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.
A global economy, energized by technological change and unprecedented flows of people and money, collapses in the wake of a terrorist attack …. The year is 1914.
Worldwide war results, exhausting the resources of the great powers and convincing many that the economic system itself is to blame. From the ashes of the catastrophe, an intellectual and political struggle ignites between the powers of government and the forces of the marketplace, each determined to reinvent the world’s economic order.
I’ve stopped getting spam from eBay about early Christmas shopping, and started getting spam from eBay about last-minute Christmas shopping. ‘Tis well and truly the season, then, to stand up to the relentless pressure upon us to consume, consume, consume through the pre-Xmas rush. Here’s two short films and an even shorter stand-up clip that I hope will offset and allay some of that stress.
The Production Of Meaning
From Adbusters (h/t Openmedia), this is a bit too stylish and unsubstantial for my taste (as is the Buy Nothing Day initiative), but it’s enjoyable enough and should put some of the constant background hum of advertising into perspective. 15 minutes.
The Story Of Stuff
Consumer-capitalism made very very simple, in a cute 21 minute animation by Annie Leonard (h/t ReclaimingSpace). Finally, a TAYT video you can watch with all the family.
Bill Hicks on Marketing
If you only have time for one of these clips, here’s a stand-up gem from the late Bill Hicks that you owe it to yourself to watch – especially if you work in marketing. 3 minutes.
In this documentary (53 mins), John Pilger looks at a new informal kind of Empire – that which acts through and on behalf of transnational corporations – and how it can be just as violent and exploitative as the formal empires of the past.
Reconstructing Iraq, apparently, is a job for Bechtel, Halliburton and other firms grown rich from burning the Third World’s money. Private data extraction specialists were behind some of the worst atrocities of Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, and the mercenaries of Blackwater are literally making a killing. The number of contractors like these in Iraq has been growing since the outset of hostilities, and has now overtaken that of regular troops.
Iraq For Sale
This Robert Greenwald film (76 mins) views the problem very much through a “Support The Troops” lens, but is nevertheless a shocking and highly informative exposé.
Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Private Army
Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill talks about everyone’s favourite mercenaries in this interview (41 mins) for Democracy Now.
In Alfonso Cuaron’s interpretation (7 mins) of her new book, Klein shows how shock and disorientation have been used to steal our world and sell it off, from the 11th September 1973 to the 11th September 2001 and beyond.
Come September – Arundhati Roy
This renowned 2002 lecture (74 mins) to the Lannan Foundation disusses nationalism, capitalism, and a century of bloody Septembers. Witty, moving and informative, it was later reinterpreted as the documentary film ‘We‘; see also the subsequent interview with Howard Zinn.
Journalist and author Naomi Klein addresses the American Sociological Association, in a meeting themed “Is Another World Possible”. In an informed and inspiring talk (~36mins) on globalisation, altermondialisation and the end of The End Of History, Klein argues:
We did not lose the battles of ideas. We were not outsmarted and we were not out-argued. We lost because we were crushed. Sometimes we were crushed by army tanks, and sometimes we were crushed by think tanks. And by think tanks I mean the people who are paid to think by the makers of tanks.
The place of food in Western society has been completely transformed over the past fifty years, with the rise and ultimately the dominance of a few enormous supermarket chains. From the farm or factory to the dinner table, every aspect of what we eat is controlled by these companies – not for our sakes, of course, but for their shareholders’. This documentary (two episodes, 50 mins each) shows some of the consequences.