Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Roundtable on Django Thursday noon at the Korbel School cybercafe



"RELIGION AND VIOLENCE SPEAKER SERIES:

Professor Haider Khan will be joining the roundtable discussion of the film, Django Unchained, at noon on Thursday, February 14, in the Arthur N Gilbert cybercafé. Alan Gilbert, Arthur Gilbert and Haider Khan will each make a ten minute presentation followed by a discussion of the movie in the context of race and slavery. The role of religion in the south before the Civil War will be one of the topics."

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"Django" has proven propular with audiences, marking the achievement of a new understanding. It features, despite Tarentino’s sometimes comic book presentation, those oppressed by slavery striking justly at slaveowners.

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In the fine movie "Lincoln" - see "Lincoln and Founding Myths" here, black soldiers and a maid are the backdrop of a drama of whites (the film does praise the great abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens and ties the Emancipation Proclamation forcefully to the 13th amendment). See here.

In "Django," Candieland is, in fact, more near Monticello than different. See here. Audiences have responded to resistance to the deep injustice slavery is. See my review of 'Django' here.

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As Duncan Campbell suggests, Django is actually more popular with moviegoers than the false, CIA-story, torture movie "Zero Dark Thirty." Here is his letter:

"Hi alan,

Very glad to see you put this in your blog. Our thoughts exactly (we saw it when it first came out, and have told all our friends it is a must see.)

You will be interested to know how Django is the NUMBER ONE film in terms of Audience Like (Satisfactionn) -- a very unusual 94% rating, outstripping all the other Big Three, including the conventional history friendly Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty. This marks a huge shift in consciousness in the awakening collective. Here are the ratings at www.rottentomatoes.com (regarded by many as the premier critic and audience rating film website):

Crtics Rating Audience Like Rating

Zero Dark Thirty 93% 86%

Django 88%
94%

Lincoln 91%
87%

Silver Lining Playbook 91% 91%

Then Big Drop Off to Next:

Les Miserables 70%
83%

All best,

Duncan"


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Tarentino was allowed in Hollywood to make such a film. Spike Lee, diretor of the fine "Malcolm X" was not.

That - despite the good features of the movie and its reception - is a story of contining racism.

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But American audiences appreciate "Django."

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Mass militant nonviolence is a much better antidote to the harms of our society than violence. But the enormous racism of America even before, during and ever since its inception is now (it was in the Revolution as my book Black Patriots and Loyalists shows and in the Civil War and Reconstruction), once again, being challenged.

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Even now, for instance in the New York Times, there is some discussion of the role of black soldiering and Emancipation in the Civil War. See here. This year is after all the 150th anniversary of the Emnacipation Proclamation.

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Lincoln is the safe (also fine) movie celebrating abolitionist whites. Django allows slaves and freedom-loving people, in fantasy – what they did in reality by burning the mansions in Georgia in 1864 and 1865 – deal with slaveowners.

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Black Patriots and Loyalists: Fighting for Emancipation in the War of Independence (Chicago, May 2012) tells the remarakable story of the central role of black soldiers including black Patriots fightig before and during the American revolution. It highlights the role of sailiors, white as well as black, seized sot “pressed” by press-gangs into the British Navy and siding with slave uprisings in the Caribbean.

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It shows the tremendous role of religion in resistance to bondage among blacks, particularly on the Imperial side in Nova Scotia and in founding a democratic community in Freetown in Sierra Leone, and among preachers like Samuel Hopkins in Newport, Rhode Island who stigmatized slavery, just before the Revolution, as a "sin of crimson dye"

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Blacks and abolitionist whites were the life of the Revolution, composing most of the revolutionary crowds like the Boston Tea Party.

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Freedom, the supposed goal of independence, could (and can) only be realized through emancipation.

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This story cannot yet be mentioned in the New York Times which shares in the deep, inherited racism about the Revolution (I did 12 years of work in 13 research libraries, Chicago reviewed it for four years; Black Patriots and Loyalists was the University of Chicago Press's lead book last spring in history).

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It is time this anti-racist and freedom-sustaining tale becomes known. It is time for Americans celebrated the black soldiers who were central in not only the Civil War but in the American Revoluton.

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These facts show that the Daughters of the American Revolutoin, with its long racism, is the opposite of the truth about America. See my commenatry last July 4th on the New York Times story “For the Dar, a New Chapter" here.

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"Django" is the shadow of which these stories are the reality…

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