Archive for February, 2019

Racism On A Broken Record

26 Feb

Racism on a Broken Record

“A black man is suspected,” “African-American wearing a hoodie,” “believed to be a black male.” Those words should be now familiar in this age of hte 24 hour news cycle. Phrases so often repeated that they become part of the nomenclature, the suspected expected. Removing agency from the suspected criminals, their identities becomes boiled down to just a few words. This video by the Bay Area Video Coalition takes aim at the dehumanization from news outlets.

The Usual Suspects video takes multiple approaches to its subject matter. Repetition and time, that is the strategy of this remix. Outlet after outlet proclaim that their story is “breaking news” full of excitement and intrigue. Yet, it is the same story every time. Vague descriptions of a generic male, pointed out at 0:46, that is noted verbatim for most of the two minute runtime. Drilling down a point of just how pervasive the terminology of categorization is toward the group.

Something quite interesting is the addition of a subtle, yet highly effective editing trick; Never showing any of the reported suspects in clear footage. Instead, sketches of the men, grainy outlines, and quick shots of passersby are all the viewer gets to witness of the main character of the remix. Not once is the perpetrators shown in light, distanced into the other/ Not noted at first, this quitely points out the how media takes a more insidious method to removing humanity of the black men, reducing them into media objects.

That is what impressed me, though the remix deos suffer from some quality issues. First, the sound quality is a bit rough and uneven. Second, the repetition has all the subtlety of a jackhammer. Everything is so upfront in one’s face that it becomes aggravating, rather than intriguing. Third, the pacing is a bit all over the shop. Due to the on-and-on-and-on style of the remix the speed is often sluggish, dragging out far more than it needed to. Overall though, I feel as if these negatives are outweighed by the excellence in the other elements.

America’s new cycle has been attacked in more depth than I could speak upon here, but let us note this; There is a serious issue in this country in how our sources of public information fail us. These outlets rely on panic buttons to boost rating, and in that process minimize the component figures of their stories to mere objects. The Usual Suspects takes grievance to this and aims high in their effort to fight it. It mostly succeeds.


I Know Bullet Fu

25 Feb

Look, the US is kinda in a fucked place right now. Political demagogues in the government, mass hysteria, and violence in the streets. There Has been dozens, if not hundreds, of shootings just over last few years. So many have died, so many injured. Kids mowed down in schools and theater goers in Aurora. Yet none of it is being stopped. Seriously, I mean nothing. Whenever a bill is proposed to regulate the flow of weaponry in the states it is shot down.

Back in 2013 former NRA president David Keene held a conference where he uttered the words “Today, guns are cool.” That is a horrifying statement in the years since where gun culture has been so glorified in media alongside rapidly increasing massacres.

So, how would this be argued against in the context of a political remix? This is my self imposed challenge for a recent class assignment. The aim is to mock the consumerism of tools of violence. For example, the Smith & Wesson commercials full of flashy bombast, making a handgun seem badass. Repeat this several times, cut to cut to cut of weapon ads. Then, suddenly, without warning, slip in footage of any one of the massacres of recent years. Yes, this may be in bad taste, but I feel as if this is necessary to contrast the glamourist product and horrific reality.

Jarringly, switch back to the ads. Overtime the switch between footage of violence and advertisement becomes frantic till it lingers on the aftermath of the the Las Vegas shooting. The aim here is to not just unsettle the viewer with the visceral actuality, but hopefully shake the way one might view gun culture. Now, this somewhat requires that the audience be supportive of gun consumerism, or at least ambivalent about it. Still, this whole scenario should work.

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