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Porkins Policy Radio episode 99 National Security Cinema with Matthew Alford and Tom Secker

Tom Secker and Matthew Alford join me today to discuss their brand new book National Security Cinema: The Shocking New Evidence of Government Control in Hollywood. We begin by talking about the overall structure of the book and why Tom and Matt decided to write it. Matt and Tom talk about how this book is different from other scholarly books on the topic of government influence in Hollywood and entertainment at large. Tom and Matt talk about the wealth of new research that they discovered which shows that this influence has only increased over time. The three of us examine DOD entertainment liaison head, Phil Strubb, and critique his claim that he only plays a minor role in Hollywood. We look at films such Contact, who in exchange for a few military trucks altered every subversive comment on the military, or simply wrote them out of entire scenes. We talk about how powerful a tool this is not just in presenting a particular image, but in ensuring that a particular image is never know to the viewing public. We discuss how the Pentagon continually wants a benevolent representation of themselves even though they continually boast to the media that they are the most destructive force on the planet. We also talk about the Terminator franchise which manages to instill the message that nuclear war isn’t so bad and that the military will always be there to help afterwards.

In the second hour we continue looking at several other cases studies including Hotel Rwanda, Rules of Engagement, and Thirteen Days. In the case of Hotel Rwanda Matt explains how this movie followed all of the US State Department’s talking points about the 1994 Rwandan genocide with no direct influence from the government. Tom breaks down the numerous changes to the structure on Rules of Engagement which would eventually result in arguably the most racist American film about an Arab nation to date. We also focus on the corporatization of the film industry in tandem with the national security state. The three of us rant about the blatant use of product placement in films today and how this is another piece of national security cinema. We end on a slightly positive note by talking about what can be done to combat this pervasive and dangerous problem. Tom and Matt also give some examples from the book of filmmakers which have actively fought against the national security states influence in cinema.

Download PPR episode 99

Show Notes:

National Security Cinema (paperback)

National Security Cinema (Kindle)

The Writer With No Hands

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