Monday, March 30, 2009
The Socio-Politics of Planet of the Apes and Sequels
Planet of the Apes has always been one of my favorite films. I loved it as a kid though the first viewing freaked me out; I had screaming fits and turned it off after the first 30 min–I must have been 5 yrs old. So, I really saw the entire film when I was around nine. I loved every minute of it, and I like it even today. Of course, reasons for liking it changed over time.
I saw Planet of the Apes again some months ago and couldn’t help noticing certain parallels with the 10 Commandments, not least because Charlton Heston played both Moses and Taylor. I’m not sure if the makers of POTA consciously thought of 10 Commandments, but the two films make for interesting comparisons. Both are stories of alien minorities, oppression, liberation, and uncertainty. But, if Ten Commandments reflected the moral certitudes of the Cold War 50s, POTA reflects the anarchic skepticism of the late 60s. Moses leads his people out of bondage to an uncertain but promised land. There will be many obstacles and tragedies, but God is on their side. Taylor flees Apeland toward freedom, but he’s practically alone, with only a horse and mute bimbo. He rides toward the future only to re-discover humanity as a past-tense. Triumphant miracles aid the Hebrews on their path to freedom; tragic catastrophe awaits Taylor on his journey. Moses condemns the Golden Calf worshipers and saves the good members of his flock. Taylor condemns all of mankind, but deep down realizes and knows that he too is part of cursed humanity.
Another movie that comes to mind in relation to POTA is Bridge on the River Kwai, hardly surprising since both stories were written by the French author Pierre Boulle. I haven’t read Bridge on the River Kwai and don’t know what changes were made for David Lean’s film, but both stories share common themes. When the books were written, France still had an empire stretching all over Asia and Africa. For a couple of centuries, the French, along with the British, assumed that the dominance of white man would practically be permanent. The West was great and powerful; white man was advanced and well-organized. Whether one called it the white man’s burden or white man’s destiny, it seemed like the world was meant to be ruled by white people.
The first crack in this assumption happened with the rapid rise of Japan. An isolated feudal-state, Japan catapulted to world power status in a few decades after its gates were crashed open by Brits and Americans. In 1905, the Japanese, deemed a newcomer to world power politics, defeated the Russian Bear. Japanese power grew in Asia to the point where it became the premier imperialist player in northern China. But, that was not enough for Japan. Japan wanted dominance over all of Asia. This brought Japan face to face with European powers in Southeast Asia. Japan’s victory over British, French, and Dutch forces in Southeast Asia was shocking to both Westerners and Asians. It was as if the world was turned upside down. This was something new. Yes, Japan had defeated Russia in 1905 but that didn’t lead to rule over white folks. Yes, Japan had competed with Western powers in China and elsewhere, but Japan didn’t gain dominance over white-ruled areas. This all changed in 1941 when Japan charged into Western Imperialist holdings in Asia. This was all the more shocking because Japanese victory was so swift and resounding. There were deeper implications in this victory for all Asians–most living under colonialism–could now see that white folks could be defeated by non-whites. Though most Asians resented and hated Japanese imperialism–even more than Western Imperialism–, Japan’s victory inspired anti-Western-Imperialist movements(both Rightist and Leftist)all over Asia, Middle East, and elsewhere.
Of course, Japan was finally defeated by white powers. US smashed Japan in the seas and from the sky. Russians charged into northern China and totally whupped Japanese ass. But, the West–especially Europe–never recovered from the shock of defeat at the hands of Japan in Southeast Asia. (And, Russians later came to fear the 800 million Chinese communists that turned into enemies.) Indeed, when the Europeans returned to take control of Southeast Asia, it was hopeless. Even Southeast Asians who hated the Japanese took inspiration from the Japanese example and fought against the re-imposition of Western imperialism. Dutch had to abandon Indonesia. French gave up Indochina. British realized its days were numbered in Malaysia. Americans, though not an imperialist power, inherited the French mess, tried to make the best of it(create an anti-communist South Vietnam), but was eventually pushed out by crazed communist Vietnamese in the North.
Of course, victory over the white race by non-whites is nothing new if we look at all of history. The ancient Huns whupped the Europeans over a long period. The Mongol armies reached as far as Paris at one time, and the heirs of the great Khans ruled over Russia for centuries.
But, since the time of Western advances in science, technology, and industry, it seemed to Western Europeans and Americans that there was nothing to turn the tide of history; white folks would rule and rule for good. Of course, many white folks saw this as a good thing since they were supposedly good Christians bringing the light of progress to all those crazy, backward, poor, and benighted darkies. There was some truth to this as much of the world was ruled by oppressive tyrants or systems, steeped in superstition and idiotic customs, and such. The concept of universal human rights, modern medicine, democracy, and other good stuff all originated and came from the West. The West ended slavery all over the world. Japan and Turkey gained much by opening up to Western powers(or being forcibly opened up by them). But, there was also an element of arrogance and high-falutin-ness on the part of many Westerners. Some white folks just couldn’t resist going around calling colored folks ‘niggers’, ‘ragheads’, ‘dotheads’, ‘chinks’, ‘injuns’, and the like. And, many white folks came to rest on their laurels. And, there was also an assumption among non-whites(who were steeped in superstitious thinking)that white folks were god-like, all-powerful, invincible, magical, and such. This was one of the reason why small numbers of white folks could rule over so many darkie folks. After shooting a bunch of people with their terrifyingly loud guns and cannons, the locals and natives thought white man was not to mess around with but to respect and worship. (Darkies had a might-is-right moral system and willingly submitted to white power... before the concept of Western universal human rights influenced the minds of European-educated darkie elites and intellectuals.) Also, many natives didn’t mind having white folks rule over them in many cases because whites were, in many cases, preferable to the far crueler and more exploitative local chieftains. But, once the magic of white invincibility wore off, white folks were in deep doo doo all over Africa, Asia, and elsewhere. The world was turning upside down. The white man was forced to consider a scenario that had seemed utterly ludicrous in the past: the idea that non-whites would gain dominance over the whites.
