Category: politics


369445131.jpgbdf_horton-hears-a-who.jpg

Horton Hears A Who can be considered an instant classic with superb performances from Jim Carey and Steve Carell. The movie has an uplifting message for kids and some subtle jokes to keep parents’ attention.

The Dr. Seuss adaptation holds true to the book. -And is by far the best conversion, horton_hears_a_who_.jpgbeating The Grinch and the appalling Cat in the Hat.

Since the beginning of kids movies, every one could be boiled down to a simplistic moral. Horton seems to focus on diversity, “A person is a person no matter how small”. It stressed the importance of honesty and the freedom to use your imagination. -No one here is complaining about the content of Horton.

It is probably not just a current phenomenon but many recent movies (Golden Compass and the extremely liberal Happy Feet) can cause parents to be up in arms about what their children view. It is impossible to say that media is the only moral defining agent for children but some cases show the effect can not be ignored.

For years Disney has been at the forefront. Are these movies merely teaching children the power of imagination, dreams and determination? -I am not simply talking about the supposed hidden innuendos. I have no intention to spread more fanatical fear but movies subtly instill messages about the role of women, race and culture.

It is hard to paint Disney or any other production company as the bad guy because movies are generally based on other fairy tales or books. Is it the responsibility of animators and companies like Disney to remove details that would seem offensive after deep (maybe too in depth) analysis?

It is hard to escape cultural commentary whether it is the uplifting messages from Dr. Seuss or another writer. Who has to act as the moral reviewer an individual, a critic or MPAA and their rating system?

Since there is no measure of how a film can affect a child how much moderation is needed? It varies, children can grow up watching slasher movies or be banned from Harry Potter and Golden Compass and they all can turn out alright.

Advertisements

George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead expanded it’s release finally making it into a select few local theaters. Romero has the zombie thing down, which he started back in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead. Although it may appear to be merely a good horror movie each installment reflects some type of social commentary.NotLD

While it may seen subtle to the casual viewer Romero is not shy about getting his political views mixed up in these films.

  • Night of the Living Dead: A group of people congregate in a small farm house for protection from the walking undead. -Just a bit of trivia this movie never stated the monsters were actually “zombies”. The film was the first one not to rely on a voodoo curse as the cause. Apparently the first script did not include an explanation but writers added in a line about, “a space probe returning from its exploration of the planet Venus, and it mysteriously exploded before entering the atmosphere.” The film showed the horrors of the Vietnam War and touched on racism.
  • Dawn of the Dead: This film made malls the go to place in case of the apocalypse. Critics argue the film is centered around the idea of consumerism and capitalism.DotD I assert that this was the first of the Romero movie to show women in a more active role. I can’t knock Night because most of the characters, besides Peter (Ken Foree), were whinny jerks. There was no real explanation for the “infestation” other than the tagline, “when there’s no more room in hell, the dead walk the earth”.
  • Day of the Dead: It deals with a zombie assault on a military establishment, satirizing the military mindset in the process. Critic After Dark said the this film was Romero’s “philosophical statements on the human condition, rendered in extremist–soldiers vs. scientists, men vs. women, pacifists vs. idealists, all cooped up in a hellhole of a pressure-cooker set to ‘apocalypse.'”
  • Land of the Dead: The world is infested with zombies and people fortify themselves in small cities where zombies become the least of their problems. After filming Day of the Dead Romero took a break from the zombie genre to create other films which brought him no commercial success, he returned with this installment. Journalist Mark Harris wrote, DiaryotD“Romero, seemingly saved up a decade’s worth of social criticism, unleashed a flurry of commentary on terrorism, the Iraq War, big business, the distribution of wealth and man’s inhumanity towards man”.
  • Diary of the Dead: This is the newest installment. The acting is definitely not at the top of the game (even for a horror movie). The movie follows a group of film students trying to make their way home. It reflects views on the importance of the media. In this case the major broadcasters lied to the public, making citizen journalism (videos, blogs, etc.) essential.

Imdb already has reported there will be another sequel to the Dead Series.

In a related note, fans of Max Brook’s “World War Z” can look forward to a movie version produced by Plan B, Brad Pitt’s production company. No official date is set though.

