Tuesday, April 10, 2012

To Kill A Mockingbird - In 2012

William McGurn explores the not-so-obvious parallels between the 1962 movie and the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman affair in Sanford, Florida.
Where's the presumption of innocence, which in the novel was denied Tom Robinson, the black man falsely accused of raping a white woman? Perhaps it was denied Trayvon Martin, who, so far as we know, had nothing more menacing on him than a bag of Skittles when he was killed. Or perhaps it is the shooter George Zimmerman, who is now in hiding because so many want not justice but his head?

Who is the Walter Cunningham here—the hard-working white farmer who seems decent enough but nonetheless accompanies a lynch mob to the Maycomb, Ala., jail? Might it be Spike Lee, the filmmaker who in the midst of escalating racial tensions tweeted out what he thought was Mr. Zimmerman's address. As it turned out, Mr. Lee had the wrong Zimmermans, but would Atticus have thought it any better had he had the right ones?

Or what about the novel's newspaper editor, Mr. Underwood, who in a scathing editorial indicts white Maycomb by comparing Tom Robinson's death "to the senseless slaughter of songbirds." Would this be NBC, which edited a 911 tape that made the accused appear as though he was offering up a comment on race when he was in fact responding to a question from the police dispatcher?


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