Has Hollywood finally gone too far in their portrayal of Southern Americans as a bunch of ignorant, backwater racists? With the release of Straw Dogs - a remake of a movie originally set in in England, but recast and reset in Mississippi - they may have finally crossed the line.
Rape, murder, violence, and general mayhem - it's ironic that most of that takes places in urban America (think Los Angeles) and yet filmakers seem to want to set it anywhere but (perhaps so as not to destroy the illusion of blue-state perfection), and often choose places where they wish to believe racism and hatred is still hale and heary, despite lack of any supporting evidence. Usually, and in tune with Hollywood's overall intellectual laziness, they go the easy route, and set their vilest films in the Deep South, assuming that most Americans believe - as they do - that "Red States" are hotbeds of all that is dark and disturbing within our souls.
Well, for one, James Earl Jones is done with this crap - via the San Diego Reader:
...director Rod Lurie's remake of Straw Dogs is under fire from no less a personage than Darth Vader himself, James Earl Jones. Jones, who hails from Arkabutla, Mississippi, tweeted "@Straw Dogs' portrayal of MS as pervert hick backwater - bigoted much? #BoycottStrawDogs."
In a prepared statement, Jones argued that "Like many states in the South - indeed, like many states throughout America - Mississippi is not without its problematic elements. But the constant, unremitting media portrayal of Southerners and the South in general as a kind of moral and intellectual landfill is simply unconscionable. My good friend Morgan Freeman has a restaurant in Clarksdale, and it doesn't matter how many times he shows up on the Food Network or in the pages of Bon Appetit, he still can't get friends from Hollywood to stop by. They're too spooked by their own pernicious portrayal of our home state. Enough is enough."
And look who jumped on the bandwagon:
Sweet Home Alabama star Reese Witherspoon has weighed in: "@JamesEarlJones: the South will rise again! #BoycottStrawDogs."
Reese is from New Orleans, so maybe she knows the sting of the stereotype better than most. But it is interesting to see a young Hollywood starlet use a boycott "hash tag" in reference to another movie. Could get her in trouble out West. Guess she doesn't give a spit. Maybe she's a big fan of James Earl Jones. Or Morgan (gack!) Freeman.
Or maybe she is just sick to death of ignorant Hollywood folks - insulated whiners who lead incredibly segregated lifestyles - slagging the South for crimes not committed.
Either way, Reese is our Babe of the Day, as well as a living tribute to RS McCain's famous blogging theory known as Rule 5: