HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Editorials & Other Articles (Forum) » Beware of 'Dangerous' Art

Mon Aug 26, 2019, 01:00 PM

Beware of 'Dangerous' Art


It’s strange to think of queer, ostensibly progressive writers sharing any ideological space at all with Donald Trump, but in fact, they overlap at least once on a media-criticism Venn diagram. The intersection is at the word “dangerous.”

“You talk about racist. Hollywood is racist,” Trump said to the press earlier this month. “What they’re doing with the kind of movies they’re putting out, it’s actually very dangerous for our country.” Lest you be deceived into believing that Trump joined liberals in calling out Hollywood’s lack of diversity, reliance on stereotypes, and tendencies to tell stories about race through the viewpoints of white characters, his comments arrived as the controversy about The Hunt reached its boiling point. He never mentioned the now-canceled movie by name, but an earlier tweet thread about “the movie coming out” highly suggested that his target The Hunt, whose premise rattled Republicans for its satirical portrayal of liberals hunting conservatives.

Way, way on the other side of the political divide, two movies released this year containing trans themes have also been called “dangerous.” “Why Adam Is a Dangerous Film for Trans People,” reads the headline for The Advocate’s review of trans director Rhys Ernst’s controversial film about a cisgender high school student who impersonates a trans dude to woo a slightly older queer woman. Belgian director Lukas Dhont’s Girl sparked even more fervent ire, in part because its director and star are both cis, but also because of its general darkness. “It’s the most dangerous movie about a trans character in years,” wrote critic Oliver Whitney in The Hollywood Reporter. For Vanity Fair, K. Austin Collins wrote that Girl is “a curiously unjust, myopic, even dangerous movie.” In the headline for its story on the controversy, the New York Times asked, “Is a Film About a Transgender Dancer Too ‘Dangerous’ to Watch?”
In criticism, there’s almost always a better word than “dangerous.”

The precise dangers portended are rarely specified—after all, these are movie reviews, not prophecies. Context and inference suggest that these movies are dangerous because they may help facilitate the continued marginalization of vulnerable populations via negative stereotypes and cynical world views. There’s a palpable anxiousness over the noxious effects of ideas. Often, it seems like “dangerous” is a synonym for “really bad,” a way to telegraph that the movie’s functional politics don’t align with those the writer (or speaker) feels should prevail in civilized culture...

I'm with writer Melvin Burgess on this one, and what he said can't be repeated often enough, IMO:


Why Melvin Burgess's 'dangerous' books aren't dangerous at all

"...Like most “dangerous” books, it is in fact only a threat to people who are themselves dangerous - people who want to control others. If you want to decide what’s right and what’s wrong, to be obeyed, then any book that assumes people can make up their own minds is dangerous - but only to yourself and your little clique"

0 replies, 928 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Reply to this thread