Defending the Friedmans

A few days ago, I mentioned watching Capturing the Friedmans, Andrew Jarecki’s fascinating documentary focusing on the child molestation case involving the Friedman family of Great Neck, NY. I’m thinking about writing a short paper about the film for a conference (more details forthcoming if the paper gets accepted), in part because the film has provoked such divergent reactions from the people who have seen it.

In that context, I found this Slate article about the film by civil liberties attorney Harvey A. Silverglate and paralegal/writer Carl Takei interesting. I think they are right that the film may not go far enough to defend the Friedmans against the accusations, which now appear to be false. But I’d suggest that documentary films and legal cases have much different goals, something the writers seem to ignore. There’s a fruitful discussion about this topic at MetaFilter (including one comment by someone who was “friendly with” the family), where I found the article originally.

But right now, I need to get back to my paper on The Ring.

Side note: A few years ago, I wrote a strongly negative review of Silverglate’s book, The Shadow University for The Sycamore Review (currently unavailable online).

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