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Sat Sep 7, 2013, 06:13 PM

 

Brad Pitt: 'It Took a Brit' to Ask the Right Question on Slavery

Brad Pitt: 'It Took a Brit' to Ask the Right Question on Slavery

By Katie Van Syckle
September 7, 2013 9:53 AM ET
You can count on one hand the number of films that depict the true brutality of slavery: There was the TV series Roots; Amistad, which mostly told the story of the slaves' journey; and last year's Tarantino-ized shoot-'em-up, Django Unchained. But a film that makes movie-goers look, and look again, and then a little more, at the gruesome realities of plantation life – the alcohol-soaked sweat of lecherous masters, the raw skin of seeping lash wounds, the oppressive, inescapable terror of nameless captivity – feels like a first.

This is what 12 Years a Slave, director Steve McQueen’s adaptation of the autobiography of a free African American man kidnapped and sold to Southern plantation owners, does so powerfully, sparing no terrorizing details about plantation life. "Steve was the first to ask the big question, 'Why has there not been more films on the American history of slavery?'" producer and actor Brad Pitt said last night at the film’s world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. "And it was the big question it took a Brit to ask."



Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/brad-pitt-it-took-a-brit-to-ask-the-right-question-on-slavery-20130907#ixzz2eFPfmcl4
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Reply Brad Pitt: 'It Took a Brit' to Ask the Right Question on Slavery (Original post)
coldmountain Sep 2013 OP
DavidDvorkin Sep 2013 #1
Le Taz Hot Sep 2013 #24
DavidDvorkin Sep 2013 #25
monmouth3 Sep 2013 #2
LostOne4Ever Sep 2013 #3
muriel_volestrangler Sep 2013 #4
silverweb Sep 2013 #5
riverwalker Sep 2013 #6
swilton Sep 2013 #9
Scootaloo Sep 2013 #7
tblue37 Sep 2013 #8
Chiennoir54 Sep 2013 #10
Sheldon Cooper Sep 2013 #11
Ecumenist Sep 2013 #27
xfundy Sep 2013 #28
freshwest Sep 2013 #12
coldmountain Sep 2013 #13
freshwest Sep 2013 #14
Uncle Joe Sep 2013 #16
coldmountain Sep 2013 #19
Uncle Joe Sep 2013 #21
coldmountain Sep 2013 #22
Uncle Joe Sep 2013 #23
Jefferson23 Sep 2013 #26
cordelia Sep 2013 #29
reformist2 Sep 2013 #15
JustABozoOnThisBus Sep 2013 #17
Uncle Joe Sep 2013 #18
Matariki Sep 2013 #20

Response to coldmountain (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 06:14 PM

1. It took the Brits to outlaw it, too.

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #1)

Sun Sep 8, 2013, 08:29 PM

24. In their own country, yes,

but the vast majority of companies dealing in human trafficking were British who had NO problem selling human beings to Americans.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #24)

Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:09 PM

25. Throughout the Empire, and on the seas.

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Response to coldmountain (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 06:15 PM

2. This film will be tough to watch but has Oscar written all over it.../t

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Response to coldmountain (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 06:17 PM

3. Wouldn't Glory count? (nt)

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Response to LostOne4Ever (Reply #3)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 06:24 PM

4. It's mostly black soldiers in the Union army

It's black history, but it's not about slavery itself.

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Response to coldmountain (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 06:28 PM

5. Saw the preview when we went to see "The Butler."

[font color="navy" face="Verdana"]It looked powerful, traumatizing, and soul shaking -- doubt there will be any light conversation or banter on the way out of the theater.

I'm looking forward to seeing it and am very curious as to the discussion afterwards.

