Monthly Archives: June 2012

How TV Ruined Your Life: Fear

Comedy series in which Charlie Brooker uses a mix of sketches and jaw-dropping archive footage to explore the gulf between real life and television.

Ever wondered why life doesn’t measure up to those youthful lofty expectations? From love and money to fear and progress, Charlie Brooker explores a different universal theme each week as this six-part series attempts to explain where it all went wrong and just how wildly the TV and movie ideal differs from life’s grim reality.

Marking the point where the mad daydreams of TV and the sorry reality of real life collide, the series employs a mixture of archive footage, sketches and interviews that will have you wiping away tears of laughter while nodding in recognition, which means you’ll probably have your eye out if you’re not careful.

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Food Matters

Let thy Food be thy Medicine and thy Medicine be thy Food – Hippocrates. That is the message from the founding father of modern medicine echoed in the controversial new documentary film Food Matters from Producer-Directors James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch.

With nutritionally-depleted foods, chemical additives and our tendency to rely upon pharmaceutical drugs to treat what’s wrong with our malnourished bodies, it’s no wonder that modern society is getting sicker.

Food Matters sets about uncovering the trillion dollar worldwide sickness industry and gives people some scientifically verifiable solutions for overcoming illness naturally.

In what promises to be the most contentious idea put forward, the filmmakers have interviewed several leading experts in nutrition and natural healing who claim that not only are we harming our bodies with improper nutrition, but that the right kind of foods, supplements and detoxification can be used to treat chronic illnesses as fatal as terminally diagnosed cancer.

The focus of the film is in helping us rethink the belief systems fed to us by our modern medical and health care establishments. The interviewees point out that not every problem requires costly, major medical attention and reveal many alternative therapies that can be more effective, more economical, less harmful and less invasive than conventional medical treatments.

 

The College Conspiracy

College Conspiracy debunks many myths, including the belief that Americans with college degrees earn $1 million more in lifetime income compared to high school graduates without a college degree.

The most important basic fact that most Americans don’t understand about 4-year colleges is that most Americans spend 6 years attending them before graduating. With U.S. tuition inflation for private colleges averaging 5.15% over the past half a decade, assuming this same rate of tuition inflation continues, a college with tuition of $30,000 today will have tuition of $38,563 in the sixth year a student attends it.

In College Conspiracy, NIA analyzes the total cost to attend college by factoring in not just rapidly rising tuition expenses, but also the interest payments on student loans, and the lost income that college students would have earned if they worked at an average entry-level job that doesn’t require a college degree.

NIA’s investigation has determined that the organizations that helped create and promote the $1 million in additional income myth, included General Equivalency Diploma (GED) recipients as being high school graduates.

The truth is, GED recipients are not real high school graduates and they are being used to unfairly skew down the average income of high school graduates without a college degree.

This has the effect of artificially inflating the amount of additional lifetime income that college graduates earn over high school graduates. College Conspiracy shows the real numbers that never get discussed in the mainstream media.

The college-industrial complex has created not only myths, but outright hoaxes, in order to scam American students into becoming indentured servants for life. Three years ago when 15 new pharmacist schools were about to open in the U.S., the college cartel bribed economists to come out with phony research reports showing that the U.S. was experiencing a huge shortage of pharmacists.

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America’s Most Hated Family in Crisis

Following up on his hugely popular and acclaimed 2007 documentary The Most Hated Family In America, Louis Theroux returns to Topeka, Kansas, for a second visit to the Westboro Baptist Church.

A fire-and-brimstone Christian group, made up of 80 or so members of the Phelps family, the WBC have made themselves notorious in America – and worldwide – for their pickets of the funerals of soldiers killed in action, where they wield anti-gay placards.

The Phelps believe the soldiers were killed as part of God’s punishment of America for its toleration of homosexuality. But, four years on from Louis’s last visit, there are signs of disarray in the Phelps clan. A series of defections of family members has shaken up the church. They’ve been at the centre of a landmark Supreme Court case and, possibly because of the resulting attention, their beliefs have become increasingly bizarre.

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PsyWar

The new documentary “Psywar,” featuring CMD founder John Stauber, explores corporate and government use of propaganda and public relations to manipulate American people. The movie explores how the U.S. government staged events to manipulate public opinion about the Iraq war, like the rescue of Private Jessica Lynch, the supposedly spontaneous mob that pulled over the larger-than-life statue of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. It also discusses the Pentagon pundit scandal, and the hidden activities of the Rendon Group, a PR firm specializing in spinning war.

The film exposes government and corporate activities to blur the lines between real news and fake news, as well as the development over time of public relations misinformation campaigns, strategic corporate campaigns to generate goodwill and the perception of good works, the use of staged photo-ops, and other manipulative PR tools that have turned the land of the free and the home of the brave into a place where citizens are now manipulated with great efficiency, and on a massive scale.

