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5 Ways Lee Daniels’ The Butler Rewrites History to Suit Liberals

The film fails to treat the Civil Rights movement with the seriousness it deserves.

by
John Boot

Bio

August 16, 2013 - 8:00 am

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The Oscar-for-Oprah campaign starts now, with the oversimplified Hollywood tearjerker Lee Daniels’ The Butler, a film by the director of Precious that plays Hollywood’s white liberal guilt like a Stradivarius. Marching through the decades like a chocolate Gump, the title character (Forest Whitaker) is a stolid, nonpolitical White House servant (Winfrey plays his wife) in every administration from Eisenhower to Reagan. Through his eyes we witness many of the most telling chapters of the Civil Rights epic. But the movie doesn’t treat the topic with the seriousness it deserves. Here are five big conceptual errors in the movie.

5. It overstates its case.

Whitaker’s Butler is a tortured soul (largely the creation of screenwriter Danny Strong, who also wrote the Sarah Palin hatefest Game Change) who has known all kinds of heartbreak, but the Washington Post article about a real long-serving White House butler that was the original basis for the movie is free of the anguish or anger with which the movie is loaded. In the first two or three minutes there are references to two lynchings, a rape (of the butler’s mother) and a racist murder (of his father). None of these things happened to the actual butler, who also didn’t have an activist son or another son who died in the Vietnam War.

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4. Everything happens to one person.

In the movie, which is billed as “inspired by” a true story, the character based on actual White House butler Eugene Allen is called Cecil Gaines and while he’s in Washington his son, played by British actor David Oyelowo, goes off to college just as the Civil Rights era is heating up. This son, Louis, is present at one of the famous lunch-counter protests against segregation, takes part in the Freedom Riders plan to integrate the bus system, and is even by Martin Luther King Jr.’s side in Memphis when King is about to be assassinated (but first takes time to tell young Louis that his father’s profession is an honorable one). The Jim Crow era was horrific, but to make it look like one person endured so many nightmare moments is a stretch — it’s like making a World War II movie in which one soldier is shown being present at Pearl Harbor and Normandy and the Bataan Death March.

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3. It says Ronald Reagan was an enemy of civil rights….

Though Dwight Eisenhower (played by Robin Williams) is favorably portrayed in The Butler, fellow Republicans Richard Nixon (John Cusack) and Ronald Reagan (Alan Rickman) are thrown under the bus because the modern Left is obsessed with the fiction that Republicans are enemies to black people.

Reagan, in fact, is denounced as having damaged or dismantled all Civil Rights policies in the country — an absurd claim that the movie doesn’t even attempt to justify.

The only Reagan-related racial issue that The Butler can muster is his veto of sanctions against apartheid-era South Africa, which wasn’t even a U.S. Civil Rights issue and which Reagan believed would worsen conditions for blacks in that country. The movie portrays this entirely understandable decision (which was overridden by Congress) as simple heartlessness toward black people.

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2. …but the Black Panthers were great guys.

After Louis goes away to college and becomes a peaceful protester, he becomes increasingly interested in the more radical tactics of the Black Panther Party, which in the movie is described as an organization primarily concerned with providing self-defense, free meals for kids and free health care. References to the party’s actual, horrifying agenda — which was notoriously violent, racist and Maoist — are held to a bare minimum. 

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1. It casts the term “house slave” as something to be ashamed of.

“House slave,” “house negro,” or sometimes the even more vile term “House n—-r” has become a widely used insult deployed by blacks against other blacks for supposedly being too willing to go along with an unjust system (as opposed to “keeping it real” by participating in riots or going to prison).

Channeling Malcolm X, self-styled radicals like Spike Lee throw the term at, for instance, Samuel L. Jackson, whom Lee once called a “House negro defending Massa” for working with the far more talented filmmaker Quentin Tarantino.

Whitaker’s butler character is portrayed as the ultimate house negro, and is denounced as such several times. Though the butler is the hero of the film and is given excellent reasons in his back story for not wishing to be a troublemaker, The Butler isn’t subtle about pushing the audience to think there is something pathetic about a man who simply kept his head down and did his job for many years instead of agitating for change.

