Thursday, August 8, 2013

Vast Government Conspiracy to Make Bad Movies and Influence Third World Revealed in Foreign Affairs

Isn't it convenient that Ed Snowden forgot to expose our Government's secret multi-decade program to influence world affairs through manipulating Hollywood movies? In failing to do so, in allowing his integrity to be compromised and bought off, he confirmed what right-minded people have been saying all along: that the movies Hollywood makes is not the result of some sort of implausible and incomprehensible "development process" but is the result of a vast secret government program to influence what movies get made in order to control the world.

A recent post on the Foreign Affairs web site implicitly exposes this foul plot, in The Myth of the American Superman by Ahmed Shafi and Najib Sharifi, here, they reveal the shocking truth about how Rambo III and Titanic were both used to influence and control unsuspecting Afghani's in order to support the American Way of life.

But not even Shafi and Sharifi are willing to go the full distance and ask how it is these insane movies were created in the first place.  No observer of Hollywood and Washington shenanigans could believe that these things "just happened" because of a "development process".   If there was an invisible "black hand" that directed the creation of mediocre and mindless entertainment then at least this is an explanation that does not rely on the idea that all studio executives are stupid, tasteless and desperate to imitate each other.

But to start with the Shafi and Sharifi evidence, they cite three horrifying examples of American influence to create an image of America in Afghanistan that is far from the truth and thus influence regional politics. Two of these examples are major Hollywood motion pictures and the third is an odd story from the 1830s, nearly two centuries ago, the story of Josiah Harlan. Apparently this Pennsylvanian got himself named Prince of Ghor for Perpetuity in the 1830s and this made a very positive impression about Americans for Afghanis, as implausible as that may seem. I guess they are also romantics. (See note 1)

But it is their second and third examples that happened in the 20th century that seem to fit all to well to our conspiracy theory:  apparently two movies have had a huge impact on Afghanistan in the last 20 years. One is Rambo III (1988) and the other is Titanic (1997).

In the words of our Foreign Affairs correspondents:

But perhaps the most important contributions to this ethos have come from Hollywood. In the late 1980s, the film Rambo III, in particular, embodied the Superman image of America for Afghans. In the movie, Rambo, with his buffed muscles and thirst to kill Soviets, made all of the right moves to win the hearts and minds of Afghans. He braved the towering mountains of Afghanistan on a horseback. He displayed his ghairat (enthusiasm and honor) by accepting an Afghan challenge to play buzkashi, a national sport which is similar to polo. And he impressed Afghans further by effortlessly beating the best and toughest chapandaz (players). He even took up arms and joined a ragtag group of Afghan fighters to blow up a Soviet military base.

Hey, watch me play some Buzkashi!
The movie was such a big hit in Afghanistan that even high ranking officials in the communist regime loved it, despite having initially banned the film. Thousands of VHS copies of the film were smuggled into Kabul and provided a massive boost to America's image. Afghans loved seeing the American superhero on their side, sharing their sorrows, and fighting ferociously against the "evil" communists.

I actually like Sylvester Stallone and will talk about First Blood (the first Rambo movie) in glowing terms in another post.

The second example is also shocking. During the Taliban regime, watching Western movies was forbidden. But Afghanis were so moved by the dreadful shmaltz-fest Titanic that they risked their lives smuggling in VHS copies and watching in secret movie appreciation meetings or "cells". The Taliban was so determined to crack down on this abomination that they would detain any youth who had a "Titanic haircut". I would have done the same thing myself.

Prohibited Titanic haircut example on left.

I can hear the conspiracy theory skeptics sharpening their pencils ready to cast ridicule and doubt on this idea.   I challenge them to generate another explanation that some modicum of plausibility.  Please, please, please do not recycle the idea that Hollywood makes the movies it does because "it just happens that way".  No senior executive of American corporation could make that many bad decisions in a row without being deposed by their shareholders.  Isn't that what we are taught about our free enterprise system?  And remember these people are not paid well.  Many of them struggle with a modest 7 figure salary plus bonuses.

A government conspiracy cloaked in secrecy which attempts to control the world by making bad movies would at least make some rational sense however vile these motivations may be.   The alternative is to believe their story about the "development process" and no one in their right mind could believe that.

Rambo III (1988) on IMDB

Titanic (1997) on IMDB


1. The story of Josiah Harlan is, on the face of it, completely implausible. The son of Quakers from Pennsylvania goes to Afghanistan in order to get himself declared King of the Afghans. Having been abandoned by his fiance while overseas, he posed as a surgeon for the British East India Company and after a time migrated north to the Punjab. There he befriended an exiled King of Afghanistan and travelled further meeting the current King, his brother, then met a Maharaja where he was appointed governor of a province of Afghanistan and later named Prince of Ghor in perpetuity for himself and his descendents.

Josiah Harlan.   Was he secretly working for Andrew Jackson?

I should only have to mention that this was during the Jackson administration in the 1830s for a knowledgable American to immediately smell a rat.  Was Harlan working for the infamous Pres. Andrew Jackson the whole time?   Someone should do a FOIA petition and try to pry the truth out of Washington.

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