‘Starving the Beast’ is a Compelling Examination of the Debate Surrounding Public Education

GameStop, Inc.

Starving the Beast

I hate activist documentaries. You could look at past reviews for Where to Invade Next or Under the Gun, movies that align with my political viewpoint, to see that I really don’t care for documentaries that are out to prove a point. All of which makes just how much I was enthralled with director Steve MimsStarving the Beast all the more poignant. While Mims is obviously tackling the issue of public funding for higher education from a certain political slant, he allows people of both sides to vocalize their ideological viewpoints on the issue.

Over the past few years, the issue of the costs of higher education has become a part of the national conversation. Student costs have ballooned leading to an explosion of student debt, as public funds that were once the backbone of state-run universities have been repeatedly slashed. On one side of the debate is the conservative philosophy that institutions of higher learning only have a duty to provide education and training for future employment, and that these institutions should be run as businesses with students being nothing more than consumers. On the other side, there’s the more liberal belief that these institutions are places of discovery and exploration, that education isn’t merely a function solely for job training. It’s a fundamental question about the role of government, one that dates back to nation’s founding.

Starving the Beast examines this issue through policy decisions adopted in Texas, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Louisiana and how they’ve affected the public universities, the students, and the faculty. Many of the reforms adopted in these states are done so under the assumption that these institutions are in need of “disruption,” the buzzword that has emerged as a practice out of Silicon Valley. Disruption is a market philosophy that doesn’t necessitate doing thing better, just cheaper and faster than the competition. But should we really be thinking about public higher education as something to operate on the whims of the free market? Steve Mims and many of his interview subjects say no, and through the movie they make a compelling argument.

Mims doesn’t let the film just consist of left wing talking heads all in agreement with each other, he interviews many members of the think tanks and local governments who fundamentally believe that these public universities should be run like businesses. Though the evidence presented doesn’t bear the results they claim, Mims doesn’t interject his viewpoints on their arguments; instead he allows them to tie their own noose by allowing them to state their case in their own words. The people who have spearheaded these disastrous reforms in states throughout the nation do so because they strongly believe they are right despite the evidence to the contrary, or the larger question relating to state’s obligation to back public education for all.

What Starving the Beast does remarkably well is presenting the debate surrounding public funding for higher education as a one front in the ongoing ideological war on the size and role of government. One of the most compelling and infuriating aspects of this debate is illustrated in the policy choices of former Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, who slashed the state’s budget along with taxes and turned a state budgetary surplus into a massive shortfall that decimated Louisiana State University. Jindal’s actions placed the governor in a tricky situation, one that was exacerbated by his pledge to Grover Norquist to never raise taxes under any circumstances. It’s led to a situation where those in power don’t believe in aspects of governance and create a problem where their policy decisions deprive resources necessary to make institutions operate only to blame the institutions for the shortcomings caused their policy decisions.

What Starving the Beast does remarkably well is presenting the debate surrounding public funding for higher education as a one front in the ongoing ideological war on the size and role of government. One of the most compelling and infuriating aspects of this debate is illustrated in the policy choices of former Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, who slashed the state’s budget along with taxes and turned a state budgetary surplus into a massive shortfall that decimated Louisiana State University. Jindal’s actions placed the governor in a tricky situation, one that was exacerbated by his pledge to Grover Norquist to never raise taxes under any circumstances. It’s led to a situation where those in power don’t believe in aspects of governance and create a problem where their policy decisions deprive resources necessary to make institutions operate only to blame the institutions for the shortcomings caused their policy decisions.

As much as Steve Mims has crafted an activist documentary, Starving the Beast works as well as it does because it examines the issues and allows both sides to have their say on the matter without editorializing. There’s a journalistic bent to Starving the Beast, as Mims and his interview subjects dive deep into the issues at hand instead of just reciting ideological platitudes. Starving the Beast is a standout documentary due to its ability to educate and infuriate while still understanding that this is just one aspect of an ongoing debate about the size and role of government. This isn’t a film that lectures the audience and confirming their beliefs, Starving the Beast is a challenging, thoughtful examination of a vital issue in American life.

