DoG: On your website you say that movies are more politicized now than at any time since WWII or the Cold War. Could you give any examples?
MW: This is a huge topic. Many movies, producers, and production companies, and some studios, stars and directors have close ties to the American DOD (Department Of Defence), arms dealers (American and Israeli), oil companies, and/or the ruling Republican Party and neocon Bush backers. The Hollywood/D.C. connection has existed for a long time to some extent but it’s stronger now than ever. After 9/11 Karl Rove met with studio heads and top producers and directors and convinced most of them to be part of the war on terror and to be more patriotic and pro FBI, CIA, Armed Forces…
If an American movie features spies, the military, and military hardware and does not explicitly criticized the government and the Iraq war – it has the full cooperation of the DOD. Some of our tax dollars actually go to providing military planes, boats, weapons, soldiers, advisors… to pro military movies that we pay too much to see – then go buy DVDs of! Many major movies have government agents and agencies right in the credits if you know where to look. Even most people who look back at WWII era movies or early Cold War era movies and realize that they were propaganda, don’t realize what’s happening now. Major pro war movies don’t have to use modern hardware though (see 300). Many of these same movies are also loaded with more and more product placements (another major topic). Meanwhile some very anti current American government major theatrical movies are still being made but seem to get very little promotion or attention. Check out V for Vendetta, American Dreamz, and Josie and the Pussycats (!) to name a few.
This is equally true with American TV. The majority of today’s popular drama shows (many produced by Jerry Top Gun Bruckheimer) glorify government agencies and agents, while stealing crazed psycho killer plots and autopsy gore from mostly cheap and obscure horror movies. Some like the Rupert Murdoch-backed 24 (Dick Cheney’s favorite show) exist pretty much to keep us scared, voting Republican, and to justify torture. I could go on about politics on channels owned by Fox, Disney, Viacom…
DoG: There have been a surprising number of torture-themed horror movies over the last few years – Saw and Hostel are obvious examples – why do you think this is, and why do you think they appear to be so popular?
MW: These movies don’t surprise me. It’s very hard to out-shock today’s mainstream TV drama shows (let alone what’s on the internet) and these (relatively low budget) movies deliver and make lots of money. I’ve seen the first ones (Saw and Hostel) but have no desire to see sequels. I’m a lifelong horror movie fanatic but I never was a fan of watching hyper realistic (or real) sadistic torture and death scenes. I think Saw and Hostel are more extremely cynical lowest common denominator movies helping to breed new generations of numb, unquestioning soldiers in the war on terror – which (like America’s costly, ineffective, and self defeating war on drugs) will continue under President McCain and into the future until we are all long gone.