Baz Luhrmann deserves to be sucker-punched for making this commercial. Does he have any sense at all? That is a rhetorical question … plus anyone who has seen Australia knows he doesn’t. Actually, this commercial is part of a series of ads made for Australia’s Tourist Board. I’m sure whoever heads up the Aussie Tourist board had a part in the general direction of these commercials, so he or she deserves to be sucker-punched as well. You’re not alone, Bazzie. Taken from Australia.com:
“Sometimes we need to lose ourselves to find what matters most. Australia’s Aboriginal people know as much, going ‘walkabout’ to reconnect with the land and their traditional way of life. For most of us, ‘walkabout’ takes the form of a holiday – a time to re-balance and refresh. It lets us find ourselves when the pressures of daily life have made us lose touch.”
It goes on to say that while most of us have our ‘Walkabouts’ at the Four Seasons in Sydney, Aboriginals have to stick with the bush because it is cheaper. Hey, at least they’re keeping it real, right? I’m totally kidding! Ha! Australia would never admit to anything negative involving Aboriginals. The website actually goes on to describe all the great stuff there is to do in Oz – such as snorkel, go dirt-biking and look for Hugh Jackman. Oh, and listen to the “deep throb of the didgeridoo.” But maybe they were still talking about Hugh Jackman there.
There is not much of a point to this blog. I mainly wanted to say “COME THE FUCK ON AUSTRALIA!” You can pretty much gauge the climate of global awareness on any particular subject according to percentage of comments on a related YouTube page. About 90% of comments on the above video’s page went something like this, “This commercial is memorizing and beautiful. I tear up every time. Crazy!” About 5%: “This commercial is super creepy! I’m never going there!” About 3%: “I’m an Aussie and this ad is bloody shithouse!” And then of course the 1 or 2% shaming the irresponsible portrayal of the Australian Aboriginal as a proverb-whispering, loin-cloth sporting medicine manchild, sprinkling healing sand on your relationship problems and tracking mud through your living room.
Read Betty Ann Peltier Solano’s letter (scroll down for this letter) about her brother. Then let the Bureau of Prisons know that the public will hold them accountable for the safety and well being of Leonard Peltier.
Please include the following information in appeals for his safety:
Leonard Peltier #89637-132 USP-Canaan
PO Box 300
Waymart, PA 18472
Express your outrage at the irresponsibility of BOP personnel in failing to provide for the safety of Leonard Peltier. (See the below letter from Leonard’s sister.)
Warden Ronnie R. Holt, Warden
3057 Easton Turnpike
Waymart, PA 18472
E-mail address: CAA/EXECASSISTANT@BOP.GOV
D. Scott Dodrill, Director
Northeast Regional Office
Federal Bureau of Prisons
2nd & Chesnut Streets., 7th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Harley G. Lappin, Director
Bureau of Prisons
U.S. Department of Justice
320 First Street, NW, Room 654
Washington, DC 20534
Ask President Obama to investigate. Also urge Obama to immediately grant clemency to Leonard Peltier. Write to the President:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
► URGENT! Leonard Peltier’s Safety in Jeopardy!
(Forwarded on behalf of the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee)
Dear LP Supporters,
I am so OUTRAGED! My brother Leonard was severely beaten upon his arrival at the Canaan Federal Penitentiary. When he went into population after his transfer, some inmates assaulted him. The severity of his injuries is that he suffered numerous blows to his head and body, receiving a large bump on his head, possibly a concussion, and numerous bruises. Also, one of his fingers is swollen and discolored and he has pain in his chest and ribcage. There was blood everywhere from his injuries.
We feel that prison authorities at the prompting of the FBI orchestrated this attack and thus, we are greatly concerned about his safety. It may be that the attackers, whom Leonard did not even know, were offered reduced sentences for carrying out this heinous assault. Since Leonard is up for parole soon, this could be a conspiracy to discredit a model prisoner. He was placed in solitary confinement and only given one meal, this is generally done when you won’t name your attackers; incidentally being only given one meal seriously jeopardizes his health because of his diabetes. Prison officials refuse to release any info to the family, but they need to hear from his supporters to protect his safety, as does President Obama. His attorneys are trying to get calls into him now.
