Portland “Patriots”, Kenosha militia, and at least one Southern congressman seem hell bent on mounting a real-life reenactment of the infamous final reel of American silent filmmaker D.W. Griffith’s 1915 civil war epic, The Birth of a Nation.
If you think Gone With the Wind romanticizes the antebellum South and glosses over the evils of slavery, no worries here. All the evils are in plain, twisted sight, and sadly reflect popular attitudes of the time.
And wait til you see who the “heroes” turn out to be in the rollicking, last-minute-rescue. Hint: Their numbers and influence had been in steady decline for decades, but the film’s laudatory portrayal sparked a dramatic resurgence.
Paradoxically stunning and beautiful in parts, couched in meticulously accurate and lovingly rendered historical recreations, the film nevertheless traffics in vicious and abhorrent racial stereotypes. The perversion of art is heartbreaking. Though rarely screened outside a college classroom or museum, it stands today as a chilling illustration of what MAGA means to some Americans, and what type of actions many of them seem eager to take.
Woodrow Wilson loved the movie, said it was, “…like writing history with lightning.”
Woodrow Wilson also RE-segregated the District of Columbia.
Not everyone shared his enthusiasm for the deftly produced cinematic spectacle. According to an article on the History Channel’s website, “Riots and protests broke out at screenings of Birth of a Nation in a number of Northern cities, and the recently formed National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) embarked on a major campaign to have the film banned.”
No doubt there were voices loudly crying for “Law and Order!” in response to these riots and protests. No doubt there was also no shortage of swift, brutal retribution at the end of a rope. No last minute rescues for those poor souls, only terror and tragedy by torchlight.
Coming soon to a city near you.