Author Topic: 12 Years a Slave  (Read 14621 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2013, 06:07:37 am »
RICHARD COHEN DON'T KNOW NOTHIN' BOUT BIRTHIN' NO BABIES  7:09 PM NOVEMBER 6, 2013
TERRIBLE COLUMNIST RICHARD COHEN SHOCKED TO LEARN THAT SLAVERY WAS REALLY, REALLY BAD
by GARY LEGUM
Shhh, no one tell Richard Cohen what happened to that Stepin Fetchit character he used to really enjoy.With all of the terrible, sludge-brained, doped-out political hacks whose columns we read over and over until every atom of our being must fight the urge to swan-dive off a twenty-story building onto a fence topped with rusty spikes coated with rattlesnake venom, we often forget about the execrable Richard Cohen at The Washington Post. Perhaps this is an act of self-preservation. Then the Bearded Dipwad writes something so perverse we are compelled to stare at it like the Nazis at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, until our faces melt and our souls get sucked from our bodies by razor-toothed demons. Hyperbole, you say? That is only because you haven’t read Cohen’s latest yet.

I sometimes think I have spent years unlearning what I learned earlier in my life. For instance…slavery was not a benign institution in which mostly benevolent whites owned innocent and grateful blacks. Slavery was a lifetime’s condemnation to an often violent hell in which people were deprived of life, liberty and, too often, their own children.


Dear. God. Must we go on? Sure, why not. It seems Richard Cohen saw a movie called 12 Years a Slave, and boy is he shocked! Would you believe that American slavery was not a harmonious lovefest where the darkies happily labored in the fields picking cotton by hand and singing happy Negro spirituals while their benevolent white masters stood by beaming with pride? That slave families were ripped apart forever when one or more members was sold to another owner? That wives were sold away from husbands, children away from their parents? That there were brutal beatings and rapes and daily if not hourly humiliations, all in the name of dehumanizing an entire race of humans? That the reality of slavery was nothing like the way it was portrayed in Gone With the Wind? Richard Cohen is very upset with Gone With the Wind, which for him has now been rendered “irrevocably silly and utterly tasteless” about sixty years after it was rendered so for anyone not afflicted with brain parasites?

Richard Cohen cannot believe he did not learn any of this in school. What Confederate redoubt in the ass end of Georgia or Alabama did he grow up in? Oh, nice job, Far Rockaway H.S.

The Bearded Dipwad is most upset with his country for never fully accounting for the horrors it perpetrated while enslaving blacks for centuries. “We obscured, we covered up…  As a nation, we like to look pretty, but sometimes we weren’t,” he admits. Well, better late than never, we guess?

We can’t wait to hear Richard Cohen’s reaction when he watches this DVD of Roots we’re sending him for Hanukkah.


Read more at http://wonkette.com/533655/terrible-columnist-richard-cohen-shocked-to-learn-that-slavery-was-really-really-bad#edDeV75vxMPstQ2j.99

Offline Hypestyle

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2013, 03:13:27 pm »
A great film overall, I'm glad it was made.  Kudos to the filmmakers.
I'm glad that the film did not shy away from the ghastliness and casual savagery of the situations that took place throughout slavery.  A lot was hard to watch, but of course, that was the point.

In contrast, Mama Hype (during her running commentary  ;) ) was (understandably) ambivalent, especially at all the various depictions of brutality and abuse; she was especially inflamed at those scenes where one or more black bystanders (Northrup or others) did not intervene (and of course "realistically" who knows what would have occurred.. but as more than one character mentioned, all were forced to do dishonorable things to survive)..

-- were the filmmakers allowed production time, I would have been intrigued to see Solomon's fight in the courts to make his kidnappers and and their abettors pay.

...Was Brad Pitt's character part of Northrup's book, or was he a pastiche?

[side note.. Lupita Nyong'o: marry me!  :-* ]
« Last Edit: November 13, 2013, 05:43:31 pm by Hypestyle »
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Offline Metro

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2013, 11:43:26 am »

Nowhere near the brutality I expected when I saw everyone's reactions over the last month, and the ending seemed rushed.  The film incorporates a lot of recent scholarship on slavery, and the effort gives the story more depth than many projects.  I think the biggest piece I liked was the use of the cinematography to slow the narrative and emphasize the uncertainty and ambiguity that swallows Northrup gradually.

The use of the narrative as a metaphor for professionally successful African Americans in the 21st century was very powerful, too.

