Sunday, January 18, 2015

A conversation in two parts, lightly edited.

Part 1.

CC: I'm off to see that movie, Selma, tonight.

Shylock: Here's a prediction for you. I'll bet you that at absolutely no point in the movie do they ever mention that George Wallace was a Democrat.

CC: I'm sure they do. If they do, you have to go watch the movie.

Shylock: Betcha they don't. We'll see.

Part 2.

CC: So I watched Selma - as I so wisely predicted, they did mention party affiliations. Implicitly. So now you have to watch the movie like you promised.

Shylock: "Implicitly?" You mean they never say Wallace was a Democrat? Well colour me shocked.

CC: Well, there wasn't an explicit line in the movie where they said that George Wallace is a raging Democrat. But there were definitely a few scenes where he was talking very intimately with LBJ in the way that only party comrades do. It was totally obvious.


CC: Listen, it is totally possible that they said he was a Democrat and I missed it.

Shylock: "Dishonest biases of liberal filmmakers correctly predicted in advance by cynical reactionary, pundits astounded, full report at 11".

CC: If people who watch the film are so obtuse that they don't know that LBJ was a Dem, then I doubt explicitly stating anything was going to make a difference.

Shylock: Put it this way - can you think of any way they could have told the important facts of the story with any LESS emphasis on party affiliations than they actually did?

CC: Yes, I can think of many ways. Not emphasising LBJ and George Wallace as characters at all. Or revising history, and making them all Republicans.

Shylock: How's Birmingham, AL, doing these days? I'm guessing that doesn't get mentioned much either.

CC: That's besides the point. And I don't know - great food, strong family values? Doing as good as it ever was, I assume.

Shylock: Of course it is. We took away the racist institutions, and yet somehow now it looks like the third world. There are lots of possible explanations, but it's at least a puzzle, no?

CC: It's very hard to me to jump to the conclusion that Birmingham had become *a third world country* because of the enfranchisement of a minority. More likely has something to do with the decline of agrarian agriculture or whatever.

Shylock: If Birmingham were a country, its 2012 murder rate of 67 per 100,000 would make it literally the second highest in the world, behind Honduras. In 1951, the rate was 13 per 100,000. Probably agrarian agriculture. Or whatever.

Shylock: And personally, I'm in favour of universal disenfranchisement, but that's a separate issue.

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