Yesterday, someone shared this article with me:
And the comments were depressing. The part I hate the most is the self-delusional stuff. I can handle vigorous back and forth about substance, but virtue signalling and needing smelling salts is where it stops for me. From all the milquetoast, whitey white genteel “conservative” stand-for-the-anthem types it was all the same stuff. “My word, I just can’t believe that a watermelon has anything to do with race! The world is going crazy!” It’s important to note these are mostly late baby boomers and GenXers.
They are like Scarlett O’Hara lying on a couch being fanned after a fainting spell. They have no idea the purging pogrom that is coming if this stuff is not stopped. No one will escape it. If you have ever posted something online that looked like a watermelon, smelled like a watermelon or had the word “black” in it, you will be dismissed from polite society. It’s just not your turn yet.
Then, after the kids went to bed, “Die Hard” came on. And like a clarion call from the past, another 80’s movie was declaring–“there was another time.”
Let’s take a look, shall we. We will analyze the characters themselves.
Lets start with the white characters:
NYPD detective John McClain. Hero/protagonist. NY Cop, comes out to see if maybe he can patch things up with the estranged wife, Holly. He is a rebellious cop (“that’s what my captain keeps telling me”) but he gets the bad guys. He is probably less educated than his wife. John was most likely “wrong” in the argument that resulted in Holly moving out to the west coast, because stubborn men or something.
Holly. Most likely has an MBA (as evidenced by her job) to her husband, who as a cop in the 80s before college all the sudden mattered for police hiring, could be a cop “anywhere.” Holly is smarter, more sophisticated, more cool headed than her lug husband.
Hans Gruber. Gruber is one of the most badass bad guys in American film. An “exceptional thief” and cold blooded murderer who will do whatever it takes to get his hands on those bearer bonds.
Karl. Hans’ right hand man, and even more psychopathic than Gruber. Used a chainsaw to cut the phone lines. Carries a Steyr Aug.
Special Agent Johnson, (the other one). Crazy, older Vietnam veteran stereotype FBI agent who is the subordinate of his cool headed supervisor, Special Agent Johnson (the black one).
Deputy Police Chief, Dwayne T. Robinson. Basic, white incompetent peter principle asshole.
Richard Thornburg. TV Anchorman. Asshole who frightens children and illegal aliens.
There are others, but those are the main and ancillary ones.
Now, the black characters:
LAPD SGT Al Powell. Die Hard is essentially a cop/partner movie with two cops who have different personalities–the twist being that the two “partners” never actually meet face to face until the end. And SGT Powell delivers the perfect yin to McClains yang in the film. The chemistry is superb, even though all they do is talk on the radio. Powell is conscientious, thoughtful, and smarter than his stupid asshole boss, Robinson. In the end, Powell saves the day. Having regained his confidence through the ordeal, he blows Karl away (still apparently pretty mad after his brothers unfortunate fatal neck breaking injury in the stairwell) with his .357 magnum hand cannon.
Argyle. Probably the most stereotyped black guy in the movie. Street smart. Likes hip hop music. Drives a limo which he plans to pick up his girlfriend with later.
Special Agent Johnson (the black one). Straight arrow, no nonsense, cool headed FBI agent. We get a pretty funny racial joke out of him. “No relation.” Get it? Ha ha ha!!!!
Theo. The only guy in the movie smart enough to crack the vault. Kind of nerdy, kind of cool.
Then, there are the Asians.
Joseph Takagi. A little bit stereotyped, but man I wish I was stereotyped like that. Super rich, overcame the adversity of being in a WWII Japanese internment camp. Seems like a really nice guy. Dead early on.
And of course, Uli. (Played by Al Leong). You’ll recognize this guy because he ALWAYS plays the bad ass martial arts villain who dies. My brother actually used to spar with him at the same dojo in LA.
The one Hispanic character, Paulina, is the nanny for the kids. She is likable and we have empathy for her because of her station.
And that’s how “we” saw “race” back then, folks. Complex, but ultimately NOT IMPORTANT.
I grew up in and around LA, and the characters in that movie were very realistic. In the sense that you might actually meet people like that, from all walks of life each and every day in southern California. And get a long with some of them, and others not so much. That’s what made the movie work.
Its why people from my generation are having fainting spells over the racialism we are experiencing now. I guess we’ll see which way works best. It’s coming and I don’t think we can stop it.