Oscars are a con

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Author: John Pilger
Date: Spring 2010
From: AMASS(Vol. 14, Issue 4)
Publisher: Society For Popular Democracy
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 943 words
Lexile Measure: 1240L

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This year's Oscar nominations are a parade of propaganda, stereotypes and downright dishonesty. The dominant theme is as old as Hollywood: America's divine fight to invade other societies, steal their history and occupy our memory. When will directors and writers behave like artists and not pimps for a world view devoted to control and destruction?

I grew up on the movie myth of the Wild West, which was harmless enough unless you happened to be a native American. The formula is unchanged. Self-regarding distortions present the nobility of the American colonial aggressor as a cover for massacre, from the Philippines to Iraq. I only fully understood the power of the con when I was sent to Vietnam as a war reporter. The Vietnamese were "gooks" and "Indians" whose industrial murder was preordained in John Wayne movies and sent back to Hollywood to glamorize or redeem.

I use the word murder advisedly, because what Hollywood does brilliantly is suppress the truth about America's assaults. These are not wars, but the export of a gun-addicted, homicidal "culture." And when the notion of psychopaths as heroes wears thin, the bloodbath becomes an "American tragedy" with a soundtrack of pure angst.

Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" is in this tradition. A favorite for multiple Oscars, her film is "better than any documentary I've seen on the Iraq war. It's so real it's scary" (Paul Chambers, CNN). Peter Bradshaw in...

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