Duly 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 ó let’s move it people!”