Monday, April 12, 2021


No, not the awesomely scary 1956 movie about 8 foot long ants that started the films about radiation induced oversized bugs, sea creatures, and in a Mexican movie, scorpions.   This is an Amazon Original series.

At first, it seemed like a predictably Woke series: black family moves from rural North Carolina to Compton to escape racist oppression and finds Compton is not any better. (The year is 1953, when Compton was still officially whites-only.  The father is an engineer and has been hired as the token black at an aerospace company with a secret division called the Skunk Works.)

But by the second episode, what was beginning to seem like an overwrought depiction of racism against a painfully middle class black family turns into something else which I dislike even more than Woke posturing: magical realism.) If you read The Terror, or watched the Amazon Original series, you probably can guess: real world bad stuff combined with supernatural terror.  I only watched the first season on my daughter's recommendation.  The first episode of the second season, set amidst the internment of Japanese-Americans, had enough historical errors and enough unpleasant gore to not bother going on.

The circumstances of blacks moving into white middle class neighborhoods in the 1950s were often very rough. California has not always been very liberal about race.  A friend who grew up in the San Joquain Valley saw signs into the 1960s at city boundaries that read, "N--------s don't let the Sun go down on your head here."  

But I have no idea how bad things were in Compton in 1953.  From what I can find, blacks starting moving into Compton from Watts to get their kids into better schools as soon as Shelley v. Kraemer (1948) struck down enforcement of racially restrictive CC&Rs (which in many parts of America were required by the federal government as a condition of insuring loans).

Historical fiction is really bad to read or watch because it is so easy to let its inaccurate portrayal of history become the nly version you know.   Good example: Inherit the Wind (both versions).

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