I’ve always been convinced that all great conspiracies, at least those which might be regarded as successful, have one thing in common: no identifiable conspirators. We may identify them, but will dare not accuse them for either lack of perceptible proof or the probable dire consequences we would face as disadvantaged accuser(s). In these United States, two such grand conspiracies come to mind in the modus operandi of the two most visible and powerful professions: the AMA (American Medical Association) and the ABA (American Bar Association).
After last week’s Hollywood Academy Awards presentation, with Argo voted best movie for 2012, curiosity compelled me to see this film and find out the treatment given in Hollywood by Ben Affleck at al to a current event account of three decades before… one which I remember calling then “the Canadian Caper.” I was accompanied to see Argo by three friends, two of them still in diapers when this event occurred.
We often criticize Hollywood, or movie-making in general, for what we feel to be excessive artistic license in cinematographic portrayal to what an author writes in a book, or to the accuracy of a true event; never mind being reminded by those in the industry that such license is important in defining cinematography as an art while not forgetting the for-profit nature of the business.
There are times, we are made to understand, when fiction is brought in as an added note to a script depicting a historic event to make a film more interesting, or palatable, to an audience. And there are also times when a note of history is added to a fictional account for the same reasons… and one more: to instill credibility; credibility which some might interpret and criticize as the pursuit of propaganda.
I’d like to place this much-touted Oscar-winning motion picture, Argo, in the latter category and denounce it as a rampant attempt at political propaganda against the Iranian regime which has been ruling Iran since the 1979 revolution which overthrew the Shah. Argo is a timely movie in deception and propaganda preparing the American people for possible military events which could take place in the not-too-distant future as Iran nears entry into a nuclear future that Israel has vowed to bring to a halt, something that the American government (and its military) is uneasy about, even when acknowledging total support for Israel. That was the summary-review I gave my three friends in the follow-up discussion we had after the viewing.
My friends were so impressed with the genuineness suggested in the well-presented storyboard depiction of Iran leading to the 1979 revolution that they entirely missed the visual-vocal cinematographic argot employed during the rest of the 2-hour movie past those first few minutes; or the accuracy in details, and the spark used to ignite the latent jingoism in an American audience by making a “mostly Canadian” event, one of glorification to America and the illusory exceptionalism of her people. One of my friends granted even greater credibility to the film by virtue of Ben Affleck’s scholarly exposure to Middle East studies… which added up, she was soon to find out, to a semester at the University of Vermont.
Yes, the visual-vocal movie argot was well spoken to satisfy the sempiternal conflict between goodies and baddies, and the non-negotiable requirement by Americans that movies have happy endings. It was all there: dark-faced raging fanatics, violent, evil, enraged third world mobs putting our white American, noble heroes in danger. Except, of course, in those instances when the malevolent Iranians were portrayed as dupes to American wile or ruse! As for the inaccuracy in some of the details, they have already been brought to light by some competent critics and writers with knowledge of Iran’s history and this particular event. One such detail: the Americans were not “almost lynched” by a mob of Iranians in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar because they never went there, but the fable had to be colorful.
Iran is a large country in terms of territory, population and natural resources. It is a proud nation with a vast culture going back millennia, and a very capable and trainable workforce. And America views Iran as a formidable opponent, one capable of overshadowing her influence in the Middle East; a situation which is aggravated by the possibility of Iran establishing nuclear parity with Israel in the region. And that is what the movie Argo was about, preparing the American people for the probability of a joint voyage of American and Israeli militaries into the never-never land of old Persia.
And why was Argo voted the best film for 2012? Simple… it couldn’t be more obvious: the AJ-factor. All of us in the United States have built into us, culturally, what I claim to be “the American Jewishness factor”… which germinates in our cultural makeup by our exposure to fellow American-Jews and their influence in the arts, entertainment, business, politics, education, and the professions. I obtained my first professional job as an industrial engineer from an American-Jew; and had my prostate cancer treated by an urologist who is also an American-Jew. But I must correct myself, neither one of these two gentlemen would want to be referred to as an American-Jew for we are all Americans.
Most, if not all, of us in America carry this AJ-factor; sort of a quantifiable gene in our cultural DNA. If such is the case with the average person, wouldn’t our guess be that the 6,000 members of AMPAS (Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science) with their enlarged AJ-factor – as a result of an even greater Jewish influence in Hollywood – would vote for a picture that is in cadence with Israel’s desires and designs? To think otherwise would be totally disingenuous.
Adolf Hitler had his propaganda “Olympia” film by Leni Riefenstahl back in 1938… and here we are 75 years later, a Propaganda Diamond Jubilee, Benjamin Netanyahu having his propaganda “Argo” film by Ben Affleck et al.
© 2013 Ben Tanosborn
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|Denis G. Rancourt|