All posts tagged: America

Hollywood’s Global Domination

My experience of foreign cinema – or the value that it has provided for me personally – is deeply rooted in my national identity and Hollywood’s history of global dominance. Scholar B. Ruby Rich writes in Subtitles: On the Foreignness of Film, “My guess is that foreign films function as a rebuke for some viewers, offering up evidence that the world is not made in ‘our’ image, and that neither our society nor our language is universal.”[1] While I agree with Rich’s evaluation, I’d like to complicate it just slightly. My argument, instead, is that foreign films function as a rebuke for most American viewers specifically, though not all. In his chapter titled Hollywood’s International Market, from The American Film Industry (ed. Tino Balio), Thomas H. Guback describes how Hollywood began to permeate the global film market after World War I, acting in a moment when numerous countries were economically devastated by the war and left financially indebted to the U.S. As a result, due to the surmounting strength of the American film market, international film …

Social Media as Social Justice

I haven’t posted in a while because it’s been “one of those weeks” – or more like two. I’ve been far too wrapped up in personal stuff to sit down and write or share a post, but I finally think that I’m ready to come back. It seems irresponsible to have a media and culture blog and not comment on recent national tragedies, including the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge (let alone the atrocities in France, Turkey, and across the globe). But each time I try to sit down and write, nothing that I jot down precisely articulates my disappointment, my rage, and my anxiety. When I think deeply about the problems within my own community, some seem fixable while others feel inescapable. And if I begin to think of injustices on a global-scale, I’m immediately engulfed by discontent and pessimism. I prefer being open to the world’s innumerable flaws, rather than closeted by my own naivety, but at times I find myself overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problems that I want to fix. In many …

Internet Reads: Politics, Pop Culture, & Remembering an Icon

Sometimes I have those weeks where I read a couple of articles that I think are important to share, and that’s been the case these past few weeks! From Muhammad Ali to pop feminism, gun violence, and Donald Trump – here’s a bit of what I’ve been reading: → ‘I Just Wanted to Be Free’: The Radical Reverberations of Muhammad Ali by Dave Zirin → Pop Feminism Doesn’t Mean the End of the Movement by Ann Friedman → Gun Violence Is a Full-Blown National Crisis by Gabrielle Giffords → Donald Unleashes Brazen Assault On the Media, Foreshadowing Free Speech Clampdown by Melissa McEwan What have you been reading? Share your favorite articles in the comment section below!

“Under The Gun” – Examining the Gun Debate

Last week I had the chance to attend the Los Angeles premiere of Under the Gun, directed by Stephanie Soechtig and executive produced by Katie Couric. The film examines America’s complex gun problem, from Sandy Hook to the streets of Chicago, and takes aim at the gun show loophole and the country’s most powerful lobby, the National Rifle Association. Although the documentary certainly leans left, the film also gives a voice to gun advocates who hold their right to bear arms dearly. Under the Gun concludes with a positive outlook and a common thread: though we may disagree about guns, we’re (mostly) in agreement that they should stay out of the wrong hands. On January 8th, 2011 my Congressional Representative, Gabby Giffords, and 18 others were shot at a grocery store in Tucson, AZ. Six people died. Every Tucsonan was devastated, and the memory of that day will always remain with me. Under the Gun begins in Tucson with Gabby, who is alive, but dealing with the effects of her brain injury every day. She is a fighter and an …

Gender & Representation

A couple of years ago I stumbled across Miss Representation on Netflix, and after reading the film’s description, I decided to give it a watch. The documentary, which examines how women are represented in the media, is a must see for all. I credit the film for solidifying my interest in studying how representation (or rather misrepresentation or lack there of) in media both reflects and shapes our society. I’d argue that media has the ability to inform and influence change more than anything in our culture. And because of the impact of images in film and television, media makers have a special responsibility to be conscious of their influence and power. Now on Netflix is a new documentary from The Representation Project, The Mask You Live In, which analyzes American masculinity and the mounting pressures of manhood. I had the chance to watch this documentary with my boyfriend, and afterwards, as we often do when we watch a film together, we debriefed. It was especially insightful to hear his stories of bullying, the pressure to “be a man”, and the complexity of male …

Happy Labor Day (But What’s it Really All About?)

Happy Labor Day! But what’s it really all about? Labor Day takes place on the first Monday in September. It’s a celebration of the social and economic achievements of the American labor movement. The first Labor Day was held in New York City in 1882 by the Central Labor Union. Over 10,000 people marched in solidarity as “a day of the people.” Oregon became the first state to officially declare Labor Day a holiday in 1887. Following the deaths of 30 workers and injuries of 57 at the hands of the U.S. military during the Pullman Strike of 1894, Congress unanimously voted to approve legislation that made Labor Day a national holiday. In Canada Labour Day also takes place on September 1st, and in many other countries a similar holiday takes place on May 1st.

Today Marks The 50th Anniversary Of The Civil Rights Act

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. With Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. present, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bill on July 2, 1964. The Civil Rights Act outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin – ending segregation in schools and unequal voter registration requirements. The bill was originally called for by President John F. Kennedy in June of 1963, just five months prior to his assassination. On November 27, 1963, during his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Johnson said, “No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy’s memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long.” Eight months later, Johnson signed the bill into law. With the 4th of July just a few days away, it’s a wonderful time to appreciate some of the accomplishments we’ve made as a nation in regards to equality and civil liberties. We have a long ways to go, but we’re still on the right path.

Dr. MLK Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” Speech

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most important figures in our country’s history, if not the world’s. He was so magnificently influential that it begs the question – what would America be like today if it wasn’t for Dr.King? His individual influence is woven so deeply into our contemporary culture that it’s easy to forget how tremendous his impact was on our entire country. It’s truly remarkable what Dr. King accomplished in his short life and I think it’s important to spend the day reflecting on his efforts as one of the greatest civil rights leaders who has ever lived. In honor of MLK Jr. Day, I have attached the transcript of his iconic “I Have a Dream” Speech. Watch the full speech below, from the March on Washington on August 28, 1963. “I say to you today, my friends, though, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will …

Splitscreen: A Love Story

I discovered Splitscreen: A Love Story about two years ago and never forgot it. Charming, simple, and creative, it’s a visual journey of love and exploration in which two people from separate sides of the globe meet. It was filmed entirely on the Nokia N8 cell phone and won the 2011 Nokia Shorts competition.

Spectacular Short Doc About Beauty & Perception: ‘There She Is’

Am I beautiful? It’s a question that each and every woman will ask herself at one point in her life (or more likely, several). Women are constantly being bombarded by images and advertisements that define beauty within the context of American perfectionism. These ads tell us what’s attractive, interesting, or even acceptable – making it nearly impossible to ignore these standards and love ourselves for who we are. What’s particularly disturbing is that the women in these ad campaigns don’t live up to such standards themselves. They must be covered in make-up from head to toe, lit perfectly, and photoshopped before they exemplify the very measures of beauty they were hired to represent. It’s a problem. Filmmakers Emily Sheskin and Veena Rao set out to examine the perception of women’s beauty in their short documentary, There She Is. The film follows best friends Allison Kopach and Jenny Flores as they compete in the 2011 American Beauties Plus Pageant, which is open to women sizes 14 and up. Short documentaries are such fascinating forms of storytelling because they require …