Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Ghost of Awards Season Past

Sometimes it is hard to see the Oscar-nominated documentaries until they are released on DVD. It is sad but true that many theaters don't play the Oscar-nominated documentary films, even during awards season. Those that do play in theaters have brief stints and are rarely promoted much, so you probably missed some of this year's possible nominees such as Restrepo, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Inside Job, or even Waiting for Superman (which did get more attention than others, since everyone likes to complain about public schools and suggest that abandoning them for charter schools is a "solution.")

Anyway, if you're feeling sad to not be watching this year's potential Academy Award-nominated documentaries, I suggest you do yourself a favor and watch an Oscar nominee from last year, the excellent The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers. It tells an essential story about our remarkable recent history that has been all-too-soon forgotten. I can only offer my profound thanks to Daniel Ellsberg, who is still out there trying to right wrongs, and to those who are helping to spread his words and other truths - including truths about our government.

In light of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, the Dubya & Co. lies that have killed hundreds of thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our government's continuous stream of lies to the American people about military destruction around the world, you owe it to yourselves to watch this film. If you're on Netflix, you can stream The Most Dangerous Man in America on "Watch Instantly." What are you waiting for?

For those who (for some inexplicable reason) don't believe my recommendation, I'll share a few quotes from the film, which are eerily similar to things you are hearing in the media right now about Iraq, Afghanistan, and attempts to prosecute Julian Assange under the Espionage Act. There are also great bits in the film where you see four presidents in a row lie about the importance of us fighting in Vietnam to support "democracy." Ahem. The U.S. government is still up to those same rhetorical shenanigans.

  • For the anti-WikiLeaks crowd, you have a tricky leader, who is not a crook - right?
    "Now listen here: printing top secret information - I don't care how you feel about the war, whether they're for or against it-you can't and should not do it. It's an attack on the integrity of government, and by god I'm going to fight that son-of-a-bitching paper. They don't know what's going to hit them now." - Richard Nixon
  • For those who voted for Dubya (or failed to vote against him in 2004), who believed the U.S. media's WMD cheerleading in 2003, who accept Obama's decision to keep Guantanamo open and who look at all the evidence of torture and still say our soldiers and spies are "defending our freedom," this one's for you.
    "I staked my freedom on a gamble: if the American people knew the truth about how they had been lied to, the myths that had led them to endorse this butchery for 25 years, that they would choose against it. And the risk that you take when you do that is that you'll learn something ultimately about your fellow citizens that you won't like to hear, and that is that they hear it, they learn from it, they understand it, and they proceed to ignore it." - Daniel Ellsberg
  • For everyone:
    "The courage we need is not the courage, the fortitude, to be obedient in the service of an unjust war, to help conceal lies, to do our job by a boss who has usurped power and is acting as an outlaw government. It is the courage at last to face honestly the truth and reality of what we are doing in the world and act responsibly to change it." - Daniel Ellsberg

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