Okay, this was a sublimely surreal experience tonight.
There I was, debating the significance of referencing the anxiety about Barack Obama being assassinated with Carl Weathers, A.K.A. Apollo Creed from Rocky, or B.K.A. “Carl Weathers” from Arrested Development, the funniest show ever shot on tape (i.e., not The Simpsons).
This dude Van has made a documentary about Obama’s campaign since January. What angle you ask, in such a rich topic? That is what me, Carl Weathers, and other friends of Van were discussing after watching 15 minutes of his film.
If there’s one thing I learned from both making FREE FOR ALL! and teaching doc film making at UCLA Extension, it is asking “What is PERSONAL about this?” It’s a challenging line of questioning that is both dismissive and guiding.
What Van’s piece started to touch on is the real racial reactions to Obama: Black people saying it wasn’t his time, White people saying it was.
I did assert at one point that if Van’s intention was to convert undecided voters to choose Obama, his doc might as well be “Obama: He’s Not That Black.” Because the people hung-up on voting for him at that point would still be trying to make themselves feel okay about it.
And deep down, while many Americans are more racist than they will admit, they are even more practical.
At any rate, Carl and I differed on how taboo it was to include a reference to the widely held fear that Obama would be assassinated. If everyone was sharing that fear, it bears a mention in my opinion. Carl felt that since everyone knew it, don’t put it out there any more. Carl must be 60, but he looks like he flattened Sylvester Stallone yesterday. So I made my point, but politely.