Spike Lee: Not Doing The Right Thing

The annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. day has turned into a free-for-all forum in the name of civil rights. A racial revisionist’s field day.

Anybody who’s anybody, especially among black celebrities, has carte blanc to interpret Dr. King’s legacy to fit their own agendas. From slavery reparations and boycott-extortion scenarios to more head coaches in the National Football League.

Not surprisingly, this includes filmmaker Spike Lee. Somewhat surprisingly, it entails passing judgment on other directors. As in allowing “Barbershop” dialogue that Lee deemed racially insensitive and inappropriate. As in a cynical reference by a black “Barbershop” character to King’s well-documented promiscuity (as well as a belittling comment about Rosa Parks’ bus ride into history).

Were it not in an MLK context, such cinematic criticism would likely be considered heavy-handed, unenlightened censorship. In fact, a story line that depicted blacks as individuals — not part of a lock-step, group-think, stereotyped brotherhood — might be considered praiseworthy.

“To me, some things aren’t funny,” said Lee. “If our young children grow up thinking this, and that’s all they know about (King and Parks), then we’re in trouble.”

Three points.

*If anybody’s children grow up thinking a certain way because “that’s all they know” from a movie, then that’s one sorry-assed commentary on who’s bringing them up.

*What Lee thinks is not funny is not relevant. He also takes the NBA seriously.

*Lee would be the first one to cry artistic license and freedom were the tables turned. Do you think he ever considered changing the ending of “Do The Right Thing” because the conclusive message was wrong?

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