You are watching: Is you is or is you ain t my constituents
I don’t have anypoint versus the movie, or the Coen brothers. I don’t understand enough around them to also have much of an opinion. I understand they’re brothers, via the exact same last name, and also they seem to have a point for male ensembles that have to resolve obstacles, shenanigans, and also “tight spots”, yet regulate to make it out okay in the finish. That’s not a lot, and also it’s pretty broad. But to be fair, I perform really reap their movie my Classics and also Mythology teacher had actually us watch my sophomore year of college.
(Benny Hill design template intensifies)
O Brvarious other, Where Art Thou? is a 2000 crime-comedy-road-trip movie collection in the Dust Bowl Depression era that’s actually a retelling of Homer’s Odyssey. Speak me if this is sounding as well broad and also easy to industry.
Luckily, they were able to market it off the success of the Coen Brothers, that had currently directed Fargo and The Big Lebowski to tons of important and commercial acinsurance claim, as well as off its star-studded cast. George Clooney was fresh off ER and also all set to begin doing movies, the Johns, Turturro and also Goodguy, were Coen Brothers staples by that suggest, and also while Tim Drake Nelkid was a relative newcomer, his acting and singing in the movie were even more than enough to launch his career. Add to that a catchy bluegrass soundtrack and also some groundbreaking shade correction job-related for that sepia look, and it’s no wonder this movie is considered yet one more Coen brothers timeless.
But I don’t want to talk around any type of of that. I desire to talk around the national politics of this movie, both literal and also social. Let’s begin with the literal, shall we?
Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Constituency?
One of the many kind of subpmany the movie involves an electdental race. Yes, this is going where you think it’s going, yet perhaps not the method you think.
The incumbent candidate is our guy via the cigar up tright here, governor Pappy O’Daniel, that was a actual governor in the real people during the Depression. However before, offered that they went out of their means to adjust a lot around the historic figure for the character, also what state he represents (the real O’Daniel stood for Texas, while the character represents Mississippi), he becomes even more of a symbol wearing a historical figure’s hat than an exact representation, and we’ll be dealing with him as such.
Like the actual number, and also reminiscent of Roosevelt after him, he hosts a radio display consisting of “old-timey” music and his very own heat, friendly speeches (coupled via ads for his own brand also of flour, which, okay). The initially time we hear him is in among his radio reflects, however the initially time we see him is when our heroes are leaving a radio terminal, having actually simply recorded a song and also obtained a ton of money (at the time) for it. They check out a male pulling up, and don’t identify him, yet are eager to share this get-rich-quick strategy through him.
Delmar: Hey mister! I don’t expect to be tellin’ tales outta school, however there’s a fella in there’ll pay you ten dollars if you sing into his can!
Pappy: I’m not right here to make a record, you dumb cracker!
Woof. Not specifically the sort and also caring Pappy from before, is it? And in situation you think he acts much better in the direction of his very own boy, just secs later:
Junior: Ain’t you gonna push the flesh, Pappy? Do a little politickin’?
Pappy: I’ll press your flesh, you dim-witted sumbitch! You don’t tell your Pappy just how to court the electorate! <…> Shake a leg Junior! Thank God your mammy passed away givin’ birth. If she’d have watched you, she’d have actually died o’ shame.
WOOF. Even acting as a literal Pappy doesn’t seem to be this guy’s forte. There’s likewise some serious classism going on, with the cracker renote, which isn’t a great look at any time, however particularly not in the time of, y’know, the Depression.
So let’s take a look at our recreate candidate, Homer Stokes.
He’s certainly gained an eye for showmanship too, though his requires more of the in-perchild range. He drives a truck approximately that displays his poster, plays music, and also has actually someone standing up sweeping on the ago of it. This is meant to reexisting just how he is going to, in his words, “grab the broom of recreate, and sweep this state clean” of “cronyism, nepotism,
Sound familiar yet? Here’s an additional expedition down memory lane for ya: a lot later in the movie, our 3 boys stumble upon the meeting of a “specific trick society”.
I don’t think I gotta point out its name.