In the novel of POTA, two space apes come upon a message written by a human(which forms the bulk of the story). Never mind the story itself; the space apes are besides themselves in laughter over the notion of a human being able to write anything, let alone a long complex story such as the one they came upon; they finally conclude it must some practical joke written by a clever ape. Similarly, the idea of Western dominance crumbling overnight and non-white rising in the world have seemed pretty outlandish to most white folks prior to the end of WWII. There is some of this feeling even today as much of the non-white world is still pretty backward and depressing. Africa is worse off now than during the Age of Imperialism. Much of the Middle East is pitiful and piss poor. Latin America, where most people are non-white, is still mired in poverty. Though Latin American whites are losing power in relative terms, there’s no indication that Latin America will be world-leaders in the 21st century.
But, Asia is another story. In the latter half of the 20th century, the rise of Asia meant Japan and the so-called tigers(S. Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc). As impressive as this has been, those nations could pose no real threat to the Western dominated world order(though there was much anxiety over Japan). For starters, most of them were military colonial posts for American power. But, China and India, politically and militarily sovereign powers, entered the picture in a major way since the 1990s, and these two giants(with combined population of 2.3 billion) are making a real difference in the world. Personally, I think the Indians are too messy and divisive and the Chinese are too unoriginal and corrupt to become dominant world players, but the future is always uncertain.
Anyway, China and India have many people worried. Russians are worried that they may lose Siberia to the Chinese who are entering legally and illegally in huge numbers to cut down trees and work in(and take over)various industries. The biggest problem for the West is not so much the rise of the non-West but the legal and illegal massive entry of non-white folks into EU and US. For EU, Muslims pose a cultural threat while black Africans pose a physical threat. US, already in big trouble with its 40 million blacks, is being invaded by more and more illegal poor Mexicans who want to reconquer the entire SW territory. Also, the arrival of more immigrants from Africa, Carribean, and other places means more crazy blacks in America to mess things up. Non-white folks have little chance of taking control of the brain centers of the Western World as they don’t happen to be the brightest nor economically most successful people. But, neither are the brain centers in white hands due to the fact that Jews are smarter than (gentile)white folks. So, rich and intellectual Jews have gained control of the brain centers of the West. Even goy whites come under the influence of these Jews–Karl Max, Eric Hobsbawm, Noam Chomsky, Betty Friedan, Naomi Klein, Ayn Rand, or Milton Friedman. Right or Left, the Jew is out to destroy white power. Whether it’s diversity-obsessed multi-culturalist collectivism or individual-obsessed libertarianism, Jewish influence wages war on the concept of white identity, white unity, white pride, and white survival.
Anyway, the world appeared to be turning upside down in the mid century of the 20th century. Europeans, who had enjoyed dominance around the world for a couple of centuries, not only seemed to be losing their empire but in the process of being taken over by the barbarians or alien civilizations(or ideologies). Japan posed the first real threat but was soundly defeated by 1945. But, the Third World was rumbling. Chinese communists triumphed by 1949. Communism was a special case because it was both European and anti-Western. It was essentially a radical Jewish ideology that had taken hold of Russians, whose European-ness(cultural or racial) was doubted by many in the West and even by Russians themselves(as many Russians took national/cultural pride in their distinctness). In time, a major branch of communism came to be associated with the Third World, as an empowering ideology and weapon of non-white folks. Communism inspired Asians, Latin Americans, Africans, Arabs, etc. Many feared that communism would sweep across the world, one of the reasons why the Vietnam War was deemed crucial to both US and the communist bloc. Both sides saw it as the crucial piece of domino. When US pulled out of Vietnam, many people in the West were convinced that other dominoes would fall... and people in China and Russia were eagerly rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of world revolution. Of course, it didn’t happen that way which goes to show how worthless and unpopular communism is in the long run.
Anyway, it wasn’t just the rise of USSR, Red China, and communist movements which upset Western European assumptions of the dominance of the White Man. It was also the rise of the Americans(despite America’s status as a Western power). This may seem strange given the fact that the majority of Americans have always been white. Even so, Europeans saw American culture, manners, assumptions, values, and ideology as a threat to the European World Order. America was seen as an upstart nation, a culture-less civilization, society lacking in soul and manners, and such. Americans were seen as immature barbarians. Many Europeans saw America as the continent where all their undesirables emigrated to(though, to be sure, many Europeans had great admiration for America as well); in contrast, of course, and despite what Emma Lazarus wrote, Americans saw themselves as people with enough brains to have left the stinking Old World. At any rate, even though America had, by the end of WWI, become the mightiest nation on Earth, most Europeans held onto the view that they, not Americans, were the true masters of the world, with Brits and French leading the way. Of course, Germans were pissed at the notion of being left out of the world order. Regarding themselves as a great people, Germans wondered why they had to be hemmed in by the British Navy and by the armies of France and Russia. In a way, the rise of Fascism and Nazism are strange developments in Europe for both were, at once, as European as red wine and as alien as a Martian’s teat. On the one hand, Fascism and National Socialism claimed to protect and preserve the best of Europe; on the other hand, they were radical futurist ideologies which aimed to replace the genteel bourgeois order with a militant corporatist order. It was almost as if Europe had to be radically altered to be saved; it had to lose itself to find itself.
So, Bridge on the River Kwai has multiple meanings and implications. It can be read as white vs yellow, Anglo vs. America, traditionalism vs fascism, upper class vs. lower class, idealism vs humanism, etc. There are many levels of hierarchy, varying degrees of opposing dynamics. William Holden is the practical and individualistic American who wants to look out for #1, himself. Yet, as he becomes involved in the mission, he gradually becomes more heroic and self-sacrificing than others. The Japanese are the new overlords, but their authority–regarding both natives and white prisoners–is unceertain. Anglos are there to help the natives overthrow the Japanese occupiers, but Anglos themselves are imperialists. Though Holden is supposedly a member of a civilization that safeguards freedom and liberty(The West), he is deviously coerced to join the mission. The most complex figure in the movie is, of course, Alec Guinness’s character. He’s an odd blend of heroism, toughness, patriotic duty, and honor... which perversely and unwittingly turns him into the biggest fool in the movie. He’s the best and the worst. He cares about his men, his national honor, and such and such. But, he becomes so wrapped up in ideals and high falutin notions and rationalizations that he fails to see his betrayal.
