Puppies, Movies, Bars, and Bad Guys


  1. Animal Rights Activism: When I was in elementary school, my brother and I would walk around town in the winter throwing snowballs at women in fur coats. We were horrified by the sacrifice of cute little animals for the sake of fashion, and delighted by the chaos we raised. Of course, we were inspired by PETA’s notorious red paint attacks. Later, we found horrifying videos of dogs being skinned alive or beaten slowly to death by fur suppliers that were reported to supply top designers. Now if I see a close friend wearing fur, I kindly inform them that they could be wearing a puppy. Animal Rights activism involves an incredibly diverse group of movements. I’m extremely interested in how these movements are used, especially in the media, and who they are actually benefitting. Is the current anti-fur movement “I’d rather go naked” raising awareness or putting the spotlight on lesser-known Kardashians? Did Whale Wars really impact the Japan’s fishing of whales, or did it just heighten the popularity of Discovery Channel for a while? Meanwhile, a film like Blackfish seemed to be entirely in service of the orca whales it attempted to demand rights for. I’m also fascinated by the psychology of Extremist Animal Rights activists. While demanding that animals be treated humanely, how inhumanely will they treat their fellow humans?
  2. Activism Through Non-Documentary Film: How does a commercial, non-documentary film take part in implicit, and even direct activist thought? Though production on Straight Outta Compton began years before Trayvon Martin was murdered, many thought the film was in direct correspondence to the movement. Though completely fictionalized, Sicario takes an unflinching stance against intrusive foreign policies used by the US government. This years Birth of a Nation beautifully articulates the motivation for violent protest.
  3. Anti-Incarceration Movement: Does our society support conditions that lead to modern-day slavery through mass incarceration? How can we change as a society to end the vicious cycle of mass incarceration, and what can be done right now.
  4. Immigration Reform: How do illegal immigrants campaign for their own rights?
  5. Evil Activism: There are certainly activist groups that have goals that do not only seem to be backwards or unprogressive, but are actually evil. The American Immigration Control Federation, for example believes that immigrants, especially from the third world, have only brought evil into the US.

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