We’re Even More Jets Now: Spielberg’s West Side StoryTravis LeBlanc
“You know, I wake up to everything I know either getting sold, or wrecked, or being taken over by people that I don’t like. And they don’t like me. And you know what’s left of all that? The Jets.” — Riff
I finally got around to seeing Steven Spielberg’s new remake of West Side Story, or as I like to call it, Race Traitors in Love.
I must say that despite it being explicitly anti-racist — and by extension implicitly anti-white and Jewish — to the core, I have always had something of a soft spot for West Side Story. After all, it is one of only two Hollywood movies (the other being The Birth of a Nation) to ever portray a White Nationalist street gang in a positive light.
If you ask me, the original West Side Story was pure whitesploitation. Just as blacks were so desperate to see movies with black heroes that they were willing to tolerate bad writing, terrible acting, and shoestring production values, I am so desperate to watch a movie feature sympathetic White Nationalists that I am willing to sit through a Jewish musical about race-mixing. The Jews knew we were starved for White Nationalists on the screen so they made it as Jewy, faggy, and subversive as possible. “We’ll give the goyim sympathetic White Nationalists, but they’re gonna have to sit through a bunch of ballet to get it.” They knew some of us would not be able to resist. Damn you, Jews!
I was prepared for the worst with Spielberg’s remake, but it was actually not anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be — meaning it was not significantly more objectionable than the original. I was expecting it to be a lot more woke than it was. Oh, there’s definitely some wokeness, which I will explain later, but I was prepared for it to be more anti-white.
After all, this was to be the West Side Story updated for the Trump generation. I was expecting it to be a modernization with the Jets as cartoon Nazis marching through the streets in red hats, chanting “Sharks will not replace us.” I was prepared for American History X with dancing. Thankfully, it was not that heavy-handed, and Spielberg made the surprising decision to film it as a period piece set in the same time as the original.
In 2018 I wrote an exhaustive analysis of the original entitled “We’re All Jets Now: the Racial Politics of West Side Story.” Watching Spielberg’s remake, I often wondered if they had read my article because it seemed to go out of its way to address some of the points I had made. There were many critiques of the original 1961 version I had made which don’t apply to the remake.
For example, I made the case that if you look closely, the Jets are clearly the good guys. Anti-American Sharks were the expansionists. They were moving into the Jets’ territory, and the Jets were acting purely defensively. In Spielberg’s remake, the Jets are unambiguously the aggressors. The Sharks, on the other hand, are now a Puerto Rican vigilante group that was formed to counter them They exist only as a response to white aggression.
I also pointed out in my article that in the long run, both the Jets and Sharks lose, as Lincoln Square has since been turned into a playground for the super-wealthy. Spielberg’s West Side Story actually makes that a central theme: All the buildings of Lincoln Square are being torn down to be replaced by luxury high-rises.
In Spielberg’s West Side Story, whites have already become a minority in Lincoln Square. They are now foreigners in the neighborhood where they grew up. “We’re outnumbered, boys,” Lieutenant Schrank tells the Jets. “Thousands more are on their way. Once they’re here, they pop out kids like crazy, am I right? “
While Schrank addresses the Jets as co-racialists — “we’re outnumbered” — he is essentially a race traitor. He is a collaborator in the ethnic cleansing of his own people, and his job is to prevent them from fighting back. The movie opens with a rumble after the Jets deface a mural of Puerto Rican flags, the symbol of Lincoln Square’s new dominant ethnicity.
In the new film, the Jets are the children of the white lumpenproles who couldn’t afford to move away when the Puerto Ricans took over. Schank says:
Most of the white guys who grew up in this slum climbed their way out of it: Irish, Eye-talian, Jews. Nowadays, their descendants live in nice houses, drive nice cars, and date nice girls you’d want to marry. Your dads or your granddads stayed put, drinkin’ and knockin’ up some local piece who gave birth to you, the last of the can’t-make-it Caucasians. What’s a gang without its terrain, its turf? You’re a month or two away from finding out, one step ahead of the wrecking ball, and in this uncertain world, the only thing you can count on is me. I’m here to keep the civil peace until the last building falls, and if you boys make trouble on my turf, Riff, hand to heart, you’re headed to an Upstate prison cell for a very long time. By the time you get out, this will be a shiny new neighborhood of rich people living in beautiful apartments with Puerto Rican doormen to chase trash like you away.
Not only are the Jets shown to be the aggressors, they are presented as fighting a losing battle, a battle that has in fact already been lost. The Jets are patriots of a country that doesn’t exist anymore and isn’t coming back. There is a scene near the beginning where a Jet jumps up and pulls down the sign over a Puerto Rican store, and you see the old sign underneath from when the shop used to be an Irish bar.
