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This is a good film for sociology classes as long as the professor explains some of the inherent biases and the apparent agenda of the author of the book, Status Anxiety. I watched the film on PBS and, as a sociologist, liked the discussions about Marx, Weber, and other notables. Weber actually defined class to include wealth, status, and power, so the inference that it is something less falls short of describing an accurate depiction of the topic. The NY Times review refers to Botton's book as superficial and although I would agree, it did offer a good introduction to the British view of class. It is somewhat difficult to ignore that someone whose culture is a monarchy can accurately describe the class structure in such universal terms. Perhaps American sociologists (such as C. Wright Mills, for example) might be a better source of information. Botton's description does sketch some notables worthy of mention including William James, Adam Smith, Marcus Aurelius, and Schopenhauer but his selections are covered in most freshman philosophy, or civilization courses, and far better than the documentary. What was annoying in watching the film was the obvious liberal, left-wing agenda that Botton imposes (and not at all in a subtle or artistic way) about his anti-gun stance. As trite as it seems, it is not guns that kill people, but people that kill people. I found the clip contrasting Robert Norquest with the grieving mother whose son is murdered (shot) by a gang member to be more of an advertisement for the politics of the liberal left than an accurate description of crime and violence. "If all guns are outlawed, then only outlaws will have guns." In addition, the right to bear arms, part of the American Bill of Rights, is something the British just cannot understand. After all, that is one of reasons the "colonists" revolted against King George in the first place. I do like their tea though!
I was really looking forward to seeing this series, but I find this to be another anti-American British documentary. Don't get me wrong, I am a liberal anglophile who would love to have been able to enjoy this. I kept trying to not be offended, but it was so bile ridden, slanted and selective upon its viewpoints that I found it to be unwatchable. Sure, it is easy to interview people who will "ironically" illustrate your viewpoint. But he had no interest on interviewing anyone who might not fully support his premise, that America represents the ultimate evil that is undoing the world. Well, I kept wanting to tell this prat that he doesn't have to be here. I guess it is part of the raving anti-americanism that I have personally experienced, every time that I go over to Europe. First of all, not ALL Americans feel the same way, and not ALL of us think the same way. And there are as many fat, loser, rednecks all over the world, including England & the continent thank you very much. Status isn't simply an "American" problem. It's always been around since time began. So this dude comes over with a patronizing tone, and an expensive suit and clothing, talking about ordinary people being wrong for wanting to succeed. Whatever! Also interviewing a TV preacher, then making a blanket statement of Christianity in America being about money, well what a lazy amount of research that was. I'd love to just interview "Creflo Dollar", then say - see - here what is wrong with Christians and Americans. Let's just not allow for any other viewpoints - let's just make a blanket assumption. What a lot of nonsense. I guess he would rather have the middle class toothless and living in squalor alongside an aristocracy that relies upon one's birth and social snobbery rather than talent, desire or anything else. This is a one sided snobbish view of "what's wrong with America". Personally, I am so sick of this type of scapegoating, I really expected more from this. I know there are a lot of problems in the world, but jeez! I'd rather be worried about succeeding in life and striving to better myself, along with all the materialism and tackiness that comes with that - than whine about what's wrong with everyone else with a smug superior sneering tone. Enjoy.
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