Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"You want the truth, you can't handle the truth!"

I was watching the Dixie Chicks documentary "Shut Up and Sing" and first of all, very good documentary that stirred some passions in me. I think it stirred some passions in me about the way that people can interfere with each other's right to free speech and I strongly feel that we need to allow our creative minds to be able to voice their opinions without fear of repercussions. While I admire the Dixie Chicks' resolve to not let things get to them, they still got to me. There's arguments on both sides of the story. One side of the argument is that just as people have a right to voice their opinions, other people have a right to chose whether or not to buy their records. What I don't think is right, however, is to interfere with other people's choice as to whether or not to buy the records or to actively mobilize opinions and to try to influence contingents of people to boycott a record. Especially through questionable means: The right wing plays on rudimentary mislogic to try to influence large droves of God-fearing people. They present the logic: Bush=A representative of a party that traditionally associates itself with God=The wishes of God, therefore The Dixie Chicks who oppose Bush=The Devil, therefore buying=The Dixie Chicks album. They spewed this stuff out to congregations and just influenced a lot of people, it's a disgusting hijacking of religion and yes, people can chose whether to listen to the Right Wingers, but there's a lot of grey area here, and the first ammendment is capable of underestimating the power of people to be manipulated by groups who proclaim they're doing things in the name of God. I would just like to live in a country where the right wingers who supposedly have a higher moral sense than anyone else, would stop pretending their politics are in the name of God and stop preying on innocent church going people. So good for the Dixie Chicks for winning the album of the year at the Grammys.

But anyway, one scene got me thinking. Where the head of a record company straight-up lied to the camera and to congress that he wasn't ordering people to stop playing stations. He just admitted it and he got caught up in his own logic. And you know what? People can't afford to admit that they're wrong when there are millions of dollars at stake.

That was one of the themes of a recent film I saw, Michael Clayton, which features two characters on parallel descents to madness. One character, played by Tom Wilkinson slowly descends into a breach of legal ethics as he realizes that a class action law suit he has been working on for 6 years, is ethically wrong and that he is helping a corporation do something that is morally reprehensible. At the same time, Tilda Swenson's character is slowly descending into a breach of ethics (as in killing people, lying to people, swindling innocent people out of their money) as she tries to preserve the legal ethics of her job.

My dad saw the film with me and commented that Tom Wilkinson wasn't aloud to do that. And I said "how"? He said, it's a violation of legal ethics to aid the other side and disclose information. Well, in my option, our existing legal system is one that was never ethical to begin with. The idea of two opposing people spinning the same situation into two different versions of the truth that they're supposed to belive in and defend to the best of their ability, is fundamentally wrong to me.

I know this is a sweeping statement but a lot of wrongs result from the fact that in our society, it's in people's job descriptions not to tell the truth. Companies cannot admit truths like "we messed up" when billions of dollars are at stake, politicians can't admit the truth and admit mistakes because too many constituents are at stake, and lawyers can't admit the truth because it's unethical.

by the way, I have no respect for Toby Keith anymore