Orientalism in Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones is an iconic movie series with the premise of a professor with a duty to find and preserve ancient relics found all over the world. Most of the relics are found around the middle east, and some are in India as well. This is not about the relics, however, rather its about the surrounding environment and how the locals of the countries that Jones visits are portrayed. There is in fact a high contrast within the movies; from the “civilized” western universities to the “Exotic” middle eastern palaces, which is also the case for the people that Jones encounters.

In the movies, there are two things that stand out about the locals that Jones meets.: Their stereotyped personality and the poor choice of cuisine that the directors choose to represent them. In “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, almost every single non-British person that Jones encounters always seems to be senseless in their actions, whether it be a crippling addiction towards acquiring wealth/power, or extremely predatory behavior towards Jones’ lover. It seems that the producers almost had this as the main instructions for the actors, because it became noticeable how repetitive this behavior was. As for the food, you can see people eating some of the most gut-wrenching and unappetizing things to ever lay your eyes on. The dinner scene in the same movie featured many snakes and insects, as well as monkey brains, which the server claimed as “traditional Indian cuisine”. These things were done mainly in order to dehumanize the unfamiliar so that Jones would seem like more of a liberator of the relics he acquires.

How King Lear Portrays a Loss of Power as a Loss of Sanity.

Throughout his play, Shakespeare’s King Lear shows multiple scenes of acute loss of power in an individual, weather its Edgar being forced out by a false accusation from Edmund, or Lear giving up his kingdom to his daughters, just to be shunted by them in the next act. These examples do not complete the list of power struggles, but are great examples of men so dependent on the power they hold, when they lose that power, they lose grasp on themselves. Take Lear for example, the moment he realizes that he holds no power or status over his daughters or the dukes, he almost instantly starts acting out of control, weather its begging to let him stay or insulting every person that lays eyes on him. Lear in this case firmly believes he can still get what he wants because he was the one that gave the power he held to his daughters. Lear’s hope quickly fades, however, as he is kicked out of Cornwall’s estate and sent to fend for himself in for the storm. From there, the hole that his loss of power formed becomes much more apparent.

Lear begins scene II of act III by challenging the storm to hit him with everything you got, in which he is half pretending to hold power over the storm, whilst being torn apart by it. When Lear continues by emphasizing that he does not need the cruel hospitality of his daughters, and even refuses basic shelter, it becomes clear that his void of power has escalated into his own self deprecation, in which he believes that he is nothing without the power that he once held, and is going mad over it. later in the act, Lear begins to talk like the fool, as if its his destiny for a powerless man like him to become the new fool. Its not just a loss of power that causes Lear to end up like this, but rather his dependency on power in order to give him his conciseness.

Stop Hiding

Produced and sung by Mos Def and Talib Kweli, who refer to themselves as “Blackstar”, The song “Thieves in the Night” was released on September 29, 1998 and is their 12th track in their debut album. The song represents and inquiry of how life is like in the hoods of New York, in which the style of the song is much like a spoken word performance.

In the first verse, Talib Kweli Starts by referencing Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest eye” in which he asks the black community why their priorities and cultural understandings are determined by the white community. He then goes on to state that the neglect from the government until someone within the community commits a crime, then their entire population is shaped by the authoritative figure in order to “create crime rates to fill the new prisons they built“. Its a short verse, but Talib Kweli’s speaking makes sure that every word in every stanza means something different on every aspect of the black communities trials and tribulations.

In the second verse, Mos Def examines the way people within his community act like nothing is wrong with their state of life and where they are.

“A lot of jokers out running in place, chasing the style,

A lot going on beneath the empty smile”

The lines above summarizes the rest of the verse that Mos Def constructs, In which he also explains that the black community is forced into a personality of happy go-luckiness so that authoritative figures could ignore them entirely. Mos Def’s entire verse ties in to the chorus and the whole meaning of this song:

Not strong, only aggressive, not free, we only licensed
Not compassionate only polite, now who the nicest
Not good, but well behaved
Chasing after death so we can call ourselves brave?
Still living like mental slaves
Hiding like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis making you look twice
Hiding like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis making you look twice”

This Chorus is a summation of what the black community has to put up with in order to not be the focus of the government and the policing system. Mos Def and Talib Kweli put together a song that clearly this all in the style of spoken word/poetry. They don’t specifically say that but they refer to that as if they were adding pieces of a puzzle.

What does it mean?

Meursault has clearly given up on life’s meaning because he no longer has enthusiasm towards things that would make any sane person feel emotion. The entirety of the book Meursault’s expression and tone seems to just feel uninterested in the things around him. No amount of passion or happiness or anger around him would change the course of his mood at all. This is due to the fact that Meursault has engraved into his mind that life gives no meaning whatsoever from a very young age.

When Marie asks Meursault to marry her, there is an expectation that he feels some kind of emotion, whether it’s happiness or sorrow doesn’t matter as long as he resolves his overarching existential crisis. Instead, he only gets married because Marie wants to, NOT because he wants to as well. It’s such a doomed to fail relationship between the two, because while Marie would put full effort into their relationship, Meursault would just say “whatever” and continue his business.  Meursault has this tendency to just give a green light to any request that comes his way. It doesn’t matter if he feels a certain way about their request, he just allows it to happen. He is oddly content with anything he disapproves of and will only subtly shake his head.

An Uninteresting Life

In the first part of the novel “The Stranger”, Meursault confronts one of the Arabs that had been following Raymond with a pistol. Despite having more than enough opportunities to just tell them to back off or put the pistol away, Meursault opens fire, killing the Arab. After this scene in the book, part one ended, and I was left with a realization. Meursault had been doing things for no particular reason, other than to see what would happen. He didn’t care about the possible consequences, most likely because he wanted to spice up the unseasoned chicken that his life was.