Sunday, March 11, 2007

Hollywood Propaganda

Warner Brothers needs to be told that 300, is an unethical movie because we didn't campaign against Alexander. Boycott the Movie!

I am a student of film. Whereas I think every picture has a right to be seen, I oppose Institutionalized action movies that capitalize on gross historical distortion (in order) to bias the opinions of their often sheep-like consumers, at critical conjunctures of the history, as the one we are at presently! Pictures leave DEEP VISCERAL FOOTPRINTS, that are not easily wiped by intellectual and rational discourse! This is the war machine, (dys)portraying Persians as villains!

45 comments:

Kvatch said...

EEK! Too late. Just saw it, and man was it gory!

Anonymous said...

Here's something you should see:

http://films.thelot.com/films/30769

Jack said...

Here's something you should see:

http://films.thelot.com/films/30769

Manas Shaikh said...

the jewish lobby is far too strong in the US. just imagine 15 million people...

Naj said...

welcome Kvatch. Jack, Manas!

JAck, the video was nice. Thanks.

Amre El-Abyad said...

As an Egyptian Arab man i hate to see a great oriental civilsation like the Persian one demonised... I have signed the petition!

Anyway, the Hollywood shallow cinema is one of the main intruments used by imperialists and "end of history" western dogmatists to demoralise the Muslim east by imposing maliciously designed constructs on our blindfolded youth.......while in the mean time they proliferate in their own societies the sort of images that would sustain their unhuman brutal imperialism.

Naj said...

Hi Amre,

You know, I went on a site that rates movies and I noticed that most people had given this high rating because it was full of blood, action, sex, gore and subhumanly behavior!

This has been the best selling movie of the week. I take it a testament to the cultural refinement of its spectators!!!!

And it is BECAUSE of such taste, that we are so insensitized to war and destruction hapening around us ... as long as it hapens to the "other" ...

Id it is said...

I had decided against watching the movie, but for reasons different from yours; I was told that there is senseless killing and gore in the film that's completely unwarranted. However, your post now makes me want to go watch it to see what it presents.
As for distorting History...isn't history always written from the perspective of the winner (conqueror)? How can history not be a distortion; at times a distortion many times over, depending on how many times the country was invaded.

Naj said...

id

I don't think the history ais always written ffrom the perspective of the victors. That is a common myth.

In any case, if you feel so inclined to go and spend your money on blood and gore, that is your choice. But I certainly hope you do not take your history lessons from Hollywood films!

I usually seek them in books!

Id it is said...

My words mis-spoke, so let me make amends: Your powerful feelings regarding the movie makes me want to go watch it despite my utter dislike of violence and gore. I am sorry that the movie has hurt sentiments of a people known for their phenomenal heritage and a great culture.

(on a lighter note)
As for finding/reading History.... some of us also like making it, good or bad.

Naj said...

:) Yes id

Some people like (fabricating) it, like Hollywood!

Some othrs like (making) it like George Bush!

And it is academics who like to write it.

It is up to the clever reader to decipher personal from political from factual while reading different versions of history.

I think in our age, we have enough access to information (if we seek it) to be able to understand history based on facts.

As long as we do not take comic-book narratives as "history" we are safe!

As for my feelings, I am afraid a Hollywood movie cannot hurt my feelings, nor can it change the historical truth about my culture. At the end, it is the ill-informed people who end up hurt, hurting and caught in the quagmire.

I appreciate your concern. I think you perhas are hinting that my zealous objection to this film is functioning as publicity for it. As a matter of fact, I think one needs to see for themselves what kind of devices are at the service of neo-colonialism!

My suggestion, however, is to get this movie free from internet and not make WB rich! :)

Naj said...

richER, I must say ;)

Faramin said...

The reaction to this will only serve as a gift to the producers of the movies as it only sell more tickets. I am not sure if we should take it seriously. Perhaps by not taking it seriously, it will come and go out of people's memories in short time after.

