mediamadness
Just another multimedia weblog

Jun
29

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Sicko is not a movie about the 50 million Americans walking around without health insurance. Sicko is a movie about the other 250 million of us who have insurance, but are just as well and truly screwed. It’s also about freedom, real freedom, not the empty kind that gets thrown around as a buzzword; the freedom to live your life with the certainty that forces beyond your control won’t take away everything you have and everything you are. We don’t have that kind of freedom here in America, and Moore’s film makes that point by simply talking to real people. They’re your neighbors, your friends, your parents, some of them are even 9/11 heroes. Moore uses his camera to let them tell their stories of insurance company mistreatment and in the process paints a complete picture of a corrupt and fatally flawed system which isn’t just killing people but taking away their dignity and their liberty.

At first, he isn’t telling us anything we don’t already know. Anyone who’s spent any time dealing with insurance companies knows what a mess it is. You pay your premiums and then when you actually need them they go out of their way not to help you. They’re in the business of finding reasons not to spend money, and everyone knows it. What you may not know is just how far they’ll go. Having insurance doesn’t mean you’re protected, and the film covers both ends of the spectrum from people left to die because insurance companies refuse treatment, to people dropped from policies for bogus reasons, to an elderly couple driven to bankruptcy and made homeless by high deductibles. The film leaves no room for anyone to think it won’t happen to them. It will. It happens to everyone, just in varying degrees. When you walk out of Sicko, you’ll do it with the absolute certainty that if you ever encounter serious health trouble, you’re screwed.

Sicko

Jun
29

The Trap: What Happened To Our Dream of Freedom? is a three-part series of films written and directed by BAFTA-winning producer Adam Curtis, explaining the origins of our contemporary, narrow idea of freedom.

Curtis believes that if one steps back and looks at what freedom actually means for us today, it’s a strange and limited kind of freedom.

The West fought the Cold War for freedom and individual freedom is the dream of our age. It’s what our leaders promise to give us and defines how we think of ourselves.

And abroad, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the attempt to force freedom on to other people has led to bloody mayhem and the rise of an authoritarian anti-democratic Islamism.

This, in turn, has helped inspire terrorist attacks in Britain. In response, the government has dismantled long-standing laws that were designed to protect our freedom.

Curtis argues that we have forgotten other ideas of freedom. We are in a trap of our own making, a trap that controls us, deprives us of meaning, and causes death and chaos abroad. Will the panel agree?

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BBC – The Trap – What Happened to Our Dreams of Freedom

In this episode, Curtis examines the rise of game theory during the Cold War and the way in which its mathematical models of human behaviour filtered into economic thought.

The Trap: Episode 2 : Lonely Robot

The second episode reiterated many of the ideas of the first, but developed the theme that the drugs such as Prozac and lists of psychological symptoms which might indicate anxiety or depression were being used to normalise behaviour and make humans behave more predictably, like machines.

The Trap: Episode 3 : We Will Force You To Be Free

The final programme focussed on the concepts of positive and negative liberty introduced in the 1950s by Isaiah Berlin. Curtis briefly explained how negative liberty could be defined as freedom from coercion, and positive liberty as the opportunity to strive to fulfill one’s potential. Tony Blair had read Berlin’s essays on the topic, and wrote to him in the late 1990s, arguing that positive and negative liberty could be mutually compatible. He never received a reply, as Berlin was on his deathbed.

Jun
29

Orwell Rolls in His Grave is a 2004 documentary film written and directed by Robert Kane Pappas. It examines the current and past relationships between the media, the US government and corporations, analyzing the possible consequences of the concentration of media ownership. Making references to George Orwell‘s novel 1984, the film argues that reality has met and in some ways exceeded Orwell’s expectations about a society dominated by thought control, which is made possible by the media. According to the film, the mass media no longer report news, but manage them, deciding what makes the headlines and what is conveniently ignored, thus ultimately defining the framework upon which most other issues are discussed by the society. As an example, it is claimed that since the late 1980s there’s been an agenda pursued by the major media corporations regarding the deregulation of the media market, by which news reports sell all its benefits while neglecting its disastrous results.

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Orwell Rolls Over in His Grave

Jun
29

How do you sell a war? How do the techniques of government propagandists, public relations consultants and commercial advertisers work, and why are they so effective? How did the United States become a master of domestic war propaganda over the course of the twentieth century?

