On the first day of class we brought up some interesting points about mis-representations of Indian culture. I visited my Mum yesterday to beg for cold medicine as I had been ill when she suggested that we watch a movie. After all, I wouldn’t have any issue with some cinema-time with Mum until she informed me that the viewing would of “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” I used to love this movie and I saw nothing wrong with its representations of India because I failed to realized the blatant judgment Spielberg was making on Indian culture with his so-called “masterpiece.” I tried to explain to Mum exactly why we shouldn’t watch the movie as I’d realized in class how racist it can be; however, this lead to an argument about the beauty and mysticism of India which my mum assured me were “cool” and “exotic”. When I attempted to correct her argument ensued and I was left red in the face and flabbergasted as mum failed to see anything amiss with the representation of India and its peoples.
After the conversation with my Mum I naturally called most of my friends to see how they felt about this film I used to love but now feel is somehow tarnished. Anyone care to wager how those phone conversations went? Yeah, not well. Everyone seemed to be so wrapped up in the exotic clothing and feasting on monkey skulls that they labeled the movie as “awesome.” they would say things like “I mean, I get what you’re saying but I’m not Indian.” To be honest, this stuck in my craw more than I’d like to admit. I began to wonder about the relevance of misrepresentation in film as well as literature. should we only be offended if “our culture” or “people” are being marginalized? Is this the way most people think, or do I just have an unsavory group of friends?
I’d be interested to see if anyone else in the class experience a similar reaction, or if anyone discussed this with family and friends at all.
Here’s a gold-star for everyone who made it through this blog entry 🙂