New Yorkers go out of their way to avoid Times Square, especially at this time of year. Whatever the season, it’s sure to be a mob scene of slow moving tourists, miserable Elmos, and loose screw loudmouths preaching messages of intolerance. In this milieu, Florida pastor Terry Jones is nothing special, and certainly less photogenic than the Naked Cowboy.
Filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady trailed the Quran-burning, effigy-hanging, failed Presidential candidate there anyway, to capture his “message to the Muslim community” on the 10th anniversary of September 11.
Bystanders roll their eyes and hustle past, but only one young woman attempts to engage him directly, smiling as if she knows that Jones’ is the sort of shell game you can’t win.
That is until one man breaks into a spontaneous rendition of All You Need Is Love, the lyrics pulled up on his smartphone. Was this brave performance motivated in part by the presence of a film crew? Who cares, as random pedestrians and staffers from the nearby TKTS booth join in, providing a fine alternative soundtrack to the hate spewing from the bull pulpit. In Ewing and Grady’s edit, the Beatles are a force strong enough to drown him out.