February 16, 2004


In a last ditch effort to keep from getting kicked out of my doctoral program, I've decided to cloister myself for the next two weeks to study far from the distractions of the net.

Before signing off, I'll post the rather irate email of one reader who think I mischaracterized Amesty International Canada's reasons for yanking The revolution will not be televised from their film festival. I had said that the yanking was related to the film's questionable content, as early reports had it. Irate reader replies, citing a Guardian story, that instead it was due to the fascist campaign of intimidation by the opposition. Irate reader writes:

"Since the Guardian is liberal, and could be biased on this one, I called Amnesty International Canada, and I spoke to their spokesperson John Tackaberry. He told me that the selection committee had received a petition not to show the film and that their staff in Venezuela had said "there was a real threat to their safety" if AI was associated with the film in any way. AI did not want to be perceived as partisan in any way but, he said, the withdrawing of the film in "no way" reflected on the quality of the film."

Knowing, as I do, some of the AI staffers in Caracas, this story always seemed a bit outlandish to me. Is some opposition radical really going to attack Fernando M. Fernandez over TRWNBT?! Just doesn't seem likely. However, as I couldn't get Dr. Fernandez himself to comment on it, I'll have to give irate reader the benefit of the doubt.

I should add, for the record, that I've never been among those who oppose the showing of TRWNBT. It makes me mad that documentary film-makers make such trash and get rich off of it, but I can't in good conscience oppose the showing of any movie, no matter how awful. I do think theaters should've shown or handed out some kind of disclaimer, some kind of warning to their audience that they were about to get an aggressively ideologically slanted version of events many Venezuelans would not recognize at all. And thanks to the energy of some opposition organizers and leafleters abroad, a good number of TRWNBT's audience did indeed receive such leaflets on the way in or out of the film, which is all to the good.

On a related note, believe it or not I'm still working on a long post about April 11-14th. It's long and complex, though, and it's not coming together quickly. I promise it will be out before April 11th, 2004.