Mallory Ortberg and Anne Helen Peterson are talking about Crash over at the Awl. In addition to re-capping all the reasons this movie, more than the many, many other mediocre Best Picture winners, deserves our continued condemnation, they make a good case for why we should still care about how bad Crash was. The whole conversation is worth a read, but Peterson concludes with a nod to the utility of popular art with questionable politics:
Because even when people stop renting Crash on Netflix, its legacy is still with us. It’s in The Blind Side, but it’s also very much in The Help. I’m actually surprised there isn’t a single “white people solve racism” film in this year’s Oscar bunch—it’s so incessant, so culturally assertive, so eager to be green-lighted by all manner of white execs who want to show that they’re willing to cast black actors so long as their salvation is rooted in the extravagances of white privilege. Crash hurts my soul—but it’s also an incredible teaching tool. When I’m talking about the mid-2000s in class, twenty years from now, I’ll be able to point to it as a perfect crystallization of all America wishes it was and all it was not. That’s a fucking tragedy, but that doesn’t mean I’m not glad this film exists. Traces matter, however repugnant.
Ortberg is less optimistic:
I think it’s wonderful that you think there will still be human teachers in American universities twenty years from now.