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.

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. It's unfortunate the character got wrapped up in all the rest of the racism in the movie.
  • 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.

Meta Minute

  • 34:34 podcast episode length.
  • 8-DAY-GREEDO call from Bob, 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."

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.

Link

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


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