By Judith Siers-Poisson on June 02, 2006
cinema marque

Several recent and forthcoming documentaries are, according to PR professionals, "docugandas." Those noted include "An Inconvenient Truth," which features Al Gore warning about global warming, last year's "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price," "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room," and 2004's "Super Size Me," as well as the upcoming film "Who Killed the Electric Car?" "We need to clarify that this new wave of ‘documentaries’ are not, in fact, documentaries,” says Christopher Ian Bennett of New School Media, a communications and public-relations firm in Vancouver. “They fail to meet the Oxford Dictionary definition, in that they editorialize, and opine far too much.” Robert Greenwald, director of "Wal-Mart" and 2004's "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism" comes at it from a slightly different perspective. When asked whether he feels the need to present more than one side of an issue, Greenwald said, "Is it my job to tell the story that everyone is already getting over and over 24/7? I don't think so. In a democratic system you want to hear something that hasn't been told."

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Comments

All I can say is I can't wait to see an Inconvenient Truth by our
rightful president. I hope he considers running again. Although
the sheeplike public who allowed the Bush years to happen don't
deserve him.

"Weight obsession is a social disease. If we cared as much about
CO2 as BMI, there would still be time!"

Thought I'd check in on "civilization" to see if they have yet realized their utopian dream of being free of all rabble-rousers.

Looks like they're still working on it --- this "dream."

Imagining their dream world --- in which they are free of truth and can center more and more on their own narcissicm --- can get to be both pathetic and entertaining. But it is only entertaining from a distance. Being in the thick of it is like swimming in a toilet.

And what is it these days with all of the "listen-to-me-pick-my-nose" music that is everywhere? Is this supposed to be entertainment? Why is it that you can't even enter a fast food place without hearing this music that big brother has picked out for us? Is it not just another marketing tool to keep the masses in an agitated state?

Okay I've changed the subject but this society is extremely pathetic, and that is that point.

Frankly, Wood doesn't know the history of documentary.

And I'm not sure why he would quote a pr exec who worked for
1-800-GOT-JUNK? and is only 27 (not that there aren't young
people who understand docs).

Too many people (which sadly includes far too many
journalists and critics) don't understand there is more
than one genre of documentary.

Documentaries don't have to be in the tradition
format with a voice of god narrator.

Moore's films are personal essay films which
have a long history and never have had to be "balanced."

Others are are less personal, but are political essays.

The question isn't whether these films are documentaries,
but whether they are good documentaries and whether
they are effective at getting their message across.

And there are bad documentaries which can be good
organizing tools while there are good docs which
may be too complex, too personal, or too indiosyncratic
to be effective politically. People need to look
critically at any kind of media.

I was watching Criterion's new DVD of Harlan Country, USA
which is a great documentary more than decade older
than Roger & Me (as well as very different) which tells
a story, a story which wasn't being told, from the
perspective of the subjects.

http://criterionco.com/asp/release.asp?id=334

http://ari.typepad.com blog

http://flickr.com/photos/ari/ photos

http://del.icio.us/tigerbeat interesting articles & sites

propoganda needs to be acknowledged as such. Over the last fifteen years, Fox News has transformed "news" into editorials-- not just for its own station, but also for every other news station. First of all, the recognition that objective reporting is not possible has resulted in opinion pieces replacing that objective reporting. Secondly, stations have learned that preaching to the choir (as this website tends to do) secures a base audience that strengthens that business or organization in an otherwise too competitive market. Whether it's from Rush Limbaugh or Noam Chomsky, Fox News or CNN, politically biased perspective replaces raw (albeit organized) data that acknowledges as many sides as possible (not just Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Greenie, or Radical, but rather uncategorizable data). Unfortunately, as many people who take Fox News at face value also take Moore at face value. No source of information openly admits that it is biased or explains how it is biased.

We're not thinking for ourselves. We're buying (literally purchasing) polarized identities. These identities disable us from thinking outside these thematic paradigms. The paradigms decide who we vote for, and even whether or not we vote. The paradigms oppose us to people we could otherwise understand. We defend the limits of this thinking: If you cross this line, you are no longer one of us. We inherently repress any acknowledgement of whatever in ourselves does not abide by our polarized definitions for ourselves. We become neurotic about certain "political" subjects. We are trapped in these identities.

This is the true nature of democratized media: freedom of choice means you chose freely and so can be defined by that choice, until you are bound by that choice and no longer free.

--Gray Kane