“When they [horror films] resonate, when they hit their stride, it is because there is some social.., there’s something in the zeitgeist, some real fear that the movie is playing to. You know that’s like how the torture porn genre became big in the Post 9/11 Era. You know, that was us exorcising this demon within us. We were out for blood.., in this weird way. So this one [Get Out] is less allegory and more strait up about what it is.” –Jordan Peele
|Franz Friedrich Anton Mesmer|
Another theme expressed in Get Out, which echoes Peele's above comment on America's "torture porn genre", is the culture of sexual ambiguity that’s often said to exist in affluent white communities, especially Hollywood, dating all the way back to its cultural codification in ancient Greece, Rome and in many contemporary European societies. Popular examples of this are the history of Sappho in Greece, Caligula in Rome and the grotesque Sheela Na Gig carvings of naked women stretching their vulva found on churches, castles and other buildings throughout Europe, particularly in Ireland and Britain. During a scene when Chris talked to his friend Rod [Lil Rel Howery] on the phone about his experience at Rose's parents house Rod jokingly remarked that her mother Missy Armitage is probably hypnotizing black people to be sex slaves on some serious "Eyes Wide Shut sh*t!" This theory of Rod's was a constant reference throughout the film and speaks to the general notion and conservative attitude black folks have concerning these ideals [how white folks get down], especially in a society that has historically restricted our liberty. It must be noted here that although we've seen elements of this sexual ambiguity expressed in some black and brown societies that pre-date Greece and Rome, those societies did not accept nor entertain these elements as a part of its cultural norms. For example, the word homosexual [and lesbianism] is derived from Greek and Latin [Roman]; many classical and indigenous languages didn't have a word to functionally define or support this sexual ambiguity. Even when you're looking at the Erotic Art temples of India; they are the direct result of Hindu influence whose lineage goes back to the Aryans or Indo-Europeans who invaded India. At one point Chris starts to learn something isn't right when he discovered a hidden Pandora-like box in Rose's room of her posing intimately with over a dozen young black men, including the black gardener, and one female house maid. It was the Nation of Islam co-founder, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, who often described the white woman as “the devil's last trick for the black man, and the modern day Delilah” used by the white man to thwart our progress and create enmity within the black family. In a Theology of Time lecture on July 4th 1972 Muhammad warned, “My young brothers, do not grab these blue-eyed gals of his. They are doing this today to get you away from the God of your salvation. The girl has been taught a long time, so when this day comes that she will sweet-heart with you and she will blind you to the knowledge of the time so that you won't recognize what she is doing.”
As in any film I watch, my approach is as a social scientist and Get Out is an excellent study of America’s past, present and potential future attitude about race, relations and cultural appropriation. In an age where “Stay Woke” has become a popular generic hashtag among Millennials, our next step is to literally “Get Out.” Get Out of the mindset that coded films such as this are enough to effectively combat over a century of Hollywood propaganda that has systematically demonized, caricatured, dehumanized and co-opted the culture and identity of black people. We must all play our part in using our voice to create and control our narrative. A voice to tell our stories through all spheres of people activity, that no one else is qualified to do.