Posts Tagged ‘demonization’

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Tony Cartalucci sorts out grotesque double-standards when the regime being protested is a US client state puppet (Thailand) vs. when the regime is a US targeted enemy (Ukraine).
A Tale of Two Protests: Ukraine & Thailand

Bonus hypocrisy from the US State Dept. itself:

“We urge Ukraine’s leaders to respect their people’s right to freedom of expression and assembly…

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We call on the Government of Ukraine to foster a positive environment for civil society…

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and to protect the rights of all Ukrainians to express their views on their country’s future in a constructive and peaceful manner

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in [Kiev] and in other parts of the country.

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Violence and intimidation should have no place in today’s Ukraine.””

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Violence and intimidation of protesters holds a near and dear place in the United States itself though.  Are memories that short over at the State Department?

Much concern for the Ukrainian protesters — a large chunk of whom are neonazis, apparently, and many others are “color revolution” stooges of western imperial meddling, in other words: On The Payroll.   This is the same old story, and the US media is always complicit in selling Uncle Sam’s self-interested tall tales to the rubes.

 

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This low-grade grammar school level smear may appeal to some of the brain damaged hordes who love them their Walmart.

The alleged “professional protesters” are demonized.  Because only someone hired to say things could possibly have anything against benevolent Walmart et al.

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I love how the wording actually mentions “higher wages and better benefits!”   Oops.  Corporate’s not gonna like that!

In another bit of astounding hypocrisy, we are given a voice over that demonizes the people on the screen — their own hired actors, more Walmart employees!  How stupid do people have to be to buy these lies?

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What a loathsome piece of shit.  Thankfully Glenn Greenwald sets Maher and his bigotry straight.   Bill Maher is as ugly as Hannity and Limbaugh, and just as dangerous when he misleads his section of the viewing audience.

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I shudder.  Looks like the story sets up Assange to be demonized by the end, as is official US policy and Big Lies.  Some possibilities though, as they want to take in the money of people on Wikileaks’ side.  The actor playing Assange, however, can’t pull off the accent, and it’s rather sad.

It seems that Assange is portrayed as a deluded one-note fanatic, incapable of seeing the wisdom of the corporate security state and the all-knowing power of the rich white guys who know better.  I get the impression that this actor Benedict Cumberbatch doesn’t get Assange in the slightest, and is just another meat puppet in this corporate/political kabuki theater.  Cumberbatch pissed me off once before in his British show Sherlock, by gleefully endorsing the death penalty time and again. This pro-death, essentially right wing propaganda passes as comedy in a nation that has outlawed executions for many decades.

The Fifth Estate trailer is full of lofty poetry, and the staging seems weak, the images non-cinematic when Assange and crew are involved, rather deliberately unflattering.

 

Assange responds to the Ffrth Estate Script (11:10)

“A Mass Propaganda Attack.”

 

[The Fifth Estate] is not just an attack against us.  It is an attack on Iran.  It fans the flames to start a war with Iran.”

Watch the video for the spoilers, and the “corrupt media, corrupt culture.”

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After an uncharacteristically swift (and passionate) response to the bad Lone Ranger reviews I posted here yesterday, I figured I’d look a little more into this masked man and his crow-accessorized companion.

Some critics are calling it genuinely subversive, misunderstood and other sorts of praises.

Luke Thompson:

“This will not likely come as a shock to anyone, but lest there was any doubt, yes, it adds fantasy elements and makes many of the major characters insane, while not being remotely accurate to real history. What may surprise you is that there is a legitimate in-story reason for this, one that also accounts for its mood-swings, tonal shifts, and occasional plot holes that the story quite deliberately calls your attention to.”

More:

The Lone Ranger’s Lonely Defenders: Critics Ride to the Maligned Blockbuster’s Rescue

With  the Tomatometer in freefall at 23% and with audiences at 68%, quite the split, we have something to think about here.

I’m inclined to listen to what Native Americans think of it before taking the word of middle aged white guys.

Native Appropriations:

“It’s 2.5 hours of a film with an identity crisis, not knowing if it’s supposed to be funny, campy, dramatic, “authentic,” or what. At points it was very hard to separate the stereotypical and hurtful from the bad script, bad editing, and bad character development of the movie itself.”

