Some controversy over race and nationalism in Hollywood. But does he overstate his case:
Defending the decision to cast Damon in the lead role, director Zhang Yimou wrote, “Our film is not about the construction of the Great Wall …The arrival of (Damon’s) character in our story is an important plot point. There are five major heroes in our story and he is one of them – the other four are all Chinese. The collective struggle and sacrifice of these heroes are the emotional heart of our film.
I think another unmentioned problem, deserving of its own entire article is Hollywood’s myth about the hero/mercenary. This Great Wall film has Damon as a mercenary, a gun for hire, and yet he is praised by the director as a “hero.” So we already know where that’s going.
There is much propaganda to chew on. That insipid alien invasion crap Independence Day suffered from the same ailments. Nearly all big budget Hollywood films today are chock full of American propaganda and militarism.
As Sardar and Davies observe, “The myth of the reluctant hero is used to camouflage the fact that the majority of Americans actually do believe that America has the right to be imperial.
The measure, which defines the entertainment industry broadly, follows a series of reportspublished by VICE News over the past year detailing the agency’s role in the production of 22 entertainment-related projects between 2006 and 2011. They included major motion pictures like Zero Dark Thirty and Argo; reality television series such as Top Chef; the cable drama series, Covert Affairs;and books including The Devil’s Light by Richard North Patterson.
“It was all organised.
“There are a lot of vipers in this industry, people who only have their own interests in mind.
“There is a darkness in the underbelly – if you can imagine it, it’s probably happened.”
by John Kiriakou, Reader Supported News
Vice News’s Jason Leopoldreported recently that the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) provided “support” to a variety of Hollywood films, like Argo and Zero Dark Thirty; television series like Covert Affairs and Top Chef; documentaries; and even novels like Richard Patterson’s The Devil’s Light. Leopold said that the nature of the support is largely unknown because the CIA did not keep records of all of its meetings. A declassified CIA Inspector General’s report said, “OPA and other CIA employees did not always comply with Agency regulations intended to prevent the release of classified information during their interactions with entertainment industry representatives.”
Therein lies one of the problems with the relationship between the CIA and Hollywood. There’s little-to-no oversight. And when rules and laws are broken, nobody has to pay the piper.
In 2015, Vice reported that aseparate CIA Inspector General’s report found that former Director Leon Panetta “allegedly disclosed classified information” when speaking with Zero Dark Thirty writer Mark Boal, and that Panetta disclosed additional classified information to director Kathryn Bigelow. An even earlier Inspector General’s report detailed “Potential Ethics Violations Involving Film Producers” Bigelow and Boal, and said that CIA officers had accepted gifts from the two, including watches, restaurant meals, and tickets to the movie premiere, all of which went unreported. Presumably, this was in exchange for cooperating on the film.
CIA employees taking gifts from Hollywood producers for apparently giving them, in the case of Zero Dark Thirty, classified briefings on the bin Laden raid and then not reporting the gifts in their ethics filings is bad enough. The CIA director leaking classified information with impunity to the producers is worse. Indeed, it is a direct violation of the Obama administration’s definition of espionage: “Providing national defense information to any person not entitled to receive it.” That definition came directly from the judge in my case, when I was charged with espionage for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program.
But the worst, the most insidious, thing here is that the end result of the CIA’s cooperation with Hollywood and others in the entertainment industry is that it results in the propagandizing of the American people. That was illegal, until recently.
In the 1950s, the CIA initiated “Operation Mockingbird,” a long-term operation whereby the Agency planted articles in the American press. At the height of the program, some 25 major U.S. news outlets willingly published CIA propaganda meant for the American people.
That was outlawed in the immediate aftermath of the Church Committee hearings. Over time, many Americans forgot that the CIA had tried to influence them subversively. Indeed, many in Congress later said that the ban on propagandizing the American people was so that official outlets like the Voice of America and Radio and TV Marti could not be broadcast to Americans.
But that all changed on July 2, 2013, with the passage of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012, which passed as part of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. The new law allows a wide variety of propaganda meant for Americans. That includes CIA support for Hollywood.
Does this presage a period of television shows like The F.B.I., a series that ran from 1965-1974 and which had each episode personally approved by J. Edgar Hoover? Will Hollywood not be permitted to make movies or series critical of the Agency? Do we want John Brennan to be the guy who decides what we get to see?
Congress must re-implement the Smith-Mundt Act, the original one, and keep the government out of our movie theaters and televisions. Propaganda is a malicious force. It has no business in American society.
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.
White terrorism founded America, built the nation through slavery, and continues to be the nation’s largest domestic terrorist threat. From Redface, to Blackface, to Yellowface, to Brownface, Hollywood’s long and torrid history of white supremacy through their depiction of other races as dangerous or inferior has been a pillar of American racism at home and an integral weapon for American militarism abroad.
You wouldn’t think I would have bothered with a show about making a “Bachelor” styled reality TV show. I would never watch such a thing in the real world. But UnReal is highly rated, and it’s done right. No holds barred, there are scummy characters running this circus. It reminded me of Californication.
I hesitated when I saw “Lifetime” channel logos. But they’ve changed. This could have been on Showtime or HBO.
Okay. The show is run by a carniverous psychopath who genuinely gets off on sadism. She pays cash bonuses. The corrupting effects of the job then filter down to the other producers and crew. Some may snap.
The prospective girls are paraded as in a Bangcock brothel and selected by the hunky British playboy. Their various personalities are exploited by the show’s handlers in unethical ways. The tension seems to ratchet tighter every episode.
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