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Offline The Evasive 1

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2013, 03:16:17 pm »
Saw this film today. I thought it was a very good film, but something about it left me a little cold. Fruitvale Station, in comparison, was more emotionally affecting to me. The casting, the acting, the writing in 12 Years were all top notch. I could easily see this film doing well come Oscar time and it would be a shame if many of the cast, the director, and the screenplay don't get nominations.

As I was watching the film I couldn't help but compare it to Django. And while 12 Years used the n-word quite a bit it wasn't as excessive and cheeky as I felt it was in Django. And beyond the n-word there were other words or adjectives used to dehumanize blacks without over reliance on the n-word to appear hip, edgy, or renegade like I felt was done in Django. There were no winks or nods here, no over-the-top demonstrations of the cruelty of slavery. The cruelty was brutal, at times visceral, and there was often a palpable sense of fear for the slaves.
Funny. I had the reverse reaction between "12 Years A Slave" and "Fruitvale". I was more emotionally impacted by "12 years...". I think one of the reactions the audience is supposed to get is a sense of "coldness", if you will, in how the slave owners sometimes acted, but also the slaves in certain circumstances perhaps due to a sense of self preservation.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 03:18:40 pm by Evasive_1 »

Offline michaelintp

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2013, 07:43:31 am »
Just saw it tonight.  A powerful film; reminded me of disturbing Holocaust films that I've seen in the past (and now avoid as I know what happened and just don't want to see it anymore). 

The film will be most valuable to those who know little of slavery as it existed. For anyone who already knows that some free persons were abducted in the North and sold in the South as slaves, who already knows slaves were demeaned, dehumanized, intimidated, raped, murdered, torn from their children, treated as less than human while also viewed as a threat, will not really learn anything new, in terms of broad strokes, from the film. Even slaves who were not subjected to the most vicious brutality shown in the film were subjected to brutality in psychological ways, with deprivation of freedom itself being profoundly harmful and profoundly unjust. Anyone who responds, "I didn't know slavery was so bad" is either a fool or incredibly ignorant. The film is most valuable for those in the latter category (assuming fools are beyond help).

Seeing the images, in film, can have a greater emotional impact than reading about it in books or hearing about it from a speaker. In this respect, too, the film is powerful and valuable.  To educate people.

Also, a point that Mr. McQueen, who lives in Amsterdam, made (after the film), was that everyone knows about Anne Frank, but nobody knows about Solomon Northrop (who wrote the book, by the same name,"12 Years a Slave," after he finally obtained his freedom).  In that respect, the film is giving the man, and his message, recognition that is long overdue. Of course, in fairness, most people don't know the names of most Jews who perished in the Holocaust either, or the heroes who fought against it and saved lives. On the other hand, most educated persons have heard of Frederick Douglass. Still, there are many more stories to tell about slavery, and this film is a valuable contribution to that effort.

I suppose there are also some folks who might be motivated by a more base desire to see the film, as a way to fuel their own racial animus against contemporary Caucasians (who did not perpetrate slavery).  But of course that would be a twisted racist motivation.

It is a film well worth seeing, for all the positive reasons I state above.  Others agree, as the number of movie theaters showing the film have been increasing dramatically.
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
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because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
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Offline Tanksleyd

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12 Years a Slave
« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2013, 07:47:33 am »

Saw the flick
Really liked the Direction
Insight to Black Culture? : Maybe
An improvement in American Race Relations? : No
 

Offline Emperorjones

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2013, 03:20:25 pm »
Saw this film today. I thought it was a very good film, but something about it left me a little cold. Fruitvale Station, in comparison, was more emotionally affecting to me. The casting, the acting, the writing in 12 Years were all top notch. I could easily see this film doing well come Oscar time and it would be a shame if many of the cast, the director, and the screenplay don't get nominations.

As I was watching the film I couldn't help but compare it to Django. And while 12 Years used the n-word quite a bit it wasn't as excessive and cheeky as I felt it was in Django. And beyond the n-word there were other words or adjectives used to dehumanize blacks without over reliance on the n-word to appear hip, edgy, or renegade like I felt was done in Django. There were no winks or nods here, no over-the-top demonstrations of the cruelty of slavery. The cruelty was brutal, at times visceral, and there was often a palpable sense of fear for the slaves.
Funny. I had the reverse reaction between "12 Years A Slave" and "Fruitvale". I was more emotionally impacted by "12 years...". I think one of the reactions the audience is supposed to get is a sense of "coldness", if you will, in how the slave owners sometimes acted, but also the slaves in certain circumstances perhaps due to a sense of self preservation.