We also have to be careful not to get into such discussions with our Greek friends, as this may only serve as division between us that can lead to animosity and the Zionists would enjoy it even more.

Naj said...

Yes Faramin, I know the politics of publicity very well. And if my reaction is encouraging people to go see this; they will surely see it with a bit of sensitivity to the subliminal forces at work, and will not be totally taken by the scopophilic testostronic reaction ;)

Re Greek friends, to say this movie is a false depiction of history, doesn't mean that the Greeks are wrong or that they are the villains.

And no, this film doesn't deserve ANY attention, that is why I haven't written an essay about it (nor shall I EVER, unless to contextualize it, next to other block busters such as King Kong playing t the xenophobic taste of the deprression-era audiences!) ;)

Anonymous said...

Naj,

For what it is worth, Israel has issued updated travel warnings to ts ctizens.

On the 8th of March Israel issued the following warning.

"• 5. Updated Travel Warnings
Israel's National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Division presents the following updated travel warnings for Israelis traveling abroad. It is advised that travelers should avoid visiting and leave the area as soon as possible in the following high to very high-threat countries: Algeria, Afghanistan, Chechnya, (southern Russia) Djibouti, Egypt, (especially the Sinai peninsula), Jordan, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kashmir (northern India), Lebanon Malaysia, Mindanao, (southern Philippines) Northern Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia Southern Thailand, Syria & Yemen. Travelers should postpone non-essential travel to: Bangladesh, Bangkok, Libya, Oman, Nigeria & southeastern Turkey (borders with Iraq and Iran). Travelers in general, should avoid visiting the following countries: Bahrain, Chad, Kenya, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Tunisia. Israeli citizens are called upon to be especially cautious when visiting: Philippines, Turkey, Thailand, & Uzbekistan. (Sources: National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Division, GPO)."
http://www.infoisrael.net/cgi-local/text.pl?source=2/a/ix/080320072

Countdown to war?

Naj said...

Thanks for the headsup Anonymous :)

You know what I take from this?

PROOF THAT ISRAELI-IRANIANS C A N travel to Iran!

Nah! I don't think a war will happen. Israel my try to push or it; but even they are NOT that illogical.

Id it is said...

WB can definitely do without my eight dollars; what is worrisome is that there'll be eight hundred thousand they'll be making anyways simply because of the violent visuals they'll be providing to the kids who simply feed off of this vulgar and disproportionate violence that's portrayed in films today.
As for me, I'm attending this midnight protest against the movie organized by the ISA outside one of Princeton's dorms.

Naj said...

Wow, Princeton has an ISA?

Have fun Id. But I do agree with you that one shouldn't publicize these things too much. did you notice how I toned the post down? :)

bijan said...

Much ado about nothing!
Hold on to your pants folks!
Like an idiot, I signed the petition thinking it would perhaps create “some” positive publicity. But I regret doing so now. I will see the movie and I’m sure I will enjoy it regardless. While since signing the petition I have come across more related information for example clarifying that the story is pretty much fictional and based on comic books. I’m sure any normal or even half witted person will understand that the story is not based on historical fact.

bijan said...

Here you go folks: It's a comic book story:
300 (film)

300 is a historically inspired comic book (however it is completely opposite to actual historical facts) later collected as a graphic novel, written and illustrated by Frank Miller with painted colors by Lynn Varley.The comic loosely depicts the Battle of Thermopylae and the events leading up to it from the perspective of Leonidas I, king of Sparta. 300 was particularly inspired by the 1962 film The 300 Spartans, a movie that Miller watched as a young boy.[1]
Every page of the comic was illustrated as a double-page spread. When the series was gathered into hardcover form, the individual pages were twice as wide as a normal comic. Miller's art style for this project was similar to his Sin City work, although the addition of consistent color is an obvious difference.
300 was initially published as a monthly five-issue comic book series by Dark Horse Comics, the first issue published in May 1998. The issues were titled Honor, Duty, Glory, Combat and Victory. The series won three Eisner Awards in 1999: "Best Limited Series", "Best Writer/Artist" for Frank Miller and "Best Colorist" for Lynn Varley. The work was collected as a hardcover graphic novel in 1999.
The film 300, released on March 9, 2007, is based on 300, and is an effective adaptation not only of the graphic novel's plot, but also its visuals, including costumes, dialogue, and even many specific

Naj said...