They action in to shut it down because their one black frifinish, Tommy, is about to be lynched. They are conveniently unmasked, though, and also considering that they accidentally did blackface by covering their skins in dirt to attempt and blend right into the night previously, they are treated as such. In true wacky shenanigans fashion, they manage to escape through Tommy while resulting in some chaos. However, during the fray, the Grand Wizard unmasks himself to acquire a far better look at the case, and…
Not only is Homer Stokes a member of the KKK, he’s the damn leader of his…faction? District? Troop? Weirdly sufficient, I don’t really know exactly how the KKK works.
So yeah, neither candidate is great, right? You’ve gained a claid jerk and a two-challenged racist. Granted, many of the characters don’t know all of those points, yet you, the audience, carry out. So just how does that obtain resolved?
Near the finish, Homer Stokes has actually what I have to assume is a fundelevating dinner of some kind referred to as The Homer Stokes Hoedown, which is additionally being broadcast on the radio. Pappy shows up, as perform our 3 heroes in disguise. It transforms out that song they tape-recorded into a “can” previously was a huge hit, and also when they begin singing it, the crowd goes wild. They only obtain halfway through the song, though, prior to Homer recognizes them and grabs the microphone.
He tears them to pieces saying they’re “not white — hell, they ain’t even old-timey!”, accuses them of “interfering via a lynch mob in the performance of its duties”, basically admits through barely any shame that he’s a member of the KKK, reveals their fugitive condition, and informs them that Tommy “sold his soul to the Devil”. (It states something about the movie’s weird partnership through fact of that he is actually and also literally right)
Unsurprisingly, the constituents rotate on him and literally ride him out on a rail.
God, this movie has its moments.
But here’s the thing — namong the stuff I just stated is what provides the crowd revolve on him. They don’t treatment that he’s part of a lynch mob. They don’t treatment that he’s a Klansman. They don’t treatment that the band also is comprised of fugitives, and while they’re absolutely religious people, it’s clear a lot of of them don’t think Homer’s case about Tommy selling his heart (which, just want to remind you, is ACTUALLY TRUE).
Why execute they ride him out? One reason: he interrupted the music. As one person shouts “We was all havin’ a good time!”
They mostly continue to be silent throughout his string of accusations, so it’s unclear whether their silence is in defiance or solemn agreement. But the minute he declares “This here music is over!”, the booing and jeering starts, and also it doesn’t soptimal till he’s taken away.
It wasn’t ethical character that saved our heroes. It wasn’t the constituents standing approximately a racist murderer for his crimes, or even expertise that a life of crime was (and is) frequently the only means out of poverty. Homer Stokes’s unforgivable crime in this situation isn’t any kind of of that. It’s being a party pooper.
And going ago to Pappy, he’s not a Klansmale (that we know of), yet he’s simply as racist as anyone else. When he mentions that the boys are a hit, Junior’s quick to point out, “But Pappy, they’s integrated!”. He doesn’t seem happy about that, yet he claims in a daze, “Well, I guess, folks don’t mind they’s integrated!”. And as soon as Homer is dragged out, he yells “Goddamn! Opportunity knocks!” and gets up on stage to dance with them and make a speech not only endorsing them, but offering them a complete pardon and also appointing them as his brain trust.
But aobtain, this is not out of the goodness of his heart, or even a readjust of heart. It’s just a strategic political relocate. He even goes out of his means to shoot significant looks to the boys, as if daring them to contradict him or try to gain a word right into this conversation.
So, Pappy wins. Is that a great thing? Yes, he’s much better than a Klansguy, and also yes, it’s feasible that all those times he snapped were less an innate part of his nature and even more a product of the stress and anxiety and also anxiety of shedding his job. But it also implies things aren’t going to readjust, which is only excellent for a select few people. Then again, the status quo is still much better than outideal endorsing the Klan. And who’s to say if Homer Stokes would also follow via on his guarantees, or what type of political suffer he even has?
Unfortunately, this controversy is irpertinent, since in the real people, we chose Homer Stokes. So let’s move on to a lighter topic.
Lighter -skinned, that is.
This movie doesn’t shy ameans from the racism of the 1930's.