In fact, distaste for being lumped in with such so-called house slaves can be a destructive idea for youngsters just starting out on the economic ladder. Everyone who isn’t born rich has to take orders when they’re just starting out.

John Boot is the pen name of a conservative writer operating under deep cover in the liberal media.

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Top Rated Comments   
In addition to the aforementioned reasons to not see this film, I saw on Twitchy that Hanoi Jane Fonda is playing the part of Nancy Reagan.

I refuse to watch anything with Hanoi Jane in it.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
"1. It casts the term “house slave” as something to be ashamed of. “House slave,” “house negro,” or sometimes the even more vile term “House n—-r” has become a widely used insult deployed by blacks against other blacks for supposedly being too willing to go along with an unjust system (as opposed to “keeping it real” by participating in riots or going to prison)."

That term goes back muck further than the Civil Rights era. It actually refers to the servants who worked in the Master's house who lived separate from and were treated much better than the field hands. Since these servants were often the children of the Master, and it wasn't unusual for them to be freed in his will; these servant's interest were often allied with those of the Master. Escaping slaves, for example never revealed their plans to house servants, who could curry favor by betraying them. In any case the term is now more correctly applied to Democratic supporters, who sell out the interests of the rest of their people, in order to feather their own nests.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Black Panthers financed their operations selling narcotics in black neighborhoods. They were some of the great destroyers of black culture.
I am not black, I was not born in the US but I grew up listening to Armstrong, Dizzy, Parker, Ellington, Basie, Milt, MIles, etc. That was the part of black American culture that was available to me. It is sad to see that a group that contributed such a great treasure to American culture would end up in such pitiful state. They had a golden path ahead of them and for the most part they chose to sink in the mud of victim-hood. Tear jerkers like these and Imitation of Life were adroitly used by Progressives to subjugate black Americans back into servitude. What a pity!
Now they have the "right" to kill their own children in the womb, be gangsters, demean their women and condemn their descendants to moral squalor. Most of them don't even know who Margaret Sanger is and what designs she had on American Negroes. If Hillary mentions Sanger they applaud blindly following the pied piper into their own doom.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (33)
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Vets protesting The Butler were asked to leave a movie theater this weekend. http://eastcountytoday.net/military-veterans-protesting-the-butler-asked-to-leave-streets-of-brentwood/
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I believe that there will be quite a few Vietnam Vets, like myself, that will pass on this one. Hanoi Jane as Nancy Reagan is an insult to American Conservativism and everybody that fought in Vietnam. But then everything that comes out of Hollywood is garbage promoting the liberal view.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I just watched a Canadian movie review -- the movie is getting rave reviews here (five out of five stars). I believe it's because it confirms the belief that "America is racist." The reviewer even mentioned current American "racism". It's a Leftist propaganda point -- Amerika is irredeemably "racist" and "evil". it's why Obama pretends to live in a pre-civil rights era of the 1950s, or obsesses over a Trayvon Martin, or seeks to further racial animosity (such exploitation keeps Democrats in power).
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Unlike most Americans, I have traveled around this sad planet of ours and I have seen a lot. In fact I am living more than 5,000 miles from New York right now. Show me a list of countries where there is absolutely no racism. You shall find none. Human beings are racist. The difference may be one of grade and some of us care not about race at all... but it is impossible to find a NATION without a spec of racism. Yet blatantly racist societies like India, France, Italy, Spain are not condemned but the US is. I am not American by birth and yet I find the US more inclusive and perhaps the least racist overall when compared with other industrialized nations of Europe and the Far East.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Totally agree with you, we'll said. America is an inclusive country (the best I've experienced), and it should be celebrated (not defamed and belittled by monsters like Obama).
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
One last thing I'll say is that this film before it was officially released was shown to the George H. W. and Barbara Bush earlier this month. It ended up tearing them up. Just saying what I heard that's all.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
BS like Bush Jr refusing to watch Al Gores BS Documentary
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Bushes aren't widely known for discernment and clear thinking.


