On February 4, critic Ishmael Reed got some play in the New York Times. He had previously discussed his views elsewhere (e.g. in the comments to a post over at NewBlackMan) but the Times has now deemed fit to give his critique wider distribution. This caught the attention of Prometheus 6 (P6), who started a thread about not giving Precious an Oscar.
Although I've previously voiced an opinion about movies of 2009 I probably won't see, including Precious and The Blind Side, I'm pulling some of my own comments from the above P6 thread for possible cross-pollination here. I said in part:
With the movie, there's the work itself, in its intended medium. And then there are the memes emanating from it across several media as to what it means to be "realistic" and "black" at the same time-- becoming and carrying the message much more than the book ever did. To judge the work itself as a work takes more than I have in this phase of my life. I can tackle movies not of this era with all their faults (with a couple of exceptions), but Precious is both too current for that and so obviously not made with me in mind.
This led to what I meant by "not of this era... (with a couple of exceptions)" and I followed with the exceptions, films of the past that I find eminently skippable:
The exceptions right off are Birth of a Nation and Gone with the Wind, and what I mean by "tackle" is to accept them as products of their time, study and analyze them, or maybe even refuse to analyze-- to detach just enough to watch them as is. Birth, I've seen it once and might do it again. GWTW, I've never been able to sit through.
A question we didn't get to over at P6 (although we are having a lively exchange about films, Black films, really good films, and really good Black films) is whether we can speak and write intelligently about something we shy away from or won't see. I think this is possible (I think I have a viable example besides controversial films) but I'd like opinions on it.