The Infallible Spike Lee

Do any of you feel as though the discussions in this class are often too unapologetic to Spike Lee? The only reason I bring this up is because we discuss him as an infallible figure. Speaking generally, just off the top of my head, I’m thinking of sexist undertones in Mo’ Better Blues and overt homophobic themes in School Daze. Thoreau has an entire chapter, Baker Farm in Walden, that I found to be some of his poorest work which was irreprehensibly contradictory. This does not mean I reject all other aspects of Thoreau’s– or Lee’s– work because of specific pitfalls. It does mean I question certain parts of each mans work. Thoughts?

3 thoughts on “The Infallible Spike Lee”

  1. I think you bring up a good point, @emersonking11. Because Spike Lee often includes problematic notions (such as racist, sexist or homophobic stereotypes or slurs) in his films in order to critique them, it is difficult to determine when Lee is attempting to discredit a notion versus when he himself is (unconsciously or unconsciously) perpetuating that notion. The difference seems to come down to one’s faith in Spike Lee, though Professor Parham has been pushing us to ground our opinions in textual evidence. But I don’t think we’ve figured out how to do so yet.


  2. @emersonking11 I think another interesting example of this comes in Mo Better Blues, where Lee places a lot of anti-semetic stereotypes on the Flatbush brothers, the owners of the nightclub that Bleek’s band plays at. In response to criticism to his film, Lee chose to respond by saying, “Not every black person is a pimp, murderer, prostitute, convict, rapist or drug addict, but that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from writing these roles for African-Americans.”

    It seems that Lee, rather than apologizing for this portrayal of Jewish characters, simply passes on the buck saying that everyone else has done it to African-Americans, so why is it bad if he does it to Jews. @arohde16 I think this brings us back to your point: Lee refuses to apologize for this portrayal, so maybe it was intentional. Maybe it was his way of showing how hypocritical Hollywood can be. I guess it all comes back to our faith in him.


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