I worked on three movies with David Zucker, a fellow I like very much. His politics have changed over the years, and he's become quite conservative, but I've always gotten along with him because...well, David is just a good guy. Even when we've gotten into some harsh political email debates (he loves sending those "Did you see this..." emails, which I tend to write back and refute, which he tends to hate), but I've always just liked him. And I hope him me. Though I suspect I piss him off more than the other way.
This is a good description of David. A few years ago, William Kristol's conservative magazine Weekly Standard did a cover article on a satire of liberals that David directed and co-wrote, An American Carol. I wrote a pretty harsh commentary about the article for the Huffington Post. I didn't know how David would react -- we've stayed friendly, but don't talk a lot and hadn't been in touch for a couple years. But two days later, I got an email from David saying that he thought my piece was very fair-minded, and we should have lunch. We did, and had a great time.
Anyway, David has now joined the ranks of people writing for the hated Huffington Post. I don't know if this was a one time thing, but I hope not. It was a fun, wry look at doing pre-production of a movie in Atlanta.
The whole piece is worth reading, but there was one passage that stood out. It was whimsical, but pointedly pollitical (though more historical), which I was very pleased to read. He commented about visiting an area called Stone Mountain, and then wrote --
But the main feature of the park is the giant bas-relief carving of three equestrian figures, the Confederate heroes, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, all atop their favorite horses. Not having spent too much time in the South, I was used to the heroes we honored in my native Wisconsin, like Abraham Lincoln, "the great emancipator" whose statue commands a spectacular view over the UW campus in Madison. But here in Georgia, this mountain honored these dashing riders who fought so valiantly to... preserve slavery? Uh, I guess. And surrounding me on the vast lawn are 13 monuments to all the Southern states who seceded from the Union, and I'm wondering, does anyone think maybe this is the least bit strange? My God, this was also the place where the KKK was reborn in 1915! I looked around quickly. Fortunately there was no plaque commemorating that. I thought for a second, wait, I'm being punked by Ashton Kutcher in revenge for "My Boss's Daughter." Nope, it's all real, I'm not in Kansas anymore.
I was thrilled to see David write this, because that has LONG been a major bugaboo of mine: the rebel yells and the waving of the Confederate flag, all of which honor seceding from the union to preserve slavery, and how the South – which declared war on the United States and seceded – has somehow tried to position itself as the bastion of true patriotism.
It's one thing to recognize the history of your past. It's another to honor what we as a society have tried hard to move far beyond.
No, we're not in Kansas anymore. We're in denial.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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