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Towelhead title offends?

Towelhead.jpgFollowing on from our Political Correctness in film discussion, here's one I might actually agree with. The film Towelhead is getting some criticism from an Islamic civil rights advocacy group who has asked Warner Bros. to change the title of the film.

It seems they're being pretty open and calm about the request, and they'd like the title changed from the racial slur it is to something more acceptable, they're not screaming about banning it or deleting the film, just a title change.

It says that, according to The Hollywood Reporter through Reuters:

“...the word is commonly used in a derogatory manner against people of the Muslim faith or Arab origin.”

Well I have to agree with that one, especially considering the current world climate. Political correctness can go too far all too often, but here it's probably a bit much to call the film this derogatory term and then plaster it all over the marketing that we're going to see everywhere.

In my eyes there's no real way to say that marketing can be taken out of context because it is all that's presented, be it an advert in a paper or magazine, a poster on a bus shelter or billboard, or a short advert, to see the word as a sole representation of the film on some advertisement materials might just be a little too much.

To be fair the original novel carries the same name, and the author Alicia Erian, who the article is quick to point out is Arab-American, said that she chose the title to highlight the theme of racism in the novel. She said that the work of the Council on American-Islamic Relations was admirable but...

“...the solution ... is not to force the artist to alter her work, but instead to use the occasion of that work as an entry point for meaningful debate and discussion.”

The film was previously shown at the Toronto International Film Festival last year with the title of Nothing is Private and still showing as such on IMDB. Although that's not a great title, it isn't bad. Surely there could be other titles that promote discussion other than something that is blatantly such an ethnic slur?

The story follows the life of a thirteen year old Lebanese-American girl in the beginnings of the 1990's, and the film will be released on September the 12th – studio pushing for controversy? Who would believe it!

The director, Alan Ball of Six Feet Under fame, agrees with keeping the title the way it is and defends the author's decision:

“...she so effectively dramatizes the pain inflicted by such language, something many people of non-minority descent never have to face.”

Yeah, I get that, but that won't be portrayed in a poster or paper/magazine advert, it's going to feature the world front and foremost, and is that going to be taken out of context? Not really as it's entirely in context. What do you think?

The studio is standing by the title decision but they do say they apologise for any offence that is caused. Wow, they should have tried that with the extras from Valkyrie.



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