Bury My Heart's major mistakes
HBO's 'Wounded Knee' ignites controversy: Stories altered to fit plotlinesDaniel Giat, who wrote the film's screenplay, said he had tried especially to humanize Sitting Bull, the Lakota chief and holy man, presenting him as somewhat vain and boastful, though wholeheartedly dedicated to his people. Critics say the film went too far, though, and several prominent native figures left an early screening of the film in protest.
"I walked out. Relatives of Sitting Bull won't be happy," said Joseph Brings Plenty, Lakota, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, in an interview with Indian Country Today. "They portrayed him as a cruel man; he was a holy man, he took care of the people."
And:The film also employs artistic license heavily with the introduction of Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa in his native Sioux), a physician and reformer. Eastman was a prominent figure in the late-nineteenth century, but did not play an important role in the book version of Bury My Heart. The HBO adaptation, however, made Eastman the main protagonist, including a largely fictionalized internal struggle for the "assimilated" Eastman, whose film representation (played to much acclaim by Saulteaux actor Adam Beach) feared he had abandoned his people by receiving a western education.
Many have found the use of the character Eastman to be an attempt on the part of HBO to provide a sort of buffer between the Native American characters and a largely white audience. Critics, however, have deemed this unnecessary, even offensive, citing acclaimed mini-series "Roots" as rebuttal to the assumption that a white audience needs a "whiter" character to relate.
Writerfella here --
Once again, writerfella must observe that movie and TV films ARE NOT history, are NOT documentaries, and even are NOT truth. They ARE fiction, obeying the rules and constructs of fiction as they currently exist for the formulation of 'entertainments.' Thus, anyone who complains instead mistakes NOT being entertained as being "errors" in appreciation for history, documentary, and/or truth, instead of truly realizing that reality in the 'entertainments' both has been condensed and transformed. Did Tom Cruise REALLY shoot down Arab nation jet planes? Did Luke Skywalker REALLY destroy the seemingly all-powerful Death Star? Did NBC's "Heroes" REALLY 'save the cheerleader and save the world?' No.
Such questions cannot be asked too many times, but the complainants never want to answer such questions ever at all...
Once again, you miss a couple of key points.
First, the creators of historical movies such as Bury My Heart and Apocalypto usually tout the research they've done and the experts they've consulted. Either explicitly or implicitly, they've said their stories are authentic and people will learn from them.
Again, this is what they say about their work, not what critics say about it. Since they set the standard they're striving for, we can hold them to that standard. If they don't achieve the goals they set, we have every right to criticize them for it.
If Mel Gibson had said, "I'm inventing a fictional Mesoamerican culture that has no basis in fact," few people would've criticized him for it. That's the opposite of what he said. Critics lambasted him for what he claimed: that his portrayal of the Maya was rooted in reality.
Second, you again fail to understand the difference between condensing and transforming reality (through art) and ignoring or fabricating it. Read my explanation again so I don't have to repeat it.
Your series of questions are irrelevant because they don't apply to historical dramas. You're too afraid to answer my questions, but I'll ask them anyway. Did Columbus really reach the New World in 1492? Was George Washington really the first president of the United States? Did Indians really die at Wounded Knee and Jews really die at Auschwitz?
No historical drama has ever falsified these facts because there was no reason to. Such falsifications would've contributed nothing to the viewers' enlightenment and everything to their mystification. They would've repulsed audiences who don't like to be treated like fools and idiots.
Unless they're doing a historical fantasy, smart moviemakers don't alter the basic facts of history. They're selling the truth of their drama, so it has to be reasonably true. Audiences don't want to see Abe Lincoln behead people or the Titanic fly to the moon, they want to see what happened.
Here's a quote from HBO's website about its intent in making Bury My Heart: "HBO presents an epic movie event with executive producers Dick Wolf and Tom Thayer, based on Dee Brown's bestseller, BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE powerfully explores the tragic impact that the United States' westward expansion had on American Indian culture, and the economic, political and social pressures that motivated it." [The grammatically incorrect sentence is theirs.]
Again, that's their statement, not mine. Is it true? Well, no. The movie isn't really based on Dee Brown's book because it covers only one chapter and fabricates Charles Eastman's role in the story. And it doesn't "powerfully explore" the "economic, political and social pressures that motivated" Americans because it falsified those also. As I wrote in my review, the movie portrayed the Indians as largely responsible for their own downfall, which simply isn't true.
So this movie didn't claim to be fictional entertainment, it claimed to be genuine history. If the creators had invented a story that had nothing to do with Dee Brown's book, they might've claimed it was just entertainment. Instead they paraded Brown's aura of authenticity and credibility with pride.
Since they chose to make a genuine historical drama based on genuine history, the critics had every right to criticize their version of history. And so they did. Your fantasy that Bury My Heart was supposed to be pure entertainment unrelated to actual history is just that: a fantasy.
It would not matter one iota if writerfella indeed did read your "explanation(s)," you STILL would repeat it and/or them. Little Sir Echo would be the ideal Native-type name for you, Rob. You ALWAYS iterate and THEN reiterate the very same things, only with more keystrokes the next times around. writerfella now repeats himself in the same vein: WHO pays YOU by the word, Rob?
Once again, when faced with an argument that demolishes your position, you turn tail and run. What a surprise...not.
Re "You ALWAYS iterate and THEN reiterate the very same things, only with more keystrokes the next times around."
If I do, it's because you don't seem to understand the most basic argument no matter how many ways I restate it. In other words, your ignorance impels my vain attempts to educate you.
Re "writerfella now repeats himself in the same vein: WHO pays YOU by the word, Rob?"
No one. But to point out your failure to address my conclusion, I'll gladly repeat it free of charge:
Your fantasy that Bury My Heart was supposed to be pure entertainment unrelated to actual history is just that: a fantasy.
Writerfella here --
Stuff and nonsense, Rob. And the proof of the pudding is that writerfella always uses LESS verbiage than does yourself. 'Less is more' is a phrase that you never have learned.
You still didn't address my arguments, Russ. Clearly, you can dish it out but you can't take it.
Since you started this thread by criticizing me, I'm going to start every response by pointing out your yellow belly. Enjoy.
Re "writerfella always uses LESS verbiage than does yourself": That's a joke considering you often use more verbiage. Here are three recent examples that readers can check for themselves:
Army seeks Indian soldiers
How the Land Rush happened
Tourism a la Dune
Meanwhile, your fantasy that Bury My Heart was supposed to be pure entertainment unrelated to actual history is just that: a fantasy.
P.S. Smart readers don't try to attack me in my own blog. If they do, they get what they deserve.
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