The below passage was posted a few days ago by my favorite political blog dailykos who re-printed it from Steve Gilliard’s News. I’ve been meaning to post it as I think the ideas Gilliard’s dealing with coincide nicely with what I’d argue is a major component of the Reverse Shot project. He’s referring in the first paragraph to the recent “runaway bride” incident:
“If CNN basically covers this story all Saturday, it’s news. It’s not a debate. It is news, and malaria isn’t. Instead of wishing it wasn’t news, we need to subvert it. We need to discuss it in wider terms, class, race, sex. We need to bring depth to the debate. I mean this story gets weirder by the day. But if you don’t engage it, bring different perspectives to it, the media gets away clean again. When people say “you don’t cover this story” people think “liberal whiner.” If they want to talk about runaway brides, let’s talk about runaway brides, but intelligently, questioning the sex roles of men and women and the economic cost and pressure in a large wedding. There is fertile ground for smart people, but they have to seize the target and change the debate.
One of the great tricks of conservative pundits was to talk about ANY topic. No matter what it was, they had an opinion, got face time and then book deals. They saw this as fertile ground to extend the debate. We have to engage these issues and bring new perspectives on them […]
There’s a sort of snobishness about news on the left. I don’t watch TV, I only read the Guardian. Give me a fucking break. Most people think Angel comes after Guardian and when you don’t watch TV, you might as well say pinko hippie. If you want to change minds, you have to speak their language and it’s in things people care about.
If you don’t have an opinion on the latest circus, your opinion on more serious matters will not count. You don’t have to spend every day repeating Eonline, but you have to understand the culture, even the vulgar parts, to change it. If you do not engage the debate at hand, you will become irrelevant. Even if the debate is not a big deal in the end. Walking away, as we did so many times before, is no longer an option.”
It’s not enough for us to go toe to toe with the mainstream critical establishment and harangue them for letting terrific, difficult films get lost in the commercial shuffle. Doing so, while honorable, is merely a rearguard action. Critics at major papers excel at lowering the discourse around every film the lowest possible level with slight peaks in seriousness for those films they deem worthy. We do the opposite by taking all films seriously (at least semi-), and, perhaps most importantly, do it through a plurality of voices. That’s why we can have issues devoted to Linklater and Assayas, Spielberg and Tsai Ming-liang. That’s why within a single symposium we can cover Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, Despair, The Village, and Salesman. This broad scope affords more readers a frame of reference for our work, and chances are, if they like what they see in one article, they might check out another, and maybe even the film attached to it. Who knows what could happen from there?
I’m sure most of our blog readers “get” this about Reverse Shot already, but sometimes things like this bear repeating.