Starz American Gods And The Original Sin Of Slavery
Starz American Gods And The Original Sin Of Slavery
As if we don’t get enough hectoring on a daily basis by our politicians about racism, woke television programs and movies feel the need to shame us further. Our politicians talk about racist police and policies and propose reparations for those never enslaved to be paid by those who have never owned slaves. The movies and television shows use storytelling that is about as subtle as a hammer to the head. The latest of these is American Gods on Starz.
For those of you who have “cut the cable”, here is a brief synopsis from Entertainment Weekly:
…American Gods is based on Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel of the same name that begins with the premise that gods live among us in America. In fact, there are two types of gods. The old, mythical gods — like Anansi, Odin, Easter — who arrived in America when their believers emigrated here years ago via Viking ships, slave ships, or what have you. Gods are fed by worship (not croissants, as some rappers may have led you to believe), which means the modern age hasn’t been nice on these old ones since belief in them has waned and, in many places, has been supplanted by our devotion to technology and celebrities. This change has led to the manifestation of new gods embodying these consumerist concerns; for example, Media, the goddess of TV. Thus, the stage is set for the main conflict in the series: A war between the old gods and the new gods.
Two types of gods exist. The old gods are gods of mythology and the new gods are gods of Technology and Media.
I didn’t watch Season One when it originally aired. But, with Season Two coming out, I sat down and binged Season One and was addicted from the first scene. Norsemen arrive in America and it’s a shithole, but there is no wind and they cannot leave. The sailors build an image of Odin and pray to it, each put out one and even battle each other before the winds finally rise up and they can leave. The scenes are beautifully photographed and the voice over by Egyptian god Ibis/Toth actor Demore Barnes is perfection.
The coming war between the gods is seen through the eyes of Shadow Moon, recently released from prison for a botched casino robbery.
I hope I am not losing you here because this show has its really great moments. Some of the gods, demigods and jins are played by epic actors. I am a big fan of Bilquis, the Queen of Sheba who sucks a whole man into her vagina, and of Mad Sweeney, a leprechaun who has lost his lucky gold coin and has stunningly funny bad luck.
Media, New Media, Technical Boy and Mr. World are a few of the new gods, who are assisted by some of the turncoat old gods. It’s fun really.
After that the show is aggravating.
Because there is the original sin of slavery most often kvetched about by the Ghanaian god Mr. Nancy/Anansi brought to life by Orlando Jones, who is great in the role. But, I am begging the producers and writers to stop. It has become a left-wing mantra that America was conceived in Original Sin. But, I NEED to ask what country wasn’t conceived in Original Sin? What country on Earth was born of man perfected? The United States was conceived of by human beings of their time. They did the best they could.
In the following video, Mr. Nancy is summoned by a worshiper to a Dutch slave ship. He explains to them their future in America. Language alert.
Like I said, Orlando Jones is a powerful actor. I was mesmerized and angry at the same time.
And there are lynchings. Sweet Jesus. Technical Boy lynches Shadow Moon, who is black, in the first episode. In the most recent episode, the producers graphically (very) show the 1909 lynching of a black man Williams James, whose angry spirit haunts Cairo, Illinois today. There is no mention of the white man, Henry Salzner, who was lynched the same night. While blacks are about 12% of the population, they represented 70% of the lynchings. That is unfathomable.
In case we don’t get the main message of American Gods that white people are the cause of all of the ills in the world and all whites live carefree, pleasant lives while simultaneously wreaking havoc, we get treated to the following scenes:
1. In the town of Vulcan, Virginia, Mr. Wednesday and Shadow Moon visit the god Vulcan, here is what they find:
… Shadow spots several white townspeople dressed in uniforms with red armbands and carting around rifles. They come across the funeral parade where the rest of the townspeople are marching behind Vulcan. Wednesday explains how a couple of people a year die in sacrifice at the factory because it’s cheaper for the company to settle than to update the safety of the plant.
The crowd gathers in front of Vulcan as he gives a speech. Wednesday parks the car and gets out with a bottle of Soma to convince Vulcan to join him in his war. Vulcan finishes his speech and the crowd shoots their guns and rifles up into the air, causing Shadow to flinch. Vulcan tells the crowd to go in peace and Wednesday suggests for Shadow to take cover. Shadow gets back into the car as it starts raining bullets down, denting Betty yet falling harmlessly around Vulcan and Wednesday. After the bullets stop falling, Shadow joins Wednesday and Vulcan, confirming what Vulcan heard about Wednesday’s plans to start a war. Vulcan offers to get them something to eat.
2. You know how much white people hate immigration:
The episode starts with a group of would-be immigrants trying to swim from Mexico to the United States. One can’t swim, and almost drowns. He flounders, but a man walking on water steps in to help. Yes, it’s Jesus Christ, but not one readers of the original Gaiman novel would recognise. Of course, we’re never told it’s Jesus, but when you see a guy walking on water it’s pretty safe to assume it is. This miracle moment is soon thrown into chaos when American men fire on the group with their guns inscribed ‘Thy Kingdom Come – Bible verse.
The shoot out is horrific to watch. It’s a bloodbath.
The men – who we can assume are border control – turn on Jesus himself as he reaches out to them smiling. He’s shot in the hand making the statement even clearer. He falls to the ground, arms outstretched, a visual match for the crucifixion.
The fact that all of the border patrol officers are white is laughable. Apparently, the producers have never seen the U.S. border patrol agents. Idiots!
I am angry and sad. This show could have been so much fun. Just the concept of worship is huge. The old gods of mythology versus the new gods of technology is great material. Instead, the producers have given us the Social Justice Version of Original Sin.
I will probably still tune in just for Shadow Moon and Mad Sweeney.