Friday, December 29, 2017

The Insufferable Studying of Trump Supporters

At this point, I'm insufferably bored with liberal authors, celebrities, journalists, and college professors journeying into the "heartland of America" to try and understand conservative ideology and study Trump supporters like they're some exotic species replete with mystery and awe. They aren't. There are a number of predictable demographic factors (age, ethnicity, education level, economic mobility, contact with other cultures) which reliably create and reinforce conservative political beliefs. This can be demonstrated over and over and is hardly controversial or elusive data.

What we need more of is precisely the opposite; we should be finding ways for people 1) who have always lived within 50 miles of their rural or suburban hometown, 2) have less than a college degree, and 3) tune into Fox News and other right-wing media regularly to have more opportunities to see other parts of the world, meet people who aren't like them, and experience perspectives other than their own.

Can anyone think of a documentary, book, or other published work about a white male conservative from middle America traveling to "the liberal coasts" and talking to people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ, and immigrants about what they believe and why they didn't vote for Trump? Asking for myself.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Least Funny Games

The film "Funny Games" (the 2007 English remake of Michael Haneke's own 1997 Austrian crime thriller) is a no fun, very bad punishment - one we endure without doing anything to deserve it.
I enjoy difficult and challenging art films and picked this one up as a recommendation. I was ready to be impressed, or at least to be engaged in novelty.

But this movie was like watching the snot of a better one drip off the screen and being forced to lick it up. The meritorious craft of the production is ultimately lost in just how cruel, empty, and arbitrary it amounts to be. It is degrading to everyone involved, pretentiously nihilistic, and offers no narrative semblance for what it is doing, why it is doing it, or why we should care. Rather, it cheerfully takes us hostage without any demands and annihilates everyone involved without any negotiations.

And if the rejoinder is that audiences don't have to understand or don't have to care about the film they're watching, I would merely suggest this: don't even bother to watch "Funny Games" in the conventional way, as the director intended. Instead, re-edit the film yourself with the ending you know is already there.

Or better yet, just put it on, walk out, and do something better with your life for 111 minutes. That's the best way to watch this movie.