PUBLIC EDITOR: Arts & Entertainment should more aggressively pursue the search for meaning in art

At a university ridiculed for its homogeneity, A&E is the section that can uniquely elevate the expressive minds in the community

op-movienegative-courtesywikimediacommons

“Forgotten Films” — as a column dedicated solely to fleshing out a film and not the timeliness of a review — marks a significant departure from the norm for A&E.

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The Cavalier Daily’s Arts & Entertainment section has a specific ability that other sections don’t — its writers can tell deeply profound stories that come from the arts. The section should utilize this calling and follow the path its new column has forged to better serve its readers.

A&E recently released a new column called “Forgotten Films” in which Mark Felice — a fourth-year in the Architecture School and a Cavalier Daily Production Editor with a cinema affinity — delves into his favorite underrated movies. 

I chatted with Felice about his intentions for creating the column. A self-described movie buff, Felice said he’s always had an interest in film and the techniques filmmakers use to put meaning into it. 

“It’s just talking about films that have lost prominence — either because of subject matter or maybe who’s in it — but also just the combination of media products dished out yearly,” Felice said. “It’s easy for certain films to lose their interest or lose their viability.”

This kind of content is new for A&E — the section typically sticks to interviews, reviews and some event previews. This concept of a retrospective piece searches for meaning and relates older films to today’s world, and it reminds me of a paper one may write for a media studies class. 

Thomas Roades, a fourth-year in the College of Arts and Sciences and one of the two Arts & Entertainment Editors, told me that the section is looking to expand this column format and delve deeper into the meanings of pieces as it does reviews. 

“Putting the content we cover in a larger context and giving a little bit more background to it is definitely a shift we’ve been trying to make,” Roades said.

While A&E has no concrete plans for the growth of the column now, it can certainly expand beyond just films. Felice said the principle of the column — the search for meaning in older pieces — is a format that columnists can replicate in other arenas. 

“Sometimes people don’t think about certain meanings behind content and that can be applied to film, but it can also be applied to music aspects, like student bands that we cover,” Felice said. “It can be applied everywhere, and we can try to break down what are the actual meanings behind certain mediums.”

The “Forgotten Films” column is a step in the direction A&E should be heading to grow as a section. However, I think A&E can do more than just look for meaning. A&E has the capacity to serve as the watchdog of cool. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t looked at what music A&E has reviewed to get a glimpse of what I probably should be listening to.

At a university ridiculed for its homogeneity, A&E is the section that can uniquely elevate the expressive minds at the University. If The Cavalier Daily wants to serve its readership better, it can promote these voices by more aggressively pursuing the search for meaning in arts.

One obvious solution I already mentioned is to expand this kind of column. A&E columnists can become the “taste-makers” of The Cavalier Daily by providing their takes on more than just concerts, albums and theater productions. What music does an A&E writer listen to on a regular basis? How do they find good music? Can we embed their personal playlists? What are their favorite canceled TV shows, and why? 

We can expand this idea of the taste-maker to others at the University. What does University President Jim Ryan listen to in the morning? As he’s reading? Some professors play music as their classes walk in — why do they do that? How do they choose that music? A&E is uniquely positioned to use the arts to tell these stories that may have deeper meanings. 

Another way to feature expressive minds is also to pursue fashion and style at the University. Contracted Independent Organizations put on fashion shows every year, V Magazine is dedicated to fashion, and we see students on Grounds every day expressing themselves through clothing choices. 

Sending a writer to preview or cover a CIO fashion show — like Fashion for a Cause — would involve much of the same grunt work as covering a concert or play. Writers can stop people in cool outfits on the sidewalk or in Alderman Cafe and ask them about their clothing. However, it would shift the section’s focus to look at how students create meaning through different mediums. 

“Forgotten Films” — as a column dedicated solely to fleshing out a film and not the timeliness of a review — marks a significant departure from the norm for A&E. This is wonderful and creative, and A&E needs to follow it to expand the section’s scope, influence and service to the University community.

Anna Higgins is the Public Editor for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at a.higgins@cavalierdaily.com.

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