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.
In 2003 Robert Newman toured his one-man political/musical comedy show From Caliban To The Taliban – 500 Years Of Humanitarian Intervention, the precursor to his acclaimed A History of Oil which was filmed for More4, and his BBC TV series The History of the World Backwards.
In a breathtaking ninety minute performance filmed in front of a live audience at the Brighton Corn Exchange Theatre during the 2003 Paramount Comedy Festival, From Caliban To The Taliban details an unlikely but true history of modern imperialism, from the Virginia Company to the occupation of Iraq, and demonstrates the towering intelligence and sparkling wit of comedy superstar and former teen heart-throb, Robert Newman.
To mark the occasion of the latest step in the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, I bring you a 2006 interview (36 mins) with Noam Chomsky on Serbian TV.
As it becomes less and less possible to hold up the invasion of Afghanistan as the good war that justifies our imperialism, tame media pundits can still look back fondly upon the 1999 bombing of Serbia as a truly humanitarian intervention. In fact that war fits the pattern set by its successors: a propaganda fairy story of saving savages from each other to disguise the violent projection of Western power.
To many in both politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?
The Freud dynasty is at the heart of this compelling social history.
A bizarre but compelling examination of humour in the Third Reich (58 mins). At first this was tolerated, and even encouraged – back then, no-one took the Nazis too seriously, and the more people were snickering the less they were rising up – but as the war drew on jokes became a channel for subversive informationand dissent, and by the end laughter out of turn was cracked down upon severely.
Most of us have no direct experience of war. Most of what we do know of war comes from films, and overwhelmingly American films. Tonight we bring you not one, but two documentaries, via Michael Greenwell, that show how Hollywood’s portrayal of war is influenced by the American military.
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)
Disgusted with the coverage of the war in American journalism, Dahr Jamail saved up and took his camera and his laptop to occupied Iraq. His unembedded dispatches are now recognised as crucial sources of information from the warzone – and are almost unique in their independence from occupying forces.