Tag Archives: Vietnam

Steven J. Ross: How Movie Stars Shape American Politics

ABC: Hollywood Left and RightFrom lefty anti-war activists to conservative gun slinging republicans, Hollywood has had an enormous influence on American politics and the fundamental nature of the American political system.

Ten years ago, Steven Ross reached a crossroads in his academic career. A bright kid from a working class background, he had fought his way through college and university and established himself as a leading academic and historian on the subject of “industrialization and the development of the class system in 19th century America”. Fascinating though his findings were, few people outside of the academic circuit were interested in reading his book, the dryly titled: “Workers On the Edge: Work, Leisure, and Politics in Industrializing Cincinnati”.

These days he’s still writing about the class system and the nature of power in America, but he’s doing it through the star-studded lens of Hollywood. From Charlie Chaplin to Arnie (The Governator of California), Ross has painstakingly examined the lives of Hollywood’s political elite and come up with some delicious revelations.

His new book is called: ‘Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics’. And surprise, surprise, he’s suddenly got himself a huge audience.

This talk was presented by Sydney Ideas and the US Studies Centre, who flew Ross especially into Australia to deliver this lecture.

Steven J Ross is Professor of History at the University of Southern California. His new book received the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Scholars Award, the academic equivalent of an Oscar.

Length: 52 minutes 52 seconds

The Trials Of Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger (1976, Wikipedia)The Trials of Henry Kissinger (2002), is a documentary based on Christopher Hitchens‘ 2001 book The Trial of Henry Kissinger, examining the alleged war crimes of Henry Kissinger, the National Security Advisor and later Secretary of State under Presidents Nixon and Ford. The film was directed by Eugene Jarecki and narrated by Brian Cox. Hitchens himself appears a few times in the documentary as well.

In the book Hitchens presents evidence of Kissinger’s complicity in a series of alleged war crimes in Indochina, Bangladesh, Chile, Cyprus and East Timor.

Highlights from the book were serialized in Harper’s Magazine in February and March 2001 (see The Case Against Henry Kissinger, Part 1 and Part 2)

Highlights include Kissinger falsely accusing Hitchens on TV of being a Holocaust denier when confronted with Hitchens’ writing on him, and Alexander Haig calling him a ‘sewerpipe sucker’. Not much of a rebuttal in either case to the plausible charges presented by Hitchens.

In related news: Chile President Salvador Allende’s body exhumed (LA Times)

The Fog of War

From wikipedia:

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara is a 2003 American documentary film about the life and times of former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. The film was directed by Errol Morris and the original score is by Philip Glass.

The title is a reference to the military phrase fog of war, a concept of battlefield uncertainty during the fighting. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Feature. (…)