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HTT: Pop Culture Statements (Specifically, go watch Blackkklansman!)

Edited
BiancaE Atlassian Team Aug 14, 2018

This last weekend I went to go see Spike Lee's new film, Blackkklansman. It's based on a true story of a Colorado Springs KKK chapter in the 1970's and how the first black police officer infiltrated the group. The film is VERY well done. It's entertaining. It's got everything you want from a film - good actors/acting, comedy, evocation of emotion, and relatable to current events (and, as a bonus, based on a true story). I mean, it won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival already - you really should watch it.

First, has anyone else seen it? Can we talk about your reaction? I don't want to give away any spoilers, but woof, it was heavy.

My question is, these films come to pop culture with a big statement, but what does the statement do? I know it's supposed to create a discussion, but what do we do with that discussion? Does this help a cause or just hurt it by perpetuating conversation with like-minded individuals and no action?

7 comments

I can't wait to go see it this weekend and give you my thoughts!

BiancaE Atlassian Team Aug 14, 2018

yes!

I haven't seen the film yet, but I have it on my "want to watch" list.  Based on the trailer it looks like something I'd enjoy...funny, thought-provoking, and like you said, based on a true story. That and the simple fact that it's not sequel or a reboot make it appealing. 

While I agree that films like this are intended to have an impact statement (sometimes beating you over the head with it to make sure you get it) I think they are more subtle, and more effective, than  a film that is intended to perpetuate the conversation. I'll explain:

Compare Blackkklansman with Selma or Get on The Bus. While entertaining, I think these two movies ended up pulling in those like-minded individuals and did not result on any action. But...for me watching Ghosts of Mississippi or A Time to Kill had a greater impact. Neither film prompted me to talk about race or the Civil Rights movement, but they made me think. 

Thoughts like:

"Holy S***! This is from a true story???"

"That really happened? What is wrong with people?

And, most important.....

"God, I hope I'm not like that.....Am I like that?"

Sometimes people need to be beaten over the head.

BiancaE Atlassian Team Aug 14, 2018

Thanks for sharing these, @Scott Theus! I'm not familiar with some of these films you mention so I'm going to look in to them. When films make you think - and therefore question yourself and action - do you find that turns in to action? Or do you say "oh good, I'm not like that" and continue to ponder?

@BiancaE, I think it is more subtle than that. While I might breath a sigh of relief and tell myself that "I'm not like that" the message sticks. As I grow and mature the learned behaviors and harmful stereotypes get pushed further and further back and replaced with experiences like some films that, even though I may not realize it, change the way I think.

Monique vdB Community Manager Aug 14, 2018

Love this, @Scott Theus.  I think one of the greatest things literature and film can do for us as humans is build our empathy with those who are not, on the surface, like us. And it makes us better people if we're open to it.  

BiancaE Atlassian Team Aug 14, 2018

Ditto what @Monique vdB said.

Monique vdB Community Manager Aug 14, 2018

This movie sounds super interesting but I'm hesitant to see it because I'm already so heartsick about race in America right now that I'm afraid it will make me too upset. I've felt that way since the election -- engaging with pop culture that stirs my emotions and outrage makes me feel even more helpless than I already do. 

That said, I adore Daveed Diggs and I'm likely to see Blindspotting at some point, both because I love him and love Oakland and I want to support his movie. I want to support Spike Lee too but ugh, it's so hard. I feel like there's a line I can go up to, and feed obligated to engage as much as I can, but beyond a certain point, I can't. 

Another recommendation though: the young adult book The Hate U Give (soon to be a movie) is wonderful and super worthwhile.  

I agree with what you're saying @Monique vdB. I also agree with you that I feel more helpless, hence my question about causing action versus conversation. The thing about Blackkklansman is that it's a good, funny, entertaining movie until it reminds you it's a true story. The two films you mentioned above were prevued at this showing, and based on the emotions I got just from the trailer, I feel like I'd struggle to make it through those films. 

Well, to cheer myself up - I watch Hidden Figures ;-).

I like staying positive even at the darkest hours .

BiancaE Atlassian Team Aug 14, 2018

I think I may have to do some self care and remember this,@Vickey Palzor Lepcha!

Saw it last week - and wow. A very poignant / timely / scary film for something that's meant to be a look in the rear view mirror. Don't want to say too much more due to spoilers though.

