Jump to content
The Education Forum

Operation Mockingbird at RisK?


John Simkin
 Share

Recommended Posts

Article by John Harlow in today's Sunday Times:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/worl...icle1400668.ece

HOLLYWOOD stars are rejecting lucrative roles in block-buster action films in favour of intelligent political thrillers, aimed at older, more thoughtful cinemagoers.

Major studios are losing interest in teenage consumers who prefer to spend their money on video games. Instead, encouraged by recent hits such as Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 and George Clooney’s Syr-iana, they are seeking to coax adults back into the cinema.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Reese Witherspoon and Tom Hanks are among dozens of actors who will star in more than 100 antiestablishment films due to be released before the next presidential election.

This week DiCaprio, an Oscar contender for his politically charged thriller Blood Diamond, will reveal details of his future film Conspiracy of Fools.

It is centred on the collapse of the Texas energy company Enron and its donations to George W Bush’s election fund. Such a film coming out close to the election may embarrass a Republican candidate immune to more direct political attacks.

DiCaprio, 32, has spent a decade trying to bury his puppyish romantic image created in Titanic. Now his production company is developing a series of films to display what friends call the “serious Leo”.

These include The Infiltrator, about a real-life MI5 mole in the IRA, and the story of psychedelic drug pioneer Timothy Leary.

DiCaprio is far from alone in tackling the dark side of America: after years of playing Hollywood’s favourite sunny blonde, Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon is “going dark” to tackle the CIA policy of kidnapping terror suspects for interrogation in Third World jails. The 30-year-old actress has effectively taken a pay cut to focus on this film, Rendition, rather than work on a supernatural thriller which was expected to earn her a record salary.

An older generation of stars is also making celluloid polemics: Tom Hanks, 50, is teaming up with Julia Roberts, 39, to make a cautionary tale called Charlie Wilson’s War.

Based on a true story, the film is about a larger-than-life Texan politician who increased CIA aid to Muslim rebels fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan during the early 1980s.

Many of the films in the pipe-line, such as Johnny Depp’s proposed movie about poisoned dissident Alexander Litvinenko, are low budget, which makes them low risk for Hollywood financiers. Paul Dergarabedian, a box-office analyst, said: “We are seeing this flood of political thrillers and documentaries right now because it flatters the stars and also makes money.

“Since the terrorist attacks of 2001, Americans are more aware of the world outside and the political acts carried out in their name. They may not trust the politicians, but they like a good story and American politics does have some pretty amazing stories right now.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does everyone else get to see the 'The West Wing', as we in Australia currently do?

It was recently moved by the ABC to Saturday evening - prime time for those of 'mature age' who no longer treat Saturday night as an obligatory party.

Martin Sheen plays a very decent President. He's an heroic character, cast in the mould of Roosevelt but rather more ethical.

Everyone in the show is smart and talks at least ten times faster than Dubya. In recent episodes, the electoral cycle has progressed. The Dems and Repugs have both picked candidates. Both are tough, highly intelligent and essentially well-meaning guys.

The show is highly recommended - in hour-long weekly doses - as an antidote to reality, as otherwise shown 24x7 on the major TV news networks.

I suspect it is an Operation Mockingbird job, designed to help maintain morale as our civilization plunges towards spook-directed perdition.

It would be nice if The West Wing put up a slate at the next US election.

A national unity ticket in which all concerned made no pretence of being anything other than actors.

I bet they'd win easily.

Edited by Sid Walker
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does everyone else get to see the 'The West Wing', as we in Australia currently do?

It was recently moved by the ABC to Saturday evening - prime time for those of 'mature age' who no longer treat Saturday night as an obligatory party.

Martin Sheen plays a very decent President. He's an heroic character, cast in the mould of Roosevelt but rather more ethical.

Everyone in the show is smart and talks at least ten times faster than Dubya. In recent episodes, the electoral cycle has progressed. The Dems and Repugs have both picked candidates. Both are tough, highly intelligent and essentially well-meaning guys.

The show is highly recommended - in hour-long weekly doses - as an antidote to reality, as otherwise shown 24x7 on the major TV news networks.

I suspect it is an Operation Mockingbird job, designed to help maintain morale as our civilization plunges towards spook-directed perdition.

It would be nice if The West Wing put up a slate at the next US election.

A national unity ticket in which all concerned made no pretence of being anything other than actors.

I bet they'd win easily.

