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Noam Chomsky - Distorted Morality: America's War on Terror?
Noam Chomsky - Distorted Morality America's War on Terror
Actor: Noam Chomsky
Director: John Junkerman
Genres: Documentary
UR     2003     0hr 55min

Studio: Wea-des Moines Video Release Date: 03/25/2003


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Movie Details

Actor: Noam Chomsky
Director: John Junkerman
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Politics
Studio: Epitaph / Wea
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 03/25/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2002
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 0hr 55min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Chinese

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Movie Reviews

Intro to the science of political morality
Earl Hazell | New York | 05/08/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Noam Chomsky is one of the most important living Americans, if for no other reason that the media and the intellectual public's total refusal to engage him in debate on any of the issues he brings up make it clear how fragile our democracy has once again become. Better to silence, ridicule him and question his patriotism than to deal with the factual nature of what he brings to light? In a dictatorship maybe! This DVD is actually my introduction to him, regarding hearing him speak. Without going too far in the direction of being too linguistically intellectual, or too far in the other of being self-righteously rhetorical, Chomsky proves for any person willing to think (and not just feel emotions the corporate media has expressly designed to make us feel) that a war on terror could not possibly exist. He brings to light foreign policy facts that show Terrorism as a modern political tool of ALL nations today, with smaller nations and dictatorships having in actuality less effect on the world stage with terrorism (despite the press they receive in developed countries leading one to believe otherwise) than the far more deadly and effective examples of terrorism practiced by, well, us. Chomsky, in his intellectual but raw, Sagittarian tell-it like-it-is way, does not demand anti-Americanism, or an insurrection, or even civil disobedience with this lecture to Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. His spelling out of not just facts of the structure of language, but facts of current events and recent history reveals the moral vacuum in our present day world; a vacuum that, just like nature's abhorrence of a true vacuum, is abhored by the hearts of good people from whom true knowledge and information has been kept--which is most of America and the world. A vacuum that can only be filled with a sober, rational, moral maturity, when it comes to political perspectives, foreign policy and the secret motivational impulses and agendas of our quasi-democratic nations. This DVD comes with subtitles, despite the fact that he is speaking in English. This can be distracting at times, because they are not 100% accurate regarding actual words spoken nor the spontaneity with which Chomsky, like with any speaker, uses one word or phrase incorrectly and then corrects himself while in the middle of another sentence. A helpful section is where the question and answer session after the lecture is broken up into sections on the DVD, just like various scenes on a movie--though here again, I would have preferred to be able to simply run the entire thing and here the questions as they were being asked. Just the same, these small issues of DVD construction will not take away from the power of Chomsky's message, or his presence.

It is really odd: Einstein's political views were extraordinarily progressive and gave most believers in a capitalist democracy, as well as communists, a moment of pause whenever he publicly shared them to say the least. But he was not silenced for these views, even back in the 40's and 50's; he was even asked to be the Prime Minister of the State of Israel by the Israelis. He was Einstein! Noam Chomsky has had the well deserved title of being the Einstein of the science of Linguistics practically since the late 50's--a title not even given to Nietzsche, a professor of linguistics (then called philology) while he was writing his philosophy... and yet here, in the 21st century, his so-called political views (as opposed to what they really are: again, moral perspectives) make it impossible for him to ever be seen or read on 60 minutes? Dateline? CNBC? CNN? Good Morning America? The New York Times? If he is so wrong, why won't his name ever be mentioned in the media, even as an adjective, let alone him being confronted in front of the nation to prove it?

