By April 11, 2012 14 Comments Read More →

Mr Midnight Movie Seeks the American Dream by Tackling White Guilt

Evenings should never be spent bent over a keyboard in an effort to relay rogue expeditions to the desert with the “inflammatory, but diplomatic” atheist, Mr. Midnight Movie, and “the world’s most brash, cheap” Jewish Producer.  But as things have worked out, this has been the case during the course of the last year as I have had the frightening pleasure of familiarizing myself with the term “White Guilt.”   If you are not familiar with the concept, it has been stewing inside Mr. Midnight Movie’s brain for many years.  He states this is due to what he feels is the “perversion of civil liberties in America,” and the fact that he has “blamed every non-white person for the problems  that arise for me as a white janitor in America.”

It has not been easy to follow along with this dialogue, as this humble reporter finds that often times the theme of their gig is of a sticky nature and it doesn’t always match up with my sensibilities.  But we are not here for my sensibilities. The stigma of racism in America, and the subsequent struggles of the people affected through the generations is at best a difficult topic to approach as a white writer from Southern California, and at worst his messages can be misinterpreted as racist.  But Mr. Midnight Movie and Jewish Producer are taking the topic of  “No White Guilt” seriously and with open minds.  I traveled with them to Palmdale, California last week for a production shoot of some video clips to be disbursed through their website and also to ask them some questions about their quest.

Samuel:  Do you two see eye to eye on the topic of “white guilt?”

JP:  I have to admit, my specialty is rock and pop music history.  This is out of my scope, and at first I felt the topic of White Guilt isn’t much a fan favorite, understand?  Mr Midnight Movie is driven to speak his mind and even said that I suffer from Stockholm Syndrome, which is absurd.  He’s really in to showing the facts, and I’m really interested in him talking to people and getting a fair opinion from a cross cultural selection of people.

MMM: We don’t have to see eye to eye, because this is an open forum discussion.  At first when I told Jewish Producer this is the direction I wanted to go with this, and possibly make a movie about this topic, he was furious, and fuming and threatening.  It’s the first time I knew he was firm believer in the 2nd amendment, but I talked him down and we agreed to work together to try and deliver this message.   Since then, we have been able to open a serious dialogue and expand on our vision.

Samuel:  What do plan to accomplish filming in Lancaster?

MMM:  This is the armpit of California.  The government has done nothing but hurt the chances the fine people of Lancaster (and Palmdale for that matter) have of succeeding because they release and relocate former prisoners out here, which creates gang problems and racial tension.  This does have an impact on other areas, specifically Los Angeles.  But more importantly, I want people to learn about what we do, and who we would like to speak to with an understanding that we are open minded individuals.  Black, white, Latino, left wing, right wing, libertarian – we welcome all perspectives and will continue to interview these people.

JP:  We are impressed with the feedback we’ve received from people, but as one person told me, in Los Angeles, it is easy to die from encouragement.  We never want to let our guards down, and we have to continue working extremely hard to get to higher levels, build a fan base, and eventually merge ideas with like-minded film makers with better equipment and more money.

The day was long, the team is extremely cheap, only offering me a water at one stop, and a rice, bean and cheese burrito later in the day.  In the end their “hired hand” film crew of one was happy to announce that he captured close to two hours of footage that will be converted into mini-press releases as teasers.  The team is expanding as they continue forward on their expedition to greatness (or obscurity).  Keep checking their website for updates:  mrmidnightmovie.com, they are also on Facebook and Twitter.

(Part 1 of an ongoing series covering the Mr. Midnight Movie Experience.)

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  • http://www.deanwalker.wordpress.com Dean Walker

    Samuel, Here is my take on the whole made up notion of “white guilt” and the MMM/JP video. I like the idea behind JP’s comment: “…more importantly, I want people to learn about what we do, and who we would like to speak to with an understanding that we are open minded individuals. Black, white, Latino, left wing, right wing, libertarian – we welcome all perspectives and will continue to interview these people.”

    However, MMM’s questions did seem to reflect a decidedly libertarian/right-wing ideology.

    The fact is, “white guilt” is a conservative fantasy used to perversely stereotype white liberals. That’s the history of the term. Look it up in Wikipedia. Conservative columnist George Will defined the term: “White guilt is a form of self-congratulation, where whites initiate “compassionate policies” toward people of color, to showcase their innocence to racism.”

