seven movies changed political views (huh?)

I just stumbled over an article titled “7 Movies That Changed Your Political Views According To Science.” It was written by Asawin Suebsang and Chris Mooney for the Mother Jones website (January 7, 2014). It begins humorously by stating that “Rush Limbaugh was right all along. Sort of.” Then the authors continue: 

“According to a study recently published in Social Science Quarterly, Hollywood is making you more liberal. The study, titled Moving Pictures? Experimental Evidence of Cinematic Influence on Political Attitudes, was coauthored by Todd Adkins and Jeremiah Castle of the University of Notre Dame.

It found that viewers who watched a movie with a message on health care generally saw their support for the Affordable Care Act or similar policies increase.”

Social Science Quarterly nots two movies that affected health care–they are the first two listed below. The article’s authors then list five more films that, “according to science, possibly reshaped your political views without you even knowing it.”

The movies are listed below with their reasons for being there. Each is followed by an observation by me in rusty red print. These reflect my progressive, populist point of view that supports a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

The Rainmaker saw support for the Affordable Care Act or similar policies increase.

No real affect on me: I originally supported Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries because she seemed the most likely to actively pursue something resembling single-payer health care for me and my fellow Americans.(Didn’t see the movie, which is odd as I enjoy both Francis Coppola and Matt Damon.)

As Good As It Gets saw support for the Affordable Care Act or similar policies increase.

No real affect on me: I won’t repeat myself: see above. (Loved this movie! Jack Nicholson was perfect as the senior citizen playboy and Diane Keaton was almost as good as she was in Annie Hall. And, as author Tom Robbins observed back in 1987, “The bonus of this beauteous and beatific bozo is that the older she gets, the sexier she gets. By the time she’s fifty, she may have to wear a squid mask for self-protection.”)

JFK destroyed your faith in the American political system.

No real affect on me: My faith was tottering when Nixon beat Humphrey (a distant relation of mine) in ’68. My faith in Democrats was shattered when they allowed McGovern—the first man I had the honor of voting for—to be humiliated by Nixon in ’72. So, Stone’s film had little affect on me. And stop quibbling with his conclusions: JFK is filled with facts that stand up to any investigation. Plus I am a BIG Kevin Costner fan!)

The Day After Tomorrow made you care more about global warming.

No real affect on me: I became aware of global warming/climate change in the early 1970s, when I entered college and hung out with the anti-war folk and other individuals considered un-American by the jingoheads that made up the majority of students. These people were a treasure trove of information, some of which went unreported by the corporate media and therefore unknown by most people.

(This movie was a lot of fun, despite its factual drawbacks. It seems based on a 1978 novel titled Ice by the almost unknown Arnold Federbush. Needless to say,, the book is a helluva lot better than the movie and well worth tracking down for a good read.)

The Cider House Rules turned you pro-choice.

No real affect on me: I have been pro-choice since I understood what it meant. Unfortunately. In a better world, education and birth control would eliminate the need for the procedure . . (Certainly not a response that I foresaw when I watched the movie. What effect did Million Dollar Baby have on the same people.)

Malcolm X inspired you to be more concerned about racial discrimination and race relations.

Oh yeah, this one affected me: Like too many white folk, I had dismissed Malcolm X as an extremist of the worst sort, bad for his people and their plight. Like most white people with an opinion about the black situation in this country, I was clueless. (Good movie—Denzel Washington turned in his usual amazing performance, both highlighting the man’s inhuman determination and exposing his humanity.)

All The President’s Men caused Republicans to favor more restrictions on the press.

No real affect on me: See JFK above. Ahem, so much for the much ballyhooed respect for law and order that Republican’s are always crowing about! (Excellent movie that viewed by a young audience today might astound them that there were actually journalists in the US who did real investigative work. Of course, the book was better and two years earlier . . .)

To end this on an optimistic note, as I quoted President Lincoln above regarding the limitless possibilities for our form of government, I quote Agent Fox Mulder: “I want to believe” because I do believe that we are all in this together but do I believe that these seven movies changed political views . . .


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