I swear i'll be writing more in 2014

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Who's At Fault in Do the Right Thing

I'm not exactly sure what I'm going for here, but it seems the two biggest arguments stemming from this movie are A) Who's fault is it that Radio Raheem got killed and B) Who's fault is it that Sal's Pizzeria was destroyed.

Here's a step by step escalation as to why things went awry in this great movie:

1. The Heat Wave. The root of all societies evils are the things we never tend to blame, like weather and hunger. If it's extremely hot or cold, it's going to affect your mood in a way similar to those moments before you eat a late dinner. You're never happy in those moments when you're hungry and eating dinner later than normal and everyone in the way will feel the wrath. When the sun is beating down on you, or a cold wind is constantly smacking you in the face, these things will lead to you melting down quicker.

2. The Protest. Buggin' Out wants some brothers on the wall of a restaurant he doesn't own. Although his argument may have some justification, and Sal putting some brothers on the wall may have been better for business, it's ultimately Sal's place so he can do whatever he wants with his walls. A slacker such as Buggin' Out doesn't understand this concept and has way too large of a sense of entitlement, as do pretty much all the characters in this movie. The reason why Sal won't put any brothers on the wall for better business purposes is he knows he's the only pizza shop on the block and he's going to get all the business anyway. This is why you need competition in the market place. If Buggin' Out was resourceful, he would have opened up his own pizzeria as Sal suggested.

3. Loud Music. I'm sure we've all at one point played our music too loud because we were really into it. I'm sure we've all at one point hated someone for playing their music too loud because it sucked really bad. This is quite the moral conundrum for those who practice "do unothers what you want done to yourself." As much as I love Radio Raheem, he really has no respect for anything except Public Enemy, and due to his great size, he can generally listen to it as loud as he wants and get away with it. Wherever there is loud music, there's someone off to the side being frustrated by it. Trust me on this. Naturally, when Radio Raheem and Buggin' Out start the confrontation with Sal, loud music, louder than July heat, escalates the situation more than anything.

4. The Eggerz Onerz. When a situation is as serious as the one in the pizzeria, one who would egg on someone in the argument, is someone that is a detriment to society. These people are basically what concerned mothers refer to as "troublemakers." If these people ever lead to laws being broken a la assault or murder, they should be charged in a court of law. They're worse than loud music and intense heat combined.

5. The N Word. So you're arguing with a bully, and an antagonist over loud music in intense heat while people in the background are egging you and your opponent on, and you drop the N bomb. My theory is a white person should never say this word ever, and if a white person does, calling a black person it in the middle of an argument, is the worst thing you can do, no matter how hot it is, or how loud any music mat be. The black people that were on your side, will automatically switch to the black person's side. It's over. It's a fumble on your team's last possession. Even though it's obviously hard to stay cool under such a distressing time, the one thing you can't do in this situation, is drop the word.

6. The Smashing of the Radio. What Sal should have done, is went for the radio smash sooner. Yes, the physical destruction of property is signifying "go time" but if he had smashed it without dropping the N word, he may still have had other people on his side. After all, it takes tremendous sand to smash Radio Raheem's radio.

7. Radio Raheem Chokes Sal. As much sympathy we can feel for Radio Raheem and his family for what ultimately happens to him, let's not forget it was Radio who threw the first blow by grabbing Sal and choking him. Sure Sal provoked it with N bombs and radio smashings, but let's keep it real here. Radio and Buggin' Out went into that pizzeria to start trouble and trouble is what they got. The rules of karma also apply here because if you're going to try to choke someone to death, you had better be prepared for that to happen to you.

8. The Death of Radio Raheem. This is what happens. There's a fight going on, with no cooler heads prevailing and the cops are forced to break it up. Naturally, the cops are racist and go after the black guys, but in this case, they were right to do so even if for the wrong reasons. Raheem and Buggin' Out started the battle. Obviously, they didn't need to kill Raheem, but he was a big fella , and I'm guessing it's hard to grapple with a big fella who has no intent of backing down and not use excessive force. It's wrong they killed him and very unfortunate, but aside from unconsciousness, there would have been no way to stop him. I don't think they had tazers back then, or at least weren't given any as props by Spike Lee for the shoot.

9. Throwing a Garbage Can Through a Window. I believe the point Mookie is trying to make here is that whitey will always cause trouble in a black neighborhood, so they needed them out of the neighborhood. I'm not certain of this, but that's the most logical explanation for the act rather than simple vengeance (destroying the shop as revenge for the death of Radio Raheem) because as misguided as Mookie may be, he can't possibly be blaming Sal for what the cops did. What Mookie did is riot inciting, and he can be charged as such. What's most maddening, yet awesome at the same time, is the next morning he goes to Sal and asks for his paycheck. If you can find me a greater sense of entitlement, I'd love to hear it.


  1. Buggin' Out... it's all his fault... had he not hyped up the neighborhood, none of this would have happened.

  2. Sal was in the wrong. The author says he should have swung the bat earlier before the N word?? Sal did four things wrong.
    Yep and after hours because he said he loved his customer you can't lock the doors again there are fire codes. When those three troublemakers come in there doing nothing wrong he's technically open for business. Sal never told them to leave. I never said they were trespassing and that he was going to call the police period number three he never called the police. For he took out a weapon and swung it in close proximity to young people which is a felony assault with a deadly weapon. Radio didn't know if he was going to get the bat next.. what he did was self-defense. Blaming yourself for what Caucasian cops did is racism. So is it okay for only some people to be. RACIST??

    1. Thats ignorant. Actions have concequences. This showed the blacks feel like they are owed something, chip on their shoulders wasting their lives and causing trouble