Bringing a documentary film to one’s community, when it deals with a “hot topic,” is always a perilous form of citizen activism.
Documentaries cover a range of topics. When the subject matter is popular within a community, it is heralded as the important expose that it is. Yay! But what if the topic is not supported by local politicians, school districts, churches, media and industry?
My husband’s family is from Gilroy, CA. It’s a growing community with a fairly conservative bent, and I’ve experienced the effects of “localized censorship” first hand. Here are three examples:
(1) When my kids were young, I would travel from West Seattle to Gilroy, and I noticed that documentaries I could rent at the West Seattle Blockbuster Movie Store were not available at the Blockbuster Movie Stores in Gilroy.
(2) When I traveled to Gilroy, and I looked for news about international affairs, the content differed dramatically from what I read in The Seattle Times.
(3) When “An Inconvenient Truth” came to Vashon Island, I told all my family about it, as we were visiting the following week. I wanted to take all of my husband’s extended Mexican family to see the movie. But, none of the theaters in the area had carried the film NOR were they planning to carry the film.
So, are we happy that the vital information in “An Inconvenient Truth” is being withheld from the public awareness in various cities across the country? Do we wish it were different, so those in conservative regions could be exposed to the information contained in this film…?
Sure we do!
Well, to obtain that goal, we must embrace and actively support documentaries which run counter to the mainstream opinions that dominate OUR community, as well.
When you witness others engaging in Peer-to-Peer Censorship, think carefully about how you will respond. Censorship is always dangerous, and when it reaches down into the social fabric of our island, pitting neighbor against neighbor?
Seriously, folks. Take a deep breath and think about what you are doing. We are not stupid followers, on this island. We are educated. We are researchers. We are critical thinkers. And this means, we can handle watching a documentary. It’s not that hard to do.
See? Not so scary after all…