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The ‘Baltic States’ Are Fake Countries

Voice Of EU



Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard at Stalker Zone

Now, the Baltic states consist of three countries – Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, which received sovereignty in the course of the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Each of these states position themselves, respectively, as the national states of Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians. Nationalism in the Baltic countries was raised to the level of a state policy, which explains the numerous examples of the discrimination of the Russian and Russian-speaking population.

Meanwhile, if to figure this out, it becomes clear that the Baltic countries are typical “replica states” with the absence of their own political history and tradition. Of course not, the states in the Baltic region existed before, but it’s not at all Latvians or Estonians that created them.

What did the Baltic region represent before its lands were included in the structure of the Russian Empire? Before the 13th century, when the German knights/crusaders started conquering the Baltic region, it was a complete and utter “zone of tribes”. Here lived the Baltic and Finno-Ugric tribes, which didn’t have their own statehood and professed paganism.

Thus, modern Latvians as a people appeared as a result of a merger of the Baltic region (Latgalians, Semigallians, Selonians, Curonians) and Finno-Ugric (Livonians) tribes. At the same time it should be taken into account that Baltic tribes themselves weren’t the indigenous people of the Baltic region – they migrated from the South and pushed aside the local Finno-Ugric population to the north of modern Latvia. It is especially the absence of their own statehood that became one of the main reasons for the conquest of the Baltic and the Finno-Ugric people of the Baltic region by more powerful neighbors.

Since the 13th-14th centuries the peoples of the Baltic region found themselves between two fires – from the Southwest they were squeezed and subordinated by the German Order of Knighthood, and from the Northeast – the Russian principalities. It’s not at all the ancestors of modern Lithuanians, but the Litvin – “western Russians”, Slavs, the ancestors of modern Belarusians – who were the “kernel” of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

The adoption of the Catholic religion and the developed cultural ties with the neighbouring Poland provided differences between Litvin and the population of Rus. The situation of the Baltic tribes was far from being joyful both in the German Knighthood states and in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. They were subjected to religious, linguistic, and social discrimination.

The situation was even worse for the Finno-Ugric tribes, which subsequently became the basis for the formation of the Estonian nation. In Estland, like in the neighbouring Livonia and Courland, all main levers of governance and economy were in the hands of the East Sea [Ostsee – ed] Germans.

Before the middle of the 19th century in the Russian Empire such a name as “Estonians” wasn’t even used – all natives of Finland, the Vyborg Governorate, and some other Baltic territories were united under the name“chukhna”. Moreover, there were no distinctions between Estonians, Izhorians, Vepsians, and Finns. The standard of living of “chukhna” was even lower than that of Latvians and Lithuanians. A considerable part of villagers moved towards St. Petersburg, Riga, and other large cities in search of earnings.

A large number of Estonians even moved towards other regions of the Russian Empire – thus Estonian settlements appeared in the North Caucasus, Crimea, Siberia, and the Far East. They left for the “world’s end” not at all because they had a good life. It is interesting that in the cities of the Baltic region there were almost no Estonians and Latvians – it is they themselves who called themselves “villagers”, opposing themselves to city dwellers – Germans.

The main part of the population of Baltic cities up to the 19th century consisted of ethnic Germans, and also Poles and Jews, but not at all Baltic people. In fact, the “old” (pre-revolutionary) Baltic region was completely built by Germans. Baltic cities were German cities – with German architecture, culture, and system of municipal management.

In knighthood states, in the Duchy of Courland, and in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth the Baltic people would never become equal with title Germans, Poles or Litvins. For the German nobility dominating in the Baltic region, Latvians and Estonians were people of the second grade, almost “barbarians”, there couldn’t even be talk of equal rights. The nobility and merchants of the Duchy of Courland completely consisted of East Sea Germans.

The German minority for centuries dominated Latvian peasants making up the main part of the population of the duchy. Latvian peasants were enslaved and in terms of their social status they were equated to ancient Roman slaves by the Courland statute.

