I've been watching a lot of documentaries on Netflix lately. Here are a few of them.
I'd seen some of them before, but decided to have another look as part of a run-up to this post.
The following are a couple more I've watched recently (docs in a different vein).
I'm probably not going to say anything here that hasn't been pondered by other viewers of these features, but this is my take on the subject.
If I watch a documentary on butterflies, I can be reasonably sure that I won't find a group of humans who will make a counter-documentary against the material in the film. "No, that is NOT how a butterfly uses its pro-legs! That's just what the government wants you to believe!"
I guess the idea is that there are documentaries that rest easily in every viewer's heart as being true. A butterfly starts out as a caterpillar and goes through a metamorphosis to become a butterfly. Pretty irrefutable.
Fact: In the documentary, "Young at Heart," a troop of Senior Citizens travels about the land making music and entertaining audiences. Also pretty believable as true. If 100 people watched the documentary about butterflies and the one about Seniors, I think I can say with reasonable certainty that fistfights or screaming matches would not break out over the hidden truths behind the surface.
But if you go back to the first batch of documentaries, you'll find a different story. OJ Simpson, Myth or Monster? What is the truth? Well, in the case of THIS show, the man was sadly misunderstood; he killed nobody and acted in violence not at all. He is a peace-loving soul who would never be so heinous.
But what about this book?
In this book, OJ Simpson confesses to the crime; he sets it up as a hypothetical scenario. But who would do that concerning the murder of his wife? "I didn't kill her, but if I DID, I would have done it like this..."
When I bought this book, there was a disclaimer on the shelf that gave some big, long-winded explanation that even though the subject matter was considered socially reprehensible, they felt obligated to sell it...being a book store and all. At the bottom of the disclaimer was a note that guaranteed us all that OJ Simpson wasn't making a dime off the sale, and that all the money was going into the kitty of cash owed to the Goldmans based on their victory in the civil case...where it was, um, proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Simpson committed the murders.
So one court said he didn't do it, another said he did...so he does a documentary on Netflix that says he didn't do it, but writes an alleged scenario outlining how he wanted to do it.
Pretty elusive in the reality department, hey?
The point, after all this long-windedness, is that when it comes to documentaries, some things are pretty easy to believe (that butterflies will begin life as caterpillars) and some are not. It depends on your own system of thinking. When someone makes a documentary saying it was very important to go to war with this and that country, there will almost certainly be another documentary made on its heels by a group who says the other documentary is just government propaganda designed to sheepify your thought process. So their documentary goes through all the reasons why you are a mindless sheep if you believe the other documentary, and that the serious thinking man realises that the truth lies in THIS propaganda film...I mean documentary.
War all over again. Everybody fighting for our thought processes. The human brain is the prize, and people go to Documentary War to win hearts and minds. Get the truth, read the facts, listen to MY soundbytes and not theirs. Theirs are taken out of context; mine are not.
Some people just shut it off or change the channel if the slant isn't to their liking. Some stay and watch and then bark off at the screen about how stupid the anchors are. You're a fool if you watch CNN. No, you're a fool if you watch Fox. Glenn Beck. Bill Maher. Michael Moore. Dick Chaney. Oh, wait...sorry...NOBODY believes what HE says.
One of the war documentaries said (paraphrased) that the only things people see on CNN are the technologies, the bombs, the tanks, the weaponry, and that the public doesn't realise that in REAL war, innocent people are dying. Women and children are dying.
Really? Nobody who watches CNN realises that people die in war? Well, you learn something new every day, dontcha?
The documentary then says that if people knew the real truth - that women and children die in war - no country would ever GO to war. Well, isn't that good to know? That pretty much solves everything, doesn't it. Just tell people that women and children die in war.
The other side will tell you, "The women and children deserve to die, because they are all wired with explosives anyway, so it's not so much 'killing' them as 'defusing' them." "They aren't human, they want to murder YOUR women and children, and besides...they're hoarding oil."
I am blessed/cursed with an inner duality that allows me to see everything from both sides. Yes, the women and children are dying, but they are brainwashed terrorists in training. Yes, they are dangerous creatures, but would they be a danger to us if we treated them with respect and invited them over for dinner?"
I despise violence, and would do anything to prevent war, but I understand why it happens. I believe OJ Simpson killed two people, but I understand the villainous nature within some human beings. I feel sorry for him that he has to suffer with his duplicity, but I hope he remains in prison for the rest of his life. And I hope he gets a better deal when he's reincarnated. (Why, yes, I do believe in reincarnation). Hell, I hope we ALL get better deals next time around. I believe each life is a struggle or a test or an assignment...whatever. Just another opinion, blah, blah, blah...
Why do groups need me to believe their viewpoint? Are they having a contest? Does convincing me of a certain viewpoint strengthen its overall validity? Strength in numbers? Do you have to have a petition with a minimum number of signatures before a belief turns into truth? Is it sort of like the difference between one single piranha trying to skeletonise a cow versus a mess of about 50 of the little buggers going after the woebegone creature?
Kinda makes mankind look like nothing more than a herd of wild animals, fighting for control of the planet by accumulating enough believers to swarm over and skeletonise things that stand in their way. Things such as...oh, I don't know...you. Me. Us. Them.
I know for a fact that if someone attacked one of my loved ones, I would be capable of killing. It's a hateful scenario to imagine, but it could be done to save someone's life. I could take a baseball bat to the head of a pitbull if it was going after a child. And then I would mourn the loss of the dog and cry at its funeral.
I am an animal. As are we all. Okay, perhaps a more complicated animal than, say, a Monarch butterfly, but if it attacked my young, I would take a can of Raid to it. Wouldn't even think about it.
I don't know if I've wandered off the topic. Maybe I've just watched too many documentaries. ;) I think what I'm trying to do is just yap enough and type enough to cleanse my palate of all the propaganda. Butterfly documentaries have no agenda...well maybe just to show us how metamorphosis occurs. But it's no threat to my value as a human if I choose not to believe this blatantly slanted take on life in a cocoon. Well...
I'll stop now. It's starting to feel like I have an agenda of my own. (The butterfly effect?)
Bottom line, I believe all of what I see and none of what I see. Must be why I have problems with commitment.
See you on the other side.
Note: Images used in this post remain the properties of their respective owners. I use them only for educational purposes, as defined in the "fair use" definition of copyright laws.