[Marxism] Saint Alice Among the Boogeymen » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Feb 15 06:39:10 MST 2014

Blaming Black Men
Saint Alice Among the Boogeymen

A PBS Master’s portrait of Alice Walker was called “Beauty and Truth. 
”The portrait, filmed by two Indian filmmakers, Pratibha Parmar and 
Shaheen Haq, was reviewed in The San Francisco Chronicle by Meredith 
May. The film was like the genre that Steven Spielberg’s “The Color 
Purple” launched. A saintly black woman besieged by cruel black men. 
Black critic C. Leigh Innis has called this the “Black Boogeyman” genre, 
which has made a fortune for white male publishers, theatrical 
producers, filmmakers and scriptwriters. In The San Francisco 
Chronicle’s adoring review, Meredith May, who wrote more as a Walker 
groupie than a journalist, I was the Black Boogeyman. The author, 
Sapphire, quoted an unnamed book store owner as saying,”Alice had black 
intellectuals like Ishmael Reed putting her down, trying to stop her 
film from being seen. ”

Given Sapphire’s record, the bookstore owner might not exist. She told a 
Times reporter that Precious, the character in her book, Push, was a 
real person. Such a person has not been found. I made no such effort to 
block people from seeing “The Color Purple,”and sent an email to the May 
saying so. I asked both her and her editor for a retraction. I also 
asked why she hadn’t contacted me about the quote. After all, I had 
contributed to a Chronicle feature called “City Brights” for about a year.

Ms. May said that I could maybe get a letter published, but would have 
to limit the letter to 200 words. I reminded her that her story had been 
syndicated and that I would need more space to comment on an article 
that made me seem like some dope, standing outside of a movie theater, 
unkempt, sporting a long beard and wearing sandals, holding a sign that 
read, “Don’t See This Film. ”


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