Simian Ever Was: Black Lives Matter Opposes Planet of the Apes

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Get ready for this shocker — Deray McKesson is appalled and offended about something. The perpetually perturbed social warrior took to the usual social media outlets to express his disdain for the upcoming movie “War For The Planet Of The Apes”. In a dose of pure amusement he was upset about one particular ape.

In the advertising material, and in some of the licensed products, Deray sees imagery that struck too close to home for him:

Given the history of rendering black people as apes, I’m offended & appalled by the lack of consciousness in Hollywood.

What has the BLM SJW in a lather was the one sheet released for this weekend’s premier. In it is a provocative image of a mass of the titular apes squaring off with a battalion of armed military force.

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Off to one side is an ape of particular note — sporting a blue sleeveless Patagonia down parka.

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They have also licensed a figure of this “Bad Ape” for Funko Pop! (Nobody tell McKesson, but I have purchased one of these for my desk.)

 

Now given the dynamics of social upheaval portrayed in the film it is entirely possible this was an intentional beat by the filmmakers. Some mirroring of the riots and other conflicts we have experienced the past 8 years is going to take place. Of course, there is also the possibility this particular ape was a nod to the original film series. After all, Deray is hardly the first to don a plush vest.

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As for the racial component that is both likely, and at the same not necessarily racist. McKesson, and his fellow agitator Tariq Nasheed, have both expressed outrage at the persons of color and apes connection. Yet there is a tangible connection,  and a reason for it. The question becomes, “is it racism”?

 

The original “Planet of the Apes”, made in 1968, was intended as a racial allegory. Scripted by the legendary Rod Serling what he set out to reflect was the various shifting mores and racial strife that was playing out in that era. Details abound, which most of these grievance guardians either choose to ignore, or cannot be inspired to apply cogent cerebral activity.

 

That original version gave us a structured class system within the primate society. Serling, a Jewish writer who experienced his own bout of bigotry, set out to make a commentary of the contemporary conflicts in the nation, and he served up a reflective construct — orangutans are the religious and political leaders; chimps are the middle class scientists and educators; gorillas serve as the working class and security forces. In this caste system you can actually discern multiple races represented by the differing species. This diffuses most of the accusatory agitprop we get from these societal outrage organizers.

 

The current film, which supposedly is a racist polemic according to them, has those apes cast in the positive heroic role. They are the ones we have been watching ascend in the franchise, and ultimately coming to dominate society. Hard to sell me on the case this is done as a belittling piece of racism.

 

But that is the way when it comes to the professional Community Barkers. When a potential problem is discovered it instantly becomes a defacto PROBLEM. Exploring the various facets is never a consideration, and the deeper subtext offered by a cultural offering only gets in the way. Art is not allowed to have complex themes or multiple tools such as metaphor and symbolism — it is just “Wrong!”

 

In keeping with the messaging of the film I’ll just hold out hope that, like the accursed apes on screen, Deray may someday begin to evolve his mindset and join the rest of the adults.