2016 Obama’s America misnamed 9/4/12

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The tag line for this movie’s poster is “Love him / Hate him – You don’t know him”. The promotion of this movie has called it a “documentary”. All it really amounts to is red meat for the red states.

I went to see the movie Monday at Visalia’s Regal Stadium 10, catching the 4:50 showing. The theater (or stadium, as they like to call it) was probably a bit more than four-fifths full when the movie started. When I arrived, about 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the “coming attractions” reel, I took a seat at the rear of the room, and watched the crowd come in. Every single person in the audience was white. While I was not the youngest person there (I’m 54) I was certainly one of the very few in the room not yet eligible for social security. At the end of the movie, I waited for the rest of the audience to leave, and was double-checking my earlier observation.

Yep, every single person in the auditorium, with the exception of the two teenage girls waiting to clean up after everyone left, was white. Not a black, Asian, or Hispanic came to see this showing. A crowd of old white people. That may be telling.

Two brief asides to the Regal chain. The Kia ad with the hip-hop hamsters (or whatever they’re supposed to be) is wasted on the audience for this movie. So were the trailers for the imitation Glee movie, and Frankenweenie. Just FYI.

The opening of the movie spends much time on the man who made it, leaving one to think that perhaps you came into the wrong stadium. I thought this was a movie about America in 2016 if President Obama is re-elected… but the first 20 or 30 minutes is the author talking about himself.

When we finally get into the purported subject of the film, we get a kind of pop-psychology analysis of Barack Obama’s life, and how his father’s upbringing and life turned young Barack into a anti-capitalist, socialist extremist. The elder Obama only met his son once, briefly, when the boy was about ten years old. From this encounter, the senior Obama somehow imposed his history and political leanings on the boy. The rest of the movie mentions almost every crackpot idea the right wing has had about President Obama, with the notable exception of the birth certificate nonsense. This movie at least does not even imply that President Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii, and presented the truth about the subject, never mentioning the birther conspiracy. We get to meet some of the President’s relatives, and friends of his father’s, and even though the movie maker tries (especially with Barack’s half brother) to get them to say something… anything!… bad about him, they pretty much don’t cooperate.

The rest of the movie includes interviews with “experts” in various fields, who have been chosen to pontificate about the President. Most of them do not have good things to say. No attempt was made to include an opposite view. This film is clearly not meant to be unbiased.

I did notice one thing I found funny. Several times in the course of the film, they would show a Presidential timeline, annotated with information pertaining to subject being discussed at the moment. They would make comments about various previous Presidents, from Kennedy to Obama, and pan past pictures of each. As each President’s section of the timeline came into view, the image of that President would roll into previously empty oval ‘frame’. It would remain as the frame continued to pan towards the next President. In each of at least three such moments, the timeline zoomed past President George W. Bush without stopping, without related information that each previous President had around his image, and didn’t even let the picture begin to fill the ‘frame’. It’s as if the filmmaker wanted nothing to do with W. I suppose I can’t blame him there.

Only the last few minutes of this film actually deals with 2016. It’s like they were running out of time, and had to rush to finish. Once they finished the biography and speculations, nothing in the closing segment really related to the earlier “background”, but was instead ominous music, played while the filmmaker speculated that the President would do something terrible to America once he won a second term. The movie suggests there is an agenda, and the President is secretly a radical socialist, eager to destroy America. That he is held hostage to the assumed political and social motives and drives of the father he barely knew.

There is an attempt, throughout the movie, to paint President Obama as foreign, and not part of the “real” America. Despite his being raised first by his Mother, then by his grandparents in Hawaii, the filmmaker suggests that Barack Obama is not of the mainstream, and sees things only through the filter of his father’s anti-colonialism past. The white woman from Kansas, and her white parents, had little effect on Barack growing up, despite being right there. No, to this filmmaker, it’s the ghost of Barack Sr., first by his absence, then by his death, that controls the inner mind of Barack Jr., and now the President of the United States.

The movie is merely an attempt, done poorly, to smear the President.

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