This attack on LP comes on the heels of the FBI’s recent letter, prompting this attack by FBI supporters as an attempt to discredit LP as a model prisoner. Anyone who has been in the prison system knows well that if you refuse to name your attackers or file charges against them, then you lose your status as a victim and/or given points against your possible parole and labeled as a perpetrator. It is not uncommon, in fact is quite common for the government to use Indian against Indian and they still operate under the old adage “it takes an Indian to catch an Indian”. In 1978, they made an attempt to assassinate him through another Indian man who was also at Marion prison with LP. But Standing Deer chose to reveal the plot to him instead of taking his life in exchange FOR A CHANCE AT FREEDOM. When Standing Deer was released in 2001, he joined the former Leonard Peltier Defense Committee as a board member. He also began to speak on Leonard’s behalf until his murder six years ago today. Prior to his murder, Standing Deer confided with close friends and associates that the same man who visited him in Marion to assassinate Peltier, had came to Houston, TX and told him that he had better stay away from Peltier and anything to do with him.
We are aware that currently, the FBI is actively seeking support for his continued imprisonment of Leonard Peltier and also also seeking support from Native People. So please be aware, and keep Leonard in your prayers. The FBI is apparently afraid of the impact we are having. If they will set him up to blemish his record just before a parole hearing, what will they do when it looks like his freedom will become a reality? We need to make sure that nothing happens to him again!
Please write the President, send it priority or registered mail. Email to Change.gov or email President Obama. Call your congressional representatives and write letters, not email, to them. Do what you can to get the word out to insure that LP is receiving adequate medical attention for his injuries.
I am asking you, supporters of Leonard and advocates of justice at this time to help. I don’t know what else to do. Please Help!
Thank you Betty Peltier-Solano Executive Coordinator Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee
Also call and request Leonard be treated with dignity and respect. Canaan Federal Prison 570-488-8000
Time to set him free… Because it is the RIGHT thing to do.
Honoring the Sundance Film Festival one Egyptian Cotton Tunic at a time!
It’s that time of year again when the Hollywood elite pretend to go “independent” out in the wilds of Park City, Utah. Yes, it’s time for the Sundance Film Festival to offer festival goers, or rather, film industry insiders and hangers-on, a glimpse of what they consider to be the latest in a long line of pseudo-independent film making talent.
Honestly, about the only truly independent filmmaking comes from the minority filmmakers who manage to get into the Sundance Institute’s minority friendly programs.
To prove this point I present you the cover of their latest “lifestyle” catalogue complete with a collage of images from festivals past, and you know, stylized shots of white chicks that are presumably filmmakers/women who dig independent film. You get two minority groups represented in one colorful sweep: women and Indians of both the dot head and feathered variety! On the other hand, that could be a Pakistani kid sitting next to the white chick in the movie theatre, but for our purposes, let’s just go with Eastern Indian.
So, how did I come across this catalogue (you are most likely not wondering)? Well, I did attend Sundance 2007 as a correspondent for NAICA online. My charge was to cover the Native Forum, which is no longer called the Native Forum, but something similar to that. So it stands to reason they’d put me on the catalogue list, no? As providence would have it, the answer is No, this catalogue was not addressed to myself, but rather, my Gay White Male American (Thanks Obama!) roommate! How freakin’ awesome is it that!
We were pretty shocked to see this catalog addressed to him, as he is the unlikeliest of Gays to give two shits about the “Sundance Independent” lifestylings found within it’s pages. The number one reason being that the shit for sale is specifically marketed to White women of means and/or White women with husbands (White or otherwise) of means. The second reason is that, ahem, not all highly educated New York City dwelling Homos are into barn tables and Murano glass chandeliers. No, it would have made sense to send me this catalog if only because I am a woman, and I attended Sundance previously, not to mention, I get every other “lifestyle” catalog ever produced. We speculated as to how he might have come to be on their list, and the only thing we could come up with is that he is on a marketing list of educated Gays living in NYC who might have discretionary income to burn, and/or Ikea sold him out when he purchased a bed from them. Damn those Swedish furniture makers!