Different strokes...I was left cold all the way around, to some extent. Something about Chiwetel's performance, while great at points, left a remove for me. I thought Cumberbatch and Fassbender were good as well. So was the lady who played Patsey and the mistress of the house who despised her. I thought Brad Pitt gave the worst performance. Perhaps I just had to be in a certain mood to be fully open to this film and I wasn't the day I watched it. But it was a well made, powerful film. It wasn't perfect but it was pretty good.

With Fruitvale, I could feel that cloud of doom hanging over Oscar Grant, and I understood-to some extent-the pressures he was under, and the last scene with his daughter at the end and that question left hanging, I was through.

Offline Emperorjones

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2013, 03:27:58 pm »
Just saw it tonight.  A powerful film; reminded me of disturbing Holocaust films that I've seen in the past (and now avoid as I know what happened and just don't want to see it anymore). 

The film will be most valuable to those who know little of slavery as it existed. For anyone who already knows that some free persons were abducted in the North and sold in the South as slaves, who already knows slaves were demeaned, dehumanized, intimidated, raped, murdered, torn from their children, treated as less than human while also viewed as a threat, will not really learn anything new, in terms of broad strokes, from the film. Even slaves who were not subjected to the most vicious brutality shown in the film were subjected to brutality in psychological ways, with deprivation of freedom itself being profoundly harmful and profoundly unjust. Anyone who responds, "I didn't know slavery was so bad" is either a fool or incredibly ignorant. The film is most valuable for those in the latter category (assuming fools are beyond help).

Seeing the images, in film, can have a greater emotional impact than reading about it in books or hearing about it from a speaker. In this respect, too, the film is powerful and valuable.  To educate people.

Also, a point that Mr. McQueen, who lives in Amsterdam, made (after the film), was that everyone knows about Anne Frank, but nobody knows about Solomon Northrop (who wrote the book, by the same name,"12 Years a Slave," after he finally obtained his freedom).  In that respect, the film is giving the man, and his message, recognition that is long overdue. Of course, in fairness, most people don't know the names of most Jews who perished in the Holocaust either, or the heroes who fought against it and saved lives. On the other hand, most educated persons have heard of Frederick Douglass. Still, there are many more stories to tell about slavery, and this film is a valuable contribution to that effort.

I suppose there are also some folks who might be motivated by a more base desire to see the film, as a way to fuel their own racial animus against contemporary Caucasians (who did not perpetrate slavery).  But of course that would be a twisted racist motivation.

It is a film well worth seeing, for all the positive reasons I state above.  Others agree, as the number of movie theaters showing the film have been increasing dramatically.

If only you had just told us (by us, I guess I mean me) what you thought about the film without the ruminations on these alleged black people who are using this film to stoke their racial hatreds against contemporary Caucasians. Of course many would argue (that's me again) that white skin privilege, a result of slavery, does exist and these contemporary Caucasians are the beneficiaries of it, whether they want to be or not.

And just because many people have heard of Frederick Douglass doesn't mean they have read him, understood what he went through or what other slaves endured, or any of the other abolitionist figures, etc. of his time. The fact that an educated man like Richard Cohen is expressing his shock about the events in 12 Years a Slave is proof that even educated people might not know much about slavery and the full horrors of it. And in that respect, 12 Years isn't a definitive or comprehensive look at slavery, but I think it's a good introduction.

This isn't a tit-for-tat deal between the Holocaust and slavery. Both were epic tragedies. I think McQueen's statement is true. I remember reading about Anne Frank in school. I did not read about Solomon Northup. Unfortunately, there still are lot of nameless victims of slaveowners and Nazis out there. But Northup wasn't nameless, he had written a book that was mostly ignored by public schools-at least in my area-while Anne Frank's book was not. I would argue that most slave narratives, with the exceptions of Frederick Douglass's and Booker T. Washington's (not sure if Up from Slavery qualifies as a slave narrative) are mostly ignored or unheard of in school and college and beyond.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2013, 03:31:14 pm by Emperorjones »

Offline michaelintp

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2013, 07:17:37 pm »
Emperorjones, I was not suggesting that slavery is in a "tit for tat" competition with the Holocaust. I simply saw parallels, in the picture painted in the film. Emotionally, the film made me feel the same way I feel when I've seen Holocaust films, which I make a point NOT to see anymore. (The only exception was "Inglorious Basterds" as that was more of a fun revenge fantasy - for me a "feel good" movie). The stripping of children from their parents, the turning of one victim against another, the dehumanization, and so on, are common themes to both.

