July 08, 2008

Indiana Jones at a glance

At the official Indiana Jones website, what's the first thing you see after the "loading" message? A full-screen shot of Indiana Jones pursued by deadly Ugha Indians from Kingdom of Crystal Skull. It's also the transition screen whenever you choose a menu option.

The graphic is an enlarged version of the painted scene from the Crystal Skull poster. It's similar to the image below, except there's no crystal skull in the background, no plants in the foreground, and Indy is running, not swinging on his whip.

So the image chosen to sum up the series is Indy fleeing bloodthirsty savages with a "lost temple" in the background. He probably has a stolen artifact in his knapsack, too.

Yes, this image sums it up, all right. The white man stealing the brown-skinned people's heritage. The complete disregard for indigenous beliefs and cultures. Enlightenment vs. superstition. Manifest destiny.

The rugged individualist over the caring community. Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing. Finders keepers, losers weepers. Might makes right.

In short, it's Western civilization in a nutshell.

For more on the subject, see Indiana Jones and the Stereotypes of Doom.

Below: "So long, suckers. I'm white and civilized and you're not!"


writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Oh, pooh. The opening scene of the original RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK is of Indiana Jones fleeing rampant Natives sent after him by his nemesis Belloq. That scene since has become a movie icon and, as Indy 4 is a recapitulation of (read: sequel to) the original, the scene MUST reoccur.
Iconic symbolization is one of the few verities that movies ever have established and as such have become ineluctable...
All Best
Russ Bates

Rob said...

So one movie stereotype justifies another movie stereotype? And both movie stereotypes justify a Web-based stereotype? Uh-huh, sure.

What's your excuse for the original spearchucker stereotype in Raiders of the Lost Ark? Did Spielberg have to stereotype Amazon Indians because a previous movie did likewise? Would Raiders have failed without attacking Indians?

Here's a lesson most of us learned as children: Two wrongs don't make a right. I suggest you look it up if no one explained it to you.

Fact is, Spielberg and Lucas have more than enough money to ignore market considerations. And the series is presumably done, so they don't have to tout killer Indians to perpetuate the franchise. Yet they're doing it anyway.

Why...because of "iconic symbolization"? That must be Russ-speak for "it's fun and profitable to stereotype Indians, so let's keep doing it. Who cares if it's a racist insult?"

Changing the website wouldn't hurt the movie's artistry, since the film is in the can. It wouldn't hurt the movie's box office, since the film is a success. The website image has no effect on anything except visitors to the website.

In short, spare us the pretense that we're talking about cinematic integrity. The subject of this posting is Web design, not filmmaking.

Rob said...

What a surprise. Once again you seem to be shilling for the man. When whitey chooses to stereotype Indians, you rush to his defense. How much is Lucasfilm paying you, eh?

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see Indiana Jones Iconography.