Inequality for All

September 28, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Posted in 2013 | Leave a comment
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◊ ◊ ◊ ½

It is a tricky debate about whether or not a documentary needs to be seen in the theater.  It certainly doesn’t gain anything from the big screen or Dolby Surround Sound.  Perhaps, you might go for the audience interaction; the vibe of the crowd.  This is a tricky proposition, as I learned last night at my screening of “Inequality for All.”  This film centers entirely on Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, who had also served in the Carter and Ford administrations.  Reich is a brilliant, articulate and funny speaker and the film consists entirely of him explaining his particular view of economics and the growing class disparity in this country.  Using very clear graphs, well thought-out arguments and personal stories, he carefully outlines how the middle class has been disappearing in this country since the last 70s, explains why he thinks this is the case and what the costs have been.  It is a cogent and convincing argument.  It’s an argument that I think most American’s know nothing about, explained in a way that almost all of them would understand.  I said understand, not agree.  One of the things Reich points out is that political polarization increases during times of economic disparity.  He remains far more optimistic than I am; I can’t help but wonder how many of the people who really need to see this movie would be swayed out of their partisan stupors long enough to let it sink in.  Unfortunately, this film will be watched (when it’s watched at all) in theaters that are largely as partisan as mine was.  Frankly, I’m not sure what would be a bigger turn off: a theater full of conservatives catcalling and deriding the film or my experience of a theater full of liberals whooping and “amen”ing the screen or hissing every time a Republican appeared.  In either case, there is very little swaying of minds going on.  So, see it.  Really, really.  This film is worth seeing.  Just maybe in your own living room.  Preferably with a group of folks who respect each other but sit on different sides of the ideological divide, so you can discuss and debate it afterwards.  Perhaps that’s where real insight can occur.

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