Saturday, January 04, 2003

A Slate essay discusses whether the great silent film maker D.W. Griffith was a racist. The consensus seems to be that he was a racist, but this guy says he was an apolitical director who just happened to make racist movies.

I just happened to see a scene from his movie Intolerance which shows a spectacular Babylonian battle scene. You'd be amazed that anyone was making such good movies around 1915. His masterpiece, The Birth of a Nation, is about the US Civil War and Reconstruction.

I think that it is Griffith's critics who are intolerant and racist. Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Tim Robbins, and Warren Beatty made political movies, but that is acceptable to the leftist critics because they agree with the leftist messages. Artistic freedom should allow filmmakers to make movies that don't necessarily conform to liberal political correctness.

The Slate piece suggests that Griffith was duped by ex-Confederate soldiers who offered the director advice. Another complaint is that a scene was inspired by political cartoons from the Reconstruction era. What is wrong with that?

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