Novelist James Joyce eloquently noted that the true symbol of the British conquest is Robinson Crusoe: "He is the true prototype of the British colonist. … The whole Anglo-Saxon spirit is in Crusoe: the manly independence, the unconscious cruelty, the persistence, the slow yet efficient intelligence, the sexual apathy, the calculating taciturnity."
In a sense Crusoe attempts to replicate his own society on the island. This is achieved through the application of European technology, agriculture, and even a rudimentary political hierarchy. Several times in the novel Crusoe refers to himself as the 'king' of the island, whilst the captain describes him as the 'governor' to the mutineers. At the very end of the novel the island is explicitly referred to as a 'colony.' The idealised master-servant relationship Defoe depicts between Crusoe and Friday can also be seen in terms of cultural imperialism. Crusoe represents the 'enlightened' European whilst Friday is the 'savage' who can only be redeemed from his supposedly barbarous way of life through the assimilation into Crusoe's culture. Nevertheless, within the novel Defoe also takes the opportunity to criticise the historic Spanish conquest of South America.
When confronted with the cannibals, Crusoe wrestles with the problem of cultural relativism. Despite his disgust, he feels unjustified in holding the natives morally responsible for a practice so deeply ingrained in their culture. Nevertheless he retains his belief in an absolute standard of morality; he condemns cannibalism as a 'national crime' and forbids Friday from practicing it. Modern readers may also note that despite Crusoe's apparently superior morality, in common with the culture of his day, he accepts slavery as a basic feature of colonial life.
Note to Russell Bates: The full title of the book also specifies the location of Crusoe's island. Duh.
For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Books.
Writerfella here --
Note to Rob Schmidt -- then you should watch the coming NBC Friday night action TV series, CRUSOE (debuting 10/17 at 8 pm). The focus will be that the EuroMan Crusoe at first is seen as classically 'civilized' and that Friday is seen as a classical 'savage,' but their interplay quickly reveals that Crusoe is a ruthless opportunist and that Friday instead very much is sophisticated by comparison (a la MAN FRIDAY from 1975). Whether this will play well for network TV's EuroMan-based audiences is another matter altogether. We shall see...
Since I'm a Robinson Crusoe fan, you may be sure I'll watch Crusoe and report on it. Why do you think I raised the subject in the first place?
I've not read it or seen an adaptation of it yet, but this has gotten me interested. I'll make sure to read it later this month.
Writerfella here --
Then pickup a copy of the Sept. 8 - 14 issue of TV GUIDE which has a full-page article on the upcoming series on page 59, dMarks. It even shows the blond eponymic character holding his Bible before the obviously Black character of Friday. As posted before by writerfella, Friday NEVER has been portrayed by a Native American actor nor even as a Native American. No stereotypes there...
Does it logically follow, then, that due to the tradition of Peter Pan being played by women on the state (Mary Martin, etc), that Peter Pan in the original J.M. Barrie was a woman?
Very interesting idea, that casting choices made in adaptations redefine the clear statements about the nature of the characters in the original source. That black or white guys playing Friday on the screen can turn the original Friday in the "Robinson Crusoe" book into a non-Native.
I wonder if your after-the-fact revisionism idea is so strong that it could turn the real Cochise into a white guy because white guys played him in movies.
If miscasting Friday in the movies turns him into a non-Native in the original book, well, why not?
Writerfella here --
Tsk, tsk, when people don't know how to answer a question, they then beg the question. That Friday has been portrayed by white, Black, Hispanic, and even Oriental actors does NOT redact the original character into those races. Rather, the question remains that, if the novel's character was Caribe Native American or somesuch, WHY is the character not so portrayed as such in the adaptations? NEVER once has Friday been so presented. There HAS to be a reason, and stereotyping clearly IS NOT THE ANSWER...
We proved Friday was a Carib Indian and pondered why Native actors haven't portrayed him in the Crusoe and Cannibals on TV thread. Rather than repeat yourself as if you're too stupid to read, why don't you peruse those answers? And then address them? If you're not too afraid of getting your butt kicked again, that is.
Writerfella here --
Don'tcha just love how Rob Schmidt weaves and re-weaves the same 180 words when someone disagrees with him and that same someone doesn't give a Tinker's dam what Rob says in response? Knee-jerk, it is called; hip-shot; reactionary, but then we all know that...
I guess you know about repetition, Russ. Let's note how you've repeated the same stupid question four times so far--twice in the Crusoe and Cannibals on TV thread and twice here:
"One must ask: IF Defoe's Friday ostensibly was Native American in the book, WHY then in the various filmic incarnations has Friday (or Saturday) been portrayed by the likes of actors such as [list of ostensibly non-Native actors]?"
"[W]hy has the character of Friday NEVER been portrayed as a Native American or by a Native American?"
"As posted before by writerfella, Friday NEVER has been portrayed by a Native American actor nor even as a Native American."
"WHY is the character not so portrayed as such in the adaptations? NEVER once has Friday been so presented."
Unlike you, I try to provide answers, not more stupid and redundant questions. Since I addressed your claim the first time you made it, I referred readers to my response. Readers can judge for themselves whether it's sufficient.
Would you like to ask the same question a fifth time? Or are you done embarrassing yourself? Maybe you'll stop braying like a donkey and actually read my response this time.
Don'tcha just love how Russell Bates makes stupid mistakes, such as claiming Friday the Indian is Polynesian, and then refuses to explain or even acknowledge his blunders? It's truly comical to watch him flail about.
Tell us what else you "disagree" with, Russ. Do you think Robinson Crusoe was American because American actors have portrayed him? Do you think Jesus was a Caucasian because pictures have depicted him as one?
Really, share some more of your dumbass theories with us. Put some more of your ignorance about Indians on display. We could all use a good laugh at your expense.
Do you mean that you only understand 180 of the thousands of words I write, Russ? Because I could believe that. You certainly didn't understand the text of Robinson Crusoe when I quoted it for you. Too many big words, I guess.
I couldn't care less if you're too cowardly to respond to questions. I just enjoy making fun of you in public. And knowing that your stupid mistakes will be on display permanently, long after you're dead and gone.
P.S. I proved your assertion about Friday never being an Indian in movies false in No Fridays as Indians? and Movie Guide to Friday. Read 'em and weep, loser.
Post a Comment