They Might Be Giants, or Indians, either way, They are Skinny Bitches!
I’ll give the catalog producers a few props:
1. For the semi-gauzy photo effect that makes the slender limbed pale skinned ninnies look that much more pale, awash as they are in diaphanous light, and
2. For the quasi-Indian looking Native American chick that also manages to look like she is actually Native American, and more than likely she is, albeit in the preferred Pocahontas vein.
But, I’d like to point out that what is on offer in this catalog is not remotely related to independent cinema. That is an obvious point I know, but ole Redford would like us to believe otherwise. Come now, Robbie, do you really believe the poor souls who toil away producing works that may or may not be purchased for distribution by Miramax can afford a $320.00 pair of distressed leather work boots and a $185.00 broomstick pleated dress?
We first posted about the Lone Ranger remake featuring Johnny Depp as Tonto a few months back. Then we quickly dismissed the subject because it is completely ludicrous specifically because it’s a waste of money to make a film based off this series, and we figured Bruckheimer would realize that, and drop this idea. Well it seems he hasn’t and now Indian country, and those of us smart enough to comment on what goes on in Indian country, are up in arms about it. Not so much because the television series is being remade as a film, but because Depp is evidently not Indian enough to play Tonto. Accusations, condemnations, and rationalizations can be found here: Johnny and Tonto Fistfight in Hollywood and here: Redefining Tonto.
I’m always skeptical of those who believe they have the right to determine (by whatever methods) the identity of others. Depp has never, NOT ever, denied his Cherokee heritage. In fact, he has always been vocal about it, and many young Native actors look up to him, not so much as a fellow Native actor, but as a fine example of how to navigate the Hollywood mainstream when you yourself don’t look all that mainstream. How could he? He looks like what he partly is – Eastern Band Cherokee! Put him together with Wes Studi (not Eastern Band Cherokee). Focus on the eyes, the cheekbones, the mouth, the shape of his eyebrows and brow bone, the squared jaw yet soft rounded chin, the fabulous set of teeth?! Come on! They both look like what they say they are, one more so than the other. And now consider the fact that it’s American Indians who have to prove what they are – even to each other – before they will be accepted as such! Subjectivities skew all over the place in relation to cultural and racial identities in America, yet Depp has never skewed from his. Not to mention he has never altered his narrative, great grandma Minnie was a full blood Cherokee or so he has said. I’ve met so many people claim to be Cherokee on a great grandparent’s side and never have they named that great grandparent! Hell most of us barely remember our grandparent’s names, let alone a great grandparent!
“But, what about my great grandma Minnie?”
“Stop your lyin’ white man! There is no Minnie”
But does any of this information qualify Depp as an Indian - Cherokee - to be precise? Do physiognomy and a name from his family history suffice? If not what does, tribal enrollment? Literally becoming a card member based on minuscule blood quantum? A real mind fuck of a question is, if the Eastern Band Cherokee can't find Minnie on their roll does that mean she never existed? Could Depp have made up the great grandmother story to salve some internal identity crisis externalized by his hatchet sharp cheekbones, almond eyes and cupid bow mouth? Possibly, but why would he? Why would he want to be an Indian anyway? Why does anyone want to be an Indian?
It's a far out line of questioning because it makes you ponder your own racial/cultural narrative, or lack thereof if you're a genero-white person who doesn't give two shits about that sort of thing because you're white, and we all know what that means otherwise people on the other blogs wouldn't be bitching that Depp is too white to play Tonto, cause you know, it's unfair that white people get to play all sorts of things they are not while the rest of us have to be our colorful othered selves. But, too white to play Tonto, Tonto? Mmm-hmm, I see. We are discussing Tonto, of the Lone Ranger fame? A character only barely a step up from Stepin' Fetchin' and people are pissed some 100% Actual Indian actor didn’t get the part – assuming there was ever an audition? Uh huh, yes I see, and what 100% Actual Indian actor would do a better job of acting in this “role”? I mean, aside from looking more “authentically Indian” than Depp and assuming they have the mass appeal (I didn’t say skill…) that Depp has especially for a Bruckheimer piece of crap film?