Freedom came to Latvian peasants almost half a century earlier than to Russian serfs – the decree on the cancellation of serfdom in Courland was signed by the emperor Alexander I in 1817. On August 30th in Mitava the release of peasants was solemnly declared.

Two years later, in 1819, Livonia’s peasants were also released. Thus Latvians received long-awaited freedom, with which the gradual formation of a class of free Latvian farmers started. If it wasn’t for the will of the Russian emperor, who knows how many more decades Latvians would’ve remained in the condition of being the serfs of German sirs.

The incredible mercy shown by Alexander I in relation to the peasants of Courland and Livonia had an enormous impact on the further economic development of these lands. By the way, it’s not a coincidence that Latgale turned into the most economically backward part of Latvia – liberation from serfdom came to Latgale peasants much later, and this circumstance affected the development of agriculture, trade, and crafts in the region.

The liberation of the serfs of Livonia and Courland allowed them to rather quickly turn into successful farmers who lived much better off than the peasants of Northern and Central Russia. An impulse was given to the further economic development of Latvia. But even after the liberation of peasants, the main resources of Livonia and Courland remained in the hands of East Sea Germans, who organically fitted into Russian aristocracy and merchants.

A large number of prominent military and politicians of the Russian Empire – generals and admirals, diplomats and ministers – emerged from the environment of the East Sea nobility. On the other hand, the situation of Latvians or Estonians remained denigrated – and not at all because of Russians, who are now accused of occupying the Baltic region, but because of the East Sea nobility that exploited the population of the region.

Now in all the countries of the Baltic region people like to argue about the “horrors of Soviet occupation”, but they prefer to keep quiet about the fact that it is precisely Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians who supported the revolution that gave them their long-awaited liberation from the domination of East Sea Germans.

If German aristocracy of the Baltic region in its majority supported the white movement, then whole divisions of Latvian Riflemen were at war on the side of the red movement. Ethnic Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians played a very large role in the establishment of Soviet power in Russia, and their percent in the Red Army and the state security bodies was the highest.

When modern Baltic politicians argue about “Soviet occupation”, they forget that tens of thousands of “Latvian Riflemen” fought all across Russia for the establishment of this same Soviet power, and then continued to serve in the bodies of the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission, Joint State Political Directorate, NKVD, and the Red Army, and not in the lowest posts either.

As we see, nobody oppressed Latvians or Estonians on ethnic grounds in Soviet Russia. Moreover, in the first post-revolutionary years Latvian formations were considered as privileged ones, and it is precisely they that guarded the Soviet leadership and carried out the most responsible tasks, including suppressing numerous anti-Soviet actions in the Russian provinces. It is necessary to say that, without feeling kinship and cultural proximity with Russian peasants, Riflemen dealt with the uprising quite rigidly, which the Soviet leadership appreciated.

During the inter-war period (from 1920 to 1940) several worlds existed in Latvia – Latvian, German, Russian, and Jewish, which tried to cross each other’s paths at a minimum. It is clear that the situation of Germans in independent Latvia was better than the situation of Russians or Jews, but there were certain nuances all the same.

Thus, despite the fact that Germans and Latvians were Lutherans or Catholics, German and Latvian Catholic and Protestant churches and schools existed separately. I.e., two people with apparently close cultural values tried to maximally distance from each other. For Latvians, Germans were occupiers and the descendants of exploiters/feudal lords, and for Germans the Latvians were almost “forest barbarians”. Especially because as a result of the agrarian reform, East Sea landowners were deprived of their lands, which were transferred to Latvian farmers.

Among the East Sea Germans pro-monarchic moods dominated at first – they hoped for the restoration of the Russian Empire and the return of Latvia into its structure, and then, in the 1930’s, German Nazism started to spread very quickly – it is enough to remember that Alfred Rosenberg, one of Hitler’s key ideologists, was from the Baltic region.

