peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2007 10 17 WarOnDemocracy

War on Democracy

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Perhaps better titled John Pilger's War on Democracy, in the tradition of The Chaser. While I wholeheartedly agree that the issues he highlights are worthy, I struggle with how weak his evidential requirements are. I don't doubt that one could make an almost-identical movie about John Howard's Australia, full of "national security is all" crackpots, and people whose aspirations are stymied. (Just ask any arty type.) His allusions to "secret documents" no longer cut it, if they ever did; put them on the internet, etc. etc.

Vaguely ironic to me is that Vietnam is undergoing massive poverty reduction (etc.) without political instability or a Western-style democracy.

Most interesting is the cult of personality that Chavez has cultivated. Little is made of his recent move to suspend the parliament, while much is made of the coup's move to do the same.

I don't think John Pilger is dishonest; I think the case is strong enough that he could focus on root causes and what's-to-be-done rather than drilling us about the American Empire. (Obviously it exists, and has done so since at least World War II; just look at the major international institutions, especially the economic ones.) It's too much like a Michael Moore movie without the humour.