Tuesday, April 18, 2006

United 93: Propaganda Film or Part of the "Healing Process"

Universal Films has set to release United 93,on April 28. When I saw the poster in the theater lobby a few weeks ago, I thought to myself "wow, isn't it a little too soon and in bad taste? Or is the Bush administration engaging in some heartfelt propaganda so that we continue to support the Iraq mess?" After this morning's Today show (video here) I'm pretty sure it's the latter...

Here's a quick synops of the inaccuraces and disingenuousness of the report: first, we get Michael Owku, who reminds us that they made *a whole bunch* of movies right after Pearl Harbor...and shows a clip from Tora! Tora! Tora!" which was made some 25-plus years after Pearl Harbor...during the worst part of the Viet Nam war...

Still, films made about Pearl Harbor shortly after Pearl Harbor were meant as propaganda films--their whole reason was not, as Owku suggests, to help the "healing process" or in rememberance of the "victims" of Pearl Harbor. FDR was still having a tough time persuading some of the populace to get involved in Europe's war, and the best way was to give them some good old rah-rah propaganda...

Owku neglects to mention that the men who died at Pearl Harbor were at the time, and even now, not considered "victims"--they were military. Very different from the civilians on United 93. We kind of expect Very Bad Things to sometimes happen to military personnel. That's why, when they die, which is usually during a war, or during an act that might cause a war, they are called War Heroes. We tend to consider their deaths a bit differently than we consider the deaths of a bunch of civilians.

Which makes me wonder the true motive for making a film about reluctant Heroes who "saved" the White House from attack...

Because the motives for the films that were made during WWII about events ocurring during WWII (like the Bataan Death March and the destruction of the Sullivan family ) were meant to keep the public support of WWII at a high level...

Sure, the Today report goes on to talk about Apocalypse Now and Platoon and mentions they were made 20 some odd years after Viet Nam.

Well, both films aren't really statements about Viet Nam--they are stories whose backdrop is Viet Nam, but the stories aren't about Viet Nam per se. Platoon if we see it as Oliver Stone's memoir of Viet Nam, is really an anti-war film. Apocalypse, taken from Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness," is an anti-colonialism story. Wouldn't it have been *against* our best propaganda interests to make these films *during* the Viet Nam war? Is it quite possible that *neither* film could have been made during the Viet Nam war for many reasons?

Owku doesn't mention Anzio and Hell in the Pacific which *were* made during the Viet Nam war (1968, to be exact)...oddly enough...

We also hear in the report from Alice Hoagland, whose son was one of the United 93 Heroes, say how she and her family live with United 93, and 9/11 every day, and this is part of their healing process....

So, their "healing process" now has to be Our Nation's healing process--a healing process promoted by a company with vested interest (GE is the parent of Universal and NBC) in the war effort?

"healing process" or propaganda film?

Not to mention that the report--and please take the time to watch it--is structured as if it is an impartial news story. (Esp. egregious is Couric doing the interviews, since she's slated now to be a hardcore CBS anchor.) Yes, it is mentioned that Universal and NBC are under the same parent company, GE (which, btw, has a lot going on with the military), but it's kind of mumbled, as if an afterthought. We focus on the two dapper-dressed Family Members, and the Filmmaker, and we are told about his, and the crew's sensitivity to getting the story right.

Is there any way to get this story right?

Not when the company that has a vested interest in both the U.S. military and in selling a film about a tragic event. Not when the trailer elicits such an emotional response that even theater owners consider not showing it. And, more importantly, not when it was probably known that the high emotional dudgeon of this film would be a great catalyst for stirring up support for a costly, and questionable, war effort.

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8 comments:

Bill Walker said...

Where was your outrage when Micheal Moore's diatribe, er... I mean movie was released?? How come it was not "too soon" for anti-war propoganda to hit the theatres a year after war started? People just like you were defending his right to make that movie, as do I. Even though I disagree with the content, Micheal Moore had every right to make that movie, and his viewers had every right to see it. Just another example of how the left feels about "freedom of speech." People who agree with you have the freedom, people who disagree don't.

Tish Grier said...

first, which Michael Moore movie are you talking about? The guy's done so many i can't keep tract.

Secondly, I never wrote, nor saw Michael Moore's movie, and I don't particularly *like* Michale Moore's filmmaking style.

Third, I probably wasn't even blogging when Michael Moore's movie was released.

And finally, I'm not saying they don't have a right to make it--I'd just like the press not to try to pander to our emotions when they're supposed to be giving us a report about it. The mangling of film history to support an emotional viewpoint was particularly spurrious.

Anonymous said...