The East Sea Germans connected the restoration of their political and economic domination to the spreading of German power across the Baltic region. They considered the cities of Estonia and Latvia built by Germans falling in the hands of “villagers” – Estonians and Latvians – to be extremely unfair.

In fact, if it wasn’t for the “Soviet occupation”, the Baltic region would have been under Nazi rule, would be attached to Germany, and the local Latvian, Estonian, and Lithuanian population would be faced with second-class status and the subsequent fast assimilation. Despite the fact that in 1939 the repatriation of Germans from Latvia to Germany had started, and by 1940 practically all the East Sea Germans living in the country left it, they would anyway return there again if Latvia found itself as a part of the Third Reich.

Adolf Hitler treated the population of “Ostland” very disdainfully and for a long time hindered the implementation of the plans of a number of German military leaders for the formation of Latvian, Estonian, and Lithuanian units as a part of the troops of the SS.

On the territory of the Baltic region the German administration was recommended to forbid any slight movement of the local population towards autonomy and self-determination, and the creation of higher educational institutions with studying in the Lithuanian, Latvian or Estonian languages was strictly forbidden. At the same time, it was allowed to create for the local population vocational and technical schools, which testifies to only one thing – in the German-occupied Baltic region only the fate of service personnel awaited Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians.

I.e., actually it is precisely Soviet troops that saved Latvians from returning to a situation where they would be a majority deprived of civil rights under German sirs. However, taking into account the number of natives of the republics of the Baltic region serving in Hitler’s auxiliary police and the SS, it is possible to be sure that serving the occupiers as collaborators wasn’t a big problem for many of them.

Now, the auxiliary police that served Hitler are being rehabilitated in the countries of the Baltic region, and at the same time the merits of those Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians who took up arms and followed the way of fighting against Nazism, served in the Red Army, and fought as a part of partisan units are being suppressed and refuted.

Modern Baltic politicians also forget about how huge the contribution of Russia and then the Soviet Union was in the development of culture, written language, and sciences in the Baltic republics. In the USSR a large amount of books were translated into the Latvian, Lithuanian, and Estonian languages, and writers from the Baltic republics had the opportunity to publish their works, which were then also translated into other languages of the Soviet Union and were printed in huge numbers.

It is precisely during the Soviet period that a powerful and developed education system was created in the Baltic republics – both secondary and higher, and all Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians received an education in their native language and used their scripture, without experiencing any discrimination during subsequent employment.

It goes without saying that in the Soviet Union the natives of the republics of the Baltic region had the opportunity to develop their careers not only inside the borders of their native regions, but also inside the borders of the huge country in general – they became high-ranking party figures, military leaders and naval commanders, they formed a career in science, culture, sport, etc.

All of this became possible thanks to the huge contribution of the Russian people to the development of the Baltic region. Sane Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians never forget what the Russians did for the Baltic region. It’s not a coincidence that one of the main tasks of the modern Baltic regimes became the eradication of any adequate information about life in the Baltic republics during the Soviet period. After all, the main task is to forever tear off the Baltic region from Russia and Russian influence and to raise the younger generations of Latvians, Estonians, and Lithuanians in the spirit of total Russophobia and admiration for the West.

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard

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Art fakes: Disputed ‘Basquiats’ seized by FBI shake the US art world | Culture

Voice Of EU



While New York surrenders once again to the genius of Jean-Michel Basquiat with an exhibition of unpublished work curated by his family, in Orlando (Florida), there is considerably more controversy over the work of the artist who died at the age of 27. An exhibition at the Orlando Museum of Art dedicated to the former close friend of Andy Warhol, entitled Heroes & Monsters, has cost the head of that gallery his job, while the FBI investigates the authenticity of 25 of the works, not to mention the threats made by the director against an expert who had been commissioned to evaluate the authorship.

