Headline, March19, 2014



THE FIRST TIME we saw Morgan Spurlock  on screen he was downing Big Macs and Strawberry shakes in super size Me, a film dedicated to explaining how fast food chains ruin your health and make you depressed.

The film for sure established, -writes the critic, established Spurlock at the forefront of a new kind of liberal, muckraking documentary, spearheaded in the mainstream by Michael Moore.

These films have many cousins on the World Wide Web   -also in books by Al-Franken, or TV shows presented by Bill Maher and Jon Stewart  -but Spurlock adds a fresh spin to the satire by placing himself and his family at the centre.

And so,  -in Where In the World Is Osama Bin Laden?, just as our daffy, ethical presenter is about to set off around the world's troubled hot-spots in search of Osama, we learn that his wife Alexandra is giving birth in five weeks.

Mrs Spurlock is a game broad, seemingly happy to be married to the kind of guy who wants to make a movie about the effect of right-wing US idiocy on the worsening conditions of the world.

The wife and the new baby become the film's sentimental centre:

MORGAN SPURLOCK'S comedy documentaries capture American minds :

This is what our hero is fighting for  :  beauty, truth, and a future where simple human connections mock the grand horribleness of tyranny and greed and all that jazz.

The jocular tone of Spurlock's road trip is established early, with a Mortal Kombat style series of graphics showing a cartoon Osama battling with Uncle Sam, spliced between facts and figures showing the history of the:

US's dubious entanglements with oil-rich countries. Uncle Sam is always kind of bent policeman, with Osama as the criminal whose interests are being well served by the reckless actions of his pursuers.

This is Spurlock's core argument, though he makes his case dramatic and funny by turning it into a bogus effort to find the famous jihadist.

Spurlock tips up in  Egypt  and  Pakistan  and  Saudi Arabia where he tries to interview some  students / schoolkids about their understanding of America.

The interview is fascinating mainly because the kids  are  so  shifty-eyed and  "on message" ;  within minutes the teachers intervene to stop the interview, thus telling you everything that you need to know about freedom of speech in these countries.

Likewise, in Jerusalem, Israelis hound Spurlock off the street for asking questions they view as hostile.

His technique is to apply a slackerish innocence to complicated matters, which is both very welcome and quite-inflaming.

He pretends he is looking for Osama Bin Laden, but what he is actually looking for is an explanation of the strong feelings the name arouses in these trouble spots.

""Spurlock  has come up with a response in the seeming death of old-fashioned dissent in the US"" :

Speaking truth to power while having a huge laugh. And his films might actually serve to stoke the dissident fire in young people in a way that rock music and literature once did.

The difference between Vietnam and Afghanistan, from many a young American's perspective, is not the difference the  B52  bomber and the GPS-guided missile:

But between the  Rolling Stones  and  Saturday Night Live.

For many,  abuses of big power   can only be  assessed in the first instance through  comic means,  a fact that the Spurlock generation takes for granted.

They think Osama  nuts,  but they think Bush is nuts too,  and they want their movies to make the connection.

Therefore the sight of Spurlock wandering into a cave in Afghanistan and shouting :

"Yoo-hoo, Osama are you there?"  will find immediate appeal.

Comedy's role in making Americans  see the nature of their political reality has perhaps been underestimated:

It was not only Martin Luther King  and  Malcolm X  who brought change in the civil rights arena,  but  Richard Pryor  and  Eddie Murphy, who:

Issued truths about race by domesticating it, wreathed in belly laughs!!

This is the tradition the new-liberal mocku-dramatics are working in and hurrah for that.

Spurlock makes himself look ridiculous in order to show how ridiculous the conflicts he is actually trying to investigate actually are.

So much of the daily news is not news but myth-making, and we might consider the likes of Spurlock to be offering a service both to balance and to clarity.

Right-wingers will hate his film because it abuses their myths about Western innocence, but thinking cinemagoers will enjoy it for what it is, a journey away from the comforts of  ignorance into the real world:

""A difficult place where more than one thing is true.""

By the time Spurlock has worked his way through  Pakistan  and is back in America,  his son is ready to be born, and, perhaps, along with him:

A sense that the future depends on the good health of mockery:

O" Students of the world, Just don't miss this great movie.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on  !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet- Wireless:

"'World -!WOW!- Wonder"'

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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