August 18, 2009

Does "District 9" = Section 8?

My review of the South African-set hit sci-fi movie District 9 will likely be up at Taki's Magazine on Wednesday morning.

When it's up, you can read it there and comment upon it here.

And from a few years ago in Taki's Magazine, here's my review of Jimmy Carter's Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, in which I compare South Africa and Israel. (Part II about Israel here.)

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


Garland said...

TAC fired you, didn't they? You can tell us!

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the theatrics around District 6 in Cape Town. It was an old slummed down part of the city traditionally populated by coloureds. With the race-based zoning under Apartheid, the government built new homes from them outside the city and wanted to demolish the slum. Foreign and local activists made a big thing out of resisting the slum-cleaning exercise and eventually some families stayed. Of course nowadays, under "black liberation", slums are everywhere in formerly tidy cities so it does not matter anymore. I guess "justice" trumps order.

headache said...

I missed the fact that a local South African produced the crap movie. Must have been financed by some agenda-laden HW czar. I guess Afrikaners are still good for a bashing, whilst otherwise HW/NYT-media act (hope) as if they have already been massacred. Here's an Afrikaner's take on the nonsense:

Anonymous said...

bad link

Anonymous said...

Before I was expecting a typical 'illegal aliens are good' story. Now, I want to see it.

testing99 said...

Of course, the Dutch were shipwrecked in 1647, held out for a year in a fort at the Cape that they built before being rescued, and Dutch settlers came back a few years later.

My guess, is that the Aliens are supposed to be the Dutch, the Afrikaaners, the Bantus, all in one.

That's an interesting idea about leadership too -- the Bantu/Zulu majority in SA being the Aliens without Mandela and Biko.

Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting. I had been avoiding it cause I figured it would be all preachy and lame...

IMHO though, LOTR was a joke. (The books were too though.)

John Seiler said...

I haven't seen the movie yet. But we should remember that Zimbabwe and, increasingly, South Africa are socialist states, even to some extent communist because of the ANC's connections to the Communist Party. Russia and China, which used to supply aid laced with the commie ideology to these places, switched to capitalism to remain great powers.

By contrast, Botswana, which has similar demographics to Zimbabwe and SF, has a mostly free economy that has grown 7% annually the past two decades. Study here:

A little freedom goes a long way.

Topiary Utopia said...

The experience of colonialism was pivotal in the shaping of the science fiction genre. Many of its best writers (Alice B. Sheldon, Ballard, Brian W. Aldiss, Cordwainer Smith) were born in colonial environments or spent their formative years in them.

In "The war of the worlds", H. G. Wells imagined advanced martians doing to England what the english were doing to the rest of the world at the time.

Kipling, the great cheerleader for british imperialism, was a huge influence on Heinlein ("Citizen of the Galaxy" is pretty much a space-age "Kim") and wrote some science fictional pieces himself.

Two modern science fiction novels with explicitly colonial themes are Gene Wolfe's "The Fifth Head of Cerberus" and Paul Park's "Coelestis".

Jack Vance's "The Gray Prince" is also worth a mention for being a thinly veiled allegory for the events happening in Rhodesia during the seventies. Not Vance's best work though, as the protagonis come off as sanctimonious and the antagonist is laughably cartoony.

Anonymous said...

What is interesting about the Screenwriter being fascinated with "bad" immigration is that he emigrated to one of the better cities with lots of immigrants. Vancouver has a very large Chinese immigrant population and, as far as I could tell, everyone seems to get along pretty well. Granted, they have very few Black and Hispanic people in Vancouver.

Anonymous said...

I'm a lot less interested now that I know a corporation is the bad guy. Why can't the bad guy ever be the government (aside from WWII movies)?

Now that decolonialism has run its course one can't but hope for re-colonialism.

Anthony said...

@Anonymous (yes, you!)

"Vancouver has a very large Chinese immigrant population and, as far as I could tell, everyone seems to get along pretty well."

Relatively. A few things:

1. Given the amount of grumbling among European-Canadians in Vancouver about immigration-related issues, such as gangs and crowding, my guess is that all are not happy.

2. It is totally taboo in Canadian society to say bad things about immigrant ethnic groups (and borderline illegal), so very few people will actually come out and say something like "I wish there were way fewer (insert ethnic group here) people in the city."

3. European-Canadians are no longer a majority in the city.

4. A lot of people who don't like the transformation of the city due to the sheer numbers of immigrants, leave. So, you're left disproportionally with people who don't mind it, or aren't affected much by it due to where exactly they live in the city.

Usually Lurking said...


Those are all fine points. Still, relative to so many places in the West (with a large immigrant population) where he could have ended up in, Vancouver is one of the nicer places.

For the short time that I lived there, I was almost shocked at how ridiculous the newspapers were with there constant editorials and coverage of diversity issues. I felt like I was reading articles from The Onion circa 1995.

Usually Lurking (I was the anonymous above)

Mr. Anon said...

The moment I saw that "District 9" was directed by Peter Jackson, I knew I wouldn't bother seeing it. He's a lousy director, and I won't forgive him for ruining "The Lord of the Rings". LOTR could have been a great movie, if the screen-play and direction had been any good. Instead of being a great movie, it ended up being a bad video game.

koos said...

