In May 2010 as I was finishing up my undergraduate degree at CU, Boulder I completed a short mixed-media film titled, A Gentleman’s Genocide. A course I took in my final year taught by Professor Luis Valdovino afforded me the opportunity to create a visual piece which incorporated my passion for paint, photography, and spoken word.
I revisit this piece now in this blog as I continue to think about the phenomenon of American patriotism and also its various continuities and disconnects from larger sociocultural and historic legacies of this nation. Within this work I take up the symbols of 3 distinct flags and a self-authored and performed spoken word narrative of genocide in order to create a complex space from which to engage in a dialogue around patriotism.
A Gentleman’s Genocide seeks to complicate common-sense notions and practice surrounding patriotism and various forms of country worship by firmly planting these sentiments and practices within a historical memory of trauma and genocide. America in many ways displays a kind of historical amnesia as it launches itself out of the past and into a future that refuses any critical, constructive or even generative re-membering.
As James Baldwin put it: “American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.”
Here I have decided to say something terrible and take the time to remember something longer and larger than our patriotic impulses. Creatively, I have chosen to do so through the enticingly beautiful and horrifying imagery of these signs of bigotry, hatred, freedom, and pride which is always present and stitched into each flag.
*This short film is copyright protected, and the link embedded within this post is only a private and protected version of the original short film piece. PLEASE DO NOT copy or distribute this short film outside the context of this blog. For rights, viewing privileges, and access to fully edited and finalized version of this piece, please contact the author.