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New Film 'The Help' Whitewashes the Civil Rights Struggle into a Heartstring-tugging Hallmark Card, by J.E. Shepherd of

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Hollywood's compulsion for feel-good movies is annoying at best, but when applied to storylines that are ostensibly historical - particularly when they involve issues that people still don't seem to understand - they can be toxic. In The Help's case, the history of civil rights in the virulently racist Southern town of Jackson, Mississippi, is neatly packaged into a heartstring-tugging Hallmark card, set to a rousing Mary J. Blige soundtrack, and completely trivializes the suffering and hard work that went into making civil rights a reality. It also infers, perhaps inadvertently, that after the "60s everything was fine and dandy for non-whites in America, not to mention domestic workers.

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At www.alternet.org

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