Bamboozled Prep Writings

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2 thoughts on “Bamboozled Prep Writings

  1. Moritz Christ

    Bamboozled

    Bamboozled is a satire in form of a modern day minstrel [sic] show by Spike Lee. In the movie Spike Lee shows a film producer who is black and member of the upper middle class. He is constantly stereotyped by his white boss upon common black stigma on the other hand his boss, who acts like most people would stereotype blacks in today’s society. It is interesting to see how Spike Lee reverses the stereotypical stigma. Even more controversy occurs when the producer’s puts on a modern day mistral show that is performed by black actors who put on black face and lipstick. The mistral shows are almost identical remakes of those held in the 20’s or30’s and are degrading to blacks. Throughout the movie the actors struggle with their identity and how they represent their ethnicity by delivering society with a social stigma they drew out for their (African American) ethnicity. This to me, is Spike Lee’s main argument. Bamboozled is a critic to modern day society as it is a critic to black artists themselves. In the preparations leading up to this class I watched the video in which young rapper Jasari X talks about how his pears are making themselves a product of a social image, that is painted and commonly practice in our society. To Jasari X they are degrading women, talking about making drug deals, killings and obeying the law as their lifestyle. Jasari X also claims that in their music videos they portray themselves with big smiles and other menstrual show characteristics. Jasari X says as well as Spike Lee, (and I agree) that this is a misrepresentation of a community that sells a stereotype set by our modern day society and elements of menstrual shows are still evident in movies and music videos today. This stereotypical stigma is very well an issue as black girls struggle with their appearance. Society tells them that a light-skinned skin color is supposed to be pretty. It is not only the darkness of skin and style of hair that is illustrated in societal norms that most likely discriminate against black women. The rooting of the influence society has on our perception of black reaches such extend, that black children were presented with two dolls. One doll was white and the other was black. The black kids all grabbed the white doll. When asked why they chose the white doll, most replied with “because it is pretty”. When asked why they didn’t choose the black one, they said: “because it was bad.” That to me is very concerning as the kids judged the dolls character due to its skin color. That’s a societal perception rooted in our society that needs to be addressed as it is just plain wrong in my point of view.

    Interesting Quotes from the reading:

    “More specifically, White’s critique of the film’s political incoherency and shrill didactics is connected explicitly to the film’s lack of human characters”

    “By confusing issues of showbiz representation and career ethics through his inherent inconsistency and apoplexy, Lee’s films hinder and exacerbate rather than clarify. He distorts the blackface topic so that viewers leave angered and perplexed” (White 13)”

    “While Spike Lee himself intends to advance a humanist project that would critique the inhumanity of the stereotype, Mitchell points to the ways in which the power of blackface and racial stereotype exceeds all intentional control”

    “The stereotype, in other words, persists “to exceed all the strategies of containment that are bought to bear on them—including Spike Lee’s own opinions about them”

    “Thus while blackface is regularly decried as being dehumanizing, in Bamboozled blackface is not the negation of the human nor of humanism.”

    “WHY DOESN’T LEE get due acknowledgment as a new-tech filmmaker? Is it because reporters and editors are tired of the digital film story? Lee is using the low-fi technique to get around the financing hurdles that strangled him in the past.” (This is also a question I would like to ask)
    Questions about Bamboozled:

    Is Spike Lee right, should black performers oppose rolls that discriminate or display a stereotypical view of blacks?

    It is evident that there is a clear stigma of blacks in the United States but how can it ever be changed? (Can and if how, can society change it?)

    Is there a white stereotype, and does it have to counteract the blacks? (Imagine seeing the producer and his writer, did it make you feel awkward, why?)

    It is obvious that Spike Lee’s movie is a satire, but satire is used to raise awareness for a present issue, how/why did Lee use this element successfully to get his message across?

    Would you give up supporting a group or artist, who’s work you enjoy, to prevent a stereotypical misrepresentation of your race or people?

  2. After reading part 1 of Blackface Minstrelsy and Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, I thought there were some great points. One point that I thought was interesting was what many people believed would happen if this film were to fail because of the result of a furtive humanism that Lee tries to escape. Many thought that the film reminded the audience of the black bodies and black culture without offering the audience with an alternative or solution to decrease racism or stereotyping. For me this will be my first time watching Bamboozled which makes me sad because I have viewed most of Lee’s movies, I excited to see how many critics believe that Lee only captures one’s humanity in this film. When I think of some of the arguments from that are associated with this film they are racism, lack of human characters, inconsistency and apoplexy. One argument is that Spike distorts the blackface topic of racism so that viewers are angered and perplexed while watching his films, which made me think about one of his films called “Do the Right Thing” which in the whole movie Lee showed hate towards the other race groups. In conclusion I thought the readings were very interesting and I am looking forward to watching the movie in class. I really feel like Spike Lee is a great director that brings out racial images in most of his movies in fact one of my favorite movies by Lee is called Jungle Fever which was racially driven through interracial relationship.

    Quotes
    “fly in the buttermilk”
    “works most profoundly and effectively on the levels of excess and affect”
    “think about the power of images”

    Questions
    Was Spike Lee’s movie inconsistent as some believed?
    Was Solan the most sympathetic and the most intelligent character as Lee believed?
    What were the good and bad things about this movie?

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