:)
Well Bijan, next time you know not to sign a petition before understanding your own motivations to do so.

I was well aware of the "comic-book" nature of this film. However, one needs to be sharply aware of temporal correlations between popular and plotical events in any fraction of history in EVERY part of the world. How many times in a conversation have you heard "yeah it's just like that movie ..."

(if you go to Millers site, you would find some footnote about "underreported history" ... in a culture of easy digestions, one may feel themselves quite intellectual learning about the classics from hollywood!)

Among other things, we should start teaching our kids cultural awareness but particularly media sensitivity, of course, if we are among those who think there is a HOPE for rescuing ourselves and teh world from out cultural decadance, don't you think so?

Anyways, how you enjoy the violence; I ain't got stomach for violence; even if it's as refined as in the Clock Work Orange!

Dave On Fire said...

Hi Naj,

300 hasn't come out in England yet, but I might still see it; Sin City was fantastic.

300 is quite blatantly a work of fiction. The timing of its release is indeed suspicious (and given the length of time taken to make a film, it makes you wonder how long the war on Iran has been in the pipeline for), as was Master And Commander in which the book's American villains were replaced by Frenchmen in the movie, just after France had opposed America's war.

I could point to major action films where the casting of the villians doesn't seem to be as politically motivated, but it's true that it very often is.

However, the problem isn't really that there is a bias in Hollywood films; there is probably a bias in most films, and fiction has an inalieable right to be biased.

The problem is simply one of cultural hegemony. The rich production and distribution companies of Hollywood don't just decide which films they make and which they do not, but which films get instantly seen in cinemas around the world and which die a lonely death.

Iranian companies can of coursemake films demonizing Americans (and neutral artists can make films that aren't even war propaganda), the only problem is that it's much harder for these films to get seen.

A similar problems leaves so many great bands toiling away in obscurity while the giants dictate which talentless young Californian girl gets instant global radio+TV exposure.

Hopefully things like youtube and bittorrent will erode their power and empoer the independents... and make world peace that little bit easier.

;)

Naj said...

Hi Dave,

Yes Hollywood is the second largest American export, after weaponsa of mass or mini destructiion.

You see, my problem with Hollywood is not in what they show, but in what they do NOT show. In fact, I quite admire Hollywood's mastery of technique and their ability to communicate purely on the primacy of visual affect. Hollywood "could" have been a force for "change". As it started out to be. It has, however succumbed to the wrong side of politics.

The Europeans (not the UK, but most vocally France) put strict measures against the hegemony of Hollywood cinema, and passed a number of protectionist laws and resolutions.

In Iran, one of the GREATEST benefits of embargo was the TOTAL absence of hollywood films from Iranian cinemas. That led to the rapid growth of a profitable homegrown industry; that produces master works of art that dominate (and become) the "cinema of the 90s"; it also produces hollywoodian block busters.

But what is true about money maker institutions such as Hollywood is that they NEED an audience. And as long as we buy and enjoy their cultural crap, we are not contributing to cultural change, nor are we forcing the "corporation" to service us.

But again, escapism is what our lifestyle demands of us. More than once have I caught myself, turning away from a Subtitled film about Africa, and walking to the "easy" salon; simply BECAUSE I have been working the WHOLE day to not only pay my mortgage, credit cards, upcoming vacation, my new Gucci sunglasses; but also to climb up the ladder of success building my career--which is the badge of honor--and saving up for my retirement--when I INTEND to become a really socially responsible citizen, live green, become an activist, and write books that I have alaways wanted to write during my youth.

