Tontomania—Who Are We'z Anyways?


Do you think Wes Studi would make a good Tonto? He made a good Apache. Hell, as Magua he made a good Huron/Mohawk, I never was clear what tribe he was supposed to be from, but he sure was bad ass and ugly. Even while he and Russell Means were busy killing other Indians he charged our imaginations about ourselves. Was that the right message? Not one peep from the Indian movie image police. Indianicide? Indianicide wants me, lord I can’t go back there. Well, anyway.

I read a blog earlier and the owner of the blog said she was pissed that Johnny Depp is playing Tonto because she did not believe he was Indian enough for that particular role, what ever the heck that means. The blogger guesses that Tonto was/is Apache and the whole Apache nation should have been consulted about the role, who should play it and what that actor should wear so as to project the right “image” in a politically correct way so as not to make restless the, er, ah, well, Natives. The blogger basically expressed, I am Native and I am restless over this affront to our good nature and reputation.

So much hog-wash, so much wasted cyber-space, so much wasted oxygen. Let's set the record straight. Tonto is a radio, television, and comic book character. Period. No one, and I mean no one, will give two Indian head nickels what tribe Tonto is from, just as long as someone gets shot, hung, chased, rescued, skewered, or run out of town. It’s Hollywood for crying out loud. Babbbbababbababbaaa, that’s all folks!

Other bloggers say, well he just looks like a feathered up and beaded version of Jack Sparrow. Well, of course he does, he’s Johnny Depp, what the heck else is he supposed to, or expected to, look like? Edward Scissorhands was a generation ago. Fashions fade.

Still, others say, well the audience will not know the difference between tribal regalia and mannerisms and will walk the earth the rest of their miserable days on this green earth thinking we NDN’s look and act like that. Got a wake up call for you folks. Ever hang around an NDN bar at closing time? That ship, my pure little snow flakes, has set sail a looooong time ago. Let's all unbunch our panties and get a move on, there is nothing to see here.

No one, and I mean no one, has had the imagination to publicly ponder this: If I wanted an actor to play me, who would I want? What man would not want Depp to play him as a young-ish man? When a movie is produced about my exciting life, and my character gets to be old, I would want Johnny Cash playing me. But, he is dead now. I think I would settle for Tommy Lee Jones but he would have to lose that Okie from Muskogee accent, sounds like he has marbles in his mouth, then there is always George Clooney. Wait a minute, back up the tape, didn’t Tommy Lee Jones play some nondescript NDN once? Sure he did, and he had to save his white grand daughter and not a peep out of anyone from the NDN country film police.

Anyway, my wife would be played by J Lo, or Angelena. Really, my wife is knock down gorgeous, seriously, you should see her. All that and brains too. And she is Mohawk to the bone, and she colors her hair blond in the summer time. And, my fine feathered friends, it looks great. And you can take a long walk off a short pier if you can’t get your head around that.

But, if Hollywood was thinking, in my opinion, they could have gotten Philbert Bono, er, I mean Gary Farmer, to do it and Depp would play the Lone Ranger, but then that would be the same movie they did together over a decade ago, Dead Man, wouldn’t it? And nobody said a peep about not knowing what the heck kind of Indian Gary Farmer played way back then.

Anyway, sometimes we take ourselves much too seriously. We don’t laugh at ourselves hardly enough, and people get hurt because of that.

Seriously folks, don’t be so serious. Some things are just not worth the time and effort to get angry at.

Go outside, rake the yard, or, call your brother-in-law; the one with the pick-up truck, to help you haul those junk cars out of your front yard. Or, play with your kids, pet that damn dog that has been hanging around the back door eating your dinner scraps, and get him dewormed while your at it for Christ’s sake. Get your head out of your computerized butts and live a little. You don’t know what you’re missing.

Oh yeah, instead of buying that 12 pack, you angry no account, go take your kids to the movies. Buy ‘em some pop corn and candy, they just might like you a little bit more because of it.