In Conversation with Noam Chomsky: Requiem for the American Dream

I’ve always loved watching documentaries, and having someone who enjoys it just as much as I do makes the process entirely enjoyable. This weekend we sauntered off on a lazy morning walk in the rain, and after the obligatory Spiced Pumpkin Latte, we headed to the library. Among the titles of DVDs we picked out to pass our weekend was Requiem for the American Dream, and boy what a treat.

Presented by Noam Chomsky and informative and kind in its brevity, this video offered a dissected view on the relationship between politics and power and wealth. It broke down the way of our lives in the 21st Century into 10 principles. Ten chunks of crucial learning with textured examples that confirms all the diabolic notions you have about institutions and persons that wield power in our society. 

One of the greatest intellectuals of our time, Noam Chomsky, American philosopher, linguist, activist (in short, master of many trades!) converses with you and I as if we were just chatting him up in a coffeehouse on the derelect state of our moderm society. Chomsky discusses with precise rationalizations, the illusion of “democracy” in the United States of America and the control of wealth and power by a select few to the detriment of the larger populace. He describes with needle-like accuracy, the processes through history that have led our lives to the current debacle we enjoy, rampant inequality in all its vibrant colours. As a teacher, I liked the clarity with which this documentary was presented, providing an effect-and-preceding-cause type of layout which allowed a charting of a historical course and as a result, a better understanding of our current stations. 

While critics may argue against the nitty-gritty details of Chomsky’s assertions (and I would agree with many, his views are not holistically accurate), Chomsky does a good job of educating the public on the constraints within which we are forced to live. He does not claim to be speaking the truth; he is merely offering his viewpoint on crucial elements of daily life. Topics such as Feminism, the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, the Advertising of the late 60s and 70s are touched upon and make for good fodder for discussion in a Social Sciences, History, Policy, Law, Civics, or English class. 

It is true that if you live consciously in our world today, you have likely already surmised (if not given clear labels to) the different injustices and inequalities and negativities that Chomsky calls attention to; I mean these are in part the cause for greater disillusion and depression in our world, aren’t they? However, where Chomsky’s genius comes to shine is in his ability to distill clearly the crucial elements that educate the little guy about the puppet-life he is forced to play at the mercy of giant financial corporations, corrupt politicians, media moguls and other moral-lacking individuals in power. 

Watch Requiem for the American Dream. Yes it will burst your bubble of a pretty perfect life if you are the gerbil on the wheel in society, but it will also then allow you the chance to get off that wheel and think for yourself, because isn’t that how the select few control you? By thinking for you?

If you do get around to watching this film, do leave a comment below; I’d love to hear your take on it.

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