For the course: Social Justice in Earth Honoring Traditions by Dr. Julie Todd.
Week 8 Assignment: Choose a book and address the following:
- Tell us the name of your book, the author and publication date.
- Why did you choose to read it for this course?
- Write a brief overview of what it’s about.
Share the main insights you took from the book in terms of the topics of the course, social justice and earth-honoring.
- Name a few questions that the book left you with.
Jordan Peele’s annotated screenplay for Get Out. Inventory Press. 2019. Find part I here at the pluck . Part 1 is step one of my writing processes.
This is step III where, after researching the film (step II) and thinking, I write a draft about themes that stood out to me. This isn’t a finished product yet (yup writing is mostly editing).
First, Your and my psychological, emotional, physical health is important. When we respond to our own or others’ first aid needs we prioritize immediate conditions over potential conditions. If you are in a toxic or abusive environment where your immediate health and life are at risk. You need to defy the safer-at-home recommendations and GET OUT and find a safer space. visit risenow.us/covid and start planning your escape if you haven’t already.
The Earth Honoring tradition i want to focus on this week is humor. Before diving into the horror genre, I recommend getting to know your sense of humor. And unless you know thyself Real well, wait to watch or read horror until this pandemic is over. There’s enough in reality that we need to give our attention and energy. After COVID-19 passes you /we / i may have a new perspectives and ideas about humor and horror. Tho– for now, lettuce focus on humor
Humor is imperative to the horror genre. Great horror writers know their sense of humor well. Few demonstrate this better than director, composer, producer Rob Zombie–just kidding director, screenwriter, producer Jordan H. Peele.
The main reason to seek out this book is for the opening essay by Tananarive Due called “Get Out and the Black Horror Aesthetic” where she exposes Director Peele’s film thesis, “As Get Out shows us explicitly, horror is an excellent mechanism to visualize, confront, and try to overcome racial trauma.” (p.7). In this film, as the character Chris, we watch J. Peele confront his understanding and give his best response to racism thru film.
This book is like having a text version of all the DVD extras. The annotated screenplay reminds me of listening to director’s commentaries. Get Out follows an interracial couple leaving the city for rural Northeast N. America. And from Peele’s script annotations we know that Chris going from the city to a rural location is important to the feeling of isolation. Rather than a relaxing romp to the countryside, this is the horror genre, the audience knows that a location switch means it’s going to be even more difficult for Chris to escape, “It’s this blind spot we all have: We ignore and deflect our best instincts and convince ourselves that everything is fine. By the time he figures that out, it’s too late (p. 17, 168, 175). Being a compassionate person, J. Peele wants the audience to feel represented and intelligent, “I think there’s some value to giving the audience a little peek at a reveal that can help them enjoy when it happens. People don’t like to feel surprised as much as they like to figure it out right before it’s reveealed. They like to feel smart–and still not even have enough time to process…You have got to give them the opportunity to get it.” (p. 17, 177)
Deleted scenes and the alternative ending show us where Dir. Peele shaped and honed further in on the story’s meaning and intention. The intention of the director drives the film and it’s clear in his annotations that he knows that. An audience might assume a horror director’s motivation is to scare us but this horror film goes beyond superficial jump scares (p. 172). Like many, Dir Jordan Peele finds the Horror genre to be a form of catharsis, a form of art through which we work out our fears and problems creatively. This drives his intention of the films ending where we see our hero survive despite insurmountable and irrational odds. “Horror by nature trolls you– it’s a mischievous art form…The whole concept of the Sunken Place also emerged very organically…Something hit me: slavery, this horrible thing that happened 200 years ago, is happening today. Saidiya Hartman calls it the “after life of slavery.” we’re still affected by it. Black people have to deal with so much death, limited resources, mass incarceration, and abduction.” (p.17-18, 177)
In Get Out, the monster is white supremacy. Throughout the film we see this monster rise in Chris’ life and then fall one by one as each of his obstacles, the herculean ordeals, is overcome until finally we see he is safe in the hands of “Rob Williams of TSA.” (p.138). The audience watches this monster’s defeat. Then as we step out of the film world and back into our immediate realities’ we find the monster is alive and well and we have to find our inner Chris and go defeat our sense of supremacy/inferiority. The “movie magic” of this film is that it isn’t over and it’s not horror it’s terror. As Dir. Jordan Peele tweeted, “[IT] is a documentary” (p. 14).
1. What do you think of the film? Does Get Out effectively reveal a pathway to overcoming racism and cultural supremacy?
2. How does s your art address the monsters in our lives?
3. What artistic genres are important to how you process experience and emotions?
Get Out was one of those movies that I still think about today because of how Jordan Peele uses horror and humor to tell the truth about the world we live in. I’m curious about your question on if the movie/screenplay gives us a way to overcome racism. I don’t think that was Peele’s goal necessarily but he certainly brought awareness to the effects of racism and white supremacy by showing the effects of racism in a way that caught people’s attention.
Thanks for reflecting on that question [Anon]. I agree I don’t think it’s his goal or measure of success to give us a way to overcome racism but he did by taking a stab at a counternarrative where it is overcome (step 1: dream it is possible). He makes several comments in his work about how he didn’t think the film would be funded because of how he addresses white supremacy and racism. He is far more direct about the topic than most films are. By making a successful piece of art on the topic he opens up paths for more artists to do the same great path building.
This film, what he did, took so much bravery that I’m not surprised it took him 10 years to just write the script. His care is clear.