I’m pissed at myself. Yesterday, our New York correspondentasian Greenie sent me Jonah Weiner’s excellent excellent disgracial breakdown for Slate of The Darjeeling Limited, “Unbearable Whiteness”, and I thought, fuck, I wish I had written this.
The Darjeeling Limited, Anderson’s latest movie, showcases an obnoxious element of Anderson that is rarely discussed: the clumsy, discomfiting way he stages interactions between white protagonists—typically upper-class elites—and nonwhite foils—typically working class and poor.
…Anderson generally likes to decorate his margins with nonwhite, virtually mute characters: Pelé in Life Aquatic, a Brazilian who sits in a crow’s-nest and sings David Bowie songs in Portuguese; Mr. Sherman in Royal Tenenbaums, a black accountant who wears bow ties, falls into holes, and meekly endures Gene Hackman’s racist jabs—he calls him “Coltrane” and “old black buck,” which Anderson plays for laughs; Mr. Littlejeans in Rushmore, the Indian groundskeeper who occasionally mumbles comical malapropisms…Taken together, they form a fleet of quasi-caricatures and walking punch lines, meant to import a whimsical, ambient multiculturalism into the films.
Bravo, Weiner. You had the balls to say what I wanted to when our Darjeeling Limited ON THE BOBA RZULTS came in but didn’t, because I wanted to buy into the hipster, whimsical, ambient, indie-feel-goodness of it all and be part of the zeitgeist instead of being an angry bitch.
But fuck that. I am an angry bitch. And I hate hipsters. And what I should have said is that Asians aren’t background. We’re not sidekicks and we sure as shit ain’t mute. We will not serve as your local color or flavor cuz you got none. We’re sick of being your “foils” so that you can seem hipper, hotter, and more worldly. And we’ll cut your dick off if you call us exotic.
Click here to read Jonah Weiner’s “Unbearable Whiteness” on Slate.
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