Universal Pain In Babel

2016 Words9 Pages
Universal Pain and the demonization of the other.

Much like Babel, the film Crash presents characters with seemingly separate lives but end up being linked in some way. This intersection is an attempt to demonstrate how people can be separated by many things but are united by pain. The title Babel is an allusion to the Biblical story of how God made people start speaking different languages so that they would not be able to continue building a tower so tall that they would consider themselves greater than God. By making this the title, Iñárritu is creating a sort of “cinematic tower of Babel” with a foundation of a “universal language” to unite those all over the globe (Shaw 23). Although the characters are from different walks of life, their
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For example, with Abdullah, the death of his son demonstrates this. It is almost a denial of the other’s suffering, and there is “a reduction of heterogeneity” in an effort to seek “universality of emotion and a globalised form of pain in a bid to create the sense of a “world village” (Shaw 23). The idea of universal pain also causes a lack of self-consciousness where one must essentially acknowledge their privilege; Jean Cabot in Crash is reflective of this. Instead of having the character realise where these men come from, their class and socio-economic realities, she is made to recline further into her privilege and having an epiphany about something quite trivial. She is not made to confront her stereotypes at all and it is not addressed. Is that one fall and her dubbing her Hispanic domestic worker her bestfriend not suddenly make her racist? Instead of trying to equate differences so as to create a sort of universal suffering, it would be more productive if it is acknowledged that the suffering faced is not universal. Once this is acknowledged issues such as Islamophobia can actually be addressed instead of applying a “Susan and Rick’s child died and so did Abdullah’s child and so they are both suffering” kind of
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