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[white]....../white]The role of advertising, the Situationists say, is to create a world of mirrors in which people can obtain new images of themselves that fit the purposes of the overal system. Through this mirror function and by its expropriation of inner experience, advertising makes the human into a spectator of his or her own life. It is alienation to the tenth power. Life itself becomes a spectacle.
[white]....../white]By entering the human being's inner sanctum, our inner wilderness, advertising effectively pulls our feelings up out of ourselves, displays them and sells them back to us like iron from the ground. Our inner feelings are transmogrified into a new form��commodities. We desperately seek to get them back, and pay high prices for the privilege.
[white]....../white]The Situationists are correct. Whenever we buy a product we are paying for the recovery of our own feelings. We have thereby turned into creatures who are the commodities we buy. We are the product we pay for and all life is reduced to serving this cycle. Life and commodity achieve absolute merger; the ultimate stage in the inexorable drive of the system to convert all raw material into "valuable" commercial form. Advertising is the internal delivery system for this bizarre process."
�� Jerry Mander in "Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television" (pages 130,131)
Fahrenheit 451 (1966)
Welcome to the future
(SPOILER ALERT for movie and book)
I have read a bunch of negative comments on this movie and so I just wanted to add my own comments. I haven't seen it lately but I have fond memories of this movie. Montag's cool accent, the lovely Julie Christie, the great Bernard Herrmann score. The opening is very unusual with no written credits, as so many others have stated. I remember the old woman who decides she will die with her books rather than lose them (really spooky idea to this impressionable person), the time when Montag faints, the monorail, the book people at the end which was SO just SO unbelievable -- touching, sad. I mean just imagine memorizing an entire book and that is your purpose in life, to retain that book. And the way they just lived totally without technology is also something that really got to me, since I have lived engulfed in technology/artifice my whole life, it is like seeing people who are totally alien to my way of life, I can't imagine living that way and yet there is something deep inside me that knows that all this technology we wrap ourselves in is ultimately meaningless.
During the O.J.Simpson chase being watched on TV someone mentioned how it reminded them of Fahrenheit 451 and this got me to read the book for the first time and in it I was amazed at how accurately Ray Bradbury had predicted the future, our future. From the seashell that people would listen to constantly (walkman) to automatic bankers to kids murdering other kids (HOW did he know that would happen, other than he realized the world was going to hell). Now we have these new kids who are totally and completely absorbed into the TV/movie/internet techno-medium and they can't understand how anyone can like a movie as boring as Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451, which seems to me to again show how prescient Bradbury really was. Society has become faster, flashier, and more meaningless that ever before. Its all just a big show now.
But I am looking forward to the remake. Or maybe I'm not. What I would really like to see would be a movie that doesn't so much show how government tries to ban certain literature. See that's really such a crude way of doing things, it doesn't work that way at all here. Our present system is so much more subtle. I would like to see a movie that deals with how this population is kept brainwashed (which it most assuredly is) so that the elites can carry out their agendas without them having to worry about the general population catching on. A movie that would really lay bare what is going on behind the scenes, the manipulation of the masses. A movie sort of like The Matrix but whereas that was obviously fiction in this movie the viewer would toally identify with hapless consumer of infotainment and then get his socks knocked off by seeing how he is being targeted. Now that would be something!
So, if you haven't seen it I highly recommend this movie. And if you have and you found it boring, well, welcome to the future :)
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Some comments on Bowling for Columbine
Note: possible spoiler alert (can you spoil a documentary?)
Mike Muscato states: "He never says this, nor does he imply that the high rate of gun ownership in the US is to blame for the high number of gun related deaths." This is untrue. At one point Mr. Moore goes to K-Mart to get them to stop selling bullets (although not firearms, as stated by saturdaze). This certainly seems to imply that he thinks restricting the sale of firearms (or at least ammunition) is helpful to reduce gun violence.
I don't really like the criticism that Charlton Heston is getting. He said maybe the reason we have more violence is because of our mixed ethnicity (I do not believe he said that was why we needed to be armed, as Zen Bones has stated). Is that the comment of a 'self-serving racist'(Shaun Yen Metcalfe's words)? I don't see it that way. I see it that people of different ethnic groups are much more likely to commit violence against one another -- isn't that an historical reality? Well, maybe its not, but even if its not, if its a widely held belief (maybe due to the media) then I don't see that people who believe that are racist. I don't see why that makes Mr. Heston a racist? Charlton Heston was kind enough to let Michael Moore enter his home and interview him, and, apparently, take the footage of him and edit it anyway he wanted. Would Michael Moore extend the same courtesy to someone who was of an opposing political persuasion? Something I've always wondered: Doesn't everyone you use in a film have to sign a consent form? How do people like Michael Moore get people to actually agree to be made fun of??? How does he get the people in that bank to let him film them giving away a free rifle for opening an account?
I thought it was a very interesting idea that the media in America is the possible cause of the violence. Then we see Canada, where we find out the media doesn't dwell on violence/fear the way it does in America (well, at least based on what MM shows in the film). Could that be it? Its all the media brainwashing people with their subliminal programming? I can buy that (I stopped watching the sickening disgusting boob tube years ago, and I recommend it to everyone). But its not very reassuring to know that the only reason Canada is not like the USA is because the media in Canada isn't brainwashing their subjects like the media in the US is. It still means (and I totally believe this) that each population is totally under the control of the media. They are like little zombies who go to their telly tuby every day to know what to think, what to wear, what to eat, and whether to be violent or not. How pathetic and true!
At one point in the film, he is talking with that guy whose kid was killed at Columbine (or maybe it was that other guy) and they remark how odd it is that even though the crime rate is actually going down (despite what the media is portraying), the amount of gun-ownership is going up. What I immediately thought when I saw this is, well, duh, guess what. In the view of the pro-gun people, the crime went down BECAUSE the gun-ownership went up, and just because you phrase it "crime goes down, gun-ownership goes up" doesn't mean the latter isn't the causative factor. But who can say whether that's what caused it (that more guns caused less crime), or its just odd.
Despite all I have said, I am a big fan of Michael Moore and his movies! I thought Roger & Me was great and considering how much it is mentioned, I might be the one person who has seen his (only?) attempt at a fictional movie, "Canadian Bacon". Boy, did that ever leave the theaters in a hurry! And I thought Bowling for Columbine was well worth seeing.
But I want to make a suggestion to Mr. Moore. For the ending, he should have said, "But in the end, we realize that there IS something to really be afraid of" and then show a big nice head shot of our president, Mr. Bush, smiling back.