I met the creator of the show a few years back at a screenwriting conference. While he tried to keep the show non-partisan, his leftiness showed through. Sheen himself is of course a notorious leftist, who has been jailed many times for acts of civil disobedience. He has also played both RFK and JFK in films. His son, Emilio Estevez, recently wrote and directed Bobby, which while shying away from conspiracy theories about RFK's assassination, was nevertheless a heartfelt tribute to old fashioned Kennedy liberalism. The film features several speeches by RFK, and was widely perceived as anti-Bush, if only because Bush suffers so badly in comparison.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the subject of film and politics, one cannot go past Mel Gibson's celluloid contributions to the last two American presidential elections. I refer to The Patriot released in Australia about June 2000, portraying a father and son fighting evil Brits to avenge the death of a yet younger son. A scene where the Brits torch a church full of people is reminiscent of a scene in Bernard

Schlink's The Reader, but that is of course about Nazi atrocities.

The Passion of the Christ released in the first half of 2004 was a medieval Catholic bloodcurdling version of "Good Friday" which was heavily promoted to American evangelical groups with emphasis on blood sacrifice, appropriate for a country that had recently launched a bloodletting of Old Testament proportions. The apparent intent I believe was to unite Protestants and Catholics under a single banner--you could call it a Crusade.

The effect on both elections IMHO was not insignificant, and at the very least affected the political climate, somewhat similiar to the campaign in Chile in 1972-73 to desensitize the populous to violence, as described in Donald Freed's Death in Washington. Horrorific..........

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember reading years ago that Oliver Stone bought the film rights to Marita Lorenz's autobiography "Marita," which of course includes the alleged caravan from Miami to Dallas to shoot JFK. Just as well that he didn't make the movie. Stone has forsaken conspiracy theorists anyway with "World Trade Center."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember reading years ago that Oliver Stone bought the film rights to Marita Lorenz's autobiography "Marita," which of course includes the alleged caravan from Miami to Dallas to shoot JFK. Just as well that he didn't make the movie. Stone has forsaken conspiracy theorists anyway with "World Trade Center."

Glad you brought that up Ron. What the hell happened to Stone? Did he and Vince Bugliosi get MKultra'd? Threatened? Paid a zillion dollars? They both just went off the rails. Bugliosi seems to be at the point of no return, but I was holding out hope that Stone just had a brain cramp or something.

Does anyone know of an interview with Stone in which he explains his sudden willingness to echo the party line?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I met the creator of the show a few years back at a screenwriting conference. While he tried to keep the show non-partisan, his leftiness showed through. Sheen himself is of course a notorious leftist, who has been jailed many times for acts of civil disobedience. He has also played both RFK and JFK in films. His son, Emilio Estevez, recently wrote and directed Bobby, which while shying away from conspiracy theories about RFK's assassination, was nevertheless a heartfelt tribute to old fashioned Kennedy liberalism. The film features several speeches by RFK, and was widely perceived as anti-Bush, if only because Bush suffers so badly in comparison.

That's the best definition of "anti-Bush" I've ever seen Pat.

It may help explain why he had it in for Saddam Hussein.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the subject of film and politics, one cannot go past Mel Gibson's celluloid contributions to the last two American presidential elections. I refer to The Patriot released in Australia about June 2000, portraying a father and son fighting evil Brits to avenge the death of a yet younger son. A scene where the Brits torch a church full of people is reminiscent of a scene in Bernard

Schlink's The Reader, but that is of course about Nazi atrocities.

The Passion of the Christ released in the first half of 2004 was a medieval Catholic bloodcurdling version of "Good Friday" which was heavily promoted to American evangelical groups with emphasis on blood sacrifice, appropriate for a country that had recently launched a bloodletting of Old Testament proportions. The apparent intent I believe was to unite Protestants and Catholics under a single banner--you could call it a Crusade.

The effect on both elections IMHO was not insignificant, and at the very least affected the political climate, somewhat similiar to the campaign in Chile in 1972-73 to desensitize the populous to violence, as described in Donald Freed's Death in Washington. Horrorific..........

Don't be so hard on ole Mel. His most recent film, Apocalypto, is about the fall of the Mayan civilization, due to decadence and brutality. Many viewers and critics saw it as a comment on George Bush's America, and Gibson drew such parallels himself in a number of interviews supporting the film. He has been an outspoken opponent of the war.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember reading years ago that Oliver Stone bought the film rights to Marita Lorenz's autobiography "Marita," which of course includes the alleged caravan from Miami to Dallas to shoot JFK. Just as well that he didn't make the movie. Stone has forsaken conspiracy theorists anyway with "World Trade Center."

Glad you brought that up Ron. What the hell happened to Stone? Did he and Vince Bugliosi get MKultra'd? Threatened? Paid a zillion dollars? They both just went off the rails. Bugliosi seems to be at the point of no return, but I was holding out hope that Stone just had a brain cramp or something.

