June 09, 2006

Good Night and Good Luck

In college, my focus took two dual paths - Political Science and Journalism (though Berkeley called it Mass Communications to gain wider appeal, no doubt). I had reached these focuses due to my interests morphing into study and potential career, as a childhood love for the political process and avid consumerism of media, combined with a proclivity for writing and not taking the surface story for the full answer led me ever closer to being a reporter and avid student of both politics and the media.

But decades before my interest, the two worlds collided violently when Edward Murrow, as part of CBS News took on Communist chaser Joseph McCarthy, lending his position to speak out against the congressional witch hunt. As chronicled in "Good Night and Good Luck", which we saw on DVD from Netflix this evening, Murrow and others risked their jobs and reputation to strike out against what they strongly believed to be wrongful activities and to make a difference, to fight for bigger causes than their own flailing ratings and a desire to serve corporate sponsors.

In recent years, George Clooney, who acted and directed the film, has impressed me as much more astute than I ever gave him credit for when he started his stardom on ER. With Good Night and Good Luck and Syriana, he debuted two of the most strong, challenging pictures that have hit the big screen in recent years, and did so when much more entertaining fare was dominating the box office. Rather than a hunky womanizer we saw him as in ER, or the perennial "Sexiest Man Alive" candidate, his efforts show a real interest in driving toward real stories that have long-lasting impact, and we're lucky that the Edward Murrow story was brought to many more of us in later generations who didn't see the frightening time unfold before our eyes.

Revisiting McCarthyism is also a very interesting effort in these times of "Freedom Fries", and partisan bickering, alongside a federal witch hunt for potential terrorist sympathizers, through wiretaps, private group infiltration, and now, data mining on social networks. We should learn from the past and be wary as to those who overstep their bounds.

Listening to ''DJ Culture (Short)'', by Blank & Jones (Play Count: 10)

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