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Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

Old 11-13-12, 12:03 AM
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Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

Caught this tonight on PBS and found it very interesting.


http://therealdeal.com/blog/2012/10/...avenues-video/




The film will also be available on Netflix, iTunes and Hulu later this month.
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Old 11-13-12, 02:36 AM
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Re: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

So, did any make it? Looks very interesting.
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Old 11-13-12, 04:57 PM
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Re: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

This looks great - I'll definitely rent this.
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Old 11-14-12, 11:56 AM
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Re: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

That trailer doesn't tell me what the documentary will actually be. Is it a "we follow kids through school and see if they succeed" thing?
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Old 11-14-12, 01:23 PM
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Re: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

It is mostly about the widening gap between the rich & poor in the US.
It was made by the same guy who did Taxi to the Dark Side & Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.

This is a short interview with the director
http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/b...on-park-avenue

What led you to make this film?
I am furious at the way that we have allowed money to subvert our democracy.
I am appalled at the way that the U.S., a very wealthy nation,
permits and even encourages a level of poverty that other wealthy nations would not even consider.
Last, I am disturbed at the popular acceptance of theories that argue that we should be as selfish as possible and that altruism itself is evil.
That’s a perversion of laissez-faire economic theory going back to Adam Smith and Milton Friedman.

What were some of the challenges you faced in making this film?
I wanted to talk to the wealthy interests who are manipulating our political system.
They all declined to be interviewed.

How did you gain the trust of the subjects in your film?
Obviously, I didn’t gain the trust of many of those I portrayed.
I give tremendous credit to Jack Abramoff and Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity for speaking with me.
Dialogue between people of differing views is critical for fostering understanding in a democracy.

What would you have liked to include in your film that didn’t make the cut?
Interviews with the people responsible for creating so much inequality.

Tell us about a scene in the film that especially moved or resonated with you.
A scene in a food pantry in the South Bronx. A local couple, Colin and April Dunkley, try very hard to feed the unemployed.
But they run out of food within 15 minutes.

The independent film business is a difficult one. What keeps you motivated?
Fear.

What didn’t you get done when you were making your film?
We weren’t able to convince the wealthy denizens of 740 Park to talk to us.

What impact do you hope this film will have?
I hope it will make people as angry as I am.

What are your three favorite films?
Once Upon a Time in the West, Out of the Past, and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.

What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers?
Learn how to raise and handle money.

What do you think is the most inspirational food for making independent film?
A martini. Shaken not stirred.
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Old 11-17-12, 07:21 PM
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Re: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

I'll definitely check out this documentary.

Many social conservatives try to justify the inequality in the US by focusing on individuals and their unique stories of success or failure and ignoring the population and its subgroups. To social conservatives, anecdotes are often more important than statistics. Trends in the data are only acknowledged when they tell you something you want to hear. (The Republicans used this approach during the most recent election, and they experienced EPIC FAIL.)

It is a fact that the average child growing up in a high-income household is more likely to become extremely successful, professionally and financially, than the average child growing up in a low-income household. The reason: the playing field is not level. The rich and powerful often get to play by a different set of rules. But even when this discrepancy is corrected, the rich and powerful try to make damn sure that it is not "over-corrected." The next best thing to preferential treatment is equal treatment. Why? Because they know that with all the advantages they and their children enjoy (education, health care, social connections, etc.), they and their children are LIKELY, BUT NOT GUARANTEED to come out ahead in the "game of life."

Higher education is a good example. Children from really high-income families receive preferential treatment when they apply for admission to elite private colleges. A rich kid with a mediocre record of achievement is more likely to be admitted than the average kid with the same record. Moreover, these colleges often actively recruit rich kids! Duke University is a prime example. Social conservatives will defend this phenomenon by pointing to the rights of private organizations. But ironically, they condemn affirmative action!

Last edited by Ghostbuster; 11-17-12 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 11-19-12, 11:40 AM
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Re: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

Originally Posted by Ghostbuster View Post
Children from really high-income families receive preferential treatment when they apply for admission to elite private colleges. A rich kid with a mediocre record of achievement is more likely to be admitted than the average kid with the same record.
Huh? And how do the admissions officers know the wealth of each applicant?
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Old 11-19-12, 05:53 PM
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Re: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

Originally Posted by Ghostbuster View Post
I'll definitely check out this documentary.

Many social conservatives try to justify the inequality in the US by focusing on individuals and their unique stories of success or failure and ignoring the population and its subgroups. To social conservatives, anecdotes are often more important than statistics. Trends in the data are only acknowledged when they tell you something you want to hear. (The Republicans used this approach during the most recent election, and they experienced EPIC FAIL.)

