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Blog 15

Wow! Number 15 already. I’ll use this post to discuss well as Martyrs of the Alamo….or The Birth of Texas as well as Levander’s speech. Moving chronologically…who was the man introducing the film in the beginning? I have no idea what message he was trying to get across other than the fact that we are about to witness the “furriest cast [we’ll] ever see.” But that is beside the point. I am still continuously amazed by the amount of pride so many seem to have for the state of Texas, despite its evident practices of slavery. As the white words fill the screen and glorious music played, I found myself thinking back to Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, and questioning the validity of some of these facts. And I’m no scholar when it comes to Texas history, but I am wondering how Griffith himself would have classified this film because it is certainly not all true. I have always been under the impression that Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was not an especially good leader, it was not his fault Texas and Mexico were in war. And not to oversimplify, but I thought the fact that Mexican law was against slavery and Texas government was for it was the primary reason for their aggression toward one another. But nonetheless, Griffith depicts the battle as being about everything other than slavery.

And this is exactly what Griffith did in Birth of a Nation as well. When that film is not ignoring blacks entirely, it is depicting them as unintelligent, violent animals attempting to rape women, whereas the white men are depicted as being patient, caring, and protective of their women. This film represents men in the same light. They are fighting for freedom while simultaneously protecting and reassuring their “lady love[s].” After killing Mexicans, they return home to embrace their beautiful wives. It’s truly painful to sit through a film so obviously racist, sexist, and all-around biased, but it teaches me something nonetheless. It is important to be cautious of the emphasis on “America’s magnanimity” depicted in many films and pieces of literature, because many authors have a tendency to stretch the truth. This movie, if presented as a satire on American patriotism, could be quite effective, but knowing Griffin’s past, I do not believe that is what he was going for.

As for Levander…I absolutely loved her speech even though I felt like a foreigner at times, needing to go back and repeat her statements in my head to fully grasp them. My only question/criticism involves her discussion on the classification of novels. She has a problem with novels being classified by nations because she believes in extending transnational borders, and I completely understand where she is coming from. My problem, though, is in her solution for that problem. She stated that she thinks we should, instead, classify literature in terms of sexuality of the writer. Maybe I am missing a key component of her logic, but I feel like that would not only make it more difficult to physically locate the literature, but also to understand. I feel as though we lose more by not knowing where a person comes from more so than we do in not knowing the gender of a certain writer. And in some instances, I would argue that it is beneficial for an author to remain gender-neutral. Not to sound too ignorant, but what ever happened to sorting literature by subject matter?

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