Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dear Mr. Spurlock

Dear Morgan,

I take your name attached to a movie as an identifier that it will be well-reasoned, above average for what TV offers and sometimes reaching and achieving excellency, and sometimes goofy. I also think you are the only host I have ever watched that knows how to do the job correctly. I like the fact that your angle is off beat but fair, your investigation is typically relentless and balanced. You see, I am in your corner.

However, with this second season of 30 days, I feel like 2 of the 3 episodes on this disk, the cards were stacked. You wanted the viewers to come away with a certain feeling, more so than you wanted to be balanced and fair.

For example, the guy who was against immigration, the one who volunteered for the Minutemen, I felt the whole episode was designed to change his mind, rather than to ever give the Mexican family a sense of empathy as to why illegal immigration can be actually a very bad thing. He was dogmatic, a gun toter, and rather than painting a coherent picture of the victims of illegal immigration, who are lower middle class Americans as well as illegal immigrants and their families, the episode seemed designed to enlighten him. I would like to think that at least a few people against illegal immigration are so out of compassion, rather than being dogmatic self appointed policers of the border, whose anti-immigrant sentiment at times sounds like an allowed version of neo-nazism.

Additionally, I didn't feel the atheist and the Christian family were a fair matchup.

The Christians by and large looked like rich, white people who were barely barely able to scratch the surface of their beliefs before their brains tilted, where the "atheist" clearly had give alot of thought about her decision.

There are alot of not very smart or informed atheists, and there are also many critical thinking Christians out there. A more fair matchup might have had a Christian family that didn't merely typify the churchgoers who try to convert everything in sight.

I thought it must have been really hard for the atheist too.

A better version of this show, whose premise was to elicit mutual understanding between atheist/agnostic people and Christians, was to put them both at a level of wrestling with spiritual issues. Were they both thinkers who were mature enough to not resort to fiery emotion at the first incongruence of beliefs, there could have been some very thought-provoking conversations. As it was, the father of the Christian family was thick with incomprehension of how anyone could not believe the way he does. His approach left the atheist woman feeling threatened and scared to talk, less able to articulate her beliefs.

Anyway, will continue to watch and show your stuff in my classrooms, but your fairness is really crucial to what you do. If it seems unbalanced, alot of credibility is lost...

I won't even go in here on how abyssmal Chalk was. Meh, please. Don't insult our intelligence!

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