Happy birthday, Harper Lee.
Oh man, To Kill a Mockingbird- just about my all time favorite movie. As an impressionable early teen I read the book, and a short time later, saw the movie. America was then in the height of the civil rights movement and people like Alabama governor George Wallace were still considered legitimate spokespersons in the debate regarding this country’s principles. A movie like TKAM hit me (and many others) like a sledgehammer. It forced the question: is this country finally ready to confront racism (and provisional, institutional ignorance)? Being from Texas I had witnessed separate water fountains, bathrooms, restaurants, movie theaters, motels, etc. So this movie had a profound emotional resonance for me. And as an additional layer of power- I’ve always been a sucker for stories about the drama of innocent young people coming face to face with the ugly truths found in the world created by grown ups. Those kids in the movie were so sweet and unblemished, and it was so poignant to watch them have to confront the stench of moronic southern racism, and loose much of their innocence. Sadly for America, this same southern ignorance is still very much alive and, I believe, even gaining in power with the emergence of the likes of Sarah Palin & Ted Cruz, voting restrictions & dismantling of affirmative action policies, tea party supporters, etc. It’s very much like the old saying I remember from my childhood- “Save your confederate money, cuz the south shall rise again”.
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