Funny thing about South Africa and Apartheid is that every Jack seems to think they know more about it than those f. racist Boers, who nobody bothers to ask. Maybe those Boers had a reason for Apartheid? After all, they are the only ones, apart from the Rhodesians, who have lived amongst overwhelming numbers of raw Africans for generations.

Anonymous said...

bad link

worked for me

headache said...

t99 definitely got this one fucked up. Pls read the link to get the analogy. The Dutch did not get shipwrecked but built a supply station for fresh water and vegetables. South Africa is halfway along the famous Dutch-East-India route.

Van der Merwe Jokes said...

_District 9_ + Steve = Awesome!

I didn't have much luck with google translate and the Afrikaans article. But this punchline makes sense from the context.

Peter A said...

I'm tired of LOTR bashing. Jackson did about as good a job as anyone could have. Maybe it's because I'm older and had to sit through the Ralph Bakshi farce as a teenager, but Jackson's films well exceeded any expectations I had.

Peter A said...

Rather than have the ethnic cleansing carried out directly by South Africa’s sainted black government, Blomkamp and Jackson have the state delegate it to the usual malign Halliburtony-Blackwaterish corporation that we’re so familiar with from endless movies.

I can see why you find that annoying Steve, but sadly it also strikes me as exactly the CYA move the SA government probably would do in that situation.

Rohan Swee said...

headache: I don't know any Afrikaans but I feel I can almost read that article you linked. E.g.:

Hollywood is egter in die greep van die religie van nie-rassigheid en glo aan hulle eie multikulti-snert.

"Multikulti-snert". I love the sound of it, anyway. (Could you translate that one sentence for us? I wonder how far off I am from its actual meaning. I hope "snert" means what it sounds like; if so the phrase should be introduced into English.)

Anonymous said...

Here's an online translator.
It's not great, but it says that
"snert" means drek, as in multi-culti drek.

Disposable Identity said...

"t99 definitely got this one fucked up."

"Funny thing about South Africa and Apartheid is that every Jack seems to think they know more about it than those f. racist Boers, who nobody bothers to ask."

Headache and Koos, you are both out of your depth here. Let Testy set you straight. The first principle to remember when you sit at the feet of the wise "Scotts Irish" sage known as T99, Whiskey, et al, is that, facts are for losers. Every other thing you will learn is mere commentary.

Aryeh said...

Your allegory for Israel, summarized here,
I eventually wondered how I, a native Southern Californian, would have felt if back in the 1940s the Japanese had taken over the coast of California from Santa Barbara to San Diego, established a “Shintoist State,” expropriated my aunt’s house when she fled their advance, and gave it to refugees from Hiroshima.

is invidious and disingenuous. As someone who reads (and admires!) your blog regularly, I can't chalk it up to simple stupidity or ignorance. Of course you already know damn well that the Japanese have no historical claim on California. So why such a distorted and misleading comparison?

The Jews (and the Jewish state) will do just fine without your support and patronage. But you squander your credibility as a rational and reasonable commentator with lapses of this sort.

Anonymous said...

Aryeh said,
"Of course you already know damn well that the Japanese have no historical claim on California. So why such a distorted and misleading comparison?"

Okay, if an unprovable 'historical claim' justifies it,tell us of any other instance in which a group of people stole another group's country complete with violence, terror, and apartheid (don't deny that's what it is), and the action was considered anything but opprobrious.

Anonymous said...

Really, Aryeh? They had more claim than the population who had lived in Palestine four countless centuries?

I'm curious; where do you live?

Templar said...

Jackson did about as good a job as anyone could have.

Not really.

Truth said...

"Maybe it's because I'm older and had to sit through the Ralph Bakshi farce as a teenager,"

Ralph Bakshi, "Lord of the Rings"?!

Geez that brings break GREAT memories!

The of the Ring
The of the Ring?

Remember that song? I flashed back to High School for a second.

you can't tell me you didn't like "Hey Good Lookin'"; remember Boogalo, he was my freakin role model in life!!!

Great times.

Van der Merwe jokes said...

The link is now for the Poor Whites in South Africa clip that a lot of you may have seen. It's about 15 minutes long. The only Whites in the clip I can imagine getting past western immigration are the reporter and possibly the union leader. But the cabinet minister would have no problem getting visiting appointments at western universities. Thinking about this discussion today, I realized the Dutch do have an unexpected weapon they could use to fight the mozzies: Afrikaaner right of return. Although I believe that some of the Afrikaans speaking "Cape Coloureds" are Moslems.

Kai Carver said...

Really nice review Steve. It highlights all the multilevel melancholy ironies of the movie. Displacement indeed.

The Afrikaans article a commenter linked to can be frustratingly half translated by Google using Dutch. From the language it's apparent Afrikaners are the real aliens from another planet. (I'm kidding, please don't send the MNU after me!)

"MNU" or Multi-National United is an example of how one can disagree about the film. To some reviewers, it's the dumbest name ever, and the evil corporation trope is boring. To me it's a brilliantly generic name that reminds one of the problematic UN "blue helmet" forces (and the "Model UN"). And the Blackwater-like evil corporation that takes on the sins of the government and commenting media and academic elite for some kick-ass action scenes? Rich!

Kai Carver said...

Language nerds and fans of small, embattled cultures will be happy to know that one of the 51 languages Google now translates is Afrikaans, so the article is a little more understandable now, especially if you guess "ruimtwesens" means "aliens", and "ruimteskip" "spaceship".