Friday, 26 December 2014
Gremlins: Diversity Comes to Christmas
The 1984 smash hit ''Gremlins'' is what many people perceive to be part of a sustained attack on Christmas by the ''Tribe'' who run Hollywood. Watching the film for the first time in years over this Christmas I had this in mind. The movie begins in a suburban utopia, it is the kind of town Traditionalists dream of creating, pretty much entirely White, conservative, homely and serene. A couple of oddballs pepper the populace such as the grumpy old hag, Mrs Deagle and Mr Futterman. Futterman is obsessed with ''foreigners'' and even believes, before they actually arrive, that foreigners are responsible for Gremlins destroying American technology. Our hero is the rather dusky looking Billy Peltzer, Billy is a nicer than nice down trodden type who has to support his family because his dad is a delusional dreamer who invents weird gadgets which always breakdown in amusing ways. Billy has a crush on local girl Kate who works in the bar and Judge Reinhold appears as a Waspish prick scheming his way up the ladder at the Bank where Billy works. The over zealous Traditionalist may object to these archetypes but they don't change the fact that the place where Gremlins is set is a very likable , but that was a crucial plot point for Joe Dante and Spielberg, it hurts us when it is trashed.
Billy's dad picks up the ''Mogwai'' in Chinatown and the contrast between the fresh aired and light hearted Americana is stark, Chinatown is mysterious and unfathomable, it belongs to a distant, alien and deeper culture, one which the White man can't comprehend in his crass materialism and dead eyed consumerism. Mogwai is Cantonese for monster. After some brief warnings the Mogwai is sold to the fat White man selling his technological junk which sprays gloop in his face. The warnings of course, go completely unheeded.
According to the Wikipedia entry on Gremlins African Americans and Leftists were angry about Gremlins whimpering:
'' In Ceramic Uncles & Celluloid Mammies, Patricia Turner writes that the gremlins "reflect negative African-American stereotypes" in their dress and behavior. They are shown "devouring fried chicken with their hands", listening to black music, breakdancing, and wearing sunglasses after dark and newsboy caps, a style common among African American males in the 1980s''
It could be that the eternal offence takers have a point here, after the small town idyll is established then what does it need if not some diversity to liven things up? It's interesting that the two characters who suffer worst, beside the token Black scientist, are Deagle and Futterman, the Wasp and the racist. This is worth exploring a little, yes the insane Left actually believe in the multicultural project and will defend its lunacy no matter what, but it is quite possible that watching an all White Town become engulfed in rape and looting gives some members of the Tribe a hearty satisfaction, when the news reports on the Gremlin rampage they refer to it as a ''riot''!. It is a Grem-out.
Gremlins also has a different mode of attack than actual feral aliens attacking small Town America, the ethical and moral view of Christmas itself is under attack. The girl who plays Billy's love interest ,Kate, is herself Jewish and in a disturbing monologue explains that Christmas alienates people, Billy farcically asks if she is ''Hindu'' but it turns out her dad tried climbing down the chimney, slipped and broke his neck, rotting inside the family home for days.
Gremlins is thus a pincer movement against small Town America, one is the introduction of violent and barbaric savages, the other the undermining of the festive season as exclusionary, as not being open to universal humanity. It is saying, understand us the out-group, or we, the out-group, will send the true forces of darkness upon you.
The movie ends with Mr Wing, the mysterious and deep Chinaman, giving a lecture on how Western civilization isn't ready, we don't listen, we watch TV and we are superficial zombies.
Perhaps he is right, but for all the wrong reasons.