This year’s headlines have been dominated by sexual assault and harassment allegations against powerful, wealthy politicians and prominent figures in the entertainment industry. In many ways, this is old news—people in positions of power have always used that power to sexually exploit and harass those in less powerful positions. The difference is, until recently, these figures seemed too big to fall.
Allegations of Louis C.K.’s sexual misconduct—as well as his published response—came out this week, hot on the heels of similar allegations concerning Kevin Spacey. Leaving aside the morality of C.K.’s actions, there is the question of the general public’s response in regard to the media he has produced. HBO has already dropped him from the Night of Too Many Stars and removed his shows from its service in order to distance itself from his work. Was this an ethically informed decision, and, if so, should audiences respond in kind? Even if HBO hadn’t pulled his shows–and considering that they are still available through other services–are fans of the comedian obligated to cease watching C.K. because of his actions? In broader terms, should the morality of an artist be taken into account in the consumption of their art?
On July 25, The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study on the correlation between a distinctive brain damage (chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE) and playing football professionally. The study included 202 brains of individuals who played football at some point in life, 111 of which were of former NFL players. They found that only one of the professional football players didn’t have CTE.
In 2011, Catalonia’s Parliament introduced a ban on bullfighting. Now, this has been overturned by Spain’s Constitutional Court. The rationale for the new ruling is that, in 2013, Spain declared bullfighting a national cultural heritage, and no local government has the power to ban festivities that are part of declared cultural heritage.
The Super Bowl happened last month, but the media still has not quieted down over Beyoncé’s half time performance, particularly the debut of her new song, “Formation.” For those who haven’t seen the music video or her Super Bowl performance, it is unlike anything the singer has done to date. It was culturally provocative, emotional, highly stimulating and an reminder of where Beyoncé came from. From Beyonce on top of a sinking police car in what seems to be New Orleans to her riding around in an old convertable with her hair in braids, the images leave little doubt in the viewers mind that Beyonce is black.
In the music video, released a day before her Super Bowl performance, Beyonce takes on all African-American stereotypes and does so in her own way. Beyoncé and Jay- Z, her husband, have been publicly quiet on the racial conflicts of the past few years, including the Black Lives Matter movement. But the couple has taken a more public role in racial dialogues. Beyonce’s “Formation” in combination with Jay-Z’s business Tidal donating $1.5 million to the Black Lives Matter program makes their position on these issues fairly clear.
In just a few weeks, audiences around the country will have the chance to watch the Stonewall Inn riots of 1969 play out before their eyes. Over 45 years after the riots that sparked the LGBT movement in America, the events that took place at the Stonewall Inn will once again be immortalized in film. Directed by Roland Emmerich, Stonewall will come to theatres in September, promising to explore the story of “A young man’s political awakening and coming of age during the days and weeks leading up to the Stonewall Riots.”
Season 4 of the FX television series, “American Horror Story” just premiered this past Wednesday night with their newest season titled, “Freak Show”. Although I am a huge fan of the AHS series, something about this particular season did not sit right with me. Don’t get me wrong, cinematically, it looks like it will be an incredible season. However, ethically, how acceptable is it to have a show that features “freaks” in a way that is meant to be disturbing?
The word “freak” itself is derogatory and American Horror Story uses perverse humor and exaggeration to exploit those who were naturally born with physical, yet innocent, abnormalities. Continue reading “American Horror Story: Freak Show”
By now, most people have heard that nude photos of nearly 100 celebrities, including actress Jennifer Lawrence, were stolen and posted to the internet by a hacker. The resultant leak has sparked both an FBI investigation and significant public outcry. On one hand, it is relatively easy to evaluate the morality of the hacker’s actions. But do those who simply view the photos share the blame?