Friday, May 7, 2010

Does the Robert Rodriguez film "Machete" incite rebellion and race wars?

Yesterday, while researching the Mexican-American response to the recently passed law in Arizona that allows State Law Enforcement to help enforce Federal Immigration laws, I became aware of a new film by Robert Rodriguez, called "Machete".

The trailer for the film can be seen here.

Before I comment, here are a couple of caveats: Although I watched the trailer several times, I am cognizant of the fact that a short trailer might not be a fair and complete representation of the true message contained within the film. So I reserve the right to change my opinion as facts emerge.

But I would like to comment on what I saw, in context to the current political situation.

First, it is important to note that the trailer starts with an explicit warning to the state of Arizona--as if everything else in the film should be considered a WARNING or threat.

The plot appears to be that a wealthy US businessman makes the case that illegal immigration is good for businesses. This is a fact, it is part of the problem that we are having, echoes back to Cesar Chavez's opposition to illegal immigration (that I.I. is used by businesses to undermine labor laws and depress wages and conditions for US citizens).

However, I don't see any indication that this reality is fleshed out to promote the legitimate gripes of labor leaders like Chavez, since that would inevitably lead the viewer to the conclusion that I.I. needs to be stopped.

That US businessman is who hired the attempted hit man: note that it is this same person who then double-crosses Machete and tries to kill him. Why? What is the sub-plot? Was this a set up by the Senator to create a race war? Or was it to further another political agenda? The answers to these questions will obviously impact the story greatly, I'd like to know more about what the underlying political message is there. I somehow suspect that Rodriguez will try to establish a plot line that this is part of an evil conspiracy by the senator who opposes illegal immigration, but there is insufficient info in the trailer so we'll have to wait and see.

{UPDATED: Confirmed by CNN review The new trailer for the film, which features Jessica Alba, Robert DeNiro, Lindsay Lohan and Michelle Rodriguez, lays out the basic plot points: Danny Trejo’s Machete is paid to assassinate a corrupt senator with an anti-immigration platform, but it’s actually a set-up to reinforce the senator’s call for harsh anti-immigration laws.}

Meanwhile, the "hero" in the story is a former "Federale" (an incorrect Anglicization of the word "Federales", the singular should be "Federal", but I'll overlook that idiocy). Federales is a slang Spanish term for Mexican Federal Police, specifically the Federal Investigations Agency or by its Mexican acronym AFI (formerly the Federal Judicial Police PJF) nowadays extended to the new Federal Police (which was known from 1998 to 2006 as the Policia Federal Preventiva PFP and was roughly and equivalent of the United States Marshals Service.

So, the plot line appears to make a hero out of a former "Mexican Federal Marshall" who agrees to assassinate US Senators. Why? Because as the businessman points out, ignoring those immigration laws is beneficial to both US businesses AND the Mexican people. Suddenly assassination is made legitimate.

I don't see anything in the trailer that ever appears to contradict that premise. So the notion that Mexican officials waging war against Arizona and killing elected US officials appears to be promoted and romanticized here.

There are other very clear messages sent. One woman actress (I think her name is Rodriguez also) questions a Mexican-American Border Patrol officer (that's what I infer) and asks her why she persecutes "her own people". "It's the law" is the response, to which she essentially says that just because it's the law doesn't make it right. This same woman later tries to rally additional fighters with the claim that "We didn't cross the border: the border crossed us!"

This is a common propagandist rallying cry used by Mexican activists that tries to rewrite history and perpetuates the claim that the United States stole the territory we now consider the American Southwest, thus legitimating the Mexican claim to all of this territory, and the notion that they have a "right" to retake (reconquista) any land they want in this area.

Here is another attempt to undermine US laws designed to defend the rights, liberties and safety of US citizens.

We see a priest who is asked to help murder people and he (Cheech Marin) takes up arms. So here we see a suggestion that the Church should aid and abet seditious actions against the government--scenes that remind me of the revolutionary actions of Latino priests in Latin America, such as Archbishop Romero in El Salvador, who aided and abetted the FMLN guerrillas in their war against the government.

Nowhere in the film is there ANY consideration for the legitimate complaints of US citizens that innocent Americans are being killed, kidnapped, robbed and otherwise injured by this uncontrolled flood of illegal immigrants.

Nowhere do I see any acceptance that Mexicans and Chicanos who live here are actually injured by this situation. Nor do I see any indication that there is any reasonable analysis as to the role the Mexican government is playing in this crisis.

In short, the trailer leads me to believe that the message in the film is that Mexicans living in the United States a) have a historical claim to all of this land, b) it is a "noble" pursuit to take up arms against American businesses and the government, c) shedding blood is warranted. It serves to reaffirm the fears and suspicions held by many Americans, that the Mexicans do NOT want to "assimilate", or even accept US laws, nor do they want to participate in our society as citizens. To the contrary, there are elements here that promote the concept that Mexicans should engage in acts of war against the nation!

I cannot help but believe that a film like this, released during these times of intense tensions, will fan the flames of resentment on both sides and possibly lead to increased violence. Worse case scenario, it may even lead to a blood bath, as it appears to incite a race war in the South West.

What's more, the fact that the trailer, released on Cinco de Mayo, and starting with a WARNING to the state of Arizona, closely resembles the al Qa'eda terrorist films declaring their belligerent stance against the United States, their perceived wrongs, and rationalizations for upcoming acts of terror against the citizens of the United States.

Which leads me to my ultimate questions: has Hollywood now officially declared itself in belligerent opposition to the US government? Have they become the mouthpieces for domestic terrorist groups?

What is the response of the Obama administration to this? How would they react if a conservative militia created a film that portrayed the assassinations of Liberal representatives and open warfare against the government?

A "holy CRAP" update... You need to read this article and listen to the videos posted by Info Wars author David Weigel and Alex Jones. Now, there is a lot on InfoWars that makes me roll my eyes...conspiracy theories about the Iluminati for example is something I just don't buy into. But these two blokes got their hands on the script for "Machete" and their report both confirms my fears and expands them. According to their review of the script, the movie actuallly DOES encourage a race war. But you shouldn't just take it from me; listen to what these guys say after having read the full script and having spoken to Hispanics who worked on the film and allegedly fear about the consequences!

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