This scene from the 2014 Oscars is a rarity in the film industry, but the problems go well beyond #oscarsowhite
Controversy followed the recent Oscar nominations, as an almost all white slate of nominees were announced, once again providing a glaring problem in the Academy’s membership. The Academy quickly moved to ameliorate the problem, promising to select far more female and minority members by 2020, and slowly but surely phasing out the predominately white male membership that’s dominated the Academy since its foundation. However, fixing the Academy doesn’t fix a bigger problem: people of color still do not have the opportunities to star or make some of the biggest films every year.
Let’s look at the top-10 highest grossing films of all time. Only Furious 7 was directed by a non-white male. The other nine were directed by white men. Two of the bigger pictures of the year–albeit not in the top-10–were directed by African-Americans. F. Gary Gray directed Straight Outta Compton, both critically-acclaimed and a box office hit and Ryan Coogler directed Creed, which helped pump fresh blood into the sagging Rocky franchise. Coogler’s success with Creed landed him the job directing Marvel’s Black Panther movie, due out in 2018.
However, when you scroll through some of the bigger films of the year, you realize that Gray and Coogler are joined by few other directors of color. If the Oscars have a color problem, Hollywood does even more so. Yes, the Oscars need to be more inclusive and must broaden its membership to ensure that the entire spectrum of film each year is considered for awards, but the film industry itself must do a better job to ensure minorities have opportunities to direct big, prestige films, you know, the ones that tend to be nominated for Oscars.
So I came across this in the New York Times and it further illustrated why our reality TV culture is destined to fulfill Suzanne Collins’ nightmarish vision of the future in “The Hunger Games.” Sure, “The Hunger Games” has a broad appeal, with its rather contrived love story and a strong heroine (still not common enough in pop culture these days), but the actual Hunger Games–the tournament where girls and boys fight to the death–is a mirror for our own obsession with reality television and the dangerous path shows like “Does Someone Have to Go?” lead us.
Here’s an excerpt from the Times article:
This is reality television’s “Lord of the Flies” or “The Hunger Games” or “The Running Man.” On next week’s episode, people will be shown pleading for their jobs — their jobs. The preview clips alone are heart-rending and barely ethical. It is impossible not to be invested in the outcome, and not to feel that the people whose livelihoods are on the line are pawns not just of their bosses but also of the show’s producers and the network, all of whom face far less severe stakes.
The Times story says it all and I don’t need to repeat what’s been said, but if we’re ever to truly grow as a society, we should probably reject reality TV like “Does Someone Have To Go?,” a show where the viewer literally watches employees duke it out to keep their jobs and beg and plead with bosses to keep their job. All captured in glorious high definition for the America to enjoy while stuffing themselves with the latest and greatest summer time offering from Ben & Jerry’s.
If this is how low a network like FOX must go to find ratings and something that passes as “entertainment,” then count me out.
Television is a medium where the audience likes to find entertainment. Some of it is on the brainier side of things and some (well, most) is just junk food for your brain. Something that you can enjoy without the worries of the world crushing you. However, in a country where the jobs crisis is still very real, watching people beg and plead to keep their job is morbid, a bit sickening, and makes you wonder if this country will ever truly recover from the Great Recession or have we all just become cultural sadists, who find pleasure in watching others suffer on television.
With that rant out of the way, I wanted to take the time to say, yes this is the first post in nearly 3 years and I’m hoping to get this blog reactivated. I’m headed to graduate school at the University of Florida this fall and am hoping to once again, rant and rave about all things political (and otherwise). See you in cyberspace.
By Joel Mendelson
While the Political Prescription attempts to keep the discussion directly involved in our political process, occasionally we stray into other topics. I’ve attempted to piece together my favorite albums, movies and TV shows from 2010 (along with a couple of book mentions) although I’m certain that a few are missing. Not only can you read my wonderful reviews, but feel free to watch the embedded videos to further strengthen my argument of just how awesome my choices are. Disagree? Leave a comment! However, now is the time for Dr. J to discuss his favorite things of 2010.
By Kevin Hagler
At the end of each year, statisticians and polling wizards love to rate, poll, and rank everything you could possibly think of. Even a poll of internet surfers’ favorite “emoticon” was taken. (F.Y.I. This guy => “:P ” was voted the least favorite). Not to be outdone, Time magazine has ranked everything from the best fashion statements to the top tweets. They’ve entitled their article “The Top Ten of Everything” and they meant it. Sounds like too much work for what may be considered by most as minutiae, but I love it.
One poll in particular has caught my eye: The favorability of Brett Favre in his old home state of Wisconsin. Through December 10-12, Public Policy Polling asked 702 Wisconsinites whether they were Dems, GOP-ers, and independents and if they had an unfavorable view of the estranged ex-Packer QB. Well folks, I am sadistically happy to report that Democrats, Republicans, and Moderates agree that Brett Favre is not their, well, most favorite person. Polling results below: Continue reading