Faculty Writing: High Standards for Fake Presidents

This week, in the New Republic, Patrick Blanchfield explores the odd juxtaposition of Kevin Spacey’s effective firing from “House of Cards” (for preying upon a minor) and Trump’s continued real-life occupancy of the American presidency. “More is at stake here than just a simple comparison between fiction and reality, entertainment and politics. The power of a show like ‘House of Cards’ is derived in no small part from its relationship with actual political realities, and its fortunes as entertainment have waxed and waned in light of the dubious entertainments and urgent horrors of real political life.”

In the New York Times magazine, Christine Smallwood profiles a more likable actor: Greta Gerwig. In advance of Gerwig’s directorial debut, “Lady Bird,” Smallwood traces Gerwig’s career and artistic development and discusses the process behind the creation of “a character rarely seen onscreen: a young girl who loves herself.” “In most films, girls exist to be looked at. Sometimes they help a male protagonist come to a realization about himself. Sometimes they die. Gerwig makes Lady Bird the one who looks: at boys but also houses, magazines, books, clothes and at thle city of Sacramento. She also takes the wind out of a particular kind of male self-seriousness around cultural objects. Toward the end of the movie, a very drunk Lady Bird is in her dorm room with a boy — the kind of boy who would invite you to see ‘The 400 Blows’ on a first date — who is flipping through her CD case. He scoffs that her taste in music sucks: All she has are greatest-hits albums. ‘But they’re the greatest,’ she says. They immediately start making out.”

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