Left-Reading Media: When you want it to be Progressive

When all your faves are problematic, it may be tempting, or even natural, to tease out progressive politics or disruptive readings within media which on the surface seems to support the status quo. Is that ultra-macho action movie really about found family? Is your favorite root-for-the-bad-guy drama actually a scathing indictment of violence and toxic masculinity? Well, maybe not, but the tendency to seek a progressive meaning in the media we love is called “left-reading,” and today on the podcast Carolyn, Ebony, and Anita are taking a look at the phenomena and discussing why it happens and what harm might be done by excusing popular media in this way.

Time Stamps:
6:00 – Introduction to “Left-reading”
9:34 – The Equalizer and The Equalizer 2
17:13 – Breaking Bad
20:46 – Star Wars, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings
27:00 – Optimistic left-reading, opportunities for reclamation, and personal interpretation vs real-world impact
36:24 – Cop-aganda
40:00 – Fury Road and Ripley
44:00 – John Wick and The Fast and the Furious movies
48:51 – What’s Your Freq Out?
* Anita on the 2018 film Shoplifters directed by Hirokazu Koreeda
Guest freq out from listener Halex Pereira from Brazil on the web comic (released recently as 2 part graphic novel) Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu
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