Friday, March 20, 2009

Justice for all

Shaft, the typical 1970's style and yet the themes presented in the film are still relevant and cool today.  Hip for its time, Shaft can still show today's viewer some very important ideas about humanity.  John Shaft is a smooth talking, get his way type of guy.  He knows how to use his people skills to intelligently out wit those around him for what he believes is the right thing to do.  His sense of justice and way in which he takes justice into his own hands is something that I sometimes find lacking in today's society.  It seems like sometimes justice is a bit weak today.  There are many laws and errors that seem to let people off a little more easily than before.  Crime punishments do not always seem very harsh and any prison sentence seems to be able to be shortened by years with just "good behavior" (though there was some type of poor behavior for that individual to be punished).  

John Shaft is very street smart and clever.  Who is not drawn to that type of person?  He is always talking with other people to find out what is going on in his neighborhood.  Shaft even sends up a neighbor to turn on his apartment lights while he stays down across the street to find the men watching for him.  Almost everyone has respect for John Shaft, even Ben Buford once Shaft saves his life though Ben at first was against him.  Some people do not seemed pleased with him because of his association with the white police officers.  His association with them actually improves his knowledge and allows him to have the upper hand in his investigations.  His relation to the police helps hi help his own community, which helps him then earn the respect of others.  Shaft is cool for choosing to take some initiative in actions that may not be very popular with those around him, but it ends up helping many people.  Though he may be a little too close to the white police, he still interacts with his community for them to understand he is doing his best to help all people.  Cool is evident in John Shaft.  He is a modern super hero.  Yes, he is now a bit out dated and the lingo and fashion are a little laughable, but the respect for Shaft's cool is still there.  


  1. You are very right about something. Vigilantism is cool. But why? Why do we like it when people take the law into their own hands? At least in movies... In real life we would probably deem these people to be psychos wouldn't we?

  2. While you may find justice lacking in today's society, the U.S. has more prisoners than any other nation, and our prison population is represented by African American men disproportionately (by *far*), who are often sentenced to terms 3x longer than white counterparts. Therefore, I find it interesting that you say crime and punishment are not very harsh in the U.S.

    On that note, vigilantism is cool because it's extralegal and skirts the entire system of evidence that the law requires. While this system of evidence protects (most of) the innocent, there's an element of unfairness when the perpetrator gets away without serving any time. So vigilantism (and, by extension, vengeance) are cool because it takes place completely outside of the system. But, to second FJohn's question, why would we revere this?