Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Another Pissy Hawaiian
Two things, first off I'm the Pissy Hawaiian, and two, finally something I'm actually qualified to have an opinion on.

I remarked some time ago about The Rock wanting to play Kamehameha the Great. I had my misgivings about the project, because Hollywood has an extremely poor record of accuracy in its works. Certainly the days of movies based on books containing solid research (such as those by Cornelius Ryan) and produced by people who put great effort into maintaining accuracy (Daryl F. Zanuck) and directed by people who get Star Wars characters named after them, feels like a thing of the past. Yet, as bad as Braveheart was for accuracy it was a great movie that was a lot of fun.

If The Kamehameha story was done as poorly as Braveheart I'd love it. Certainly I don't expect it to be accurate, movies based on historical facts are rarely accurate, but so what? If someone wants a hyper-accurate portrayal they're free to make one.

I was incensed at the words and actions of Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa. Jeff G. of Protein Wisdom brings this young lady's rant to our attention. Ms. Kame'eleihiwa is a radical bigot who managed to piss this 'kanak' off to no end.

'The story of Kamehameha should wait for a culturally knowledgeable Hawaiian to write the screen play,"

Exsqueeze me? Why? What makes someone not of Hawaiian ancestry suddenly unqualified to write about a Hawaiian topic? Had her argument been simply "should wait for a culturally knowledgeable person" I'd agree with her, but her suggestion that only a "Hawaiian" can do it is not only racist, it's idiotic. Her argument invalidates the work of Dr. Kilolani Mitchell who is not genetically Hawaiian. Dr. Mitchell was not born to Hawaiian parents, but he was incredibly knowledgeable about Hawaiian history and culture, but whom I, and others, found to be far more Hawaiian than many people with the right genetics.

"and for a Hawaiian descendant of Kamehameha to play the role,"

Oooh, and maybe we should wait for an actual descendent of Captain James Cook, or of the haole gunners who worked Kamehameha's cannon? Does that mean that I will get to play either of Kamehameha's hanai brothers, or that I would get to play Kalaniopu'u, his Hanai father? How much would I get paid? On the plus side it would mean that Kelly Hu (who was in The Scorpion King with The Rock) could play a part since she actually is part-Hawaiian and graduated from .... wait for it ... The Kamehameha Schools (founded by Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, one of the last in the Kamehameha line). How many of Kamehameha's descendants (and a lot of people claim to be) even look pure-blooded Hawaiian?

"'We Hawaiians have already had 60 years of cultural misrepresentation, and it is no longer tolerable ..."

Have we? Yup, sure have. There has been a history of most educational programs glossing over, or totally ignoring some aspects of Hawaiian culture and history. Public schools ignore that we ate Captain Cook (and Kamehameha was almost certainly part of that particular ritual). The Hawaiians were a randy bunch when Cook arrived and they died in droves within a few years due to "social" diseases which were preventable and not passed on in some genocidal attempt. Here's one that did make it into most curricula when I was growing up. Kamehameha murdered Keouaku'ahu'ula by inviting him to a sacred dedication of a temple with the promise of safety, and then killing him on his arrival (okay, no one really knows if Kamehameha actually ordered it or not, but he did nothing to stop it).

"The very fact that movie producers, and you as well it seems, think that "the Rock" is appropriate to play Kamehameha, is an indication that you understand nothing of Hawaiian culture, no matter how thorough has been your research in the history of Kamehameha."

Here's what's really scary. Ms. Kame'eleihiwa is the director of the Gladys 'Ainoa Brandt Center for Hawaiian Studies at UH, and yet she doesn't realize that The Rock is also polynesian just like King Kamehameha. In fact, as I recall, he's at least part Samoan (feel free to correct me on this if you wish) which means he's of the exact same genetic extraction as the Goddess Pele. How can anyone be the director of any 'Center for Hawaiian Studies' and not know that?

"'you don't believe Hawaiians should have the final say over the telling of our history."

And well they shouldn't. To say Hawaiians should have "final say" over any publication is not simply unconstitutional, it's pretty damned silly and offensive.

"The saga of Kamehameha is Hawaiian intellectual property, guaranteed by the United Nations, and if you have any respect for Hawaiians you will stop your project now."

Whoops, there you go. Ms. Kame'eleihiwa has just shown herself to be one of those ultra-radical activists who are an embarrassment to most Hawaiians. Embarassing enough to raise my own ire to the point of flushed faced lividity.

"'I've gotten many positive responses from the Hawaiian community as well, by the way." [Poirier]"

Right on.

If I leave, I'll just be replaced by someone who may not care as much about historical accuracy or cultural sensitivity as I am." [Poirier]

Damn Skippy.

Imua Kamehameha!

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