CATHY SEIPP looks at Spike Lee's new Katrina movie, which seems to be rather conspiracist in nature. Those interested in a more factual account might want to look here.
Upside -- the movie reportedly features Brendan Loy, who provides some background and stresses a point that Lee may or may not address in depth: "Ray Nagin is an incompetent idiot. Here’s a detailed explanation of why. Two days before landfall, I predicted that he would be “the mayor who fiddled while New Orleans drowned,” and I was right. Yes, there were massive failures at all levels of government — local, state and federal — but the single person who bears the most blame, in my view, is Mayor Nagin, for failing to make even a halfway-serious effort at implementing the city’s evacuation plan, even though it was 100% clear by the Saturday morning before landfall that if there was ever a time to do it, now is the time. Spike, I gather, intends to focus on Condi Rice’s shoe-buying tendencies in tonight’s movie, and while that might score political points, it’s not the Secretary of State’s job to protect American citizens from hurricanes."
I don’t mind the inclusion of the conspiracy theories, in the sense that it’s good to know how many people believe that, but Spike definitely didn’t emphasize the debunking of those theories. His treatment was hardly evenhanded, clearly leaving the impression that these theories are plausible, if not likely. A bit more actual scientific commentary on the plausbility of the theories, and alternative explanations for the “explosions,” would have been appreciated. . . . Also: Harry Belafonte is an idiot. But if you’re going to include his inane ranting about how Bush doesn’t care about poor people and black people, where was the alternative viewpoint saying that it was incompetence, not malice? I know Spike had footage available of someone saying that, because I said it. He just chose not to use it. So Belafonte’s crap goes unrebutted, the ridiculous criticisms of Rice go unrebutted, Nagin’s comment about “where are the buses” goes unrebutted (the obvious rebuttal being, you let them drown, Mr. Mayor)… yet when people criticize Nagin, it’s rebutted by Nagin and others. Very interesting editorial choices, Spike.
But, alas, not surprising. Dishonesty is the small coin of documentary filmmaking these days.