Although the scandal began to take shape in February, when the exhibition opened, the FBI raid took place last Friday with the seizure of the paintings with a contested attribution to Basquiat. Aaron De Groft, director and chief executive of the museum, has relentlessly defended that these are genuine works, while emphasizing that it is not a museum’s role to certify the authenticity of the works it exhibits. “[The paintings] came to us authenticated by the best Basquiat specialists,” he told the local NBC television station in February.

De Groft had for months championed the importance of the paintings, asserting that they are worth millions of dollars, until an expert showed up who’d been hired by the owners of the paintings and she began to question his version of events. The director was fired on Tuesday, just two business days after agents seized the 25 suspicious works. The museum’s board of trustees met for hours that day, but not before warning employees that anyone who dared to discuss the matter with journalists would suffer the same fate as De Groft. Hence, it is impossible to know the version not only of the former director, but of any worker at the center. Nor can any information be gleaned at the New York exhibition, a mixture of unpublished work and memorabilia, where organizers are fearful of the devaluation caused by the Orlando scandal.

FBI agents during the seizure of the dubious Basquiat paintings at the Orlando Museum of Art on June 24.
FBI agents during the seizure of the dubious Basquiat paintings at the Orlando Museum of Art on June 24.Willie J. Allen Jr. (AP)

“It is important to note that there is still nothing that makes us think that the museum has been or is the subject of an investigation,” Emilia Bourmas-Free told the local chain on behalf of the art gallery. Cynthia Brumback, chairwoman of the museum’s board of trustees, expressed itself in similar terms in a statement, saying that the board of trustees is “extremely concerned about several issues related to the exhibition Heroes & Monsters,” including “the recent revelation of an inappropriate e-mail correspondence sent to academia concerning the authentication of some of the artwork in the exhibition,” as reported by The New York Times.

The statement refers to a disparaging message sent by De Groft to the specialist hired for the expert opinion, cited in the FBI investigation as “Expert 2″ but who the New York Times has confirmed is Jordana Moore Saggese, an associate professor of art at the University of Maryland. This expert, who received $60,000 for a written report, asked the museum not to have her name associated with the exhibition, according to the FBI affidavit. Angry, De Groft threatened to reveal the amount of the payment and share the details with her employer, the university.

“You want us to put out there you got $60,000 to write this?” wrote De Groft, according to the affidavit. “Ok then. Shut up. You took the money. Stop being holier than thou. Do your academic thing and stay in your limited lane.” The board said it has launched an official process to address the matter. The scandal was precipitated a few hours after the closing of the exhibition, which had originally been meant to travel to Italy.

Facade of the Orlando Museum of Art, with the promotional poster of the exhibition dedicated to Basquiat, on June 2.
Facade of the Orlando Museum of Art, with the promotional poster of the exhibition dedicated to Basquiat, on June 2.John Raoux (AP)

The mystery of the cardboard box

But how did the paintings get to the Orlando Museum? The museum and its owners maintain that the paintings were found in a Los Angeles storage unit in 2012. The New York Times reported that questions arose over one of the paintings, made on the back of a cardboard shipping box with FedEx lettering in a typeface that was not used until 1994, six years after Basquiat’s death, according to a designer who worked for the company.

Both De Groft and the owners of the paintings maintain that they were made in 1982 and that Basquiat sold them for $5,000 to a famous television screenwriter, now deceased, who deposited them in a storage unit and forgot about them.

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Ramón Estévez regrets his name change to Martin Sheen | Culture

Voice Of EU



At the beginning of the sixties, Ramón Estévez was desperate. His first steps as a television actor had gone well, but he felt stuck in that medium and wanted to get into theater and film. However, at the time, his name held him back: there were few successful Latinos in the United States. “Whenever I called for a position, whether for work or for an apartment, they answered me hesitantly when I gave my name, and when I arrived, I found the position already filled.” He said in 2003. And so, Ramón decided to create an artistic name by merging the name of Robert Dale Martin, the CBS network’s casting director, who had helped him in those essential appearances on the small screen, and that of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, who, as Estévez’s little sister Carmen recalls, “regularly appeared on TV.”

