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Sat Feb 25, 2012, 12:47 PM

 

Propaganda we pay for...in more ways than one

The scheme is simple: The Pentagon allows studios to use military hardware and bases at a discounted, taxpayer-subsidized rate. In exchange, filmmakers must submit their scripts to the Pentagon for line edits.



Forgetting the Past, One Military Movie at a Time
When the entertainment industry gets in bed with the Pentagon, censorship is inevitable.

David Sirota

When philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” he meant it as an admonition–not as an endorsement of mass amnesia or historical revision. This should be obvious.

Yet those operating at the shadowy intersection of the Pentagon and Hollywood either don’t understand–or, more likely, refuse to understand–the thrust of the aphorism. Instead, with this week’s release of a much-awaited film, Santayana’s omen has been transformed into a public mission statement for a burgeoning Military-Entertainment Complex

http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/12791/forgetting_the_past_one_military_movie_at_a_time


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Response to SHRED (Original post)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 12:48 PM

1. Goebbels would be so proud

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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 02:22 PM

5. "Medal Of Valor" is eerily reminiscent of the "Nation's Pride" film from Inglourious Basterds.

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Response to SHRED (Original post)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 12:53 PM

2. There's a reason that Hurt Locker got the '09 Oscar. Avatar had the wrong message. eom

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Response to leveymg (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 02:23 PM

6. Avatar was also kind of, well . . .

 

Lame. It looked nice, but it wasn't a great movie. Just my opinion of course.

While I was also not as impressed with 'The Hurt Locker' as many others were, I didn't feel it was a pro-war movie. If anything, it was neutral or maybe a bit anti-war. The soldiers were clearly confused about who was an enemy and who was not and they local population was quite unwelcoming toward them. I was left with the impression that the filmmakers were intimating that Iraq is a dangerous place because of the US presence and that US goals and methods are inconsistent. It was more of a 'let's go home' than 'let's finish the job' type of message, IMO.

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Response to RZM (Reply #6)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 02:41 PM

7. Avatar's message was the reason there was an organized campaign to deny it the Oscar.

Technically and visually, it was a stunning, breakthrough film.

It's message was also powerfully anti-empire, and it showed how the private suits are really running the show. The real villain is the weasel RDC character, not the Gung-Ho General, who at least has the virtue of putting his own life on the line.

I'll agree that there was a cartoonish quality to Avatar, and I would have liked to see more character development. But, it deserved the Best Picture award. It was a far better movie than Titanic.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 02:55 PM

8. Different strokes I guess

 

I think one big difference between the movies was the way the message was presented. Avatar kind of beat you over the head with it. It was quite obvious who the villains were, who the heroes were, and what you were supposed to take away from it. The Hurt Locker was much more nuanced. There was a lot of moral ambiguity and such. Personally, I prefer the latter approach, because I like being challenged that way. I don't often like having the message handed to me on a platter. I suspect other academy members felt the same way.

I just looked over the nominees from that year and I saw about half of them. If I were to rank how much I enjoyed each, I would actually put both Avatar and the Hurt Locker at the bottom. I probably would have voted for Hurt Locker though, because when you add everything up (strength of story, acting, direction, script, etc.) it was probably the strongest all around film that year, if not the most entertaining. Up in the Air and Inglorious Basterds were more fun, but not really deserving of Best Picture.

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Response to RZM (Reply #8)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 03:05 PM

9. I would have liked the Hurt Locker's screenwriters to have done Avatar. Now, that would've been a

hell of an anti-war film. Paths of Glory was a great film because of the moral ambiguity, as much as Kubrick's direction.

I can only compare Avatar to Apocalypse Now, which succeeded and failed for the same reason - stunning visuals, great stack of messages, but inadequate character development, particularly Brando as Col. Kurtz, who ruined the movie for me. There was so much unrealized potential there, it still makes me want to scream every time I see the last 45 minutes of that film.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 08:57 PM

14. And

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Response to SHRED (Original post)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 01:12 PM

3. Entertainment can be

an addiction to distraction -- something that fills the void between sleeping and working, for many.

