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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Continuing Education

I'm confident saying that any reader sharing my passion for film has found the last eighteen months a bit weird. Aside from the obvious - i.e. not regularly communing in a dark room with a crowd of strangers - for the first time in memory, I did not see a single one of the eight Oscar nominees for best picture in a theater. Even more demoralizing for a movie buff than being forced to watch films on a TV has been the long delay between the announcements of those eight films and actually seeing them. And, I've still got two to go - the horror! How many of the eight have you seen? Got a favorite?

Now the semi-good news. Although I would have preferred to see Judas and the Black Messiah on a big screen - especially for the few electrifying scenes when Daniel Kaluuya, as Black Panther Fred Hampton, is speaking to a crowd - watching it at home was still a powerful experience. I recall how the Black Panthers were demonized and vilified in the late 60s. As a young white man, I fully accepted the narrative of the mainstream press, my working-class parents, and many of my peers at the time. Fifty additional years of education, including becoming more discerning about what the mainstream press regurgitates, growing independent of the view of my parents and peers, and being purposeful about not confirming my own biases, have all brought me to a different view of the Black Panthers and their legacy. This movie has deepened my resolve to continue that education.   

Judas and the Black Messiah has a strong viewpoint. I suspect Tucker Hannity or Sean Carlson or any of the other interchangeable dittoheads will not be putting it into their Netflix queue. But, though I condemn the wanton murder of police - or anyone else, for that matter - that one piece of the Black Panther legacy - depicted in this film - is not the whole story. I'm pleased some alternate voices are getting wide attention telling more complete stories, even if I'm forced to watch them on a TV. 

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