Saturday, February 1, 2014

Alone Yet Not Alone... Can Just Go Die Alone

Everyone look at the scary bad Indian trying to hurt the poor innocent white children *gag*

When I saw that Alone Yet Not Alone’s Oscar nomination had been revoked, I have to admit I cheered.

And I’m not sorry about it. 

A couple weeks ago, I was sitting in a waiting room, minding my own business, and I start looking up news on my phone because I’m bored. The Oscar nominations had just been announced and I read them like I always do because film interests me. I scrolled down the page, reading, and then I got to Best Original Song.

And then it got really weird.

Alone Yet Not Alone. Where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah, that’s the book that Vision Forum sells. I read it as a kid and liked it, but in hindsight, I realized that it’s racist, inaccurate, and full of dominionist propaganda. I vaguely remember that they were making the book into a movie and Vision Forum was involved in the production.

There’s no way. It can’t be the same film. There must be another Alone Yet Not Alone.

A quick Google search shattered that hope. 

So, let me get this straight. A song from a random film based on a book published by now-defunct Vision Forum is nominated for an Oscar?

What. The. Heck.

This was awful. In so many ways. Let me list them for you:
  1.   This film is racist and historically inaccurate and since it got an Oscar nod, more people will see it. Hopefully, they’ll get up and walk out of the theatre when they realize what it’s truly portraying.
  2.  The film was made by dominionists and some of the actors are include Doug, Joshua and Virginia Phillips, Lourdes Torres, and others related to Vision Forum. Not good.  
  3.  Because this is labeled as a “Christian film” it can make all Christians look like racist dominionists. Great. Just great.
  4. The production value of this film is terrible. Watching the trailer makes me want to hurl. Someone really messed up the costumes and make-up. And the actresses are completely overacting... We really don't need the crazy eyes. 
  5. The song itself is not that good. I like Joni Erickson Tada and she does a fine job but the song is not Oscar worthy. I’m listening to Coldplay’s “Atlas” and Lana Del Ray’s “Young and Beautiful” as I write and I cannot believe that “Alone Yet Not Alone” beat them out.
Behold the crazy eyes
If we'd really dressed like this in Pennsylvania we would have frozen to death

Now the nomination has been pulled and I believe the Academy did the right thing. Maybe the Academy members actually watched the trailer or even screened the film and realized that they could not condone the film’s overt racism. This is 2014. Let’s hope that this is what happened. Frankly, I don’t think the campaigning for the nomination was particularly wrong… I think that is just a red herring that provides an excuse for the film’s disqualification. The Academy probably doesn’t want to admit that they did not consider all points and notice the racism of the film. Hence, they had to come up with an excuse. You really can’t put this film up for honors alongside 12 Years a Slave. The idea is completely abhorrent.



For the record, American Indians did NOT and do NOT look like Orcs from Lord of the Rings. And maybe, just maybe the settlers did something to provoke attacks. If someone came, built a house in my backyard, and declared that they owned my land, I’d probably be pretty upset too. Also, many people captured by Indians chose to stay with them and actually, a lot of white settlers chose to live with Indians. You just don’t hear about them. (See the book: Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen and others similar to it.)

This image is purely a figment of the production's imagination
Let me make one thing clear: Alone Yet Not Alone is NOT a Christian film. Racism is not Christian. Maybe those who made it are Christians, I can’t see their hearts, but the result is not okay or right in any form.

For all of you fellow Christians out there… don’t jump on the bandwagon. See this film for what it is: racist, revisionist, dominionist propaganda. Don’t rally behind this film and its Oscar nomination and subsequent disqualification. Don’t wax poetic about how it’s an underdog. Be glad that Hollywood can see and reject racism. Don’t feel sad and claim it is an example of Hollywood’s discrimination or whatever. You’re better than that.  So just don’t do it. Go see 12 Years a Slave and learn to be more culturally sensitive.

Excuse me while I go rejoice and listen to Lana Del Ray's Young and Beautiful again.


Ingrid

3 comments:

Arlan said...

You convinced me not to see it! But I wasn't likely to do so in the first place. I am cautious about Christian books and twice as averse to Christian movies.

I think when people label something "Christian," they suggest that other things are not "Christian." But all truth is God's, and God has given all things to Christ - all truth is Christian.

To enjoy some things, to celebrate them, is not Christ-honoring and in that sense is not Christian. But mentioning or acknowledging those things is not inherently un-Christian. There are things described in the Old Testament that could never be in a "Christian" novel.

I think your critiques are mostly meritous, but I am curious if there are books you would recommend. For example, for my part:

1) "Til We Have Faces," C. S. Lewis. I like this retelling of Christ and the Church / God and his people, although I think Lewis spoiled his art a bit with the lengthy exposition tacked onto the end.

2) "A Map of Nowhere," Gillian Cross. I haven't noticed anything in Cross's books which seems definitely Christian. But in this story I think she did a particularly good job of showing the conscience, that awareness that we are not living as we ought. She very creditably shows this in both the "good" people and the bad ones.

3) http://www.delilahdirk.com/
This doesn't have anything to do with Christian stories in any sense at all. I just read it recently and thought you would enjoy it.

Unknown said...

I don't know exactly how I stumbled across your blog--I think it was link from a link from a link. :) Just wanted to commend you for your extraordinarily well-reasoned blog. I'm a 41-year-old wife and mother who loves Jesus and often, as I sometimes stumble across patriarchal blogs written toward young women, I shudder at much of what I read. I praise God that I find myself in a marriage and a group of believers where I am valued for things other than fertility, and my mind and gifts are encouraged to be broadened and put to use in furthering the Kingdom. I am grieved to think of the women who, in pursuit of the cause of Christ, find themselves trapped (whether they know it or not) in this strange world of patriarchy.

All of that to say this: THANK YOU for speaking out, as a young woman, with such discernment and courage. You're doing a wonderful job, and your words here are important ones.

Brooke said...

I don't know exactly how I stumbled across your blog--I think it was link from a link from a link. :) Just wanted to commend you for your extraordinarily well-reasoned blog. I'm a 41-year-old wife and mother who loves Jesus and often, as I sometimes stumble across patriarchal blogs written toward young women, I shudder at much of what I read. I praise God that I find myself in a marriage and a group of believers where I am valued for things other than fertility, and my mind and gifts are encouraged to be broadened and put to use in furthering the Kingdom. I am grieved to think of the women who, in pursuit of the cause of Christ, find themselves trapped (whether they know it or not) in this strange world of patriarchy.

All of that to say this: THANK YOU for speaking out, as a young woman, with such discernment and courage. You're doing a wonderful job, and your words here are important ones.