‘The Brainwashing of My Dad’ Examines the Rage Behind Right-Wing Media

the-brainwashing-of-my-dad-002

The current political climate is as divided as any point in American history with the exception of the Civil War. Nearly 50/50, the country has been divided into red and blue states, left and right, liberal and conservative. But this march towards division didn’t just occur as Donald Trump announced his candidacy. It was spurred by the contested recounts in Florida that won George W. Bush the presidency. This was a long trek towards divisiveness, amplified by political decisions spanning back decades, and exacerbated by a shifting media landscape that prioritized political sensationalism over integrity and fact-based reporting.

Emotion has trumped thought and logic in the modern political discourse. Not only has this shift had disastrous effects on common decency but it there’s also a very human toll, with relationships destroyed by the political rage of the hour. Director Jen Senko saw this happen to her own father and has made a documentary about how the rage-fueled conservative media complex rendered her once mild mannered father, a former Kennedy Democrat, into a raging right-wing ideologue. The Brainwashing of My Dad is a bit rough in some aspects of its presentation, but Senko uses the personal angle to dive right into the creation of the conservative media empire and the deceptive tactics they employ to appeal to its emotional base.

Aside from just her father, Senko also introduces us to various people throughout the country that have had loved ones become unbearable and angry, incapable of operating with civility in the face of any form of political disagreement. However, these personal moments are anecdotal in nature and are among some of the weaker aspects of The Brainwashing of My Dad.

Where the film excels is when Senko goes deep into the causes and factors that led to the radicalized and factional media. As with much of the modern political landscape, it all started in the ‘60s. There was the John Birch Society and the nomination of Barry Goldwater in 1964. But Goldwater’s campaign was a failure, losing in a landslide to Lyndon Johnson. But the political turmoil of the ‘60s wouldn’t start escalating until after Johnson’s reelection. Between the civil rights movement and the war in Vietnam, public demonstrations were on the rise and were incredibly unpopular among those in comfort within the status quo. In ’68, Richard Nixon would employ tactics that would appeal to those voters frightened by societal change. With the help of a young upstart named Roger Ailes, the future CEO and mastermind of Fox News, Nixon would fundamentally reshape the political strategies of the Republican Party.

Nixon employed what’s known as the Southern Strategy, employing coded language to appeal to racial resentment. The Southern Strategy has been the modus operandi for the GOP since Nixon, and is the key reason that the Democrats lost the South forever. Even today, the effects of the Southern Strategy are seen daily in the political discourse of conservatism.

But the floodgates were opened by the deregulation. Both the Reagan and Clinton administrations carried through their own crusades of deregulation that saw a consolidation of mass media, a handful of companies now owing a vast majority of outlets. Through a large number of think tanks and media organizations, a non-stop message of anger and resentment allowed the Republicans to win power, create distrust of government, and implement their agenda which would quite often be a negative for its voters. As strategy, it’s actually quite brilliant as a means to retain power. In reality, its had nothing but negative consequences for the American people and public discourse.

It may come across as if this movie is peddling some vast right-wing conspiracy, and it is. But it’s a well-researched film that speaks to a number of experts, all of whom will be written off by those within the bubble. It also doesn’t hurt that it features animation by Bill Plympton. Even when The Brainwashing of My Dad stumbles a bit, it quickly rights itself and continues to analyze this intricately constructed media bubble that defines the right. Also discussed is the typical manner with which hosts dismiss opposing views, which include repeating slogans and screaming down any opposition with faux-righteous indignation.

The Brainwashing of My Dad is mainly about the long-standing effects of these tactics. There’s been a personal cost in the relationship with her father, and Jen Senko finds many others who have bonds break over radicalized politics fueled by anger and resentment. I’ve seen first-hand within my own family distance created by the political obsession that descends into darkness. Right now, on the largest political stage of the land, we’re seeing the deleterious effects of these tactics, the Frankenstein’s monster of the right-wing rage industry in Donald Trump. This loathsome figure doesn’t just arise from an ideological fever dream, he’s the byproduct of a crusade that relied on nastiness and vitriol to gain and retain power. Now the party elites are realizing the monster they’ve created and their last-minute efforts can’t stop the beast they carefully constructed over decades. It just so happens that The Brainwashing of My Dad was completed as this vulgarian bigot is throwing the right-wing establishment in upheaval, but it’s fortunate for people to understand just how this ghastly creature was constructed. See how this particularly repellent brand of sausage was made.

