Fifth Estate, Third Rail

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Fifth Estate, Third Rail

I have a certain amount of admiration for the new "story of WikiLeaks" drama The Fifth Estate. A kind of cautionary tale of what can happen when zealous commitment to a political/philosophical ideal collides with the real world.

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Alright, I might see about checking this out. It does sound relatively interesting, if not genius and incredibly insightful.

Welcome to Fall, where people go to see movies that aren't acutally that intelligent under the illusion that they're meaningful because 'realistic human drama!'

Even if the film has a few missteps, it might be worth seeing just for the satisfaction of somebody else taking a middle-ground on this issue. Western politics at the moment is particularly divisive in many aspects, but in particular it's stuff concerning Wikileaks that I've found the largest sentiment of "You're either with us or against us." You can't admire people who want to expose genuine misconduct from people in positions of great power without being a traitor who wants the terrorists to win, and conversely, you can't question whether Assange and those of the same cloth really have everyone's best interests at heart without being a government shill who have some kind of fetish for being lied to.

If this film could introduce just a little bit of sanity into this debate, that might be something worth remembering it for.

I am not sure why so many critics have recently addressed the issue of politics in media, but since he put it a lot better than me, I will leave this here:

Yeah...

I'm siding with the real Julian Assange on this one. The movie is a glorified smear campaign, and holds almost zero accuracy.

When the British Prime Minister, one of the people most hurt by WikiLeaks' actions, calls the film about the leader of WikiLeaks a "Masterpiece", something has gone horribly fucking wrong.

hermes200:
I am not sure why so many critics have recently addressed the issue of politics in media, but since he put it a lot better than me, I will leave this here:

I'm glad too see, that I'm not the only one on this site who watches Errant Signal.

NameIsRobertPaulson:
Yeah...

I'm siding with the real Julian Assange on this one. The movie is a glorified smear campaign, and holds almost zero accuracy.

When the British Prime Minister, one of the people most hurt by WikiLeaks' actions, calls the film about the leader of WikiLeaks a "Masterpiece", something has gone horribly fucking wrong.

Or Wikileaks/Assange isn't as benign or helpful as you would like to think.

hermes200:
I am not sure why so many critics have recently addressed the issue of politics in media, but since he put it a lot better than me, I will leave this here:

I think the apparent rise of discussion of politics in media is a result of the recent rise of hyper-partisanship and the transformation of everything into a political football. While partisanship has always been a thing, there used to be far more topics and subjects that weren't treated as a 'liberal vs. conservative' or 'Democrat vs. Republican' issue. For example, prior to the Obamas moving into the White House the First Lady would traditionally have a pet cause she would advocate, something apolitical like combatting illiteracy or drug use. Michelle Obama chose childhood obesity, and Sarah Palin and others reacted to this as if she was calling for the government to step in and control everyone's eating habits.

I think the failure of White House Down was less any perceived political message and more that Roland Emmerich has burned up all his good will with the public through pieces of crap like 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow.

Sean951:

NameIsRobertPaulson:
Yeah...

I'm siding with the real Julian Assange on this one. The movie is a glorified smear campaign, and holds almost zero accuracy.

When the British Prime Minister, one of the people most hurt by WikiLeaks' actions, calls the film about the leader of WikiLeaks a "Masterpiece", something has gone horribly fucking wrong.

Or Wikileaks/Assange isn't as benign or helpful as you would like to think.

They let the public know about the level to which their governments are betraying them. I'd call them heroes.

Wait a minute, I thought Bob injects a lot of his politics into his movie reviews. What he said in the opening paragraphs threw me off the premise. Now I'm worried which way he'll swing in his review of the next Hunger Games movie, and he delightfully savaged the last one.

