Both a Tour of Substance, and an Eye Opener for Book People
July 29, 2010
I was so impressed, so engaged, so absolutely educated by this author that I spent no less than four hours, and it might be as much as six, creating a table of all 120 films that he mentioned, with the directors, the year of release, and hot links. The complete list with hot links is at Phi Beta Iota, and should have been an appendix–I certainly give the list to the author should he wish to post it anywhere.
A few highlights, followed by the complete table of 120 films:
1) VHS players are still relevant for the non-fiction crowd, but DVD conversions are around 85%.
2) Amazon is doing extremely well, better than I expected, in carrying all these titles. Only a handful had to be linked outside of Amazon.
3) Although the broadcasting networks stomped down hard on anything remotely resembling intelligent and truthful issue discussion in 1950’s, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) killed the truth once and for all in 1984 by ending public service as an element of spectrum allocation, what this book really did for me is open my eyes to the wealth of offerings from both the four specific directors whose work the book showcases, and the many others.
4) My time spent creating the list of 120 films, adding the links, is an example of social production such as Yochai Benkler discusses in The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom and also an example of the importance of collaborative ethics such as are discussed in The Hidden Wealth of Nations.
As the top reviewer for non-fiction books here at Amazon (32 and 279 or whatever are over-all, including software, movies, and fiction), what this book really drove home to me:
1) There are some amazingly talented directors out there, every bit as important, as creative, and as inspiring as the best of the non-fiction authors, and people like me simply don’t “get it” (yet). I am going to pay more attention from this point on to non-fiction DVDs and the minds behind them.
2) Amazon’s provision of the ranking information really got my attention in relation to DVDs. It is now possible to browse the top 10 or top 100 on anything, e.g. on Viet-Nam, on Iraq, on Civil Rights, and I now appreciate even more the one author that took the trouble to list films after he finished listing books, at the end of each chapter, this was Revolutions and Revolutionary Movements.
3) Pentagon budget for selling the Pentagon is over 200 million dollars; at the same time, all US broadcasting about serious issues has gone “from lenses with attitude to political theater.”
QUOTE xii: Why the sudden prominence of nonfiction films? There exists in America a great hunger to understand what’s really going on. These films help feed that need. Much of that hunger has to do with the concentrated ownership of news media; the corporatization and trivialization of the news, and the decreasing spectrum of information. Instead of innovation and investigation, we get repetition and imitation.”
QUOTE xii: Now what passes for “new” includes massive doses of celebrity gossip, leaving many more important events unreported. Mass media shy away from stories of complexity, as reflected by the speed of news delivery, in rapid-fire sound bites; the shortening lengths of stories; and the glitzing up and dumbing down of news reports to hold the viewer’s attention. Reporters tend to accept government versions of events. And any stories that might offend the corporate owners of media, their clients, or their friends–all of whom together represent a significant portion of American economic power–have also become off limits.
I learn that the Carlyle Group has bought 400 Lowe’s theaters, and I shudder.
I learn that the murder rate is down in the US, but fear of murder if up because of “news” hyping of the fewer murders that do occur.
QUOTE (24-25): Entrenched corporate and government powers resist an openness that may challenge their preeminence. They use their political and financial clout to restrict the content of American television. Murrow’s 1958 admonition that television should be enlisted in the “great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance, and indifference” seems wildly idealistic today, as television exists to trumpet majoritarian values, kill time, and hawk material wares. It’s not a marketplace of ideas, just a marketplace. New technologies have made television more seductive, but not more substantive.”
Shees. He is unwittingly talking about the US secret intelligence community at the same time. And so much for what George Will calls Statecraft as Soulcraft, or what Will and Ariel Durant discuss in The Lessons of History.
This book’s relevance to all of us today comes out strongly as the author discusses the lessons not learned, the most important of which is that the real enemy of us all is war itself, and that we are failing to grasp the emotional and cultural complications that must be grasped in preventing war.
To the answer of “why” do we use the nuclear bomb, or chemical weapons, or [I would add] rendition and torture, the author, honoring the various directors and films that he lines up in this magnificent utterly stellar panorama of multi-media thought, answers: because we can. “Because the bureaucratic apparatus exist(s) to do it.”
The author offers extraordinary political relevance when he addresses the irrelevance of the left and right divisions. He says:
QUOTE (48): In fact, categories like liberal and conservative are irrelevant and misleading. The real division is between those who protect and serve the bureaucratic apparatus that perpetuates crimes against humanity–like career politicians Orrin Hatch and Joe Biden, and FBI thugs Jeff Jamar and Larry Potts–and those like journalist Dick Eavis and Davidian lawyer Dick De Guerin, who seek accountability from individuals and institutions nested with the faceless machinery of death.
This is a hugely important book, not least because it is a bridge for people who value non-fiction books and have not learned to value non-fiction films. At the age of 57, there is absolutely no question but that I can learn a great deal from this author and critic, and were he teaching or speaking in my area, he would be on my “must do” list.
The author continues to offer, today, valid social commentary, to include how we must take responsibility for the crimes against humanity of the Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama era (no differences at all among them in terms of their toxic impact on humanity and especially the US middle class and blue collar class), or we share their guilt.