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Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup

With the departure of the Bush Administration and the arrival of an “era of transparency,” opportunities are arising for the disclosure of new information that may shed more light on the events that took place before and after 9/11/2001.

Dramatically narrated by Daniel Sunjata of FX’s Rescue Me. This film first examines mysterious and infamous events that reshaped world history – from the Reichstag Fire in 1933 that catapulted Hitler to dictatorship – to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964 that led to the Vietnam War, and then takes viewers on a turbulent journey through several pivotal moments in history before delving into the most significant catastrophe in recent memory, 9/11.

Eight years later, the American people continue to live in the aftermath of 9/11 and deal with its ongoing repercussions. The film serves as a fundamental call to action which is fueled by hope that those affected by 9/11 will soon receive the answers that they have sought after for nearly a decade.

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Diamonds of War: Africa’s Blood Diamond

Long a symbol of love, affection and faithfulness, the diamond is now increasingly linked with war, blood and brutality. In the diamond-rich West African nation of Sierra Leone, rebels used the precious gems to bankroll a violent ten-year insurrection, leaving a terrorized population and a ravaged landscape in its wake. National Geographic correspondents follow the trail of illicit diamonds from their origin in the muddy pits of impoverished Sierra Leone, to the pristine cobblestone streets of Antwerp, Belgium, to their final stop in the glittering display cases of New York’s finest jewelry stores.

Released to coincide with the big-budget Leonardo Di Caprio vehicle BLOOD DIAMOND, this documentary, produced by the National Geographic channel, examines the diamond trade of Sierra Leone. DIAMONDS OF WAR illustrates how violence and even war have broken out in the region as a result of its diamonds.

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Restrepo

The film explores the year that Junger and Hetherington spent in Afghanistan on assignment for Vanity Fair, embedded with the Second Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team of the U.S. Army in the Korengal Valley. The 2nd Platoon is depicted defending an Observation Post (OP) named OP Restrepo, for PFC Juan Sebastián Restrepo, a Colombian-born naturalized U.S. citizen platoon medic who was killed earlier in the campaign.

The film follows the 2nd Platoon of Battle Company on a 15-month deployment in the Korengal Valley of northeast Afghanistan in the Nuristan area. The Korengal flows north to the Pech, which then flows east to the Kunar River valley on the border with Pakistan. The film chronicles the lives of the men from their deployment to the time of their return home. The Korengal Valley was at the time regarded as “the deadliest place on Earth” (as stated in the documentary itself, trailers, and television commercials on the National Geographic Channel). The goal of the deployment was to clear the Korengal Valley of insurgency and gain the trust of the local populace.

They begin their deployment at OP Korengal, and early in the campaign PFC Restrepo is killed, as well as another team member, PFC Vimoto. The film portrays negotiations with the local people, construction of an advanced outpost, OP Restrepo, as well as the challenges and intermittent firefights they face.

In the latter portion of the film, the dangerous mission Operation Rock Avalanche is shown along with some of its tragic consequences, such as dead civilians and soldiers, as well as the emotional distress that the soldiers are left with in its aftermath.

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ETHOS

Ethos is a powerful documentary hosted by Woody Harrelson, is an investigation into the flaws in our systems, and the mechanisms that work against democracy, our environment and the common good. With a stunning depth of research and breadth of analysis, this film delves deep into the inter-connected worlds of Politics, Multi-National Corporations and the Media.

Most of us have wondered at some point how we have arrived at a situation where democracy is touted as having created an equal society when all we see is injustice and corruption. Politicians openly deceive the public with the support of major corporations and the mainstream media. Wars are waged, the environment is destroyed and inequality is on the rise. But what is the source of these institutional mechanisms which when we scratch the surface are so clearly anti-democratic, so contradictory to the values we hold in common and yet so firmly embedded that they seem beyond discussion?

Ethos opens a Pandora’s box that has its roots in the cross-roads where capitalism meets-democracy, implicates every power-elite puts profit before people and finally offers a solution whereby you the viewer can regain control using the one thing they do care about…., your cash.

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Status Anxiety

Why doesn’t money (usually) buy happiness? Alain de Botton breaks new ground for most of us, offering reasons for something our grandparents may well have told us, as children.
It is rare, and pleasing, to see a substantial philosophical argument sustained as well as it is in this documentary. De Botton claims that we are more anxious about our own importance and achievements than our grandparents were. This is status anxiety.
Alain quotes philosophical writings, such as Democracy in America, a report by Alexis de Tocqueville on his visit to the USA in 1831. De Tocqueville noted that American equality, notable in those times, was accompanied by a climate of envy.
We jump to present-day USA, and see what, to de Botton, are some awful examples of The American Way. A Christian preaches get rich. A steelworker tells of his insecure life in an industry being closed down through others’ love of money.
Our protagonist points out the advantage of high status: those with high status will enjoy the care and attention of the world. Then joins this advantage with the illusion, or attempt at meritocracy in the USA, mentioning Jefferson’s notion of an aristocracy of talent.

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