In a way, the Guinness character stands for the hubris of virtue, honor, and noble cause. People built empires with big ideas about spreading civilization and the true faith. Communists killed millions in the name of progress. So in love with the Idea of Progress, they became blind to of millions of victims. Hitler thought he would save Western Civilization, yet his obsession with the highest achievements of the West led him to commit horrible acts. We can go on and on. Man is a beast without ideas and ideals, without virtues such as honor, nobility, heroism, and dignity. But, such ideas and values can also make man intolerant of peoples and things that fall short of the higher or nobler ideals; man can be barbaric in the fight against barbarism–even true of Allies in WWII with the firebombing of Dresden and Tokyo. To be sure, context does matter. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, though horrible, were still different than Nazi killing of the Jews. In actual deed, both involved mass slaughter, but Americans wanted to end the war and bring freedom to the Japanese while the Nazis wanted to kill most Jews. Though it makes hypocrites out of all of us, context and agenda do matter. For this reason, Alec Guinness in Bridge on the River Kwai is not an evil nor treacherous man; he’s a man whose best qualities oddly enough lead him to the worst judgment of his life. If he has one major failing, it is hubris and class snobbery which leads him to think he knows what’s best for his men and that’s that(and most of his men go along because they too were raised in a class-based society where blokes are supposed to do as the gentleman says; in this regard, William Holden is a bigger threat to Alec Guinness(European values) in some way than the Japanese are. Japanese may challenge the British Empire, but both civilizations believe in hierarchy and form(and proper place for each individual). William Holden represents the free, self-centered, and self-willed individual; he’s like the Charlton Heston character in POTA.
Anyway, let’s discuss POTA, its meaning, and its significance. In retrospect, it seems less impressive today as we’ve been bombarded with out-of-this-world special effects and CGI for the past 30 yrs. Film tricks and techniques have advanced far beyond anything even dreamt possible back in 1968. But, this doesn’t necessarily make POTA worse; the original POTA relied more on story, character, and script than most of today’s sci-fi or action movies which are all about speed, explosions, and such.
And, there was a certain advantage in the fact that the director Franklin Schaffner was a workman-like director than an auteur. While I have no doubt that Orson Welles or Stanley Kubrick could have made a more interesting version of POTA, an unpretentious skilled director is preferable to some pain-in-the-ass auteur wanna-be who turns promising material into self-deluded aesthetic gimcrackery–just think of the crimes of Ken Russell or Tim Burton. Schaffner did no more and no less than what he was hired to do. POTA is not great filmmaking but is solid filmmaking. And, because Schaffner’s directorship doesn’t intrude upon other aspects of the movie and hog all the attention, we can enjoy all of POTA’s parts.
POTA is less sci-fi than satire. Though a film can have trappings of both satire and sci-fi, there’s a key difference. Satire uses technological or scientific themes to make a point about humanity whereas conventional science fiction is primarily interested in the speculative technology itself. Considered from a scientific angle, POTA makes no sense and has no plausibility whatsoever. But, it works wonderfully as satire, as a consideration of our world through a warped looking glass. POTA is, after all, not about the future or the dangers/promises of science/technology but about us here and now. It should be regarded as something like Animal Farm, and indeed could well have been called Ape House. The pigs in Orwell’s story represented communists in the Soviet Union, and the apes in POTA are us today(or at least in the 60s). So, people who complain about POTA’s bad science are nincompoops.
So, what does POTA say about us, humanity, or whatever? First, we have to distinguish the book from the novel. The original novel was in French and the iconic image at the end of the film is not the Statue of Liberty but the Eiffel Tower. From the French or Old European perspective, Planet of the Apes is an allegory about Empire and domination. For two centuries, white Europeans had dominated the world; they had been the masters where ever they went. But, when the book was written, much had changed. The shoe was on the other foot. So, the novel could be interpreted as white man experiencing imperialist domination–getting a taste of his own medicine–, or as a white man’s fear(and fascination) of a new order where non-whites rule the world. 10 yrs prior to the book’s release French got whupped by monkey-like Vietnamese in Dien Bien Phu, and at the time of its release French were about to lose in Algeria. So, the themes of POTA the novel is much like the themes in Bridge on the River Kwai. It’s about role reversal of the races. The apes could represent the Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Arabs, Africans, Muslims, etc. Interestingly enough, the apes of the novel are far more advanced than those in the movie(perhaps for budget reasons?). Apes in the novel have even mastered space travel; indeed, the story begins with two astronaut apes out in space.
The movie is considerably different. The first movie isn’t really about role reversal of the races. The element of race enters in parts 2, 4, and 5(Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, and Battle of the Planet of the Apes; Escape of the Planet of the Apes is like the second half of the novel except that the apes are celebrities on Earth instead of the human being a celebrity on the Ape Planet).
The first Planet of the Apes movie is essentially a liberal film on the dangers of conservatism and reaction. There is no indication that the apes are supposed to be ‘niggers’, little suggestion of ‘this is what it would be like if the blacks took over.’ Actually, Tim Burton’s remake was much along those lines as the apes in that movie did act black-ish and their world was ugabuga jungle-ish. The ape world in the original POTA is actually very orderly, and the apes are very civilized and disciplined, not ugabuga-ish. To be sure, one could argue that the three different species of apes in the movie represent different races, with chimpanzees representing the rational Western whites, orangutans representing the spiritual Eastern Orientals, and gorillas representing the big and powerful Negroes. But, maybe not. Though the gorillas in the movie are the blackest and limited to menial jobs or military duties, they don’t seem to be jive-ass-ish in any way. Indeed, they seem to be very much the law-and-order types, kinda like the Roman or Prussian guards. They could be seen as the fascist defenders of the Ape Order. The orangutans are oriental-ish in some way but also could be seen as representing Western spiritual conservatism as well. They would be the Robert Borks, C. S. Lewises, the Jerry Falwells, or the Thomas Flemings of our society. They are distrustful of ideas or change that might upset the sacred order of things. They are like Moses in 10 Commandments holding up the tabernacle and saying, ‘you better believe this stuff or get your ass whupped’.
The chimpanzees can be seen as rationalists, scientists, progressives, liberals, or do-gooders. One may say it was bigoted for the movie makers to designate spiritual and cultural qualities according to racial or species differences among the apes, but it has to be seen as satire–just like different animals in Animal Farm represent different social groups and their abilities.
