"Propaganda must not investigate the truth objectively and, in so far as it is favourable to the other side, present it according to the theoretical rules of justice; yet it must present only that aspect of the truth which is favourable to its own side…” Adolf Hitler Mein Kampf.
There is nothing like a bit of controversy to get people talking and drumming up some publicity so I thought I’d cash in with a quote from Adolf Hitler, the Antichrist himself, in line with the comparable furore surrounding a newly-released big Hollywood blockbuster, ‘American Sniper’. This is the Clint Eastwood-directed movie about the most lethal sniper in American history, Chris Kyle which has achieved a record box office haul as being the highest opening January movie ever ($105 million for the first weekend).
I am not sure if its early success is due to the support of the conservative, pro-war faction of American society and patriotic sentiment resulting from US action against Islamic militancy in the Middle East, the six Oscar nominations it has received or just the polemical publicity surrounding it which makes it a ‘must see’ or maybe taking all 3 factors together makes it the perfect storm.
The film's subject, Chris Kyle, the real-life sniper with 160 kills to his credit, retired from the military in 2009, finding ways to help veterans back home with his family in Texas. However, the former Navy SEAL was killed in 2013, allegedly by a mentally disturbed veteran he was trying to help.
In West Los Angeles, a billboard for the film was vandalised over the weekend with the word “Murder!” written in red spray paint. The New Republic’s Dennis Jett wrote that “treating Kyle as a patriot and ignoring any other possibility allows Americans to ignore the consequences of invading a country that had no weapons of mass destruction, had nothing to do with 9/11, and had no meaningful ties to Al Qaeda.”
Actor Seth Rogen tweeted that “American Sniper” reminded him of the Nazi propaganda film shown in “Inglorious Bastards”. If you didn’t see this movie segment (Stolz der nation) it is an authentic propaganda film of a German sniper who during the battle for Stalingrad kills hundreds of allied soldiers, one by one whilst the brainwashed German audience screams with joy at every life lost. I can definitely relate to the comparison.
As the WashingtonPost describes; the movie is decried as propaganda by some and praised as veterans’ paean by others. As with everything I guess it supposes which side of the fence that you sit on and what your views are.
I saw the movie and thought it felt like propaganda to me – some of the content was really hard to believe. True, I have never been at war nor visited Iraq but I thought it had a far-fetched feel to it, made more so by the ridiculous use of a fake baby used in one of the scenes – it was laughable and made me wonder how such shoddy work can be worthy of a best picture nomination – Google fake baby American Sniper to see what I mean. But it will not be the first time that the Academy has rewarded politics over art. As one person tweeted “fake baby stars in fake story about a fake hero who fought in a fake war started for fake reasons.” But of course that is just one person’s opinion.
And never underestimate the old stage maxim of ‘all publicity is good publicity’ because seriously you couldn’t buy this amount of mass and social media coverage and even if you did it would never have the same divisive hot-topic impact. The main criticism appears to be the pro war message that the movie has although one might argue the opposite as the protagonist struggles to regain the semblance of a normal life after his 4 tours of Iraq – and this is the real likely truth about soldiers returning to civilian life after being at war.
In the face of extreme difficulty and stress like those experienced in war, human beings find ways to cope and survive in those moments but can they easily escape the trauma of the experience? You may call it shell-shock, post-traumatic stress disorder or whatever but you eventually have to confront and deal with your demons and somehow move on as was the case in Chris Kyle’s story.
Many analysts and experts believe that the movie is popular because it’s a time in the US to celebrate military, gung-ho or have-a-go heroes. Watching a news clip of people commenting upon seeing the movie, many were lording and admiring Kyle but how do you elevate a sniper to such a status? After actor’s Seth Rogens suggestion of propaganda Sarah Palin, posted on Facebook “Hollywood leftists: while caressing shiny plastic trophies you exchange among one another while spitting on the graves of freedom fighters who allow you to do what you do, just realize the rest of America knows you’re not fit to shine Chris Kyle’s combat boots.” Go Sarah!
Perhaps everyone, except the sniper, is missing the point. Whilst it is a brutal bloodthirsty movie it has every right to exist as we should be free to tell whatever story we wish, fact or fiction. It is neither here nor there if it is propaganda that is up to the audience to decide. All we can wish for is to understand that it is a story worthy of debate and discussion and there is plenty of that.
But it is just a story – the fake doll reminds us of that! On the other hand there was a real-life Kyle played by a real life Bradley Cooper pretending to be the real-life Kyle in a mocked-up set with a factional script and fictional dialogue, so pick the bones out of that. And if you still think there’s enough truth beneath all the make-believe for a sniper to hit, take your best shot.
STUART WHITE is the Managing Director of HRMC and they can be reached on 395 1640 or at www.hrmc.co.bw
In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.
It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.
… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan
With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.
Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.
If I say the word ‘robot’ to you, I can guess what would immediately spring to mind – a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and tv shows. Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name, Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama, Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…
Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator, Box in Logan’s Run, Police robots in Elysium and Otomo in Robocop.
And that’s to name but a few. As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves. And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of robotics in the workplace.
ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.
A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles. It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.
DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.
AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,
AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.
INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour
These examples all come from the aptly-named site www.willrobotstakemyjob.com because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.
This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count! For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars. It’s a theory, at any rate.
Already,customers at the South-Korean fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic. The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners. Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.
‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP.
Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions.
Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders. Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.
These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.
And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth. Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.
But there may be more redundancies on the way as well. Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable? So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid? Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!