As to Mr. McQueen's "Anne Frank" reference, when I heard him say it, I thought it was a good point, but in thinking about it, I think it was not really a fair comparison.  There have been hundreds of books written by adults who survived the Holocaust, and many who did not, and for the most part those authors are unknown to the general population and not read in school.  No different than Mr. Northrop's book.  I believe the reason Anne Frank's tragic story became so widely known is because she was a child, who wrote a compelling diary.  Written in simple prose suitable for reading by younger people in school. Particularly moving for adults because she was a young girl.  If the "Diary of Anne Frank" had been written by a woman in her 40s, with sophisticated language, I'm sure it would have remained as unknown as all the other Holocaust memoirs written by adults. Anyway, this was just a little side point I was making in response to what Mr. McQueen said during the Q&A after the film. Nothing more than that. Not a "tit for tat."

In any event, I'm sure Mr. Northrop's book will now garner more attention. That is a good thing.  As I also suggested, above, his is an important story worth telling.

Richard Cohen sounds like an idiot. However, perhaps he does fit within the "incredibly ignorant" category rather than the "fool" category.  As I mentioned above, other persons like him might benefit from the film.

Finally, I don't think you can deny that there are some black people who will see the film as a way to justify their own feelings of racial prejudice today. Some.  Not all, not most, but some.  As I find all forms of racial prejudice to be disgusting, I felt it warranted to express my view on that point.
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline Tanksleyd

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12 Years a Slave
« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2013, 01:57:52 am »

Insight into Black Culture? : Maybe
N*****, Good Hair, Brown Paper Bag
There will always be Apples and Oranges
There will always be a Black American Culture
There will always be the dirty grime that gave birth
To history's greatest flower: The United States of America
 

Offline Emperorjones

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #25 on: November 17, 2013, 05:52:31 am »
Emperorjones, I was not suggesting that slavery is in a "tit for tat" competition with the Holocaust. I simply saw parallels, in the picture painted in the film. Emotionally, the film made me feel the same way I feel when I've seen Holocaust films, which I make a point NOT to see anymore. (The only exception was "Inglorious Basterds" as that was more of a fun revenge fantasy - for me a "feel good" movie). The stripping of children from their parents, the turning of one victim against another, the dehumanization, and so on, are common themes to both.

As to Mr. McQueen's "Anne Frank" reference, when I heard him say it, I thought it was a good point, but in thinking about it, I think it was not really a fair comparison.  There have been hundreds of books written by adults who survived the Holocaust, and many who did not, and for the most part those authors are unknown to the general population and not read in school.  No different than Mr. Northrop's book.  I believe the reason Anne Frank's tragic story became so widely known is because she was a child, who wrote a compelling diary.  Written in simple prose suitable for reading by younger people in school. Particularly moving for adults because she was a young girl.  If the "Diary of Anne Frank" had been written by a woman in her 40s, with sophisticated language, I'm sure it would have remained as unknown as all the other Holocaust memoirs written by adults. Anyway, this was just a little side point I was making in response to what Mr. McQueen said during the Q&A after the film. Nothing more than that. Not a "tit for tat."

In any event, I'm sure Mr. Northrop's book will now garner more attention. That is a good thing.  As I also suggested, above, his is an important story worth telling.

Richard Cohen sounds like an idiot. However, perhaps he does fit within the "incredibly ignorant" category rather than the "fool" category.  As I mentioned above, other persons like him might benefit from the film.

Finally, I don't think you can deny that there are some black people who will see the film as a way to justify their own feelings of racial prejudice today. Some.  Not all, not most, but some.  As I find all forms of racial prejudice to be disgusting, I felt it warranted to express my view on that point.

I won't deny it if you don't deny that there are some white critics of President Obama who are motivated by racial animus (and I'm not talking about the fringe groups like the KKK which is the conventional poster child for white racism. I'm talking about some among your beloved Tea Party and in other conservative corners). That's been a hard one for you to admit over the years as has other examples of white racism. However you can readily believe that some black people are going to use this movie to justify prejudicial feelings? Get off it.

