Sunday, November 29, 2009

Shirtless Onkwehonwe Boys


I took my daughter to see the second instalment in that ridiculousTwilight series, “New Moon”... while I think that the main premise of the book is an obvious celibacy metaphor, I always find cultural phenomena to be interesting and so endeavour to check them out. I’m actually responsible for turning my daughter onto the whole thing because I gave her the first book 3 Christmases ago, before it was a cultural phenomena – so sue me, I had read the back of the book and figured my-then 11 year old voracious reader would appreciate it. When she went absolute apeshit for the books I figured I’d read them just to get an idea... Kind of sorry I did, the author is obviously an amateur and they weren’t the best-written books in the universe, but there’s no denying the attraction of the whole series for teenage girls.

Which brings me to the second movie instalment... It’s one thing to read about all the hype around pretty little Taylor Lautner and his posse of Quiluete boys, but the lovely indigenous male eye candy was a pleasure to behold. And I can’t deny the weird pleasure I had at thinking, here’s a way of looking at indigenous people beyond the obvious stereotypes. Well, actually I shouldn’t say that, there’s still the noble-savage thing going on by virtue of the fact that they turn into wolves, but again, how cool is that? The fact that they have this ability to protect their people and tap into this magical power is pretty awesome. Perhaps it’s just more of that whole spiritual stereotyping thing again – all that stuff about the sacred four directions and the peace pipe et cetera ad nauseum – but I was thinking, this is really nice to see, indigenous people portrayed in a positive light. They weren’t drinking, they weren’t terribly poor, they were all beautiful and powerful and cared for one another in a very tight, very community-oriented way... Kind of how we would like to see ourselves if the obvious post-colonial bullshit didn't exist.

Then I entertained myself with visions of millions of rabid white teenage girls descending upon indigenous communities all over America trying to find their own little Jacob Blacks only to be met at the edge of the reserves by scary, menacing, mean-eyed Indian girls, and that made me laugh to myself as I was driving home. Now there’s a frightening prospect! All the girls I grew up with on the reserve would kick their asses if that happened, and from what I know of my nieces and younger cousins, that hasn’t changed much.

I was never into indigenous boys growing up – I saw them all as my brothers and as my family members, so there’s obviously no erotic spark there when all the boys on your reserve are family.

I was always a sucker for the dreamy poetic Jewish boys, the soulful dark-eyed Italian boys, the intense dirty white boys. If they played guitar, rode bikes or made art of any kind then I was a goner. Those were the kind I liked, never giving the guys in my community even as much as a once-over twice. They just never did it for me. If I was fourteen years old right now I might be thinking differently. But a friend once told me – I am not cut out for a homocultural experience, and it’s true. Got too much of the oddball, the misfit in me. Back in the old days I probably would have been the crazy old medicine lady hanging out at the edge of the village by herself. Jikonsaheh, She is the Cat-Faced Woman, feeding the warriors and encouraging them into battle out of her spite and rage at everyone who pissed her off. But that's another story.

No point in whining about the what-ifs. I embrace my cute aging white hipster boy who I married and can look with delight upon the young indigenous boys who have been flung into movie stardom by virtue of their chiselled bods and think how nice is it that they all had dark hair and dark eyes and tawny skin, that they obviously didn’t look like blond, blue-eyed All-American boys. It made me happy. And isn’t that what a movie is supposed to do?