October 31, 2012

Errol Morris applies his documentarian style to the problem of people who don't vote.

Video.

Reading Morris's explanation below the video at the link, I see that — spoiler alert! — everyone in the video is actually going to vote and they were prompted to think about how people who don't vote must think. I'm seeing that after watching the video. So to the extent that these people seem dumb... ish... it's at least partly that they are attempting to embody the persona of other people, who they probably think are dumb. So we're seeing a subtle blend of opinion about the nonvoters.

At the end we see that the video was produced with Our Time, and I assume the intent is to improve the turnout for Barack Obama, but in style and substance, it's nicely neutral and quite amusing and charming.

23 comments:

Jake Diamond said...

Errol Morris is an excellent filmmaker.

john sager said...

Loved his book on photography, Seeing is Believing. His blog at NYT is quite interesting, too.

New book on Jeffrey MacDonald's "innocence," A Wilderness of Error - ain't read yet.

rehajm said...

I love Errol Morris interviews. The interrotron is one of the greatest innovations in documentary filming...

Ann Althouse said...

I took out the embedded video. It was making the page load slowly, I think.

john sager said...

Ann, you are right. It was taking forever. Cheers.

tim maguire said...

Problem is (as it so often is in these things), that it's a load of crap and a complete waste of time to watch.

These are people who vote and want you to vote, so while they pretend to give reasons not to vote, they're only going to give the ones that are easily refuted. If there is a substantial argument against voting, this video purporting to give reasons not to vote is the last place that argument will appear.

Gov98 said...

Eh. When I turned 18 I voted for every dumb thing on the ballot, for City Council, Fire Board, whatever. I "VOTED," now I think that's silly. I got a mailer because one of the candidates around here didn't vote in 20 of the last 40 elections or something like that...Now the 20 he didn't vote in were "water agency director" or some midyear off election gobbledygook. Why should I care? I don't, and frankly I was kind of offended by the mailer.

The humility to say, you know what I don't know who would be better for this office so you know what I'm going to reserve my voice is an under recognized humility and maybe teaching that type of humility wouldn't be such a bad thing. It seems utterly lame and uniniquisitive to come up with 11 "excellent" reasons not to vote and have them all be pretty weak straw men, and the 2 good reasons "I don't have enough information, nor am I going to acquire enough information to make a well thought out decision so I will choose to remain silent," or "I have disagreements with Candidate A that I cannot bring myself to support, but Candidate B has demonstrated himself to be incapable of performing his job, so I can not rightly support either," to just go missing is the worst in erecting a straw man to knock it down, which seems to be getting to be quite old, on either side of the political spectrum.

Ron said...

Even when it's a good thing...I hate the strong arm nature of videos like this. A reason not to vote? Don't give in to bullies like this!

bagoh20 said...

I pick up trash on the street, I pick up other people's dog shit. Voting is like that for me. Unfortunately, many of the people who leave that trash and dog shit behind get all motivated to vote.

bagoh20 said...

Well, that idea of selling your vote, I would consider that. In a free and open market I could sell it to the guy who wants the same thing I do. Even if not, I could probably do more good with the money, assuming this vote market is very limited, like just I get to do it.

rehajm said...

they're only going to give the ones that are easily refuted.

This. 'Because I'm disgusted with the recipient of my last vote, but can't bring myself to vote for the new guy' is difficult to refute. And doesn't match the original intent.

Also, the female analogue to Woody Allen- wow.



dreams said...

I've got a good reason to not vote and the reason is, if you don't know who to vote for. Why bother voting when you might vote for the wrong candidate. First do no harm. The liberal Dems love the low information voters because they are so easy to influence and its so easy to get them to vote for the Dems because the Dems, or so they say, care about the poor people. Of course the way they care for the poor people is taking money from those that work but that is left unsaid.

EDH said...

There always appears a certain "look-ism" and hipster attitude at work in the selection of the subjects in these types of interview documentaries.

While it's supposed to increase our willingness to want to identify with one or more people who we would like to think of ourselves as being like, overall to the critical thinker the ad agency vibe just belies their representativeness and thus undermines the persuasiveness.

Ron said...

maybe we can get a Groupon thing for votes!

edutcher said...

Sounds like Barry is worried a lot of people who voted for him last time are staying home.

It's going to be interesting to see how many black people come out and vote. The actual tally may (or may not) be 95% (don't hold your breath), but the the percentage of black people who actually vote for him is gonna be way down.

MikeDC said...

Why is people not voting a problem?

1. I voted early b/c of a likely business trip this week, and skipped voting on the measures/people I knew nothing about. Otherwise, my vote would be random stupidity.

2. Not voting is still a vote. It's perfectly reasonable to withhold your support for a person you dislike by not voting for them, especially when the alternative is to vote for someone else you don't like. Perhaps you're a died in the wool Democrat, and you can't bring yourself to vote for Romney, but you admit to yourself that Obama is an unsupportable mess. Well, then not voting is certainly preferable to voting for a guy you can't bring yourself to support.

Saint Croix said...

Morris got a guy off death row with this, one of my favorite documentaries. My kind of liberal.

rhhardin said...

The right to vote is what has power, not voting.

The chances of your vote changing anything that you care about are zero.

The chances of your right to vote changing anything that you care about are huge.

You get much more leverage influencing others than voting yourself.

bagoh20 said...

"There always appears a certain "look-ism" and hipster attitude at work in the selection of the subjects in these types of interview documentaries."

Nobody ever looks like they could fix anything requiring something other than rebooting.

Petunia said...

I'm in an online discussion with someone who believes that if you don't agree 100% with a candidate, you should stay home. I pointed out that that is in effect voting for the candidate whom you dislike more, but she can't see that.

She apparently did not gain many critical thinking skills while she earned her degrees.

Saint Croix said...

The chances of your vote changing anything that you care about are zero.

Says you! I am going to pick up Jill Stein and carry her over the Barack Obama finish line, by golly. Even if I have to log out and vote again. And again!

ricpic said...

Two reasons not to vote:

An unwillingness to participate in ones own rape;

The realization that both parties are statist and therefore whichever wins the depredations of the massive state will continue with only the slightest differences at the margins.

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