One would expect a foreign film like Theeb to provide the audience with some sort of historical backdrop in order to contextualize a niche storyline. However, besides the minimal information that we are now in 1913 Jordan, not much else is given to Theeb’s viewers, who are immediately afterwards thrown into a jarringly different geo-historical perspective limited through the eyes of a child. Viewers quickly learn this child is the titular character Theeb who lives away from sedentary civilization. Historically keen viewers can surmise (or avid Googlers can verify) that Theeb belongs to a nomadic group of people called Bedouins. The intrinsic vagrant nature of Theeb’s life coupled with his naïve youth parallel our limited contextual understanding of the setting of the film.
When asked why he supported conservative and notorious racist Jesse Helms over Democrat Harvey Gantt in the 1996 North Carolina Senatorial race, Michael Jordan replied, “Republicans buy Nikes too.” And thus began the athlete’s 21st century business model: Dominate sport. Get endorsement contract. Obey the law … and stay out of politics.
Tiger Woods and LeBron James have followed this paradigm to perfection in becoming the wealthiest and most recognizable athletes of our generation. They and others like them all have an opportunity to influence the society by breaking down racial and gender barriers and by expressing their political views. Yet, they continually shy away from this responsibility for the sake of their reputation and their bank accounts.