A ridiculous list was suggested on Newspaper Rock by one of their many commentors (we have no commentors here. HA!). Let’s assume, for shits and giggles, we have a say in the casting of this role and since this role doesn’t require much skill (assuming Depp is provided the opportunity to creatively re-interpret Tonto for a new millennium in which case that would require some skill) my vote is for Adam Beach! No contemporary Indian actor turns out a consistently wooden performance like Beach does! And no Indian in cinematic history was more woodenly than Jay Silverheel’s Tonto. If wood is required Adam Beach can deliver!
As for the other Native actors suggested: Gary Farmer is too damn fine an actor to even consider something so ridiculous, not to mention he is too old and big! Nathan Chasing Horse?! Ugh! He can’t act his way out of a sopping wet paper bag and he’s too tall. Eddie Spears is too tall and too young; Steve Reevis is too old and too short. Nathan Arcand has already been there, done that, but I’m sure he’d like another crack, but that will never happen because he looks too Asian (LOL).
No, my vote, if I had one (which none of us do), is for Adam Beach – the most easily digestible, consistently boring, marketable Indian actor not really working today.
In conclusion: if Indians, and friends of Indians, really wanted to protest this film they could – by writing letters to the production company, forwarding vicious, but smartly pointed blogs and news stories deriding the actual making of this film (I think we can agree that it shouldn’t be made at all), and by shaming Johnny Depp into refusing the role. He’s a sensitive guy after all. He would probably drink himself silly and cry if he knew his fellow Indians were up in arms about him not being Indian enough to play a stereotypical Indian in a dumb ass film version of a dumb ass television show most of us are too young to remember ever existing save for people bitching about it on forums and blogs.
Mah gootness, I am having way too much fun being unemployed in New York City!
I was stressing out about finances but now realize the vast potential of sitting on my ass reading other people’s blogs all day because then I can comment on them here on Longviews. As stated elsewhere we have decided to play linksies, the blogosphere’s version of footsies, with Newspaper Rock – a subsidiary of Rob Schmidt’s long standing Blue Corn Comics website. Evidently that guy has plenty of time to comb the ‘Net for any ole thing related to Indians and their crossing of culture shananigans.
Seems Tamar Cornelius, Oneida, had her a nice little vacay en el Isla del Encanto and got all encantada with the mofongo. She’s also engaged to a Papì Chulo who has the same last name as me! OMG, OMG, OMG could we be related?! If so, would I get a discount on the roast pork cracklings with famed P.R. delicacy – mayonaise and Thousand Island Dressing dipping sauce?! Chances are pretty slim ’cause Puerto Ricans are notoriously stingy and even worse restaurant owners!
Actually I am shocked to hear anyone not visiting the island due to family obligations say they enjoyed the local cuisine. Surely she must have got a taste of home cooking from her fiance’s abuelita’s crib ’cause I know from experience if she went to a restaurant they damn sure didn’t serve her anything that miraculous. Moreover, they probably took her plate away, half full insisting her ass was done, and to pay up and jet ’cause the waitstaff got better things to do than serve paying customers. Like, yo, stand around waiting for more customers to not pay attention to and/or rush them out of the restuarant but also insisting on a good tip. You can see I have had some bitter experiences, can’t you?
Try and rush me…got food still on the fork, mid-bite, carajo!
Tamar goes on to relate how her benign tribe helped her out with a loan so she could bring some flavor to an otherwise flavorless Green Bay Wisconsin. I have been to Green Bay, yo…trust me…flavorless. Anyway, I was doubly shocked to read that shizz ’cause ery’body knows you do not lend money to Puerto Ricans, and since she’s about to hitch up with one, that counts her in. I mean, fo real, you will see that cheddar go up in a firey liquid not unlike flambed’ bananas of the plantain variety, muy maduro, you can bet! But damn, it makes me sad cause like after I read that bit I was like, “Damn, see? That’s why the Indians got shafted by the man?! They are too damn trusting and/or they like to gamble too damn much!”
