Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Parallels Between Those Who Blame Each Other

Scared of Reality posted two great documentaries in the past week. A few days ago they put up
Skinheads USA: Soldiers of the Race War
, which is an old HBO special from the early 90s about the neo-nazi skinhead scene in Birmingham, Alabama, led by Bill Riccio. The other post was from a documentary put out just last year called Jesus Camp, which follows the stories of a few children who attend an annual camp for evangelical Christians, which is run by a women named Becky Fischer.

Now, both are good documentaries in their right, as they're both able to remain unbiased, but still show the evils in both parties. I've read accounts from people involved in both movies who said they were happy with the way their respective organizations were represented, which I think is just further proof as to how fucked up all these people are. Wikipedia tells of the only example where someone featured in either film was upset:

"There is also a scene at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where Levi and his family go on vacation to hear its renowned pastor, Ted Haggard. (Less than two months after the release of the film, Haggard became embroiled in a high-profile scandal involving, among other things, homosexual prostitution, and methamphetamine possession.)...

Ted Haggard has disavowed the film, saying that "You can learn as much about the Catholic Church from Nacho Libre as you can learn about evangelicalism from Jesus Camp. It does represent a small portion of the charismatic movement, but I think it demonizes it. Secularists are hoping that evangelical Christians and radicalized Muslims are essentially the same, which is why they will love this film."

Ted Haggard is represented as an uninspired, phony, corporate asshole who's all about the money. He probably doesn't even believe in God. The funny part? There's absolutely no commentary about him at all, the film just shows him talking. They only portrayed as he is. But that's not my point.

My point is that both films are ultimately about children being led by a single adult. In both cases, the adults are charismatic, idealistic, and and articulate. But, they're really so much alike it's scary. Watching the interviews with Becky Fischer, there were parts where she almost quoted Bill Riccio. Their motives, and excuses for using children to further their causes, are so close they might as well be working for the same organization.

At the end of the day, we'll never really be safe. They put Bill Riccio in jail. Becky Fischer's camp ended up getting shut down, but some new nutcase will come along thinking they're saving the world, and seduce our children into their cause.


br0q said...

that skinhead documentary was filmed during the height of the neo-nazi movement
in birmingham, which mostly declined after
several well publicized murders carried out by brainwashed bootboys.

while its interesting to see things from the other side, personally, i find it kind
of hard to watch those kids, a few of whom used to be friends of mine at one point, throwing there lives away for a "cause" that is built on the sheer desperation and confusion of the participants.

Ian EBH said...

That's not the first time I've heard that sentiment. I guess the documentary has different meanings for people that actually lived in Birmingham during the time. I obviously wasn't around back then, but I knew people who were active in Riccio's camp who went on to be devout anti racists and gave me a lot of insight to mindset. As easy as it would be to pass them off as idiot rednecks, I know I can't.

The scene in the movie where one of the kids compares Bill to Hitler and then says that he wishes Bill was his biological father gives a load of insight to what was really going on in the minds of a lot of those kids.