If people have prejudicial feelings a movie isn't going to justify them. I think that's your own fears or guilt coming to the fore. I think movies like 12 Years can be difficult for some whites because they haven't figured out how to feel about slavery and segregation or this country's racial past. So it's best not to think about it at all, to sugarcoat it, or only focus on the good (a common admonishment or encouragement from some conservatives) and downplay the bad. To pay lip service to how terrible slavery was but not be specific. In essence, to damn the sin but love the sinner.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2013, 05:54:56 am by Emperorjones »

Offline Battle

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #26 on: November 17, 2013, 07:09:30 am »
I won't deny it if you don't deny that there are some white critics of President Obama who are motivated by racial animus (and I'm not talking about the fringe groups like the KKK which is the conventional poster child for white racism. I'm talking about some among your beloved Tea Party and in other conservative corners). That's been a hard one for you to admit over the years as has other examples of white racism. However you can readily believe that some black people are going to use this movie to justify prejudicial feelings? Get off it.

If people have prejudicial feelings a movie isn't going to justify them. I think that's your own fears or guilt coming to the fore. I think movies like 12 Years can be difficult for some whites because they haven't figured out how to feel about slavery and segregation or this country's racial past. So it's best not to think about it at all, to sugarcoat it, or only focus on the good (a common admonishment or encouragement from some conservatives) and downplay the bad. To pay lip service to how terrible slavery was but not be specific. In essence, to damn the sin but love the sinner.






Strong reply.

Offline Tanksleyd

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12 Years a Slave
« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2013, 07:47:39 am »

Will there ever be a god
Will there ever be a good movie
To erase the image of a silken haired, blue eyed White Jesus
From the minds of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Africa, History and/or American Blacks
 

Offline michaelintp

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2013, 03:43:28 pm »

Finally, I don't think you can deny that there are some black people who will see the film as a way to justify their own feelings of racial prejudice today. Some.  Not all, not most, but some.  As I find all forms of racial prejudice to be disgusting, I felt it warranted to express my view on that point.

I won't deny it if you don't deny that there are some white critics of President Obama who are motivated by racial animus (and I'm not talking about the fringe groups like the KKK which is the conventional poster child for white racism. I'm talking about some among your beloved Tea Party and in other conservative corners). That's been a hard one for you to admit over the years as has other examples of white racism. However you can readily believe that some black people are going to use this movie to justify prejudicial feelings? Get off it.

If people have prejudicial feelings a movie isn't going to justify them. I think that's your own fears or guilt coming to the fore. I think movies like 12 Years can be difficult for some whites because they haven't figured out how to feel about slavery and segregation or this country's racial past. So it's best not to think about it at all, to sugarcoat it, or only focus on the good (a common admonishment or encouragement from some conservatives) and downplay the bad. To pay lip service to how terrible slavery was but not be specific. In essence, to damn the sin but love the sinner.

Of course I agree with you that there are "some" critics of President Obama who are driven by racial animus. There are also "some" supporters of President Obama who are driven by racial prejudice.

The difficulty I have with your statement is that the "some" you refer are not all (or most) of those you target (all or most Conservatives, or all or most Tea Party supporters, or all or most Republicans or all or most white people).  Any more than I would say that all or most Democrats or Progressives or black people are prejudiced (though of course "some" are).  Just because someone advocates policies and moral principles that you might not agree with does not make them a "racist."

I've no doubt there are some racially prejudiced folk, folk who (as you say) were already prejudiced before they saw the film, who will try to use this film to promote their agenda. Which, in my view, is a shame, as the film is valuable on its own terms (for the reasons I stated above). They should be ignored.

As to your attempts at psychoanalysis, in your reference to "fears and guilt," hahahahaha, please please keep your day job.  ;)
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline Emperorjones

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Re: 12 Years a Slave
« Reply #29 on: November 17, 2013, 03:49:56 pm »
^
Michael what agenda is anyone going to promote by watching 12 Years a Slave? Please provide examples.

And exactly who are the 'supporters' of President Obama who are 'driven by prejudice' biased against?

Of course I'll keep my day job, and hopefully you can restrain yourself from spewing more of your b.s. on this forum. If you like the movie or don't, that's cool, but don't psychoanalyze (your word) these mythical black folks who are going to be driven mad by 12 Years. It's insulting and condescending, but you seem to be real good at that.