Of course, it could be argued that original POTA the movie is indeed about race because, even though the apes don’t represent blacks-on-top, Heston plays a kind of a ‘white-nigger-ish’ role. He’s treated as less-than-human(or less-than-ape as the case may be), and the ape-supremacist orangutans insist on the inferiority of humans. So, the white audience might have wondered, ‘how would it have been like if we were treated like blacks–shipped across the oceans and sold as slaves?). But, POTA works as a better critique of how humans treat animals than how humans treat humans of other races. After all, humans in POTA are not captured to be used as slaves or second class citizens. They are either killed right away as pests, locked up in zoos, or used for biological research. Indeed, before Taylor came along and demonstrated his superior intelligence, even the ‘progressive’ chimps felt no hesitation about using humans for all sorts of scientific–presumably grisly–experiments. And indeed, this is how we treat animals today. As long as we believe that dogs, pigs, apes, and monkeys are less intelligent than us, we think it’s okay to kill them by the bushel for food or experimentation. Despite PETA, most of us treat animals like in POTA.
Anyway, the main moral conflict in POTA is between the liberal, progressive, and rational chimps and the conservative, reactionary, and religious orangutans. Gorillas don’t enter into the equation until Beneath the Planet of Apes where they start acting kinda ugabuga-ish(black-ish) or nazi-esque, or a bit of both. The chimps are like Clarence Darrow and orangutans are like William Jennings Bryan in the Scopes Monkey-Ass Trial. Chimps are for open-mindedness, rational research, and factual understanding. The orangutans are for moral order even if society must rely on the Noble Lie. Because we humans identify with Charlton Heston as Taylor, we cheer for the chimps and howl at the Orangutans. But, what makes POTA interesting is that Taylor isn’t really a saint. Though not an evil person, he is brash, arrogant, swaggering, and self-centered. Indeed, it doesn’t seem to bother him that he left his family and friends behind for his space trip. He’s always searching for the New, the Undiscovered Territory, for the Next Adventure. He’s All-American but not necessarily in the best way. He has a heroic pioneering spirit but also a steely heart. And, we are not really sure if he’s searching for new lands for the sake of humanity or running from humanity(in which case he got his ultimate wish). He’s libertarian. Taylor is restless, like Odysseus. The difference is Odysseus, for all his wanderlust, wanted to go back to wife and sonny boy. Taylor just seems to want to travel to new worlds forever and ever(like some men in America in the 19th century just wanted to keep going Westward instead of settling and building). He doesn’t seem to have much feeling for man or nation. He laughs when one of his mates plants a miniature US flag in the soil of the ‘new’ planet. And, when Taylor comes upon primitive human folks, he looks forward to ruling over them. Taylor is like a futuristic cowboy Nietzschean.
He becomes a victim of the apes, but he’s not a saint by any measure. We identify with him because he’s human like us and because he’s Charlton Heston(tall, handsome movie star). We sympathize with him because he’s brutalized by the apes. But, Taylor is the kind of person who would not hesitate to shoot animals for food or for sport. He’s not a man of great conscience. One could say he’s even a narcissist. And, this is what makes the film more interesting than if Taylor had been merely a good guy victim(like Mark Wahlberg in Burton’s remake). He’s kinda like a bad guy victim. The chimps sympathize with him out of pity and decency, but would Taylor have cared if the shoe had been other foot?
So, even though POTA is essentially a liberal film, it has enough ambiguity and irony to be auto-subversive. At the end, we can’t help but agree, to some extent, that maybe the orangutan is partly right and not the complete villain he seemed earlier. Dr. Zaius the orangutan is a virulent anti-humanite, but what if what Zaius says about humans is true? What if there is something about humans or something in human nature which predisposes man to war, mayhem, and self-destruction(and making films like Jeanne Dielmann)? This is where the relative technological underdevelopment of ape society in the movie as opposed to advanced ape world in the book becomes significant. In the books, apes are technological masters who rule Earth and space, but the movie has a kind of environmental message. The apes, though civilized, seem to live in a certain harmony with nature. They have houses, towns, places of worship, agriculture, ride horses, and have guns, but they don’t seem to be dominant over Earth like we humans are today. It’s as though the apes still in their Garden of Eden; they have not eaten the forbidden banana. Indeed, primitive humans seem a bigger threat to the natural order than the apes. Though the apes first appear goonish and horrifying as they descend on humans in the cornfield, we later see that humans on this planet are indeed a rather lowly, grubby, ugly, and wretched lot.
Zaius has a stone heart when it comes to humans and a nasty vitriolic contempt for chimpanzee rationalism and skepticism, but he’s not completely inhuman or un-simian as the case may be. He has a profound love of ape society and its values, sacred symbols, and moral order. He really wants what is best for ape society. He’s not out to become dictator or become the richest ape in town or some such. He wants to preserve the sacred values that safeguard the apes from the temptation of ‘progress’. Zaius, who turns out to know more about humans that he lets on, came to the conclusion that humans are innately unstable and that mankind destroyed itself through hubris, arrogance, and aggression. Of course, he also fears humans because, whether humans are good or bad, there’s a possibility that the existence of more humans like Taylor–via offsprings or from other parts of the planet–may lead to apes being ruled under a human order(like non-whites came to be ruled by white imperialists). (Suppose alien beings from another planet came here, and they had IQ of 1,000. Suppose they keep coming and coming and having lots of offsprings. Would we be ready to accept the dominance of the new species? Whether these alien newcomers are good or bad, we wouldn’t want a different species to rule over us.) Anyway, the ending leaves us with skepticism, and we are not so sure about the liberal pieties dominant throughout the film. The implications are as conservative as liberal, or neither–just plain nihilist and despairing. The ruins of Statue of Liberty can be read in many ways. It can be a cautionary warning about science and technology or about man’s tribal or ideological tendency toward aggression, war, and (self)destruction–especially alarming in a world with nuclear weapons. If the ‘rational’ or ‘scientific’ hubris for Truth leads to such, isn’t it better to cling to the Noble Lie? POTA isn’t sure and neither are we.
Some may argue that Heston-as-Taylor stands for the Jewish-and-or-Negro threat on the white order. Gentile folks have long feared the Jews and the Negroes. The Egyptians killed the sons of Hebrews because of the fear of smart cunning Jews taking over Egypt. In the Demille’s Ten Commandments, baby Moses is saved by a sympathetic and childless Egyptian niece of the Pharaoh. Moses grows up an Egyptian but discovers his Jewish roots and brings mayhem and destruction to the Egyptians. Europeans have long feared the Jews. In the 19th century, Jews were emancipated and used their superior intellect to take over much of European society. The intellectual hubris of Karl Marx led to the deaths of tens of millions of Europeans. Jews also came to America, and though no more than 2% of the population, took over most institutions of power and wealth in record time, and today, USA is JewSA.
