June 28, 2011 by musehick
I have been watching documentaries for the last couple of days, and I am always willing to learn something from these films. I know and understand that these films are not necessarily open minded and unbiased, in fact that they have an agenda is one of their selling points – if you know that a director’s viewpoint is skewed in the same way as your own then you are going to agree with the film, but how much of a balanced viewpoint do you get? I’m not going to say that it’s your duty to go and search out the alternative viewpoint and test your own viewpoint’s integrity.
I had worked for the food industry and thought I had confronted and accepted what went on it but ‘Food Inc’ made me rethink some of that; did it make me want to stop eating meat? No, what it made me want to do is actually be a bit more aware of what it is that I am eating.
‘Manufacturing Dissent’ gives a slightly different spin on the whole Michael Moore story, someone whose work I have enjoyed and agreed with. So, again, did this provoke a total change of attitude towards the man? Well, no – has he done some possibly regrettable things? Sure. Has he been dishonest in some cases? Sure, it seems so. But is it true that he asked some questions that need asking? Yes. Has he opened up a dialogue that might otherwise have remained ignored? Yes.
Is it likely that the film-makers going against Moore are free of agenda? Course not – they have a point which they are trying to make, and it would be disingenuous to believe that they are not also interested in making money; it would be ridiculous to think that they are not also editing stuff to punch up their own ideas.
A lot of people read the paper that most confirms what they believe to be true, watch the tv programs they most believe are true, and they cast anyone who disagrees as liars. But are they really? Well, some of what they say is likely to be coloured by their own viewpoint … I know this is true of me; I know I have been closed off from opposing viewpoints at certain moments in my life, but I know that there is always more than one side to an argument and that whole idea that facts somehow maintain some hermetically sealed purity that protects them from manipulation is just naive.
I want to be entertained – if I believe something I will be drawn to things which affirm it, but if it is not entertaining why watch it? I write things which express my views, are they true? Are they indisputable? Well, they come from what information I myself have had access to, and when I say them I believe they are true … do I sometimes discover I have been operating off of false data? Sure. I am always ready to admit when I am wrong. It’s good to have the hornet’s stirred up; it’s good to provoke thinking. That’s what these documentaries do. Good for them.