Shop Deadpool tees in our officially licensed Marvel store!

One Response

  1. Harry Winston March 16, 2016 Reply

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Gothic box art
‘Gothic’ Hits Blu-ray For the First Time From Vestron Video

Vestron Video has a long  history of putting out quirky and...

Coco press conference
The Brains and Stars Behind ‘Coco’ Discuss Bringing Pixar’s Latest Wonder to the Screen

Once again, the storytelling geniuses at Pixar has delivered another crowd-pleasing...

Coco review
‘Coco’ is Disney-Pixar’s Latest Rousing Triumph

There are few film divisions (if any) out there that have...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Super Beat Sports Review
9.5/10
Drop the Beat, Don’t Drop the Ball – Super Beat Sports Review [Switch]

Harmonix delivers another game that’s as fun and catchy as that song...

Nioh: Complete Edition Review
9.5/10
Test Your Metal – Nioh: Complete Edition Review [PC]

Definitive proof that there is fun in challenge and frustration –...

7.0/10
Review – Bad Apple Wars (PSV)

Rinka is your typical high school girl. She goes through life,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
9.5/10
Tick Tock, Tick Tock, the ‘Doomsday Clock’ is about to Strike!

Title: Doomsday Clock #1 Writer: Geoff Johns Artist: Gary Frank Colorist:...

viz media
Viz Media Digital Manga Update for November

TLDR Viz Media announced its digital manga update for November will...

viz media
New Anime and Manga for the Holidays from Viz Media

Viz Media releases new anime and manga for the upcoming holidays....

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Are you Ready for WWE Survivor Series? Check Out Loot Crate First!

Updated from Thursday’s Original Post: One of the original “Big 4”...

Thor
Are You Worthy to Wield Thor’s Hammer (Tool Set)?

ThinkGeek’s 44 piece Thor’s hammer tool set is the perfect gift...

Legendary Dragon Decks Review
Dragons are the Coolest – Yu-Gi-Oh! Legendary Dragon Decks Review

Dragons are ingrained into every season of Yu-Gi-Oh, here’s your chance...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
AXS TV Closes NJPW’s ‘G1 Climax 27’ With Four Episodes From The Final Weekend Beginning Friday Oct. 13

Los Angeles, CA (Oct. 11, 2017) – “Rainmakers” and “High Fly...

New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Rocky Romero has created an auction to raise money for UNIDOS por Puerto Rico Disaster Relief

I’m The costume was worn by Rocky during the final Roppongi...

Douglas Lima Defends his Bellator Welterweight Title Against Rory MacDonald at the Forum on 1/20

LOS ANGELES – One year removed from its previous event at...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Adult Continuity Issue #10 – Justice League XXX

  ADULT CONTINUITY   ISSUE 10   JUSTICE LEAGUE XXX An...

Javier Fernandez
Future Comic Rock Stars – Javier Fernandez

It’s been an incredibly long time since I’ve written this column...

Comics on the Can – Double Dragon

Comics on the can Double Dragon Writer – Dwayne McDuffie Pencils...

Event News Event Reviews
go little tokyo
Five Reasons to Visit LA’s Little Tokyo For the Holidays

Go Little Tokyo is pleased to host Go Little Tokyo for the...

BlizzCon 2017
Another Cool Year at BlizzCon – BlizzCon 2017 Roundup

BlizzCon 2017 was packed full of Blizzard news that chilled fans...

LA Comic Con 2017
Stan Lee and Dwayne Johnson Rock the Main Stage at LA Comic Con 2017

LA Comic Con (formerly Comikaze) brings the star power with its...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming.

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
MTV Unveils Performers for ‘TRL Live’ on October 3rd at 3 p.m. E.T.

NEW YORK, NY (September 26, 2017) – MTV today announced that...

Long Beach Punk Band ‘Spider’ Rocks ‘It’s Not Dead’ Festival

Spider is a heavy hitting punk band out of Long Beach,...

Lahna Turner’s ‘Limeade’ is a Hilariously Haunting Comedy Album

Many people are roll their eyes at the idea of musical...