Commentary: Nothing Wrong With Civility

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, August 29, 2008

No doubt, some people think Councilman Steve Cohn blew it when he pulled “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” from his neighborhood Screen on the Green series last Saturday night - that he groveled before the overly rigid politically correct police.

I disagree. I think he did the right thing.

Don’t get me wrong. I like the movie. It won two Academy awards. Audrey Hepburn was at her elegant best. But Mickey Rooney’s portrayal of Hepburn’s cantankerous buck-toothed Japanese upstairs neighbor was insulting. That portrayal made “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” the wrong choice for a city-sponsored neighborhood get together.

Cohn said it best himself. His movie selection committee never intended to “create controversy or make political statements or offend significant members of our community. They were just looking for a fun movie the whole family could enjoy.”

Those who fret that pulling “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” amounts to censorship, that it’s akin to banning Huckleberry Finn from school libraries, miss the point.

Cohn’s response was about civility, about being a gracious host who does not want to offend his guests. There’s nothing wrong with that.


Ginger Rutland writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.