KKK: The Fight for White Supremacy is a good TV doc by Dan Murdoch, which rather neatly allows the notorious hate organisation to make itself look both ridiculous and abhorrent. That might sound all too easy, but one can readily imagine a doc mocking the Klan and thus making them seem like a more or less harmless anachronism — Louis Theroux’s stuff occasionally comes close to that. And there are some atmospheric, sinister shots of hooded figures and cross-burnings here which run the risk of making these masked morons look threateningly cool, and we know from their eager flirtation with Nazi imagery that these chumps would far rather look evil than dopey. But they are both, and they largely do Murdoch’s work for him.
“People ask me, if I could travel back in time and not be a racist, would I do it? and I say, not in a million dollars.”
“She has helped me more times than I can count on my fingers and toes.”
Interesting to learn that among the grandiose titles, the Grand Wizards and Dragons, there’s a spiritual leader known as the Klud, which sounds like a plumbing problem. Also, the pasty, doughy racists have a guidebook/pamphlet called the Kloran. I guess that’s meant to be amusing, but it seems like a joke that backfires. Everything about these guys backfires. When they turn up “en masse” to protest the removal of the Confederate flag from outside a courthouse, they get their asses handed to them by anti-racist and black power marchers, and their own flag is stolen and ripped to shreds.
One depressing moment among many: a black protester shouting “Black power!” in the face of a pink-faced white supremacist shouting “White power!” back at him, a feedback loop of unproductive rage in which neither side emerges with credit. Black power was a legitimate demand from a disenfranchised, disempowered and persecuted minority. White power was a dumb response from a majority who love to feel persecuted and put-upon and paranoid. Put them together in a shouting match and it’s pretty depressing — a friend cited Frank Gorshin in Star Trek, if that reference means anything to you (season 3, Let That Be Your Last Battlefield). “What we got here is failure to communicate,” as Strother Martin says in COOL HAND LUKE. There is no hope anywhere in this shot. You have to look outside the frame.