It is a fact that the average child growing up in a high-income household is more likely to become extremely successful, professionally and financially, than the average child growing up in a low-income household. The reason: the playing field is not level. The rich and powerful often get to play by a different set of rules. But even when this discrepancy is corrected, the rich and powerful try to make damn sure that it is not "over-corrected." The next best thing to preferential treatment is equal treatment. Why? Because they know that with all the advantages they and their children enjoy (education, health care, social connections, etc.), they and their children are LIKELY, BUT NOT GUARANTEED to come out ahead in the "game of life."

Higher education is a good example. Children from really high-income families receive preferential treatment when they apply for admission to elite private colleges. A rich kid with a mediocre record of achievement is more likely to be admitted than the average kid with the same record. Moreover, these colleges often actively recruit rich kids! Duke University is a prime example. Social conservatives will defend this phenomenon by pointing to the rights of private organizations. But ironically, they condemn affirmative action!
Sounds like you don't need to check it out, you already know all the facts. It would certainly be nice if you could back them up next time.
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Old 12-23-12, 11:10 PM
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Re: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

The relationship between parents' socioeconomic status and children's financial/career success is common knowledge (and common sense). If you want detailed information, do some research.

For information on the relationship between money and admissions, see Daniel Golden's book The Price of Admission, his Wall Street Journal article "Many Colleges Bend Rules to Admit Rich Applicants", and his lecture at Yale via C-SPAN.

For information on the relationship between "legacies" and admissions, see the Chronicle of Higher Education article "Do Legacy Preferences Count More Than Race?" and the New York Times article "Study Finds Family Connections Give Big Advantage in College Admissions".

Chronicle quote:

The analysis, which looks at Fall 2007 applicants to 30 elite schools, concludes that after better controlling for variables than previous researchers did, legacy preferences of all kinds increase one’s chances of admissions by 23.3 percentage points. More importantly, “primary legacy” candidates (sons and daughters, as opposed to siblings, nephews, nieces, or grandchildren) see a whopping 45.1 percentage point increase in the chances of admission. What this means, as Ashburn explains, is that if a non-legacy applicant with a certain set of credentials has a 15 percent chance of admissions, a primary legacy applicant with identical credentials would have a 60 percent chance of getting in.

Last edited by Ghostbuster; 12-24-12 at 12:31 AM.
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Old 12-23-12, 11:52 PM
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Re: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

On a related note, for several years my dad served as the head of a pharmacy department at a major university. During one get-together at a restaurant, I sat at the same table as the dean, and he candidly stated that he will grant the request for admittance of one and only one family member (son, daughter, nephew, niece, etc.) of a faculty member.

Favoritism is alive and well in the United States. The people who say otherwise are fools, liars, or both.

Last edited by Ghostbuster; 12-24-12 at 12:01 AM.
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Old 12-24-12, 12:50 PM
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Re: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

Originally Posted by Ghostbuster View Post
Favoritism is alive and well in the United States.
It is everywhere : workplace, government, entertainment, sports, you name it.
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Old 12-27-12, 03:15 PM
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Re: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

Earlier you said
Children from really high-income families receive preferential treatment when they apply for admission to elite private colleges. A rich kid with a mediocre record of achievement is more likely to be admitted than the average kid with the same record.
Twice you noted that income and "being rich" had some bearing on admission. Now you point out that being a legacy means kids are more likely to be admitted. This is certainly true, but just because your mom or dad went to Stanford doesn't mean they are rich or that you are a rich kid.

Showing favoritism to alumni and legacies is a part of how universities do business. It's not a conspiracy or a gross injustice.

Originally Posted by Ghostbuster View Post
On a related note, for several years my dad served as the head of a pharmacy department at a major university. During one get-together at a restaurant, I sat at the same table as the dean, and he candidly stated that he will grant the request for admittance of one and only one family member (son, daughter, nephew, niece, etc.) of a faculty member.
I have no idea of his reason for saying this, but at the private university I graduated from faculty member's children could attend as undergrads completely FREE. It was an incredible employee benefit. They had to get admitted of course, but all their courses were free. Maybe the dean wanted to change the policy to only one child per faculty member.
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Old 12-27-12, 04:03 PM
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Re: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
Earlier you said Twice you noted that income and "being rich" had some bearing on admission. Now you point out that being a legacy means kids are more likely to be admitted. This is certainly true, but just because your mom or dad went to Stanford doesn't mean they are rich or that you are a rich kid.
Multiple factors increase one's chance of admission to certain elite colleges.

I did not conflate legacies and high-income families as evidenced by my separate paragraphs for the topics in post #9.