Visit Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog to exploit the list of 120 films mentioned by the author, all hot linked for easy review of their descriptive substance.
In passing, in his commentary on the Nobel Peace Prize being given to war criminal and ubber-impeachable Henry Kissinger, the author has inspired me to make a list of stupid Nobel Peace Prizes–Kissinger is one, Gore is another, Obama a third. The world–including the Nobel Peace Prize committee (politicians) has lost its mind. The films discussed by this book and this author are a critical bridge to getting our mind back.
My own two recent publications from Earth Intelligence Network, the 501c3 I funded before the crash took everything, both free online so don’t think I am pimping their purchase:
Link up with the author at his South African web site (self-imposed exile?).
Below with hot links, see list of 120 documentary films and their directored sorted into the following categories: 9-11, Big Ideas, Capitalism, Civil Rights, Culture, Iraq, JFK, Labor, Lies, Pentagon, Politics, Viet-Nam.
** are the handful that seem to be at top of the heap.
BOLD means a review is available and link leads to it.
|9-11||2002||9/11 (THE 9/11 film, ground zero with firefighters)||Naudet|
|9-11||2003||Aftermath: Unanswered Questions from 9/11||Guerrilla News Network|
|9-11||2004||Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire||Earp & Jhally|
|9-11||2004||Is War the Answer? New Yorkers Respond to 9/11|
|Big Ideas||1992||A Brief History of Time (Stephen Hawking)||Morris|
|Big Ideas||2001||Waking Life (in and out of dreams)||Linklater & Sabiston|
|Big Ideas||2004||What the Bleep Do We Know?||Arntz, Chasse, Vincente|
|Capitalism||1989||Roger & Me||Moore|
|Capitalism||1997||Fast, Cheap, & Out of Control (Four crafts)||Morris)|
|Capitalism||2003||The Fourth World War (Globalization 101)||Big Noise Rowley|
|Capitalism||2004||The Yes Men (World Trade Organization dark side)||Smith, Price, Ollman|
|Capitalism||2007||Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron||Greenwald & Spheeris|
|Civil Rights||1998||Defending Our Daughters (human rights)||Kopple|
|Civil Rights||2004||Unconstitutional (Bush, 9/11, End of Civil Rights)||Greenwald|
|Civil Rights||2005||Mighty Times: The Children’s March (civil rights)||Hudson & Houston|
|Culture||1951||See It Now (first and last real issues show)||Murrow|
|Culture||1965||Don’t Look Back (Rock & Roll)||Pennebaker|
|Culture||1970||Gimme Shelter (Rolling Stones and Hells Angels)||Maysles 2, Kopple|
|Culture||1977||Pumping Iron (made Arnold Schwarzenegger)||Butler|
|Culture||1978||Gates of Heaven (Pet Cemeteries)||Morris|
|Culture||1982||In the King of Prussia (Plowshares Eight Trial)||De Antonio|
|Culture||1983||Seeing Red (communist party members speak)||Klein & Reichert|
|Culture||1984||The Good Fight (1936 volunteers in Spain)||Dore, Buckner, & Sills|
|Culture||1985||Pumping Iron II (female body builders)||Butler|
|Culture||1990||Berkeley in the Sixties|
|Culture||1993||Fallen Champ: The Untold Story of Mike Tyson||Kopple|
|Culture||1997||TV Nation Vol One; TV Nation Vol Two||Moore|
|Culture||1998||Wild Man Blues (Woody Allen & Soon Yi Previn)||Kopple|
|Culture||2000||My Generation: The Sixties Live||Kopple|
|Culture||2000||Rebels with a Cause||Garvey|
|Culture||2000||Steal this Movie (Abbie Hoffman)||Greenwald|
|Culture||2000||The Eyes of Tammy Faye||Bailey & Barbato|
|Culture||2000||This Is What Democracy Looks Like||Friedberg & Rowley|
|Culture||2002||Bowling for Columbine||Moore|
|Culture||2002||Friends for Life: Living with Aids||Kopple|
|Culture||2002||Once Upon a Time in the Hamptons||Kopple|
|Culture||2004||Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst||Garvey|
|Culture||2004||Open Water||Kentis & Lau|
|Culture||2004||The Passion of the Christ||Mel Gibson|
|Iraq**||1991||Nowhere to Hide (2000 mile journey within Iraq)||Clark & Alpert|
|Iraq||2003||Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War||Greenwald|
|Iraq||2004||Bearing Witness (female journalists in Iraq)||Kopple, Wotton, Eisenhardt|
|Iraq||2004||Last Letters Home: Voices of the American Troops from the Battlefields of Iraq||Couturie|
|Iraq||2004||Voices of Iraq||Manes, Kunert, Drury|
|JFK||1967||Plot to Kill JFK: Rush to Judgment (Slams Warren Commission with its own witnesses)||De Antonio|
|JFK||1993||Beyond “JFK”: The Question of Conspiracy||Kopple|
|Labor||1976||Harlan County, USA (Coal strike)||Kopple|
