Not on my watch, kemosabe

THE LONE RANGER

3SR: The Lone Ranger is a perfect example of why diversity in all industries is vital – because without it White Middle Class Guys drowning in their own senses of entitlement and privilege thought it was OK to make this film.

Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Ruth Wilson, Tom Wilkinson, Barry Pepper, William Fichtner and Armie Hammer.

Directed by Gore Verbinski.

Written by Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Justin Haythe.

Action, adventure, family, western. 2hr 29mins. M for violence.

No stars

The more I think about it, the angrier I get. The Lone Ranger is a racist, nasty apology for genocide dressed up as a children’s film. Full stop.

Native Americans are some of the most chronically underrepresented, overlooked, silenced, ostracized and forgotten indigenous people in the world. In the US Congress of 535 members there are only two that identify as Native American. Two, and they are both Republicans.

That the insidious, damaging, and willfully ignorant notion of Native Americans as a dying race, the noble savages, is the overt subtext of this film is just lazy stereotyping based on Hollywood cliches.

It’s not a smart, modern reboot of that classic tale. It smacks of reducing a collection of hundreds of languages, cultural practices and traditions down to an easily packaged mono-culture for our entertainment.

Depp, in full “Injun” regalia in a museum exhibit labeled, actually labeled, Nobel Savage, is sickening when you know Native American’s struggle to get access to adequate health care, education and recognition every day because they are not fucking museum exhibits, they are oppressed people.

If you still can’t understand what’s so bad about Johnny “I guess I’m Indian, somewhere back there” Depp playing a Comanche, imagine he was playing an African American. How would you feel then?

The skin colour, cultural trappings and traditions of indigenous people are not a fucking costume.

So basically, long story short, I implore you not to see this film. I regret seeing it, myself, my only consolation is I didn’t pay.

ADDENDUM: Having said all this, it’s not fair to overlook the incredible attention to detail, the exquisite action set pieces and the overall lushness of this film.  No bones about it, it’s stunning.  But that just adds salt to the already scabrous, pus-weeping wound. Imagine how awesome it’d be if all that talent said something sensible and fresh about Native Americans, instead of the indigenous peoples’ version of a black and white minstrel show we got.


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