Movies & the Formation of Ethics

Elites are understandably alarmed at the $300 million trajectory of a certain recent movie, a film that elites fret is allegedly dominates by a real ‘Passion of the Christ’ crowd, while Selma (the pride and joy of Oprah and Spielberg) tanks.

So, naturally, the NYT would feature a piece titled “How Movies Can Change Our Minds“:

As the reactions to “Selma” and “American Sniper” suggest, movies often still have the power to provoke national debate.

Do they also have the power to affect our view of government?…

Movies contribute to the “political socialization of people (young adults in particular),” Dr. Pautz said, “and so what audiences watch and how certain institutions are portrayed over time can be very significant.”

She also notes that movies can be a great mechanism for conversation and reflection. “It’s one of the most accessible forms of art out there,” she said. “People of most walks of life experience movies, from the working class to the super-rich, and it provides a common experience for society to talk about issues with a bit of a ‘safety net.’’’

So a movie like “Selma” or “American Sniper” can be a “wonderful mechanism for discussing highly charged topics in society, and providing a way to tackle issues without doing it outright.”

She added, “Discussing race relations/racism is still hard for Americans and an often taboo subject, but one can much more easily talk about a movie that might then lead to conversation about those more sensitive topics.”

This applies to discussions of “American Sniper” as well. For some, the movie might be a means of discussing civil-military relations in the United States or the influence of partisanship on a cultural experience.

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