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  • Ethan Rosenblum

If 'The Artist' Can Make Tap Dancing Cool Again, Maybe the Market Actually Can Solve Climate Change

Those of you who know me know that I have absolutely no faith in the survival of the human 150 years hence. That’s okay. I’ve made my peace with it; I suggest you do the same. At least, that was what I thought before my life was graced by Jean Dujardin’s performance in The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius, 2011). Now, I look at the sky and I see hope, which admittedly may just mean it’s time to up my contact prescription again, and even more than hope, I see clouds shapes like pencil-moustached Frenchmen, which almost definitely means I’m due for another eye exam.

Indeed, now that I know grown men and women tapping their feet in obnoxiously-sequined shoes can be not only cool, but an exuberant expression of joy, the sort of fun- not funniness, just stupid-smile inducing glee- and childlike wonder that has been slowly dying out of the movie industry ever since it became a war over whose content could be most effectively written into the electrical patterns of audiences’ brains- the sort of fun that’s very much going to be missing from the face of the Earth thirty years from now when we live in an apocalyptic hellscape- I don’t even think it would be impossible for the market to solve climate change.

Yes, yes, I know, I know, “the market” is just a mostly-formalized collection of interactions between imperial powers and their bankrollers, and this resource-exploitative and global-proletariat oppressive economic system is how the climate crisis became a crisis in the first place, but does the market turning around and stopping all of that, or even completely reversing it, honestly sound less likely than a silent, black-and-white movie released in 2011 making tap dancing cool again?

Of course not. Now, you may tell me that the odds are stacked against us, but weren’t the odds stacked against Georg Valentin and Peppy Miller when they walked into John Goodman’s character’s office with nothing more to pitch than the aesthetic pleasure of watching them tap sashay around his office while doing synchronized arm movements? It’s super cute, I really recommend everyone to watch the movie, I really do. And make sure to come back to the Opinions Page next week to find out why The Killing of a Sacred Deer shows us that people of all faiths and nations can live in peace.

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