Sunday, September 04, 2005
Katrina: The TV Movie
With the airing of the movie(s), our sense of history will distort to some extent. We may gloss over what seems clear now, may forget the reality in exchange for our "docudrama" representation of it. (The word docudrama is an abomination to me, a contemptible attempt to rewrite history in the guise of ostensibly giving us insight into the people and events. There is no "docu" in it; it's more honest to say "drama inspired by a true story edited for children with learning disabilities.")
Here's how I think it will play on TV. Depending on the length of the entire piece, there will be between 3 and 7 parallel story arcs. Each arc will have between 1 and 4 main characters. (I'm pulling these numbers out of my a--. I don't have any practical experience with scripts or shooting logistics.) Here's the important part: At least half of the featured cast in those main roles will be white. And an inordinately large proportion will be "middle-class" rather than poor.
Now, I'm not saying no white people or middle income people were caught in the awful events of Katrina. I am suggesting they were in a distinctly minor proportion, particularly in New Orleans. If it seems too difficult to adapt this script to the realities of New Orleans, expect that some story arcs will take place on the Gulf Coast or the bayous where there might be a higher percent of whites. At least one arc will be from the perspective of rescue workers struggling mightily to help people who are inexplicably angry and violent. Those angry and violent people will undoubtedly be portrayed as black and brown people. Think of mobs of Mogadishuans(sp?) in the film Black Hawk Down.
The cynic in me already sees this presentation in my mind's eye. Charges of racism toward the producers and writers will be met with standard statements about the "unavailability" of black actors and the need to help middle-class whites "identify" with the events. Certain liberties had to be taken for dramatic purposes, etc.
I look back over this post and wonder why I'm writing it. I doubt anything here is surprising. I'm not even certain it will play out the way I've described. Yet there is still a bitter pleasure in writing it. Perhaps it's a kind of reverse magick spell: If I say it, maybe I can keep it from happening. Maybe someone will actually write and produce something closer to reality than the usual dreck.
Who am I kidding? TV? Closer to reality? Ha-ha-ha! Am I mad? No, but I play a madman in my blog. Ha-ha-ha!!