The Redheaded Kid Isn’t Going to See The Lone Ranger

As you recall, The Redheaded Kid spent a great deal of time thinking he was dying, and so he’s not our most concerned with details friend. When you think thirty is the end of the line, you don’t sit around worrying about a lot of shit that doesn’t pertain to you. So, it’s been interesting to watch him, so late in the game, suss out what kinds of things apart from the immediate concerns of life he’s going to be troubled by.

But, last night, we saw a commercial for The Lone Ranger and the Redheaded Kid got this weird look on his face and he said, “I just don’t think I can see that movie. I mean, it just seems like it’s making fun of Indians.” Then he kind of paused and he was like “Okay, I mean, that just seems old-school straight-up racist–a white guy pretending to be a ‘kookie’ Indian.”

And this made me kind of marvel. Because the Redheaded Kid finds racial humor funny. But he also said something which I’m not going to get right, so I’m just going to paraphrase, about needing to feel like the person or group whose the butt of a joke would also find it funny and not wrong or insulting. I think this is a kind of interesting way of thinking about it. Because you can immediately see how this would still lead to problems. A white person might be really wrong about what other people would find funny and not insulting. But I like that it centers empathy–that it’s an aesthetic standard that tries to take into account what it must be like to be the person the joke is about.

But I feel like the Redheaded Kid is about as close to Joe Average White Guy as you can come. He’s not very political. He’s not very concerned about being PC. And hearing his obvious discomfort with The Lone Ranger made me wonder just who is going to see that movie. If the Redheaded Kid is too squicked out to go, who’s left?

7 thoughts on “The Redheaded Kid Isn’t Going to See The Lone Ranger

  1. There are the people who are turned on by insults to other cultures and peoples. I know more than a few of those people. They eagerly seize any cultural artifact that encourages them to feel superior to women/blacks/Latinos/Arabs/you name it. Threats to that unearned assumption of superiority are anathemas.

  2. Depp in red-face was already giving me the heebie-jeebies about seeing this. But now that I’ve watched the trailer with the magical speedy/flying horse, I’m can tell the whole thing is just going to irritate the heck out of me.

  3. I’m not going to knock anyone who wants to watch Johnny Depp run around with his shirt off, even if it’s with a dead bird on his head. But I’m sitting it out, I think.

  4. Native Appropriations has a good overview of the issues with the design of the Tonto character for this flim:

    “needing to feel like the person or group whose the butt of a joke would also find it funny and not wrong or insulting” – I mean, that basically summarizes what everybody has been saying about how to tell rape jokes, that you can, but you need to aim it at the rapists rather than victims.

  5. I told Mr. Beale there was no way in hell I’d see that movie. The ludicrous visual effects (galloping horses atop a speeding train?) just seemed too over the top to me. Just make sci-fi and be done with it, please. I couldn’t tell about the making fun of Indians part. It sorta looked to me like Tonto was being presented as The Smart One in that twosome, and the Lone Ranger was the dufus. But I guess you have to see the movie to really tell.

    I was never a Lone Ranger fan as a kid. I always thought it was stupid that nobody recognized him with his “mask” — the “raccoon eyes” black swatch across his eyes. That’s not a mask, That’s an eye shade for sleeping with holes cut in it!

  6. Well, I loved him enough for both of us, Southern Beale. He was one of my favorite TV heros, along with Zorro and Jim Kirk.

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