This is how Martin Sheen came about, and owing to his great talent, he triumphed first in theater and, later as an actor in the movies, notably: Badlands, Apocalypse Now, The Departed, and Wall Street. However, the identity of Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez did not disappear: this name remains in all of Sheen’s official documents (passport, driver’s license and marriage license)… and in the actor’s soul. Last week, in an interview with Closer magazine, he confessed that one of the great regrets of his life was his change of name. He speaks with pride of the obstinacy of his son Emilio, who kept it despite “his agent’s advice to change it”. In relation to his own decision, he reflects: “Sometimes they convince you, when you don’t have enough insight or even enough courage to stand up for what you believe in, and you pay for it later.”

Martin Sheen in 'The West Wing' reunion, last October.
Martin Sheen in ‘The West Wing’ reunion, last October.

Over time, Sheen recovered his Galician roots, the land where his father, Francisco Estévez Martínez, was born. His father was an immigrant who left Parderrubias, in Salceda de Caselas (Pontevedra), for Cuba at the age of 18 in 1916. He left with no Spanish, a language he learned on the Caribbean Island. In the early 1930s, he emigrated to the United States to a modest Irish neighborhood in Dayton (Ohio), where he married another immigrant, Mary-Ann Phelan.

Martin Sheen’s life has been profoundly marked by his childhood. His father worked at NCR Corporation, an industrial conglomerate that began manufacturing cash registers. Shortly after his marriage, the company sent him to the Bermuda Islands where his first children were born. Sheen was the seventh of ten children (nine boys and one girl), and the first to be born in Dayton, in 1940, after the family moved to the US. His left arm was clasped by forceps during birth, leaving it three inches shorter than his right arm. As a result of this, the character that Sheen interprets in the series The West Wing of the White House, President Josiah Bartlet, puts on his jacket with a strange twist of the body. As a child, he suffered from polio which kept him bedridden for a year, and at the age of 11 his mother died. Thanks to the support of a catholic charity and his own father’s efforts, the family remained united against the distribition of children to orphanages or foster homes, a common practice at the time.

Martin Sheen abd Francis Ford Coppola during the recording of 'Apocalypse Now'.
Martin Sheen abd Francis Ford Coppola during the recording of ‘Apocalypse Now’.

He was the eccentric of the family: he decided to go into acting. Against his father’s objections, Ramón, the most reserved son only enjoyed the theater and decided to study acting. “You don’t know how to sing or dance!”, his father told him, to which his son replied: “You love westerns and in those nobody sings or dances”. “But you don’t ride a horse either!” was his father’s comeback. Despite this discouragement, he moved to New York, following in the footsteps of his idol, James Dean.

In the mythical episode Two Cathedrals of The West Wing, he explains how the character President Bartlet reflects the experiences of his own childhood and adolescence. Estévez/Sheen: a practicing Catholic and relentless campaigner against global warming, a man in favor of civil and immigrant rights, he was arrested several times during demonstrations outside the White House. His activism began when he was just 14 years old in a golf club where he worked. He led a strike of caddies, protesting against the club members’ use of bad language in front of children.

Actor Martin Sheen takes part in a "Fire Drill Fridays" protest calling attention to climate change at the U.S. Capitol in Washington
Actor Martin Sheen takes part in a “Fire Drill Fridays” protest calling attention to climate change at the U.S. Capitol in WashingtonJOSHUA ROBERTS (Reuters)

And then there’s the Spanish context. Francisco Estévez did not teach his children Spanish, but the Estévez family went back to their roots. Francisco was able to return to his hometown in Galicia in 1967 (just as Sheen landed his first big role in In the Custody of Strangers), where he began building a house, while making regular trips back to Dayton. He would never see this house finished. He died in Dayton in 1974, and was buried with his wife and son Manuel, who had died in 1968. His only daughter, Carmen, ended up working as an English teacher at a school in Madrid, where she married. For years people in Madrid have bumped into Sheen during his visits to his sister. Carmen finished building her father’s house and inaugurated a river promenade dedicated to his memory. Indeed, she has kept the memory of the Estévez alive in Salceda de Caselas.

