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Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Selma' And Dramatic License

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This week's show — which was taped before Thursday's Oscar nominations — is focused on Ava DuVernay's drama Selma, and we're happy to be joined by our pal and Code Switch blogger Gene Demby, who also recently wrote a terrific piece in Politico about what he talked about as a new civil rights movement. It made sense, we thought, to make sure he was with us to cover a movie about the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

We talk about the performances (Oprah is really good in it! They did not cast Bela Lugosi! Yes, that really comes up!), the direction, the use of music and silence, and the presentation of nonviolence and strategy. Gene recommends a book he likes, too.

In our other segment, we actually expand on the other part of the public conversation that was taking place around Selmaeven before the Oscar nominations were announced: the dust-ups over its portrayal of Lyndon Johnson. (Others have expressed reservations and frustrations, too.) We discuss some of the specifics of that argument (though you can read more about it elsewhere if you want to know more, and our pal Alyssa Rosenberg at The Washington Posthas written good stuff on one of the most contentious specifics that we didn't wind up covering, which relates to the role of J. Edgar Hoover) and we ask whether there's a difference between specific matters of fact and underlying matters of creating a plausible vision of what the world is or was like. (Here's the piece I read about the point of view of Andrew Young.)

As always, we close the show with what's making us happy this week. Stephen is happy about his feeling of anticipation as he careens into a busy time of year. Glen is happy about an ABC show he likes more than he seems to have expected to and an FX show a lot of people like, and he's very happy about a comic he's only too glad to recommend. Gene is happy about an Instagram he's been enjoying. And I am happy about a project with which we're asking for your help, as well as the return of a favorite show with a few episodes to go.

Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter: me, Stephen, Glen, Gene, producer Jessica and producer Nick.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.