film&theatre resumé 2020

Media and America

Somehow, the Republican Party and the GOP-leaning Fox News have convinced their audience — and even some people on the left — that their rhetoric and press represents the “real” America. Liberals are characterizing themselves as champions for a new America while they agree with the GOP that Fox News, rural lives, and guns are part of America’s lifeblood. The truth is, none of the mainstream media outlets — including Fox — represent what “America” really thinks.

First of all, all media outlets have bias, but it’s not Fox standing alone against the “liberal media.” It’s not that cut-and-dry.  “Americans” don’t generally think and feel all alike. Fox News tends to pound the drum of “us versus them.” Real Americans versus leftists. To claim that Fox News represents any monolithic group of Americans is to buy into that attitude

It’s good to consume media from a wide number of sources. But we have polls and scientific studies to tell us what Americans feel. And we shouldn’t take any one media outlet to be the barometer of the nation. Let’s not fall for the claim that Fox News is a more authentic source. Let’s not confuse entertainment media (yes I said it) with journalism.

Read the original response on Medium.

film&theatre resumé 2020

Angry Men and All-Female Ghostbusters

The arrogance is what gets me. They call it “bad filmmaking” as though including women is some sort of cinematographic error and the thousands of people who worked on the film are all terrible at their jobs. They say it’s “pandering” as though Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon are totally unpopular and disliked. They say it’s “insulting” as though the studio executives personally decided to ruin these idiots’ lives.

Read the full response on Medium.

film&theatre resumé 2020

The Problem with Jean Twenge

I remember Jean Twenge’s book Generation Me, in which she asserted that younger Gen X/Millennials were the most narcissistic generation in history. I’m still astounded that someone with her credentials would make such an inane, unfounded, insulting, and borderline ableist assessment. In this book, she points to things such as online chat and participation trophies as “evidence” that millennials are self-absorbed brats. As countless millennials have pointed out, millennials did not give the trophies to themselves! And clearly, Twenge is a Luddite.

Narcissists occur in every generation, plain and simple.

Read the original response on Medium.

film&theatre resumé 2020

Chamber Horror: A New Film Subgenre

Chamber theatre is a style of theatrical production in which there is typically little to no set (and any set pieces are moved by performers as part of the show), and the emphasis is on the text and character development rather than on theatrics and special effects. One of the best known examples is the chamber drama 12 Angry Men, in which all of the action occurs within a single room where jurors deliberate over a man’s fate. Naturally, this format evolved into film, where small-scale, low-budget films emphasized dialogue and character dynamics — usually, tension and conflict—over big and showy cinema.
Small-scale and low-budget? Sounds perfect for horror filmmakers! I jest, of course… there are some high-budget chamber horror films, as I’ll discuss below. Yet the chamber style empowers the horror genre to tap into its philosophical roots: what does it mean to be human? what does it mean to be good … or evil?

Read my analysis of chamber horror films on Medium.

film&theatre resumé 2020

The Persistent Role of Superstition

In Michael Shermer’s groundbreaking book Why People Believe Weird Things, he explores different realms of superstitious beliefs as they connect to religion or conspiracy. Shermer points out that these beliefs prevail because they support ideologies that in turn connect to power systems.

So, superstitious rituals usually hinge on concepts of self-identity and place in society. After all, many such rituals, such as knocking on wood, are far removed from their Celtic origins. Rather, they’re a mild form of performance art, a means of expressing one’s status and conscientiousness, as well as demonstrating social graces. After all, it’s rude to not say “bless you” after someone sneezes.

Read the full version of this post on Medium.

film&theatre resumé 2020

TV’s Quirkiest Villains

We all look to Disney movies for the villains we love to hate, such as Hades or Scar, and we’ve been blown away by some of TV’s complex antagonists, such as The Handmaid’s Tale’s Serena Joy or half the characters in Game of Thrones. Yet some of the best TV villains are the ones who aren’t particularly tortured or ambiguous, but the ones who are clearly bad news, but adorable anyways.

Read my list on Medium.

film&theatre resumé 2020

How Women Feel on Labor Day

As we prepare for barbecues, pool parties, or Hurricane Dorian, many mothers are finishing up the potato salad, getting the kids dressed, checking flashlight batteries, or doing laundry before the power goes out. Their lists of domestic tasks have doubled or even tripled in the face of a holiday–hurricane twofer.

Although Labor Day is ostensibly about “real” labor and “real” jobs, it’s also a day forged through other types of labor: domestic and emotional. Every holiday requires event planning, homemaking, and getting people together. And unfortunately, the burden of this labor tends to fall on women.

Before the men chime in with wails that they do in fact do housework, let me explain: it’s not that you don’t do it. It’s that women do it more often.

Read the full piece on Medium.

film&theatre resumé 2020

The Singular “They”

As a writer and editor, I’m so glad that the singular “they” is becoming more accepted, for all the reasons you list and because it’s just. Damn. Easier. It’s taken some effort to convince my senior editor that it’s okay to use, and even more effort to convince my mother, who reads a lot of my stuff.

View the original, and what I was responding to, on Medium.

film&theatre resumé 2020

Does the Media Control Our Minds?

Science fiction has long explored, and warned of, our obsession with media and its power to control our thoughts. As propaganda efforts successfully encouraged complacency among citizens of Nazi-led Germany, as countless Americans today willfully consume fake news, these concerns seem justified. Even Black Mirror has done its part to control our behavior, making some of us (ahem) sit for hours to finish the episode “Bandersnatch.” It appears that we’re simply unwitting sheep dragged along by the crook of mass media.

But does propaganda really motivate people to do things they wouldn’t normally do? Can people really not tell the difference between reality television and reality? Do violent video games cause shooting sprees? Can someone be programmed with a musical trigger to assassinate someone? Are we being controlled by social media?

Let’s find out.

film&theatre resumé 2020

Ethnography Photography of the Wild West [PHOTOBLOG]


Check out this gallery of photographs by photojournalist Timothy O’Sullivan, who documented the interactions among settlers and Native Americans in the Old West. O’Sullivan’s ethnographic style and eye for detail are impressive, and most importantly, he made an important effect to be authentic:

O’Sullivan was famous for not trying to romanticise the native American plight or way of life in his photographs and instead of asking them to wear tribal dress was happy to photograph them wearing denim jeans.

Image from Dailymail.co.uk
via The American West as you’ve never seen it before: Amazing 19th century pictures show the landscape as it was chartered for the first time | Mail Online.