Truth and Consequences | Documentaries and the Art of Manipulation

Blair McClendon

The best way to begin is with a gun. We don’t need to see it, but we need to know it’s there. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to convince an American that one is nearby. Start with murky fragments of a city skyline, lights piercing the falling night. Then a disembodied voice speaks as if the story has already begun, providing basic exposition: Dallas, October, Thursday night. A blue-eyed man,...

“Speak to the Moment” | Art and Culture under Trump

Blair McClendon

In 2016, grand predictions were issued about the fate of art under the new regime. The culture would suffer, dragged into the morass of Trump’s gaudy, ’80s flair — his ill-fitting suits, overlong ties, and overcooked steaks. Or no — it would usher in an artistic renaissance, a flourishing, heady underground. Comedy might be dead, but things were looking up for punk.  Four(ish) years later, it’s time to prematurely diagnose the...

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