Book Report is a meditation on the weaponization of language. It combines short sequences of Mad Men’s Don Draper reading books and relevant facts about the 2016 presidential campaign—including a history of the hashtag #trumpbookreport and notes on a payment to the mysteriously named “Draper Sterling” ad agency. A choral voice-over, drawn from the infamous Access Hollywood transcript, revises the misogynist “locker room talk,” turning it against the original speaker. In the Mad Men sequences, Draper’s reading is always interrupted, as though his efforts to be elsewhere are doomed. Mysterious, specimen-like images intervene in the scenes of reading, providing both commentary and a vivid index of Draper’s immersion. The text and voiceover create a tense counterpoint: Draper reads and viewers are invited to read over his shoulder, but with little patience for literature, facts, or civility.
Since 1988 Jeanne C. Finley and John Muse have worked collaboratively on numerous experimental documentaries and installations. These works have been exhibited nationally and internationally, at festivals and museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Guggenheim Museum, The Whitney Biennial, San Francisco International Film Festival, Berlin Video Festival, Toronto, and World Wide Video Festival. In 2001 they received a Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship. Additional awards include a Creative Capital Foundation Grant and an Artists in Residence at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. In 2009 they were presenting artists at the Flaherty Film Seminar.
Finley, a Guggenheim Fellow and Alpert/Cal Arts Award winner, is a Professor of Film and Graduate Fine Arts at the California College of Arts. Muse is currently a Visual Media Scholar at Haverford College, Haverford PA.