I got dressed in my traditional Indian regalia, but there was a man, he was the producer of the whole show. He took that speech away from me and he warned me very sternly. “I’ll give you 60 seconds or less. And if you go over that 60 seconds, I’ll have you arrested. I’ll have you put in handcuffs.”
- Sacheen Littlefeather in Reel Injun (2009), dir. Neil Diamond.
So I imagine there are people like me out there who’ve never even heard of Marlon Brando and are extremely confused over why this is important.
Marlon Brando was the Don in The Godfather, and in 1973, he was nominated for and won an Academy Award for it. However, he was also a huge Natives rights activist, and boycotted the ceremony because he felt that Hollywood’s depictions of Native Americans in the media led to the Wounded Knee Incident (which I was always taught as “the second massacre at Wounded Knee” but apparently that’s not the real name). He sent Sacheen Littlefeather, an Apache Native rights activist, in his stead. Wikipedia’s article on her explains the rest:
Brando had written a 15-page speech for Littlefeather to give at the ceremony, but when the producer met her backstage he threatened to physically remove her or have her arrested if she spoke on stage for more than 60 seconds. Her on-stage comments were therefore improvised. She then went backstage and read the entire speech to the press. In his autobiography My Word is My Bond, Roger Moore (who presented the award) claims he took the Oscar home with him and kept it in his possession until it was collected by an armed guard sent by the Academy.
That is what this gifset is about.
You have GOT to read up on this. The Wounded Knee Incident, Marlon Brando and Sacheen Littlefeather, Anna Mae Aquash. ALL OF IT.
Her name was known in my house, I hope it’s known in many, many more in the future.
This was freedom. Losing all hope was freedom.
I set my watch two hours earlier or three hours later, Pacific, Mountain, Central, or Eastern time; lose an hour, gain an hour. This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.
You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you’re satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you’ve got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you’re trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.
"A lot of young people try to impress the world and buy too many things," the doorman said. The doorman leaned into my shoulder and said, "A lot of young people don’t know what they really want.
Young people think they want the whole world.
If you don’t know what you want, you end up with a lot you don’t.”
One minute was enough, Tyler said, a person had to work hard for it, but a minute of perfection was worth the effort. A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection. You wake up, and that’s enough.
At the time, my life just seemed too complete, and maybe we have to break everything to make something better out of ourselves.
If you’ve never been in a fight, you wonder. About getting hurt, about what you’re capable of doing against another man. I didn’t want to, but Tyler explained it all, about not wanting to die without any scars, about being tired of watching only professionals fight, and wanting to know more about himself. About self-destruction.
We both stood there, Tyler rubbing the side of his neck and me holding a hand on my chest, both of us knowing we’d gotten somewhere we’d never been and like the cat and mouse in cartoons, we were still alive and wanted to see how far we could take thing and still be alive. Nothing was solved when the fight was over, but nothing mattered. Lying on our backs in the parking lot, staring up at the one star that came through the streetlights, I asked Tyler what he’d been fighting. Tyler said, his father. Maybe we didn’t need a father to complete ourselves. There’s nothing personal about who you fight in fight club. You fight to fight.
Sometimes you do something, and you get screwed. Sometimes it’s the things you don’t do, and you get screwed.
Except for the humping, Marla and Tyler are never in the same room. If Tyler’s around, Marla ignores him. This is familiar ground. This is exactly how my parents were invisible to each other.
"You have to see, " Tyler says, "how the first soap was made of heroes." Think about the animals used in product testing. Think about the monkeys shot into space. "Without their death, their pain, without their sacrifice," Tyler says, "we would have nothing."
Empire State of Mind| Ed Sheeran (cover)