Recommended watching for everyone though.

Also put https://www.netflix.com/title/80233611 (Nanette by Hannah Gadsby) in to the should watch list - completely changed what I thought comedy could (and sometimes should) be.

CCM

Monique vdB Community Manager Aug 14, 2018

OHH my god Nanette. So great. My friend John who is a (straight, white, cisgender male) science fiction writer wrote about his experience with it recently and I watched it at his recommendation. A must-watch for comedy fans.

As a sidebar, John also wrote a great piece a few years back called Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is

BiancaE Atlassian Team Aug 14, 2018

I feel the same way, @Craig Castle-Mead! I want to talk about it more but not to spoil it. I recently saw Nanette, too, and it was very, very well done. Do you think that watching it and having it change what you thought about comedy will affect how you view comedy in the future?

Haven't seen the film yet but will do soon so haven't read any of the comments (just in case! #spoliers) but I think that it indeed must go beyond discussion and come into action!

It amazes me that will all the discoveries during industrial, technological, digital (and more) ages, that as a species in general we are not much further developed than our primitive ancestors when it comes to peace with and respect of our fellow beings. 

Oddly I was just thinking about Syria this morning as this discussion popped into my Inbox. Was wondering what is so important that people have to suffer and die in such a way....?

BlaKkKlansman will be released in Germany on August, 23rd. So, I couldn't see the movie yet. But in general, I think, people who should see movies like this, do not watch movies like this.

In Germany (as nowadays all over the world) we also have a growing right-wing movement. But you can't discuss with most of these people. They have their own "alternative facts" and they shout them out loud. The louder the better. A movie won't change them.

But it's great that film makers tell stories like in BlaKkKlansman or Hidden Figures, so the people and their stories are not forgotten. I've been surprised about the women in Hidden Figures. I've never heard of them before, never. And maybe a few people who should see movies like this do watch a movie like this and hopefully begin thinking...  

@Thomas Schlegel I completely agree with you that the people who should see movies like this are not usually the ones that do. It's funny, my partner is Canadian and so we talked about how racism in the US is very different than in Canada (and other countries) and we specifically talked about the right-wing movement in Germany right now. I have a friend who is German and she was saying about how she understands the frustrations of many people in the right-wing movement there right now - I think it's similar to the US in that the recent history is still so recent that people have ingrained feelings and no healthy outlet to discuss and share, so they turn to fear and it becomes racism. 

I also agree that maybe there are a few people who really should see some of these films that do, and hopefully that can get them thinking. *fingers crossed*

@Thomas Schlegel @BiancaE  Right-Wing is too narrow a term to accommodate everyone. 

I do not believe in generalizing people based on WHAT one stands or opines. I put more emphasis on WHY do they think in that way. The idea of " WHY " makes people sit and talk.

Some of my opinions match with what right-wings stand for and some don't. So I can be a right-wing depending upon what we are discussing about.

My opinion on immigration is quite right-wing but my thoughts on LGBT and Abortions are different again. So I have no idea what category I fall into :p .

Immigration from Bangladesh to India and Bangladesh to Canada - they have different impacts and different reactions. It may bring skills to low populated regions in Canada but at the same time it creates a lot of problems in India.  

Canada has been different - but I fear the future. It accepts a large number of immigrants today because it is able to accept - it may not be able to do so tomorrow. Do we then tag Canadians as racist or right-wing ? Or should Canadians keep snatching opportunities from their own people because Canadians would want to stay away from being called a right-wing infested nation ?

This world is so diverse that it is very difficult to consider what is right-wing and what isn't.

It takes me to civil rights and liberties - what happens in China does not happen in the US or Canada. But would Canadian style or American style of Governance suit such a huge population that struggled so much with corruption, poverty and crimes. I think it is like JIRA again where we have this backlog view option - with too many on the plate, a new method props up just to control the mess. A class of 30 students can be handled by a teacher in Canadian schools but in India - one class can have as many as 120 students per teacher in a hot humid summer day. And the teacher if he has daughters - he has to get the dowry ready before he can get his daughter married. Had he been unemployed - and if he sees an immigrant who is more qualified than he is gets a job while he cannot. He will surely harvest hatred . It is not the mistake of the immigrant that he is more qualified. But the fact that we have boundaries between nations makes us think we are different .

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