24 March 2007

Don't Buy What They're Selling

Why make a documentary? To get a story out to every day people, one which they probably wouldn’t have seen another way, or from a different point of view. Or to get down to the roots of something. Or, perhaps, to simply persuade people to take a point of view, to believe something. Documentaries (using the term very loosely) which have recently received much press (and adulation) have mainly had this motivation.

Michael Moore had a lot of attention pointed his way from his movies. Al Gore has created a whole industry, not to mention his messianic celebrity, from his flick about “global warming”.

Now comes news that Mark Cuban is planning on bankrolling a movie version of the web-based conspiracy theory “Loose Change” (which I commented on previously here). Charlie Sheen is rumored to play the role of narrator. I still won’t, and never will, watch this trash. It would be a pointless waste of my mental energy.

What worries me is that, given the response to Gore’s movie, the Cuban adventure may find an audience of true believers. And I don’t want to minimize the effect of the Gore movie. Governments will quite probably shift policy based in part of the frenzy created by his movie. While there can be a real debate and movement on methods to save energy, and it’s easily arguable that humans could smartly use less energy, Gore’s assertion that humans are killing the planet has little to do with either. It is grandstanding to create a movement. The facts do not have to stand up to serious scrutiny, the man doesn’t have to live as he preaches; nothing matters except the celebrity, the mass and the movement…towards?

So what great conspiracy would Cuban show the public? How many more true believers could be create through his movie? I heard a clip from Bill O’Reily’s radio show today (not sure on the recording date) where Cuban said something like he was making this movie so that people could examine a dissenting point of view. That’s trash. This movie project is rank propaganda. To clothe it in the language of free speech and intellectual debate is to put a paper-towel core on an ass and call it a unicorn. To put someone like Sheen out as the spokesman is an attempt to lend gilded legitimacy to the snake-oil being sold.

Don’t buy it. There is a simple truth here: 19 men flew four jets into various targets with the goal of splintering our nation. In some corners of the US, I’d say they’d done a decent job, but there’s a long way to go. We’d best not beat ourselves…our enemies are counting on it.

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