Saturday, September 15, 2007

In the interest of full disclosure ...

I found myself suggesting to the S.F. Chronicle photographer who had arrived at my cubicle to take me on a photo shoot for this weekend's spread on the Ken Burns' epic -- that he check out my blog. I was uncomfortable that I'd written a scathing critique on "The War!" back in the spring when I'd been a member of the pre-screening audience at San Francisco's Castro theater. I was furious! (See March 15, 2007 in the archives - "Betty bitchin' in the balcony!")

I wasn't all that sure that they'd want to use me as their subject after reading what I thought of the Burns documentary. After all this spread is to be published in support of the presentation of the 15-hour series (check your listings for times and dates in your area).

In subsequent days I've been increasingly unhappy with the fact that the Latino community had raised so much hell that Ken Burns had eventually succumbed to the criticism and gone back into the studios to increase coverage of their role in the war. Where was my community? Why was there no outcry from African Americans? In seeing just pieces of each segment that night, had I simply not seen the story of the black experience? Was I grossly unfair to Ken Burns?

As I write this, I have no idea whether the writer (the photographer mentioned that the story would be done by one of the staff writers) read that piece and therefore decided to edit out all references to me, or, if he had decided to ignore the rantings of an old woman and written his story using existing online information from my blog or oral history from the Bancroft Library. Have no idea. I do know that he did not call for an interview. But I'll pick up a copy of the Sunday Chronicle and learn whether I wound up on the cutting-room floor after all.

If it means a retraction of my impressions of the Ken Burns epic, ... that's not possible. When I went back to re-read what I'd written that night, it felt real and true, and an accurate description of how it felt to sit in the back row of that balcony and have all of the pain of rejection and humiliation rise again in my throat, feel the rush of blood block my ears against the sounds around me, and threaten to cut off my breathing -- and to be unable to scream lest I embarrass myself and those around me... .

The story of our lives ... .

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