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David Simon Calls '12 Years a Slave' The 'First Time Our Entertainment Industry Has Managed to Stare Directly at Slavery and Maintain That Gaze'

Photo of Alison Willmore By Alison Willmore | Indiewire October 30, 2013 at 1:40PM

David Simon, creator of "The Wire" and "Treme," is not one to shy away from matters of race, class and how socioeconomic pressures and government policies have shaped our country.
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'12 Years a Slave'
Fox Searchlight '12 Years a Slave'

David Simon, creator of "The Wire" and "Treme," is not one to shy away from matters of race, class and how socioeconomic pressures and government policies have shaped our country. "The Wire" in particular is such a continually impactful portrait of a city in decline because of its incredible, unflinching scope, its ability to travel from the projects to the schools to city hall and to examine how they exist together. A former newspaperman, Simon's also a terrific, engaging and fiery writer whose latest blog post deals with his thoughts on Steve McQueen's "12 Years A Slave," a film he says "marks the first time in history that our entertainment industry has managed to stare directly at slavery and maintain that gaze."

Anyone who acquires the narrative of "12 Years A Slave" and finds it within his shrunken heart to continue any argument for the sanctity and perfection of our Founding Fathers, for the moral wisdom of their compromised document of national ideal that begins the American experience, or for their anachronistic, or understandable tolerance of slavery is arguing from a desolate, amoral corner.

If original intent included the sadism and degradation of human slavery, then original intent is a legal and moral standard that can be consigned to the ash heap of human history. And for hardcore conservatives and libertarians who continue to parse the origins of the Constitutions under the guise of returning to a more perfect American union are on a fool’s journey to decay and dishonor.

Simon notes he saw the film twice, because the first time "I was so wrought that I didn’t trust myself," and he goes on to describe why he thinks it so powerfully deals with "the original sin of our nationhood." Read the full post here.

This article is related to: Television, TV News, David Simon, 12 Years a Slave





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