But when I grew up, I put my childish ways behind me–except… don’t take my favorite stories away… I love them–way more than I love love.
Bruh. Sis. This will be a long one. And given our current proclivities for short attention spans, I’ll divvy this thing up in multiple parts.
Here’s my thesis:
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a crappy/classic movie that can help reveal something about Trumpism and America’s flavor of absurdity.
If you agree, that’s cool. If you don’t, then this one may be a hard read. I’m not here to review the movie. And neither am i here to disparage one man. I am looking for the cultural, social, and spiritual cues that make Trumpism so familiar—even the absurd cues.
Raiders of the Lost Ark is an exceptional movie and so is The Last Crusade. But the Temple of Doom sucks. It doesn’t deserve me to go back and italicize it. Don’t believe me? Watch this.
Ooh wee, playa! I loved that movie as a kid!!! Loved it. But somehow, the older I got, the less I liked and watched it. And now, I know why. But it’s hard to put your childhood away, especially Indiana Jones. It’s hard to let go of your childhood. Ask Myka Jackson.
Again, this blog is not dedicated to a review of that movie. No. This post is like last year’s look at the Wrath of Khan; this is a post that seeks to satirically (quite playfully and seriously) reflect upon how something as mundane as a movie reveals to us why “Make America Great Again” and Trumpism resonates so deeply for so many. As deep as childhood.
Given that this post will be tackling a complex cultural phenomenon and a beloved American Cinematic Icon, my uphill climb is steep. But… Snipes’ Blade diagnosed my syndrome years ago. I have the “MF-Who-Loves-to-Ice-Skate-Uphill” Syndrome.
The following are brief observations where Temple of Doom and Trumpism overlap. While I am not suggesting a movie has the “pull” of a president, nor am I saying by a longshot that the Temple of Doom fully explains and/or caused Trump’s election—I do believe it is dangerous to not recognize how movies and people and stories symbolize, edify, and maintain spiritual, interpersonal, and social relationships.
Let’s. Get. It. Started. I’m about to get stupid crazy.
Buddy buddy, if Dr. Strangelove satire is too much for you–DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER.
Wait… y’all seen Strangelove?
That’s my only warning, brothers and sisters.
The Academic Who Is Never at School…
At least Raiders and Crusade had “Dr.” Jones at a university–though he taught but didn’t meet with students or grade papers… Hmmmmm…. So he had the social look of a professor but didn’t want to do the grunt work of the job? Interesting. But that’s not what it means to get a Ph.D in archaeology anyway–it means going on adventures to save the world–and tossing paper towels to Puerto Ricans like you’re shooting sports memorabilia at a NBA game. And that’s what Temple of Doom gave us. A professor/archaeologist who was away from the university the entire movie yet using his PhD skills to punch folks, retrieve artifacts, release children from slave labor, battle against the “occult,” chop a bridge in half, and, of course, survive Willie.
You see, you don’t need qualifications to save the world. Ask Jesus. Most of it is on the job training anyway. Things like “Dr.” and “archaeologist” are not necessary to the plot; they are superfluous glosses. You don’t need to see his identification. Ask some preachers. Being a professor is boring anyway; there’s a world to save, and as all professors know, grading sucks, office hours are for losers, and sabbaticals are easily (🙄🙄🙄) doled out… unless Indy goes on all these adventures during summer break or has travel grants for days. Indy is a scientist without the science, a professor without the grading, and president without the paperwork.
That’s not in the job description. The fact that a president is too close to a lecturer and that he talks about paperwork is BORING. Indiana Jones spends too much time in the White—I mean at the University.
Get out there Indy and meet some aliens and a kid you never knew while you were sowing your royal oats. That’s your job. Tweet your way to victory.
Make the Kingdom of the Cryst—oh HELL NAW…. I mean…
Make the Temple of Doom Great Again.
Patriarchy and Misogyny: Willie
Let’s get this out of the way. The character of “Willie” is horrible.
I’m not saying that Kate Capshaw is a terrible woman or a horrendous actress. I am talking about the character of “Willie.” Coming off of Raiders and Star Wars, her character makes little sense after the last two blockbusters where Harrison Ford played opposite of a woman named Leia–“I’m choking this cat Jabba the Hut to death for dressing me up in this damn sex slave $h!t”–Organa and Marion–“I’ll drink any dude under the bus and eff you Indy, I’ll save my own damn self”–Ravenwood. How you go from them two women to Willie?
Other than haphazardly saving Jones from poisoning, mid-flight betrayal, and Spike-Deathtrap–“We. Are. Going. TO DIE!”–1000 (BCE)… what does she bring to the table? Even Elsa told Indy the Grail wouldn’t be made of gold… before this happened…
Oh well, there was always Venice.
Intentional or not, Lucas and Spielberg made Willie woman a walking manifestation of the patriarchal and misogynistic gaze upon the female body. She entertains. She screams. She’s fickle. She screams. She doesn’t fight. She bites her fist then screams. (No. Really. She does.) She complains. She screams. She’s a sex object. She screams. She shadow boxes while Short Round and Indy fight. She screams.
What are those images–in frequent repetition–supposed to communicate?
And before Indy and Willie kiss, she gets frickin’ lassoed around the waist with Indiana’s whip. Lassoed with a whip at the end of the movie. So after a movie where a woman is shown to be symbolically weak, annoying, and incessantly screaming… she is lassoed close to the male protagonist–with a weapon used to tame animals and beat slaves– just so he can kiss her.
Ah… What was it again?
“They just let you do it. Grab ’em by the p****”
Make the Temple of Doom Great Again
© 2017 M. J.Sales