Early reactions from Oklahoma

The OK Gazette has weighed in on “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” in advance of our screenings and appearances in Tulsa on Friday and Oklahoma City on Saturday.  After playing to big-city crowds in Washington, D.C., New York and Chicago, we’re eager to hear from audiences in the heartland.  This reviewer clearly takes the idea that “something is the matter” quite seriously:

Directed by Joe Winston and suggested by a best-selling 2004 nonfiction book by Thomas Frank, “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” tries to objectively answer the biased question of its title. The documentary begins with the assumption that there is something wrong directly north of our border, and the assumed wrong is that Kansas is just too politically and religiously conservative for the good of its citizens.

You may or may not believe that.There is no narration to drive your opinions; the entire film is comprised of interview responses. We don’t even hear the questions.

Read the entire review here.

This image doesn't really relate to the post, we just like it.


  1. Deborah Oakes
    October 7, 2009

    I’ve only seen the movie trailer but we have the same conditions in Oklahoma. We were the ONLY red state in the elections for Barack Obama.

    My friends were afraid to wear Obama t-shirts or put stickers on their cars during the campaign. I wore my t-shirt in public a few times fully expecting negative comments.

    Instead, it was silence although once, a lady whispered to me as she walked by, “I like your t-shirt.”

    I believe it’s the religious, rigid, self-righteous fundamental view of the bible that influences people to conservative views.

    What to do about it? I don’t really know. Since they believe they are backed by God, it would take bible scholars showing them what’s lost in translation of the King James version for a start.

    Additionally, their hearts must turn to love rather than hate which is ironic since Jesus teaches love.

  2. Wendy
    October 7, 2009

    Interesting review, which seems to reveal that its author went into the film with a particular bias and expected a message that would validate it.

    His mention of the film’s “biased title” strikes me because the title itself isn’t biased; it’s ambiguous. Depending on how you read it, it could mean What’s the MATTER with Kansas? or What’s the matter with Kansas?

    By delivering only observations and documenting events in the lives of a handful of Kansans, the film offers no answer, but it does inform the question and invite critical thinking.

    I hope to see it here in Seattle! I’ve put in a plea to our local (which turns out to be national) art theater collective. Perhaps it’s time to inquire at each of the local locations.

    Thanks for a great film!

  3. Candace
    October 7, 2009

    Felt right at home the minute I saw the red dirt and flat farms. I listened to people who sound like my cousins. They are searching for something and haven’t found it yet, but they are narrowing it down: it isn’t black, Jewish, liberal, or pregnant. Our family in Oklahoma has become quite small as individual members decide the others are too narrow minded or too blaspheming, so they go their own way. This is the story of the Great Plaines. How could there be a happy ending when we stole the land to begin with?


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