Saturday, December 29, 2012

Two by John Pilger: Mexicans and Street of Joy

Mexicans (1980)
John Pilger takes a look at the inequalities of class with in Mexico just as the oil industry was beginning to boom. Looking at the haves and have nots, Pilger found the society rife with corruption that was diverting any real money into the hands of the super wealthy. It’s a sad portrait of the country where many people seek to escape to the US in order to get by. Listening to a border patrol agent talk about the influx of illegal immigration you quickly realize that not only are people are saying the exact same things as they did 32 years ago, but the problems seem to have gotten worse on both sides of the border. Sometimes time really does stand still.

Street of Joy (1976)
John Pilger’s acerbic and quite funny look about advertising and how the same techniques used to sell things alike a toilet paper alternative are used to sell politics, in this case Jimmy Carter and his presidential opponents. Pilger’s take is that advertising makes you want to buy things while telling you absolutely nothing about what it’s selling. It’s an amusing and frightening look at how the name of game is purely manipulation (despite the ad exec who swears that people will never buy what they don’t want). Sure Pilger’s take is nothing new, but it somehow resonates more than other looks because it’s so damn straight forward and to the point…and damn funny as the repeated mantra “I don’t use toilet paper” becomes funnier and funnier over the course of the half hour. By the time Pilger states that politicians are like toilet paper you’ll be nodding in agreement

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