Monday, June 10, 2013

Sorry I Didn't Give Money To Stop Kony, But I Did Pledge $50 For This ...

I confess: I am a jaded postmodernist, generally skeptical about the ability of any nonprofit agency to do actual good in the world. Every now and then I see requests for donations on facebook but I can’t remember ever actually giving money. Even for causes I care about. And to be honest, that’s first of all because I’m stingy. Second because I’m lazy. Thirdly, I get nervous making financial transactions online. And then also, I get paralyzed by cynicism.

But for some reason, this project made me stop and decide to open my wallet. (And then I found out they may not even take my money after all—which was kind of emotionally confusing—“Oh, good, I might get to keep my money” but also “Oh, bad, maybe they won’t get enough support to make their movie.”)

This is the article that I first read (most of—well, okay, really just the parts that interested me). To summarize: it’s the story of author Alisa Valdes’ disgust at certain mainstream Hollywood producers’ rejection of her pitch for a t.v. show (based on her bestselling novel) about a diverse group of Latinas because (she tells us they said) they wanted to limit themselves to more stereotypical portrayals of Hispanic women. And sure enough, one of the studios she was in talks with (Lifetime) but could not reach an agreement with is now (unsurprisingly) coming out with a show about sexy Latina maids.

So Valdes is now trying to raise enough money to produce independently a movie based on her book. That’s ambitious. And definitely, to my mind, a worthy goal.

I love this idea, first of all, because it’s not like giving to so many national or international charitable organizations where there’s a real question as to what, exactly, your money will accomplish. Here, you know that a movie is going to be produced. Art will be created. And that is an end in itself.

Also, the more people support small budget films, ultimately, the less people’s attitudes will be shaped by mainstream media (which relies to a horrifying, revolting extent upon stereotyping, sexual exploitation, hackneyed tropes, and other undesirable appeals to the lowest common denominator in taste[lessness]).

So, now I’m doing my part to spread the word. Support better art; support a better world! (-: Read about the project and perhaps you'll be inspired to make a pledge, too.

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