Phantom Menace Minute 45: Racially Unfortunate

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Date

January 22, 2016

Summary

Qui-Gon walks in, and Watto and Anakin join him.

Guests

Dan Telfer

Notes

Film

  • Starts with Shmi agreeing to let Ani enter the podrace. Ends with Watto saying that Ani smashed his pod.
  • We finally leave the Skywalker kitchen.
  • Trailer line: "trusting our fate to a boy we hardly know."

Podcast

Racism

  • Dan is familiar with Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, but didn't think of Watto as a racist caricature until he read it in an article after the movie.
    • It's a bit of a stretch to impose a hook-nosed archetype on Toydarians. He doesn't really look like any kind of human.
  • The Nemoidians and Jar Jar are much worse. The accents are actively offensive.
  • Watto is actually a pretty layered character and a better "actor" than many of the humans in this movie. It's unfortunate the character got wrapped up in all the rest of the racism.
  • George Lucas isn't openly racist, but he is extremely privileged and so he is more racially unfortunate.
    • His defense is that he didn't intend any racial insensitivity, and if you interpret it as racist, that's your own prejudice showing through.
    • This is a very facile argument and is an insultingly privileged take on things.
  • Women in the Prequels are criminally underused and terrible characters which are treated like trash. Even the strongest among them is a figurehead.
    • There's no "Princess Leia" of the Prequels.
  • Does Qui-Gon know that Padmé is the Queen? Should he (because of the Force, which Pete does not believe in, or because of basic detective work)?
  • We really wish that Anakin was old enough to drive the plot, rather than be simply dragged around by circumstance.
  • We never see Anakin and Obi-Wan as good friends. They never show us this relationship.
    • Referenced: Game of Thrones.
  • Qui-Gon has a little holographic image of the ship. If they have that, then why do they need Artoo here?
  • They probably got the rockets and other upgrades for Artoo here on Tatooine.
  • Is Anakin actually good at podracing?
    • Referenced: Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Our favorite podracer is Gasgano.
  • Watto's sense of humor is slightly off. Maybe his jokes are lost in translation. We'll hear an example of this next week.
  • Why do most of the aliens look vaguely human (like Star Trek)? So many aliens just basically have dreadlocks.

Meta Minute

  • 34:34 podcast episode length.
  • 8-DAY-GREEDO call from Bob Koester, husband of former guest of the show Tasha Robinson. When they first saw the movie, a little boy in the theater got upset and shouted that the movie wasn't Star Wars. Maybe he was on to something. The lesson here is that Star Wars is supposed to be fun, and the moral of The Phantom Menace is that a little boy who sees things before anyone else can presents a problem that no one knows how to solve.
  • Referenced: Obi-Wan's line "...another pathetic lifeform."
  • Shaak Ti and Ahsoka Tano are Togruta from Shili.
  • See minute 32 for a discussion of the terms Naboo vs. Nubian.

Quotes

  • Dan: I love Watto 100%. Alex: Zero qualms at all. Dan: Zero. Alex: You are a racist.
  • Dan: Who are you, insanely rich white dude, to be like "You're the racist—" No, no. History would prove otherwise.
  • Dan: I want to know who THAT alien is, and I want to know who THAT alien is, and I'm mad that I want to know.
  • Pete: My bumps are on my nose.

Link

http://www.starwarsminute.com/2016/01/22/phantom-menace-minute-45-racially-unfortunate/


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