Imagine the reaction to a documentary about President Donald Trump directed by … Don Jr.
Late-night comics would dedicate entire monologues to such a project, and rightly so. Why would anyone watch a documentary about a vital political figure filmed by his or her adult child?
It’s exactly what HBO bought with “Pelosi in the House.”
The December release lets filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of retiring Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, share her mother’s political story. Even if the younger Pelosi did her level best to keep the project neutral she likely couldn’t manage it.
Who could, in her defense?
So where are the outraged op-eds about the project and its lack of journalistic worth? The Brian Stelter types decrying HBO for unleashing such a vanity project on its customers?
Silence, save softball interviews like this:
Comedian and rabble-rouser Russell Brand has some thoughts on the subject.
Brand, whose 6-plus million YouTube flock has made him a powerful pop culture voice, excoriated the very idea of a Pelosi-on-Pelosi documentary.
The “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” standout cited the lawmaker’s dubious record, including profiting off of decisions made in the corridors of Congress.
‘What has she done that’s made her worthy of a hagiography, or is it another case of Washington white-washing? Hmmm,” Brand said, before adding some nuance to his critiques, acknowledging she’s likely no better, or worse, than most Beltway dwellers.
“How candid is it?” he continued, mocking the trailer’s cringe moment when the elder Pelosi said that she didn’t choose a political life, “it chose me.”
Brand then suggests some subjects that could have been included in the documentary to make it more “illuminating and valuable.”
- She is one of the wealthiest members of Congress
- The Pelosi’s personal wealth doubled in recent years while the pandemic slammed ordinary Americans
- The Speaker had at least one private meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook
- Google is one of the top five donors to Pelosi’s campaign coffers
A credible documentary might touch on some of these themes. Documentaries now routinely lionize their subjects, from the maligned “Fauci” documentary to “Becoming,” a film about Michelle Obama produced by Michelle Obama’s film company.
Would it be nice if it didn’t take a bawdy British comic to explain why these documentary projects are less than valuable to western culture?