What did I expect? As soon as I saw who this crap was written by in the end credits, it all made sense.
At least four major themes are at play in this movie–colonization, utopia and in dystopia in the white imagination, victimization, and non-violence.
What’s wrong with that, right? Since everybody doesn’t think like me, here are two points to keep this article in prospective:
- the fantasy of a united”human race” versus an invasive fictional alien race
- the white race versus everybody else
The secret is revealed that in order to get a soul out of a person’s body, you have to speak to it with love, ask it to vacate the premises.
Because of course gently coaxing an oppressive, highly invasive alien life form out of your body would be that easy. I’m not buying it. Black women have been asking nicely and demanding that white people, in particular, cease their hostilities against us as invasive and relentless oppressors, but to no avail. So deal with my inability to suspend my disbelief, my outright refusal to accept this movie’s plot.
A good twist would’ve featured them asking a soul very nicely to leave someone’s body, coaxing with all the love in their heart, and then having the soul flat out refusing and stabbing them with a scalpel.
Was I really supposed to sympathize with these aliens?
By Meyer’s reckoning, its totally okay, peaceful, and polite to invade somebody’s planet (country, nation, or home), take over their bodies against their will, and expect them to ask you nicely to leave while you sit back and wait for their race to die out while claiming that you’re bettering them with occupation and brutal colonization procedures.
2. Utopia and dystopia in the white imagination
This point is purely here for me to point out the fact that white people LOOOOVVVE writing and get all excited over stories like The Host where we’re all portrayed as united as the “human race” against an alien invader. What they fail to mention or imagine in any reasonable way is the fact that, for example, it wasn’t so long ago that whites didn’t even view Black people as human and wrote and enforced laws to express this for their own gain, their delusions of superiority, and for one of the most disgusting, well-documented, and savagely purposeful instigations of enslaving one race in history–laws which still effect all of us today. Instead they romanticize themselves as liberators and equalists, then create fictionalized “common enemies” for all humans to unite against when in real life they themselves are the most hated oppressors of them all.
To the ones they oppress, their ideas of a utopia and dystopia are really no different from one another. In both of these imagined world types, we play second fiddle, get the shit end of the stick, remain nameless background extras or sidekicks. And this is my usual conclusion when seeing/reading movies/books like The Host.
One of the biggest problems in the execution of the ideas presented in this story is the idea that we’re supposed to view these invasive other life forms, called ‘souls’, as just as much the victims as the humans whose planet they have invaded. This is evidenced as we’re forced to deal with Soul Wanderer’s horror over the deaths of her fellow souls being forcibly removed from people’s bodies by Doc (Scott Lawrence).
I find it ironic that the “souls” are little globs of WHITE light. The whiteness suggests innocence, purity, divinity, and goodness to dissuade viewers from completely labeling them as the enemy. Imagine if they were black, brown, or purple lights instead. In the same way that my Blackness is pathologized as violent, dirty, and savage, viewers are in a continuous indoctrination of viewing whiteness as innocent and nonthreatening in all forms of media and ideology. The souls are treated as well-meaning life forms, the victims of humans, alien life forms who apparently eventually colonize their way into the human race by the end of the movie.
The real victims here (humans) are put in the position of sympathizing with an oppressive alien race in order to massage them into any degree of justice, understanding, and equality, much in the same way that Black women are expected to sympathize with white/non-white oppressors. We are urged to view the souls as victims as well, when it is the souls who committed the first act of wrongdoing by taking away the autonomy of the humans of Earth for their own purposes and sense of superiority.
Someone once said that non-violence only works if the oppressor has a conscience. That when they (the oppressor) see the suffering they are causing they will be moved to stop it.
Again, the secret is revealed that in order to get a soul out of a person’s body, you have to speak to it with love, ask it to vacate the premises.
Its not so much the concept in action as it is the thinking (or lack thereof) that went into this movie that’s the problem here. I’m all for non-violence. However, I do not love my oppressors and if asking them nicely to stop their violence and leave actually worked in real life, we’d live in a different world. I think its just another form of violence against the real victims to ask them to be kind to and love their oppressors, to cajole and speak sweetly them. The movie even goes so far as to suggest the humans fighting the souls instead of being nice to them is the problem instead of placing the blame squarely on the invading souls where it belongs.