Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Documentarians Shock Revisionists

An interesting article in today's Asia Times suggests that the Chinese release of a much-heralded documentary film on the Rape of Nanking produced by AOL founder Ted Leonsis is bound to stoke old grievances and open old wounds. (image: Nanking Massacre Memorial) That's probably very true, and the reaction of the Chinese populace to the film could even influence current events and national policy. Now that's news.

I've posted recently about historical revisionism, the tendency of those in power to conveniently re-write history to suit their needs. In that post, I noted that conservative Japanese legislators are currently making just such an attempt around their country's participation and conduct in WWII. Specifically, the suggestion has been made in the chambers of Japan's Diet, that the number of Chinese casualties, that is: deaths, woundings, and rapes, during the Japanese conquest and occupation of Nanjing is much lower than reported. The conservative Japanese politicians involved have gone as far as saying that China is deliberately inflating the numbers for propaganda purposes. Rubbish, that. Read the article, take a look at the Wikipedia entry and follow some of the relevant links in the stub to make up your own minds.

And now, Michael Moore, documentarian extraordinaire, has come along to debunk another bit of crap masquerading as historical fact. I'm referring, of course, to the oft-made claim that here in the U.S. we've got the best health care system in the world. Uh huh. Like I'm believing that. And I should know. I spent some time in a previous vocational life as an RN and allied health care instructor. And recently, I spent way too much time on the other side of the equation with a difficult diagnosis and involved treatment. I can tell you from decades of personal experience our health care system is just as broken as Moore claims in his new and wonderful film, Sicko. But that's no surprise, right?

My point is that we've got a whole new level of "truth squad" geeks out there who are doing us all a ginormous (it's a real word now) service by confronting the liars and revisionists, holding them accountable for their despicable behavior, and then setting the record straight in clear and well-documented terms. And they don't take any crap, either - as Moore recently demonstrated in this push-back to Wolf Blitzer's questioning on CNN. Yea, that's what I'm talking about.

So now everybody's a videographer and documentarian. Are you getting my drift here? We've all got cell cameras, pocket digitals, hand-held digital video cams; and importantly, we've got Google Video, YouTube, ourmedia.com and archive.org to publish our work. It's time to take back the truth from the mainstream media, and now we've got the tools and the platform to do it. In fact, it's already underway. Those who have gotten used to easily and anonymously re-writing history and distorting the truth for their own purposes should be afraid, very afraid.

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