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Really bad films and TV, Part 1

October 20, 2012

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For a while now, I’ve been planning to write a blog post eviscerating some of the more awful, exploitive, anti-science, superstitious television and film that’s out there. I had in mind shows like “Long Island Medium” and “John Edwards Cross Country” that are about supposed psychic mediums who can talk to the dead, and shows like “Ghost Hunters” that attempt (poorly, in my opinion) to lend credence and skepticism to the business of finding ghosts, ghouls, spirits, poltergeists…whatever. For films, I planned to say a few words about apologist documentaries like the infamous Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ.” The underlying premise for all of these critiques would, of course, be the lack of rational, skeptical thought, the misinterpretation of data and so-called facts, and other errors of thinking bought-into by otherwise sane and rational people who watch this stuff. (In case you hadn’t noticed, the fact that normal folks fall for this frustrates the living hell out of me.)

This plan of mine became sidetracked a few weeks ago when I was challenged by a politically conservative friend to watch the documentary “2016: Obama’s America” by Dinesh D’Souza. My friend’s words were something along the lines of “watch this move and if afterward you don’t agree that Obama is a socialist then you’re crazy.” Spoiler Alert: I guess I’m crazy.

The imminency of the election at hand, I felt it was my civic duty to take the bait and watch the film. Worth noting is that this film is not all that different from the other junk TV and film I mentioned above. It ignores facts in favor of thought crimes and is about as far fetched as a guy who talks to dead people. I’m calling this blog post “Part 1” of my two-part series on really bad films and TV. In Part 2, which I will hopefully get to soon, I will take on the psychics, ghost hunters and religious apologists. But now, for your reading pleasure, below are my thoughts on the film “2016: Obama’s America” as sent to my conservative friend.

Until next time, cheers and happy doubting.
~BLA

First, the good: The visuals in the first half are pretty cool… I enjoyed seeing some of the old Obama photos (liked the one of him at 5 or 6 dressed like a pirate for halloween), and I enjoyed the backstory of his time in Hawaii, Indonesia and Kenya. His half-brother George seemed pretty cool, actually. It really makes me happy that we’ve got a president who is a true citizen of the world and has spent time overseas. That is a very good thing… Not a liability as D’Souza implies.

Now it’s time for the bad… And there is A LOT of bad, so hold on tight:

1. I’m not sure why I’m surprised, but as I suspected, this thing is ripe with misinformation, false equivalencies and dichotomies, association fallacies, ad hominem attacks, and a boat load of other logical errors. Read a book on logical fallacies and watch this again… They aren’t even cleverly employed.

2. On top of all that, the creepy music playing in the background, and all of the scare tactics (e.g. “The United States of Islam”) are so over-the-top that I found it hard to not laugh out loud on several instances.

3. The whole thing is a gigantic conspiracy theory. Now, granted, whacky unfounded conspiracy theories may be entertaining to think about. I had a great 8th grade history teacher who was a Kennedy Assassination conspiracy guy… I remember when he used to remind us that Kennedy’s secretary was named Lincoln, and Lincoln’s secretary was named Kennedy, as if that mattered somehow. So, while conspiracies are entertaining to consider for half a second, when you start believing them, it may be time to check yourself into an institution. Actual real world actions are what counts, not contrived “facts” and secondary connections. I see not one single shred of evidence that supports D’Souza’s thesis of an anti-colonial, socialist agenda. You can talk about his heritage, draw whacky lines to his uncles’s brother-in-laws dog-sitter’s nephew’s ideology all you want, but the irrefutable truth is this: My taxes are lower than ever, welfare and other entitlement requirements remain 100% unchanged, and the man is a bad-ass terrorist hunter whose not afraid to go unannounced into Pakistan, a sovereign nation, to kill Bin Laden. If that’s what you call a socialist, anti-colonialist, then sign me the hell up. So, to recap, are you going to believe the dog-sitter’s nephew’s journal entry from 1972, or are you going to look at reality? I’ll tell you the answer: What actually happens is what matters. (By the way, the “dog-sitter’s nephew” thing is hyperbole, in case you hadn’t figured that out.)

4. For the record, despite this being repeated multiple times during the film, I, and nobody else I’ve ever met, voted for Obama in 2008 because of his “blackness,” so that I could prove to my future grandkids that I’m not a racist. Holy hell, really?

In summary,

Dinesh D’Souza is a creepy, evil, weasel… His film is so over-the-top that it would be comical if he wasn’t actually trying to be serious.

So, to those of you who haven’t seen this “movie” yet, take it from me and either don’t waste your time, or watch the first half with the sound off for the benefit of the pictures. But please don’t give this D’Souza whack-job a penny of your hard earned money.

For sitting through this film, you owe me an hour and half of my life back. The good news for you is that, luckily, my time isn’t worth that much, so buy me a beer when you visit and we’ll call it even.

In hindsight, I’m not really sure what I expected from a guy who claims to be “president of a college” (he’s since been fired by the way…google it), but doesn’t tell you that it’s a college of 200 people located in some office building in Manhattan. Does that count? Also, this supposed college, per its own mission statement, exists as a “commitment to the truths of Christianity and a biblical worldview.” Now that really sounds like an institution of higher learning huh? Do they have a scale replica of Jesus riding a T-Rex in the lobby?

For the record, yes, that was an ad hominem attack of my own that I lobbed against D’Souza. It doesn’t negate his arguments (his arguments themselves take care of that), but it’s true. The guy is a creep.

If you still think this film holds any merit, I’ve got a great deal for you: There’s this Nigerian Prince I just met that lives in my apartment building. He said if we all chip-in $1,000 he can use the money to secure a big fortune willed to him by his recently deceased great grandfather, who used to be the King of Spain. He showed me an old letter from his father’s journal, so it’s gotta be real!

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2 Comments
  1. Your Mother permalink

    When is part 2 coming out? I’d be flabbergasted if watching ‘The Case for Christ’ didn’t completely convince you. If it didn’t, you’re clearly crazy.

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