Mailbox: Race is the Place


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I just read Armond White’s movie review of Paul W.S. Anderson’s film Death Race (“A Statham Special,” Aug. 27-Sept. 2) starring Jason Statham, and I enjoyed it immensely and totally agree with Mr. White’s comment that actor Jason Statham is actually one of the last movie action heroes in today's Hollywood. But what surprised me while reading the first paragraph of Mr. White’s Death Race review was the statement, “This remake of the 1978 American International Pictures cult film, Death Race 2000, is the superior movie.”


First of all, the original Death Race 2000 directed by Paul Bartel, was originally theatrically released by Roger Corman's New World Pictures and not by AIP as White mentioned in his review. Second of all, the original Death Race 2000 was theatrically released here in America in 1975 and not 1978 as also stated in the review. Remember that Sylvester Stallone, who plays Machine Gun Joe Viterbo in the original Death Race 2000 film, did that movie before writing and acting in the original Rocky released in 1976. The semi-sequel Death Sport also produced by New World Pictures was released in 1978.


I know that Mr. White has taken some flack by Press readers for his gaffes regarding Superbad and The Dark Knight, but I thought that a film critic of Mr. White’s stature would know what film company released the original Death Race 2000.


—Alan Bobet


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A COMIC TRAGEDY


Hey! What’s with the downgrading of MAAKIES? How much smaller does it have to get before I can’t read it any longer? And I keep waiting for Kaz’s Underworld, like I do every week, or I’d ignore your weekly. Why the short shrift in the comics department?


Kaz and Tony Millionaire are beautifully irreverent, and I happen to know many people who find that irreverence refreshing. Please don’t make me dependent on my steam-driven, coal-burning computer for quenching my desires—I really enjoy reading actual printed words on paper. And if you force me to return to the digital realm on a weekly basis, no telling what sort of mutant skin-disease I’ll pick up from monitor exposure.


—Bill Driscoll


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NOT JUST BLACK AND WHITE


I wish to comment on Susan Crane Bakos’ article that appeared in the Aug. 5, 2008 issue (“Harlem: It’s a Hard-Knock Life”). Specifically, not that she was mugged in Harlem but about a prior article as to why she as a white woman prefers black men as lovers. I found her allegations to be disingenuous at best and downright racist at worst. She commented on how much more desirable black men are. If such a remark had been made about by a black woman describing white men I’m sure that there would have been howls of people yelling racism and how this black woman more supportive of black men.


She did make one insightful remark, namely that as white men—simply because we are white—we think that we have a sense of entitlement that others do not have. Consequently, we take more for granted and are more inclined to rest on our laurels expecting the world to come to us. A black man who does not have this sense of entitlement is hungrier and is willing to work harder to get what he thinks is his right.


However, this is not a function of race but a function of socio-economics. She also ignores or downplays the increasing number of black woman/white man relationships such as: Halle Berry and her white model boyfriend who is the father of her child. Whoopi Goldberg: every time she gets married it’s to a white guy. There’s Lena Horne and her Jewish, white husband and bandleader. Both Serena and Venus have had white boyfriends, and Venus was engaged to one. Serena has gone on record as preferring white guys, as she feels they are more secure sexually (surprisingly). You never would have thought of this given all the myths and misinformation about insatiable black male sexual prowess and genital size. We should know better by now. We seem to ascribe to individuals who are non-white some kind of power or extra-sensory knowledge of the natural world that white men lost while being civilized. We’re made to believe that such individuals are closer to nature and a more basic primeval/primordial center of humanity and nature that white, and ostensibly more privileged, individuals have lost.


Why can’t she just admit that she prefers black men because she prefers black men? Some people like lovers who are as different from themselves as possible. Witness Robert DeNiro: He has had relationships almost exclusively with black women. Perhaps she harbors some sort of white guilt that she feels can only be exorcised by having relationships with black men: a form of penance which she feels she must make serving up her own body as a reparation. Or perhaps she wishes to ingratiate herself to black people in an attempt to show she is not racist.


This approach will only lead to unhappiness, because it opens oneself to exploitation. She fails to see that there is good and bad in all races. But she does state that of the white guys she likes, Italians have some of the characteristics of black men that she favors. Again, this is a very sweeping generalization (and inaccurate one at that) of a group of people.


I hope for her sake she wakes up and sees her actions in a more objective and dispassionate way and learns to see people as individuals and not as ethnic/racial inputs.


—Frank Torchio


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