But it doesn’t precisely execute a lot to break stereokinds, either. Aside from Tommy, that we’ll acquire to, the just babsence personalities in the movie are the mystical prophet, two young boys transporting ice in one scene, and also the various other members of the chain gang. Like, seriously, our 3 leads appear to be the just white people in that entire chain gang they escaped from. To be fair, that’s a precise image of the priboy mechanism in basic, but the movie doesn’t really perform anypoint with it.
Let’s go back to Tommy. He’s one more character based upon a genuine historic figure, and for this reason, he is treated via more respect than the other personalities. But he’s treated via respect the very same means that Pocahontas was treated through respect by Disney: so respectful that he’s even more of a bland also prop than a character. His role in the story is to tell us what the devil looks like in order to foreshadow The Warden in the future, to play the guitar for the plot-saving song twice, and also to be the catalyst that renders the boys soptimal the lynch mob. He disshows up halfmeans through the movie for no declared reason. Presumably, you’re meant to think it has actually something to carry out with this lynch mob, yet at leastern a couple of days have passed between as soon as he disshowed up and also the lynch mob meeting, so what was he doing all that time? Why did he leave in the initially place? Did he run off and then gain kidnapped, or was he kidnapped and simply retained somewright here all that time? For a story that goes out of its means to tie up eextremely single plot thcheck out, this one is left noticeably hanging.
There’s also the fact that, aside from the characters periodically calling him “boy” or “son”, Tommy is treated prefer an equal by our white protagonists. I’m not saying this isn’t historically precise, nor am I saying historical accuracy or even logical accuracy is this movie’s goal. But as soon as it comes to stories prefer this that are composed by white civilization, if there are going to be negative and racist white civilization, it appears like tright here constantly have to be excellent and also not-racist white human being so that the white audience have the right to not feel icky and also uncomfortable by actually confronting racism. Hidden Figures did it, Pocahontas did it, Hairspray did it, so on and so forth. It’s not necessarily out of place in this movie, however it’s a bigger trend that I think is worth discussing once it comes up.
It does paint a good photo of incidental racism with the minor characters, choose the blind record producer, however at the finish of the day, it’s very much a white man’s story. And speaking of men…
An Interelaxing Change
The Coen Brothers made no trick of the truth that at the time they made this movie, and also perhaps to this particular day, they had never before actually read Homer’s Odyssey. They knew the story just through its miscellaneous adaptations. In truth, the only perboy among the actors who’d actually review the story was Tim Blake Nelkid, who may I remind you, plays the dumbest character in the movie.
Pictured: the face of irony
The Coen Brothers just kbrand-new the broad strokes, and also it does present in the movie. Our Ulysses and his gang come up versus the many renowned of the monsters, favor the Cyclops and the sirens, however don’t accomplish any indistinguishable to the witch-god Circe, on whose island also Ulysses spends practically a year of his adventure, or the six-headed Scylla, or Ulysses’s dead mom, or anyone else, really. It mainly follows the broad story world know to the letter. Ulysses tries to acquire home, punks a Cyclops, practically gets punked by sirens, comes residence to his faithful wife, and also kills her suitors.
Or, it nearly does. It renders one huge readjust to the story that certainly raises my eyebrows.
You may notice that male is not George Clooney
Penelope, now Penny, is actually and also willingly collection to marry someone else in this version.
I don’t understand if I can define just how bizarre this change is. Penelope’s patience and also faithfulness are some of her core character traits. I understand that going off to battle and going to jail are very different scenarios, yet you’re telling me no one has ever before waited for someone to get out of jail?
Penny’s changeover was quick, also. That baby she’s holding is Ulysses’s, which means he hasn’t even been in prison a year. He additionally busted out in the initially place bereason she told him she was remarrying. Homegirl uncovered an additional guy and obtained him to put a ring on it not only in less than ten months, however presumably while pregnant.
Now listen. They might have actually made this occupational. They can have had her choose to remarry bereason she had no money to feed the children (and they execute have actually seven of them). I mean, it is the Depression, after all. Or it could have been that, a lot like in the myth, he was pushing her right into a relationship she didn’t really desire, and she was simply biding her time and also stringing him along until her husband also came residence to deal with him.
