The politicization of Zero Dark Thirty is understandable; it deals with a controversial policy furiously debated during the Bush presidency, after all. But a work of art needn’t be expressly political for the critic to bemoan its political failings. Here are a few recent examples I stumbled on while doing my regular media rounds: on opposite pages in London’s Times, actor Gael García Bernal complains that British films like The Queen don’t offer a political worldview (a missed opportunity for antiroyalism), while columnist Caitlin Moran transforms the hit BBC drama Call the Midwife into “the most radical piece of Marxist-feminist dialectic to ever be broadcast on prime-time television.”
Over at ThinkProgress, culture blogger Alyssa Rosenberg celebrates the NBC drama Deception for featuring a black, female lead: “the show operated at the intersection of race and class at a way I thought was fascinating and promising.” But it was “disconcerting” to speak with the show’s creators, Rosenberg wrote, who pooh-poohed suggestions that race was an important element of the show (“it’s not really something we talk about too much in the writers’ room”).
And at Slate, culture critic David Haglund deconstructs a Portlandia sketch mocking attractive hipsters (a sexy woman in glasses) who self-identify as “nerds” by interviewing an actual nerd (a lumpy, shy guy obsessed with science fiction). Haglund objects to the “idea that women are not real nerds,” which apparently is a “fairly common and pernicious notion.”