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Response to coldmountain (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 06:35 PM

6. nor the American Indians

the 1879 case of having to go to court to prove you are a "person".
http://us.macmillan.com/iamaman/JoeStarita

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Response to riverwalker (Reply #6)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 07:18 PM

9. Would love to see a movie about Standing Bear

 

His statue with eternal flame is in my hometown in Ponca City, Oklahoma.

http://www.travelok.com/listings/view.profile/id.7204





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Response to coldmountain (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 06:52 PM

7. Well, the question might not have bene asked, but we all know the answer

 

And in fact it dates way way back to a little after the end of the civil war.

"Reconciliation."

Though it wasn't any official, penned policy, there was a definite effort by the United States to mend the wounds between North and South, by basically letting the south's crimes and villains slip by under cover of the north's good graces. Slavery was romanticized, reconstruction demonized, and northern historians aided in this restructuring of reality. Omitted fro mthe discourse, of course were the former slaves themselves - their history, their experiences, their knowledge were simply deemed irrelevant to the "greater narrative." and were pointedly omitted, except for the very few occasions where a black voice spoke up to justify whites' treatments of blacks.

In school, we all learn that there was slavery. But we never really learn what that means, because to expose the truth would be to offend the sensibilities of the states that participated in the practice - and since one of them, Texas, is such a huge book-buyer that it actually gets to mandate what is and is not included in the history textbooks of the nation, well!

I went to school in Alabama. Know what the great crime of slavery was? That the slaves were unpaid. Oh, there was mention of whippings, but it was a throwaway passage, "some owners would whip or otherwise punish hteir slaves for not working hard enough" - yup, not just a throwaway line, but one that blamed the victims for the abuse they received! No mention was made of hte other humiliations, tortures, and indignities were inflicted upon the slaves. One book had a diagram of a slave ship that showed how men and women were stacked together in the cargo... but never really tells what that meant. These books certainly never traced the slave trade back to Africa to explain why the successful and powerful kingdoms of that continent were a smoking ruin by the time Europe decided they wanted new territory for rubber, cocoa and sugar plantations.

Thankfully while the books I had avoided the "they sold their own people into slavery!" canard, they did make an effort of pointing out that owners provided food, clothing, and shelter to their slaves - so it wasn't all bad! nevermind that all the food, clothing, and shelter was produced by the slaves, seized by the masters, and with only scraps thrown back!

It's not that a movie on slavery would be touching a raw wound - if that stopped movies, we'd never have so many films that talk about the Holocaust. it's that a movie on slavery would upset the efforts of "reconciliation," would upset the applecart of de-eviling slavery, would be somehow un-ironically labeled "racist incitement" by editorialists in southern newspapers, and would fly in the face of over a century of "common core" history texts which have had a mighty struggle to portray slavery as "just life on the farm, but with a boss!"

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #7)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 06:56 PM

8. Just as taking impeachment off the table and then refusing to

pursue the architects of the illegal Iraq War allowed the war criminals to continue shaping policy and showing up on TV to spread lies and to reinvent the past.

On edit: And also like allowing the banksters who caused the 2008 crash to get away unpunished, and bailing out the banks without forcing them to adhere to any limits on their bad behavior. Now they are free to continue doing what caused the problems in the first place. They didn't even lose any money on the deal--they ended up making out like the bandits they are.

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Response to coldmountain (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 07:22 PM

10. Yeah yeah yeah

More self-flagellation over slavery. Did anyone think it wasn't horrific for anyone who went through that experience? Thankfully we have Brad Pitt to help lead us into the light. I think Pitt has become a bit of a lefty Mel Gibson, who somehow found it necessary to film a crucifixion. Like someone thought that might not have been horrific. And for that matter the name "Steve McQueen" in film circle s should be retired; the real one died in 1980'

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Response to Chiennoir54 (Reply #10)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 07:24 PM

11. lol

enjoy your stay.