    This, of course, is a completely absurd notion to liberals. However, I have a theory as to why right-wingers, libertarians, conservatives, and Republicans all engage in trying tell liberals what they believe and why they believe it.

    My theory is supported by recent advances in brain scans and I can link to several recent articles and studies on this subject as well as quotes from a few books I have recently read on the subject. Anyway, here is the theory, conservative brains are wired toward fear and guilt while liberal brains are wired toward empathy and compassion. White liberals support “compassionate policies” not because they want to “showcase their innocence to racism” but because they are hardwired to compassion.

    Why do right-wing go on and on vomiting theory after theory attempting to explain why white liberals are doing such and such behavior out of fear or guilt? It is because that is the only conservatives know how to explain the world around them. Conservatives thrive on fear and guilt and they make the most of it every chance they get.

    It seems to me, conservatives cannot comprehend the fact that white people might actually feel empathy toward black people and embrace them as one of their own. Like the couple interviewed in this video clip, I am a white man and married a black woman. I didn’t do it because I felt guilty about the white man’s historical oppression of black people. I married my wife because I loved her. We became a family and I learned that both whites and blacks fear each other, once you get to know each other you find out we are all from the same family.

    I don’t support black causes out of any guilt. I support black causes because they are my people. Because they are people, just like me.

    With all that said, I really want to thank you for posting a piece on this issue. I hope the JP and MMM get’s a chance to talk to me about this issue. I certainly have an opinon on this subject and am more than willing to share it with them. However, I would also want to interview them as well:)

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  • Samuel Mael

    Oh you MUST have a sit-down with Mr Midnight Movie, if not for entertainment value… he states he wants all opinions, but he also states he has little journalistic integrity, and that is where JP’s ideology might be able to sneak up and “level” the playing field…

    I’ll keep an eye out for his comments as I’ve told him to sign up here and chime in…

    Thanks for the points, you certainly have a grip on this topic!

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  • http://sipsofjenandtonic.com Jen and Tonic

    Really interesting video. I don’t have white guilt simply because I have nothing to feel guilty about. I do believe that in recent years it has become very chic to talk about it when politicking, and it bugs the shit out of me.

    I know that there are minorities who DO believe that white Americans should feel guilt. I’m not saying all of them do, but I personally know some who think I should feel badly about “how good I have it” in life.

    Additionally, I do think there are people who help minorities because: (A) They’re opportunistic or (B) They feel we owe it to them. Again, this doesn’t apply to everyone.

    Personally, I’m not atoning for things I didn’t do.

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  • Samuel Mael

    JT, I’m with you most of the way here. I love all cultures, I thrive when in other people’s countries because the locals know that I am there not merely to visit, but to grow my worldly knowledge… I’m continually striving for upwards ground, as are so many fine people I meet, people such as yourself, who aren’t shall I say, intimidated by glaring differences.

    I do the same in our country, I’m more interested in knowing about people’s culture, or their adapted variation on what culture is, than most. I base this on my personal observations so it’s not perfect, but it is my experience.

    But I can’t help certain characteristics, and when I appraise how I raised, in the time I was raised, I’d say I’d have done even better to have been exposed to people who talk about this topic more openly and more freely than when I was a child. It’s a rare topic when I truly can see so much validity in arguments from opposite sides of the spectrum.

    That is why I have arranged for a debate between Mr Midnight Movie and Hurricane Dean Walker (one party has already accepted the offer, I will patiently await the response from the other party) on APRIL 29TH, IT’S A SUNDAY, AT 9:30PM (Pacific Time). If both parties agree, there will be a one hour debate, that will be moderated by JP. More to come, but if this happens, I hope you listen in.

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    • http://sipsofjenandtonic.com Jen and Tonic

      PLEASE let me know! I think it will be a lively and interesting debate.

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  • Cher Duncombe

    Samuel, I think “White guilt” is highly over-rated and can be used to cover up the crux of the matter, which is equality guaranteed by our Constitution, not for Blacks specifically, but for ALL. That would mean that someone like Rick Santorum and those of his ilk, cannot drag me by my hair with club in hand and take me back to a time when women were meant only to procreate and cook over a hot stove all day without use of any intellect and shut my mouth for speaking out. The video here was truly interesting and I commend you for doing this. I look forward to the “debate” and think you did a good job of showing us some interesting perspectives.

