A Flawed “Selma”

The movie ‘Selma’ has a glaring flaw
Joseph A. Califano, Jr.
The Washington Post
ecember 26, 2014

I read this story with great disappointment. Leave aside that Hollywood felt it necessary to take preposterous creative license with the Exodus story – much of Hollywood and the American intelligensia regard the Bible as a book of dangerous fairy tales anyway, so such behavior is to be expected.

But to take a dramatization of a seminal event in recent American history and turn it into a polemic by twisting or ignoring the truth is an insult to the subject matter, to the audiences, and to the truth. The history was there for all to learn. It was simply dumped in favor of greater drama, just as it was in The Butler, Oliver Stone’s JFK, Disney’s Pocahantas, and any historical film starring Mel Gibson.

My family will be giving “Selma” a miss, and it is a shame, because the film was a missed opportunity to educate our children on what really happened in the Civil Rights movement. Hollywood has a right to make films that will sell tickets. It toys with history at our risk.


Author: David Wolf

An adviser to corporations and organizations on strategy, communications, and public affairs, David Wolf has been working and living in Beijing since 1995, and now divides his time between China and California. He also serves as a policy and industry analyst focused on innovative and creative industries, a futurist, and an amateur historian.

2 thoughts on “A Flawed “Selma””

  1. Same reason I won’t be watching The Imitation Game, and deplored Spielberg’s Munich. If you simply invent history in a historical drama, you’re not retelling history or providing “drama” — you’re engaged in propaganda.

    1. Could not agree more. As a Jew and a Zionist I should have loved Munich. As a barefoot historian, it made me deeply uncomfortable and I could not get through it. Either tell the history or don’t bother. The truth is far more moving.

      And no kudos to the Imitation game either. LV Anderson takes that one apart on Browbeat http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2014/12/03/the_imitation_game_fact_vs_fiction_how_true_the_new_movie_is_to_alan_turing.html

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