As for the Negroes, Arabs looked upon them as a bunch of wild savages. Arab travelers and writers in Africa felt mostly contempt for the ‘ugabuga’ half-naked blacks with big muscles shaking their butts and chucking their spears. And, even though whites folks saw blacks as intellectual and spiritual inferiors, they could readily see that blacks were tougher, stronger, and wilder. In a way, Taylor represents both the Jewishy and Negro-ish threat to the civilized apes in the POTA. Taylor is relatively strong(possibly stronger than even gorillas), and it takes a whole bunch of apes to capture and quell him when he runs loose. Also, Taylor is comparatively strong willed, impulsive, and such when compared to the apes who are restrained, disciplined, and cautious. Taylor is full of self-assurance and cockiness, like Jack Johnson and Muhammad Ali in a society of ‘faggoty-ass’ white boys. Why were white boys, especially Jews, were more likely take up radical or leftwing politics than negroes were? Perhaps, Negroes didn’t need no high-faluting ideology to feel tough, proud, and confident. White intellectuals, on the other hand, were physically a bunch of dorks compared to the Negroes, so they could only be tough with an aggressiveideology. Even in the arts, Negroes tended toward music, a direct and expressive form, whereas white boys, lacking the same kind of intense energy, hid behind intellectual-ish avant garde-ism and the like. This is why blacks would never sit through something as lame as Jeanne Dielmann, Cook Thief Wife’s Lover, or Salo. Since dweeby white intellectuals cannot stake their manhood or toughness on charisma and natural masterfulness, they must seek their special radical-rebel status through cutting edge or high concepts. This was one of the themes of the movie "Dear Wendy" where a white guy wraps himself with ideas, symbols, and values to maintain his authority in relation to the Naturally badass black guy. Of course, another way white boys try to attain toughness and respect is by slavishly worshiping everything black, hoping that some black coolness will rub off on lame white boyness. This explains the pants wetting faggotyness of white boys who think blues singers are gods and that Barack Obama is their main god-homey. What a bunch of faggotyass dorks.
These white boys are even more despicable than Nazis. Nazis were evil but had a sense of their own culture, pride, heritage, and power. White liberal and leftist boys are a bunch of gimpass dweebs hiding behind bogus intellectualist ideologies or sucking up to blacks. Among whites, Jews actually get something big out of intellectualism because they are smarter, make more money, set the agenda, and control our minds(by ownership of expensive media), even those of Negroes. But, gentile white boys have been relegated to kissing the Jew’s ass and sucking the Negro’s dick. Though white liberal and leftist boys know that they are losing their land, their women, and their pride, it doesn’t bother them because they’ve been raised from cradle to worship Martin Luther King and worship Jewish power. White liberal and leftist boys take sick pleasure in the demise of their own people. Though Jews killed millions through communism and though Negroes practiced slavery much worse than white men ever did, the Liberal/Leftist Jews who control the academia and media have brainwashed white gentile boys to carry the burden of all the evils of the world. What a bunch of faggotyass white boys. Of course, conservative white boys are no better for they think their asses can be saved by reading the greed-is-good fantasy novels of Ayn Rand the odious Jewess.
Dr. Zaius pontificates Biblically about the man’s tendency toward destruction and/or subversion, and certainly the Jew and the Negro represent, respectively the most subversive and destructive tendencies of man. The Jew, at least the modern Jew, embodies the hubris of intellect, science, technology, and ideology. The Negro exemplifies wildness, anarchy, jiveassness, and craziness. Look at what Jewish intellect wrought in the 20th century. Marx’s so-called science of history and economics led to the deaths of maybe 100 million people. Wherever Negroes have been allowed to run wild and free, societies ended up like Detroit, Haiti, Jamaica, Watts, Chicago South Side, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Congo, and South Africa after apartheid. Jews represent the arrogance of brains-out-of-control and Negroes represent the dangers of booties-out-of-control. Jews, brimming with intellectual arrogance, think their genius and brilliance can fix all problem. It was not just Karl Marx but Jewish finance capitalists who have wreaked so much havoc. Study the recent financial crisis, and guess who came up with all those fanciful financial tools for the New Economy? The Jews. Look at the global New World Order, and guess who control its brains and heart? The Jews. Look at the rise of turdboy Obama, and guess who engineered it? The Jews. (Of course, I’m talking of key Jews in power, not all Jews, most of whom are decent folks.) Of course, it’s doubtful that the Jews who wrote the screenplay and directed POTA had these ideas in mind, but implications are there nevertheless.
Taylor has both positives and negatives. His counterpart in Bridge on the River Kwai is the William Holden character. I haven’t read the novel of the Bridge, so I don’t know how faithful David Lean’s movie is to the source. I don’t know if the novel had an American character. Maybe Lean’s movie took liberties with the book just as POTA the movie did with its source novel. But, both movies could be seen as praise and condemnation of the American spirit. Holden in Bridge on River Kwai is the most likable character. He looks out for #1, isn’t an ideologue, isn’t dogmatic, and has a free spirit. That’s all good. But, he’s also cynical, self-interested, and hustling. Same could be said for Taylor in POTA. His independent spirit is admirable but often prickly–even asshole-ish–at times.
During the Cold War, there was liberal/leftist and European fear of the American cowboy spirit, most hilariously illustrated by Sergeant Kong missile rodeo at the end of Dr. Strangelove. There was a liberal and progressive Keynesian/Galbraithian conviction that the modern world was too complex to be left up to the wiles of unruly individuals. (The film Right Stuff is interesting for exploring how rugged American individualism was both utilized and tamed by modern corporatism.)
