I suppose it's redundant to reiterate how ingenious it was for director Peele to select the vehicle of a horror/thriller to transport racially existential themes. In hindsight, it's an obvious, intuitive genre to use. But it turns out that Peele had the foresight to pinpoint the horrors of white supremacy and elaborate on them in a stylized cinematic way. Genre gimmicks abound in “Get Out” - zombified characters, caricatured archetypes, suspenseful plot points, carefully calculated missteps, violent crescendo, trick ending. There is a Hitchcockian sense of suspense and tension throughout the movie, but also nods and allusions to B movies, slasher films, 80s teen horror flicks – and yet the movie never seems cheap or derivative. Rather, it’s an elevated and cerebral psychological horror on par with Poe. It takes the thriller genre to a new zenith by infusing a plausible plot and refusing to showcase gratuitous gore. Rather, aggressive actions arise organically and are legitimized by context. All elements germane to the genre work in service to propel the plot of “Get Out” in an imaginative, if terrifying way. For what we are dealing with in "Get Out" is an evocation of modern-day slavery via hypnosis and a vicious eugenics. Peele is urging us to see how all we are all subtly but forcefully mesmerized by white supremacy and its myriad connotations and reverberations. He is laying bare all of our preposterous "post-racial" claims and turning them inside out to reveal a seedy, sleazy underside. I have long wrangled with the dilemma of how American society can disentangle itself from the dastardly web it's spun itself into regarding racial relations. And Jordan Peele's movie seems to reinforce my fears - that we are so deeply enmeshed in the maze of racial dysfunctions that we're better off just cutting loose from the labyrinth and starting over completely. But how do we dismantle white supremacy? By eradicating Caucasians? Obviously that's not possible or desirable. By further segregating the races? That’s already happening. We’ve been regressing for quite some time, as neighborhoods and schools self-segregate along racial lines. It would almost be justifiable if the situation did not always result in further suffering by people of color. The situation is urgent. Jordan Peele's movie is a clarion call (a cacophonous clarion call) to action. His movie suggests that we should be more aware of our own deep-seeded prejudices and the actions we and others take that might be loaded with sinister intention, even if superficially we think we are acting from an impetus of self-awareness and benevolence. For example, we might think that the justice system will ultimately "rehabilitate" the staggering number of black men caught up in it, without realizing that it's the system itself that caters to a white supremacist philosophy that deliberately thwarts black ascendancy. Lynching is no longer necessary when you have prison cages that will stifle the soul. The KKK’s fashion apparel is rendered anachronistic because the enforcers of Anglo
authoritarianism now wear plain clothes and operate in the light of day. Burning crosses in lawns, setting fire to churches, devising nooses, using whips and chains - these tools of repression have been replaced by laws that perpetuate poverty and injustice. A society hypnotized by the system that stymies are the unwitting servants of such putrid policies. American society needs to "get out" of its lethal Euro-centric ideology and fight the zombies of hateful hegemony. Editor’s Note: This review first appeared in a previous issue of Clockwise Cat; we are reprinting it because the movie should have won the Oscar - but Oscar be DUMB. !
! ! BOURGE-WISE CAT ! ! ISSUE 39: D
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TWO VISUALS BY DAVID RODRIGUEZ ! ME
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