Hulk Hogan, sex tapes, porn, virtual affairs, false flagging media power struggles and the increasing threat posed by policing! Media studies next semester will be as fun as ever! This is not a review, just an encouragement to see, use and/or enjoy a few documentaries i’ve recently seen and to perhaps consider a a few (not so?) readily apparent political threads.
First, the most recent film “about” the Gawker v. Hulk Hogan law suit which took down the formerly (in)famous entertainment website. Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press does so much more than discuss Hogan’s sex life and it being captured and disseminated. Yes, for those of us who really didn’t pay attention we are caught up. But, more importantly, for those of us not paying attention, the film reminds us of the real purpose and nature of media; distraction, illusion, false pretense, spectacle and soft power, discreet manipulation. In an important twist the film exposes the Hogan v. Gawker case as a false flag spectacle in which the players are self-described “pawns” in an elite right-wing assault on free speech, the press and generally any attempt to redirect media efforts away from how those in power want them used. Peter Thiel (PayPal founder and so on…) demonstrates how what we may be encouraged to see as entertainment is really masqueraded politics allowing for enormous bottom-up wealth transfers which come with, in this case, a Donald Trump presidency.
And speaking of media or virtual false flagging, how about the use of bots and algorithms to parade as women wanting affairs to sucker a bunch of men out of money? Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies and Cyber Attacks is great for again illustrating how the internet and social media allow for the false presentation of a desired reality and how then commercial media follow suit by supplementing the myth by looking to join the spectacle rather than cover it or enlighten audiences about the apparent subject. Shoot, add The JT Leroy Story to this list then as well. It too does a great job of showing how complicit media are and how willing we all become in following a good story or in attempting to become part of the spectacle and all the while what we think we know is of little value and far from real. We chase the octopus.
And i am now going to add Do Not Resist to my media studies doc roster for its cinema verite showcasing of the nature of policing. At the other end of the fraudulent veneer or, as Antonio Moore says, “the decadent veil,” is the overt, direct or hard power of the domestic wing of the country’s imperial intent (to paraphrase Malcolm X). Just as in the previous examples, behind the cleansed image or brand of policing, looking past the countless police dramas and films depicting them heroically, or negatively only as aberration, Do Not Resist shows what they are encouraged to be and are without scripting or narration. This film also allows for great discussions of the politics of media and this generation’s delivery mechanisms like Netflix who banned the film after they were refused final cut or edits by its director Craig Atkinson.