Friday, February 04, 2011

'Superman' slapped

A spot-on article about the travesty of Waiting for Superman not even being nominated for an Oscar:

The most widely seen American documentary of the year sparked a national discussion, received almost universal acclaim from critics and delved deeply into the details of what all agree is a subject of massive importance -- the increasingly alarming dysfunction of much of the US public-school system. Yet this vital and heartbreaking film, "Waiting for 'Superman,' " this week failed to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary. Why?

Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim has impeccable credentials with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He won an Oscar for his previous documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," which made him the toast of liberal LA. But "Waiting for 'Superman,' " which starts with Guggenheim explaining how terrible he feels driving his kids past a series of broken and diseased public schools to the posh private one his own cosseted lambs attend, backs an argument that conservatives have been making for more than 20 years.

Welcome to reverse McCarthyism. Not only are conservatives unwelcome (bordering on unemployable) in Hollywood, but even fully paid-up and lionized liberals like Guggenheim must be shunned for making a case that conservatives agree with.

…Oscar's short list of five feature documentaries instead made room for such trifling works as "Waste Land," about a guy who makes art out of junkyard scraps in Brazil, and "Exit Through the Gift Shop," a movie by the London graffiti artist Banksy about a hack French counterpart in LA who eventually makes it big selling derivative crap like mock silk screens of Elvis and Marilyn.

These films are more important than one that devastatingly explores the educational mechanism via which millions of poor children, most of them black or brown, are being doomed to a life of misery?

…Today, innumerable urban black children are effectively segregated in the "dropout factories" so excruciatingly depicted by Guggenheim until they either stop bothering to attend or are given useless diplomas, in either case getting dumped back on the street with no future. Unlike McDaniel, they won't be present or even represented in the room on Oscar night, on the periphery or anywhere else.

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