I didn't know much about Truman Capote until I watched Capote starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. I learned that Capote bonded with Perry Smith, one the killers he profiled in In Cold Blood. I also learned that Smith was part Indian.
His mother, a Cherokee, drank heavily and beat him as a child. This abuse, the movie implies, clouded his mind as he attacked the Clutter family. He was perpetuating the cycle of violence begun in 1492.
So the crime happened and Capote wrote about it because of an Indian. He became the most famous writer in America and revolutionized nonfiction writing because of an Indian. The half-Cherokee Smith died, but his legacy lives on.
re: "His mother, a Cherokee, drank heavily and beat him as a child. This abuse, the movie implies, clouded his mind as he attacked the Clutter family. He was perpetuating the cycle of violence begun in 1492."
Don't divert responsibility. There are exactly two individuals involved here, exactly two individuals whose actions are being discussed. There are no third invididuals (Columbus) or others involved.
His mother was a drunken lout who beat her child. She has only herself to blame for this. The same is true for thousands of years of bad parents (drunk or sober) who have beaten their children all over the world.
The man who attacked the Cutter family also has no one but himself to blame. His mother, while she beat him, did not attack the Cutters. Christopher Columbus (Mr. 1492) is also entirely missing from the picture. People are responsible for their own actions.
Spoken like someone who's never been abused or oppressed.
You may disagree, but I don't think people are born evil. They're shaped by their environment, especially the family and community they're brought up in. This applies to Smith's mother as well as to him. She didn't pop out of the womb as a drunk and child abuser; she was molded by her environment too.
And so on and so forth back through history. Yes, we can trace it all the way back to Columbus. People often use the "historical abuse" defense in court and sometimes it works. That's because a jury of 12 reasonable people sometimes sees it as valid.
I don't know about abuse, but alcoholism is an addiction. It's not something you can turn on or off like a switch. It's a long hard struggle and some people don't have the ability to overcome it. Just as you can't wish away an illness such as depression, they can't wish away their addiction.
If you think individuals are solely responsible for their upbringing and their actions, why do you think Indians have more "social pathologies" than any other minority? You must think they're bad, immoral, evil people if you discount all the environmental influences. Is that really your position? Would you care to defend it?
Oh, and it's Clutter, not Cutter. I checked and I have it right.
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