Rabbi Brody’s Peppermint Schtick

Richard Brody

Richard Brody (the famed New Yorker movie critic whose worldview and appearance are very much that of a rabbi) is not a fan of films which feature Gentile white people. He intimates their time is done, their epoch over. It is time for all-POC casts, with Gentile whites relegated to minor roles and characters… you know, to reflect the New America.  By extension, one begins to wonder to what degree Brody’s ‘critique of culture’ reflects a deeper hatred of Gentile whiteness itself.

Previously, we saw how Brody took issue with the Unbearable Whiteness of John Krasinski’s horror film A Quiet Place (“The noise of A Quiet Place is the whitest since the release of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri…), where, in his review, if you took out the word ‘white’, his review would be all of 3 words. A representative paragraph from that review:

The one sole avowed identity of the Abbott parents is as their children’s defenders; their more obvious public identity is as a white rural family. The only other people in the film, who are more vulnerable to the marauding creatures, are white as well. In their enforced silence, these characters are a metaphorical silent—white—majority, one that doesn’t dare to speak freely for fear of being heard by the super-sensitive ears of the dark others. It’s significant that when characters—two white men—commit suicide-by-noisemaking, they do so by howling as if with rage, rather than by screeching or singing or shouting words of love to their families. (Those death bellows are the wordless equivalent of “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”)

Now, from his review of Peppermint, the new Jennifer Garner vigilante-revenge flick, Brody expresses his displeasure that some saturation point of POC-representation hasn’t been met, thereby concluding the film is… drumroll… racist:

“Peppermint” is a racist film that reflects the current strain of anti-immigrant politics and its paranoid focus on MS-13. It features a diverse cast of actors in roles that go beyond stereotypical criminals (including Annie Ilonzeh and Eddie Shin, as F.B.I. agents, and John Ortiz and Method Man, as police officers), but its virtuous nonwhite characters are all isolated, as if diluted in number and dissolved in the institutions and manners of white Americans. In the terms of “Peppermint,” one Latinx person is a constructive exception; two are huddled, passive and dependent, in an encampment of the homeless; a group of them working together is a menace. It’s emblematic of the movie’s approach that its one exemplary mark of Latinx identity, a shop that manufactures piñatas, is a front for drug dealers.

The movie’s jaundiced depiction of multi-ethnic American society is anchored in its view of the North family as middle-class white people caught between a criminal underclass and an indifferent or contemptuous élite. This tendentious vision meshes with the film’s view of American institutions over all.

They hate you. They want you displaced and perhaps even dead.

As a matter of fact: would you just go and die already? It’d make it a lot easier for everyone involved.

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