I have a strange background. The focus of my careers has been politics and film criticism. They’re not exactly the most natural partners, yet reality seems to keep shoving them further and further toward each other. We owe our president to reality TV success, our news echoes the shouting matches of ESPN, and art like film and music calls out the things we once could rely on the news to do more consistently.
We’re increasingly taught that politics is entertainment. We don’t deal in policy, we deal in teams. Now we’re being taught that entertainment shouldn’t be political. Some object to the idea of social justice being involved in art, when much of the point of art is to communicate social justice when it’s blocked through other mediums.
Look at that through-line, though. Politics is entertainment now. Entertainment shouldn’t be political now. The natural conclusion at some point, is that politics shouldn’t be political any more – that it shouldn’t include social justice or civil rights or feminism. Screw that.
Sometimes you’ll see movie reviews or posts on albums here. Sometimes you’ll see articles on politics. Often, you’ll see posts that bridge those categories – what’s a movie saying, or failing to say? How is politics manipulating media in certain ways?
I’ve worked as a campaign manager, PAC database manager and fundraiser, and legislative aide. I’ve also worked as a film critic, earned national recognition from the National Newspaper Association, and won the Local Media Association’s North American criticism of the year for 2014.
I’ve always said that any critic’s opinion on film will never be as important of the opinion of the person sitting next to you in the theater. Likewise, something a political writer says about politics may not be as important as what a friend or family member thinks.
The goal here isn’t to tell you what to think. It’s to communicate the experience of watching a movie, so you can tell if it’s something you’d like, or so you can better understand what the experience is like for people you haven’t sat next to. It’s to start discussion.
Politically, it’s to translate some of what polls say as indicators, rather than the media pretending it’s a scoring contest. It’s to point out how media might narrate a story for one person differently than another – often because of race, ethnicity, or gender.
The news learns from entertainment. Entertainment sometimes covers it up, and sometimes calls it out. Understanding one can help us understand the other better. It also helps us see where certain boundaries between the two have been eroded and need to be built back up.