Apparently its defenders are pulling a Pee Wee Herman:

“I meant to do that!”pee-wee-herman-20090810-174119

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New York Times Warning: Trust Authorities on Boston Bombing, or You’re Nuts

Disbelieve the government when we tell you to.

Believe the government when we tell you to.

You are not qualified to think.

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US President Barack Obama (L) tapes an i

Another film with Iran in the crosshairs: An effing bad idea

by Patrice Greanville

The New York Times headline made me wince:

Jon Stewart to Direct Serious Film, Will Take Hiatus From ‘Daily Show’ 

The news—when read in more detail— was not reassuring. It would seem like one of the most colossal egos in the entertainment world is about to pull an ARGO on us.  No I’m not referring to Affleck, whose Oscar for that perniciously-timed film is the official certification for Hollywood’s willing concubinage with imperial America. I’m talking about Jon Stewart, by far one of the most insufferable and self-impressed personalities in the modern pantheon of cheap idolatry for which American culture will surely be remembered—should the world survive its runaway ignorance and misdirected violence.

The reason for my disgust is that Stewart is about to take a 12-week hiatus from his duties at the uber-adulated The Daily Show to direct a movie whose plot—oh my— he penned.  The movie —”Rosewater”, is reported to be an adaptation of the 2011 book “Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival,” by Maziar Bahari and Aimee Molloy. Hmm. Hold that a cotton-pickin’  minute.  Captivity? A guy named Bahari? Knowing as I guess you do, that the US and its usual accomplices are desperately looking for a way to provoke a fight with Iran, what country do you think will be cast as the humorless heavy in this picture? Yes, that country. The same country already exploited by liberaloid Affleck to excellent “artistic” returns.

“One of the reasons we are in this business is to challenge ourselves,” Mr. Stewart said [fatuously], “and I really connected to Maziar’s story. It’s a personal story but one with universal appeal about what it means to be free.”  Mr. Bahari’s ordeal is familiar to “The Daily Show” fans — in fact, the comedy program played a role in it. (1)

The blooming of this execrable notion took place in a rather serendipitous manner. According to the Times,

A Canadian-Iranian journalist and documentarian, Mr. Bahari was jailed in Tehran in 2009 for four months, accused of plotting a revolution against the government. Shortly before his arrest, Mr. Bahari had participated in a “Daily Show” sketch, conducted by one of the show’s correspondents, Jason Jones, who was pretending to be a spy. Mr. Bahari’s captors used the footage against him. “You can imagine how upset we were,” Mr. Stewart said, “and I struck up a friendship with him afterward.”

Since ARGO was premised on something like a ruse to fool the Iranians, Stewart’s  premise, also packing identity errors, sounds to me derivative, at best. Not so bloody funny. Let alone that original. How many times are we gonna take credit for rooking the Iranians?

One more requiem for liberalism

With this recklessly ill-timed film, Jon Stewart is now clearly joining not only the lot of imperial apologists (which as Abby Martin suggests—see below—was well prefigured by his fawning over Obama and other Democratic politicos), but also proving for the umpteenth time that liberals are either egotistical assholes with the political acumen of a hedgehog or… thinly-veiled groupies for the imperial status quo. So first Affleck, now Stewart, where will it end, this noxious parade of (shall we say charitably) unwittingly self-indulgent “cinematic art”?

Since Stewart  is a comedian, very much the frat-sort, smart-ass, middlebrow American comedian, the kind that the politically illiterate and almost permanently infantilized Generation X finds so damn amusing, albeit one now afflicted with acute auteur pretensions, we can’t tell at this point where this expensive bauble will end, hopefully in the trash, but we can bet that the Iranians will be once again characterized as fanatical ciphers  or dunces—not exactly the image needed at this point to inject some warmth and respect in the American mind toward that tortured nation.

Well. What else could we expect? This is the rotten Zeitgeist we inhabit, friends. For ill or for ill.

In the final analysis, however, as even a bright 6-year old could tell, war is too dreadful a matter to be left to mere politicians…or  megalomanic buffoons.  Man, where is George Carlin when we need him!

