I recently went and saw the movie Barbershop. For those of you who don't know, it's a PG-rated comedy about a barbershop in Chicago's South Side run by Ice Cube. It's not going to win any Academy Awards, but it's fairly funny and it has some good performances. It also pissed off Jesse Jackson, who asked producers to delete scenes from the film's future videotape, DVD, and cable releases. The scenes Jackson wants removed question the "sacred" status of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and Jesse Jackson himself.
Jesse Jackson hasn't actually seen the movie, but he says that he did read a copy of the script and that the parts he wants removed "crossed the line between what's sacred and serious and what's funny."
Since I've actually seen the film myself I can say that Jesse Jackson has crossed the line between being a tolerant human being to being someone who believes in thought control and censorship, especially if that censorship will stop people from questioning his status as the Voice of Black America.
Most of the humor in the movie revolves around the banter in the shop, the back-and-forth joking, teasing and debating that goes on between the employees and the customers. Towards the end of the movie, the character Eddie, played by Cedric the Entertainer, starts in with a monologue about how the barbershop is the one place where black people in the community can come together and talk, that all viewpoints can be heard, and that no one can be silenced. He then goes on to make the point that many people worked hard to get equal rights for blacks, but not all of them got famous for it like Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Jesse Jackson. He is shouted down by every other person in the barbershop. They don't keep him from making his point, but none of them agree with him.
OK, he also uses the word "Fuck" a lot, as in "Fuck Jesse Jackson", but the entire point of the scene is that free speech needs a place to exist, and that unpopular views need to have a place where they can be discussed openly, and in the South Side of Chicago, that place is a barbershop.
Civil Rights includes the right to free speech. Remember that, and go see Barbershop.
Oh yeah, and "Fuck Jesse Jackson."
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