Blogs > Liberty and Power > Precious: A New Kind of "Blaxploitation"

Feb 8, 2010 7:38 pm

Precious: A New Kind of "Blaxploitation"

Some weeks ago I watched a trailer for the much-hyped Precious and did not care at all for what I saw. Brendan O'Neill explains why it is so awful.

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Maarja Krusten - 2/10/2010

For more nuanced views, see these letters to the editor in today’s New York Times, “Precious: In black, white, and gray,” at

Not all of us look at these issues through a political prism. Some of us just take such movies as depictions of one person's life, without ascribing any particular motives to the filmmaker or the people who praise the film. And react by saying, “thank you, God, for having given me so privileged a life and please, Lord, look after, sustain, and help the unfortunate who suffer in ways that I will never know and all those who seek to help them.” This film is set during the 1980s. With all the nostalgia for Ronald Reagan and “Morning in America,” I think it’s good for people such as I, who voted for him, to be reminded of the fact that there were people for whom things were pretty grim back then. And that complex situations very different from what we face surrounded some of the “welfare queens” that Reagan pointed to in his speeches.

Perhaps how people react to these issues has something to do with their sense of empathy or lack thereof. I read an article a couple of years ago in which a psychiatrist said there is exists a condition he calls empathy deficit. As he put it, “People who suffer from EDD are unable to step outside themselves and tune in to what other people experience. That makes it a source of personal conflicts, of communication failure in intimate relationships, and of the adversarial attitudes -- even hatred -- among groups of people who differ in their beliefs, traditions or ways of life.” Something to ponder, specially in the age of what Bill Bishop refers to as The Big Sort, where it’s tempting for some people to self segregate into communities of the politically and economically like-minded.

Aeon J. Skoble - 2/8/2010

I haven't seen the movie, but that essay is pretty damning!