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  • http://www.firkroy.blogspot.com/ Dan LaFollette

    Samuel, I thought this was an interesting interview, and the video was a perfect addition.

    The thing that sticks out most about the video is that the MMM and his friend didn’t discuss the conversation that they had with the couple at the mall except to talk about the fact that the man spent time in jail. They didn’t discuss what they said at all. Then the one points out “a black and Latino right there. Some chocolate loven.” this speaks volumes about what he thinks. I question whether they they have “open minds” and really listened to the people they were interviewing.

    I thought the interview was interesting. As far as white guilt goes I have to echo Dean’s comments about it. I do think liberals and conservatives must be wired differently because people really have a hard time from either perspective to understand where they are coming from.

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  • Samuel Mael

    Cher, Mr. Midnight Movie is an interesting cat, but he’s abrasive and inflammatory so I’m really glad that you move away from this realizing the entertaining quality! I hope the debate will happen because a lot of folks could do well just to have a stoic meeting of the minds.

    Dan, I’m fed up with talking points from both side and yeah I do get confused to the point of not understanding where these folks are coming from. Dean is thought-out on so many topics such as this, and I think he’d really slap Mr Midnight Movie around, but then again after hanging out with that big man enough, I wouldn’t be totally surprised if both didn’t at very least have a great debate.

    Thanks for the comments!!!

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  • http://www.deanwalker.wordpress.com Dean Walker

    Samuel, I’m game for a debate with Mr. Midnight Movie. But, I’m not sure what issues are up for debate? Are there any studies MMM knows of that actually supports the notion of “white guilt”? If so, I would love to read them. Nonetheless, if MMM and JP wish to discuss this issue with me I’m certainly up for it.

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  • Samuel Mael

    Dean this is a great update. My initial thoughts on the matter are as such… You are more of an academic then is Mr. Midnight Movie. But he has a strong perception that White Guilt is misunderstood, yet is prevalent enough to still be considered significant. (I realize this alone won’t exactly be the whole call..)

    I believe this would be an interesting meeting of the minds primarily because he is, as you suggest in your earlier comment, so right/conservative that I think he suffers from severe bouts of incontinence. In other words it can be comedic. But there are some authors he references and he possesses some ideals that make it interesting enough to have countered by you… and he’s diplomatic to a degree, so it won’t be hasty… I just envisioned this as a fantastic opportunity to get you on, promote expats, and have a fun (or heated, depending on how you two mix it up… )conversation on these matters and more…

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    • http://www.deanwalker.wordpress.com Dean Walker

      Samuel,

      I would love to read the authors MMM references. Can you or MMM send me some links to these works? I have contacted a professor of ethnic and culural studies that has written about this whole notion of ‘white guilt’ and he says there is no substance to this claim. I’m currently gathering research to support Professor Jay’s statements. I very much would like to know what research MMM has on this subject before I go on the air and discuss this matter.

      Thanks,

      Dean

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      • Samuel Mael

        Absolutely! MMM has a keen interest in works by Shelby Steel, Thomas Sowell, Larry Elder and FBI crime statistics. So bring your heat.

        He is also adamant about making sure this is also an opportunity for you to plug plug plug the Expats while you’re on.

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  • http://www.garrycrystal.blogspot.com/ Garry Crystal

    Great video and article. As someone who was brought up a catholic (now an ex-catholic) I can tell you I was raised to be guilty about everything, white guilt or otherwise and I soon realised that I was the cause of all the world’s problems. Maybe we should have a white guilt national holiday, say the day before Thanksgiving.

    Guilt is pretty much pointless when it comes to this subject though, it doesn’t help change anything. The ones who should be feeling guilt are the jerk-off racists that still exist in this world hiding behind their ‘non-racist’ political parties such as the BNP in the UK and Marine Le Pen in France, and of course the many openly racist organisations all over the world. Racist organisations use white guilt to their advantage and make it work for them through their propaganda. We should be teaching children in schools about the psychology behind racism, why racists act the way they do, where it comes from, how these racist organisations use white guilt to build strength in their irrational way of thinking. If the racism is being passed down through families then maybe if children learnt where it comes from they can look at their parents and say, no this is wrong, i’m not buying into this shit just because you did. Everyone is equal except in the eyes of the racists and they will use any means possible including the white guilt thinking to encourage others to their side.

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