1984-poster

Warning of Propaganda: “1984″

“It is not enough to obey him [Big Brother]. You must love him.” - O’Brian, 1984

A film derivation of the classic novel “1984” by George Orwell, with powerful performances by John Hurt, Suzanna Hamilton, and Richard Burton.

As a message film concerning propaganda and the evils of the collectivist state. It depicts a world of perpetual (and possibly imaginary) war, rationing, and control, where history and even language is rewritten or redefined to meet current party needs. Family and the orgasm are seen as undesired, since they promote allegiances other than those to the party.

It is said that Orwell used the Stalinist regime as his inspiration for the book, but it seems evident that the techniques of collectivism are ubiquitous to all authoritarian regimes: Denigration of individual achievement (unless it supports the party/king/etc.), control of wealth (for the public good), and reeducation to proper lines of thinking.

 

The tortured Hero

The tortured Hero

The fellow deviant

The fellow deviant

The sweet voice of oppression.  Burton's last role, and he brings it…hard.

The sweet voice of oppression. Burton’s last role, and he brings it…hard.

There is no happy ending to Orwell’s story. Let’s hope that there is one to ours.

It can be seen here…for a price.

ReeferMadnessPoster

Propaganda Review-Reefer Madness

Evidently, according to Wikipedia, this project initially started as a film produced by a church group to warn parents about the dangers of  ”Marihuana”.  It was then bought out and converted to an “Exploitation” film by Dwain Esper.

One of the ironies of this particular film is that its portrayal of the effects of Marijuana is so over the top that the consequences shown are unbelievable, and thus blind the skeptic to any of the real concerns surrounding its use.

This movie stars:

An authoritative figure lecturing the viewer about the perils of Marijuana.

I know what I'm talking about.  I wear glasses.

I know what I’m talking about. I wear glasses.

Maniacal laughter.

Dude!  This movie is like..ah…hilarious, or something...

Dude! This movie is like..ah…hilarious, or something…

Underworld Heavies

Clean-cut corruptible “Utes”

Slutty women

Hey there, clean-cut teenager.  Try this, and I promise not to not try anything compromising!

Hey there, clean-cut teenager. Try this, and I promise not to not try anything compromising!

And Reefer madness is the first film to my knowledge to portray the “One-hot chick rule”

If you haven’t seen it, do.  Its good campy fun:

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Propaganda Review-Battleship Potemkin

A classic propaganda film, made in 1925 and directed by Sergei Eisenstein, dramatizing the mutiny of the Potemkin crew in 1905 against their Tsarist officers (as explained by Wikipedia-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battleship_Potemkin).

battleship-potemkin-the-ultimate-edition-2pc-full-b-w-

Anyhow, as silent films go, it’s pretty darn good.  Fasted paced, well-edited, with scenes and storyline threads that you will see copied in many of the more modern movies. (The scene in the “Untouchables” with the stroller at the edge of the staircase?  Yes, comrade, borrowed from BP.)  The film is specifically shot and edited so that it is easy for the audience to understand for whom they are supposed to root.

Here’s how the fun starts:

Villainous officers feed maggot-infested meat to crew.  Crew surprisingly not happy with the menu. Officers and priest try to demand obedience.  Scuffle ensues, officers die.

I won’t spoil the rest of it, but be on the look out for:

Mustache twirling (Easiest way to spot a villain.)

Crazy Rasputin-like priest.

Patriotic cries to the Cause.

Lots of Red Flags.

Senseless killing by Cossack Guards.

Dead Women and Children.

An Amazing Escape.

All in all, an interesting film as artwork, propaganda, and schlock.  You may watch it here:

The Nature of Propaganda

Google Dictionary defines Propaganda as:

information, esp. of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

When we live in a world in which we are inundated by information of all sorts, it is difficult, at times, to distinguish the messages we encounter from one another.  What are the meanings of the messages presented, and are they given to inform, or to manipulate?

Given our definition of propaganda we can say:

1.  Propaganda is a message intended to sway opinion.

This message may be intellectual, such as a series of statements presented as facts to sway beliefs or logical processes to the desired conclusion.  The message can also be emotionally-driven.  An example of this might be a photograph of an event, shown in conjunction with  happy (or scary) music to frame the image in the desired emotional context.

This basis is fairly broad; almost any work of art, philosophical argument or religious ideology could be described in these terms. The movie King of Kings gives a version of the story of Jesus Christ, portraying him as a miracle worker, savior, and martyr, with beautiful camera work, and a soundtrack to support this story.

King-of-Kings-Blu-ray-2

Jeffrey Hunter -Before taking on the Star Trek pilot…he took on Pontius Pilate.

Is it propaganda?

Let us explore some of the other facets of the subject.

