The New Grimness

Hollywood is uncannily anticipating the increasingly grim mood, at least in the United States, with a flock of extraordinarily well-done, but exceedingly bleak, movies.  "No Country for Old Men", "Sweeney Todd", and "There Will Be Blood" all present a dark portrayal of the human condition with little room for optimism for the future.  Even "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly", promoted as a movie with imagination and hope, leads to an inevitably depressing conclusion.
The grim national mood seems reinforced by the daily barrage of negative economic news. Today’s New York Times calls this a "revival of 1992’s glum mood".  Contrary to 1992, however, there is little reason to suspect that things will improve and every reason to anticipate further bad news.  Yet another parallel between art and life.
Maybe the pendulum is again swinging, as it must, between our national mania and depression.  The "national malaise" of Jimmy Carter’s administration gave way to "morning in America" from Ronald Reagan.  In retrospect, both were irrational and unrealistic extremes.  And that’s the challenge for leaders: facing reality with a sober rational view that avoids riding the pendulum.  So far, there’s not been far too little of this.

Business and leadership, Current Affairs, Film  |  permalink

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