My great grandfather Lloyd used to say that you should strive to learn something new every day. Obviously, he’s not the first (or last) person to think this is an excellent use of the years we get here on Earth – and these days, you can learn just about anything you’d like to online.
Netlflix and the other streaming services have so many great documentaries available, too, that you can learn things and be entertained at the same time.
If that sounds like something you’re interested in, here are 7 Netflix documentaries that are ready to teach you some cool new stuff.
7. 13th (2016)
Groundbreaking director Ava DuVernay’s 13th is meant to educate audiences about mass incarceration and the wrongful imprisonment of black Americans, including its historical origins and context.
The title refers to the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery but paved the way for the unfair incarceration of black people in the prison industrial complex.
6. American Factory (2019)
If you’re curious why so many politicians are talking about blue collar workers, the middle class, and how relations between China and the U.S. affect everyone, this documentary set at a General Motors plant where people are losing their jobs should answer some questions.
Chinese business owners re-open the plant, and the ensuing attempts to work together presents globalization in a localized context – brings home the issue in many ways.
5. Chasing Coral (2017)
In our minds, the Great Barrier Reef is colorful, animated, and teeming with life. In reality, due to climate change, much of is has been bleached of color and is unable to sustain the type of varied marine life it once did.
It’s not too late to reverse the effects that climate change is having on coral, and the makers of this documentary are hoping they’ll open people’s eyes and call them to action.
4. The Bleeding Edge (2018)
If you enjoyed the podcast Dr. Death, a story about what can happen when the medical establishment prioritizes money over lives, Bleeding Edge is going to be right up your alley.
It’s probably going to shock you just how often untested products and medicines find their way into human subjects, and how often they hurt more than they heal.
3. Paris is Burning (1990)
The continued legacy of Paris is Burning, which showcases balls and the underground drag life in Paris, is one of pioneers and groundbreakers. The history is an important part of the LGBTQ community and its movements, and is perhaps more relevant today than ever.
2. Reversing Roe (2018)
This documentary attempts to explain how abortion has become such an emotionally charged and highly politicized issue in the years since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.
The film features interviews with people on both sides of the issue, and takes a look at how one issue has become the center of conflict in a nation in turmoil.
1. Icarus (2018)
Russia’s scandal with illegal doping of Olympic athletes comes into focus in this documentary, casting a pall over the credibility of all sports.
The documentary was originally supposed to be about the director, Bryan Fogel, injecting himself with performance-enhancing drugs, but when he interviewed the head of the Russian anti-doping program, it became about how Russia’s history of Olympic excellence was achieved through systematic cheating that went all the way to Putin himself.
I’m definitely putting these on my list – what else have I got to do, right?
Have you seen any of these? Do you have others to recommend? Tell us about it in the comments!