Thursday, June 10, 2010

Uncanny Prediction of BP Disaster & Response

June 10, 2010, 11:00 a.m.
[For BP disaster see, "BP's Commercial: Shame on Media," June 9; "Big Oil: Calling Shots, Corrupting Government," May 26, 2010; "Obama As Finger-Pointer-In-Chief," May 18, 2010; "Big Oil + Big Corruption = Big Mess," May 10, 2010; "P&L: Public Loss From Private Profit," May 3, 2010.]

Why Are We Blind to What Artists See So Clearly?
(bought to you by*)

In 1979, on March 16, "The China Syndrome" was released to America's theaters. It was a fictional account of a near-nuclear power plant meltdown and corporate efforts at a cover up (and see "The China Syndrome,"

Twelve days later, at 4:00 a.m. on March 28, 1979, there was a partial core meltdown in a Babcock & Wilcox pressurized water nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island, near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. "It was the most significant accident in the history of the American commercial nuclear power generating industry, resulting in the release of up to 481 PBq (13 million curies) of radioactive gases . . .." "Three Mile Island Accident",

Life does have a way of imitating art. Indeed, I believe it was in one of Abraham Maslow's books that I first encountered the theory that just as the canary responds to poisonous gas before humans, so do some artists have the capacity to detect -- and project in one art form or another -- the tiny ripples of change in society years before the waves sweep over the rest of us.

And so it is that an outfit called Democracy for Sale appears to be looking back through old movies to see what might be coming our way. They cleverly package 9:59 worth of excerpts, and put them up on YouTube.

They have at least two for us already -- which together pretty well explain both the values of BP and the corruption in Washington, D.C., that makes it possible for such corporations to prosper (while taking human life and despoiling the environment in the process).

The 1994 movie "On Deadly Ground" involves an oil company that has an explosion on an offshore drilling rig, tries to cover up the facts, blames the environmentalists for the problem, and then produces a slick commercial. (See yesterday's "BP's Commercial: Shame on Media," June 9.)


As Democracy For Sale explains: "June 10, 2010 — In this purely fictional video, an oil spill causes major damage to the environment. When it's discovered that the oil company cut corners and disregarded safety measures, the oil company responds with an advertising campaign of soothing and reassuring words, then blames the spill on sabotage by environmentalists. Ultimately, the citizens realize that their government and the agencies established to protect them and the environment are really controlled by special interests and the oil executives. Any similarity to real people or events is purely coincidental. This video is for educational use only."

So just how does the corrupting process work? Democracy For Sale attempts to answer that question for us as well, with these excerpts from the 1992 movie, "The Distinguished Gentleman," starring Eddie Murphy as Congressman Thomas Jefferson Johnson.

Democracy For Sale explains: "What's Wrong with Washington. February 01, 2010. In a government where democratic representation is sold to the highest bidder, big corporations, not citizens, have a disproportionate share of democratic control. This short compilation illustrates the problem in under 10 minutes. The need for campaign finance reform is very clear. This video is for educational academic use only. Any similarity to real people or events is purely coincidental."

Can you think of other examples of feature films that dealt with societal problems that subsequently came to pass? If so, post them here as comments.


* Why do I put this blog ID at the top of the entry, when you know full well what blog you're reading? Because there are a number of Internet sites that, for whatever reason, simply take the blog entries of others and reproduce them as their own without crediting the source. I don't mind the flattering attention, but would appreciate acknowledgment as the source -- even if I have to embed it myself.
-- Nicholas Johnson
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