An anti-immigration movie?

Richard W. writes:

Last night my adult daughter and I decided to go see a movie. We ended up seeing “District 9” as we both like Sci-Fi. It wasn’t what I expected.

The movie is pitched in documentary format, complete with hand held camera work, background interviews, etc. The story revolves around the arrival of about 1 million alien refugees in the city of Johannesberg, South Africa. Apparently their ship broke down.

The refugees are settled into a special section of the city, District 9, but allowed to interact outside that zone. I am not quite sure if the makers of the film are aware of the wonderful parody they have created. The aliens, which look like giant two legged bugs, are dubbed “prawns” by the humans in Africa.

The trouble with the prawns is that they make terrible guests. They eat tires, fight incessantly, have no respect for authority, are on a permanent dole, and show no signs of doing anything to help themselves.

But they aren’t the only bad guys in the movies. The government-corporate entity responsible for resettling the prawns is shown to be deeply corrupt.

Best of all are the Nigerians, who have set up crime syndicates operating in District 9 trading cat food (a prawn favorite) for various stolen items and alien artifacts. The Nigerian behavior is horrible, even by the low standards of the prawns.

The clear moral of the story is that everyone will only be happy when the aliens go home. The fact that it is set in Africa, and actually includes scenes reminiscent of AmRen clippings, not the usual Hollywood dress-up of Africa that we see, is a brilliant stroke.

The movie is not a boring polemic though, it includes a plausible story and lots of fun super alien energy weapons blowing stuff up at the climax.

All in all I was very pleasantly surprised to see a movie that had some serious politically incorrect undercurrents to it.

Is this an early indicator that our artists are starting to take notice of the invasion of the West and use the topic in their art? If so, one hopes it is a trend that accelerates.

Bill Carpenter also sent a comment about District 9 a couple of days ago which I had not gotten around to posting. He writes:

You may want to see this new science fiction movie. It is a sort of reductio ad absurdum of liberal immigration policy. Refugees from outer space are taken in by the would-be humanitarian government of South Africa, but the aliens are totally incompatible and unassimilable. In classic liberal fashion, the non-human is shown to be human in some fashion, and the sadistic whites who enjoy destroying and torturing them are the bad guys. Along the way, however, we also see the imprudence, dishonesty, and brutality of the liberal regime, and the unmitigated savagery of the “Nigerian” gangs who prey on the aliens. These are non-liberal perceptions.

Possibly it would not have been prudent for the South Africans simply to kill them all, which might have invited massive retaliation from outer space. Also, the aliens are not like terrestrial refugees, because there is no place on earth they can be said to belong. How to treat them is therefore a dilemma. I think the lesson that will be widely drawn from District 9 is that we can’t regard Moslems, Somalis, etc. as truly alien and therefore we can’t exclude them in good conscience. However, it also shows that overcomplicated, optimistic, and imprudent liberal ways of dealing with the dilemma are doomed to fail.

Ken Hechtman writes

Wow, your readers aren’t even close.

District 9 is an SF re-telling of the story of Cape Town’s District Six.

Hannon writes:

This is one of the few movies I have ever gone to see in the theatre on opening day. The previews looked great. District 9 presents a number of themes that challenge both liberal and conservative thought.

One important “technicality” is that after some time hovering above the city, the government decides to perform surgery on the ship in order to find out what is happening inside. The aliens never invaded or landed on their own. From this and most other important social-tactical issues in the movie one can say that a central theme is that whites are in control. The South African blacks have an almost peripheral, neutral role and it is indeed highly interesting that they chose to use imported blacks (Nigerians) for the projection of black savagery, rather than the Zulus, who would have sufficed in this role just as well.

Another major theme, as others have commented on, is that egalitarianism is the rule of the day and must be applied to the aliens, even as they are kept under concentration camp conditions because of they are barbaric and quarantine of aliens would be sensible in any event. The aliens are not only barbaric but extremely powerful physically compared to humans.

District 9 is satisfying overall and is refreshingly light-handed with the P.C.

Hannon writes:

I am grateful to Ken Hechtman for “hipping us” to the basis for this movie. It is difficult to make a more cogent comment without giving away some key elements of the film, but suffice to say the final outcome of Districts 6 and 9 are widely divergent. There is a connection of sorts, a basis, but hardly a “re-telling” of the District 6 story.

August 19

Steve R. writes:

District 9 is a wonderfully done movie. But VFR readers will be misled into thinking there are anti-immigration points being made by it. Not so. As horrific, savage and inassimilable as the aliens are, they are not the villains. As usual, the villain is the white man. He keeps the aliens here, in squalid conditions, only to exploit them. The military industrial complex tortures aliens in order to acquire their weaponry and our intolerant society forces them into distant concentration camps, wantonly killing them if they resist.

