Hollywood and Disney's Rape of Culture

By Xah Lee. Date:

Watched Clash of the Titans Buy at amazon recently.

clash of the titans poster

I enjoyed the monsters. In particular, i really enjoyed the Medusa scene. But overall, it's a very lousy film. Idiotic actors with clownish costumes, bland acting with very stupid script, a American paintjob of Greek tale.

Whenever the hero Perseus appears i just see a US Marine (played by Sam Worthington, of Avatar). When Zeus is on the screen, i can't help but see the jedi Qui-Gon of Star Wars (played by Liam Neeson) behaving as a comical jedi Zeus. Another major supporting actor, one that helped in the Medusa kill, is the villain Le Chiffre of James Bond's Casino Royale (Mads Mikkelsen as Draco).

Seems most of the major actors have blue eyes, and speak in various english accents (Scottish, Australian). LOL.

Also, out of the blue they brought the Arabic myth Jinn (aka Genie) into the mix. LOL. I'm not sure to what degree Greek mythology has some Arabian myth elements. I think due to proximity of the regions, there might be some. But certainly not the way Hollywood randomly pick “exotic” foreign elements to fit American taste.

From Mythological Creatures In Second Life

Rape of Culture

You know how Hollywood movies rape cultures? This is sometimes addressed in academic papers in anthropology. I think it is also a popular essay topic assigned to college students. Examples of such includes:

How is it rape? For example, in Greek culture, there are multiple gods. The gods are all power hungry, and vain, and openly war with each other, also rape women. (all too human!) There are common interpretations that the relationship between the Trojan hero Achilles and Patroclus is a homosexual or pederastic one, which is not a uncommon practice in ancient Greece. [see Achilles and Patroclus] Greeks also practice slavery (i'd say in a very respectable form, better than today's “human rights” society.). [see Why Do I Not Support the “Human Right” Concept?] However, many of these practices or beliefs are offensive to the ignorant modern American. How can a hero be bisexual and quarrel over the ownership of a slave girl from a war trophy? How can you depict him as a hero in a movie? That certainly would NOT be a American hero. How can they have multiple gods? and each one openly warring with each other, for power, for vanity, for jealousy. In most American's eyes under the Christian God, these are sins that warrant punishment by death. [see Christianity, Islam as Violent Cults]

I remember, the Troy DVD has a interactive special feature that introduces Greek gods. Some 6 or so gods standing around a podium, and you can click them, then the DVD will zoom in and basically voice over some brief intro about that god (something like that). I remember going thru them and i was very offended. Apparently, they try to have a fun feature that are semi-educational but actually it creates a complete Americanize fairy tale that is nothing close to these Greek gods. It's been some 5 years i don't remember the details and am not sure i still have the DVD (might be buried somewhere), so i couldn't describe any concrete example now. I just remember i was very offended that it is sort of a cultural wash.

Also, Disney's Aladdin, and Sinbad. In Sinbad, you have the American hero, American heroine, and a dog. You have the Good Guys, you have the Bad Guys (E-V-I-L!). (it's so silly they brought in the Greek goddess Eris into the mix, as the “Bad Guy”.)

I learned the true nature of Arabian Nights around ~2005. Take 5 minutes to read this one: The Arabian Nights: 70. ABU AL-ASWAD AND HIS SLAVE-GIRL. Or, read my intro: The Arabian Nights, Introduction by Xah Lee.

Now look at Disney's Pocahontas. Basically, in that period of history, American eliminated the native Americans. If i recall from a course i took in ~1992 on American History, some indigenous race are biologically extinct. (yes, extinct, as in, extinct animals.)

How can we, who have killed or caused death the Native Americans successfully and more in numbers than the Germans did Jews, with cutting off women's pussies and wear them as souveniring hats, have the audacity to run a movie Pocahontas shewing how “well we had our differences but finally became friends”?? Maybe if the Germans succeeded in eliminating Jews, then their propaganda machinery will show some family value fables about how Germans and Jews had some misunderstandings but finally resolved their differences and became friends.

What Disney do is -- perhaps innocently as side effects of capitalism -- to take a foreign culture's mythology, twist and turn it into a fairy tale of American mores and ethos. All foreign cultural elements of the myths are wiped clean. Instead, you have American heros (with a American heroine and a dog), American Justice Obsession, American humor, American freedom and equality sensibilities, and American family value happy ending.

For some info on some reality of these Disney twists, see:

My gripe isn't about the faithfulness of these movies. After all, they are adaptations as entertainment products for profit. Rather, my gripe is on the ignorance and condonance of Americans on this matter. They (we) are a uni-culture group, utterly ignorant of other cultures. Helped and brought up by these films. While, daily, we obsess about (our) concept of human rights, justice, rape, equality. May God help us.

PS it must be said that US American being uni-culture has a lot to do with geographic fact. It's just one giant land, with only neighbors of Canada and Mexico. (and we note that USA Americans do know to some extend Mexican or rather Spanish culture.) Unlike Europe, where people easily see other cultures because they are nearby neighbors. Similarly, China is pretty much uni-cultural, except it is ancient. Thus, in China, or the entire eastern asia, people there can often relate to each other. In USA, due to historical facts, it's a modern country, and doesn't have much history or roots to speak of.