Caricature in American Gods
It’s interesting that this particular episode would draw out the it’s a caricature reproach, both for it’s depiction of gun worship and aggressive vigilantism toward illegal immigrants.
What was the first scene of the first episode? A difficult arrival into America after crossing a body of water. And from the point of view of the previous inhabitants, quite undesired. To the point that those indigenous people fired upon the newly arrived in a completely ridiculous moment where one of the norse is turned into a pincushion. It drew some comments along the line of over the top, but I don’t remember anyone going as far as damning it as a caricature. Yet I’m not sure it was as innocuous as that when looked at through the eyes of someone from the First Nations. They might in fact have frowned upon being depicted as unwelcoming, aggressive people ready to kill savagely anyone who set foot on their land. Just like I heard you be less than sanguine about a very similar depiction of the militia that massacred the Mexicans who had illegally set foot on their land after a difficult crossing of a body of water.
And the depiction of the Norse was just as much a caricature as the one used to paint the portrait of the inhabitants of Vulcan. This whole show is an exercise in both the very subtil, like the easter eggs that Jez Bell collects for us so lovingly, and the so painfully obvious they’re practically clichés, like having a ginger man playing a leprechaun, because, well he’s Irish, isn’t he? Or a North African woman who gets ushered into the afterlife by Anubis even though she repeatedly mentions she’s muslim, because, well, didn’t she grow up near the pyramids? So having an all white town full of racist gun toting red armband wearing Americans is just par for the course, really. Lazy? Yes. On the nose? You bet! But somehow more offensive than the rest of the shortcuts in the show? I don’t believe so.
And yet, I have to say, for all it’s lazy tropes and multiple faux pas, I love this show to bits! So now, on to the fun stuff! My unsubstantiated theory of the week:
Salim’s presence at the motel is quite fortuitous, but since this is a television show, I think this could be justified as a clumsy but necessary plot device. Much more interesting is why Salim would even be searching for the djinn. The main action seems to be essentially contemporary, but the sequence where Salim meets the djinn seemed much older, taking place maybe in the 70s. Yet Salim hasn’t changed a bit, forty years later. So maybe he’s looking for the djinn to ask if there was more to his gift than just a chance at a new life? Maybe Laura should have butt-sex with the djinn? 😉
Keep up the good work, guys.
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