Okay, so usually I don’t liveblog Supernatural, and usually I stay off Tumblr for a while before and after new episodes to give me time to prepare for and digest the new episode but I just can’t right now because I am so fucking angry that I’m actually shaking right now.
Ranting and spoilers below! This is probably chock-full of spelling and grammatical errors and I’m not even sorry.
So first of all, I loved the pan across “Minneapolis, MN.” Just fyi, Supernatural, there is no woods like that on the running paths near the city around Minneapolis or St. Paul. Just fyi.
That’s not a big deal, but it irked me. MN= woods, right? Hahaha, stereotypes are so much fun! We know this because this whole episode is going to rely on stereotypes, so it’s good to start early.
The racism starts pretty early on, SO THAT WAS COOL.
I knew it was about to get ugly when there was a joke made about how it doesn’t get any deader than the Mayan language.* See, that’s funny because the Mayans are dead. AND GENOCIDE IS LIKE THE FUNNIEST FUCKING THING EVER, YOU GUYS!!! HAHAHAHA, GENOCIDE. THEIR LANGUAGE IS DEAD LIKE THEM.* LAUGH. IT’S FUNNY.
And did you know that there was a Mayan god named Cacao? BECAUSE THE MAYANS DIDN’T. See I thought it was strange because cacao is probably my favorite tropical fruit. And I was like, that’s weird, I didn’t know there was a Mayan god that shared a name with my favorite fruit. And then they were like he was the god of maize, and I was like… pretty sure that’s not it.
I mean, I’m no expert on Mayan theology, but I did read plenty of papers about Mayans and stories about Mayans in my 20 years of learning Spanish and taking culture classes, so… you know. So I went to Google and discovered that in fact there is no single corn god. And, in fact, the mythos surrounding the discovery of edible maize (which was actually an incredible feat of artificial selection that took generations of work to create, thank you ancient civilizations of South America) was an incredibly important story in Mayan society. The gods involved in the origin of corn/maize were (as far as 15 min of research can ascertain, please please feel free to correct me) K’awil, Chac (the main rain god), God L (god of death) and, most prominently Hun Hunahpu, the tonsured god.
The Tonsured God contained two aspects, one of which is traditionally female. The Tonsured God is connected to the myth of the Hero Twins, which was a very important myth to the mayans.
But, you know what? I guess those names are, like, really hard to say. So I can TOTALLY see why they would change the name to “Cacao.” Because those ethnic sounding names are so hard to pronounce, who needs them? I mean, they don’t mean anything, right? There’s no crime in erasing the cultural history of a society whose cultural history was PURPOSEFULLY ATTACKED AND ERASED. Whose ancestors still bear the burdens of colonization. But these people don’t matter. Their history doesn’t matter. We don’t need to be true to their history.
It’s not our history, it’s not our reality, so it doesn’t matter. So we create a fake god, and this is what we do with this god.
This god demanded blood sacrifices. Now, the Mayans were no strangers to blood sacrifice, however most of the blood rituals associated with the Mayans appear to have been performed by the person doing the blood letting. That is, the majority of blood letting in Mayan society was voluntary. This is not to say that the Mayans did not partake in human sacrifice, that would be an incorrect thing to say. However, the more violent types of human sacrifice that our society associates with South American indigenous societies most closely correspond to Aztec rituals, not Mayan rituals. And, you know what? We don’t really get to judge that shit either. I’m not saying that I support going out into the street and grabbing someone and slitting their throat, but Europeans were doing some super fucked up shit around the time Aztecs were sacrificing people, so let’s not pretend that we come from a better/more civilized/less violent society. That, however, is an argument for a different time. I’m talking about TV right now…
So, we’ve established that Supernatural created an entirely fake deity, based on racist and incorrect ideas of Mayan rituals, and then, and this may be my favorite part- they cast a white guy to play him.
THEY CAST A WHITE GUY TO PLAY AN ANCIENT MAYAN DEITY.
HAHAHAHAHA, LOLLING FOREVER. HAHAHAHA. THAT’S SO FUCKING FUNNY. BECAUSE IT WASN’T LIKE MAYANS WERE MURDERED BY WHITE PEOPLE. SO IT’S TOTALLY OKAY FOR THEIR CULTURE TO BE ERASED AND THEN TO PHYSICALLY ERASE THEIR BODIES THROUGH CASTING A WHITE GUY.
THAT’S TOTS OKAY. I KNOW, BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT I WATCHED ON TV TONIGHT.
THANKS, SUPERNATURAL, YOU’VE SHOWN ME THE TRUE WAY TO BE.
Here’s what we’ve learned tonight:
1) It’s okay to make up deities and say they were worshipped by ancient civilizations.
2) It’s okay to spread misinformation about how that ancient civilization’s religion was practiced.
3) It’s okay for that misinformation to portray them as violent, bloodthirsty savages.
4) It’s okay to cast a white person to play them.
5) It’s okay to pretend that ancient civilizations are just things for us to play with and manipulate and write our own stories over.
6) Mayan civilization is really only important for shock value.
Good job, Supernatural. Thanks for that lesson.
Looks like tonight I’ll be crying myself to sleep over you for totally different reasons. And that’s great. It makes me feel good.
* ETA: In my desire to fast-forward to all-caps rage, I forgot to mention that Mayan is still spoken. Yes, it’s different than it was at the height of the Mayan empire, but it’s not like no one speaks it.