12 Years a Slave (2)

November 30, 2013

I took the family to see 12 Years a Slave Wednesday evening. The theater entrance was packed with people; we assumed they were there to see the new Hunger Games movie (Catching Fire).

When we were seated, though, there were only 2 other people watching 12 Years a Slave with us and I was surprised the theater will still screening it. An audience of 6 is a mighty small one.

If you have an interest in history and haven’t read the book yet, you can find it in eBook form here or in HTML form here.

The film showed more violence than I recalled, but it’s been several years since I’ve read the book. Clayton Cramer has a good review at PJMedia: We Need Movies That Tell the Truth About Slavery.

It boggles imagination these days to see gratuitous violence inflicted on slaves and I had to wonder why people would act so. It was contrary to both their economic self-interest and to their (nominal) religion; wrong both pragmatically and morally, in other words.

Then I recall the Stanford Prison Experiment and similar psychological studies demonstrating that very effect: humans will act that way. And I recall my father (who’s from Virginia) telling me that his grandfather believed that slaves had no souls.

Sobering thoughts of social dangers that are still all too likely.

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