It has been said that the health of a democracy can be gauged by the integrity of its voting system. By this measurement, the United States may have terminal cancer. But there’s another, equally meaningful measure of a democracy’s health: freedom of press. Scratch that: integrity of press. In this regard, the biopsy results of our increasingly fraught country are merely inconclusive. It is true that the press helped elect President Trump, if “elect” is the right word. But it also is true that, as of this writing, the press, along with the U.S. courts, are all that stands between the American people and a complete dictatorship.
These are fighting words, of course, but we are in a cultural moment in which even acknowledging our fraught political landscape is bound to cause conflict. Not since the O.J. Simpson trial has there been such a pronounced division in the allegedly United States of America. It seems no coincidence that, as the subject of both an Emmy-winning American Crime TV series and an Oscar-winning documentary, the former football star has recently been reintroduced to the cultural zeitgeist. Continue Reading →
Was it the solar eclipse? Was it a dissatisfied underling thumbing their nose at the Pricewaterhouse Coopers power-that-be? As of this writing, no one really knows why it happened. All we know is that, as the clock crept to twelve o’clock midnight during the most boring Oscars telecast to date, “La La Land” was incorrectly named Best Picture, creating the biggest kerfuffle on live television since November 9, 2016. By the time “Moonlight” received its due, producer/director/writer Barry Jenkins’s acceptance speech was, well, eclipsed by the general confusion waking up audience members who had drifted off during this Tinseltown snoozefest. Continue Reading →