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Response to Chiennoir54 (Reply #10)

Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:47 PM

27. BlackDog, Welcome to DU and thanks for posting outright bullshit about Slavery

that MY FAMILY suffered...I listened to my greatgrandparents, grandparents, gg-uncles, gg-aunts, g-uncles, g-aunts recount FIRST HAND EXPERIENCES about the legal slavery they witnessed as children and teens, De Facto slavery, ie Jim Crow..WHICH WAS REAL!!! I am from the first generation that is relatively free but still face OPEN AND BLIND RACISM. So, don't give me your apologia regarding the RACIST history of THIS COUNTRY I LOVE.....every bit and grain as much as any other American. DO NOT think you you can come here posting bullshit thinking noone will call you on it.

REAL easy for you to play fast and loose with HISTORY and your blatant attempt to minimise the horror of the enslavement of human beings.

Enjoy your stay, however short it will be. OH yeah, I hope you like pizza...

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Response to Chiennoir54 (Reply #10)

Sun Sep 8, 2013, 10:19 PM

28. You like pizza?

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Response to coldmountain (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 08:50 PM

12. Don't need a Brit. We always knew, but with liars denying it now, keep the truth coming.

Last edited Sat Sep 7, 2013, 11:09 PM - Edit history (1)

We've got RW think tanks and baggers in state offices and Congress trying to revise history. Don't let them get away with it!

Anyone who read American writers, the classic fiction of Mark Twain, or took in the teachings of Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth or Harriet Tubman knew what was going on. This is American History 101. Or it was when I was in high school in the sixties.

Plus the crooked sharecropper scheme, Jim Crow, Brown vs. Bd. of Ed., the NIght Riders of the KKK and why they did it, lynchings and all of that. We not only read it, we saw it in the news as the Civil Rights era was again ignited.

The issue of having a drop of black blood and paper bag test was obvious. It was the idea that there was somehow with the color of one's skin, How insane.

The Civil War came out of Confederate philosophy. It was obvious why they are still called traitors to this day, no matter how they try to white wash their anti-American views:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014260932#post149

That's part of the thread about a GOPher trying to sanitize slavery. Have the American people forgotten or were never taught? Really?

After the Civil War ended and Lincoln killed by a Confederate sympathizer, Reconstruction came under attack. The crimes of the KKK followed by more abuse and discrimination, enslavement through the judicial and economic system, the murders of civil rights leaders and unjust imprisonment, have not ended but Holder is changing that. We know this, don't we?

Anyone forgot the Lee Atwater's Southern Strategy, or just the insanity media reports to us daily? I don't think so.

There was a film starring Oprah Winfrey, Beloved, which deals with a part of what these famous women went through as described here. But it was known!

The famous conductor of the Underground Railroad:

http://www.biography.com/people/harriet-tubman-9511430

The woman whose speech 'Ar'n't I a Woman?' is best remembered, but her life was so much more:

http://www.pbs.org/thisfarbyfaith/people/sojourner_truth.html

I don't need a movie to feel horrified, but maybe some do. And I do give credit the Brits for their outlawing slavery. It was a long time coming there, and streets in black neighborhoods were often named after the man who dedicated his life to ending the slave trade, despite years of opposition, William Wilburforce.

His first speech for abolition was in 1789 and stayed with it until 1833. He died 3 days after hearing an act to abolish slavery passed. It took half a century. The USA abolished it thirty years later during the Civil War, but it was not enforced until the Union army occupied the South. That's what it took to end that form of insanity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wilberforce

None of these people were perfect, all of it took a long time, and we still need to transform ourselves now. Until we all get it and talk back to the liars.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #12)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 09:35 PM

13. We have to be "politically correct" not to blame any certain region or party

 

We might hurt certain states feelings by telling the truth about slavery and the "Civil War"

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Response to coldmountain (Reply #13)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 10:22 PM

14. Not everyone is likely to get their feelings hurt. Most people don't have a vested interest in lies.

Last edited Sat Sep 7, 2013, 10:58 PM - Edit history (1)

The 'Patriots' have a view of humanity and history as skewed as the leaders of the Confederacy.

I grew up surrounded with the trappings of it. I cannot be offended by the truth.