‘Cause seriously, a Puerto Rican restaurant run by an Oneida Indian is like a bingo hall run by a Pakistani, it ain’t gonna amount to much. No wait, yeah if the Pakistani ran the bingo hall it would make a profit. Scratch that! If the bingo hall was run by a Puerto Rican it damn straight wouldn’t net a dime, but the place would be bouncin’ with the rum flowin’ and the dice rollin’ and the booty girls with big hoop earrings bouncin’ to J Lo screamin’ “Por dios, caray, I said muthafuckin’ Jota Siete.” And then someone would go berserk throwing over the long banquette table shrieking, “Bizz-Ningo Biotches!”
The shit would be off the chain, yo, but make money? Fuck nah, but it’d be hella fun for a month or two.
Another thing Ms. Oneida mentioned was a “surprisingly strong Oneida/Puerto Rican connection.” Seriously?
What might this “surprisingly strong” connection be other than a love of deep fried pork chops, in Lard no less, and salty pork roast? In fact, Puerto Ricans have a near pathological (surprisingly strong?) love of pork. So this might be what she’s talking about cause damn the Ricans love some pork! On the other hand, Puerto Rican men are known to be saavy (but swift) lovers, gettin’ all initmated with every nook and cranny of a woman’s frame. To prove it Ms. Oneida already gave birth to her first mini J Lo! See? Swift, yo!
Whatever the case may be their little casita de cosina quisqueya saw a boom in business within a week of being open. Good for them! However that was back in late September when this news item first appeared. It’s December and we’re in the middle of an economic crisis. I’m feeling skeptical about their financial prospects right about now. I mean, it’s hard times everywhere and Green Bay is kinda vanilla, if you know what I mean. People there may not readily turn to an extra large order of mofongo in a time of crisis, not like they would here in my neighborhood, but you never know? Maybe that surprisingly strong connection Tamar feels exists between Oneida people and Boricuas is a mutual love of greasy comfort food and ferocious family bonds, especially in dire straits. Let’s hope, at this time of year, they are getting extra helpings of both.
Incidentally, who is Indian and who is not is always a topic of debate at Newspaper Rock. I wonder what they’d say about Tamar’s baby girl, Galilea? Is she Indian or Puerto Rican? Will it depend on what she looks like when she gets older? Boricuas tend to be swarthy and dark skinned, you know, with some kinky hairs! Will it depend on what she looks like or whether she qualifies by blood to enroll in her mother’s tribe? Or will it depend on how she views herself within both cultures? If so, does she then have to choose one or the other? If not than how will both co-exist within her own subjective narrative? On the other hand what if she doesn’t want them to co-exist? What if she rejects her Indianness opting to identify solely as a Puerto Rican?
My god, I hope she doesn’t do that! Ain’t no good financial aid benefits for Puerto Ricans. She better stick to being Indian. It’s a hella lot better financial and cultural choice!
We’re branching out to bring more newsy items and pop commentary by lifting (err linking) to Newspaper Rock – a blog maintained by Rob Schmidt – creator of Blue Corn Comics. He’s always got an interesting angle on the goings-on in Indian Country, including that one to the South of us. I found this story HILARIOUS!
There may be chaos in South Ossetia, a looming, uber-dramatic US presidential election on the horizon, and a female Vice-Presidential candidate with a love for guns and Yup’ik Indians, but the only politics I want to talk about are from 2006.
Today Jack Abramoff was sentenced to four years in a federal prison. Little Jack was convicted in 2006 on charges of fraud, conspiracy to bribe public officials, tax-evasion and all-around naughtiness in connection with a defrauding scheme to dupe casino-rich Indian tribes and encourage former congressional staffers to violate a one-year lobbying ban. In addition to his jail time, the former Capitol Hill power-lobbyist was also ordered to pay $23 million in restitution to his former tribal clients. Is there a payment plan involved with this, I wonder? It better not involve wire transfers, because Jack cannot be trusted with those. In fairness to Abramoff, his public apology and address to the judge did seem genuinely contrite. But then again, what other choice did he have? One doesn’t expect him to appear in court wearing a ten-gallon hat and laughing like Yosemite Sam with $1000 Choctaw poker chips spilling from his pockets. That would be really awesome, but I’d hardly expect it.
