I’ve been chewing on this Richard Cohen article on the upcoming film “By the People: The Election of Barack Obama,” and I’ve finally figured out what was nagging me about it. It’s because of this passage:
What’s striking about this inside look at Obama is how being inside gets you nowhere. It is virtually the same as being outside. What’s also striking about this movie is its lack of arc. Obama is always golden, always going to win and always does. His issue, if it can be called that, is himself. He is something new, something young, something biracial and something black, but he is not something from a political or ideological constituency. He is adored by his fans — the directors, Amy Rice and Alicia Sams, included — not for something he’s done, but rather for something he is.
Richard Cohen thought that he was watching a documentary. Still does. So his confusion over the lack of tension, internal conflict, and ‘arc’ makes sense, in this context: you need all of these for the documentary genre, which is of course supposed to be a type of film where the director attempts to show the essential truth of a situation or person on camera.
But you need none of them for propaganda.
Crossposted to RedState.