Patrice Greanville is the editor in chief of The Greanville Post. 

•••••

ADDENDUM


Abby Martin of RT calls out court jester Stewart and his accommodation of Obama.  Hard questions are never asked on Stewart’s Daily Show, particularly when Democrat politicians need votes.  I’ve said previously how Stewart parades a constant stream of establishment war criminals and monsters on his program so they can peddle their books.

SOURCE

Jon Stewart to Direct Serious Film, Will Take Hiatus From ‘Daily Show’

(1) http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/05/jon-stewart-to-direct-serious-film-will-take-hiatus-from-daily-show/

•••••

PS: While you’re on the NYTImes page, be sure to read some of the comments. They’re a hoot, horrifying. I think you’ll probably be alarmed at how  pathetic, needy and undignified Stewart’s following seems to be. Proof conclusive that far too many people these days are simply functional social morons and that the world is doomed.  I read like 20 comments and then stopped with a mild feeling of nausea.  Condensed, in-your-face stupidity does that to me. At any rate I verified that none of the commenters mentioned the possibility that this new film is just another ludicrous concept likely to increase the tensions and gross misperceptions about Iran and that it should not be celebrated.  And that someone would see the obvious and call Stewart on it, that to pick—of all possible subjects, many much more urgent—this particular plot to sink a pile of greenbacks in it, is simply obscene. Well, about that I suppose I was being way too optimistic.

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Will have more on this in the coming days. Another anti-Iran exercise, as Israel and the US push for war against Iran, as they have done for over a decade. Imperial court jester Stewart apparently finds something funny about further demonizing the Iranians, and has bought the rights to this:

“Stewart has adapted [Maziar] Bahari’s 2011 book “Then They Came For Me: A Family’s Story Of Love, Captivity And Survival,” a fascinating and suspenseful true story about the journalist’s 2009 arrest during the Iranian election protests, which led to him spending 118 days in jail.

I caught several problems with Bahari’s Daily Show interview, which I’ll comment on shortly.

Stewart evidently couldn’t find any stories in the United States itself worthy of his directorial debut.
 

With quite a bit of luck compiling all the Zero Dark Thirty files into one place, I thought I’d do the same here for Argo, the 2013 alleged “Best Picture” according the the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. (Is there any kind of actual academy, or is it more of an elite club, btw?)

The problems with Argo are of two main strands:

  1.  A pro-CIA propaganda bent that ignores way too much to be redeemed.
  2. Demonization of the Iranian people, reducing them to a frothing irrational mob, rather than the desperate people with real grievances they were.

 

Argo: Time to Grow Up and Get Angry? by Kieran Kelly
Argo’s Truth Problems by Nima Shirazi
Imperial Propaganda: Oscar Edition by Joe Giambrone
Target Iran: Argo’s CIA Heroes vs. A Separation by Jennifer Epps
Can Argo’s Best Picture Win Stop War with Iran? by Ruth Hull
“Argo, Fuck Yourself” by Kim Niccolini
Argo in Context by Patrice Greanville
Argo (2012) by Eric Walberg
Timely CIA/Iran Propaganda Film: “Argo” by Danny Schechter
The Lies Screenwriters Tell Themselves by Joe Giambrone

 
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Oscar Prints the Legend:
Argo’s Academy Award and the Failure of Truth

by Nima Shirazi

Originally at Wide Asleep in America

One year ago, after his breathtakingly beautiful Iranian drama, “A Separation,” won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, writer/director Asghar Farhadi delivered the best acceptance speech of the night.

“[A]t the time when talk of war, intimidation, and aggression is exchanged between politicians,” he said, Iran was finally being honored for “her glorious culture, a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics.” Farhadi dedicated the Oscar “to the people of my country, a people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment.”

Such grace and eloquence will surely not be on display this Sunday, when Ben Affleck, flanked by his co-producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov, takes home the evening’s top prize, the Best Picture Oscar, for his critically-acclaimed and heavily decorated paean to the CIA and American innocence, “Argo.”