Emotionalism? Yes.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
The film is a tear jerker. Any number of propaganda films are tear jerkers -- it's a standard ploy, when you can't win through reasoned argument, rely on an appeal to emotions. Works all the time.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Now with all I said with about judging a film for yourself, seeing the writer of this film is also the guy who wrote Game Change makes slightly suspicious to say the least.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why is the movie titled "Lee Daniels' The Butler?" I have never head of the guy before; what special cachet does he have that warrants his name in the title? Yeah, he made "Precious," but in what universe did that catapult him to name in the title status? Since it adds nothing important in identifying the product (like when the first Rainbow album was called "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow," for example) it just must be an act of hubris.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
i was wondering the same thing after getting fed up with the pretentious sounding voiceover trailers on tv...
here is the reason:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dorothypomerantz/2013/08/15/with-the-butler-lee-daniels-has-arrived/
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
All I needed to know about the movie was a list of the actors to know this was going to be a hit job and rank propaganda.

No thanks. If it's really good, maybe I'll spend $1.30 at Redbox - but that would break my rule of paying to see Hanoi Jane. It will have to be really, really good.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Can we not still judge actors by their performances for crying out?! If there's to be criticism of the film for historically inaccurate pieces that's fine enough. But I find it ridiculous to judge the film because one cast. My approach is see the film and judge for yourself.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Have you heard of the phrase, "aid and comfort to the enemy"?

It means something to some of us.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
My reply is to not see the film and spend it on something more edifying than a traitor, Jonathan. And you better believe I judge a movie from the cast before I see it. I don't complain much about Hollywood. I let me wallet do the talking for me. You don't like it, I don't much care.

You can see it twice to make up for my rigid stances in your enlightenment.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
You are free to do whatever you want with your money. I am not paying to see that POS Fonda being there or not. Why isn't see in Vietnam now? No air conditioning? No millionaires? I heard she's a Christian now... what a joke!
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Fake, but accurate," the left will say. Like all the rest of their delusions.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Google is failing me, but I remember seeing a profile of this butler, and he had nothing but praise for Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Small wonder, seeing as they were the first to give them a seat at a State dinner. Shame on Daniels for butchering history. Had they told the real story, I'd see it in a heartbeat. Not a chance now.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
In addition to the aforementioned reasons to not see this film, I saw on Twitchy that Hanoi Jane Fonda is playing the part of Nancy Reagan.

I refuse to watch anything with Hanoi Jane in it.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
You know I can fully understand criticism at the film if there's something not fully historically accurate, but I'm sorry I find the whole idea of boycotting the film just because Jane Fonda is in it absurd. I know who Jane Fonda is and what's she's done, but an actor is still an actor for crying out! When I look at an actor, I judge them by their performance not their political beliefs. Ultimately I'm gonna see this film and judge it on its own two feet. If there's something to be criticized fine enough. But don't boycott a film just because of one actor/actress casted. Besides Nancy Reagan herself gave Fonda her blessings for the cast.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Years ago, David Horowitz printed a paper called "Hetrodoxy'. In one issue [not long before he discontinued it] he printed in it's entirety a post apology diatribe that Janey wrote to cover her butt with liberals of all stripes.
Basically it was a retrenchment of what she stated in Hanoi, but done 'softer' to make it look like she was being honest about her supposed 'remorse'.
Actions have consequences, buddy. POW's galore have stated for the record that she did real damage to them and their families, and to any thinking American that-alone is sufficient to blackball/harangue/ridicule that Nasty Excuse for a Human Being Named Jane Fonda.
Everything else that makes her equally unpalatable is just gravy......
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Any rich and privileged American like the famous and bored daughter of a famous American actor (I mean Henry Fonda who always left me a little cold anyway) who supports the torture of our bravest American soldiers in the captivity of foreign despots who she supports, well I spit on Jane Fonda. She is a cur. I vote no on Hanoi Jane. The blood of 3 to 4 million South Asian human beings is on her hands, not to mention alot of Americans. I am sure she feels no guilt either. The hell with her and all her kind.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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