This might be the most ambitious fiction of Francis Ford Coppola’s entire damn life.
So Coppola opens a restaurant in Geyserville named Werowocomoco that serves “American native” food and centers the legend of Virginia “the White Doe” Dare:
a fair-haired young girl of English descent, raised among a Native American tribe, transformed through black magic into a doe until she was killed by a hunter’s arrow. Where she fell, grapes grew that were forever “stained by her blood.” And this was how wine in the Americas became red, or so the legend goes.
Coppola goes out and jacks all the Native culture he can find and drapes it around a marketable white myth to use as branding. When he’s called out for it, Coppola decides a whitesplaining editorial in the Chronicle will soothe worried minds.
Originally my interest in Virginia Dare came as a child upon hearing the jingle of the Virginia Dare wine on the radio, and seeing the label art that featured a pretty blond girl who seemed out of a fairy tale. Later, I wondered what had happened to this early American winery, which was one of the first in the U.S.A., and this led to research and the fascinating story of the birth of the first Anglo child in the New World, the disappearance of the Lost Colony, and the power of the consolidated Algonquin tribes under the great chief Powhatan and his brother Opechancanough, in Werowocomoco, Va.
“What really drew me to Native American history was white people, white people, white people and a bunch of tribes out in Virginia. Also, white people.”
The rest of his editorial is basically a Dan Snyder impression, listing all his authentic endorsements and how noble his aims are. He’s even good enough to whitesplain “cultural appropriation” on his way out the door.
Cultural appropriation is good, it fosters inter-communication between people and cultures through what they love most: food, art, etc., Coppola said. “However, cultural misappropriation is not good, as it misuses culture without giving back, and is hurtful. Especially to peoples who need to benefit by it.”
And if you’re wondering what sort of alabaster abomination “American native” is, well….