Monday, March 26, 2012

Reservation Blues Cont.

The "Alexie Sandwich" continued.

The sad-funny-sad sandwich.
"'Are you a Christian, Thomas?'
'No. Not really.'
'Are these two Christian?'
'Junior and Victor? No way. All they know about religion they saw in Dances with Wolves.'
'Do you pray?' Chess asked but wasn't sure what she wanted to hear. Of course Thomas prayed. Everybody prayed; everybody lied about it. Even atheists prayed on airplanes and bingo nights.
'Yeah I pray,' Thomas said and made the sign of the cross." (145-146)
This sandwich has extra meat in it. Alexie introduces the bread through Chess asking Thomas to join her and Checkers on Sunday for church service. Thomas has bad memories in church, and is skeptical about going. Alexie then smooshes two pieces of freshly sliced jokes inbetween Thomas's skepticism. One joke pokes fun at Victor and Junior, while making a reference to culture. White people learn through the cinema, and red people are no different. The next joke is aimed at atheists. The funniest thing I found about this joke was its truthfulness. Everybody prays; especailly in dangerous or potentially prospective situations. These jokes lighten the mood of the irony of Indians being Christianized willingly, because it was once forced upon them.

The funny-sad-funny sandwich.
"He even called a few companies in Seattle, like Sub Pop. Sub Pop discovered Nirvana and a lot of other bands, but they never returned Thomas's phone calls. They just mailed form rejections. Black letters on white paper, just like commodity cans. U.S.D.A. PORK. SORRY WE ARE UNABLE TO USE THIS. JUST ADD WATER. WE DON'T LISTEN TO UNSOLICITED DEMOS. POWDERED MILK. THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST. HEAT AND SERVE.
The taverns refused to hire Coyote Springs." (187)
Thomas is desperately trying to get his band, Coyote Springs, a gig, but doesn't seem to have any luck. The fact that a pre-typed rejection note is mailed from a famous record company is comical, but the fact that the note reminds Thomas of commodity food is not. Even the mixed rejection note can be confused with the food labels. "SORRY WE ARE UNABLE TO USE THIS," could be a response to the people handing out the commodities at the beginning of the month; because the commodity food is usually disgusting and artificial. Finally, Alexie relieves us of this sad realization by saying that not even Indians wanted to hire the traditional Indian band.

"'Victor,' Thomas said, "I brought an eagle feather for protection. You can have it.'
'Get that Indian bullshit away from me!'
The crowd at the gate stared at Coyote Springs. They worried those loud dark-skinned people might be hijackers. Coyote Springs did their best not to look middle eastern.
'That ain't going to do nothing,' Victor continued, in a lower volume. 'It's just a feather. Hell, it fell off some damn eagle, so it obviously wasn't working, enit?'
Victor was being as logical as a white man." (218)
Victor is afraid of flying and hilariously rejects his own religion in the middle of the airport at full volume. Because of Victor's public display, racisim rapidly spoils inbetween the bread. At airports across America, before but mostly after 9-11, every dark-skinned person has had to be humiliated in the security line. Alexie is guddesting that white people are suceptable to stereotypes, and he is also suggesting the Indian band is among a large group of whites. Luckily the reader is finally returned to the jokes of Victor who rationalized his mistrust for the eagle feather. Unfortunately, Victor is compared to a white man due to his rationalization. This sandwich leaves a moldy aftertaste even though the bread was good.

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