June 25th, 2016


(no subject)

Tonight I got to watch "Free State of Jones." I suppose there are SPOILERS here, but not really anything I didn't heavily suspect from the trailer.

It's a well-executed, well-told historical drama. Lots of pathos and tragedy, not too trite, and reasonably true to history - really not a bad introduction to Reconstruction and the Klan. It's entirely possible to enjoy it at that level. The problem for me is I couldn't quite turn off my brain.

The story centers on a white man conscripted into the Confederate army. He watches a young boy die and then deserts because "no man ought to tell another what he ought to live for, or what he ought to die for." Eventually he escapes into the swamp and leads a band of runaway slaves, deserters and criminals, and generally folks who want to be out of reach of the Confederate Army. It's all very egalitarian, and libertarian - focusing on the freedom to make your own choices, profit from your labor.

Problem is, it's nowhere near that simple. I'd love to dig into just how the movie violates libertarian principles of justice and shows why at least Nozick's version of libertarianism falls on its faxe, which is a big problem if your theme is why can't we all live together, recognize we're all the same, and live off the land? The more visceral problwm, though, is it almost forces the plot to dip into white saviors and the whole mammy motif. Jones's dream really only worked --to the extent it did-- for whites living off their whiteness.

Perfect cap to the movie was seeing a movie poster on my way out, with Matthew McConaughey and his face coated in grime. Not quite blackface, but even so...

Don't mean to ruin it for everyone else. Probably quite good if you don't over think it, and it was nice to lose myself in it for a bit. It bothered me a bit, though. This is how I redeem that.