Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Architect

"Don’t doubt the power of documentary films.

"That is one lesson William J. vanden Heuvel, the lawyer, diplomat and businessman, has learned. He says that the long-delayed project to build a memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island — first proposed in 1973 — is finally moving forward in large part because of “My Architect,” a 2003 documentary by the son of the architect Louis I. Kahn."

Sewell Chan, "Plans for Long-Stalled F.D.R. Memorial Move Forward," City Room [blog], New York Times, 25 September 2008.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Slacker Uprising

Michael Moore's new film, Slacker Uprising, premieres tomorrow on the Internet, with a free download.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fatal Politics

Steve Coll of the New Yorker writes on 19 September 2008 about a new web documentary on the 1972 presidential election and the Vietnam War.

"Ken Hughes, a research fellow in the Presidential Recordings Program, situated in the Miller Center, at the University of Virginia, is putting together an episodic Web documentary about the Vietnam War and the 1972 elections; some of his themes have an eerie resonance with this fall’s campaign"

The episodic documentary, Fatal Politics, is available on YouTube. See also Ken Hughes's site for Fatal Politics: The Nixon Tapes, Vietnam & the Biggest Republican Presidential Landslide on MySpace.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West

Do you have your copy of Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West?

A free DVD arrived in our mailbox this week, shrink-wrapped with our copy of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Why would we be getting a copy of this DVD, now two years old, in the midst of a presidential election campaign, inserted anonymously in the Chronicle? Why send this to academics, who are the only subscribers to the Chronicle? Who benefits by sending out these free copies?

The film has an official web site, which includes the claim that "Today, we find ourselves confronted by a new enemy, also engaged in a violent struggle to transform our world. As we sleep in the comfort of our homes, a new evil rises against us. A new menace is threatening, with all the means at its disposal, to bow Western Civilization under the yoke of its values. That enemy is Radical Islam." The site also promotes political action and campus activism in a rhetoric that sounds very much like the line taken by the neo-con hawks who led us into Iraq.

Serious reviews of the film are hard to find -- this is a propaganda film that exists mostly below the radar of serious journalists and critics. There are reviews and stories on Wikipedia , Huffington Post, and in a publication called The American Muslim. Eric Ose in the Huffington Post reports that 28 million copies are being sent to newspaper subscribers in swing states. "Funding is coming from a New York-based group called the Clarion Fund, a shadowy outfit whose financial backers are unclear."