The age of collectivism or the welfare state had arrived. Whether in business or government, whether liberal or conservative, a new corporate spirit had taken hold, and the ‘organizational man’ was the new ideal. Goldwater, the champion of cowboy values, lost by a landslide in 1964, and movies like Dr. Strangelove, Seven Days in May, and Fail Safe warned us the dangers posed by individuals unwilling to be cogs in the machine; mavericks in high places were seen as the greatest threat to mankind. The system was favored over individuals, and it was imperative that people within the system be team-players than individualists with personal agendas. (This perhaps explains the central tension in liberalism/leftism there & then, and even here & now. On the one hand, liberalism stood for the collective system where the Best and Brightest ‘organizational men’ devised the ideas, imposed them from the top, and expected the lower members of the welfare or bureaucratic state to implement them accordingly. There was a sense that liberal intellectual ideas were the best, the most scientific, the most just, the most effective, the most rational, and most effective. These ideas would be shaped into policies which would then be carried out by a vast state apparatus and through a corporate capitalist system allied with the government. Individuals and mavericks were not supposed to ‘do their own thing’ or disobey orders–like the crazy military mavericks in the paranoid doomsday movies of the 60s. But, there was another brand of liberalism/leftism founded on youth culture, rebellion, counter-culture, rock music, drugs, and radicalism that rejected the notion of the mega-corporate state as envisioned by men like John Kenneth Galbraith. The social tensions–especially related to race–and the Vietnam War made many people lose faith in Liberal Utopia. The very liberals who had warned people of crazy rightwing Cold War mavericks got mired in the Vietnam War. Liberal Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey got tagged with the maverick warmonger label. Worse, some people assumed that the mega-modern-liberal state was just another form of corporate state fascism. The organizational liberal men found themselves at odds with disorganizational leftist kids who were ideologically more totalitarian–far left– yet behaviorally downright anarchist and looney tunes. Today, Obama is trying to synthesize elements of both liberal corporate statism founded on Ivy League Organizational Man-ism and maverick leftism founded on radical neo-Marxist ideology or brash anarchism. He’s trying to be everything to everybody–fellow egghead intellectual to Best & Brightest Ivy Leaguers and fellow revolutionary to clueless, naive, or downright stupid idiots who get their ideas from Chomsky or Emma Goldman. Since the two sides cannot be intellectually harmonized, Obama relies on pomp, imagery, ritualism, ceremony, and hype to pave over the differences. Needless to say, the leftist maverick was different from the rightist maverick. The rightist maverick believed in law and order and embraced tradition and honor; what he did want was know-it-all eggheads pushing big government and social engineering down his throat and up his ass. Leftist mavericks, in contrast, challenged the order of Organizational Man and Bureautopia to destroy the entire fabric of traditional society; they were utopian in their politics and grubby in everything they did. Patton was a different kind of maverick than Charles Manson.)
In Dr. Strangelove, General Ripper is a cowboy maverick with his own agenda. In Seven Days in May, Burt Lancaster acts like a triggerhappy rancher in a Western. Europeans greatly feared Maverick Americans–and this fear has been echoed with the presidency of George W. Bush, perceived to be a crazy out-of-control cowboy(though, in fact, he’s been nothing than a robot of the Neocons and Big Business).
Anyway, the 60s was a strange time because the counter-culture, though ostensibly of the Left, was at war with not only the Right but with much of the Left and Liberalism(of Old School kind). The leftism that grew out of the 30s was of the collectivist communist kind; Peter Seeger couldn’t stand mavericks like Dylan-gone-electric and Negroes acting all uppity. Seeger wanted Negroes to be like Paul Robeson singing the Internationale in dignified way. And, the liberalism that grew out of FDR’s New Deal was corporatist, bureaucratic, and to a certain extent, even hierarchical. Counter-culture of the 60s waged a war not only on Goldwater conservatism but on the ideal of the Affluent Society as posited by Kenneth Galbraith. The rise of Nixon would not have been possible without this great schism within the liberal/leftist ranks. Just as Dylan’s fan base split into pro-acoustic folkies and pro-electric rockers, liberalism/leftism split into the New Deal/Great Society supporters and the radical/anarchic/maverick/nutty forces. Some of the young radicals were Third World totalitarians worshiping Castro, Mao, Che, and Ho, others were Identity Politics folks–Black Panthers, Red Power, etc–, others were perverts and degenerates, others were hippies and junkies, and etc. The rabble that made the counter-culture was so varied, contradictory, and nutty that the coalition couldn’t be held together. The crazy quilt of liberalism and leftism was in tatters, and the conservative coalition–also diverse and varied but less outlandish and more polite with one another–grew to prominence. Anyway, that’s the not the issue that concern us. The issue is how Americanism was perceived by Europeans and many on the Left. It was both admired and despised, both looked up to as the postwar ideal(since Europeans had proven their own destructiveness, cowardice, and craziness in both WWI and WWII) and feared as the arrival of uncouth/uncultured barbarism. The American was both attractive and ‘ugly’. (Things have gotten much worse since the first decades after WWII. The American cowboy or Ugly American of yesteryear could be unruly and aggressive but also imbued with certain values and code of honor. Since then, the new American cultural icon has become the Negro Thug Gangsta Rapper, especially since blacks whupped the white boy so convincingly in sports, music, and in the bedroom. This is why the American Right should not be offended by Europeans, Asians, and Arabs despising much of American culture. We should share their loathing of ‘American’ culture now dominated by disgustingly wild & savage blacks and cunning & devious Jews who market that garbage all over the world.)
Of course, released in 1968, POTA couldn’t help but attract the young crowd. Many young people probably identified with Charlton Heston for his cynicism and anti-authoritarianism. Young people may have seen Taylor in the same way as Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate. We often see Taylor half-naked(back to nature child), with the girl(free love), and with a gun(radical revolution). If more traditional liberals may have identified most with Zera and Cornelius, the two conscientious chimps, young people probably identified with the resourceful and independent Taylor. (Of course, conservatives and right wingers probably saw Taylor as the All-American rugged cowboy.) Not that Taylor was some kind of peacenik hippie but within story’s context, he was a rebel and outsider. This kind of fascination was common within the liberal-left coalition of the 60s. Rich white liberals were into radical chic, rubbing shoulders with violent and dangerous mavericks of The Revolution. Liberal lawyers formed alliances and relationships with black criminals or radicals in jail. Consider the story of Fay Stender and other white liberals who championed the causes of ‘revolutionaries’–often black–in prison. White liberals were naive because they grew up in safe privilege, had only seen the world through the prism of books, and had been conditioned to feel white guilt. Do-gooders may mean well, but their naivete can be deadly to the community as a whole; do-gooders are the types to allow the Trojan Horse through the gates. They are easily manipulated and used by radicals and ideologues. This coalition of radicals and naive liberal do-gooders uses its power in the media and academia to brainwash and browbeat those who disagree into acquiescence.
