December 26, 2015


Even if [“Truth,” featuring Robert Redford as Dan Rather] bombed at the box office, it will live on in the database of Netflix (and others) so generations hence may come to believe that Rather and his team of fearless producers and researchers were brought down by powerful forces who were either in the pocket of George Bush or, alternatively, had him theirs. People will believe this because they saw it in the movie and not knowing much else about this story, it will become their emotional truth. These days we all get to have one – an emotional truth, that is – and it often comes out of the movies we see. And like.

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[The recently announced film reenactment of Chappaquiddick is] again, is a novel sort of take for a movie script. Ms. Kopechne was the little person, here; the innocent victim of powerful forces and personalities and a well-orchestrated cover-up. If you were setting out to dramatize those events, you might think of Ted Kennedy as the heavy (literally) of the piece; not as someone who ‘became entangled’ in something, like an innocent bystander and witness to an assassination who must flee for his life and struggle to get the truth out into the light of day.

This film, like Truth, is an effort to revise history so that it conforms to the Zeitgeist, according to which Ted Kennedy is one of the good guys. One in which Mary Jo Kopechne gets the same kind of treatment she received in the last hours of her real life, where she was too small to matter.

1984’s Ministry of Truth was never meant to be a how-to guide for historians.

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