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June 10, 2005

An Oily Fiction

I have finally gathered the courage to erase from my Tivo, the faux documentary 'Oil Storm' having decided that it is not worth more than a couple hundred words of discussion.

I was very pleased to watch the FX production with my 11 year old boy. The news montages were very reminescent of those that we watch in Tom Clancy videogames. As soon as I showed him that the dates were in the future, just like with Splinter Cell, he immediately got it.

More than the actual content of narrative which seemed very quickly to be hinged too tightly around scenarios all too closely spaced, I was eager to eyeball the footage for clues of fakery. I mean when you photoshop an entire documentary, there have got to be some non-ideological clues.

The best one that I could come up with, on a hunch, was that the hurricane that started the first domino was spinning in the wrong direction in the satellite photos, or that it was heading in the absolutely wrong direction. As long as I can remember, hurricanes move from southwest to northeast. I could be wrong, being from California, but there was something distinctly whacky about that storm.

It turns out that there is a LOOP pipeline and the Fourchon Station is a real place. But I'm sure that I've seen some of the 'oil' riots footage from WTO protests in Seattle.

Overall, however, I know there are some very strict rules employed by serious documentarians that were bent and broken here. I probably could have gotten better lessons by helping line Michael Moore's pockets. But the interviews with the experts were a bit too pat, and the experts themselves were too well-behaved. Of course the thing that killed the entire flick was putting the 'typical' family in the middle of the drama.

This is the world I expect to raise my children into. They are going to have to have some extremely sharp critical skills, because this kind of propaganda will continue to draw ratings. The political potential for full-length scenario spinning is a temptation which will not be easily avoided. Given how it has made Moore a zillionaire, who can doubt that there is much more to come?

Posted by mbowen at June 10, 2005 08:08 AM

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