Something bothered me a while back about a B movie I saw. It lingers now, affecting how I think about people. The movie itself is not memorable. A 17-year-old kid enters a 500 mile sled dog race to save his parents farm and get money for college. You know the kind of movie and most likely can predict the ending.
The Iditarod happens to be an interest of mine and, though this was nowhere near that, I wanted to watch just for the race. As in all movies you either have the bad guys or a seemingly insurmountable object. In this one you had both.
The frost biting weather, the frozen or not so frozen lakes and the unforgiving tundra divides the men from the boys or the soul from the body as the case may be. A 17-year-old boy entering and thinking that he has a chance especially when he’s never raced gives the movie it’s suspense.
Then there are the bad guys. The stereo types that Hollywood can’t seem to make a movie without. And this is what bothered me. There were the noble Indians, the kind American and, here we go, the evil German who kicks dogs and threatens the young boy. The German’s sponsor is a Scottish tight wad who will stop at nothing to win his money.
The German was the one who bothered me the most. Now I have friends in Germany. Rainer, whom I’ve corresponded with for 18 years is the kindest, happiest man I know.
It was on a train ride through Germany where a bunch of young athletic girls came to my rescue, tossing my luggage hand over head to move it for me when I had unknowingly put it all in the wrong place. And just recently I’ve come to know a couple of more young Germans through my Twitter site who are just adorable.
Movies like these in the past had influenced my way of thinking about Germans. The movie always portrayed them as harsh, cruel and evil thinking. It wasn’t until I made contact with Rainer that I actually got to know about Germans and Germany. This is a shame. Our society today is so easily swayed. Even with the news we seem to only get the negative side. The more negative it seems the more sensational it is and the more they shove it down our throats until we can only see the bad side of people.
That German in the race could have been an American that had tried to harm the boy in the movie. Kicking dogs is not unknown here. Can you say Michael Vick? Look at the puppy mills. Just look down the street at dogs who are chained and never leave the yard.
Talk about cruelty to children we now have on trial a woman who killed her own little girl and dumped her in a plastic bag. This is not an isolated incident there are many. You can go on and on about the atrocities that have been performed by Americans.
What I’m trying to say is, we are no different than any other race. We’ve tried to exterminate the Native Indians, we’ve experimented on a race of black men, (Tuskegee) we’ve even experimented on children (http://tech.mit.edu/V115/N49/radiation.49n.html) So why do we persist on stereotyping other nations?
And my god, obsession with money. Why do we still paint the Scots as the proverbial cheap skate who will stop at nothing to get his hand on a dollar? Why we have Bernard Madoff. He has bilked and ruined thousands of innocent people.
All’s I know is that I’ve got to start taking the news, movies, and “informed” opinions with a grain of salt. If the Pakistani man who I met at the museum is representative of his race, a person who listened attentively, had wonderful insights to offer and some very interesting statistics to share, I’d truly like to meet more of them. His concern about his children’s colds and the illnesses in his family only spoke to me of a person I seem to have talked to over the fence, at the store, or the office water cooler.
I only hope to meet more people from other parts of the world. I hope that we all get to meet one another. I hope that we can come to an understanding, an appreciation and a love.
Let’s take our own advise that we give to kids when they are playing in the park. “Now, children can we all just play nicely.