Watchmen race

Watchmen complicatedly combined falling squid, horrifying racism, a glowing blue man, nuclear panic, fear of sexual humiliation, piles of dead clones, questions about whether we could all be doing more, and an armchair trap door. In the new Low Key podcast, we talk about why it worked for us.

In every episode of Low Key, your co-hosts Aaron Lanton, Keith Dennie, and me talk about pop culture moments we think others may have missed, often through a racial lens.

As Aaron explains near the 20-minute mark of this episode, “Watching this as a black viewer is very different, I think, from watching it as a viewer of some other ethnicity.” It isn’t just because of the show’s heavy references to the Tulsa race riots, or secret racist societies. It’s because of the show’s difficult questions about how much obligation all Americans have to one another—and how those obligations relate to race.

Watchmen is deliberately messy and confusing. While most screenplays aspire for clarity, Watchmen makes its most searing points by trying to cloud some of our most firmly held perceptions. It asks us to explore our deepest fears, and better understand ourselves in the process.

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