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Films and film criticism seem to bring out the prejudices of British journalists, in particular a low-level animus against things American.

You can see this in the often over the top carping about Hollywood bad guys with British accents (a phenomenon I wrote about here) and simultaneous failure notice the way that Brit actors who can do good American accents get a disproportionate number of starring roles (see eg the careers of Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Hugh Laurie, Dominic West, Idris Elba, Damian Lewis etc etc.)

Most recently it was detectable in the hysterical articles responding to the imminent opening of Anonymous, the Roland Emmerich movie about Shakespeare. The film promotes the theory that the Earl of Oxford was the real author of the plays credited to Shakespeare and that the latter was an ill-educated bumpkin actor. You would imagine from the coverage that this is some terrible new American idea concocted to insult Britannia. In fact, this bonkers theory has been around for more than a century (See the Wikipedia entry on Shakespeare authorship question) and famous British propagators include Sir John Gielgud and Jerusalem star Mark Rylance…

I was more bothered by the complacent ignorance revealed in reviews of a new documentary about the Black Panthers, Black Power Mixtape. Not a single reviewer in Britain seemed aware of the squalid non-political criminality and violence — in particular the murder of Betty van Patter — that underlay their well-crafted heroic image, even during their heyday. For a sense of how clueless the British response has been, check out this article in the Telegraph by Ekow Eshun. There were some impressive and brave people in the Black Power movement, and its activists were often victimized and persecuted by law enforcement; however the glamour of the Panthers was a specious as their claim to have achieved anything concrete on behalf of Black Americans.

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