September 25, 2005
What You Should Do
You should see The Constant Gardener, even though the cinematography and editing will almost give you an epileptic seizure.
UPDATE: Speaking of the rapacious exploitation of other countries by Europe, En Ming Hee in comments mentions the opium trade. So here's a question: which U.S. president's family fortune came from opium?
This is #90,412 on the list of things they don't teach you in school.
Posted at September 25, 2005 11:19 PM
Fernando Meirelles has been doing that since his first film, the brazen, daring CITY OF GOD. Anyone seen that?
I haven't seen it, and think I may be too busy recovering from my seizure to do so.
I don't really care for films with that kind of frenetic editing; it seems to me de trop. But that's my particular preference. I love slow, quiet ones, most recently Toni Takitani, though others have complained that, short as it was, it put them to sleep.
What I would like to ask is whether anyone knows of any documentation of an actual case of an activity by a pharmaceutical company that might have served as the basis of the novel/film: a company testing a bad drug on Africans, and then hiring goons to murder an activist who was trying to research it. I'm well aware that the pharma giants screw Third World countries in all sorts of ways, but I'm a little dubious that they have ever done precisely this. I suppose it was a plot that le Carre put together to dramatize the evils of the pharma industry.
Good question. How badly, exactly, do pharmaceutical companies screw third-world countries? Should we turn this over to floor?
Where's En Ming Hee when you need him?
I would like to believe the things I read about in The Constant Gardener are a dramatization, but I am a little afraid they are not. I mean, as an observer of American society I myself notice how medicated it has become. I have no doubt this kind of overmedication and development of dependence is happening all over the world...a more advanced form of 19th century opium dealing if you like.
The True Story of How Multinational Drug Companies Took Liberties with African Lives
The pharmaceutical industry is bracing itself for criticism when the film 'The Constant Gardener' opens next month. But Jeremy Laurance reports that away from the Hollywood script is a true story of how multinational drug companies took liberties with African lives with devastating consequences.
Yes, but has GlaxoSmithKline or AstraZeneca, for example, ever actually used Africans as guinea pigs with no regard for their safety and then put out a contract on an activist poking her nose into the dirty business? (At least that's what I *think* was going on in the rather confusing film -- I haven't read the book.
If you're making a thriller, that's fine. But if you're really trying to educate the public, you ought to be able to provide documentation to back up what you're claiming actually happens. I looked on the film's web site to find such documentation, but didn't find any.
The experiment on black men in the US in the 1950's (I think that's when it was and it also had to do with the voyeuristic sadism of creeps curious to see what happens to untreated/mistreated syphillis) was just about as bad as can be. Would it have been worse if it had been done in another country? Would that ligitimize fears/fantasies that the powerful can and will do what they can when no one is looking?
Like I said, Tom Friedman is right, internet connections work so well in Singapore, and we have been trained in using the internet in nearly everything we do, that it's just "bing!" and I can find what I want. Sweat it no more, Jon...
You mean they should have made the flick about old Cal? That would really have been a thriller.
Calvin Coolidge? Really? Please explain more. I actually was thinking of another president.
Maybe there are two U.S. presidents whose family fortunes came from opium.
I thought I could put links into my comment above, but they don't seem to be working. Where I said "blather here" the link should be
Where I said "Skull and Bones" the link should be
Actually, given that opium was in fact a legal medicinal drug at the time and that even children abused it in England, I am not so sure trafficking in it would really have been a crime at the time...
Say, and aren't you American lefties the ones who want pot legalized?
"Decriminalized." [Smiles vapidly into camera.]
I think we should call it partial birth decriminalization, as a show of sympathy with Planned Parenthood clinic bombers. We have values toooo!