As for the Ford kerfluffle, yeah, I'll agree that "we are essentially in agreement here". I don't have it in me to keep arguing. And Ford doesn't need me to defend him. I only wish he was around to punch Tarantino in the face. If Tarantino lost an eye in a fistfight with Ford, then had to wear an eye patch, I'd probably respect him a bit more and let him get away with saying whatever he wants.
As for Birth of a Nation, I re-read Ebert's fantastic Great Movies entry on the film. I get quickly tired of anyone who wants to dismiss the film because of its racism. Yes, it is obviously racist. It is also a powerful work of art. Ebert's review is helpful because he pokes around at this tension, exploring how "great art" can be "in the thrall of hateful ideologies." We've all struggled with this tension here on the blogs. I know that I have struggled at times to communicate why certain formally excellent films are abominations.
I've got to go to work so I'll leave this all rather half-baked.
I've been having a hard time caring about watching films lately. Maybe my body is waiting for colder weather. I'm having a movie party with the girls tonight. Not sure if we'll watch some Abbott & Costello or maybe a western. Maybe I'll pull out Ford's Steamboat 'Round the Bend for a fresh watch.