Well, enjoy the phantasmogoria Dave ;) And let's hope someday we WILL demand Hollywood to distribute more "real" movies.

Sophia said...

Naj,

I agree with Faramin. And above all, the movie tries to portray senseless courage in the battlefield as a positive value, something the US and its allies and its enthusiastic war hungry citizen definitely lack and will never have except when playing with videogames. Moreover the movie was cosntructed like a videogame, a bad one I might say. It is tasteless. I saw the movie at the request of my son. I wasn't impressed, neither my 17 year old son. However, some idiots in the theater were and applauded at the end but you cannot change people.

bijan said...

There is too much conspiracy theory going on around here. You give these politicians and Americans too much credit. Believe me they are not that smart and they don’t control Hollywood’s pulse really. Money always talks in Hollywood and besides most are either Liberals or Democrats. Have you forgotten Columbine or Fahrenheit 911? Just because someone puts in print and cites a few coincidental references doesn’t change the truth and doesn’t make it so.

I don’t like or enjoy violence and personally don’t have the stomach for it. Because of it, I particularly don’t watch Law and Order CI, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, or CSI: Miami, to name a few. They show too much gory stuff and have a knack to animate and showing body organs exploding or decomposing in front of your eyes and sometime in slow motion so you don’t miss and details. Like one of the comments earlier, this movie is very much like the movie, Sin City. Although it showed violence it was more less animated and more “comical” than real

Naj said...

:) Wow Bijan, so you did already see it :)

Conspiracy is what "you" read to this. America is not governed by its government; it's not Russia!

For me, the Hollywoodian trends are just the normal order of business! In a country based on/run by capitalists, nothing is conspiracy, all logical outcomes of a particular system at work.

911 was not a hollywood movie.

Wolfie said...

So, what did you think of Mel Gibson's "The Patriot"?

Did you even notice that it stereotyped the English as either homosexuals or rapists?

Did you know that hundreds of Brits walked out of the cinemas early in disgust?

Did we make a petition? No, because we know what the score is in Hollywood and don't take it seriously.

As a wise man once said, "What goes around, comes around" and strangely, historically speaking it does just that.

Wolfie said...

From the blogo-sphere :

The racial and political implications of the movie were clear to my kids and their friends. On the way home the eldest told the others, “They want us pumped to fight Iran, but we look like the Persians.”

We all "get it".

Naj said...

:) the fact that this has been the most commented post on my blog (irrespective of reduced font, aimed at proposing this is a footnote) speaks volumes to to MUCH intertangled is, our ways of thinking with that which we consume in terms of cultural product, entertainment, or just water-cooler chit chat.

I was tempted to take this post off, because I didn't want to take attention away from the Iranian Oil Bourse, that some readers simply assumed it to be about controlling the oil!

Wolfie, I disagree with you that Hollywood is "just" hollywood. As you see, we are in constant relationship with this creature. We are all opinionated about it because it is at the center of our life, undeniable.

I didnt see the Patriot. In fact I haven't seen any of Mel Gibson's movies. But I also remember the outcry over the Passion of Christ.

The petitions and the public protests come at the time of uncertainty and are products of insecurity.

A war is hanging on Iran!

And I, as an Iranian, WILL NOT take any chance to let any disinformation go around me unchallenged.

Naj said...

lol!

Thanks for the quotation. So maybe this is hollywoods saying :"what goes around comes around"; we are being just like the evil persians and we are going to attack them just like they attacked Spartans :))

nunya said...

Wow, Naj, lots of comments for an entry on a silly little movie. I don't take very many movies seriously, and I don't look for historical information in them. I don't like war, action, or gratuitous violence movies either. My kid likes really gross horror flicks (Saw, Saw II and III).

I did like Tank Girl also based on a comic book) enough to buy a copy. I like movies with a strong female lead, not necessarily violent ones that are never broken up with humor. Parts of Tank Girl are hilarious.

Naj said...

Wow, Naj, lots of comments for an entry on a silly little movie.

yuppp!

Cinema is what we are all in a comfortable contact with; and our direct engagement with it makes every one of us an authority to talk about it.

Hollywood is also an identity-making machine.

I don't like movies with any strong lead characters, be they men or women. I like movies with characters like Chance (Being there, 1979) :)

Wolfie said...

naj,

I think you misunderstood me.

You underestimate the European mind, we all see through this film but then many times it is us who are cast as the villain by the Semitic hate machine so we have learned to laugh at it and sit and watch the Americans dance while they fantasise that they run the world. Leaving our spineless politicians to beg for the crumbs.

Its all just something to "gawk at" after a long day's work, admire the effects and nod off.

Sorry that you feel your Bourse post is being ignored but this is old news to the informed, I first wrote an article about it in 2003 I think and I think its done the rounds. The only question left is will Georgie kill for it?

Naj said...

Hi Wolfie,

I don't think I underestimated European mind (actually I only estimated my very own personal consumerist impressionable mind).

And I wasn't aware of Europeans being portrayed as villains by Hollywood (but hey, if they are, that suits me fine too ;) the anti-colonialist can never sleep :) ...). ... kidding.

Speaking of the Bourse post. I wish I could read your article. Where may I find it? But Iran tabled the Bourse in 2005; no?

But this piece of old information deserves central attention, in my opinion, in the analysis of the turn in American policy. (I personally do not see this as a "turn".)

Interestingly, the hardliner regime in Iran has always been in great shape contemporary with republicans in the white house. I think Hillary's fury about "why is George not attacking Iran" is ponting to the fact that Hillary suspects the undertable deals are being made. Interestingly, the "moderates" of Iran has started whizzing a few weeks back that "why are we softening up on the nuclear issue?"

Anyways, I need to work on a new post, maybe offer a marxist reading of Hollywood, just to spite my friends who think "inactive leftists" divert attnetion from Palestine!!

By the way, I don't think Americans will kill Iranians, unless in a desparate and suicidal mode! Their Isreali puppets may though! And THAT will surely make anti-semetism a very defendable state of mind, if Israel starts the WW3! But I think, neither Bush is quite like Hitler; nor are Americans as obedient and power-respecting people like Germans were. America CANNOT go to war with Iran; and it doesn't WANT to either.

And THAT disdain for class hierarchy and authority IS the American gem, in my opinion!

Wolfie said...

I'm afraid it was on my old HTML site which I have since archived now that I've turned to the less formal blog format. It also contained some material that got me on the radar with the wrong sort of people but now I am married I prefer to play the fool more.

I work in finance and sometimes get to hear about plans of a financial matter long before most ;-) The Bourse has been a long-time plan in Tehran, they did forward consultancies you know - after all they were planning on trading in Euros and if you want the best in financial advice London is the place to come.

I don't think the Americans will go to war again but it will be interesting watching the pot being stirred, that's why the President of Iran can be so bold.

I'd be very surprised if the Israelis gave it a shot after their drubbing at the hands of Hezbollah; that little episode hurt their pride a bit too much but they don't like dying either. That's the rub with ethnic self-adoration, it makes you too valuable to be sacrificed and they are not the same people of '48.

Naj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Naj said...

Wolfie, what's your blog?

Yes, I am afraid of Ahmadinejad's populist boldness. He's not playing an empty hand, and others know it too. But I would take Chomskey's advice, that a losing bully won't hesitate to turn the table and end the game. (that metaphore also works for Israel.)

I cannot watch the pot boil with interest (you said you were a Brit? ;) ), I am watching it with ABSOLUTE terror and I am just hoping that it is the nuclear energy that iran gives up, and not the key to the country's wealth to Halliburton!

Wolfie said...

You overrate Chomsky; he's only 50% the real deal.

The worst I think can happen is a strike on the nuclear facilities and I wouldn't be surprised if Ahmadinejad gets put back in his box when this all blows blows over.