Anyway, there was nothing blatant about race relations or race dynamics in POTA the movie. But, this cannot be said for most of the sequels. The exception is Escape from the Planet of the Apes, which is kinda like POTA reversed. Instead of man in a world of apes, it’s about apes in a world of men. Actually, much of what happens in EFPOTA is taken from the original novel, where, at one point, the human character becomes a famous celebrity in the ape world. In the POTA novel, it dawns on the apes that the human they’ve come to embrace may breed with other humans and create an intelligent race of man who shall inherit the world. In EFPOTA, humans at first greet the amazing, intelligent, and talking apes. But, it dawns on the humans that if they allow the apes to live and breed freely, the future will be like the one where the apes came from–a world where apes rule over man.
One could argue that there is a theme of racial fear in this plot, and we hear such warnings from people like Le Pen and Pat Buchanan today. Demography Is Destiny, and those who outbreed other groups shall inherit the Earth. This is true enough, but it’s the sort of truth we are not comfortable with because we’ve been raised with Christian morality and have been castrated by the liberal and left-wing Jews from cradle. It’s okay for Jews or non-whites to worry about their own survival, but white folks are supposed to face their doom by beating their own heads with pangs of guilt. Supposedly, the only way whites can redeem themselves is by white men turning into faggotyass liberal white boys kissing Obama’s ass and traitorous/treacherous white bitches turning into slutty ho’s of black men. So, there is an element of race fear in EFPOTA. But, it’s not blatantly about whites and blacks. Indeed, in some ways, Zera and Cornelius are like escaped Nazi doctors. They are medical professionals and decent enough apes, but they plied their expertise on humans deemed less-than-ape. Zera and Cornelius didn’t think they were doing anything evil since apekind considered humans as animals or animal-like. Similarly, many Nazi scientists and doctors were not evil in the conventional sense. In their belief that certain races were less-than-human, they didn’t feel moral pangs in carrying out experiments. One can say that the ideologies governing the worlds of Zera/Cornelius and Nazi doctors were evil, but it doesn’t follow that they were evil as individuals. One can be part of an evil ideology and system but still believe in morality and goodness. We only need to look at Gorbachev, a man born and raised in an evil system; even so, there was something fundamentally decent within him that tried to humanize the system as much as possible(even if Gorbachev never quite realized that the system itself was evil). Until Taylor arrived, Zera and Cornelius weren’t too bothered by experimenting on humans because, as far as they were taught and could see with their own eyes, humans were mere animals or animal-like. Similarly, horrible experiments are carried out on animals today, but most of us look the other way because we figure, ‘well, they are merely animals’ This why the hogocaust–mass murder of pigs–continues to this day all over the world and why the dogocaust goes on in China, Korea, and Vietnam.
In POTA, we sympathize with Taylor and the chimps against the conservative/reactionary orangutans, and in EFPOTA, we sympathize with Zera, Cornelius, and her liberal human friends against alarmist humans who fear an ape-dominated future. But, both films are thoughtful enough to make us wonder if the ‘bad guys’ have been right all along. They may be cold and ruthless, but they have no illusions. Dr. Zaius in POTA is cold-blooded toward humans, but he’s trying to save civilization for the apes; and the man who shoots Zera and her baby is a killer but also a defender of human civilization. And, precisely because we saw POTA, we too fear what will become of man if Zera’s baby is not killed. For its irony and complexity, POTA and EFPOTA are the two best films in the ape series. Their main focus is on ideas surrounding civilization and barbarism, time as an element in history, the conflict between tradition and progress, the sacred and the scientific.
Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of Apes, and Battle of the Planet of the Apes, in contrast, are blatantly about racial tensions. Beneath the Planet of the Apes continues the story of POTA, but the main conflict is between mole-like human survivors who worship the nuclear bomb–a parody of Dr. Strangelove?–the ape order which has become overrun by angry and aggressive gorillas. The war between underground humans and the apes in the film isn’t necessarily racial in nature; indeed, it could be seen as a childish, simple-minded, and perverse allegory of Cold War mentality. The real racial element in BTPOTA is found in the rise of the gorillas vis-a-vis chimpanzees and orangutans. In POTA, the gorillas were not particularly black-ish in the way they talked, walked, or acted. They were more like Roman centurions or the Prussian Guard. In BTPOTA, the gorillas are somewhat more jiveass-like. We see one gorilla giving a demagogic speech which stirs up a whole bunch of other gorillas. It’s like Idi Amin or the Black Panthers coming to power. The gorillas seizure of power can be seen as the rise of fascism, but there is a black element here because the gorillas seem to be so unruly and wild–unlike in POTA where they dutifully submitted to the superior intellect and knowledge of chimpanzees and orangutans. In BTPOTA, both chimps and orangutans are increasingly threatened by gorilla power. There is a sense that reason and spirituality are losing out to wild passion, mob mentality, and jiveassness. In a way, BTPOTA reflects the disillusionment of liberals in the late 60s and early 70s. White liberals thought that whites and blacks would have a future together like in Lilies of the Field or Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner. But, blacks got wilder and crazier in the 60s and 70s. White liberals thought blacks could easily be accommodated and socially engineered in the new progressive order. Blacks saw things differently and made it clear that they were not interested in listening to or following the advice of do-goody ‘progressive’ liberal whites. Some white radicals joined with crazy blacks to start revolution, but both whites and blacks expended most of their energy on drugs, orgies, internecine battles, ego trips, moronic ideological fantasies, and self-destructiveness. The coalition of white liberal do-gooders, the progressive religious community, and blacks was broken. Just as the chimps and orangutans are shunted aside in the new gorilla dominated order in BTPOTA, white liberals were left confused and puzzled by the late 60s and early 70s. How did things go so wrong with blacks and unruly young people? The rise of the gorilla order in BTPOTA is prescient in the rise of black order in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Even South African Jews who did so much to help blacks end apartheid are now wondering what went wrong. The blacks who took over South Africa have been acting more and more like gorillas in BTPOTA. Of course, no amount of sobering data will convince pussified liberal white boys and dumb white girls trained to kiss Jewish ass and suck black dick even when their own future is doomed; indeed, white liberals think it is evil to even insist on the idea of a white race, white tradition and identity, white power, or the right of whites to survive as a people. Pussified white liberal/leftist boys think their main role in life is to wank off to black males taking white girls, and idiot white liberal/leftist girls think no virtue is greater than having sex with Negroes and giving birth to their own Obama-babies. The liberal and leftist Jews, through control of media and academia, have played an essential role in creating and implanting this kind of suicidal mind set among white folks.
