Joseph Katz ’22 Published in the New York Times

Indian Springs sophomore Joseph Katz ’22 entered the New York Times student letter-writing competition and was selected for publication in print and online.

Joseph is a student in James Griffin’s Critical Reading and Analytical Writing class. As a homework assignment, Mr. Griffin challenged his students to choose a recent New York Times article, craft a letter to the editor, and enter it in the competition.

Joseph responded to a February 6 Op-Ed entitled “Stop Blaming History for Your All-White, All-Male Movie.” His letter was one of only seven selected for publication.

Read Joseph’s letter in full here:

“Though Ms. Harris intelligently analyzes the whitewashed version of history that has existed in the cinema for far too long, I take issue with her placing the burden of responsibility to fix this country’s representation problem on the individual artist.

We should not criticize movies like “Driving Miss Daisy,” “Green Book” and “Ford v Ferrari” for being made, even if they recreate the same narrow-minded historical narrative, but we should criticize the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for elevating such movies above groundbreaking and worthwhile cinema. As long as Academy members are considered to be the arbiters of good taste, some of the most compelling counternarratives will always be overlooked. Giving “Parasite” the best picture Oscar was a big step forward, but one must remember that progress has been slow and practically forced upon the Academy.

To blame directors and artists for this systemic issue is ineffective and misguided. Martin Scorsese is a cinematic genius, but we should not expect him to write and direct an intimate, nuanced, and moving picture about being a young black woman in 21st-century America. When such movies get made, however, the cinematic powers that be need to be encouraging.”

Congratulations, Joseph!