There is a movie that was released this year, sort of controversial called, ‘The Help’. The main problem, or so it seemed to me, with the movie and the book it was base on, was that it was written by a white authoress and she was describing an experience that incorporated what many people of color consider ‘proprietary experience knowledge’. Apparently, she comments from the perspective of the black domestics perspective and I would read reviews that were both positive and from others who took a dim view of the movie. A blogger gave their opinion of the movie, which was one that was uniformly positive. I don’t think I was too blunt or negative in my reply but the blogger who saw it is pretty clever and they picked up on something in my comment and THEY gave it a critique.
Because my opinion of the movie relied was ‘sourced’, which is to say that I listened to and read reviews of the movie. In their reply, it was found surprising that I would let someone else make a judgment for me. I then asked myself if I was guilty of letting someone make my opinion for me in regard to the movie, “The Help”.
First, several of the reviews that I have sampled of the movie, "The Help" seemed to be fair and objective, as they did not shy away from the controversy that the film stirred up. What the reviews did do was make me question the capability of those who were telling the story. If you can’t find the trust in the storyteller, what can you make of their story? Not being familiar with the creative people behind the movie, I had my doubts about whether they could handle some of the subject matter that comes with a movie set in that time in American history.
Okay, solving for that, what is the next preconception I would have against the movie. As much as I pick at the Tea Bags for their ‘misremembering’ and general dumbing down of history to fit a particular narrative (I’m lookin’ at YOU Sarah Palin..!), the same kind of crap goes on in liberal circles as well. That I took in reviews of the movie is not simply giving away the responsibility of forming my own opinion by not experiencing the book or movie on my own. After all, the purpose of criticism is to help us reach a conclusion, am I right? We hope that the opinions are objective and free from bias, but that is not always the case. Which is why I try to get both perspectives, the objective one and the one that represents ‘the other side of the story’ (which exists in objective opinion, according to Chris Wallace of Fox News!), to help me form what I will accept as ‘my’ own thoughts and opinion.
To me, it is no different from writing a research paper. You make a claim and then you go on to support your ideas, balancing your perspective against possible arguments and then reinforcing your main idea. Up to now, everything is still up in the air, though I still have reservations that begins with the possible revision of the events that may be in ‘The Help’ story.
Liberals are not immune from the guilt of ‘the white man’s burden’. Some of the things that has gone on between blacks and whites in America has included a lot of well-meaning people doing some of the crappiest things. Who is to say that with the ‘holes’ open in the storyline by respectable review sources that the authoress isn’t guilty of ‘fudging’ here and there? Besides the questions that I would have about the portrayal of the racial dynamic, then there is the ‘women good and unfairly oppressed, men bad and vengeful’ aspect. In the same way that it is hard for some people to accept that a white woman can tell a story from the black perspective, the story that provides an experience that is within the realm of experience, the inequality that white women lived beneath during that time. Who’s to say that there wasn’t a little poetic license taken for the purpose to gloss over events, and in doing so, reframe the discussion?
So far we have discussed my sources that helped me arrive at my opinion, from the blog entry that drew out my comment, the possible skills of the creative people behind the film project, and to the possible political-social influences that may factor into the storyline. Now if that wasn’t enough, let get to the actresses themselves.
Looking at the commercials, there were a couple of actresses who I have seen work before and I unimpressed by their talents. And now we have found the straw that stirs my drink! Weighing all this and still being a little undecided on if I think the film is worth my time, that there are performers who does not impress me as actors. So now your really have a cat who is not really going to be ‘into’ the movie because of all the questions and doubts I have of the performers ability to ‘sell’ the story to me.
I am sharing this story because this is a very broad piece of my critical thinking at work. , and when I say ‘broad’, I mean ‘simple’. Even when I am talking with someone about pretty much anything, this is the kind of things that go on in my mind. This is another reason I am quick to apologize if I say something that bothers another person because it is better that I do that, and avoid my clumsy attempt to describe the dense esoteric that forms my opinions. Additionally, it is another reason of why I am reluctant to further crowd my thought with getting to know another person. But I digress.
School is school and we are at the half-way point for the semester. I am keeping up but my stride is a little uneven right now… don’t be too worried (cause I’m not!) because like fatigue, doubts are fears trying to leave the body and mind!