Tuesday, 1 August 2017

FILM REVIEW: THE KARATE KID, How Hollywood Manipulates our Morals

The film director John G Avildsen died a few weeks ago at the age of 81. He is best remembered as the director of Rocky, for which he won an Academy Award, and The Karate Kid. He also directed the overt anti-Afrikaaner propaganda film The Power of One. Yet it is the more subtle attack on White American values in The Karate Kid I wish to concentrate on. Avildsen cannot be held solely responsible for the film, as films are almost invariably ensemble productions. One must also look to the scriptwriter Robert Mark Kamen, who may or may not be Jewish, and producer Jerry Weintraub, who certainly is.

 

 

 

On the face of it, The Karate Kid is an easy-pleasy formulaic weak kid(s) triumphs over the bullies kind of film, in the same vein as such films as Big Bully, Weird Science, Carrie, Drillbit Taylor and so on. Indeed, this is pretty much the plot. The new kid with problems gets picked on by bullies at school, learns karate from the wise old man archetype and defeats the stereotypical bully boys one by one, with the climax being the defeat of the gang leader. Yet underneath the wafer-thin storyline lie complex techniques of subversion that are designed to alter our perception of right and wrong.

 

 

 

Let us take the male lead, Ralph Macchio's Danny LaRusso. His familial circumstances are that he is fatherless and being raised by a tenacious working single mother, created as archetype and exemplar by Jollywood. This is exposed as a moral good in the film and will also become important in the denouement, as Danny finds a surrogate father figure. He is also an Italian American of the darker skinned type, whom Hollywood Jews often use as a surrogate for themselves in film and television, as they are more empathetic. One immediately thinks of The Hill Street Blues here, or Happy Days (where the cool Italian character is actually played by a Jew), or Rocky (Stallone being half-Jewish himself and Rocky's trainer 'Irish' Mickey turning out to have the surname Goldmill and having a Jewish funeral as further appropriation of European pathos).

 

 

 

In contrast, the love interest (Aly Mills) and both arch-villains (gang leader Johnny Lawrence and evil sensai John Kreese) are all blonds with North European surnames. The implicit goal of the film's hero is then the defeat of the blond North European male and the appropriation of his women. Danny is seen moving into the area - one of the run-down 'projects' - from Baltimore at the beginning of the film, where the first teenager he makes friends with is a Hispanic, because, we are led to believe, Italian Americans are like Hispanics. Danny and his diverse bunch of friends play barefoot football (that's soccer to you Americans) on the beach like Brazilian urchins from the favella, whereupon they encounter Johnny's gang, also very North European, who appear on expensive motorbikes and in leather jackets to contrast with the allegedly romantic poverty of Danny's friends.

 

 

 

The clichés roll in fast at this point: Johnny the violent bully, Aly the damsel in distress, Danny the off-white knight. These are also archetypes, however, of mediaeval romance that have been modernised and subverted into Jollywood teen triteness, which is why they still resonate with the audience and why the subversion works. Another staple of mediaeval literature is the heroic unknown, a hero who comes from far away to save the day. It is very much a later French conception, for the Nordic tradition was that the hero's lineage was known; sagas, for example, typically begin with the hero's ancestry, which predetermined him as hero. In this, there are implicit notions of heredity.

 

 

Danny's father is unknown, to be replaced by Mr Miyagi, an ethnic Other. This accords with the Leftist notion that the father is merely a teacher and need not be related by blood - indeed may be of alien blood - pushed in texts like James Joyce's Ulysses. Miyagi also becomes an archetype of those downtrodden by American cultural imperialism and appeals to White American bourgeois guilt complexes. He is symbolic of all that is ancient and old and good in this sense - even when straddling the Oriental and Occidental divide in the cars he collects, notably American ones. The ultra-modern side of Japan is completely ignored for the film's message - a dishonest one. Equally, we are led to view (implicitly White) American treatment of the Other as unjust. We discover that Mr Miyagi's wife and newborn son died during World War Two in an internment camp for ethnic Japanese, even though Miyagi served with distinction in the US military. This is a blatent tug at the heartstrings to get the audience to sympathise with the Other over the Same. Yet surely Miyagi's actions are questionable: he fought against his own people, against the land of his forefathers and his birth. He fought against his blood.

 

 

 

His directly opposing character is also a war veteran. With John Kreese, though, the Vietnam War is not a source of despair, but one of inspiration. In many ways, he is a parody of the European warrior type exemplified by Ernst Jünger. Kreese becomes a cypher for all the Left's pet hates: Darwinist 'survival of the fittest', Nietzschean 'will to power' and Hitlerian 'strength not in defence but in attack.' 'Mercy is for the weak!' he famously cries in one scene in a cliché of a cliché, as he teaches his karate students the "art" of ruthlessness at the Cobra Kai dojo (one notes the crude animal symbolism). There is no subtlety nor nuance to this persona, who represents a mere function in the film - a cartoon Rightist bad guy. Indeed, in the final of the karate competition and the finale of the film, he tells Johnny to target Danny's injured leg: 'Sweep the leg!'

 

 

 

But is Mr Miyagi any better when we look at the film objectively? When he defends Danny from Johnny's gang, he kicks one with a cheap shot to the groin. And in the final, Danny, under Mr Miyagi's instructions, kicks Johnny in the face, an illegal move in karate competitions that would have got him disqualified in real life. Still, Johnny is as magnanimous in defeat as Danny and Miyagi are arrogant in victory. Johnny also was reluctant to 'sweep the leg' and wished to win honestly. None of this matters, for the audience are expected to go along with every act Danny and Miyagi do, simply because they are the heroes. The hero becomes his own morality and bequeaths it to others, but is this not one of life's truisms? An amusing critique of the film by a Youtube blogger shows just how easily the film's dubious morality can be turned against itself with a bit of irony:

 


 

To return to the character of John Kreese, the casting choice of a Jew (Martin Kove - note the surnames both beginning with a K) in the role of an evil blond Aryan stereotype ought to set alarm bells ringing among the awakened. Does this LARPing not remind us of Tim Wise et al and their 'as a privileged White....' charade? Yet does this not mean the meta-exposition of the film is one of a Jew leading Aryan children astray? When Johnny shows displeasure at Kreese's command to 'sweep the leg', does it not show that he has an innate code of chivalry that Kreese as Jew wishes to corrupt? They do say art imitates life, don't they?

 

2 comments:

  1. I love these film reviews you do. It's not something I see anyone else doing in this style and viewpoint. Those among us who are more developed and refined in their cultural understanding like yourself can do great service to the rest of us by loaning us their lens in this manner. We need this tie to the new culture of the future we hope to create as well as the old tradition of the past (with your knowledge of and frequent references to past works, which gives the rest of us a growing reading list) When I read these things its like seeing the film for the first time again, but with a different mind this time around. It also feels like a worthwhile searchable record of how things are set up in the film industry, the small ways that people are programmed. Great stuff, together with your general grounded good sense (I'd say "common" sense but...).

    I hope you've got secure backups of all of this in case the shut down hits even the cultural elements. You might be guilty of appreciating the wrong painter, heretic. :)

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  2. Interesting.. I would never think this way when I watched this movie as a kid and a year ago... But in some way this all makes sense.

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