its glittering launch in the Eighties, Spike Lee’s career has been in
steady decline. Perhaps the joy went out of Spike’s filmmaking in 1991
when his father and employee, score composer Bill Lee, was arrested for
heroin possession, shattering Spike’s dream of being the patriarch of
the kind of dynastic family enterprise that is rare among
African-Americans. He replaced his dad with Terence Blanchard, whose
morose minor chord maunderings have undermined what little fun remained
in Spike’s later films.
reaches rock bottom in his new "She Hate Me" (debuting Friday,
June 30), one of the more embarrassing movies ever made by a famous
director. Critics will no doubt rationalize "She Hate Me" as a
satire on ill-informed black male attitudes, but are we laughing with
Spike, or at him? For Spike appears to espouse those knuckleheaded views
in dead earnest.
white conservatives, Spike has always been an intriguing and disturbing
photographic negative because, like his hero Malcolm X, he is a classic
grumpy social reactionary: nepotistic, capitalistic, elitist, sexist,
and racist. In "She Hate Me," Spike takes his stand slightly
to the right of Shaka Zulu as he endorses family values, extremely
traditional African family values: namely, polygamy. Hey, if gays can
get married, Spike implicitly asks, why can’t a Big Man have as many
wives as he can keep amused?
very interesting question, one that is likely to come up more and more
in the future.