Monday, August 29, 2016

REEL BAD ARABS: How Hollywood Vilifies a People

Hollywood needs it baddies and when the Soviet union fell it ran out of enemies so they turned more towards Muslims. When I was young I would watch cowboy and Indian films but the real villains, those worse than the Indians, were the Mexican bandits. The cowboys were the good guys and always fought with pistols and many were good marksmen, but the Mexican bandits always had machine guns and a belt of bullets over their shoulder. They were portrayed as double crossing cheats and good for nothing cowards who would just shoot up anyone with their automatic weapons. It's weird how the Mexican bandits had the technology and the cowboys didn't.

This film shows how Muslims have been misrepresented by Hollywood throughout time, where it has imprinted in many people's minds that Muslims might not be not as nice or as smart as us.

 Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People is a documentary film directed by Sut Jhally and produced by Media Education Foundation in 2006. This film is an extension of the book of that name by Jack Shaheen which also analyzes how Hollywood corrupts or manipulates the image of Arabs. This documentary argues that the slander of Arabs in American filmmaking has existed since the early days of the silent cinema and is present in the biggest Hollywood blockbusters today. Jack Shaheen analyzes a long series of demeaning images of Arabs through his presentation of various scenes from different American movies which he has studied. This image that is characterized by showing Arabs either as bandits or as a savage, nomadic race, or shows Arab women as shallow belly dancers serving evil, naïve, and greedy Arab sheiks. Most important is the image of the rifle in the hands of Arab "terrorists". The film then explains the motivations behind these stereotypes about Arabs, and their development at key points in American history, as well as why it is so important today.

No comments: