Sunday, July 11, 2004

Propaganda or Art?

Propaganda-"any systematic, widespread dissemination of particular ideas, doctrines, practices, etc. to further one’s own cause or damage an opposing one"- Webster’s New World Dictionary Third College Edition
All the hubbub about Michael Moore’s film Farenheit 9/11 strikes me as a bit hypocritical. Mel Gibson’s The Passion was a propaganda film; yet, no one was raising an eyebrow, especially in the Republican right, about it being one. Frankly, any film that pushes ideas about politics, nationalism, or religion falls into the ?propaganda? category. What else, too, was The Day After Tomorrow? (And I say that believing in more of its message than not.)

Too many TV news reports, which are almost always biased in one way or the other, really are too often propaganda pieces. Doesn’t ?investigative reporting? almost always push one idea or cause over another?

What’s really got people spun up is the fact that Farenheit 9/11’s agenda is to influence the election and it’s in everyone’s face. Frankly, I don’t have a problem with it. Our country is built on the free exchange of ideas. This one happens to be presented in film. That’s not new. Our government has been doing that for some time. What’s irritating them now is that an independent filmmaker (private industry) has invaded their territory and is doing quite well. You’d think with all the other Republican hubbub about private enterprise’s superiority over government, they’d be pleased.

Don’t many films, books, or stories promote ?particular ideas, doctrines, or practices?? Isn’t that often what writing and art has been about?

Any piece of art, whether in print on the web or in film or video, is always someone else’s vision. It’s up to the viewer to decide how much of it they want to latch onto. We do ourselves a disservice by suppressing the views of others and by forgetting that what makes a piece of writing so good is the author’s ability to manipulate readers’ thoughts and feelings through his words. A filmmaker’s does the same thing through his use of sight and sound. It’s okay to suspend disbelief in the theater but a questionable practice, at best, when walking out into the light of day.