War is Sell (55 min) 

Jun
28

“Outfoxed” examines how media empires, led by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, have been running a “race to the bottom” in television news. This film provides an in-depth look at Fox News and the dangers of ever-enlarging corporations taking control of the public’s right to know.The film explores Murdoch’s burgeoning kingdom and the impact on society when a broad swath of media is controlled by one person.

Media experts, including Jeff Cohen (FAIR) Bob McChesney (Free Press), Chellie Pingree (Common Cause), Jeff Chester (Center for Digital Democracy) and David Brock (Media Matters) provide context and guidance for the story of Fox News and its effect on society.

This documentary also reveals the secrets of Former Fox news producers, reporters, bookers and writers who expose what it’s like to work for Fox News.  These former Fox employees talk about how they were forced to push a “right-wing” point of view or risk their jobs. Some have even chosen to remain anonymous in order to protect their current livelihoods. As one employee said “There’s no sense of integrity as far as having a line that can’t be crossed.”

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OUTFOXED : Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism

Jun
28

There are prophecies and oracles from around the world that all seem to point to December 21, 2012 as doomsday. The ancient Mayan Calendar, the medieval predictions of Merlin, the Book of Revelation and the Chinese oracle of the I Ching all point to this specific date as the end of civilization. A new technology called “The Web-Bot Project” makes massive scans of the internet as a means of forecasting the future… and has turned up the same dreaded date: 2012. Skeptics point to a long history of “Failed Doomsdays”, but many oracles of doom throughout history have a disturbingly accurate track record. As the year 2012 ticks ever closer we’ll speculate if there are any reasons to believe these doomsayers.

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Decoding the Past – Mayan Doomsday Prophecy 2012

Jun
28

Governments are installing computerized voting systems with no paper record to verify accuracy. Elections will be controlled by companies… none of which allow voters to inspect their software. If vote counting becomes privatized, there may be no way to get it back. Hightech vote fraud is already a reality

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Invisible Ballots – A Temptation for Electronic Vote Fraud

Jun
28

“The FBI’s War on Black America offers a thought provoking look at a government-sanctioned conspiracy, the FBI’s counter intelligence program known as Cointelpro. This documentary establishes historical perspective on the measures initiated by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI which aimed to discredit black political figures and forces of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Combining declassified documents, interviews, rare footage and exhaustive research, it investigates the government’s role in the assignations of Malcom X, Fred Hampton and Martin Luther King Jr. The film reflects the rigorous research which went into its making, and portrays the nation’s unrest during the period it recounts.” ~

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The FBI’s War on Black America
Jun
28

Sacred Weeds was a four part television series of 50 minute documentaries investigating the cultural impact of psychoactive plants on a broad array of early civilisations. The series was filmed at Hammerwood Park by the producer, Sarah Marris, and her production company TVF. It was broadcast in the summer of 1998 on Channel 4, a British television network.

The Reader in European Pre-History at Oxford University, Dr Andrew Sherratt, was the series host. Each episode began and ended with Sherratt inscribing his diary with his reflections on the series’ scientific and cultural investigations. In each episode the series investigated one psychoactive plant and its cultural significance. Three specialists of various scientific discipines were invited to monitor two volunteers who had taken each plant. After the four episodes, Sherratt assigned considerably more significance to the psychoactive properties of plants in ancient civilization and the prehistoric period than expert knowledge hitherto.

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Sacred Weeds

Jun
28
Trailer for the upcoming documentary on the Brotherhood of Eternal Love

Orange Sunshine, the true story of Orange County’s Brotherhood of Eternal Love, also known as the Hippie Mafia.  The movie depicts the unbelievable rise and fall of Timothy Leary’s legendary cult–which started as a group of Laguna Beach surfers and quickly became the world’s largest acid, hash and marijuana distribution network.
The group’s headquarters, a Laguna Beach head shop called Mystic Arts World, mysteriously burned down in 1970, and two years later, law enforcement indicted several dozen members of the group.  Those who weren’t arrested fled overseas.  The story of the Brotherhood is one of the strangest chapters of American counter-cultural history, yet 40 years after its inception during the so-called Summer of Love, it’s one that remains little-understood and, outside the confines of Laguna Canyon, all but unknown.
That fact isn’t completely coincidental.  Many people associated with the Brotherhood continue to live underground, believing they could end up in jail if authorities learn their true identities.  Several members of the group lived under assumed names until the mid-1990s, when they were finally tracked down and arrested.  Meanwhile, other people who weren’t really in the Brotherhood have made a career out of hyping a self-proclaimed connection.

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Orange sunshine (trailer 11 min)