The film’s promotional poster notably features just Baldwin’s eyes and the title, and all through the film are magnetic images of black people staring, looking off, caught in their own subjectivity. The effect of these eyes turned back on the viewer is breathtaking.
It was a bright cold day in January, and the blogosphere was awash in the world of 1984. After senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway took to the airwaves to declare that her White House colleagues operated in a world of “alternative facts” it only seemed logical—and instructive—to liken her spin to the truth-bending protocols that occupy much of the action in George Orwell’s classic anti-totalitarian satire.
This week, the country’s dominant mode of pop-cultural expression was the public speech—something of a throwback trend, given Americans’ patterns of media consumption nowadays. In the smartphone era, we tend not to gather around and listen to our leaders pontificate in the tradition of the FDR fireside chat; the internet and social media provide us with an inexhaustible array of platforms to do so on our own.