Spielberg tries to make the Jets out to be the bad guys who stubbornly and irrationally refuse to accept the new multicultural paradigm — aka “progress” — but by doing so, he makes the Jets the underdogs in a way which they were not in the 1961 version. In 1961, whites were Goliath, and one might have thought, “Ah, c’mon. Let the Puerto Ricans use your basketball court. You have the entire rest of the country.” But in the remake, whites are shown to be losing ground and their future is uncertain. The Puerto Ricans, on the other hand, are improving their lot in life. This suggests a zero sum game.
He is also showing whites becoming more racially conscious in the face of multiculturalism. The Jets are not just White Nationalist, but pan-European White Nationalists. The Jets include Irish, Italians, Poles, and other peoples who in previous generations might have formed their own ethnically exclusive gangs, but having been rendered minorities by the Hispanics, they have put aside their differences and unite under the banner of whiteness, where they are never alone and never disconnected.
There is also the fact that the white Jets love America because it is their home, whereas the Puerto Ricans love America for what it can do for them. As evidenced from the song “America,” half of the Puerto Ricans do not even consider America their home. They also openly express anti-white sentiments, such as when Maria’s suitor Chino says, “Sooner or later, the gringos kill everything.”
More importantly, the Jets are simply cooler. They will crack jokes, goof around, and have fun. They are not humorless WN 1.0 types. Jet’s leader Riff, played by gentile Mike Faist, is easily the most charismatic character in the film. Riff is serious about standing up for whites, but is also capable of being light-hearted.
The Sharks, on the other hand, take themselves way too seriously. All they do is moan about how much better things were back in Puerto Rico. Sharks leader Bernardo flips out and starts a gang war because he saw a white guy dance with his sister. The dude’s go no chill whatsoever. Whatever you might think of the Sharks’ and the Jets’ respective grievances, you know who you would rather have a beer with.
Whatever Spielberg’s intentions, all of the above actually makes one more inclined to root for the Jets. They have had their whole world taken away from them, but their spirits remain unbroken. How could you not root for that?
Beyond this, Spielberg corrected one of the frequent criticisms of the 1961 version, namely that the dance sequences destroy any suspension of disbelief that these street hoodlums are tough guys, given that they are doing ballet in the streets. The new choreography is designed to look more macho, so you are not thinking, “Whoa, those gang members just suddenly turned into huge fags.”
The tradeoff for the amplified heterosexuality is Anybodys. In the 1961 version, Anybodys was a cute, waifish tomboy, but in Spielberg’s remake, she is a full-on bulldyke transman. Anybodys is not just butch, she’s more masculine than any of the other Jets. She gives one a bloody nose for misgendering her and then overpowers a couple of cops in order to escape a police station.
Ice, who takes over as the Jets’ leader after Riff’s death in the 1961 version, has a drastically reduced role in the remake. This might be because Spielberg wanted to follow the original Broadway musical, and Ice was a character created specifically for the original film adaptation.
The character of Doc, who in the 1961 version owned the shop the Jets used as their headquarters, has been replaced by Valentina, a Puerto Rican widow who was once married to a white man. She’s played by Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the 1961 film. She becomes a sort of mother figure for Tony, which might explain his eventual race-mixing.
There is one black character in the film, Abe, and it is interesting that he happens to be a villain. Abe is a criminal who sells the Jets a gun which they take to the rumble. It’s a curveball that Spielberg would show whites and blacks allying against Hispanics.
There is quite a bit of Spanish spoken in the movie, and Spielberg made the decision not to use subtitles
out of respect for the inclusivity of our intentions to hire a totally Latinx cast to play the Sharks’ boys and girls . . . If I subtitled the Spanish, I’d simply be doubling down on the English and giving English the power over the Spanish. This was not going to happen in this film. I needed to respect the language enough not to subtitle it.
This decision backfires, however, because it just emphasizes the alienness of Lincoln Square’s new inhabitants, and makes one identify even more strongly with the Jets, because at least you can understand what the hell they are talking about.
All in all, I would say that this new West Side Story is objectively superior to the original in most, but not all, regards. Unfortunately, the public does not agree. Spielberg’s West Side Story is currently bombing at the box office and is on course for losses potentially in the range of hundreds of millions. Word on the street is that it needs to make $300 million to break even, and at the time of writing, it has only made $37 million after three weeks.
Part of this could be that the movie went into production after Charlottesville, when “white supremacy” was a hot topic, and it was intended to be a statement on Trump’s America. By the time it finally got released, we were well into the Biden era, and “white supremacy” was two boogiemen ago. We’ve had QAnon since then, and now we have anti-anti-vax hysteria. Nazis are so 2017.
The new West Side Story is therefore a win on two fronts: Jews failed to make the anti-White Nationalist propaganda movie that they believed they had made, and in my humble opinion, they made the opposite in a lot of ways; and additionally, they are set to lose a quarter of a billion dollars for having even tried.
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