But no, she genuinely doesn’t desire him anyeven more, bereason he’s a “lowlife”. It’s understandable, yet rings pretty hollow when she accepts him ago the minute he becomes effective and sort-of gets a task. That plus the reality that she insists they can’t get married until he goes and also fetches a certain ring for her, and also after every little thing he went via to acquire it —
Note the nooses.
— she gets upcollection bereason it’s not the best ring and insists that he comb the whole newly-made lake to discover it, and also that’s exactly how the movie ends. Oh, women! Nopoint us men does deserve to satisfy them, ain’t that appropriate, boys?
Penny seems to have actually more agency and character than her mythical counterpart, yet it’s all surconfront. Penny transforms her mind on a dime, outright lies to her children around their daddy being dead, and also is unreasonable to the very end. It’s not also clear what she wants, specifically. It appears at initially that she’d accept her ex-husband also if he simply got a secure career, but then she keeps going on around that very certain ring. Her motivations and also objectives are exceptionally unclear, so she comes throughout even more as a prize for Ulysses to gain, or even more especially, a sidepursuit that keeps unlocking even more sidequests.
The original Penelope, meanwhile, constantly had actually a clear goal and also inspiration. Yes, both of those were a male, however it still provides sense. She loves her husband, and also doesn’t desire to marry anyone else, yet all these suitors descfinish on her. She can’t actively tell them to shove off, so she tries to bide her time coming to a decision. She faces them taking her food, messing up her house, and sexually assaulting her and her handmaidens, all through grace, calm, and also brains. And in the end, she is rewarded for her cunning, her patience, and also her loyalty by the welcoming embrace of the male she waited for. It’s exceptionally man-centric, yet it’s likewise believable and also compelling.
And the only various other womales of note in the film are the literal sirens.
As with many kind of points in the movie, tbelow is both a superorganic and also a logical explanation for them. The logical explanation that they provide is that the women kbrand-new that they were, and intentionally seduced and also drugged them so they could revolve them in for the reward money. But that doesn’t define a) how they kbrand-new they were coming when they came by auto and the road was a good few yards away from the water, b) why they just turned in Pete and not the various other two, and also c) why they supposedly turned him in naked and also left his clothes and also the other two in starfish positions.
Like, this need to have taken initiative, y’all.
So, probably supernatural. In summary, our only notable female personalities are literal siren and metaphorical harpy.
In Conclusion And Before You Say I Hate This Movie
“(beat) Do. Not. Seek. The treasure!” gets me every time I check out this movie, and I’ve seen it many, many kind of times. Any unattributed photos above are screengrabs from my own DVD copy. I greatly choose the social commentary in this movie, specifically the stuff regarding George “Babyface” Nelchild, which I didn’t even have time to get right into.
Go on George, you beautiful, spot-on metaphor and also disarea of toxic masculinity, you.
The means the screenplay ties up (almost) eexceptionally single tiny subplot it introduces indicates understand screencreating, and also the shade correction and also look really immerses you in this civilization. There’s a reason it’s thought about a classical, and also why the Coen Brothers are thought about geniprovides.
But I deserve to concurrently love this movie while additionally discussing its failings, minor flegislations, and also parts that are pretty good yet might carry out with a spit shine. Being critical of the media we consume is how we get much better media. Just look at the difference between Pocahontas and Moana if you don’t think me. (I don’t know why Pocahontas came up so a lot in this thing, honestly. It was simply as unmeant for me as it was for you, and I execute apologize.)
Taking media research studies into the actual people is handy, as well. It’s worth comparing Homer Stokes to Donald Trump, specifically since one was shamed and also shunned prior to votes were also actors and also one is the actual President. It’s worth seeing exactly how effectively or uneffectively white men integrate people of shade and womales right into their stories (oh yeah, no babsence womales at all in this movie).
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And it’s worth noting that the song that brings everyone together over race, class, and gender, is a song about just how life is consistent sorrow and also then you die.
An asexual writer via lots of opinions and a half-played Steam library. Play my initially game here: http://philome.la/themarykatemca/an-asexual-experience