CAITLIN JOHNSTONE—Hollywood is a giant propaganda mill which when it isn’t cranking out movies which are literally funded and controlled by the US war machine is putting on spectacular ninety-minute “The imperialist world order is perfectly sane and capitalism is totally working” infomercial presentations. It is an arm of cultural control which is unrivaled by anything else in this world, so of course it has powerful forces at work within it ensuring status quo loyalism.
HOLLYWOOD & MEDIA
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OK, I guess it’s a simple case of class solidarity among the uber rich. And, of course, all is forgiven, Georgie boy. In her latest kerfuffle, Ellen DeGeneres reminds us (in no particular order), that,
a) Rich liberals have skin-deep political and moral principles
b) that hanging with the Uber Rich is dangerous for your progressive creds
c) that Ellen, posturings aside, has joined the ruling class media’s campaign to rehabilitate the image of war criminal George W Bush and his ilk.
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We often ask ourselves why Russia (and China for that matter) are so lousy at mounting global propaganda campaigns. Granted, the Western empire has more than a century of practice, and over generations has created the most gianormous machinery of mass communications and cultural influence ever seen in history. Not to mention that with a machine spawned by developed capitalism, it was born with the propaganda talent to seduce and deceive sociopathically, it’s in their genes, so to speak, something other nations are not so adept at, at least not with the advanced production values that Hollywood and a huge p.r. industry are able to inject into such exercises. Yet soft power is an art that those who oppose imperialism must try to muster.
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KIT-OFF GUARDIAN—The folks at Panorama LOVE Putin, or at least love to hate him. In the last two years there have been no less than five (five!) episodes devoted to the man, and indeed the myth. January 2016 brought us “Putin’s Secret Riches”, January 2017 “Trump: The Kremlin Candidate”, March of this year brought us two inside a week, “Putin: The New Tsar” and “Taking On Putin!”. As the titles suggest, none of them were especially objective or open-minded. That’s not in the BBC’s remit. The most recent Putin-hit piece aired just last week – in the run up to the World Cup – its rather more mundane title simply: “Putin’s Russia with David Dimbleby”. The documentary, for want of a better word, opens on David Dimbleby wandering through a Moscow market looking at sigh Russian nesting dolls, and it doesn’t get less predictable from there on in. A long time ago, I was taught you construct an argument in three steps – “Statement, Evidence, Conclusion”. Instead Panorama opted to go for the unorthodox “Conclusion, Anecdote, Stock Footage of Nesting Dolls” approach.
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CARLOS DELGADO—The creatively bankrupt Hollywood studio machinery, which seems increasingly incapable of doing anything but churning out sequels, remakes, “reboots,” and “reimaginings” of commercially successful franchises, has of late made appeals to identity politics by creating “gender-swapped” versions of popular films, where women inhabit roles that had previously been played by men. Far from being an attempt to showcase the talents of the performers involved, much less appeal to the broad mass of women whose experiences are excluded from the cultural landscape, such efforts are cynical and nakedly mercenary attempts to squeeze blood from the stones of once-lucrative franchises.