Showing favoritism to alumni and legacies is a part of how universities do business. It's not a conspiracy or a gross injustice.
Many elite colleges purport to embody values such as equality, fairness, impartiality, etc. Many even claim to be progressive. At the same time, they often try to obfuscate facts that belie this false veneer.

These colleges should face up to the facts or change their policies.

I have no idea of his reason for saying this, but at the private university I graduated from faculty member's children could attend as undergrads completely FREE. It was an incredible employee benefit. They had to get admitted of course, but all their courses were free. Maybe the dean wanted to change the policy to only one child per faculty member.
The dean was talking about admissions, not tuition. He was saying that if a faculty member's son, daughter, etc. were rejected by the admissions department, he would override the decision and allow the person to attend.

Congratulations on defending the status quo, by the way.
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Old 12-28-12, 12:41 PM
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Re: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

Originally Posted by Ghostbuster View Post




Congratulations on defending the status quo, by the way.
It serves me well.
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Old 01-09-13, 03:27 PM
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Re: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

Originally Posted by Ghostbuster View Post
Many elite colleges purport to embody values such as equality, fairness, impartiality, etc. Many even claim to be progressive. At the same time, they often try to obfuscate facts that belie this false veneer.

These colleges should face up to the facts or change their policies.

Also, in regards to the above, why do colleges need to "face up to" a fact that everyone is aware of? I've never seen any evidence of a university lying about the fact that they take legacy status into consideration as part of Admissions.
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Old 07-08-13, 08:34 PM
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Re: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

I just recently watched this and thought it was utterly riveting.
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Old 07-12-13, 08:18 PM
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Re: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

Saw this last night. Unsurprisingly real...but depressing.

Paul Ryan is a dumbass, does not represent Americans, and should be ousted from any Republican representation.

And to be fair, many Democrat Representatives are still freaky. Chuck Schumer used to be admired a little but it's obvious he doesn't stand up for the average American...just like most politicians.
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Old 07-13-13, 01:31 AM
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Re: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

Originally Posted by DVD Polizei View Post
Chuck Schumer used to be admired a little but it's obvious he doesn't stand up for the average American...just like most politicians.
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Old 07-16-13, 12:42 PM
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Re: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

Watched this a month ago. It was fairly entertaining, but these types of "raising the issue" documentaries, while occasionally entertaining, get to be as tiresome as they are useless.

They tend to follow a similar map of highlighting a very high level societal injustice that many are already aware of, throw startling statistics on the screen to hammer home common knowledge (being wealthy is GREAT...being poor BAD) and then just end there. They exist solely as if hoping to be the catalyst for the sort of mass uprising that will never start via Netflix Instant Streaming or PBS.

I prefer documentaries that narrow their focus on a single issue and document how people are working towards fixing/changing that single issue. Or at the very least, spend half the amount of fact gathering resources that they do on getting disturbing statistics on finding or creating theories/models that could actually start to correct/shift the issue in a positive way.

Shouting fire when no one is around with water isn't going to help any.
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Old 07-24-13, 08:51 PM
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Re: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

I don't think I've ever seen a documentary that facilitated change.

I don't think documentaries should be expected to change anything. That's unrealistic. About all we can expect is good sources for the information being presented, and letting the viewer make a decision to inform their friends about the documentary and about the subject of the documentary.
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Old 07-26-13, 09:49 AM
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Re: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream

Originally Posted by DVD Polizei View Post
I don't think I've ever seen a documentary that facilitated change.

I don't think documentaries should be expected to change anything. That's unrealistic. About all we can expect is good sources for the information being presented, and letting the viewer make a decision to inform their friends about the documentary and about the subject of the documentary.
I don't think it is so much that I am looking for the doc itself to facilitate change, but more for the documentary to include the people working for change and solutions to the problem they are presenting.

I think two great, albeit rare, examples of this are The Thin Blue Line and Bully. In the former, the documentary focuses on a very narrow subject. An injustice in a single conviction and it set about to show why that conviction was erroneous as well as collaborate with the convict's legal team who was working towards that end already. It resulted in the conviction eventually being overturned.

Bully not only drew tons of notice to the issue of extreme bullying in schools and sparked a national debate, but it focused on the people on the ground staging rallies and working towards the end the doc supported (combating bullying in schools across America).

Even if I don't think bullying is as big of a deal as the doc made it, the filmmakers still did an excellent job of persuasively presenting an issue while also proposing what they felt was a workable solution while showing it in action.

Docs like Park Avenue stop at persuasively presenting the issue. They don't even bother getting to the workable solution part and since there is none, obviously there is no "people on the ground" angle to include.
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