Over the past 12 months, rarely a week – let alone month – went by without new predictions of an ever-imminent Iranian nuclear weapon and ever-looming threats of an American or Israeli military attack. Come October 2012, into the fray marched “Argo,” a decontextualized, ahistorical “true story” of Orientalist proportion, subjecting audiences to two hours of American victimization and bearded barbarians, culminating in popped champagne corks and rippling stars-and-stripes celebrating our heroism and triumph and their frustration and defeat.  Salon‘s Andrew O’Hehir aptly described the film as “a propaganda fable,” explaining as others have that essentially none of its edge-of-your-seat thrills or most memorable moments ever happened.  O’Hehir sums up:

The Americans never resisted the idea of playing a film crew, which is the source of much agitation in the movie. (In fact, the “house guests” chose that cover story themselves, from a group of three options the CIA had prepared.) They were not almost lynched by a mob of crazy Iranians in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, because they never went there. There was no last-minute cancellation, and then un-cancellation, of the group’s tickets by the Carter administration. (The wife of Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor had personally gone to the airport and purchased tickets ahead of time, for three different outbound flights.) The group underwent no interrogation at the airport about their imaginary movie, nor were they detained at the gate while a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard telephoned their phony office back in Burbank. There was no last-second chase on the runway of Mehrabad Airport, with wild-eyed, bearded militants with Kalashnikovs trying to shoot out the tires of a Swissair jet.

One of the actual diplomats, Mark Lijek, noted that the CIA’s fake movie “cover story was never tested and in some ways proved irrelevant to the escape.” The departure of the six Americans from Tehran was actually mundane and uneventful.  “If asked, we were going to say we were leaving Iran to return when it was safer,” Lijek recalled, “But no one ever asked!…The truth is the immigration officers barely looked at us and we were processed out in the regular way. We got on the flight to Zurich and then we were taken to the US ambassador’s residence in Berne. It was that straightforward.”

Furthermore, Jimmy Carter has even acknowledged that “90% of the contributions to the ideas and the consummation of the plan was Canadian [while] the movie gives almost full credit to the American CIA…Ben Affleck’s character in the film was only in Tehran a day and a half and the real hero in my opinion was Ken Taylor, who was the Canadian ambassador who orchestrated the entire process.”

Taylor himself recently remarked that “Argo” provides a myopic representation of both Iranians and their revolution, ignoring their “more hospitable side and an intent that they were looking for some degree of justice and hope and that it all wasn’t just a violent demonstration for nothing.”

“The amusing side, Taylor said, “is the script writer in Hollywood had no idea what he’s talking about.”

O’Hehir perfectly articulates the film’s true crime, its deliberate exploitation of “its basis in history and its mode of detailed realism to create something that is entirely mythological.” Not only is it “a trite cavalcade of action-movie clichés and expository dialogue,” but “[i]t’s also a propaganda movie in the truest sense, one that claims to be innocent of all ideology.”

Such an assessment is confirmed by Ben Affleck’s own comments about the film.  In describing “Argo” to Bill O’Reilly, Affleck boasted, “You know, it was such a great story. For one thing, it’s a thriller. It’s actually comedy with the Hollywood satire. It’s a complicated CIA movie, it’s a political movie. And it’s all true.”  He told Rolling Stone that, when conceiving his directorial approach, he knew he “absolutely had to preserve the central integrity and truth of the story.”

“It’s OK to embellish, it’s OK to compress, as long as you don’t fundamentally change the nature of the story and of what happened,” Affleck has remarked, even going so far as to tell reporters at Argo’s BFI London Film Festival premier, “This movie is about this story that took place, and it’s true, and I go to pains to contextualize it and to try to be even-handed in a way that just means we’re taking a cold, hard look at the facts.”

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Affleck went so far as to say, “I tried to make a movie that is absolutely just factual. And that’s another reason why I tried to be as true to the story as possible — because I didn’t want it to be used by either side. I didn’t want it to be politicized internationally or domestically in a partisan way. I just wanted to tell a story that was about the facts as I understood them.”

