Attack Of The Left-Wing Philistines!
This is an incredible story from The New York Times about Hollywood censorship. Meg Smaker made a documentary about four Islamic jihadists being de-programmed at a Saudi rehab center. Sundance accepted it. Some who had seen the movie said it was great, but that some right-wing voices might denounce it for humanizing the jihadists. But that's not what happened:
Arab and Muslim filmmakers and their white supporters accused Ms. Smaker of Islamophobia and American propaganda. Some suggested her race was disqualifying, a white woman who presumed to tell the story of Arab men.
Sundance leaders reversed themselves and apologized.
Abigail Disney, a grandniece of Walt Disney, had been the executive director of “Jihad Rehab” and called it “freaking brilliant” in an email to Ms. Smaker. Now she disavowed it.
The film “landed like a truckload of hate,” Ms. Disney wrote in an open letter.
Ms. Smaker’s film has become near untouchable, unable to reach audiences. Prominent festivals rescinded invitations, and critics in the documentary world took to social media and pressured investors, advisers and even her friends to withdraw names from the credits. She is close to broke.
What a gutless crapweasel Abigail Disney is. She loved the movie until her cool lefty friends hated it. She is a huge figure in the documentary filmmaking world, so this about-face from her is very consequential.
One person who defends the film is Lorraine Ali, a Muslim who is also a Los Angeles Times critic:
Lorraine Ali, a television critic for The Los Angeles Times who is Muslim, wrote that the film was “a humanizing journey through a complex emotional process of self-reckoning and accountability, and a look at the devastating fallout of flawed U.S. and Saudi policy.”
She is dismayed with Sundance.
“In the independent film world there is a lot of weaponizing of identity politics,” Ms. Ali said in an interview. “The film took pains to understand the culture these men came from and molded them. It does a disservice to throw away a film that a lot of people should see.”
According to the Times, the lefty Muslim critics and their white allies demand that the film tell a political story that blames Western oppression for turning them into jihadists. These people are against art, are against truth-telling. Read on:
“When I, a practicing Muslim woman, say that this film is problematic,” wrote Jude Chehab, aLebanese American documentarian, “my voice should be stronger than a white woman saying that it isn’t. Point blank.”
Ms. Disney, the former champion, wrote, “I failed, failed and absolutely failed to understand just how exhausted by and disgusted with the perpetual representation of Muslim men and women as terrorists or former terrorists or potential terrorists the Muslim people are.”
Her apology and that of Sundance shook the industry. The South by Southwest and San Francisco festivals rescinded invitations.
Jihad Turk, former imam of Los Angeles’s largest mosque, was baffled. In December, his friend Tim Disney — brother of Abigail — invited him to a screening.
“My first instinct,” he said, “was ‘Oh, not another film on jihad and Islam.’ Then I watched and it was introspective and intelligent. My hope is that there is a courageous outlet that is not intimidated by activists and their too narrow views.”
This is infuriating. Who the hell do these people think they are to believe that their ethnic background gives them the right to tell artists what stories they can and cannot tell, and how they have to tell it? I know that's a naive question in 2022, but we can't stop asking it. Think of all the good films that will never get made because cowards like Abigail Disney yield to left-wing censors.
And think too about who these politically correct filmmakers are making movies for: the kind of narrow audiences who want to see Islamic terrorists as sympathetic figures, victims of Mighty Whitey. Think of the kind of narrow, rigid minds that only want to see movies that reinforce their point of view, and who not only don't want to see anything that challenges that point of view, but don't want anyone else to see that kind of movie either.
We're dealing with something similar, but far less consequential, in Baton Rouge. A black undergraduate at LSU is angry at some 1930s-era murals in one of the academic buildings on campus. "RACISSSSSSST!" she says. More from the Baton Rouge Advocate:
Her request that LSU remove murals from the walls of Allen Hall isn't new, but compared to those who have raised questions previously, Alexia Kimble is reaching a much-wider audience when she asks that the university take down paintings that show Black people laboring in agricultural fields while White people work in more comfortable settings.
