Liberal politics is in trouble. In the few years since Occupy Wall Street came and went, attracting plenty of news coverage but effecting little lasting change, a commitment to liberal politics feels increasingly futile — not to mention dreary as fuck.
This is a necessarily oversimplified version of the problem Ellen Willis identified in her final, most ambitious, and tragically unfinished work. A book project with the working title “The Cultural Unconscious in American Politics,” it promised to use psychoanalysis to rescue the nation’s political imagination from the conservative hell into which it descended after the radical ’60s.
Razor-sharp piece on Mom’s ideas about the cultural unconscious by Judy Berman!
Out soon. Order from U. of Minnesota Press.
She concludes that the biggest problem facing women filmmakers is cultural.
Society has a powerful heritage of disrespect towards women. It goes way beyond physical violence, to various emotionally abusive behaviours – silencing women who speak out; misrepresentation and underrepresentation of women and girls; withholding resources of time, money and appreciation from women. All these behaviours affect women’s storytelling in public forums and on screens.
Mary Beard recently gave a wonderful lecture called The Public Voice of Women, about how we’ve been excluded from ‘authoritative public speech’ since Homeric times. Today, writing and directing films can be seen as a kind of authoritative public speech, primarily the ‘business of [white] men’, who are now discovering that filmmaking can generate good business if it tells stories with women as central characters. But the old old tradition is so deeply embedded that decision makers don’t embrace women as the writers and directors of the stories. This behaviour will be very hard to shift.