For Affleck, these facts apparently don’t include understanding why the American Embassy in Tehran was overrun and occupied on November 4, 1979.  “There was no rhyme or reason to this action,” Affleck has insisted, claiming that the takeover “wasn’t about us,” that is, the American government (despite the fact that his own film is introduced by a fleeting – though frequently inaccurate1 – review of American complicity in the Shah’s dictatorship).

Wrong, Ben.  One reason was the fear of another CIA-engineered coup d’etat like the one perpetrated in 1953 from the very same Embassy. Another reason was the admission of the deposed Shah into the United States for medical treatment and asylum rather than extradition to Iran to face charge and trial for his quarter century of crimes against the Iranian people, bankrolled and supported by the U.S. government.  One doesn’t have to agree with the reasons, of course, but they certainly existed.

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“Conspiracy Theory”: Foundations of a Weaponized Term
Subtle and Deceptive Tactics to Discredit Truth in Media and Research
Prof. James F. Tracy

The editorial “gatekeepers” of America operate as if directed by our own Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA put forth their propaganda strategy in the wake of public outrage over the murder of president John F. Kennedy and the subsequent cover-up and fabrications of the (bi-partisan) Warren Commission.

The similarly bi-partisan 9/11 Commission was also a controlled, censored, rigged exercise in obfuscation whose own co-chairman Lee Hamilton admitted on Canadian television, that the commission was “set up to fail.” And fail they did, but that does not prompt a real independent investigation of the 9/11 attacks, the role of “foreign governments” (Senator Bob Graham), or the role of the CIA itself, who helped to hide the “San Diego cell” hijackers from domestic law enforcement for 16 months prior to the attacks.

Here is how the CIA directs editors to respond to the “conspiracy theories” it found problematic, vis a vis JFK:

CIA Document #1035-960
RE: Concerning Criticism of the Warren Report

“Presumably as a result of the increasing challenge to the Warren Commission’s report, a public opinion poll recently indicated that 46% of the American public did not think that Oswald acted alone, while more than half of those polled thought that the Commission had left some questions unresolved.”

“This trend of opinion is a matter of concern to the U.S. government, including our organization.”

“Just because of the standing of the Commissioners, efforts to impugn their rectitude and wisdom tend to cast doubt on the whole leadership of American society.”

“Conspiracy theories have frequently thrown suspicion on our organization [CIA], for example by falsely alleging that Lee Harvey Oswald worked for us.”

“To discuss the publicity problem with [?] and friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors), pointing out that the Warren Commission made as thorough an investigation as humanly possible, that the charges of the critics are without serious foundation, and that further speculative discussion only plays into the hands of the opposition. Point out also that parts of the conspiracy talk appear to be deliberately generated by Communist propagandists.”

“b. To employ propaganda assets to [negate] and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose.

So, there you have it, the CIA domestic propaganda playbook.

Operation Mockingbird is relevant here.

THE CIA AND THE MEDIA
Carl Bernstein, Rolling Stone, Oct. 20 1977

One last point on the JFK matter–

That memo contains a whopper of a lie. See if you catch it:

“e. Oswald would not have been any sensible person’s choice for a co-conspirator. He was a “loner,” mixed up, of questionable reliability and an unknown quantity to any professional intelligence service.”

An unknown quantity?

The man who defected to the Soviet Union, married a Russian girl, and was allowed to emigrate back to the United States without issue?

Unknown to intelligence?

Can they seriously type that with a straight face?

“I’m just a patsy.” -Lee Harvey Oswald in custody


  
Jim Garrison’s investigation and subsequent trial, which is the basis of the Oliver Stone film JFK, showed that Oswald was working for FBI and investigating the CIA’s Cuban terrorists in Louisiana. This is more plausible than the claim of document 1035-960, that Oswald was an “unknown quantity to any professional intelligence service.” That claim doesn’t pass the laugh test.

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A Reign of Terror on People of Color

by KIM NICOLINI

I saw my first film of the new year last night – The Central Park Five, a documentary about the five black and Latino boys who were falsely accused, bullied into confessing, and then served time for the rape and beating of the Central Park Jogger back in 1989. After serving 6-13 years in prison, the boys were exonerated of the crimes when the true rapist confessed and his DNA matched that found on the crime scene.

