"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Movie "The Butler" Distorts History to Add Racial Tension

Eugene Allen-- a man whose story isn't good enough for Hollywood

Well, I guess the real story of Eugene Allen just didn't show White people and conservatives in a bad enough light for the film makers.

From Richard A. Epstein's article at the Hoover Institute:

One early entrant into this dialogue is The Butler, a new film by Lee Daniels. In the movie, Forest Whitaker plays the fictional butler Cecil Gaines, who worked for seven presidential administrations from Eisenhower to Reagan. The movie was inspired by the life of Eugene Allen, who did in fact serve in the White House between 1952 and 1986 under eight presidents from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan. Days after Barack Obama was elected president, an affectionate account of Allen’s service was written up by Wil Haygood in the Washington Post. But Allen’s story stands in stark contrast to the fictional Cecil Gaines’. 
A Tale of Two Butlers 
 Born in 1919, Eugene Allen grew up in segregated Virginia, and slowly worked his way up the butler profession, largely without incident. Unlike the fictional Cecil Gaines, he did not watch the boss rape his mother on a Georgia farm, only to shoot a bullet through his father’s head as he starts to protest the incident, leading Cecil years later to escape his past for a better future. 
Instead, over a period of years, Allen rose from a “pantry man” to the highest position in White House service, Maître d’hôtel. His life was marked by quiet distinction and personal happiness. He was married to the same woman, Helene, for 65 years. He had one son, Charles, who served in Vietnam. During the Reagan years, Nancy Reagan invited Allen and his wife to a state dinner as guests. When he retired shortly afterwards, “President Reagan wrote him a sweet note. Nancy Reagan hugged him, tight,” according to the story in the Washington Post. During service, he never said a word of criticism about any president. Nor was his resignation an act of political protest.  
The fictional Cecil, however, does not come to the White House under Truman, but arrives in 1957, just in time for one of the defining events of the civil rights movement—namely, President Eisenhower’s reluctant but firm decision to move federal troops into Little Rock, Arkansas, after Orval Faubus quite literally barred the school room door. 
In general, the movie is full of hype. Cecil’s wholly fictional older son Louis gets involved in the civil rights movement from the time of the sit-ins through the rise of the Black Panther movement, and a younger brother, who professes pride in his country pays the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam. Cecil’s wife, Gloria, falls prey to alcoholism and for a time has a shabby affair with the guy next door. 
Gaines’ service is marked by quiet frustration, knowing that black workers suffered a 40 percent wage deficit that lasted under the Reagan years, while being excluded from well-deserved promotions. When the weight of these injustices hit him, Cecil resigns to join his son Louis in a protest movement. When Slate’s, Aisha Harris was asked “How True is The Butler?” her candid answer was “not much.”.
I highly recommend reading all of Epstein's article at the link above. It's an excellent piece of work.

The additions to the story of Eugene Allen are telling. Why put in a fictional rape of a Black woman and the fictional murder of Black man by a White man? Why have a son killed in Vietnam? Why have another associated with the Black Panthers?

The film is designed from ground up to create racial tension. It's designed to say the only real, authentically Black man or woman is one that protests according to the will of the Black leadership. Oh yes, and let's not forget the fictional butler's triumph at seeing a half-Kenyan, half-White man elected to president so that he could just hammer the Black community economically--including horrid unemployment numbers.

The Butler is Leftist tripe. It'll win best picture-- as if anybody still cares about that show.

But what's really cloying to me is that the real story of Eugene Allen was decided to just not be good enough for Hollywood's Leftists. Allen's story was special to be certain, yet in many ways it reflects upon the typical stories of Black men living in the times of the segregated South. Allen's story is not wholly unlike the stories of people like my wife's father, her grandfather, and millions of hard-working men who overcame overt and very real racism to provide for their families, to earn a decent living (in both meanings of the word decent) with quiet dignity. Now this is thought of as working for "chump change."

What a betrayal...

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