Essay Collection: Movies in the Age of Obama

full name / name of organization: 
David garrett Izzo
contact email: 

This collection is inspired by an article in The New York Times, which, in part is quoted below.

The Upside in film:

"Now, on the eve of a second Obama term, the images are more complex, and in some ways blurrier. Politically and personally this president functions as a screen onto which different Americans project their fears and fantasies."
Two-way mirror: looking at/looking back –dual reflection of race perception
"The longing for Obama (or an Obama)," he wrote, "can be found in two prescient 2008 movies," citing "Wall-E" and "Milk"
"This year race is firmly back on the table with movies like "Lincoln" and "Django Unchained." Yet much like Mr. Obama, who has rarely made race a topic of conversation, the current nominees for best picture speak to other issues, including war, the economy and just about everything else. Some of the connections between politics and movies are obvious, but we wanted to go beyond the topical resonance of films like "Zero Dark Thirty" and enter into the realms of allegory and national mythology."
Lincoln reappraised as reality and Mythology-(vampire hunter)
Literal Lincolns and allegories infused with Lincoln's long shadow
Team of Rivals: Marvel's Avengers/X-Men First Class/ Ideal of Community: Beasts of the Southern Wild/Promised Land/The descendants (Hawaii)
The Great Recession and the Workinig class: Warrior/Arbitage/Inside Job/Magic Mike/Les Miserables
"Glimpses of class conflict emerged amid the shadows of The Dark Knight Rises, which riffs on the French Revolution, nods at the Occupy movement and glances back at the gangster movies of the 1930s, in which struggles for power and money were accompanied by the rat-a-tat of Tommy guns.
"Both James Cameron's Avatar and Rupert Wyatt's Rise of the Planet of the Apes scramble the usual good guy/bad guy dichotomy, suggesting that the enemy is us.
"That surely is one lesson of The Help, Lincoln, and Django Unchained. The passionate arguments over these movies partly confirmed that the postracial utopia in Avatar remains as much a dream deferred as mind-tripping in someone else's body.

The Downsidein film:

"A recent Associated Press online poll concluded that racial prejudice in America has slightly increased since Obama's election. The survey said that a majority of Americans, 51%, express explicit racial prejudice toward blacks, compared to 48% in 2008.
"While the poll on its own doesn't prove the country has become more racist in the last four years, it does offer evidence that the "post-racial" world some thought Obama's inauguration would bring has yet to materialize.
'We're in a racist renaissance,' said Nsenga Burton, a writer for The Root, an online news site with an African-American perspective. 'It's a rebirth of the oldest forms of racism. It's not new, not different. It's like the 1800s, the most archaic abusive terms are applied to black people every single day.'"
John Blake CNN online, 11/1/2012

The sting is unyielding without any amelioration or diffusion; instead, the age of Obama has sharpened the tips of a collective death by a thousand cuts. African Americans know it in their bones, in the marrow that harbors the old suffering now renewed as many old and new racists fear that their narrowly tenuous grasp on their isolationist de facto walls of mental segregation will enclose them within their psychological castles under siege by the new alliance of minorities near majority. They are afraid; fear of defeat becomes anger; anger is not suppressed; it is vented. Blacks are aware and not amused. How do Black literary artists recalibrate their approaches to this old/new Racism? The significance of this collection is to measure the recent past, the present, and anticipate the future of the next four years: The dominant theme is the art of suffering and the nature of oblivion found in contemporary Black literature.
abstracts by 3/31