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September 19, 2004

Silver City

Saw Silver City Friday night. Salon‘s comments were pretty dead on:
Sayles has basically been making the same picture for, like, umpty-five years now. I’ve gotten used to it; I even kind of like it. It‘s a picture in which some fine and well-intentioned actors stand in front of a scenic background, knees locked, and deliver a monologue about America. Sometimes it’s a pretty good monologue about America. And once you get used to the movie‘s creaking plot, its aw-shucks ragtag heroes and sniggering, black-hatted villains, and once the general boringness of the filmmaking stops bothering you, the Sayles film can crank itself up to a certain power.
I, of course, liked it, because I’m admittedly part of the choir. The scenic backgrounds of Colorado were nice, and some of the actors did a great job. Tim Roth‘s character also delivers a nice little monologue about how the mainstream media interacts with independent media and bloggers. Basically, he says, the independents uncover a big story and write something about it, but the mainstream won’t touch it until there‘s a mountain of supporting evidence so that the story just can’t be ignored anymore, and then they‘ll publish a one-paragraph teaser on page 6 about “rumors and allegations,” and then the politicians or corporations or whoever is involved will have to deny the rumors and allegations, and that’s when the story finally hits the front pages of the mainstream media: “X denies rumors!” Is that what happened with the “CBS memos”? Is that how CBS got burned? Maybe it didn‘t float the one-paragraph teaser before it went public, and then it got creamed by the righteous indignation of the right. But watching “Silver City” and seeing what’s happening w/the whole CBS memos thing—it‘s all so ridiculous. If CBS got these documents and shared them with the public, why should we crucify CBS if they turn out to be fakes? If they’re fakes, the next question is: Do they reflect reality, despite being fake? And another question: Who faked them, and why? (That‘s being asked now.) The point is, we shouldn’t punish the media for reporting information they find. Yes, we should ask them to verify as best they can the information they find, but shouldn‘t we encourage sharing more information, not less? If we set up a standard where the only thing the media can “report” is what’s already well-proven to be “true,” then we‘ll get what we have today, which is a media that does little beyond reading press releases. Not good.

Posted September 19, 2004 09:39 AM | ai movies

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