Of course the aliens should leave but ultimately, only because it is in their interest to do so. In liberal society, it is the suffering and will of the “Other” that matters most.

On the issue of immigration, my distaste for greedy corporatists is greater than it is for clueless liberals. And on that basis the message of the movie resonated well with me.

Karl D. writes:

As to the “Nigerians” mentioned in the comments. A friend of mine recently struck up a conversation with a street vendor from Senegal.

She said how impressed she was with how nice his whole demeanor and customer service was, and why there was a seemingly stark difference between himself and Nigerians. Nigerians being known for being quite surly and less then honest. He smiled and said something or other about nobody liking Nigerians. But what was rather interesting (and something I did not know about myself) was that a huge portion of American Blacks (by way of slave ship) were of Nigerian descent.

Interested, I looked it up and he was indeed right. To the tune of something like 40-45%. Also he said that most African blacks have no use for American blacks. Actually, if you were to take a global poll of least favorite people (collectively), American blacks seem to top the list. Along with Gypsies.

Alan Levine writes:

I noted the comment on the movie “District 9” with interest. I haven’t seen it, but I did see the remake of “King Kong” made by Peter Jackson, who produced “District 9.” One of the striking differences between the remake and the original was the depiction of the inhabitants of Skull Island. In the original, the Negroid or Melanesian natives are unfriendly and not particularly nice, but the kidnapping of Fay Wray’s character and offering her to Kong seem to make sense—they can spare one of their own girls from the ritual sacrifice and give Kong a novelty item that will please him. The natives may not be gentlemen, but they are not irrational or particularly evil. In the remake, they are depicted as a bunch of raving, dehumanized loonies. (Although they are less obviously “black” they are very dark-skinned.) It is a little odd, to put it mildly, to see non-whites depicted in a 21str century film in a way more hostile than in a movie made in 1933. If I were “politically correct,” I’d wonder about the messages in Jackson’s movies. Come to think of it, I wonder anyway!

LA replies:

I haven’t seen Jackson’s King Kong. He was stronlgy criticized by some liberals who said The Lord of the Rings was a racist movie. The heroes and heroines are very Anglo-Celtic looking, the hideous orcs are an inferior, sub-human race, and so on. Still you have to be sick to see the movie of an English novel, based on Northern European mythical themes, as racist simply because it doesn’t have nonwhite protaganists. But black protaganists are required today.

Considering the criticsm Jackson got over LOTR, it is more surprising that he portrayed dark skinned savages in his next movie.

Bill Carpenter writes:

I have to agree with Ken Hechtman that “District 6” is an important resonance for the movie and practically determines the theme of the (vestigially) white power structure’s exploitation and oppression of the innocent Other by controlling habitation and territory. Wikkus plays the role of the committed public servant converted to identifying with the oppressed by becoming one of them. (That sounds like a familiar story—where else have we seen it? The Book of Exodus?) The parallel is not complete because the Cape Coloureds (the majority, I believe; black Africans were removed early on) were not refugees or immigrants in any immediate sense and were largely poor but functioning participants in urban society, completely unlike the psychopathic prawns. That framework for the movie does not much alter the balance of liberal and non-liberal themes Richard W., Hannon, I noticed. I agree with Steve R. that evil whites are the all-purpose villains, but the loathing of the prawns on th part of all colors of the people, whose wishes are disregarded by bureaucrats and academics, is at least inconsistent with liberal unanimity.

Bob S. writes:

Sailer reviewing District 9.

Charles S. writes:

With respect to the movie “District 9”:

I think a better movie for traditionalists would be the 2005 science fiction “Serenity.” It is directly based on a canceled television series called “Firefly.” The plot revolves around an independent group of former rebel fighters (including one traditional married couple) who refuse to succumb to a galaxy-wide soft tyranny composed of equal parts Chinese fascism and Western liberalism. There is even a flashback scene where children are being fed kumbaya propaganda under the tutelage of a smug smiling educator. The group survives by engaging in somewhat shady economic commerce using a broken-down spaceship, and keeping up contacts with other independents on fringe worlds.

The denouement of the movie unites until-now disparate elements seen to be linked by one cause, namely a secret experiment of the galactic government to induce blissful uniform acceptance of its rule via a drug. Results of the experiment are horrible … they include both an enervating calmness to the point of not wanting to eat or even move (resulting in a languid death), but also in ten percent of the populace an overwhelming madness of mindless destruction and cannibalism. Even the government’s hit man realizes his culpability at the end, acknowledging familial love as a force to be reckoned with. The group endures to transmit the secret to all planets of the “empire” (for lack of a better term).

I think the movie’s primary thrust is an indictment of liberalism taken to its logical conclusion, the enforced equality of all for the benefit of a government that knows what is best for you. Although there may be other more insidious liberal themes that I have missed, overall I was surprised that Hollywood would release such a thing.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 18, 2009 01:38 PM | Send

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