chapter  8
26 Pages

Jewish Invader and the Soul of State: the Merchant of Venice and Science Fiction Movies

ByEric S. Mallin

Independence Day (directed by Roland Emmerich, Twentieth Century Fox, 1996), a movie about evil space invaders threatening to destroy the world, features two heroes from the American social and historical margins: an African American and a Jew. Through courage and cunning, the two figures – fighter pilot Captain Stephen Hiller and scientist David Levinson – conduct the crucial attack on the aliens that liberates Earth from the threat of utter destruction. The blunt if subtextual ‘message’ is that racial harmony is salvific, for Black and Jew triumph together and save all humankind. The suggestion of the universal protective virtue of this harmonic force, however, is somewhat compromised by the attributes of the aliens themselves: the physically powerful, implacably hostile, and technologically superior invaders embody traditional racist fantasies of Black and Jew.