After Thoughts Regarding the Controversies Surrounding Spike Lee's Miracle at St. Anna (2008)

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Fact vs. Fiction
The author of the book, Miracle at St. Anna, James McBride has described the book as a work of fiction based in historical fact. The concept of writing so is nothing new and is done all the time. It is one thing to make an historical film and get the history wrong, and another to write an epic novel based on historical times. Of course, sophisticated people like to argue that unsophisticated people won't see the difference and you'll eventually grow up a generation who believes that dinosaurs and humans co-existed because of the "Flinstones"— and, to a certain extent, they might be right. Arguably, however, it is not valid to place the burden of establishing a work of fiction as a work of fiction even if based in historical facts on the novelist. A work of literature is classified as fiction or non-fiction accordingly, and it is the burden of the reader to understand the difference. Of course, this becomes all the more complicated when one masters the discipline of history and realizes that history, as we know it, is a precise reflection on the history we are taught which may or may not have any basis in fact in the first place.

Spike Lee vs. Clint EastwoodSpike Lee reportedly made reference to the need for someone to make a film that portrays the heroism of black soldiers in WWII as they were all but ignored in Clint Eastwood's two film-epic Letters from Iwo Jimaand Flags of Our Fathers. This may not have been the most politically favorable statement for Spike Lee to have made. He should have left this up to others to say. He does not need to attack Eastwood nor to point out a terrible cinematic injustice. The fact of the matter is that for as progressive as Hollywood is relative to the rest of the USA, there is still a lot of historical baggage to overcome. For decades, the industry thrived on films that portrayed indigenous North Americans as savages to be slaughtered. It has been slow to open up the lens on a wider horizon of stories of people from diverse backgrounds. It has been slow to abandon certain stereotypes often claiming that these are representative and justifiable due to current historical accuracy while then ignoring the power of films to change these 'cultural norms'. Regardless, Mr. Lee does not need to defend the film's content or attack that of others. The quality or lack thereof should leap out from the work and prove the points itself.

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