Censorship Now! Ask Us How!

botn.jpgDuly thwarted in my attempt to see D.W. Griffith’s landmark “Birth of a Nation” Monday night at the Silent Movie Theatre by civil rights protesters and various nefarious anonymous threatmakers who decided to violate my civil rights and force the film palace to cancel its planned screening of the highly controversial 1915 classic that night, I decided I’d just order up the DVD from Netflix and satisfy my armchair cinema historian jones by watching it in the quiet picket-line-free comfort of my living room.

Or not. Somehow word got out, for when I arrived post-work yesterday afternoon there they were, the same people who were in front of the Fairfax Avenue theater Monday night and quoted in today’s L.A. Times article about the show’s cancellation. Carrying signs that read “Rationalize Censorship Now! Ask Us How!” and “We Violate Your Rights So You Don’t Have To!” they marched back and forth along the sidewalk in front of the house unison-screaming shit like “D.W. Griffith Is A KKK Whore!” and “Will Campbell is D.W.’s Bitch!” and “Honky Ass MoFo!”

Among the throng were several frontliners from the National Alliance for Positive Action backed up by some seriously mean-looking NAACP muscle. Most belligerent was a professor of cultural tolerance from Cal State L.A. with a bullhorn who spit on me and called me a “racist sympathizing asswipe butthead Charmin squeezer.” A guy from AAA joined them briefly but split after asking if I’d called for a jumpstart and I told him it was probably the house up the street. “Which one?” he asked. I pointed to the one with the huge confederate flag flying from the porch. “Later hater,” he said sprinting away. “But I’m not!,” I yelled after him as the picketers switched chants to “Hater! Hater! See You Later!” incessantly until I finally yelled “All right! You win!” Then a whistle blew loud and everything suddenly went silent like the film I knew I wouldn’t be watching… ever.

As the group packed up to leave, the professor came up and spit on me one last time asking “Where to next?” of one of the NAACP suits who consulted his Treo 600 and pointed a finger to the northeast. “There’s a viewing in progress at a residence on Glenfeliz in Atwater รณ let’s move it people!”

6 Replies to “Censorship Now! Ask Us How!”

  1. The rest I can deal with, but your Charmin squeezing doesn’t fly here, sonny jim! Take it back to the Bible Belt if that’s your kind of thing!

    But, seriously, that’s screwed up. I’ve never heard of anyone picketing the Silent Movie Theatre before. It’s no secret that The Birth Of A Nation isn’t the most…politically correct of films, but as a historical snapshot of popular sentiments the majority of us today find sickening, it’s important. You’d think that a gaggle of self-proclaimed intellectuals could understand why we need to remind ourselves of our civilization’s less-than-graceful notions and take heart that, at least in some regards, we’ve progressed (and declined in others, sure, but that’s not my point).

  2. phew! i had that on my Netflix queue until i decided i was just not ready to sit through all of AFIs 100 best. good thing too! my driveway can’t handle that kind of protest action… maybe you need a counter-protest. can you paper the Silent Movie theater with Northern quilted?

  3. Actually I watched it about a year ago. About a third of the way through I just sped the disk up about four times above normal and zipped through the remainder without missing a thing.

  4. Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    No one should think we are exempt from the human tendency to persecute and discriminate against those over whom we have power, just by “virtue” of being victims ourselves. Look how the victims persecute those who disagree with them now! Would those persecutors have ratified the Bill of Rights and granted free speech to everyone, had they the power in 1798? We must all be ever vigilant against our own human tendency toward evil, regardless of our race. People of all races should watch Birth of a Nation, because the shame we feel when we watch it is a deterrent to racism; lack of shame exposes our hardness of heart.

  5. We’re better off having a society that is educated enough to evaluate questionable material, than having a society that needs to be protected from questionable material.

    Someday an NAACP member will be prohibited from speaking because of the organization’s hateful, offensive, derogatory name. (For those who don’t know, the “C” stands for “Colored.”)

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