BTPOTA presents two camps as equally dangerous. On the one hand, there is the ‘racist’ human survivors who worship the bomb, no doubt representing right-wing Cold Warriors of the white right in America. On the other side, you have the gorillas who represent rise of fascism/militarism or far leftist communism, black panthers, or street mobs. In between are the few good chimps–liberals–and a couple of humans(who arrived from the past via spaceships). BTPOTA is a vision of the future where extremists on both sides take over and bring apocalypse upon all of humanity.
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes can only be read as the rise of blacks or the Third World against the white, western, colonialist, or imperialist order. It is prescient because what we are now seeing in Europe and America is along the lines presented in the film. Humans naively think they can peacefully coexist with chimpanzees trained to play secondary roles and serve humanity–like how European expected non-white immigrants to come and do all the dirty work and not complain OR like how Americans expected Mexican Illegals to cut the grass, work in restaurants, and not make too much fuss–or like South African whites thought blacks would forever accept apartheid or like Israelis think Arabs in Israel and West Bank/Gaza could forever be pacified. Violence is breaking out all over Europe, and we’ve seen massive Illegal rallies in America. But, this already happened on a larger scale with grave consequences with the importation of black slaves in North and South America. Whites thought they could use black slaves indefinitely as a servile caste. But, blacks were eventually freed. Then, whites thought blacks would be happy with second class status. But, that too was challenged. Then, whites thought blacks would be happy and grateful to be given equal chance in society. But, many blacks went crazy and violent(especially as they came to regard whites as pussy and faggoty and began to smell the blood), and we are facing huge problems related to the black race. Many blacks have become like the apes in COTPOTA. They say demography and iron will are destiny, and the apes in COTPOTA have the numbers and the will. They take over society just like North Vietnamese eventually took over the South, like the communist guerillas prevailed in Cuba, like blacks took over many major cities–only to drive them into the ground of course.
Battle of the Planet of the Apes presents a world where the apes now rule. It is like freaking South Africa after the end of apartheid. Humans have been allowed to survive but must serve the apes. But, there is division among the apes. There are the relatively broad-minded and conciliatory light-skinned chimpanzees and the blacker, uglier, and more violent gorillas. The fate of both apes and humanity rests on which side shall gain dominance–the light-skinned chimps or the black-faced gorillas.
Finally, there is a big battle between the apes and remnants of humans, and the apes triumph. Apes gain total power to do as they please. Will the future turn out like in the original POTA, with apes running everything and humans relegated to animal status and banished into the wilderness? BOTPOTA defies the iron law of determinism. Future is what we make of it through free will. So, Caesar the noble chimp–like Tom Cruise at the crucial point in Minority Report–chooses to establish a society where apes and humans co-exist equally. (Actually, I wouldn’t mind a society where humans and intelligent apes co-exist as equals. At least, there won’t be any ‘interracial’ mating between the two groups. The problem with white-black integration is black males take white females while white males are reduced to becoming pussyboy beta-males sucking up to black males and fooling themselves that their pitiful submission to black dominance is a kind of ‘progressive’ attitude when, in fact, it is just the natural result of the weaker pussy boy bowing down before the tougher male.)
Anyway, BOTPOTA is also prescient due to the rise of Obama. Many whites are afraid of blacks and worried about the racial future of this country. Most whites don’t hate blacks but fear them. Most whites are well-intentioned when it comes to blacks but feel helpless to do anything about it because white good will is distrusted, unreciprocated, exploited, and mocked by many blacks. Most black leaders have been like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, Marion Barry, David Dinkins, and worse. White liberals–many of them Jewish–are allied with such men but feel frustrated and privately bitter. It’s like dealing with ugly, stupid, brutish, black-faced gorillas in BOTPOTA. So, white liberals and even some conservatives look upon Barack Obama as a Caesar-like figure(in BOTPOTA). Caesar is an angry ape–for what the humans had done to his fellow apes–, but he’s also a forgiving ape, an intellectual and smart ape, a reasonably humane ape, etc. Whites look upon Obama like South African whites looked upon Nelson Mandela. Whites are too guilt-ridden or afraid to honestly expound on what they hate about the black community, so they can only make indirect criticism by profusely overpraising what they deem as the virtues of black society. Whites are too afraid or guilt-ridden to say, ‘many of you black women are obnoxious, trashy, hideous, and monstrous’ so, instead, they take someone like Oprah and praise her to heaven. That’s supposed to serve as an indirect or muted criticism of the kind of stuff that whites don’t like in the black community.
By profusely rewarding ‘good blacks’, whites hope to subtly punish bad blacks. The white message is, ‘look at all the goodies and riches that will come your way if you act nice like Oprah; if you act trashy, you’ll end up with nothing’. Problem is too many white people do reward crazy blacks as well. Just consider the amount of money made by rappers and other jiveass artists. Mixed signals are sent all the time. Anyway, there is this hope that by overpraising Bill Cosby, Oprah, and Obama, the gorillian blacks will take the cue from the smarter, saner, and more reasonable chimpish blacks. So, Barack Obama is useful and valuable to whites in the way that Caesar–the son of Zera and Cornelius–is beneficial to humans in BOTPOTA. In a world where whites are going to lose power regardless vis-a-vis the ‘people of color’, it’s better to elevate the saner than the insaner among the colored kind. But, look at where South Africa is going, and it’s not working, is it? Chimpish black Mandela was purely symoblic and Mbeki failed to connect with the masses of gorillian blacks. So, the end result is the rise of the gorillian and disgusting Jacob Zuma. Only hard truths are useful in history in the long run, not soft-headed liberal fantasies. Only fascists dare know and speak the truth.
Anyway, that’s my summation of the Planet of the Apes and thoughts on whatever it may mean to the world of politics and social reality.