It can be considered part and parcel of the current cultural dynamic and reveals both a reflection and a reinforcement of said. It becomes predominantly circular and the effect is similar to Baudrillard's Simulation where the various media weave a form of hyper-reality that is experienced as "more real than real".

Today's avid consumer of entertainment swims in a sea of created truth interspersed with its corresponding falsehoods and convenient fictions. A relentless, turbid sea of entertainments and information-as-product has the capacity to dilute what may be vital or essential via cascading waves of current, topical focus.

When a barrage of fabrication strikes us in the midst of the complexity and struggle of modern life, we might be said to be subject to a fight or flight response. In this case, the appeal of imagination and phantasy, (no matter what conceptual guise it takes) becomes a compelling inducement to escape into entertainment and media-induced meditation on the objects and ideas proffered.

When we cannot escape by method or means, then, like drugs and other forms of addiction, we are able to purchase a temporary form of pseudo-liberation available in copious amounts, in place of other activity, contemplation or actions.


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Response to Newest Reality (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 01:54 PM

4. It's nice to see someone has read the post-modernist canon. Propaganda works at the primieval

level -- "fight or flight" -- as well as the rational. We are emotional and instinctive creatures, and propaganda (like religion that taps into the same instincts) sets us off. That's why I think the Situationist spectacle model, the post-structuralists and cultural anthropologists such as Rene Girard at Stanford offer a more complete picture of the propaganda process than Chomsky and the structuralists.

Propaganda works because we all feel an "urge to purge", and that is an instinct hard-wired into the psyches of this species, probably pre-human in origin, not because we receive a certain set of images or messages and react in correspondingly rational ways. The need to escape emotionally overwhelming realities is also an ancient instinctive behavior, and propagandists, like religions and the entertainment media, tap into that as a way to access our emotions.

Propaganda doesn't work unless it sets something off inside of us that we can't rationally fully control.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 03:08 PM

10. You don't need pomo to know this. Every psychological theory acknowledges it. In private.

 

Certainly the progressive psychology of the forties to seventies supported it, as did relatively mainstream sociology, such as Jacques Ellul's Propaganda. He also made the point that there's two distinctly different kinds of propaganda - some of it is designed to get you to go do something, and some of it is designed to keep you passive and keep you from doing anything. And all of it is done on levels of the mind that are not amenable to being altered significantly by conscious thought. In fact, he makes the point that propaganda works BETTER if you think about it critically, because you are saturating yourself in its emotional environment for hours and hours when you aren't even being EXPOSED to it.

Ellul, a Christian anarchist, also coined "think globally, act locally."

But since Reagan reconstructed the entire funding system of mental health, the vast majority of psychology research that is done is explicitly for private consumption and corporate profit, and not for the public interest. So the PUBLIC voice of modern psychology says "just take your pill, dearie, and those anti-authoritarian symptoms will go right away like the bad dream they are" and the private says "Hey, advertisers. Start with younger kids. The emotions are already there to manipulate, and there's less mind to get in the way. And you can wire products and thinking of the world in terms of products into their very thinking processes. Give them brand names as the raw material to think about the world with, instead of leftist abstractions like community and responsibility."

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Response to SHRED (Original post)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 03:28 PM

11. Interesting thread.

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Response to SHRED (Original post)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 07:28 PM

12. Well, they can't just rent the Philippine army like in the old days,

...oh wait that was subsidized too.

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Response to SHRED (Original post)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 07:40 PM

13. The directors...

 

... are free to make a movie that is pro/anti/neutral US on their own dime.

Recruitment is a critical part of any military and this is exactly the same thing. Should we get angry at the "Army Strong" commercials?

Maintaining a positive image in the eyes of the population is important.

Above all, no one forced anyone to do anything so I don't have a problem with this at all.

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