|Labor||1976||Union Maids||Klein & Reichert|
|Labor||1991||American Dream (meat packers’ strike)||Kopple|
|Labor||1999||Zapatista||Big Noise Eichert, Rowley, Sandberg|
|Labor**||2001||Life & Debt||Black|
|Labor||2002||American Standoff (Teamsters strike)||Kopple|
|Lies||1963||Point of Order (Army-McCarthy hearings)||De Antonio|
|Lies**||1982||The Atomic Café (government & news misinformation)||Reafferty 2 & Loader|
|Lies||1982||The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception||CBS|
|Lies||1983||Dark Circle (Nuclear safety)||Irving & Beaver|
|Lies||1988||Cover-Up: Behind the Iran-Contra Affair||Trent|
|Lies||1988||The Thin Blue Line (Death Row False Conviction)||Morris|
|Lies**||1992||Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media||Achbar & Wintonick|
|Lies||1993||The Panama Deception (to retake the Canal)||Trent|
|Lies||1997||Waco: The Rules of Engagement||Gazecki|
|Lies||1998||The Big One (Tour with Book Downsize This!: Random Threats from an Unarmed American||Moore|
|Lies||1998||Wag the Dog||Levinson|
|Lies||1999||Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (Psychatrist testifying for death penalty)||Morris|
|Lies||2001||Hidden Wars of Desert Storm||Brophy & Ungerman|
|Lies||2002||Ammo for the Info Warrior||Guerrilla News Network|
|Lies||2002||Operation Enduring Freedom: America Fights Back||US Government|
|Lies||2002||The Trials of Henry Kissinger||Jarecki and Gibney|
|Lies||2003||Control Room (CENTCOM versus Al Jazeera)||Noujaim|
|Lies||2003||The Awful Truth||Moore|
|Lies||2004||Bush Family Fortunes: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy||Palast|
|Lies||2004||Heir to an Execution (Rosenbergs)||Meeropol|
|Lies**||2004||Outfoxed: Robert Murdoch’s War on Journalism||Greenwald|
|Lies||2004||WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception||Schechter, Kopple|
|Lies||2005||Orwell Rolls in His Grave||Pappas|
|Pentagon||1971||The Selling of the Pentagon||Davis|
|Pentagon||1979||The War at Home||Estevez|
|Pentagon||1980||The Day After Trinity (Profile of Oppenheimer & Bomb)||Else|
|Pentagon||1987||Radio Bikini (US take-over & testing, GIs illness)||Stone|
|Pentagon||1990||Letter to the Next Generation||Klein|
|Pentagon||1998||Regret to Inform (Widows seeking closure)||Sonneborn|
|Pentagon||2002||Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert McNamara||Morris|
|Pentagon||2005||Soldier’s Pay (Enlisted looting in Iraq)||Russell & Carlos|
|Pentagon||2005||Why We Fight||Jarecki|
|Politics||FahrenHype 9/11: Unraveling the Truth About Fahrenheit 9/11 and Michael Moore||Peterson|
|Politics||1960||Primary (Kennedy Going Door to Door)||Drew|
|Politics||1992||Four More Years (Political Convention)||TVTV Rucker|
|Politics||1992||The War Room (Carville and Stephanopoulos)||Pennebaker & Hegedus|
|Politics||1994||The Clinton Chronicles||Falwell|
|Politics||1995||Canadian Bacon (political propaganda slam)||Moore|
|Politics||1996||The Perfect Candidate (Charles Robb, Oliver North)||Taylor & Cutler|
|Politics||2002||Horns and Halos (Story of Fortunate Son)||Hawley & Galinsky|
|Politics**||2002||Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election (Stolen)||Greenwald, Perez & Sekler|
|Politics||2004||Brothers in Arms (John Kerry Swift boats)|
|Politics||2004||Buried in the Sand: The Deception of America||Taylor/USG?|
|Politics||2004||Bush’s Brain (Karl Rove)||Shoob & Mealey|
|Politics||2004||Celsius 41.11: The Temperature at Which the Brain Beings to Die (anti Michael Moore)||“Citizens United”|
|Politics||2004||G. W. Bush: Faith in the White House||Balsiger|
|Politics||2004||Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry||Butler|
|Politics||2004||Journeys with George (Bush in 2000)||Pelosi|
|Politics||2004||Michael Moore Hates America||Wilson & Leffler|
|Politics||2004||The Hunting of the President (Clinton)||Thomason & Perry|
|Politics||2004||The Road to the Presidency (Clinton-centered)||Jacobs|
|Politics||2005||This Revolution (Media at Political Convention)||Marshall|
|Viet-Nam||1965||Why Vietnam?||USG & DoD|
|Viet-Nam**||1968||Vietnam: In the Year of the Pig||De Antonio|
|Viet-Nam||1970||Interviews with My Lai Veterans||Strick|
|Viet-Nam||1972||Winter Soldier (Vietnam veterans)||Kopple|
|Viet-Nam||1974||Hearts and Minds (Vietnam)||Davis|
|Viet-Nam||1988||Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam||Cuturie|
|Viet-Nam||2002||Daughter from Danang||Dolgin and Franco|
|Viet-Nam||2004||Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal||Sherwood|