By Bob Westal | June 21, 2005

We movie critics tend to forget that, unlike the characters in fictional films, the people in documentaries are real human beings. If we prick them with our words, they may bleed. They may also decide to drop us a line.

So, I shouldn’t have been surprised to hear from Corey Nichols, a twenty-year old college student in College Station, Texas. You see, I had written some things about him in my review of The Education of Shelby Knox.

The film, airing Tuesday, June 21st on PBS’s Point of View series, is a lively depiction of the political coming of age of a young woman — a devout evangelical high school student who breaks from her conservative Texas background to do battle against her town’s draconian abstinence-only sex education policies.

Shelby Knox makes for a likable and dynamic, if frequently hormonal, protagonist. But what’s a protagonist without an antagonist? In this case, that would be the young, but highly strategic, Nichols. He cannily struggles against the passionate Knox over tactics, defeating her in the race to become the mayor of the Lubbock Youth Council – a sort of youth version of local government, complete with training wheels.

Now, I’m an unapologetic liberal who believes the Democratic party has sold itself, and the rest of us, down the river by refusing to stand up for its core principles. So, no surprise that I was quite taken with Ms. Knox and her sincere passion, going so far as to issue an only slightly tongue-in-cheek endorsement of her for the 2030 Presidential election. For his part, Nichols takes an approach that some might call “pragmatic,” but that Shelby Knox labels “selling out” – and my opinion of him was considerably lower. I wrote that “there’s no doubt the kid already embodies the pathological slickness of most contemporary politicians.”

Figuring that the young man was too far away to lunge at me with a Texas-sized Bowie knife, I decided to give him a friendly call. Despite his self-proclaimed moderation, Knox, who now attends Texas A&M — coincidentally the fierce rival of Shelby Knox’s University of Texas — comes across as fairly right of center, but then a G.O.P. moderate in California and one in Texas are probably not the same thing. Anyhow, after my longwinded, Howard Dean-like rants were through, we agreed that it would only be “fair and balanced” to allow Nichols to apprise Film Threat readers of his version of just what went down on the Lubbock Youth Council

He does have kind words for filmmakers Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt, but his version of events presents the heroine of ”The Education of Shelby Knox” in a far less flattering light. Fair warning, something that resembles mud just may be thrown before this interview ends….

Get the interview in part two of COREY NICHOLS SPEAKS ON “EDUCATION”>>>

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