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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Weekly Debate

More entertainment and less politicizingJacob AguiarMovies are meant to entertainus. They are created by Hollywoodto be distractions fromour daily woes and troubles, notsubtle, or not so subtle remindersof how crappy our world is.That is not to say that movies ingeneral should not seek to bringto light grave injustices or commenton social order. Just as withany art form some artists mindfind themselves responsible forreporting to the world what iswrong with it. Films of this natureshould exist but they shouldexist for that expressed purposealone and not also attempt to beentertaining.Documentaries and independentfilms do a good job ofwrenching the public attentionaway for whatever personaldisasters they might be dealingwith and focusing them on amore global one. They presentfacts in a cold real way. Withoutdistortion or exaggeration. Theytry to make hit as close to homeor seem as relevant as physicallypossible. This is a vital outletfor activists who have to reachan ever more visually stimulatedpopulous. Especially since moreand more reading and writing isdone through text and tweet.However the mainstreamHollywood summer block bustermovie industry should not concernthemselves with changing oreven influencing public opinionabout any one thing or the other.They should not attempt thisbecause ultimately they will failbecause it is not their primaryobjective as it is with other typesof film. A Hollywood production’sgoal is to entertain, to put asses inthe seats as it where. That’s whythey say based on a true story,because unlike in a documentaryor an unbias indie film the factshave to changed punched up andover blown , while others mustbe diminished or done away withentirely. Leaving you with anamalgamation of fact and fictioninterwoven in such a way thatyou tell whats real and whats not.This trivializes whatever it is themovie was dealing with, whetherit be race, religion, foreign policy,or out right war. A Hollywoodmovie isn’t really about thesethings, instead it uses them as aback drop to tell a ticket sellingstory. So what you come awaywith is not a sense that there issomething very wrong with theworld and that you should get offyour ass and do something, butinstead it distances you. Makesyou feel lucky to have not beenthe characters in the movie.Perhaps for a moment or two youwill consider the circumstances ofthe character but in the end it willjust be a movie.Even if a Hollywood film isconscious of this and seeks toinstead make the backdrop thepoint, it still ends up being fartoo winged (either left or right).It seems preachy and sort of jamsthe message down your throat.Which is not conducive to realsocial change people don’t like tobe told things. They like to havethe facts presented in a clear wayand make their own rational decision,or they want their minds tobe allowed to wonder off on whateverjourney of sex and senselessviolence Jason Statham is takingthem on.A finely woven message is fineChikere UchegbuCriticisms of movies in the past,have dealt primarily with thequality of the work, and whetherthe movie was worth the price ofadmission. Everyone understoodthat movies were works of artdrawn mostly from fiction andportrayed by actors and actresses.Based on this understanding, thestory lines and the actors’ abilityto bring the characters to life ina convincing way was all thatwas evaluated. Clark Gable waswidely accepted as a ‘SouthernGentleman’ because of how convincinghe was as “Rhett Butler”.Life in these times was “simple”and going to the movies waswidely viewed as an escape fromeveryday life.Now fast forward to modernday times, the clear distinctionsthat we had separating realityfrom fiction and entertainmentare blurred at best, if not completelynon-existent. Reality isnow presented to us in the formof entertainment in televisionshows like “Survivor”, “The Apprentice”,”Making the Band” andthe most salacious of all, “TheBachelor/ Bachelorette” series.Society has now come to viewall that is on the silver screenas part of everyday life and thesignificance of which we haveto look within ourselves to find.Everything has a message, hiddenor obvious, and all we have to dois watch and find out. We are all apart of society that is representedon these ‘reality shows’ andtherefore we are all experts atanalyzing that which affects andcomes from our society.It is no surprise then that movieshave come to be analyzed andcritiqued in a totally differentway today. The days when we’escaped’ to the movies are longgone with the wind (forgive thepun). The dominant discourse ofthe day often times dictates whatperspective we analyze all that weview (including movies) from.With politics and political punditryat its highest these days, itsno wonder that we, the viewingpublic and “critics”, have adoptedthis political view as the prismwith which, and from which weanalyze the movies that we see.From the screen writer orproducer’s perspective, creativelicense gives them the liberty toexplore various subjects and itwould be hard to then discernthe writer’s orientationor motivations without themconfessing to same. Obviously,true stories depicting past eventsare excluded from this conversationas the political orientation ofthe characters would have beenpre-determined. Lately, somemovies have been described ashaving political undertones andthese include “Avatar” (Ecologicalexploitation and Imperialistdomination), “300” (Pro War),”District 9″ (Apartheid) and “TheInternational” (Evils of Banking).Are we simply an over politicizedsociety? Are we seeing everythingfor what we ‘want them tobe’ and not what they really are?These are all questions worthasking and more importantly,answering. Also, is it politicalwhen art imitates life?I’m certain that James Cameronand the movie conglomeratesthat financed the movie Avatarwere counting on the box officereturns as their number onemotive when making the movie.Michael Moore and others likehim on the other hand have adifferent activist motivationwhich drives them to make suchpolitically charged movies anddocumentaries. We have to beable to get back the escapism wealways found through movies.We have to be able to enjoy thework as we would enjoy viewinga Picasso. We have to be able tospend 90 minutes, careless to theworld and the issues that bindus. We have to find the strength,to not ‘give a damn’ about allelse outside of the theater whichbecomes all that we want it to bein those 90 minutes.

About the Contributor
Jacob Aguiar served as the following positions for The Mass media the following years: News Editor: 2011-2012; Fall 2012 Leisure Editor: 2010-2011