Discovery Docuseries Why We Hate Is Essential Viewing. It’s Also Deeply Flawed

On the morning of October 1, Donald Trump tweeted out a meme. Printed over a misleading map—accounting for geography rather than population—that divided the United States into giant red and tiny blue zones were the words: “Try to impeach this.” It was hardly the first time the President had suggested that removing him from office would cause a second Civil War, nor did this pugnacious rhetoric from the Commander-in-Chief seem to surprise anyone. So I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this, you’re well aware of why a new TV show exploring tribalism and cruelty among humans would feel timely.

Backed by a team of executive producers including Steven Spielberg and the mega-prolific documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney (Going Clear), Discovery’s ambitious docuseries Why We Hate seeks to explain our species’ most destructive instincts. In each hour-long episode, directors Geeta Gandbhir and Sam Pollard (who shared an editing Emmy for Spike Lee‘s Hurricane Katrina doc When the Levees Broke) visit the dark reaches of the human psyche, illuminating how extremists and demagogues use tactics like dehumanization to incite political unrest, oppression, violence and even genocide. Beyond tracing the roots of hate, they repeatedly raise the question of how and why that emotion can drive regular people to monstrous behavior.

It’s a massive undertaking, one that required the filmmakers to not only synthesize insights from multiple disciplines, but also to avoid cultural chauvinism and stereotyping, which would perpetuate the same kind of conflicts they seek to defuse. Gandbhir and Pollard succeed, mostly, by incorporating nuanced examples from around the world. In Colombia, they follow a campaign to reunify a nation bitterly divided by the decades of war between government forces and FARC guerrillas. The face of jihadi extremism is a de-radicalized white American man who now works to reform white supremacists. An episode on tribalism profiles pro- and anti-Trump activists, Israelis and Palestinians, easily angered soccer hooligans and survivors of Myanmar’s Rohingya genocide. Along with ensuring that no race, faith or nationality is depicted as uniquely hateful, the variety allows viewers to consider the role of hate in conflicts where they don’t necessarily have an allegiance.

Diversity is paramount here, but not just in the sense that it includes people from a wide range of cultures. Instead of casting a single host for the series, Gandbhir and Pollard select a sort of guide for each

Source:: Time – Entertainment


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