Place of origin prejudice or regionalism, speaks to the shallowness of the speaker, not the infinite variety of the human race.

Just sayin'

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Response to coldmountain (Reply #13)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 10:28 PM

16. The only thing "regionalism" does is aid those you claim to hate. n/t

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #16)

Sun Sep 8, 2013, 12:38 PM

19. That theory doesn't seem to hurt the so-called red states

 

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Response to coldmountain (Reply #19)

Sun Sep 8, 2013, 05:42 PM

21. Your first mistake is in assuming there are red states or blue states, a more accurate

description would be reddish states, blueish states and/or purplish states.



Aside from that comes the matter of who you hurt by arbitrarily drawing geographic lines of good versus bad.

Knowing two dynamics for "every force there is a counter force" and "united we stand divided we fall" might aid you in this endeavor.

Who do you hurt?

1. Moderate or even liberal non-racist whites in the South that nonetheless identify with their region as being home, by arbitrarily trashing their region or state, you instantly create a subtle if not overt form of counter animosity for you have in one simple minded stroke effectively trashed them, their family and friends as well.

2. To some degree this goes for African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics and Latinos living in the South as well, not only have you written off their home but by creating geographic division you have made the task of political unison in their states all the more difficult.

3. Southern Democrats in general by making their election chances more of an uphill battle.

Now the question is who have you helped with your actions.

1. Conservative and to some degree racist Southerners who become more empowered to play off your regionalistic bigotry.

2. Republicans in the South by fostering regionalism you make their of job of running on division all the easier.

3. Republicans in the North beholding to the less than 1% of the income strata, by using division to help foster a "Solid South" dedicated to electing Republicans to Congress and thereby increasing the chances of a Republican Majority, you increase their power as well.

No region or state has a monopoly on racism or bigotry but some do face a greater challenge than others in overcoming these base instincts, regionalism used as a divider only serves to make enlightenment all the more difficult.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #21)

Sun Sep 8, 2013, 07:54 PM

22. Doesn't seem to hurt Southern Republicans then

 

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Response to coldmountain (Reply #22)

Sun Sep 8, 2013, 08:22 PM

23. That was the point of my post, they rule by division if you play their game,

it's to their advantage.



Now the question is who have you helped with your actions.

1. Conservative and to some degree racist Southerners who become more empowered to play off your regionalistic bigotry.

2. Republicans in the South by fostering regionalism you make their of job of running on division all the easier.

3. Republicans in the North beholding to the less than 1% of the income strata, by using division to help foster a "Solid South" dedicated to electing Republicans to Congress and thereby increasing the chances of a Republican Majority, you increase their power as well.



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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #21)

Sun Sep 8, 2013, 09:17 PM

26. +1

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #21)

Sun Sep 8, 2013, 10:32 PM

29. + another 1

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Response to coldmountain (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 10:26 PM

15. Maybe it was because 'Roots' was so powerful.


After that - and don't forget, practically the entire nation watched that miniseries - there was little reason to make another movie for a while.

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Response to coldmountain (Original post)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 10:40 PM

17. Brits outlawed slavery in the early 1800's ...

... almost 200 years after instituting the slave routes from Africa to the islands and mainland of the new world.

"The American history of slavery," Mr Pitt, begins with Great Britain (and a few other European powers).

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Response to JustABozoOnThisBus (Reply #17)

Sat Sep 7, 2013, 10:43 PM

18. They were also the first nation to enter The Industrial Age,

I can't help but believe that had some effect.

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Response to coldmountain (Original post)

Sun Sep 8, 2013, 01:25 PM

20. Interesting, just having a similar discussion last night

A friend has been researching and reading books on the economics of pre-war southern plantations and large scale slavery and noticed a pattern that most the authors had of minimizing the brutality and pushing the fantasy of the 'kind slave owner' that 'educated and treated their slaves well'. And these are academic books.

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