RE: Road to Eldorado "boycott"

Pennington, Buddy (buddy.pennington@Rockhurst.edu)
Thu, 30 Mar 2000 07:27:36 -0800 (PST)

This seems a bit extreme considering the film is an animated children's film
that in no way attempts to portray a historic reality. In most films taken
from legends and fairy tales, there is going to be a certain amount of
character stereotyping that is based on ethnic and geographic
misrepresentation. There should be some effort to dispel these
misrepresentations in the media as they do influence, to a degree, our
perceptions of the world.

That said, the boycotters seem to go to absurd lengths to denigrate this
film. I don't know where they get their information but archaeology has
pretty much proven that at least the Aztecs practiced human sacrifice, and
they practiced it on a massive scale. My bachelor's degree is in
Archaeology so I know a bit about this. Of course, the indigenous
populations did not worship the Christian God, but they did have pantheons
of deities and some of these deities had fair skin. Upon seeing these
strangers on horseback (animals they have never seen) they may have thought
them to be something other than purely human. And the falling in love part
is not a European fantasy, it is a story telling cliche. Many films
involving different social groups with a love story will have those lovers
come from the different groups since this is a great way to narrate and
dramatize the conflicts between the 2 groups and to get those two groups to
come together.

I simply cannot believe that this film is anything close to portraying the
Nazi Germans as heroes during the Holocaust. Give me a break.

I do not believe the intent of the movie is to feed lies to unwitting
children and to serve as dehumanizing propaganda. History has many agents.
Film is one of them, but it is not the only one. Criticizing a Eurocentric
view of history that is taught in schools has merit, but calling this film
an attempt to spoon feed history to unwitting children is going overboard.

Of course, people will boycott what they want. I doubt this film will be
banned in general here in America. Of course, being a white male, I have no
foundation to understand this issue and my opinions are probably just more
examples of how mindless Americans become victims of historical stereotypes
portrayed in children's animated films.

Buddy Pennington
Acquisitions/Serials Librarian
Rockhurst University Greenlease Library
buddy.pennington@rockhurst.edu
#816-501-4143

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Scholtz [mailto:jscholtz@sdln.net]
Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2000 9:01 AM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Road to Eldorado "boycott"

Hi All, I just received this note from an academic library director in SD
and thought I would forward it to the video listserv - concerning the new
animated film "The Road to Eldorado." I have not seen the film yet but am
familiar with the story - anything to this besides the censorship of free
speech? Please note that the person issuing the boycott statement seems to
be an employee of "Dreamworks" - but maybe I'm just dreaming this. Has
anyone heard anymore on this topic. When it's released on home video I'm
sure that it will be on the "banned videos list." - I guess it sure ain't
"All Dogs Go to Heaven" (I know this isn't a Disney film!) or "Sleeping
Beauty." I guess that the producers had to cut out some erotic parts for a
family audience "maybe the video will include the uncut erotic version -
ever since Roger Rabbit, I've longed to see lusty and voluptuous cartoon
characters go at it - but then I don't have much of a life either.... Have
a great Thursday - Friday.

Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000 08:30:15 -0700 (MST)
From: raza graduate student assoc <rgsa@unm.edu
To: raza graduate student assoc <rgsa@unm.edu
Subject: "The Road to El Dorado" aka "The Road to Hell"

We the members of the Mexika Eagle Society call upon our
indigenous brothers and sisters to join us in openly
protesting and boycotting the animated film "The Road to El Dorado,''
scheduled to be released March 31, 2000.

This film, produced by Dreamworks SKG, is a blatantly
racist misrepresentation of native culture and history,
masquerading as an innocent children's movie. It is
extremely ignorant for the makers of "El Dorado'' to use the slaughter
and genocide of a people as the backdrop for a children'scartoon.

The film exacerbates every stereotype associated with native
people, including the alleged (but never proven) practice
of human sacrifice, the even more ludicrous notion of native people
worshipping white men as "Gods" (even though the concept of
"God" did not exist in any native society), and of course, the
European fantasy of native women falling in love with the
first white man they lay their eyes on.

The story revolves around two white men (the heroes of
course) who stumble upon a map to El Dorado and journey to the "New
World'' in search of gold. Once there, they encounter an ignorant
group of savages who quickly pronounce them "Gods,'' and an
enticing, voluptuous native woman who quickly takes on the role
of faithful sidekick. Then, of course, there's the fanatical native
"priest'' who lusts for personal power and calls for human sacrifice.

Portraying native people in this fashion is like passing
off Al Jolson and Amos & Andy as black culture. Students learn
very little about native people as it is. Making light of the European
invasion of our land, even in a cartoon setting, is like making
a movie about the Holocaust in which Germans are the heroes.

This misrepresentation of history only serves to reinforce and
validate the American public's total disregard for true
native history. To dismiss it is as a mere cartoon suggests that
feeding racist lies to unwitting children is perfectly fine. It
would be better for children to learn absolutely nothing
about native history than to hear these lies and have to unlearn
them later. By attending Eurocentric American schools and
reading false history books, the only history we were taught was
the history of our conquest by white people. That despite 99% of
our history occuring before the arival of Europeans, the
only history that mattered was that of our being "civilized''
and coming to know the great western way. "The Road to Eldorado''
is but a link in a continuous chain of dehumanizing
propaganda unleashed upon our people by American society as a whole.

Therefore, the Mexika Eagle Society urges everyone to boycott
this film, as well as any business' which do promotional tie-ins
associated with the movie. Please note: this is not about being
respected as a "market" of consumers, or demanding respect
for our "buying power." These things mean nothing to us. This
is about human dignity and having respect for the history and
traditions of others.

In addition to boycotting this film, join us in public protest by
expressing your concerns in writing to the powers at be at
Dreamworks SKG:

Call: (818) 733-7774
Patricia Gonzalez
100 Universal Plaza Bldg. 10
Universal City, CA 91608
(818) 733-7755
Fax (818) 733-7775
pgonzalez@dreamworks.com