Reaction to Film Brainwashing 101

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The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, defines documentary as:
1. Consisting of, concerning, or based on documents.
2. Presenting facts objectively without editorializing or inserting fictional matter, as in a book or film. is the website to which viewers are directed for more information about the film. On this site, it is stated, “In this cutting exposé, documentary filmmakers Maloney, Browning and Greenberg shine a light on political correctness, academic bias, student censorship--even administrative cover-ups of death threats…”

This positioning of the movie presents that it is, in fact, a documentary. My belief is that, based on definition 2 above, the movie is not a documentary, but instead a good example of the ‘the facts speak for themselves’ actually means ‘the facts, as I have carefully arranged them, support my position.’

Evan Maloney, the filmmaker, is clearly working in the style of Michael Moore. The film utilizes satire throughout – evidence the old “Popularity” instructional film where overdubbing is used. Interviews are presented offering only on side of the issue. Surprise attempts at interviewers for comic relief are sprung on unsuspecting university officials. Subtle visual effects, such as student Charles Mitchell sitting with an American flag blanket behind him are used. Ultimately, what happened in the editing process of ‘Brainwashing 101’ is a complete unknown. Farhenhype 911 demonstrated how Michael Moore had edited President Bush’s address to the “haves, and have mores”, when in fact, the setting was a charity benefit at which Al Gore was also present. Given the style of the movie, I believe editing was used for key advantage.

The movie purports to address political correctness, academic bias and student censorship. I believe that the movie does do this, and utilizing real examples works to create legitimacy for the move. In an admittedly unscientific search of the Internet about this movie, I found a fair number of positive reactions to the film. So some people do find the movie convincing, as people do with Michael Moore movies.

To academic bias, a long section of the film is devoted the teaching of economics and which theories of economics should be taught. As presented in the movie, by virtue of being taught, different theories represent a bias in and of itself. Student Charles Mitchell makes the unusual statement that Marxist study is a “value judgment.” To me, this is not a new breakthrough in thought: it could be argued that all education, throughout history, has been biased based on what has been taught.
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