Certainly this film is a devastating story of racial injustice and the failure of the American criminal system. The film was made by famed PBS documentary filmmaker Ken Burns based on a book by his daughter Sarah Burns, and it largely focuses on the stories of the surviving boys (who are now men), their families, and archival footage.

The police, lawyers, and District Attorney involved in the case refused to participate. They are included in the documentary via archival footage, including the videotaped confessions which were extorted from the boys, four of whom were fourteen years old at the time of the crime and one who was sixteen.

During their 30 hours plus of interrogation, they had no legal representation, no child advocates, no social services presence, and no contact with their parents and family. They eventually confessed, being fed the details by the cops, simply to “make it stop.” Their confessions were inconsistent, full of errors and mistakes. None of the boys’ DNA was found at the crime scene; likewise, none of the DNA of the victim was found on the boys, though the crime was brutal and bloody. The boys were convicted on the sole evidence of the false confessions that were forced out of them by the brutal interrogation of the Central Park Precinct detectives.

Certainly this is a tragic tale of race in this country. It is particularly resonant after recently seeing Django Unchained. (I’ll be publishing my essay on that film next week). What is most interesting to me is how this incident was used by the media and governing forces as a catalyst event to propagate and reignite racial fear in this country. The terminology used to reference the boys by the so-called liberal media was as dehumanizing as that of the Jim Crow south. The boys were referred to as a “wild pack” who were “wilding” and terrorizing white people. They were spoken and written about as if they were wild animals, something less than human.

I remember the incident well. I was a woman jogger at the time, and I recall how this single incident framed a new Environment of Fear which was based on the threat of the black man against the white woman. It is the same fear that was propagated during Reconstruction (post Civil War America), when it was within the economic interest of white power to keep black men demonized.

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It must be noted, that the Central Park Five event occurred in the wake of the ongoing fallout from the economic recession following Reaganomics. During hard economic times, the country likes to find a scapegoat for the economic chaos and despair that permeates the environment. In the case of the Central Park Five, the media, police and government forces created Wilding and the fear of Blacks in Packs. Also, it must be noted that censorship of black music was instituted at this time.

Certainly demonizing “the racial other” is nothing new in this country, but I see the Central Park Five incident as a kind of historical pivotal moment in the Post Civil Rights Era when American governing forces began re-escalating its reign of terror on people of color, immigrants and the disenfranchised (see the institution of the Patriot Act and Homeland Security for evidence). We have to remember that this country and its economic base were largely founded on racial demonization and dehumanization. Slavery was the economic backbone of early America. When the slaves were freed, many of them ended up packed away in housing projects such as those that tower the streets of Harlem. When housing projects didn’t work to contain America’s Big Ugly History, prisons were expanded and race was largely criminalized. This trend has not stopped to this day and certainly played a role in the Central Park Five.

To me, the most tragic part of the film is that when the boys are finally exonerated of their crimes, they greet this news with a kind of quiet and devastating resignation and acceptance. Certainly they are happy to no longer have to be “registered sex offenders” for the crimes they never committed, but there is also a sense that they feel that “this is just how things are in this country.” And the sad truth is that this is how things are in this country.

One boy who is now a man says with tears in his eyes (I paraphrase), “I will never get those years of my life back. No prom. No high school. They have been taken from me, and I will always have this hole or gap in my life where those years were stolen.” Yet, he also seems to accept it as a fact of life in America, a country that was founded on “stolen lives,” the legacy of which still largely lives and breathes up in Harlem where these boys lived.

It is a sobering and sad film. It is also critical to revisit this case to remember what it stood for as emblematic of the paradigm shift that occurred during the Reagan years and continued as we moved into the era of ultra conservatism that continues to dominate our political landscape today. We have not come a long way, baby. Not by a long shot.

Kim Nicolini is an artist, poet and cultural critic living in Tucson, Arizona. Her writing has appeared in Bad Subjects, Punk Planet, Souciant, La Furia Umana, and The Berkeley Poetry Review. She recently published her first book, Mapping the Inside Out, in conjunction with a solo gallery show by the same name. She can be reached at knicolini gmail com.