This weekend I took the kids to see Hidden Figures. Today, my eight-year-old son said he told his teacher he really liked the movie because it was about three important things: African American rights, women’s rights, and the space race.
“And it was about science and math which are really important too,” he told me.
Who knows what he will remember about the movie when he’s an adult. I know that it made a mark on him this weekend. My hope is whatever mark it made will inspire him as an adult in ways he may or may not trace back to the movie. Because that’s what movies do. And books. Poetry. Art. Music. They inspire. They educate. They leave indelible marks that move us, and by extension – our culture.
I didn’t watch the Golden Globes, but I watched Meryl Streep’s acceptance speech and read the full transcript. If given a choice to allow my kids to watch our President Elect (or anyone) MOCK a man with a disability or to watch a speech by an artist who made a plea for more empathy from our political leaders, I will choose the artist every single time.
This blog post started on Facebook after seeing someone I know make disparaging comments about the Golden Globes. I wanted to say something thoughtful about movies and art, and how significant and important it is that anyone – including (especially) artists and actors and poets – use whatever platform they have to speak their truths. My Facebook post started to look more like a rant, so I brought it back here – to use my platform to speak my truth.
I’ve been thinking about people I know – good friends – who are on the opposite side of the election from me. Wondering why I refrain from reaching out to some directly. I have a moments where I think I’ll connect. Send a text or direct message saying something like, “I know we see things differently, but you’re my friend, and I respect you.” Then I see a Facebook post or remember one of their comments during the election and close my laptop – I don’t know if I don’t want the confrontation, or no longer want the friendship. I don’t understand how we can be so far apart on so many issues. I don’t unfriend them, but I hide their posts.
I wonder what some of them would think if they were sitting in the theater with my eight-year old son, watching Hidden Figures. Would they agree with him about the issues it addressed – that the rights of black women are important? That science is important?
Or, would they pat him on the head and smile condescendingly, choosing not to connect the dots between this movie’s themes and the direction they chose for our country by electing a man who was sued by the federal justice department for racial discrimination because he refused to rent apartments to people based on the color of their skin? A man who was caught on tape bragging about assaulting women, grabbing them by the pussy? A man who has repeatedly denied science?
Or maybe they would hate the movie – again, making me question how we can be so far apart on so many issues – especially movies.