What was on Saturday 13th December
Ku Klux Klan
National Geographic - 10pm
Who's in it?
Gordon Young, who once led the Maryland Klan, was one of the insiders interviewed in this expose of one of the world's most infamous organisations. Unsurprisingly, it wasn't a flattering analysis.
In a nutshell
The United States isn't short on peculiar and reactionary groups. Some are so wacko, they elicit more amusement than horror (see the Westboro Baptist Church, with its mania for picketing funerals). The Ku Klux Klan is in some ways the daddy of every extremist right-wing nutjob organisation to come since, but it's certainly no laughing matter. Even if their penchant for white wizard robes makes them look more than a bit ridiculous these days. The fact is, the KKK still has power and influence.
That was the most startling revelation of this documentary: even now, in the 21st Century, there are thousands who are attracted to their brand of outraged, incredulous racism. The footage of modern KKK rallies was frightening precisely because of how utterly outdated it all seems – here's an organisation that should have been eradicated decades ago, like political smallpox, and yet it's still going strong, stoking fear and bitterness among the poor and disenfranchised. Even Lous Theroux might balk at seeing the quirky side.
What's the verdict?
One to be filed in the "sobering reminder" category of documentaries, this was also an intriguing examination of the power structure of the Klan and how it has adapted to a world far removed from the bigoted culture that spawned the original founders. Hopefully, one day, it'll be left behind for good.
Star rating: 3/5