You make the costumes, I’ll make the sets!…Election Day is nigh, with the spectre of partisan-owned-paper-free-hackable-code machines, and a dwindling pool of poll workers looming. It’s a good time to see Malindi Finkle’s documentary “By The People” (now showing on PBS, check your local listings.) The director and her team traveled to Indianapolis in 2004 and followed a single county’s election – a scene repeated 3033 times in every county of every state every 4 years in Presidential elections. These elections are run, not by the federal government, but by, you guessed it, US… or rather, a very small number of “us” supervised by a handful of county employees. Finkle states: “These teams need nearly two million citizen volunteers in order to function properly; today, however, there is a shortage of 500,000 poll workers nationwide and the average poll worker’s age is 72.” She goes on to ask the obvious question: “How many 90 year olds does it take to make an average age of 72?” Yikes.
In Ron Cass’s recent piece “ My View on the View”, he thrashes Rosie O’Donnell (such an easy target) for some bone-headed political comments she apparently made on “The View,” from which he launches into the predictable bashing of empty-headed “Hollywood” dilettantes and egocentric actors who presume to weigh in on issues of public policy. As an actor (not a famous one, but hey, I’m not bitter) I’m so BORED already! Haven’t we heard it all since Marlon Brando sent that beautiful squaw to the Oscars?
No doubt “United 93” and now Oliver Stone’s homage “World Trade Center” are worthy cinematic pieces. The directors are serious and sincere filmmakers and surely the quality of the films reflects their thoughtfulness. I don’t for a moment question their cultural value. In fact, I’m sure many artists felt an obligation to “confront” an event like the attacks on September 11th 2001, given the magnitude, violence and tragedy unleashed that day. Yet I just can’t bring myself to participate in the emotional journey promised by these movies. For me, it’s both too late and too soon.