She highlighted the murals on TikTok this month, drawing nearly a half-million views and more than 90,000 likes.
“I wanted to draw emotion and capture the essence of what it’s like to be a Black student at a (predominantly White instituion)," she said. "Not every Black student can attend an HBCU school, nor do they want to, but they deserve a place here. They should be accepted here, they shouldn’t be judged and have this constant reminder that they don’t belong here.”
Umm ... what? How does a historically accurate depiction of agricultural life in an earlier era of Louisiana history telegraph to a black student in 2022 that she "doesn't belong" at the university? And guess what: the murals don't depict slavery. They depict agricultural life in Louisiana in the 1930s. But that detail doesn't bother Miss Thin Skin:
Those showing obvious differences between Black and White people remain. For example, Blacks are depicted laboring over sugar cane and cotton; White people are shown in scientific settings.
"Walking on campus and having that be one of the first things I saw going into my classroom, it really took me aback," Kimble said.
She wants there to have been black scientists in Louisiana at the time? Well, that would have been a great thing, but they did not exist here. Does she think farm labor is somehow degrading? Who on earth would be offended by this, except someone who is bound and determined to be offended? It is a great thing that we have made so much social progress in the last century since the murals were painted that now there are black scientists in this state -- and black people doing every kind of work. But that's not how things were in the 1930s. Alexia Kimble wants to airbrush history.
What's so telling about the story is that nobody is willing to defend the murals on the record. They know how this goes in our culture: you speak up for this work of art, you'll be denounced as a racist, and who knows what doors might close to you? If the reporter challenged Kimble to defend her views, it doesn't really come across in the piece. It reads like a story written by a reporter who thinks the black student's criticism of this mural needs no defense. To be fair, if he tried but couldn't get anybody to defend the murals on the record, that's not his fault. But on evidence of what's presented, he doesn't seem to have challenged Kimble.
Take a look at this video LSU produced nine years ago, featuring a Florence-based art restorer, talking about the history of these frescoes, and the care that went into creating them:
Yet Alexia Kimble seems to know none of this history. She simply gazes upon the murals, decides that they offend her, and is now leading a campaign to destroy them. This is barbarism: the idiotic destruction of things you can't understand, or refuse to understand, because you can.
If you look at her TikTok page, you see that Alexia Kimble has a Rich Inner Life. She's an obese pansexual who loves to film herself lip-synching. For example:
We are not dealing with Stokely Carmichael here.
In this screenshot from one of her TikTok videos about the murals, we learn that this Young Scholar hasn't bothered to discover that the triggering murals don't depict slaves. Seriously: she's trying to have the university destroy a work of art that she has not troubled to understand:
She told a Baton Rouge TV station:
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“I just want to let every Black person know that goes to LSU or any PWI, you have every right to be here, you have every right to make this place comfortable for you,” said Kimble.
Of course you have every right to be there, but you don't have every right to bully people into accommodating your every desire, and calling them racist if they don't. It doesn't look like there are plans by LSU to yield to this whiny child's demands, which is good. But whenever institutions do, they teach young people that the way to get what they want in the world is to complain endlessly about minor things, and to expect those in authority to give them what they want.
It frustrates me in part because I looked at those murals every day I went to class in Allen Hall in the 1980s. It never once occurred to me that they depicted anything degrading about black people, or made white people look especially good. I thought that they were what, in fact, they are: period murals in the WPA style illustrating what life looked like in Louisiana in that era. They are beautiful. But left-wing people won't let us have beautiful things. They demand that we airbrush history. Whether it's cloddish student activists like Alexia Kimble, or jelly-spined zillionaire film executives like Abigail Disney, these people hate history, they hate art, and they hate free thought. And, of course, the irresponsible local media -- the Advocate reporter, and the TV station -- simply parrot Kimble's claims as if they had merit.
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