All too often, the phrase "corporate free press" is something of an oxymoron. Whether to maximise sales, to attract advertisers, or simply to promote the interests of their wealthy owners, the mass media open strange, self-serving and grossly distorted windows onto the world.
This website is another window. Here you'll find documentaries, lectures and interviews following a different editorial line.
I live in the most regenerated city on Earth. From Liverpool to Bilbao, strange new “developments” are supposed to be breathing new life into post-industrial Europe. Are they job creation schemes, PFI gentrification, or corporate image made concrete? In this insightful and witty (if occasionally a bit snobbish) documentary (about an hour,h/t SmashingTelly.com), Jonathan Meades explores what he considers to be the lasting legacy of Tony Blair.
All racism is unacceptable, of course, but some forms are more acceptable than others. The portrayal of Arabs in Hollywood cinema is one such form of accepted racism. Rooted in the European phenomenon of Orientalism, but evolving with American foreign policy, offensive anti-Arab and anti-Muslim stereotypes pop up in the least expected places.
Planet Of The Arabs
This award-winning – but fun – montage (9 mins) collects half a century of racist film clips. See how many you can identify.
Reel Bad Arabs
An interview on Democracy Now! (starts about two mins into the clip) with Jack Shaheen, author of Reel Bad Arabs, and an excerpt from the film of the same name (about 26 mins in total)
Last week we looked at how our societies were changed by the oil boom, and how they will have to change to cope with the oil crunch. This film (98 mins) is a much broader look at the fossil fuel industry and its effects worldwide.
This special report (52 mins) from 2004 sees John Pilger explode the War On Terror myth with revealing interviews and shocking coverage of warzones. The segments on Afghanistan are particularly illuminating – especially if we bear in mind that, eclipsed by the disaster that is Iraq, the violence has only been escalated there since this film was made – and it’s also the source for that “pre-fascist” quote.
The oil boom of the 20th century allowed millions of Westerners to flee the cities and spread out over miles of countryside. That boom is now over and, with oil becoming ever more scarce, that sprawl is looking less and less sustainable.
The End Of Suburbia
This documentary (79 mins) focuses almost entirely on North America, where the oil boom and the attendant rise in car culture and consumerist suburbia took of more than anywhere else. However, we face similar problems in Britain, Europe and elsewhere, and could do much worse for an watchable and informative introduction to the socioeconomic implications of what’s become known as “Peak Oil”.
(This is just a trailer; click here to watch the full film on Yahoo! video)
The Power Of Community
The island republic of Cuba has already weathered a severe energy famine, when trade with the USSR was cut off by the latter’s collapse in 1991. In this sequel (53 mins) to The End Of Suburbia looks at the community networks and structures which allow the Cubans to survive on a fraction of their previous fossil fuel consumption.
This documentary (50 mins) revisits the infamous 1970 experiment in which the Psychology Department of Stanford University recreated a prison environment, staffed and inhabited solely by healthy students with no history of mental imbalance.
The resulting brutality shows that, quite apart from bizzare individual pathologies, acts of great evil can come simply from people trying to conform to a role – as borne out by the recent experiences of occupying forces in Iraq and Gaza.
How to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas. Children shoot soldiers at point-blank range. Women plant bombs in cafes. Soon the entire Arab population builds to a mad fervor. Sound familiar? The French have a plan. It succeeds tactically, but fails strategically. To understand why, come to a rare showing of this film.
… which, strangely enough, brings me to Iraq.
Hidden Facts: a message from the Iraqi Resistance
Purporting to be the work of the Resistance group 1920 Revolution Brigades, this is an insightful and compelling video (16 mins) with surprisingly high production values. I can’t guarantee it’s real, but I can guarantee it’s worth watching.