Where the cult of personality begins, genuine critical evaluation ends. Witness the seven diatribes-as-letters launched against Itabari Njeri (July 7) in response to her critique of Spike Lee's "Jungle Fever."
Ever since the popular media have dubbed Lee the new voice of civil rights, he has garnered an immense following of devotees who love his work because they're supposed to--despite the fact that his films sacrifice thematic and political clarity for the sake of a hazy and sometimes ill-conceived aesthetic.
Lee the symbol looms larger in people's minds than Lee the artist. It is a real tragedy when ideas are subordinated to celebrity; only when we stop treating Lee like a sacred cow will a serious dialogue about the issues evolve.