Sunday, September 3, 2017

Lost in the Shuffle

Art can be beautiful, amazing, terrifying, emotional, and a great many other things. What is most important is that art speaks to you, that it provokes an emotion or makes you think. So often we discount the whole because part of it is problematic. When you think about life in general we know that things are not always fair and just. By condemning it all and ignoring the rest we deny ourselves the parts that are enjoyable.

We all live within a shade of grey. No one is perfect no matter how much we may try. Expecting perfection in anything is a fool's pursuit. If you do this then you will constantly be disappointed in everything.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't point out things that are problematic and talk about why these things are harmful. I'm saying that we should also celebrate the things that are fantastic within the same scope and offer ways to improve. We can simultaneously talk about the things we love and hate about every piece of art we come into contact with.

The inspiration for this post is the film Birth of the Dragon. There is so much within this film to hate and love at the same time. The main message that I got out of this movie is fantastic and hypocritical at the same time. The fictional interpretations are laughably inaccurate and potentially offensive. The fight scenes are well choreographed and some of the best I have seen in a film so far this year.

One of the messages from the film that I enjoyed were that even a stubborn and ignorant person can be taught a lesson that may change the direction of their life. It is a long and difficult road to teach that lesson, but it can be done. There is a lot of hope that can be taken from that message especially in these times where many seem to celebrate ignorance.

The other message is that we should all think about how our lives touch and impact the life of everyone else. Every action we take should be moving toward making the world a better place for everyone. This message calls to me. I hope that I have a positive and inspirational impact on those around me. The makers of the film however did not take this lesson to heart. The fictional glue that they used to compose this story should have been more thoroughly thought out. If they had then they wouldn't have tried to whitewash the story by making the main character a white man enamored with an indentured Chinese woman. It doesn't make sense within the scope of the film to make him the main character in the first place. He ends up sharing equal time with the characters of Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man yet he is only used as a vehicle to push the story of the two real main characters.

The message is still valid and resonates deeply for me, but I also recognize the hypocrisy of the film itself that preaches one thing while doing something else. I will keep the message with me while rejecting the method that is used to project it.

This also leads me to the film Detroit which many user reviews blasted as being leftist political hype without seeing the film. To all of you who avoided the film, you missed out on a great film. For the most part the film is historically accurate based on first hand accounts of people who were there. If you think it is just fiction then I would invite you to use google to look up which parts are fictionalized.

I also encourage you all to experience art fully even if it is problematic for you. Embrace the parts you enjoy and reject the parts that are harmful. Seriously talk about what is problematic and why it is harmful while also celebrating anything positive you can pull from it as well. The more we can talk about things that are harmful and problematic the more awareness we can spread to others who don't see or understand it. Art, like the rest of us, lives in a grey area.

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