March 28, 2010 (edited 4/2/10)
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This review is of:
Grant, R. Jeffrey - "Shadow Government" (DVD)
Title: A Mixed Bag
Welcome to the new world order where every internet key stroke….
"Every breath you take
And every move you make...
Every step you take
I'll be watching you"
The Shadow Government is all around if we could but perceive. It's surveillance cameras, implanted microchips, the UN, the NWO and its one world government police state, sinister "new age" forces arrayed against Christians and Jews, a grab-bag of secret and not so secret powerful corporate and government forces determined to erase national borders, decimate economic systems, exterminate 5/6 of all human beings on planet Earth and reduce the remaining population to a state of imbecilic indentured servitude to the global elites. The disclosure of which is, apparently, meant "to shine a light on God's incredible prophecies. It's meant to bring you closer to our eternal savior, Jesus Christ."
The real deception in this documentary is that for the first hour (more or less) we hear from university professors and bona bide researchers who delineate the current state of affairs insofar as even the most seemingly innocuous use of plastic cards records our purchases and other transactions, our comings and goings, and our affiliations. They offer astute analysis and speculate on the possible nefarious uses of the data collected every time our cards are swiped, our emails are sent and our internet searches are recorded, etc., etc. All this is well and good.
But then we begin to hear from, shall we say, the outside the academy religious folk who write newsletters or head quasi-religious `foundations'. And at that point the entire program goes off the rails into the bog of biblical end times prophecy.
The shift of focus is subtle at first, a few voices here and there railing against the UN or the persecution of Christians and Jews; eventually an entirely new theme emerges: the Bible. (Of course, I should have paid more attention to the DVD packaging as it is "From the Producers of Left Behind: The Movie". My bad.) At that point, the professors and PhD's are replaced by ‘foundationalist' Chuck Missler who leads a parade of christian apocylipitc missionaries quoting the Bible.
Instead of sober academic analysis, we now have bible class and its alleged prophecies into the context developed by the scholars. For instance, there is anti-UN, anti-environmentalist Michael Shaw railing against the nwo and who is absolutely freaked out because he believes that the UN Earth Charter is going to replace the 10 Commandments. It's all part of a conspiracy by these blasted Nature worshiping one-worlder environmentalists. But Shaw sees through it all. "The environment is the cover for the real objective of sustainable development which is to change our system of Justice and change our systems of economics to a system of social justice....Our whole foundation of the American experiment is being undermined by this environmental move."
Then a guy named Jack Kinsella chimes in with his excoriation of "anthropomorphic global warming....[because] this is ridiculous to begin with." No, Jack, to begin with, you are ridiculous. (Of course, now we know where Glenn Beck gets his ideas.) Heaven forbid there should be any sensitivity to the planet's eco/biosystems, or a commitment to social justice as the Catholic Church has been sporadically advocating since Vatican II. But, not for US this seemingly communistic idea of social justice and the socialistic, nwo hoax of climate change.
Of course, to be fair, Kinsella does say that if there is such a thing as global warming, it's the Sun's fault. See, the sun is getting hotter and therefore Earth and Mars are warming. And since there is nothing that can be done about THAT, the best course of action is to do nothing and wait for Jesus to return to rapture up the saved and doom everyone else to, well, Hell on Earth.
What is more egregious, though, is the peddling of the insidious myth that christers might be persecuted right here in America.
Some 76% of Americans identify themselves as christians (down from 86% in 1990, but who’s counting? It’s still a vast majority by any standard.). Who is going to persecute christians? The Pentagon? The local police? [I especially like the military option to exterminate christers because during the past decade the Pentagon has followed the lead of the Republican Party and gotten fundamentalist religion; a fact convincingly documented by Jeff Sharlet.
The pernicious implication is that just as the Jews were rounded up and sent to `death camps' by Hitler and the SS, so too in America christers will be persecuted, rounded up and sent to FEMA `detention centers'. It's as if the entire nation will turn into one big Waco or Ruby Ridge. To drive the point home, there is a lame ‘dramatic” scenario involving an office drone/fundamentalist christer who is interrogated by Homeland Security to drive home the point that christers are the one group that needs to be wary of governmental information gathering capabilities and policies.
Consistent with their persecution fantasy, these christers anticipate an End Time and welcome the Day of Judgment when they will be shepherded to Heaven's Gate by Jesus with their free passes. It's a mad fantasy, but they take themselves seriously. And that is precisely where the possible danger lies. Because then you get Sarah Palin (though, regretably, she wasn’t interviewed for this dvd).
Then there is Gary Kah, a first class know-nothing Manichean (though he’s not alone in subscribing to this ancient fanciful belief) who actually claims that "Pantheism leads to Satan worship." A risibly ignorant and preposterous remark. But certainly in keeping with the blinkered devotion he and all these christers have to distorting reality to fit their beliefs.
One of the difficulties of watching this film is that while on the one hand it seems to be an indictment of the neo-con Bush administration and it’s PNAC global hegemonic military mandate, and the Bilderbergers, and the UN World Government, etc. (cf, G. Edward Griffin, Daniel Estulin), on the other hand it also seems to endorse the weird extreme right wing Republicanism of the teabaggers (cf, Shaw etal). That is to say, there seems to be an undercurrent that is against the Patriot Acts (the infringement of liberty), yet that also promotes an anti-Progressive “biblical” view that History is predetermined according to some “divine plan”. Very jarring.
What's even more surprising is that after the scholars established the context, I don't recall any sustained discussion of the NSA, the Pentagon (and its intelligence gathering capabilities), the CIA, etc, etc. whose powers increased dramatically after 9/11 by the christers. It was just biblical quotations and how they “forcast” current events.
So, while the presentation was ‘balanced’, it fails to sustain itself. Using scholars to set the stage for Jesus freaks and bible literalists does not create balance, it creates confusion.
And finally, the DVD does contain a bonus feature called "Still Not Convinced?" This is additional interview footage that essentially follows the same format as the feature. To wit, commentary by academics followed by commentary by christers. Reasonable sounding scholars followed up by "church lady" spin meisters. If only Mr. Grant had made two documentaries: one with scholars and independent researchers and the other with christian fundamentalists one might have balance. As it is, it’one half verifyable knowledge, one half religious propoganda.
Ah….”My sweet Lord…”