Does anyone know of an interview with Stone in which he explains his sudden willingness to echo the party line?

I talked to Stone last year, at a screening of the movie "Z," and he has not by any means "sold out." He is still passionate and outspoken in his views that Kennedy was killed by a government conspiracy. He explained his lack of recent activity by pretty much admitting that he was burned out. He said that a film like JFK was a once-in-a-lifetime experience...only once in a film-maker's lifetime will he be afforded the opportunity of making a highly controversial film with a nearly unlimited budget. JFK was his shot, and he was proud of it.

As far as World Trade Center, he was proud of it as well. And rightly so. No matter who was responsible for the fall of the towers, the bravery and comradery of the firemen trapped in the ruins still makes for a powerful and moving story.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let's not forget Stone's dalliance with Joe Trento's aborted tome on the Roosevelt coup. What an interesting prequel to "JFK" it would have made -- "The Last President," that is.

How odd that arguably the most cinematic of lives closely associated with the assassination -- David Ferrie -- remains so poorly explored on the screen.

"Brokeback Knoll" -- David Lynch, a lonely community casts its eyes to you.

Or if you prefer to be serious, the entire Mary Sherman story cries out for screen interpretation/investigation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let's not forget Stone's dalliance with Joe Trento's aborted tome on the Roosevelt coup. What an interesting prequel to "JFK" it would have made -- "The Last President," that is.

I assume you're referring to the attempted coup in which American big shots tried to use General Smedley Butler to overthrow Roosevelt. That would certainly make a great movie. But I guess it's a story that the American people are not supposed to know about, since it could never happen here.

I would love to see a movie called "The Dark Complected Man." Who was he, what was he doing, and for whom? Starring Denzel Washington. Fictitious, of course, but smash hit written all over it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let's not forget Stone's dalliance with Joe Trento's aborted tome on the Roosevelt coup. What an interesting prequel to "JFK" it would have made -- "The Last President," that is.

I assume you're referring to the attempted coup in which American big shots tried to use General Smedley Butler to overthrow Roosevelt. That would certainly make a great movie. But I guess it's a story that the American people are not supposed to know about, since it could never happen here.

I would love to see a movie called "The Dark Complected Man." Who was he, what was he doing, and for whom? Starring Denzel Washington. Fictitious, of course, but smash hit written all over it.

Indeed I am.

As I noted in the thread devoted to the Roosevelt/Kennedy connection, Joseph Trento, with William Corson noted as co-author, apparently wrote and then pulled back "The Last President," their take on the Smedley Butler affair previously and, to my knowledge, exclusively addressed in book length form by Jules Archer in his "The Plot to Seize the White House."

I direct your attention to the aforementioned thread for a fuller, if still unsatisfyingly incomplete, discussion of this most significant episode in American history.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I noted in the thread devoted to the Roosevelt/Kennedy connection, Joseph Trento, with William Corson noted as co-author, apparently wrote and then pulled back "The Last President," their take on the Smedley Butler affair previously and, to my knowledge, exclusively addressed in book length form by Jules Archer in his "The Plot to Seize the White House."

I direct your attention to the aforementioned thread for a fuller, if still unsatisfyingly incomplete, discussion of this most significant episode in American history.

Thanks, I had completely missed that thread. Just went back and read it.

Why did Trento not have his book published? And who is telling the authors of U.S. history books not to tell this story? And why in the world did Oliver Stone think that "Alexander" or whatever would make a better movie than this?

It's interesting that General Butler with his book "War Is A Racket" warned us of the military industrial complex not only before General Eisenhower did, but before the MIC even existed as such.

Edited by Ron Ecker
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I noted in the thread devoted to the Roosevelt/Kennedy connection, Joseph Trento, with William Corson noted as co-author, apparently wrote and then pulled back "The Last President," their take on the Smedley Butler affair previously and, to my knowledge, exclusively addressed in book length form by Jules Archer in his "The Plot to Seize the White House."

I direct your attention to the aforementioned thread for a fuller, if still unsatisfyingly incomplete, discussion of this most significant episode in American history.

Thanks, I had completely missed that thread. Just went back and read it.

Why did Trento not have his book published? And who is telling the authors of U.S. history books not to tell this story? And why in the world did Oliver Stone think that "Alexander" or whatever would make a better movie than this?

It's interesting that General Butler with his book "War Is A Racket" warned us of the military industrial complex not only before General Eisenhower did, but before the MIC even existed as such.

Perhaps Mr. Trento would care to respond.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...