There is one thing to thank Abramoff for; (other than some really good Daily Show episodes) his tentacled scandal led to a massive investigation on lobbying practices in a then GOP-governed House and Senate.
[Dolores Jackson, a member of the Saginaw Chippewa, and apparently the only Indian that Abramoff didn't rip off. Or maybe she's on his payroll. p.s. I want that t-shirt]
McClatchy Newspapers states that “when Abramoff pleaded guilty in 2006, as many as half a dozen lawmakers, including former Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (love him!) of Texas and Rep. John Doolittle of California, were said to be under scrutiny for their dealings with his former lobbying firm, Greenberg Traurig. Prosecutors have convicted 10 people, including five former congressional staffers, former Interior Deputy Secretary Steven Griles, former Justice Department lawyer Robert Coughlin and former Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio.”
This shakedown, a direct result of Abramoff’s seedy lobbying practices, resulted in the complete turnover of Congress in the 2006 election year. Granted, the Democrats now in office haven’t done much of anything and some of them have probably been hitting on underage House pages, but at lease they get to fill those fancy seats instead of some easily-swayed-by-free-golf-trips Republican, right? (I should probably visit factcheck.org before stating any of the latter.)
Anyway, in the fall of 2006, NAICA did an overzealous (and probably misinformed) exposé on the adventures of Little Jack and his friends on Capitol Hill. It is very long, grammatically incorrect at times, and much too campy. But it does have ridiculously Photoshopped pictures, which is something the Washington Post has really been dropping the ball on recently. Check it out!
So it has taken me a while to cobble some sort of critique of the Amazonia Brasil exhibit that’s down at the South Street Seaport now until July or something.
What can I say about it except it was a multi-media fiasco of diorama sized proportions. Literally. Dioramas your kid could probably make, though maybe not a detailed, proliferated throughout the large space as well as potted plants packed close together along thie sides of the river/forest-dioramaii. Ensconced within the lush-like confines of the foliage were card board cutouts of the Native peoples who were supposed to have been part of the whole shebang. At least according to a press release I had read on the Seaport website. Well, maybe they could get visas? I, for one, was diappointed. it truly was an under-whelming experience since I along with NAICA contributing writer and resident anthropologist, Logan Green paid $16.00 dollars to enter, but not before a vaguely Indian looking Latina prompted us to go all the way through to the back where the giftshop was located. Ahhh but of course there would be a giftshop! And come to find out this “giftshop” was really a separate store that sold trinkets and such purchased for pennies from the Native peoples of the beleaguered rainforest. It would probably not come as a surprise but that shit was expensive!
I bought a necklace.
I felt bad for ten minutes. It’s a pretty cool necklace made from some shell or another. I feel like an asshole. Worse than a tourist.
Anyway, a booze cruise (a cruise ship you pay to float around on and drink ’til you puke) had just docked to let off it’s white Jersey-drunk inhabitants who made idiotic comments about the jungle and their “jungle fever” which could only be squelched by more “jungle juice.”
Logan and I would later see this same group of morons getting even more drunk at a bar in the mall, also along Pier 17.
See how convenient it is to visit the Amazon, purchase some khaki shorts at Banana Republic and get drunk at a happy hour in one of several drinking establishments? Lower Manhattan Commercial developers have thought of nothing but your pleasure: conveniently located exoticism coupled with cheap alcohol and sweatshop attire = An all-American good time.
For more of the horrible exhibit visit our gallery page up top. If you have a conscience of any kind you will feel disgusted too.
A recent Yahoo news item trumpeted the discovery of an Amazonian tribe who have had no contact with the outside world. Judging from this photograph they’d like to keep it that way. For more from the assholes who undoubtedly were flying in the plane from which these images were taken go here: Source.