Saturday, June 30, 2007

Sicko (movie review)

Unlike many of my fellow Americans, I don't reflexively use the word "propaganda" as a put down. Nor I have noticed do the various psychological warfare units within the Pentagon. Like of course we use propaganda in the battle for hearts and minds (seeking new recruits, always).

That doesn't mean all propaganda is created equal, in terms of its benefits and/or effectiveness. A lot of it backfires or runs into unanticipated counterintelligence, just like on a real battlefield, except here we're content to work it out through the media.

Sicko unabashedly splashes around in the meme pool, stirring up yesteryear's hot button imagery: a Karl Marx bust, a hammer and sickle -- anything to push a button or two.

Taking 911 heroes to Havana for health care and cheap meds was close to mocking the whole genre, another way of not taking itself too seriously, even amidst all these life and death concerns.

I consider Michael an honestly caring and compassionate person, as well as mischievous and rebellious. He's a rabble rouser and makes no bones about it. America has a long history of pamphleteers out to make a difference and a name for themselves. Archival footage and slick editing add new dimensions to the craft.

On the subject of health care, it's hard to find anyone with any integrity defending the status quo. There's a hunger in the medical profession to remain faithful to higher callings that comes into conflict with these contrived, pseudo-human puppets, these so-called "corporations" explicitly designed (by complete idiots?) to be heartless in their pursuit of the currencies of the realm.

These very shaky houses of cards are quite vulnerable to these little air puffs, these heartfelt wishes for change.

But then there's the hard work of needs assessment and systems analysis, coding up the namespaces, enforcing the logic. Making a system run smoothly takes a lot more than just comic books and storyboards. But we need those too.