Monday , January 27 2020
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The UK vs. US Detective Debate

Summary:
The mystery movie Knives Out is an allegory about how Americans deserve to lose our homeland to Latin American immigrants out of our self-destructive hatred for each other. But that’s a good thing, the film says, because Latin Americans are so much nicer than we are. Which is probably not an opinion you’d arrive at if you knew much about the history or sociology of Latin America… But, after all, who pays attention to Latin America? Thus, in Knives Out, the unlikable rich white American scions (Chris Evans of Captain America, Michael Shannon of The Shape of Water, Don Johnson of Miami Vice, and Jamie Lee Curtis of Halloween) can’t remember whether the young nurse of their self-made father (Christopher Plummer of The Sound of

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The mystery movie Knives Out is an allegory about how Americans deserve to lose our homeland to Latin American immigrants out of our self-destructive hatred for each other. But that’s a good thing, the film says, because Latin Americans are so much nicer than we are.

Which is probably not an opinion you’d arrive at if you knew much about the history or sociology of Latin America… But, after all, who pays attention to Latin America? Thus, in Knives Out, the unlikable rich white American scions (Chris Evans of Captain America, Michael Shannon of The Shape of Water, Don Johnson of Miami Vice, and Jamie Lee Curtis of Halloween) can’t remember whether the young nurse of their self-made father (Christopher Plummer of The Sound of Music) is from Bolivia or Ecuador.

So it’s only fitting that, after the millionaire mystery writer is found with his throat slashed, the immigrant inherits his huge (but ugly) mansion.

The one-dimensional “kindhearted” nurse is played by the exquisite Cuban-Spanish actress Ana de Armas, who was Ryan Gosling’s holographic girlfriend in Blade Runner 2049. De Armas is considerably more Visigothic-looking than the typical Latina immigrant, or even than the Swedish starlet Alicia Vikander, who portrayed the cyborg girlfriend in Ex Machina.

Inheritances provided many of the plot twists in 19th-century novels, such as those of Dickens. But over time, American fiction came to endorse the notion of the self-made man, so the interesting topic of patrimonies has largely been shrouded in cultural silence. Offhand, I can’t recall a modern movie sympathetic to would-be heirs.

In reality, of course, wills probably play a bigger role in American life at present than at any point since World War II. The first $11.4 million of an individual’s estate is currently tax-free, so less than 2,000 estates per year are hit by the death tax. Legacies now comprise a large part in what keeps the upper middle class upper.

And extended life spans have sometimes made waiting for a bequest an even longer process. For example, the lady across the street from me recently died at age 101, finally leaving her house to her 75-year-old daughter, who immediately sold it for the money. (Our culture is lately full of complaints about baby boomers hogging all the wealth, but in this case, even the heir is a pre-boomer born during WWII.)

Yet, the whole topic of birthright has come to be considered in bad taste to discuss.

This cultural amnesia likely contributes to the current conventional wisdom on immigration policy, of which Knives Out is a representative example, which prizes foreign newcomers over what the now-forgotten Preamble calls “our posterity.”

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