Being a major in English literature, it may be a bit needless to say that I read a lot. Like, constantly. But living in the 21st century, I am also an avid television and film consumer. Which, to some, may soon be more important than novels or poetry. (Sob.) Long story short, I both read everything I can get my hands on and binge watch Netflix originals.
This somewhat lengthy introduction leads to a core belief of mine: watching or reading whatever is fine, but it means little if you aren’t an active consumer. By active, I mean thinking about what you are watching, analyzing it, discussing it. This act of analysis makes us more active members of society and, honestly, better people.
Recognizing why something or someone in a television show or movie makes you feel strongly is important because you can then analyze those traits, tropes, or various aspects of society. Literature and film is, after all, only a reflection or criticism of our culture. A film like Dear White People is important because you can, as an active consumer, recognize the flaws in our society and how different sub-populations of our society feel about these flaws. A television show like Parks & Recreation, which is phenomenal for reasons that needs its own article, is worth analyzing because you can (like I did) realize how few shows have great, complex representations of women on television. Don’t even get me started on Game of Thrones (literature and film, oh, be still my beating heart).
When the day comes that I am out of school and working as a full-time teacher, I hope I can communicate this to my students. If I can successfully get across the message that individuals in a working, healthy, educated society need to be able to analyze what they consume, I have done my job.
Also, isn’t it just fun to obsess over a show or book?