Kat’s ‘National Review’ Article, Jul 25, 2016
According to Kat’s latest National Review article, advancing just one social-justice cause in a movie is simply not enough these days because, just like when hunting Pokémon, ya gotta catch ‘em all.
by KATHERINE TIMPF, July 25, 2016 6:17 PM
Apparently, you have to address all social-justice issues in movies, not just one.
A University of South Carolina student wrote a review praising the all-female Ghostbusters as a feminist victory – before clarifying that she was still not happy because it didn’t address “race issues,” too.
At the start of her piece, Rachel Pittman describes her movie-watching experience with the kind of enthusiasm I have never had for anything probably ever in my life. She admits that although she went in with low expectations, the film wound up being not only hilarious, but also “incredibly free from the conventional male presence that is characteristic of most films,” and it “revolved around women and their talents . . . making the film feel like a sisterhood, especially for female viewers.”
“The film honestly sparkled and snapped off of the screen,” Pittman wrote in the student newspaper, the Daily Gamecock, adding that she particularly loved how it “dealt with issues of gender and objectification through humor,” even going so far as to call it a “game-changer for women in films who don’t already have an established platform — especially female comedians.”
I’ll say it again: I’ve had a lot of experiences, but I don’t think I’ve ever in my life enjoyed anything as much as Pittman seems to have enjoyed that there movie. And it was a feminist “game-changer?” Awesome!
Well, not so fast. Apparently, the fact that it was a fun, funny female-justice victory just wasn’t enough — because it should have been a fun, funny racial-justice victory, too:
“Two areas kept ‘Ghostbusters’ out of the realm of a five-star comedy — the easily forgettable soundtrack and the film’s lack of attention toward race issues, specifically the rights of women of color.”
That’s right, folks. Advancing just one social-justice cause in a film is not enough — you’ve got to advance them all.
Now, to be fair, she still rated the movie highly. She didn’t let what she saw as the absence of racial-justice-advancing material stop her from giving it an overall good review. But here’s the thing: Why is she even thinking this way?
Have we really gotten to the point where movies not only have to address social-justice issues, but also have to address all social-justice issues? As someone whose favorite movie is Happy Gilmore, I’ve got to say — I don’t like the way this is going.
I mean, what would a movie planned around an obsessive necessity to address all of the problems of the world at once even look like?
Bad. It would look bad.
From Pittman’s point of view, the movie did a really good job of advancing women’s causes while still managing to be very entertaining. Whether this is true or not, I can’t know . . . because I myself haven’t seen it (I didn’t see the original one either; Jezebel please chill). What I do know, however, is that striking a balance between entertaining and cause-advancing is notoriously difficult to achieve. And, given that, the new Ghostbusters would almost certainly not have been as effective a feminist vehicle (or as entertaining) as Pittman considered it to be had it attempted to solve all of the problems instead of focusing on just one.