A few months back Sadiqeh and I went and saw the documentary Waiting for Superman. We were both brought to tears by the stories of the children and their parents in the movie. I will admit, that the personal stories did such a number on me, that aside from my annoyance at the director for not naming whiteness and the systemic oppression of poor people and poor people of color, I was swept into the film.
Like my admittance with The Fighter, I am now taking back my love for this documentary. That’s part of the fun of this blog for me, and being in school, learning, re-learning, continued examination and analysis, etc. And being accountable. Public accountability is not easy, even if when there really are only a few consistent readers. But the point is, it’s not about me, it’s about this movie.
My good friend Rebecca, sleuth that she is, and could probably outdo Greg Palast, recently saw the film. She got it on DVD, so she was able to see the special features as well. She told me though, that as soon as the film started, she suspected something was up. She reacted to the director in the same way I did – though, I did not tell her this or say it to anyone because unlike Rebecca, I still get caught up in being called paranoid or being told I am too suspicious. Anyway, what Rebecca saw was that the director, Davis Guggenheim, is experiencing some of that classic white guilt because he can send his kid to a private school. So, to make up for the guilt, but never name it of course, he made this movie. And as Rebecca did her research, she learned about all the corporations and funding the movie, including the likes of Bill Gates. Rebecca shared this great article (The Ultimate Superpower: Supersized Dollars Drive Waiting for Superman Agenda by Barbara Miner) that examines the money funding the film – Paramount Vantage, Participant Media, and Walden – and the money funding certain schools, like hedge funds. Miner even names the various politicians and CEOs invested in charter schools the film praises.
Additionally, Rebecca shared a link to a documentary The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman (Guggenheim also directed The Inconvenient Truth). I posted the trailer below. I think it’s fascinating to note the production quality of this film versus Guggenheim’s. It appears that there are no major studios backing this production.
Yes, currently, I am sharing what someone else shared with me. This is how information is dispersed. Do with it what you will. This whole thing is proof of our need to really examine information we are given. To dig deep. To question. Isn’t that what education is supposedly about? And great, we can tear apart the systems that strangle life out of education, including the film industry. (This is why I miss teaching).