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View Diary: How Hollywood sold America Total Information Awareness (113 comments)

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  •  I'll be around (18+ / 0-)

    to chat, and offer discussing in this diary for the next few hours. If you have any other great examples from movies, books, or just TV in general that you would like to share - please do so.

    “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” George Orwell

    by Tool on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 09:55:40 AM PDT

    •  Two examples (18+ / 0-)

      At the time I first saw it (1994) I thought that True Lies was a sales job on the menace of Arab terrorism.

      And as much as I enjoyed it, I also thought that Ghostbusters was the opening salvo in an attack on environmental regulations.

      None of this makes a bit of difference if they don't count your vote.

      by Toddlerbob on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 10:39:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It is found in more places than comics based: (10+ / 0-)

      As bad as the two examples you gave are - at least they are in a movie in which there is a super hero, so by its very nature we are leaving "reality."

      But if you look at the Bourne movies or even more specifically spy novels, political intrigue novels (many of which are made into movies) this kind of "intelligence gathering" has been a normal accepted part of government for quite awhile - predating 9/11.

      The process that I have seen over and over is that a person requesting information calls a NSA person who comes and learns what is needed - and does not say what they have access to or what they don't. Then, a day or two later, an envelope/file is hand delivered by courier or someone else non-governmental. I have seen it used to get bank account records from Switzerland and Cayman Islands and IP addresses. Warrants? Yeah, funny.

      The most disturbing part is that these types of books are not usually written by complete outsiders who can tell a good story - they are usually written by former insiders b/c that is what makes the novel compelling (to me anyway) it takes the reader inside the CIA or NSA and things feel "real" as opposed to cartoon characters. I was shocked that people were shocked upon awareness that everything was accessible - I assumed that for over 10 years.

      And, of course, it is used by "do - gooders" in a way that no one would complain given the circumstances.

      Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick: The "party of Jesus" wouldn't invite him to their convention - fearing his "platform."

      by 4CasandChlo on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 11:20:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I tried to watch the first Bourne movie the other (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        4CasandChlo

        night and it struck me as almost like the old pokemon episode that had lights flashing at just the right tempo to set of epileptic seizures in some people. There was so much flashing, every time the scenes changed and so many scene/angle/color/light/darkness changes that I could hardly look at it. Yikes. Made me wonder which came first- ADHD or movies like that with no time to even develop an attention span.

        We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

        by nuclear winter solstice on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:53:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Think for yourself - Question authority", (14+ / 0-)

      wasn't said by Maynard. That's Timothy Leary speaking at the beginning of the live version of Third Eye.

      Just saying. Otherwise, a good diary. My best friend and I were talking about this a couple of weeks ago. He and his wife had just seen the third Iron Man movie and he said there wasn't a better vehicle for U.S. Propaganda than Hollywood itself for many of the reasons you just stated.

      Regulated capital serves the people, unregulated capital serves itself.

      by Alumbrados on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 11:30:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A Delicate Truth (10+ / 0-)

      by John Le Carre is the antithesis of they prior vision of spy as the good guy.  He wrote enough of those books and now he's written one where the whistle-blowers are the good guys ensnared in TIA in trying to blow the whistle on the coverup of an operation that wasn't supposed to ever have taken place resulting in murder that was also not supposed to happen.  It was a total rogue operation and the cover-up being discovered was inevitable.  As a government whistle-blower from the 80s, I found plenty of triggers and a ha moments in the book.  Clearly, Le Carre, like Tom Clancy, has people who leak to him to pepper his story with insider information to make the story more real.  As for whistle-blower as hero, I don't think that's what we are.  We all become martyrs by design.  So, if some of us are revered as a result, it's because we've come through "fire," not because we follow a Hollywood hero story line in any sense of the word.  Hollywood would have to be reformatted for that an the world would have to change global thinking for those films to sell.  The odd indie flick, perhaps, but Hollywood would have to change entirely.  

      Another fine diary, tool.

      Shine like the humblest star.

      by ljm on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 11:39:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Le Carre is No Stranger to Writing... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, Tool, ljm, ColoTim

        ...morally ambiguous characters in a morally ambiguous setting. For example, the stories involving George Smiley and the men and women of 'The Circus.'

        best,

        john

        Strange that a harp of thousand strings should keep in tune so long

        by jabney on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 02:05:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Indeed (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril, Tool, jabney, ColoTim

          One of the reviews I read of the book points out that Smiley is the antithesis of the whistle-blowers in this book.  Smiley keeps the secrets at any cost.  That's something most spies and whistle-blowers have in common.  Most have identities that remain secret.  The public doesn't know who they are, what they've done or what happens to them.  It's the rare whistle-blower who plays out like Joe Wilson in an op-ed about yellowcake in Niger and no WMD that ends up outing his spy wife in the papers.  Most of the time, the whistle-blower is ignored by the press and spies aren't supposed to be outed by law or the outer is guilty under the Espionage Act of 1917.  Why didn't all of the "outers" get put in jail on that one?  Totally political, that.

          Shine like the humblest star.

          by ljm on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:13:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Read "Aboslute Friends" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tool, ljm, Simplify

        Not his best work, but it paints a scarily accurate picture of the merging of corporatists and spies.

        "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

        by nosleep4u on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:41:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Positive/Negative examples (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ljm, Simplify, locknkey, ColoTim, Tool

      Enemy of the State (1998) glamorized, to some extent, the tools of total information awareness as plot device and character, but our unlikely superhero Gene Hackman turns it against the evil crypto-fascist Jon Voight. Apparently the negative image it portrayed concerned then NSA chief Michael Hayden. (Stumbled upon that when looking up the date).

      Swordfish (2001) depicts an over the top John Travolta as a rogue CIA agent running an underground operation to steal secret funds from a CIA shell company account to battle terrorism and employing hacker Hugh Jackman to write the code. Again, despite the negative plot line of subversion of intelligence, the process, tools and objectives are glamorized so a lot depends on the frame of the viewer.

      400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

      by koNko on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 05:50:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Enemy of the State is constantly being recalled (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tool

        when I hear about ever-new revelations with the NSA.  The ability and willingness to use whatever can be accessed, without care for whether things should be accessed, is a major part of the movie.  As is the idea of ruining innocent peoples' lives in the name of power.

        The other movie I keep thinking about is "Conspiracy Theory" with Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts, with Patrick Stewart as the government agent megalomaniac gone awry.  The way they have all the computers for all the book dealers in Manhattan on instant alert for "Catcher in the Rye" is probably now somewhat do-able, though the black helicopters at the ready with SWAT teams being able to operate without anyone knowing in Manhattan to me is too incredible to believe.

    •  Funny you should mention. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tool

      I am just finishing a diary for tomorrow night's Monday Murder Mystery series which will publish at 8:00pm EDT. The novel is called Red Sparrow and reads like a masterpiece of propaganda about how the CIA is all that is right and holy. Written by a 33 year CIA veteran it has garnered rave reviews and comparisons of its author to John le Carré. As if. A Delicate Truth is one of the better spy novels to come along in a long time and will be the subject of my next diary just to provide contrast and take the nasty taste out of my mouth.

      I actually stopped by to grab a link to this diary to include in my own discussion of how pop culture is pushing propaganda buttons every day.

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