Starving the Beast
  • Overall Score
4

Summary

An infuriating and educational examination on a vital American issue, Starving the Beast is balanced look at the ongoing ideological battle presented through the lens of public funding for higher education.

Anytime Costumes

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Licorice Pizza Review
‘Licorice Pizza’ Review — Paul Thomas Anderson’s Latest Masterpiece is an All-Timer

There are no filmmakers like Paul Thomas Anderson working today. What...

Hawkeye Review
‘Hawkeye’ Review — The First Two Episodes Hit the Target

Though he’s been a member of the Avengers since the beginning,...

Revelation Part 2 Review
Masters of the Universe: Revelation Part 2 Review

Masters of the Universe: Revelation Part 2 review – He-Man reminds...

Event News Event Reviews
House of Horrors
House of Horrors: A Prime Video Pop Up Shop

House of Horrors: A Prime Video Pop Up Shop will be in...

Tudum Recap
TUDUM Recap

TUDUM Recap: The news, exclusives, announcements, trailers, teasers, and everything else...

Tudum
Netflix’s First TUDUM is Tomorrow!

Netflix’s first TUDUM event officially launches tomorrow at 9am PT/12pm ET,...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
MultiVersus
MultiVersus brings Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and More

MultiVersus is bringing Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Jake, Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny,...

Suddenly Drunk Review
Suddenly Drunk Review – The Title Says it All

Suddenly Drunk Review – Suddenly Drunk does exactly what its title...

DC Dual Force
DC Dual Force Announced

DC Dual Force, a digital collectible card game, is set to...

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
Jay Jay French Talks About his ‘Bizoir’ Twisted Business

Lead Guitarist and Founding Member of Twisted Sister, Jay Jay French...

The Nacelle Company to Release Scott Cherry’s ‘Barbarian Rage Comic’

Press Release – Los Angeles, CA – The Nacelle Company, the...

Brian Heiler’s ‘Rack Toys’ Gets a Re-Release via the Nacelle Company

Brian Heiler’s Rack Toys: Cheap, Crazed Playthings, Gets a Re-Release via...

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
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide is now available to help...

2021 Advent Calendars
Insight Editions’ 2021 Advent Calendars

Insight Editions’ 2021 Advent Calendars are a pop-culture treasure trove of...

Spark $K
Teradek launches Spark 4K

Teradek launches Spark 4K – wireless video transmission solution for Pro A/V...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
‘King’ Shlemoon Steps Into an ‘Epic’ Title Fight on 10 Days Notice

Leon “King” Shlemoon Steps Into an Epic Title Fight on 10...

Lion Fight 70 from Los Angeles Full Results

October 8, 2021 – Lion Fight Muay Thai presented Lion Fight...

Court Bauer Talks MLW Fightland and the Growing the Company

During the Major League Wrestling (MLW) Press Day discussing MLW Fightland...

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...?
The Fantoy Comics Thanksgiving Special!

I guess he didn't like the stuffing part!

Fantoy Comics presents: Harry Potter (is not appearing in) The Quest for a new roommate!

I don't date uggos!

Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry potter (is not in) The Quest for a New Roommate

I'm a smokeshow, have wings and sweat magic dust but I...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 38: Hamid Rahmanian

Join Whitney Grace as she speaks with artist Hamid Rahmanian, who...

No Preview
Toon-In Talk Episode 37: Niki Smith

Whitney Grace interviews graphic novel writer and artist Niki Smith about...

Toon-In Talk Episode 36: Rob Paulsen

Rob Paulsen takes some time from his busy voice acting schedule...

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Vinny Jaey of KISSED ALIVE Tests Out Fender’s Redondo Mini

Vinny Jaey of KISSED ALIVE Tests Out Fender’s California Line, Redondo...

New Kids On The Block MixTape Tour 2022 Dates

Press Release – October 4, 2021 – Today, multiplatinum selling pop...

Max Beckman of Half Past Two Talks About Opening up the Festivities at the Brew Ska Ska

Max Beckman of Half Past Two talk about opening up the...