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A Black and White Allegory in a 1999 Movie, Pleasantville

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by Pleasantville movie

I just caught about half of the movie, Pleasantville. It made me cry, especially watching it today, the day after the Zimmerman acquittal. (I've watched it a number of times before, it being a favorite.)

Pleasantville is a wonderful movie, released on 1998, with an incredible cast-- William Macy, Toby McGuire, Reese Witherspoon, Jeff Daniels, and more. Here's a link to the IMDB page for Pleasantville

It's not a very realistic story, at one level, but it is total reality at another level-- about a city where everything is perfect-- and in black and white, living in something around the fifties. Of course, in reality, people don't live in a city where are all the things, the stores, the people are black and white. 

But then again, so many people DO see things exactly in black and white, in their small world, limited vision of the world. 

by Pleasantville movie

In the movie, magically, with the help of a genie in a black and white television, played by Don Knots, two contemporary, spoiled teens -- Toby McGuire and Reese Witherspoon-- are transported to the town and into a family. They find themselves in a black and white world and they start trying to wake people up. 

There is resistance and when a few people change from black and white to colored, meanting not black and white, there is bigotry against the "coloreds."

by Pleasantville movie

This is a movie about intolerance, about bigotry, about ignorance, about the parochial smallness of people who don't look beyond their immediate surroundings. It shows how a few people can wake up a whole town, how love and art and beauty can combine with incredible power, in the face of old power, in the face of violence and prevail. 

by Pleasantville movie

Perhaps it will take artists and some difficult teens to wake up "our" town-- the one that sold out mainstream journalists have put to sleep. That's a strong word, sold out. But these people in the mainstream media are extremely high paid, often making millions, (Keith Olbermann had a huge contract-- I believe $30 million) and I'm sure that Rachel Maddow makes over a million a year. They keep telling their viewers everything is great, or at least great as the poor Democrats can make it. And Fox, of course, tells more lies, more whitewashing. 

ironically, or maybe it's a case of synchronicity-- I'm reading a book, REWIRE, Digital Cosmopolitans in the age of connection, by Ethan Zuckerman. It describes how, even with the vast connections of the internet, people only connect with and use and see a tiny portion, one that's the same as they grew up with, the same as the people they are close to see. I'm only about 80 pages into the book. But there ARE ways to connect in new ways to new info and new sources.   

This movie gives me hope. If you've somehow missed seeing this, make sure you watch it. If you have seen it, I hope my little piece here brings back some "pleasant" memories.

After I watched Pleasantville, I watched October Sky, another movie that made me cry. And I've watched at least three or four times two. It's about a kid who keeps doing what everyone says he can't or shouldn't do.  i KNOW there are lot of those kinds of people around here. 


Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and website architect of, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), and publisher of, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor . He is also published regularly on the

Listen to over 200 of Rob's Podcast interviews here.

Rob is, with the first media winner of the Pillar Award for supporting Whistleblowers and the first amendment.

With his experience as architect and founder of a technorati top 100 blog, he is also a new media / social media consultant and trainer for corporations, non-profits, entrepreneurs and authors.

Rob is a frequent Speaker on the bottom-up revolution, politics, The art, science and power of story, heroes and the hero's journey and Positive Psychology. He is a campaign consultant specializing in tapping the power of stories for issue positioning, stump speeches and debates, and optimizing tapping the power of new media. Watch me speaking on Bottom up economics at the Occupy G8 Economic Summit, here.

See more Rob Kall articles here and, older ones, here.

To learn more about Rob and, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V..

And here's a one hour radio interview where I was a guest- on Envision This, on 10/23/13. And here is the transcript. 

And Rob's quotes are here.

To watch me on youtube, having a lively conversation with John Conyers, former Chair of the House Judiciary committee, click here Now, wouldn't you like to see me on the political news shows, representing progressives. If so, tell your favorite shows to bring me on and refer them to this youtube video.

Rob's radio show, The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, runs 9-10 PM EST Wednesday evenings, on AM 1360, WNJC and is archived at Or listen to it streaming, live at

Rob also hosted a health/mind/body/heart/spirit radio show-- the Rob Kall Futurehealth radio show. Check out podcasts from it at

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Pleasantville is a wonderful gem: simplified, it u... by Carol Lemieux on Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 11:19:51 PM