In ‘Apocalypto,’ the arrival of the Spanish signals ‘a new beginning.’ Remarkably, the event is portrayed as tranquil, as if the Spaniards are the adults who have finally come to rescue the ‘littleuns’ stranded on the island of William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies.’ In reality, the arrival was anything but serene.
Within decades of the first contact with the Spaniards, the Maya would die in the hundreds of thousands as European diseases, colonial exploitation and cruelty took root. In 1552, in the name of Christian piety, Fray Diego de Landa ordered that hundreds of Maya codices, carrying sacred knowledge accumulated over centuries, be burned as works of the devil.
If there were ever an apocalypse in the history of the Maya — and herein lies the ultimate demoralizing irony of the movie — it would be because of European contact. But in the movie, after two hours of excess, hyperbole and hysteria, the Spaniards represent the arrival of sanity to the Maya world. The tacit paternalism is devastating.
After many centuries of misguided and simplistic views of the Maya, recent scholarship has shown the complexity and historical depth of their civilization. In Maya society, as in all civilizations, violence, surfeit and disparity were balanced by accomplishment, restraint and illumination. Gibson’s feverish vision of a childish Maya society sacrificing itself to extinction is more than inaccurate, it works against the progress of decades of diligent scholarship to restore to present-day Maya people a heritage of which they are proud, and from which we have much to learn. I can only hope that audiences seeing this movie will be motivated to learn about the Maya — present and past — rather than be sated by Gibson’s sacrificial offering at the altar of entertainment.” —From Maya in the Thunderdome, a review of Mel Gibson’s filmic farce, Apocalypto (via nezua)
18 years ago today, one of the greatest rappers that ever lived was stripped from the hip hop community. There isn’t much I can say that I haven’t already said before. More than a rapper, more than a actor, more than a poet. Tupac is a legend; & his legacy lives on.
& we still mourn…
My Least Favorite Trope (and this post will include spoilers for The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Matrix, Western Civilization, and—cod help me—Bulletproof Monk*.) is the thing where there’s an awesome, smart, wonderful, powerful female character who by all rights ought to be the Chosen One and the hero of the movie, who is tasked with taking care of some generally ineffectual male character who is, for reasons of wish fulfillment, actually the person the film focuses on. She mentors him, she teaches him, and she inevitably becomes his girlfriend… and he gets the job she wanted: he gets to be the Chosen One even though she’s obviously far more qualified. And all he has to do to get it and deserve it is Man Up and Take Responsibility.
And that’s it. Every god-damned time. The mere fact of naming the films above and naming the trope gives away the entire plot and character arc of every single movie.” —Elizabeth Bear - My Least Favorite Trope (via feministquotes)