Minister of Education Reports
What He Teaches Us
Fox Movie Channel dropped the July 2003 Charlie Chan movie festival kowtowing to the forces of political correctness. They join a long line of people and businesses with no guts and no sense of the value of the past.
Ted Turner suppressed the Little Rascals movies in response to critics. Baseball teams went through great agony over being called Indians, Braves, and Redskins. All of these things and more have gone on in our society for so long the whole thing has become old news. There has regularly been one more knee jerk group on hand ready to take offence at something, and some brain damaged liberal is ready to cry about things that mean nothing, without God forbid, they should think the issue through. It has gotten to the point that the only people that you can freely refer to in society are white males and Christians. Everything else is not politically correct.
Liberals do not stop to think the Charlie Chan movies presents a man so successful at what he does that he has risen above the racial barriers of his day. He is in demand around the world. In one movie, the Honolulu detective travels to Paris on the behalf of British bankers to conduct an investigation. In the series of movies he is presented also as a family man who is head of a household that is successfully blending the American culture of the day with his Asian heritage. Perhaps the PC People resent the fact Charlie Chan was a successful man. They like movies about people who cannot fit in. Maybe they resent the fact Charlie Chan was the head of his house. That is too much like the way a man is supposed to be to be comfortable for the liberals of our day.
One of the criticisms of the Charlie Chan movies was that the persons who had the starring roles were all Occidentals. They forget that all the supporting roles were covered by true Orientals. These actors got much needed roles in a day when even supporting roles for Chinese actors was limited. But, were there actors of the right profile available to carry out the Charlie Chan role in that day? I doubt that very much. The actors used in making the movies had the attraction and ability to carry the roles they played and bring fans in to see their performance.
Another of the criticisms leveled at the old Charlie Chan movies was that the Chinese detective spoke in a singsong voice. I could enter into some discussion about the accuracy of that description, but let me just point out that Warner Oland, who portrayed the detective in sixteen movies actually learned to speak the Chinese language and immersed himself in Chinese culture for the part. Why aren't the PC people talking about that? One answer is that they are probably not smart enough to find that fact out. The other answer is that truth does not help their agenda.
In one sense Charlie Chan represents the American version of Inspector Poirot, the Agatha Christie detective. Poirot was a Belgium in England who solved his cases through superior thinking. Like Charlie Chan he uses his brains, but Chan is actually more active than Poirot. He is not adverse to handling a gun and on occasion did actually get physically involved with people. The critics, who seem to think violence and sex are needed to sell entertainment today, even misrepresented those things.
One last point about the criticism that were leveled at the Charlie Chan movies must be addressed. That is the movies used racial stereotypes of the Chinese people. Yes they did. The people who used such stereotypes was the audiences' clues to discover who the bad guys were, as Charlie went about exposing the villains, putting the sins with the sinner. It was thrilling if you wound up with the right conclusion along with Mr. Chan.
Charlie Chan was a man with old fashioned politeness that reflected his heritage. That is not popular today. He never used bad language and he never bragged. Our old time cowboy heroes were the same kind of fellows when it came to that. He was a man of culture as well. You discover as you go along with the movies that Charlie goes to the opera and listens to classical music; he is conversant with classical literature. His Confucian-isms quietly instruct his entourage to use their brains to consider what is going on around them. We should think about what he is teaching too.
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