So here we are. No matter how trivial or horrific, it seems we have reached a stage in our national and international debates where no event is allowed to rise or fall on its own merit anymore.

There is a shock of recognition in the scenes that begin and end “Selma,” the elegiac new work by filmmaker Ava DuVernay. Even if you know only a little about your history, the events surrounding the 1965 Selma to Montgomery,…

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