(Speaking Facts)

Last week I was watching some terrible Vince Vaughn action-ish movie on Netflix with the subtitles on, when a scene featuring two Mexican cartel gangsters played out. In my ongoing attempt to learn more Spanish, I tried to follow along with the dialogue. The subtitles simply read, [Speaking Spanish].

It irked me to the point of making a note to keep track of this sort of thing. Then, yesterday, watching A Most Wanted Man, I see this:


There are plenty of films that take a certain amount of responsibility with subtitles, but I’m more intrigued by this de-facto American position. There’s no reason to not feature what is being said, except to reduce the inherent importance of the language being spoken (or, insult the intelligence of the audience). This represents the kind of Anglo-American supremacy currently in the political hot-seat, but in a way that is too passive to create a political fervor over. (After all, Texas is currently arguing in favor for the morality of the Klu Klux Klan. Subtitles are pretty far off from where the USA is at in terms of ‘creating a landscape of equality in mainstream culture.’)

It is, nevertheless, these passive maneuvers within media that maintain power right where it wants to be. This is modern propaganda—the passive minimization of anything that doesn’t reflect the total agency and perception of western perfection.