May 16, 2007

Bury My Heart's "poetic license"

HBO Buries its Honesty at Wounded KneeAccording to the New York Times, the network carefully considered its decision. Daniel Giat, who adapted Brown’s book for the screenplay, recently said to a group of television writers “Everyone felt very strongly that we needed a white character or a part-white, part-Indian character to carry a contemporary white audience through this project.”

At least that’s the truth.

Of course, apologists tell us that it’s the “bigger issue” that’s paramount. That “poetic license” is standard practice in adaptations; therefore adding and cutting and fabricating is just dandy and a-okay as long as it remains intellectually honest.

Intellectually honest? Not when you have a real-life person engaging in a major battle he never fought in. Intellectual honesty is when you add dialogue and scenes to flesh out the story but remain faithful to the known facts. That ain’t the case here. HBO IS FABRICATING HISTORY TO APPEAL TO WHITE FOLKS.


writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Name two American films of the past 113 years that were not 'fabrications' in favor of 'American history'. And then writerfella will give you the entire bag of 'American history' cookies.
It will not take a sweet tooth, however, to show that 'American history' is 'American' exclusively. Else, Native Americans not only would be American icons, they also would be American identities.
Now, name two Natives that have had such an admitted identity for the American public, and Jim Thorpe or Will Rogers do not count... For this one, spelling and identity also do not count...
All Best
Russ Bates

Rob said...

I don't study the historical accuracy of films in general, so no thanks. Maybe someone else can give an answer.

Here are some listings of allegedly accurate movies:

Rob said...

Back in 2003, I wrote a whole essay about how Pop Icons Don't Include Indians. So you don't have to tell me that Natives aren't American icons.