to share and spread to make the bastards FEAR US; like they SHOULD!
Just like slave times, there are a SHITLOAD more of US than there are of THEM... the only things they have more of is money and ego; neither of which can out-scream hundreds of millions of pissed-off, disgusted, bloodthirsty slaves seeking freedom from their untouchable masters!
I'll tell you how we can not only unseat them from their positions of power; but take every stolen penny back from those bastards and throw them behind bars where those soulless shitwaffles belong!
… but it all starts with the understanding that we are nothing more than ants in the billionaires' ant farms! The sooner we understand that, the sooner we can take the bastards down!