Saturday, March 22, 2008

TV channels and propaganda

We accidentally ended up watching most part of a movie `Maxwell' on History channel last night. The movie was remarkable in the understatedness of the screenplay (teleplay?). I was astonished at the fantastic histrionics of the main actor who played Maxwell, the woman that played Mrs. Maxwell, and all the other minor actors. The sparseness of dialogue is also noteworthy. I contrast this movie with the yelling, screaming and melodrama of an average movie on TV in one of our languages. That apart, it seems to me that the depiction is quite different from Maxwell was in reality. There is a suggestion that Maxwell was trapped by his enemies in the film, and comes across as something of a tragic figure. There was plenty of personal tragedy in his life --- lost his relatives in the Holocaust, lost a son in an accident, seems to have lost a child in early childhood. However, the biography of wikipedia holds his responsible for the collapse of the pension funds. In other words, the BBC rendition is something of a fiction based on his life. I was also struck by adverts during the telecast of a new film `Saddam's Tribe' purportedly based on narratives of his daughter. The total demonization that is implicit in the sound bites of an entire Tribe is also shocking. Why would they put out a movie on Saddam and his cruelty when the world can see for itself the cruelty of the US invasion, of the Abu Ghraib's and the countless other incidents. To supply a post-hoc justification of the invasion? Shows the power of cinema to twist anything in any way you want. It is also clear that History channel is really a propaganda channel for Anglo-American imperialism. As are National Geographic and Discovery. It is amazing how interspersed between programmes on crocodiles and butans are programmes on war-planes, latest tanks and artillery. Of course, no matter what kind of artillery is used by western armed forces, it is always in good intent. Even the programmes on crocodiles are always loaded with messages of might being right, big eating small, survival of the fittest. Talk of subliminal propaganda.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, I could not figure out which Maxwell is being referred to ? The only thing I can figure out (from references to the holocaust) is that it cannot be the Maxwell of electromagnetism fame.

Unfortunately, Wikipedia turns up too many Maxwell-s to choose from - it would be great if you added a pointer to the appropriate wiki page(I presume it exists since you make references to his wiki page).

Anant said...

Dear Anonymous,

It is Robert Maxwell the media magnate.

Regards, Anant