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the wonderful world of documentaries {or netflix. you choose}

our household {myself, spousal unit and fuzzy-lumps-of-love aka kittehz} have been on quite the documentary kick lately. and mostly due to netflix instant viewing. now, i’ve never been a huge docu-gal– before this year i can only count maybe 3 that weren’t michael moore works– but i’m really starting to appreciate enjoy what i call the “soft-docu”: documentaries that appeal more to feelings than facts. my guess is, in this age of digital video and sites like youtube, vimeo & the like, it’s become a lot easier {and more affordable} to make these “soft-docus”.  what i worry about though, is how seriously they could be taken by the viewing audience. while watching them, i find it hard to be swayed to the point of view being put forth, but mostly because {as previously mentioned} they are very light on facts, or worse, the facts are blatantly cherry-picked.

it must be the graduate student in me that knows an argument only becomes truly compelling when both sides are presented and BOTH quantitative & qualitative evidence is present. {thanks a lot DOOWAN} however,watching these “soft-docus” has almost become an exercise in debate- i find myself angry with presenters when they don’t delve deep enough, aren’t hard-hitting and especially when they ignore whole swaths of evidence that contradicts their viewpoint. bottom line: even if you don’t at all agree with the premise put forth, you still can learn a hell of a lot just by seeing where these directors/producers are coming from.

“soft-docus” watched so far {and all available through netflix instant, if you want to enlighten yourself}:

  • America the Beautiful–  about the beauty industry. didn’t go nearly far enough for me
  • America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments– about the weight loss industry & “sequel” to above. better than above, but not enough hard evidence
  • Business of Being Born– medical vs. home births. pretty good balance. more stats would have been nice
  • Vegucated– should have been a food network show. barely worthy of the “documentary” status. super cherry-picked
  • No Impact Man– a decent documentary, interesting premise. not really viable and many times ignored better solutions
  • Mansome– very entertaining, an insightful view into the rather overlooked world of male beauty standards