A disc worth having."
Excellent work. Some people miss the point...
John Robinson | Yokohama, Kanagawa Japan | 11/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is true that Chomsky spends a great deal of time criticizing his own country and relatively little criticizing other countries. He is even kind enough to tell us why: Because, as a citizen of the USA, it is simply more sensible, efficient and responsible for him to focus his efforts there. As a voter and a public personality, he can make a difference in the US, much more so than in other countries. He believes, in short, that criticism, like charity, begins at home. In no way does he excuse the oppressive governments of other countries. He does force the realization, however, that we simply DO NOT KNOW if those governments would have ended up being oppressive in the absence of American foreign policy atrocities, because, in fact, many of them were never given the chance.
At the very least, Chomsky's work can help us to "de-brainwash" ourselves. We may not end up agreeing with him (I disagree with his viewpoint on the Second Amendment, for example), but at least we will be thinking 'outside the box', for a short time, anyway. And it is always good to do that as it leads to further insights. This is the way society evolves.
Five stars for the always thought-provoking Mr. Chomsky. Don't be afraid to think afresh, people. Buy it now."
Dry, but he sure raises interesting issues
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 06/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Distorted Morality" consists of a "talk" Noam Chomsky gave at Harvard a couple of years ago and a series of question and answer sessions that took place at MIT. Chomsky, if you aren't familiar with him, is a linguistics professor at MIT who sidelines as a critic of American foreign policy. He's considered one of the brightest linguistic theorists in the world, a man who formulated a theory about language several decades ago that's still talked about today. It's sad to say, but the general public probably won't remember him for his scholarly work. Chomsky has written dozens of books about the scurrilous behavior of our elected officials and their actions taken against foreign nations, from the Vietnam War to activities in East Timor to the current war on terrorism. He attacks the media for serving as an instrument of American hegemony. One day, Chomsky hopes to replace capitalism with a system of government referred to as anarcho-syndicalism. He also unwaveringly supports the United Nations and the World Court, hoping that the United States will toss its sovereignty aside and merge with those two international bodies. I didn't get all of this detail from "Distorted Morality," but from another, longer DVD about Chomsky's background and intellectual underpinnings called "Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media."Chomsky's lecture at Harvard-which he calls a "talk" because it sounds more informal-deals with the Bush administration's efforts to combat international terrorism. Beginning with a premise about terrorism taken from an old American military handbook, he attempts to prove that a war on terrorism is an impossibility, an illogical idea completely inconsistent with our nation's prior actions in Central America and the Middle East. The United States consistently supports and works closely with terroristic regimes, argues the professor, which means that we are in fact and in action a terroristic regime. A war on terrorism, therefore, would mean that we must fight ourselves. Chomsky doesn't go so far as to condone the September 11, 2001 nightmare; he accepts that it is a horrific incident worthy of retaliation, but he wants the United States to do so through the umbrella of the United Nations and the World Court. The lecture only runs for an hour or so. The question and answer session at MIT covers a whole host of foreign policy issues-guerilla warfare, 9/11-with some of the answers from Chomsky varying from a few sentences to five minutes or more. Noam Chomsky is an acquired taste. While I disagree strenuously with him concerning American involvement in the UN and the World Court, I usually agree with many of the issues he raises about our foreign relations. I'm more at home with him when he attacks the concentrated media systems in the United States and calls for a breakup of the big corporations that control what we see and hear. Critics routinely blast Chomsky by labeling him as either pro-communist or a literal communist. Well, he's not, but tossing a label like this one around obscures many of the pertinent issues he raises. America has acted to support tyrants in the past. American companies have exploited third world countries and citizens of those countries (Nike and the United Fruit Company, anyone?). A nation cannot indulge in exploitative practices for decades and expect there won't be reprisals. Here's a good question that Chomsky would probably love-and one that ties into the lecture he gives on this disc: why, when we expelled the Taliban from Afghanistan and still have troops on the ground over there, are the poppy fields pumping out raw opium as never before? The heroin derived from those fields ends up in the United States, does it not? Why don't we stop it? Perhaps the government wants a certain segment of the American population to use narcotics because it's easier to control a docile citizenry. Too, it allows the federal government to continue to wage yet another one of their great wars, the ever reliable "War on Drugs." I just can't believe our government didn't shut down those poppy fields. Doing so could save thousands, if not tens of thousands, of our citizens from a life of addiction, despair, and death. While you don't hear the media raising issues such as this one, you will here people like Noam Chomsky asking about it. For that, I do respect his insights and ability to increase awareness."Distorted Morality" isn't the best available information on Chomsky floating around. In fact, I found the lecture and Q&A on this disc a little dry. I keep planning on checking out a few of his books so I can get a better take on the man. While I find some of his solutions to our problems unacceptable, the questions he asks and the issues he raises continue to challenge what our government is doing and the reasons behind it."
Good if you don't want to spend much...
Felix the Black Cat | Madison, WI USA | 03/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is Chomsky doing what he does best -- cutting through mindless flag-waving, leader-worshiping "patriotism" and getting at the truth about the powers that be. This edition is a good inexpensive version, but, if you're willing to spend more, look for the AK Press edition, which has everything on this version, plus an additional talk on the new American imperialism. And, by the way, Chomsky really does "mean it." Of ccourse he doesn't have a rabid talk-show ranting style to his speech and writing -- he's an academic who writes and speaks as one and lays out his arguments in that fashion. (By the way, if you find Chomsky hard to penetrate, try Howard Zinn, who has an extremely easy-to-understand style.) And, take it from this anarchist, Chomsky DOES get me fired up and ready to scream. He doesn't have to rant like a madman to do it, though -- all he needs to do is provide the information and make his arguments."