The Camino de Santiago, a dream come true

In the early years of the 2000s, Sheen, his son Emilio Estévez and his grandson, Taylor, walked the Camino de Santiago. In Burgos, the grandson met a girl, and at the end of the walk he decided not to return to Los Angeles, but to remain in the Castilian city, where he got married. Influenced by that experience, Sheen and Estévez made the film El camino (2010), in which both co-starred and the latter directed. A few months ago, Sheen spoke proudly of El camino, a great success, and a faithful portrayal of his spirituality. During filming, at a lunch under huge pergolas at the back of Burgos cathedral, Sheen explained: “I am a Catholic, and a lot of that spirituality is in this movie. I have had an extremely happy life, with the normal highs and lows of a career. I have survived disease and my family is wonderful [his four children, including Charlie Sheen, are actors]… I believe in a church that does incredible work in the Third World. Other things, like some of the pronouncements from the Pope [at that time, Benedict XVI], are more difficult for me. I live my faith, and it is between God and I.” A few meters from Sheen and the journalist, at the long tables, was a strange group that didn’t not look like actors: “That’s my wife, that’s my sister and her husband, that my best childhood friend… I’ve invited them to come and have a good time with Emilio, Taylor [who worked as an assistant] and me”. Taylor Estévez currently works as a stunt coordinator in California.

Martin Sheen at the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral with his sister Carmen, 2009.
Martin Sheen at the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral with his sister Carmen, 2009. Andres Fraga

Carmen Estévez says that for decades the family did not understand their father’s deeply Galician sense of humor, until they realized that for much of the time he was not being serious. This sarcasm was inherited by his son Ramón/Martin, and he made a display of this in Burgos. In response to a question about his career, he said: “With my resume full of bad movie titles, what can I say. I’m an actor and that’s how I’ve supported my family. But I’ve been in about 10 films that I can be proud of…” at which point he dropped his cup of coffee and blurted out: “See? For gloating over my career. Divine punishment”.

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Buzz Lightyear: To Lesbians and Beyond | Culture

Voice Of EU



Buzz Lightyear and Alisha Hawthorne in a still of 'Lightyear' (Disney/Pixar, 2022).
Buzz Lightyear and Alisha Hawthorne in a still of ‘Lightyear’ (Disney/Pixar, 2022).Pixar (AP)

The first homosexual kiss in a Disney movie has been more than expected. Many of us wanted to see it in Frozen: some interpret the ice princess’s song “Let it Go” as a reference to being gay. Lots of people awaited it in Luca, where the love between protagonists Luca and Alberto was at times more obvious even than that of the cowboys in Brokeback Mountain. We longed for a legendary, effervescent kiss, the fruit of a rebellious and passionate love. It was going to be a vindictive kiss, full of fireworks. It would be one of those kisses that precede the mythical The End, when the screen fades to black behind the lover’s mouths. It was a kiss that was going to take everything over. Above all, it was going to be the great kiss of the 21st century, undoubtedly the century of homosexual visibility and the century of the gender revolution, the moment when women fall in love and kiss for the first time and do all of it on the big screen. (Well, not all of it.)