Negative campaign ads never sit well with viewers but it does bring some interesting issues to light. Although the public generally despises this tactic it is increasingly popular with candidates and thought to be highly effective.

This election the mudslinging started when Hillary Clinton released a commercial knocking Barrack Obama refused to debate her in Wisconsin. Obama has for the most part has taken the high road against Hillary Clinton. Clinton has used various negative tactics from associating Barrack with Muslim groups, portraying him as a radical, and exposing dealing with NAFTA after he previously criticized the trade agreement in a debate.

The reports concerning NAFTA may have hurt Barrack in Tuesday’s caucuses and primary elections. The results lead Clinton to believe the two maybe running on a joint ticket, with her as the top runner.

A survey from the Project on Campaign Conduct showed that viewers are weary of negative campaigns and tend to distrust politicians (big surprise there).

  • 59% believe that all or most candidates deliberately twist the truth.
  • 39% believe that all or most candidates deliberately lie to voters.
  • 43% believe that most or all candidates deliberately make unfair attacks on their opponents. Another 45% believe that some candidates do.
  • 67% say they can trust the government in Washington only some of the time or never.ObamaClinton
  • 87% are concerned about the level of personal attacks in today’s political campaigns.

Voters hate the prospect of these ads but unfortunately they have been proven time and again to be highly effective. UCLA professor of Psychiatry, Dr. Marco Iacoboni completed brain imaging research from the 2004 presidential campaign. The results showed that viewers lost empathy for the candidate they supported once the person was attacked.

I can’t have an article on political ads and not at least link to the most controversial political ad, this one dates back to the Johnson vs. Goldwater from 1964. I think this one relates heavily to the Clinton ad posted above. -Same strategy just 44 years later.

SNLDebateSaturday Night Live’s debate sketch featuring a furious Clinton and idolized Obama brought up controversy for the candidates and the show. SNL came back on the air after a three month hiatus due the the writer’s strike. The SNL cast proved they were ready to jump right into the political scene.

The democratic race is really close and may have candidates looking for every opportunity to state their case. Senator Hillary Clinton used an SNL skit as an example of how the media presents a bias toward Obama. Clinton felt she was not receiving equal treatment at the debate held in Texas this month. Clinton told moderators, “In the last several debates I seem to get the first question all the time, I don’t mind. I’ll be happy to field it. I just find it curious if anybody saw `Saturday Night Live,’ maybe we should ask Barack if he’s comfortable and needs another pillow.” The Daily Show took it a step further this week when they joked that Clinton’s paranoia was not wrong as they reported from Anti-Hillary HQ.

Tina FeySNL tried to level the playing field when host Tina Fey pledged her support for Clinton. Fey stated that while Hillary may be considered a bitch, “Bitches got things done, yo, and that’s why Hillary would be a good president. So I’m sayin, it’s not too late, Texas and Ohio, get on board! Bitch is the new black!”

The idea of media bias may have to do with celebrities sharing their opinions with the press. Obama has definitely rallied a lot of celebrity backing. Everyone from Oprah Winfrey, Matt Damon and comedian Stephen Colbert have pledged their support along with a slew of others. While Hillary has her own list of supporters she also sports a short list of celebrities willing to come out against her for her stance on the Iraq war. I expect (and hope) voters rely more on a candidate’s presentation or stance on a particular issue than celebrity testimony. I am sure celebrity endorsements makes a difference to some though. It may simply be a matter of exposure. Celebrities can reach an audience not normally tuning into debates or the nightly newscast. It is like the old saying, ‘no press is bad press’.

FredSNL is also in the forefront for casting actor Fred Armisen from Chicago in the role of Obama. The choice has some viewers up in arms. Bloggers argue that the role should have gone to one of the casts many black actors.

The media backlash is a bit of a surprise considering this is a common trend for SNL. Darrell Hammond played Reverend Jesse Jackson and Billy Crystal was cast as Sammy Davis Jr. Crystal’s impersonation is considered the most flawless in SNL history.

This is just SNL up to their old tricks. Is it wrong? -Probably. Is it offensive? -To some. I’d be really interested to hear what people had to say about his performance and whether the actor’s race really makes a difference.