How do you react to the word, “documentary”? With a yawn? With an eyebrow raised in intrigue? With a list of recommendations from your extensive personal collection?
Me, I’m the intrigued eyebrow-raiser. Maybe because I’ve seen a few great documentaries — and a few not-so-great ones as well. In my opinion, the best docs (as the folks in the film industry call them), are the ones that go beyond entertaining, informing, or just plain depressing us, and inspire change.
That’s exactly what my movie pick did for me.
Honestly, though, that’s not what I expected when I chose it. I was just looking for something that seemed somewhat interesting and not overly depressing. I stumbled upon Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media.
The IMDB description of the film included two things that interested me: Noam Chomsky and Cambodia. So I found it on iTunes and rented it. Turns out, it was an excellent choice because it was in sync with a lot of beliefs I already hold, but it was still extremely thought-provoking.
For instance, I had this thought: What if we removed just one team from the NFL and took its entire budget, especially the players’ salaries, and gave it to public schools instead? Great idea, right?
Now, before I continue, let me explain something. I’m not a political person. In fact, I’d call myself apolitical. I have general opinions about many issues but not a lot of information to back them up. Why? Because the effort it would take to truly understand just one issue seems far too daunting.
As I mentioned in the “No News” challenge, I don’t trust or respect today’s media, so I choose to avoid it and live my life outside its influence as much as possible. Ignorance is bliss, right? But this film made me rethink this approach. It made me want to DO something, to get involved, to stop being one of the marginalized masses.
This doesn’t mean I plan to become some extreme activist who protests and gets arrested. It does mean I will take the time to become more informed and use that information to create positive change. Who knows? Maybe I’ll go to East Timor and try to help them heal. I’ve already taken my first baby step and found an interesting organization called Do Something, which definitely seems worth looking into.
If you don’t know about East Timor or you want to get inspired to make some change, watch this movie! Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media.
What documentary did you watch and what effect did it have on you?