Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Monday, July 17, 2017

Opening old wounds

 " The world premiere of “Detroit,” the movie, will be happening in Detroit, the city where the events that inspired it actually took place.
Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow’s film about the 1967 Detroit riot will have its official debut on July 25 at the Fox Theatre, according to Annapurna Pictures. "
 I " clipped " that bit of information from a web page. There was a story about this on Sunday morning. I confess to not really having any memory of this event happening. I can only blame that on the fact I am a white man and this hasn't been talked about all that much. I guess it is all a part of the cultural awareness thing. I did watch a preview of sorts that described somewhat what had taken place in Detroit back in 1967. The loss of life and damage to property was enormous. That such a culture of hate and bigotry existed there is unbelievable. We white folks tend to think of the north as " tolerant " and " accepting " when that isn't the reality at all. It is just that there was little financial gain to be had in the north during the slavery years. We do think of slavery as north and south. The truth is slavery was practiced everywhere throughout the world. It wasn't an isolated thing dreamed up by the white folks in the south. The whole world is guilty of that ! Every creed, every race shares in that vilest of human endeavors, the trading of our fellow man for profit ! And yes, it still continues to this day.
 As I watched this short " preview " of this movie I couldn't help but think about the purpose in making this film. The thought was, why open old wounds ? Now anyone that knows me knows I am all for history. I do believe that history should be taught. That history should be as accurate as possible. This is what happened. The thing to me is, history should be taught as a documentary. When we are recounting these tragic events in history they should be treated with the utmost respect. These events are not fodder for entertainment ! I question the purpose of this film other than as a money making proposition. I view it almost as a exploitation of current events and civil unrest. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying the history shouldn't be taught or told, just that one should treat the material very carefully. The cause(s) of any civil unrest are always subjective. It really does depend upon whose side of the story the facts come from. Yes, the side of this story, the Detroit Riots which some label a revolution, can be viewed from two sides. Are both sides equally responsible ? Are both sides equally guilty ? The answer is always no, It does take two !
 Detroit the movie does deal with prejudice, bigotry and poverty. Those are all underlining causes no one can deny that. The police force was corrupt and biased in their enforcement of the laws, laws both written and unwritten. The smallest of events can precipitate an explosion and this is what apparently happened in Detroit. As I stated earlier I know little to nothing about what happened there. I am not dismissing it as " one of those things " but question why. Why are we making a movie to be marketed for " entertainment " based on such a horrible thing ? Oh, make no mistake about it, it is solely for entertainment purposes that is why you will have to pay to view it. If it were educational would that be the case ? I highly doubt that. No, this movie is designed to appeal to an audience. Just what audience is that ? I question the reason for making such a film right now. Is it yet another exploitation ? A way to stir up the population and create even more unrest ? Look I'm no conspiracy theorist but it just strikes me as the worst possible time to release " entertainment " like this.
 America is plagued with problems like every other nation on earth. There have been, there is, and there always will been inequities and injustice. That is just a fact of life. It is a constant struggle. I do believe it is of primary importance that all the events of the past should be taught. No history should be hidden away and ignored. Yes history needs to be taught in context as well. That is what is so often missing or completely slanted, context. Take an institution as vile as slavery for instance. In the 1800's in America and indeed throughout a good portion of the world it was viewed as a legitimate business ! Some of the founding fathers had slaves and thought nothing of that. These were highly esteemed gentlemen in society. Nothing unseemly about any of that. That is context. Today the mere mention of the word can get you charged with a crime ! Again, context. The injustices of the past should be exposed and examined thoroughly. It is only through knowledge that progress can be made.  All of that having been said I question this opening of an old wound. Of what possible benefit can this examination be ? Is the purpose of the film to place blame where blame is due ? If so, that is already well known and documented in the records. All one has to do is read their history books.
 In these more modern times we are telling the truth more readily, being called out and challenged in our views. That is a good thing, a very good thing. The truth should be told ! That truth should be used as a tool, not a weapon. The past should never be used to subjugate the future ! The opening of old wounds only leads to more infection, not to a cure. The distance from informed to inflamed can be a short one. This movie is set for release on July 25 in Detroit. It is my fervent prayer that no ill comes from this. Given the current political and social climate I just have serious misgivings. Oh I have no doubt it will sell tickets. Many will go and see and leave with the flames of hatred having been stoked. Many others will go and leave with an agreeing nod to the black community, righteously upset. It is my thinking that is what this film is all about, emotional response, and not much to do with healing. No doubt it will be profitable but the question is, will it be worth the price ? And I don't mean the price of admission.
 In conclusion I find it interesting that this filmmaker has chosen to release a film about this dark period in history. Are we not tearing down confederate monuments in an attempt to hide that history ? Why the very presence of a monument that has stood, in some cases, for over a hundred years is so vile, so offensive that it must be removed ! But, a feature length film, well, that's different right ? We are removing statues and monuments and taking down the flags because they are offensive to some. At least that is what we are being told. They are reminders of the past. I suppose a two hour film isn't supposed to do that, be offensive I mean. I can't see anyone getting upset about that at all.