Our reading focused extensively on “the right to represent oneself visually” through media, and how the new era of affordable video production and distribution also enables the creation of “a strong sense of collective identity.” While I am certain that “indigenous self-representation implies selfhood” and that “videos point out the unique political status of Indian nations,” I just don’t think my generation has the patience to watch the magnificent feature-length documentaries that could enact social change, especially if all of them are such downers.
No, the future of my generation’s education lies in the clever. Modern Americans demand bite-sized knowledge, replete with wit and cleverly drawn points. For an (admittedly abstract) example, not even the full breadth of the Academy, our most prestigious committee in Media and Film, made it through 12 Years a Slave. Now, I know that’s a narrative film, but hear me out. If we can’t even sit down and watch a dramatization of something that happened a hundred years ago, why listen to a longer length film? Hell, I have friends that couldn’t even watch Blackfish!
In my opinion, shorts like Injunuity are the most promising way of building a cultural awareness. Yes, we still need the Kahnesatake-type films every once in a while to really speak the truth, but a larger mass of more accessible ideas is needed to branch out to all demographics. If instead of 1000 heartbreaking epics, 100 Youtube clips (or just short media on social networks, like those made by Idle No More) were produced, then the message would spread like wildfire.
I realize that I may be opening a can of worms here that I am not ready to deal with. Just to be clear, I do believe in artistic integrity and I do know that the issues are absolutely worth making movies about. All I’m saying is, perhaps toning down the pathos and upping the wit might be a good idea. For all I know, the pendulum may have already swung this way without my knowledge.