Much of what we all see in this world is smoke and mirrors, bluster and poker. America is over-stretched on too many fronts to take on more. I think you can sleep soundly in your bed.

bijan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bijan said...

Are we still talking about the same thing? I had not seen the movie yet. My sister had and she gave it two thumbs up. I guess she has a thing for good looking guys with great bodies. I had to see it for myself and I’ve just returned home from the movies. I was not as impressed or as enthusiastic as her, but I can see her point plus the fact that she knows one of the stunts in the movie. The critics’ score was a B- and that pretty much sums it up which is my sentiment too. I must admit that the animations and the sound effects were great. I didn’t sense any ulterior motives or hidden messages. There was one clear message about Freedom and another that reflected bad on politicians. The queen got her revenge from the politician who took advantage of her and betrayed her at the end. He got what he deserved. I don’t think they portrayed Persians in any particular unimaginable way. The Spartans were the good guys in this movie, so they were portrayed in that light. Besides, the Persians were the aggressors. I also had a beef with too loud idiots sitting too close for comfort that applauded and clapped at every violent scene or at sarcastic remarks given by the Spartan king to the Persians. I would have perhaps enjoyed it more if I didn’t constantly be reminded of my zealous neighbors, but they were the minority. Wouldn’t you know it? I could describe them as two tattooed overweight, mid-thirties skin head guys. So immature and so typical!!! :)

HopeSpringsATurtle said...

We can only hope it disappears quickly.I listened to an interview with the Persian woman that did the vocalizations (can't remember where I heard it or her name, sorry). She said she had conflicts over the historical inaccuracies but did it becuase, "the intention of the director to follow the graphic novel, rather than trying to recreate history." Sounds like a bit of a sell-out to me. In any case, tis is from wikipedia:

"The film became a box office record-breaker, although critics were divided over the film's look and style. Some acclaimed it as the next level of filmmaking while others accused it of favoring visuals over characterization."

And apparently, fiction over fact.

Hopefully though, this film will be viewed as fantasy by mostly teenage boys and young men. Last September when ABC did the fake-u-mentary on the 9/11path to war, it was full of lies. The left blogsphere swarded on it and demanded ABC not air the program. They did make some minor changes, but the aired the piece of crap anyway. The public attention seemed to increase polarization of the debate and here we are today, another set of steps closer to attacking Iran.

I hope this piece of trash disappears.

HopeSpringsATurtle said...

Nah! I don't think a war will happen. Israel my try to push or it; but even they are NOT that illogical.

I hope you are right but in fact Darth Cheney is pushing harder than ever for war in Iran. Did you read Seymour Hirsh? Or listen to Cheney's speech at AIPAC? Frightening. This man does not have much time to live. He pushs for a war he will not see the end of. He is evil incarnate.

Faramin said...

naj,

You may wish to watch this 5-part clips from the History Channel which somehow counters the fabrication of history in 300.

When watching it, please also remember that the History Channel is not our friend either, but there are things about our history that they are forced to admit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKN-gZuSH2o&mode=related&search=

Faramin

Naj said...

Thanks Faramin,

The amount of ignorance about the influence of Persian, Indian, Chinese culture is a shame.

The Westerner's extent of "orientalism" doesn't go farther than wearing oriental clothes, and burning wierd stuff and doing meditation and hugging trees! And that, perhaps because it is a fashionable thing to do!

I am disgruntled!

But it is up to "us" to advocate our culture; instead of blaming others for not discovering it from obscure libraries of the world.

Collectively, we Iranians have left out cultural affairs in teh hands of a bunch of Los Angeles pop artists, who practise the most banal form of Persianism.

Our new year is coming, and we do not have a cultura embassador to talk about Norooz; to make it into a fun event, to herald it as the most beautiful conceptof any new year. No one is saying that a persian who is so connected to nature is not, cannot be a war monger!

I will watch the clips. Thank you friend.

Faramin said...

Absolutely true; word by word!
I could not agree more naj. Thanks!