The first lesbian kiss in Disney history appears in the recently released Lightyear, and it has sadly led to the censorship of the film in 14 countries in the Middle East and Asia. The kiss takes place in 1995, that is, 27 years ago. The first homosexual kiss of the Disney Pixar factory recognizes that it is years late. It is a 90′s kiss. It comes not from the 21st century, but the 20th. How? The film starts with the following premise: in 1995 Andy, the protagonist of Toy Story, went to the cinema to see Lightyear. This is the movie he saw then. Lightyear, therefore, is not the end of the saga but its prequel. In addition, the controversial kiss does not happen between a young protagonist and her girlfriend, but between two mature women who have been married for years. We are not facing a rebellious kiss, much less a political or ideological one. This kiss is not intended to be a novelty or to make anything visible. It is an absolutely conventional gesture. Thank you, Disney Pixar for going beyond my wildest dreams when it comes to normalizing visibility. And thank you for listening to your workers and refusing to remove the scene. In the long run, it will be more profitable to sacrifice box-office earnings than dignity.

In addition to being between two women, the kiss happens between two mothers, on the day that they celebrate their son’s birthday. It is not the classic Disney kiss, a culmination of the romantic love between the leading couple, but a stolen moment of quotidian happiness. It is a fleeting kiss, insignificant in the history of lovers. It lasts just seconds. It is not charged with any special meaning in the love story. It speaks of a way of building affections and meaning different from that imposed by the traditional heterosexual canon: seemingly unimportant gestures of are everything. It represents a kind of love where kisses do not represent a turning point in the lovers’ lives, but rather small anchor points in their story history. In this gesture, romantic love is not ultimately the center of life but part of it. In Lightyear, we witness the anodyne kiss on the lips between space explorer Alisha Hawthorne and her wife, and we realize that partners are not at the center of any story, but rather one of those fragments that give meaning to life. It is a sapphic kiss in the sense that it is another way of building love, more horizontal, quieter and healthier.

Alisha—a female, lesbian and black—does not have as much screentime as Buzz Lightyear—male, white and the story’s protagonist. She is the protagonist’s friend, confidante and inspiration. Together they are trapped on an uninhabitable planet due to a mistake he made. From that moment on their lives run parallel but radically different–almost like the story of lesbian and heterosexual love. She adapts to the circumstances and begins to live the life that has befallen her, without rejecting its difficulties. The conditions are not the best, but Alisha falls in love–with a woman–and celebrates her luck. Together they have a son. Along the way, she takes care of those she loves, she has a granddaughter, she fights and she investigates. She fills her life with meaning, and she dies. Buzz, on the other hand, insists on “finishing the mission,” “being important,” “saving the world,” “succeeding,” “being a hero,” “doing things alone” and “being the first.” Buzz, who will never know love, embodies many of the traditional values of heteronormative love, starting with the desire for protagonism and the sense of a linear life narrated through love or milestones, leading only to deep, intimate failure.

Lightyear attempts to travel into space to escape from the planet where he is trapped, failing over and over again. Additionally, though, time is altered every time he subjects his ship to hyperspeed. Every time he returns, a few minutes have passed for him and a few years–four, ten or twenty–for Alisha. He burns through life, while she lives it. In one of the final moments, Buzz Lightyear explains to Alisha’s granddaughter why he and her grandmother became space rangers. “We just wanted to be important,” he says. “Trust me, she was,” she says. And the hero understands that his whole life has been a huge misunderstanding. He will have to return home, knowing that his home is the one he has tried to flee all his life.

The film is a masterpiece, full of action, emotion, humor and imagination. Its commitment to diversity includes a warrior over seventy years old, a rebel whose role is essential in saving the world. No one is talking about the old woman for the simple reason that old age remains invisible even when it occupies the center of the scene. The film also gives us Sox, an adorable robotic cat that demonstrates how the only technology that works is that which helps people, not that which attempts to change them. It is truly one of the great Pixar movies, much more than action and stars.

At this point, it had gotten hard to explain why we humans want to keep going to infinity and beyond. But there is a moment, at the end of the film, when we understand: when the elite protectors of the universe excitedly observe the bronze statue of Alisha, a black lesbian woman, the source of meaning for humanity, because she is the one who knew how to live a small life with greatness.

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