2.  Propaganda is created or sponsored by those who will benefit by this change of opinion.

In the Author’s modest opinion, King of Kings, and most other stories and art forms are not propaganda, per se, because the changing of opinion does not directly benefit the instigator of the message.  Can one consider it a one-sided version of the christian mythology?  Yes.  Does the spreading of this message contribute to the power or monetary benefit of its producers?  Unless they were paid by the baptism, it would be hard to make that argument.

However, if the film was bank-rolled by XYZ church, showed Christ preaching in XYZ synagogues, and teaching XYZ-specific doctrine, the argument might be substantiated.

3. Propaganda can be true, but tends to be selective in it’s presentation of the truth.

Propaganda, to be effective, must be believed. To be believed, it must be credible. To be credible, it must be true.
Hubert H. Humphrey

I find that Whitehouse.gov and it’s twitter feed are often perfect examples of propaganda.

https://twitter.com/WhiteHouse/status/421742080482742273

It gives examples how the Affordable health Care plan has helped certain individuals. These examples may very well be true.  However these truths are shown out of context, without mention of any negative consequences that the law or White House policy may have.

4. Propaganda, to be effective, must be appealing.

Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves.
Eric Hoffer

Somewhere in the message, there has to be something that people want to hear..  It might appeal to people’s irrational fears (or exacerbate their rational ones).  It may confirm their suspicions,  reinforce their biases, or appeal to their fantasies or desires.  Giving people a message that they want to hear makes you their ally, and empowers you to motivate them to action.

ObamaHalo2

The New Messiah, complete with full body halo. Suck on it, Hunter!

I will be posting future articles that review different works of propaganda, as well as  some cinema that examines propaganda as a method of persuasion and control.

White house unleashed Propaganda on Twitter

“Under a strategy championed by Obama’s senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer, the White House has doubled its footprint on Twitter since July, giving official accounts on the social media web site to more than a dozen additional communications staffers.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/03/us-usa-obama-twitter-idUSBRE9A20JW20131103?feedType=RSS&feedName=technologyNews

When considering the White House efforts, remember the words of the NAZI Propaganda master Goebbels:

“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”
― Joseph Goebbels

 

Jay Carney walks out of Press Conference during Obamacare questions, the Press is surprisingly shocked

After years of kissing up to the President and his Press Secretary, the White House Press Corps still get no love.  I am amused by how shocked the lady in the center seems to be when Mr. Carney walks out on her question.

It’s like the nerdy guy who’s stuck on the head cheerleader.  As long as she’s willing to look in his direction, he will take the attention of her abuse.

Update:  Some have noted that the reported that he walked out on was a Black woman.  I have no doubt that he would have done the same to anyone asking uncomfortable questions.  Plus, he’s a racist.

 

J.J. Abrams gives his audience what they want: Mindless, Explosive Crap.

The Missus and I finished watching Star Trek: Into Darkness a few days ago, and it’s taken me that time to fathom exactly what it was that I saw and why it was so popular.

star-trek-title

The previous Star Trek move directed by Mr. Abrams was not a favorite of mine:  It seemed to be designed for an ADHD generation.  Lots of action, flash, and pop; just enough storyline development to string it together.  With the ending of the film as it was, the door was open to a whole new Star Trek universe, where a creative mind could generate imaginative and unique stories.

But that’s just too easy….

Instead, Into Darkness is so derivative it HURTS.  Most of the characters mimic, if not mock, the personas played in the original Star Trek series of the Sixties. Plot lines are stolen from previous movies; heck, even dialogue is directly spewed from The Wrath Of Khan in a completely schmaltzy method.  There is even a conversation between Young Spock and Old Spock, delivered as straight red meat for fans of the old show.  Never mind that I have no idea as to how plot-wise this little miracle was possible, or why it happened.

The question is, “Why?”  I suspect, sadly, that it is because J.J. Abrams knows his audience: style over substance.  I mean Into Darkness is a good-looking movie, with impressive effects, moving quickly from action scene to action scene.  What it is not is a good story.  There is little plot development, and no time for the audience to breath and take in what little discovery there is in the film.

So there you have it.  If you would prefer a rather useful and humorous synopsis of the film see:

http://komplexify.com/blog/2013/05/25/star-trek-into-darkness-the-komplexified-script/

Tres. Sec. Lew: “I know that there were many occasions when the debt limit was tacked on to other things.”

Evidently Treasury Secretary Jack Lew disagrees with his boss (when the heat is on).  Chris Wallace brings that heat.

 

http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/fox-news-sunday-chris-wallace/2013/10/06/treasury-sec-jack-lew-how-budget-battle-will-impact-debt-ceiling-reps-king-graves-debate#p//v/2724441794001