Zero Dark Thirty is a fiction entertainment piece, part of a larger effort to “kill” Osama bin Laden in our consciousness. I’d be lying if I said I understood why. At the time of the operation, I speculated that the military was leaving Afghanistan and needed to dispense with the cover story. Others I’ve heard discuss the matter think that because it is so widely known outside this country that 9/11 was an inside job that the Pentagon merely wanted to move forward and invent new realities. Most amazing is that the movie makers surely know that the Navy Seals who supposedly pulled off the mission are all dead, and their comrades too. There is an oppressive sense about this movie in that people who made it have to have some inkling of what is true.
Someday some bright light will offer more insight. But I am in awe at the total uniformity of thought among TV news readers, journalists, intelligentsia, public officials, comedians – it’s hard not to believe in this scam! True, the greatest achievement of American propaganda is that most Americans don’t know there is American propaganda. And movies are a large part of our background thought control system. Here’s a paragraph that I wrote to a couple of film reviewers who loved, just loved, ZDT:
Propaganda, I say? Nonsense! We all know that there was propaganda in film in World War II, but not since. How can I say such a thing? I should stuff that under my beret! That Arabs say Osama died in 2001? That’s my top argument? Gun it down! I should take it and bury it in a garden of stone! A gentleman does not make such arguments, nor do officers. I am making hurtful comments that should never leave my locker! I’m nothing but a hawk looking for easy prey that is already down! I should just ramble on and bother someone else! I don’t get to win this time! Argggho! Such attitudes as mine are clearly a danger and no present to you. But you gotta admit, to approach an American film reviewer and claim that American film reviewers do not recognize American propaganda – that takes valor on my part! That’s quite uncommon – no?
That was just a small list of American propaganda films, best I could do in an email that I knew would not be read. On the other hand, if any reader saw the movie Three Kings, he might notice that even though it was about the 1991 American attack on Iraq, there was no military hardware except one tank, which was probably a movie magic miniature. The Pentagon will freely allow movie makers to use our hardware, but only if it has script approval. With a movie like ZDT, loaded with toys, there were surely Pentagon brass on the set at all times. That was not a Hollywood film – it came from Langley.Movies reach mostly youth – by my age, I no longer care about action and adventure and am more interested in character and plot development, and, of course, Mamma Mia. But the frame of mind of young Americans largely belongs to the movie industry. It is an important part of not only our thought control system, but also the military recruiting effort.
But it’s not all bad. There are many good movies, and some, like Three Kings, that even attempt to smuggle some truth our way. Thinking … thinking … Syriana, Catch 22, M.A.S.H., set in Korea, actually about Vietnam, Little Big Men. … oh yeah – one of my all time favorites, Wag the Dog. Warren Beatty’s Reds was a little in-your-face instead of subversive. That never works. There’s many more, I am sure, and I hope to catch one or two more in the comments. But since 9/11 subversive films have pretty much dried up, part of our disaster psychosis. Maybe now that Osama has been wink-wink killed, they can start making an occasional thought-provoking movie again.
Here is one that I just recently learned about, as I never saw it when it was out: Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The story of how the Red Trolley system in Los Angeles was dismantled to make way for the freeway system. In a land where lies are our only truth, the only way to say something that is true is to smuggle it by the censors. That was clever.