Tags: king | selma | history | lbj | racism | march

Politico: Flawed 'Selma' Diminishes 'Political Genius' of MLK

By    |   Monday, 05 Jan 2015 11:57 AM

While other film biographies have effectively played homage to some of the world's most towering figures, the new film "Selma" serves to diminish the historical legacy and "political genius" of Dr. Martin Luther King, a review in Politico magazine asserts.

"From a historical perspective, Selma is a deeply flawed work," writes history and political scholar Josh Zeitz in Politico's Dec. 31 edition. "The film has already provoked considerable debate, particularly around the question of Lyndon Johnson’s role in pressing for federal voting rights legislation.

"On a more fundamental level, it mingles real, verifiable events with conspiratorial fiction. And for a film about a pivotal moment in MLK’s life, it obscures too much of King’s political and personal genius."

Adds Zeitz of the film's failures: "The events at Selma stood at the juncture of every theological and practical dilemma that King grappled with in his public career: The limits and utility of nonviolence. The balance between civil disobedience and civil society. How an activist stays politically relevant.

"Selma skims the surface of these questions, but it never gets to the core."

The film limits the time frame on King to a three-month window in 1965, as the civil rights icon led an epic march from Selma, Alabama, to Birmingham amid violence directed at the movement.

Some call it a certain Academy Award contender and argue that criticism over its historical depictions misses its importance, said Slate magazine.

"With its focus on the power of activism to force political and moral change, the highly praised film has the right message for our present moment of racial unrest," noted Slate's Jamelle Bouie.

Some say the film's biggest historical gaffe is its depiction of the role of President Lyndon B. Johnson, especially in his relationship with King and his conduct during the era, CBS News said, adding that the director of LBJ's presidential library thinks "Selma" missed the mark on the late presidents voting rights record.

For those curious about the debate, Entertainment Weekly conducted a fact-check into some of the film's biggest historical points of controversy.

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While other film biographies have effectively played homage to some of the world's most towering figures, the film "Selma" serves to diminish the historical legacy and "political genius" of Dr. Martin Luther King, a review in Politico magazine asserts.
king, selma, history, lbj, racism, march
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2015-57-05
Monday, 05 Jan 2015 11:57 AM
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