In the Maoist cultural revolution, show trials were an important part of the entertainment for their elites. And, in the present neo-Maoist revolution in the West, we will see the same. And, it will be on TV. Sit, back, have some chocolate coated peanuts and a beer, and feel mighty guilty for everything you have not done:
“What is the next step as America confronts its racism? A broadcast spectacle, our critic writes, that could look like court, a telethon, therapy, an Oprah show — and more. Before it vanishes, the centuries and conditions that produced it warrant commemoration. They warrant further confrontation, reclamation and connection. They warrant an event — broadcast across the country, over months, not days — that squares the present with the past, that explains The Moment to those who say they are, at last, awake to it. This Moment of historic holding to account, of looking inward, deserves a commensurate, totalizing event that explains what is being reckoned with, demanded and hoped for, an experience that rubs between its fingers the earth upon which all those toppled monuments had so brazenly stood. The Moment warrants a depth of conversation the United States has never had. It demands truth and reconciliation. Other countries have undergone such commissions, tribunals and soul searching — among them, El Salvador, Rwanda, Peru, Germany, South Africa. They recount staggering atrocity — inconceivable corruption, organized oppression, genocide. Of their participants, they compel confession and vulnerability. Of their audience, they require fortitude, a pillow to wail into, a strong stomach. What would an American version be? Court, theater, a hearing, a telethon, therapy, TV, church, Ken Burns, Anna Deavere Smith? Each perhaps — and more. Who would make it? I don’t know. It could certainly proceed in conjunction with the minds and imaginations of the staff within the Smithsonian brain trust and Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative. Who has been keeping C-SPAN going all these many decades? The production, however, is merely the second hurdle to clear. The first would be convincing executives that it’s worth doing in the first place. Here’s what to say about that: The entertainment industry itself has more than a century of harm to atone for and ameliorate. Any company that believes the solution to “systemic racism” is “The Help” shouldn’t mind a surrender of its airwaves. Should this event be night after night of that scene in “Hidden Figures” in which Taraji P. Henson unloads on a giant room full of white men, including Kevin Costner, that she’s always late because her colored bathroom is a mile away from her desk? No. This wouldn’t be an exercise in rage, self-pity or despair, not purely, although the terrain will, by necessity, be despairing. It wouldn’t be a series of “white fragility” lectures, either. What’s needed is a broadcast that could include white Americans awakening to racism but remains focused on the legacies of the racism itself. There might be some of the emotional individual confrontation that put so many South Africans through the wringer. The American version would dare to hold the country to account and atone.