January 03, 2015

Enhanced Interrogation

“Selma’s” Ava DuVernay is quoted in a recent NYT as saying people should “interrogate history” for themselves over whether LBJ was a positive or negative influence on black voting rights in light of the movie’s apparently rather negative depiction of him and his actions. Apart from the leaden associations of that over-loaded word (all that transliterated French from so long ago, right up there with “inscribed” and “contested terrain”), inevitably for me nowadays it also has the connotation of torture: “torture history” (or, maybe, “harshly interrogate history”, or “use enhanced interrogation on history”). Rather, explore history — mapless or otherwise — and understand that generally, you don’t go into the interrogation / torture room (or history) without a strong idea of what you’re looking for or want to find….

(I tend to the wishy-washy view that LBJ was an important part of the positive reaction to things like Selma and earlier black action and struggle — I doubt that the legislative side of this would have come together when it did without him.)

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