Last Thursday afternoon, still quite jetlagged, I watched a matinee screening of No.
It's a fictionalized account of the 1988 election in Chile that ousted Augusto Pinochet after 15 years of autocratic rule. Pinochet only called the election due to international pressure, without believing he would lose. Thanks to a clever advertising campaign that gave Chileans a sense of optimism again--or so the story goes in the film--Pinochet loses the election, shocking Chile and the world.
I don't know, wasn't there. In 1988 I thought chili was something you ate.
Times have changed. In 2013, as the person responsible for library and instructional technology at Samuel Merritt University, watching this film was fascinating. The activists opposed to Pinochet debate fiercely about means vs. ends, and I've been part of many formulations of this age-old debate.
The debate in No runs thusly: "Sure, catchy ad jingles are cute and everything. But people are dying on the streets of Santiago, this is no laughing matter." "Do you want to win this thing or not? You have to make people happy to get them to pay attention." And so on, and so forth. Insert whatever specifics you know about the unresolved tensions in your workplace, and No will resonate.
Had I seen this in 1988, while eating my chili, I would have sided wholely with the idealists. Back then (at the ripe old age of 11) fashion was shallow and advertising was evil. In college, I was already much more pragmatic...taking the advertising man's point of view during a similar debate in a social justice course.
When I became a librarian, my zeal for open access was initially idealistic all the way--who cares about tenure and rewards?? Information should be free!! I still think that's true, but have accepted that tenure/rewards are here to stay. The name of the game is to change the reward system rather than shouting from the soapbox. I still like my line from that college debate: "Do you want to make noise or do want to make change?"
So yes. Go see No.