It seems that onscreen carnage is only acceptable when perpetrated by time-honored bad guys, played by blacks, Hispanics, Asians and English actors.
After seeing Machete on opening night, I did remark to a friend, "This Rodriguez fellow -- he seems to have a bit of a bias toward the Mexican perspective."
The true villains of Machete are racism, corruption, greed and ignorance. Since the story involved Mexicans illegally immigrating to America -- creating the paradox that's been conspicuously missing from the "immigration debate": that illegal immigrants are vilified publicly while at the same time vital to the American economy -- the natural enemies onscreen enemies are going to be of the Fox News variety, who do tend to fit into a pretty narrow demographic: Caucasian.
Robert DeNiro plays a particularly reprehensible character, Senator McLaughlin, who runs TV ads showing maggots and cockroaches, while a voice over speaks of illegal immigrants as parasites. He's a lot less extreme than many of the Teabag candidates rising to prominence. And at least he's marginally articulate: Yeah, I'm looking at you Jan . . . uh . . . umm . . . sigh . . . ahhh . . . cough . . . Brewer.
The terrible thing about those faux political ads in the film is that they could easily play on TV in Arizona, Texas and New Mexico without raising much outrage among 'Mericans, as George W. Bush once so eloquently called them.
So, the true villains of the film are racism, corruption, greed and ignorance, the characters in Machete that possess this ignoble traits do tend to be Caucasian actors.
So it goes.
How many decades and in how many thousands of films have blacks and Hispanics portrayed one-dimensional hoodlums, thugs and murderers?
As for white outrage over the behavior of the pale-faced characters in Machete, it was not President Johnson's all black Cabinet and Joint Chiefs of Staff that gave the world the Vietnam War. Robert McNamara wasn't a native American.
The Iran/Contra scandal wasn't perpetrated by a batch of displaced Mexican strawberry and lettuce pickers who secretly infiltrated Washington during the Reagan years. Oliver North wasn't from Guatemala. He and the rest of the American government sanctioned drug smugglers needed Coppertone 35 if they planned on spending prolonged periods of time in the sun.
The Central Intelligence Agency, the leading arm of jingoistic violence the world over has never been run by Chinese immigrants or blacks or Hispanics. Sure, Leon Panetta now heads the agency and I would be surprised if he even knows where the bathroom is located by this point in his intelligence career. The CIA chiefs who overthrew democratically elected governments, had heads of state assassinated (including their own in 1963) and smuggled drugs into the U.S. were white. Tough shit, it's the truth.
BushCo of the 2000s had the tiniest hint of diversity amid its egregious corruption, but still, the lion's share of evil emanated from all the old white men in that gargoyle pit.
So, the cries of racism -- or my favorite: "reverse racism" -- are illegitimate and rise from the mouths of those, whom, in my neighborhood would have been categorized as "you can dish it out, but you can't take it."
Suck it up, white people.
Machete is a kickass action movie and if you're more preoccupied with the racial carnage score than you are with where that naked chick in the first scene stores her cell phone, then you are the racist.
UpdateThe link at the top of this post goes to a page not only criticizing Machete, but it also has links and addresses at the bottom of the article encouraging people to write to the Texas Film Commission, presumably to complain about funding or tax breaks the filmmakers received to make Machete.
After I wrote an email in support of Machete to the Texas Film Commission, I received the following reply:
Thank you for your comments.
The film MACHETE has received no funding from the State of Texas. The production company has made a preliminary application for the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, but their final application has not been received. Upon receipt the final application this office will consider it for approval or disapproval using the criteria we use for all applications.
Texas Film Commission