Moore's films are openly propaganda- they're political documentaries. If United 93 is what I expect it to be, then it's far more insidious than Moore's work, being propoganda that uses emotional response instead of debatable facts and statements. Doesn't it just creep you out? How profitable this would be for GE? If you were running GE, wouldn't you do the same?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Trish G

When it comes to sober analysis of the official 9/11 story I find that the majority of people out there are not willing to put aside their emotions long enough to give the United 93/911 subject serious analysis.

I agree with Trish, United 93 is total propaganda. Since there are no eyewitnesses from United 93 the script can only be considered fiction. The fact that the film is shot in a documentary style makes it even more devious.

Many film goers lack the analytical skills to view this film with a critical political eye and see it for what it is. An attempt to continue to sell an official 9/11 story that is so full of holes and deceit that you could use it to strain pasta with.

My recommendation is that no one should spend their money on this kind of deception. Paying for propaganda is a truly sad state of affairs.

Remember that Hollywood has a history of manipulating and changing historical events in films and then passing them off as the real deal. It's like showing John Wayne films on the History Channel and passing it off as real history.

Black Hawk Down, U-571, Passion of Christ, most westerns, are just some films that have changed the historical facts for the sake of manipulating history itself.
Feel free to add to this list of films.

The current US administration has already proven over and over what liars they are. This is just another one of their lies.

Get wise to the media before the media gets wise to you.

Trish - thanks again for the intelligent discourse.

Bob Cathode

Rama Dee said...

Thank you Trish G

When it comes to sober analysis of the official 9/11 story I find that the majority of people out there are not willing to put aside their emotions long enough to give the United 93/911 subject serious analysis.

I agree with Trish, United 93 is total propaganda. Since there are no eyewitnesses from United 93 the script can only be considered fiction. The fact that the film is shot in a documentary style makes it even more devious.

Many film goers lack the analytical skills to view this film with a critical political eye and see it for what it is. An attempt to continue to sell an official 9/11 story that is so full of holes and deceit that you could use it to strain pasta with.

My recommendation is that no one should spend their money on this kind of deception. Paying for propaganda is a truly sad state of affairs.

Remember that Hollywood has a history of manipulating and changing historical events in films and then passing them off as the real deal. It's like showing John Wayne films on the History Channel and passing it off as real history.

Black Hawk Down, U-571, Passion of Christ, most westerns, are just some films that have changed the historical facts for the sake of manipulating history itself.
Feel free to add to this list of films.

The current US administration has already proven over and over what liars they are. This is just another one of their lies.

Get wise to the media before the media gets wise to you.

Trish - thanks again for the intelligent discourse.

Rama Dee

Rama Dee said...

Ultimately, "United 93" is a regurgitation of suspicious media-fueled speculation about events on an airplane that we know very little about. This is a movie that does more to discourage raising questions about what really happened to flight 93 than it does to encourage debate over the bastion of lies that have been fed to the American people.

Film critic Cole Smithey
http://filmcritic1963.typepad.com/reviews/2006/04/united_93_.html

Sumit said...

In the past few months I've seen a lot of 9/11 documentaries out there on networks such as Discovery and TLC. However they're all one-sided. They mention the facts as portrayed by the official 9/11 Commission report. There is no real research done for any of them, simply straight regurgitation.

No one addresses the fact that cell phones don’t work in airplanes, that the wreckage from the twin towers was never inspected, that United 93 left absolutely no visible wreckage; only a crater, and that all the videos of the Pentagon taken by security cameras at nearby gas stations were all confiscated and to date, we’ve only seen five frames of the crash at the Pentagon, and those frames have the wrong date and show no image of a plane.

At the same time, conspiracy theorists make rash actuations specifically at the Bush administration without evidence. We have evidence that there is more to 9/11 than what was reported in the Official Commission report; it is in plain sight. However the link between officials in power is often conjecture.

I wish there were more films like “9/11: In Plain Sight” and “Loose Change” that show the facts of the events and the discrepancies between eyewitness accounts. I wish more films that exposed the truth of 9/11 would make their way into main stream media and theaters.

Anonymous said...

I saw the movie last night, and it's definitely a propaganda film, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. I believe that our nation has forgotten, as it does consistently does that innocent people died tragically. This movie hits you right between the eyes with that reality. We are a society that tries to forget about or pretend that bad things don't happen. 65 years ago Jews were being slottered by the millions. The same thing has been happening in South Africa for years but what are we doing to help—Sanctions—having committee meetings—WTF . This movie has its place. It's there to stir up anger in the hearts of Americans. It's to refresh our memories because we are an out of site out of mind society.