Dunesen:

hermes200:
I am not sure why so many critics have recently addressed the issue of politics in media, but since he put it a lot better than me, I will leave this here:

I think the apparent rise of discussion of politics in media is a result of the recent rise of hyper-partisanship and the transformation of everything into a political football. While partisanship has always been a thing, there used to be far more topics and subjects that weren't treated as a 'liberal vs. conservative' or 'Democrat vs. Republican' issue. For example, prior to the Obamas moving into the White House the First Lady would traditionally have a pet cause she would advocate, something apolitical like combatting illiteracy or drug use. Michelle Obama chose childhood obesity, and Sarah Palin and others reacted to this as if she was calling for the government to step in and control everyone's eating habits.

I watched that video and I couldn't tell where he was coming from. Was he looking for messages that say something bad about America in games, or was he making fun of other people who do that?

Dunesen:
I think the apparent rise of discussion of politics in media is a result of the recent rise of hyper-partisanship and the transformation of everything into a political football.

That seems unlikely to me, as the people who seriously address politics in games tend to come at it from a very moderate and considered viewpoint, such as Bob in this article, and the Errant Signal video linked here.

It actually seems to be the people who object to the discussion of politics in games who are the most partisan, but they seem to lack the self-awareness to realize this. Just look at all the guys who scream "political correctness" and get hyper combative when the subject of gender in games come up. As the Errant Signal video says - they think they are being apolitical, and just saying "that's the way the world naturally is" - when they are actually arguing from a very skewed worldview.

In short, I think it's the biggest partisans who want to shut down any discussion of politics in games.

NameIsRobertPaulson:
Yeah...

I'm siding with the real Julian Assange on this one. The movie is a glorified smear campaign, and holds almost zero accuracy.

When the British Prime Minister, one of the people most hurt by WikiLeaks' actions, calls the film about the leader of WikiLeaks a "Masterpiece", something has gone horribly fucking wrong.

Indeed.

This seems like a perfect centerpiece to the personal attacks on Assange, turning what should be a debate on government transparency into an issue of a single man's personality. Based on a very one-sided depiction of that man's personality to boot.

NameIsRobertPaulson:
Yeah...

I'm siding with the real Julian Assange on this one. The movie is a glorified smear campaign, and holds almost zero accuracy.

When the British Prime Minister, one of the people most hurt by WikiLeaks' actions, calls the film about the leader of WikiLeaks a "Masterpiece", something has gone horribly fucking wrong.

Admittedly, I don't actually know enough about Julian Assange's personal history to judge the accuracy of this film. However, if you're going to call out a piece of art as character assassination, you need more to go on than 'somebody who probably doesn't like Julian Assange very much likes this film'.

I believe that people in positions of power should be held accountable for the mistakes they make, just like any other citizen, and the people who operate Wikileaks stand in a unique position to hold said people accountable when they try to cover up their transgressions. As far as that line of reasoning goes, I have respect for the movement's motives.

However, on the other side of the coin, 'accountability' is exactly the problem I have with Wikileaks and Assange himself. He, and they, take it upon themselves to compile information that is extremely sensitive to the national security of several nations charge with the protection of hundreds of millions of people worldwide. It cannot be overstated just how much power an organisation like Wikileaks can hold; and they hold it, actively revelling in the fact that they are beholden to no rule of law or any body that could possibly enforce one. Granted, they wouldn't be able to do what they do if they were, but that doesn't make the situation any less concerning. They can hold others accountable, but they have no accountability themselves.

Wikileaks is a faceless body of individuals. More faceless in fact, than any government of corporation I know of. Within that body I'm sure there are people who merely want to see those in power stand up and be counted, and who wouldn't go so far as to put innocent lives at risk to see that happen. I am equally sure that there are others who do not take the responsibility of what they hold in their hands so seriously. As for Assange himself, I am not certain, although I doubt he is a saint. Regardless, to blanket-label a bunch of people you don't know as "heroes" is naive. I would be one of the last to claim that our current mainstream new outlets have no room for improvement. I do however, sleep easily knowing that if the BBC or CNN or even FOX decided one day that they would knowingly and recklessly put innocent lives at risk just for the sake of sticking it to The Man, someone would answer for it in a court of law.

Really, the reason I know about this film is because it has Sexiest man Alive Benedict Cumberbatch in it.
image

NinjaDeathSlap:
I do however, sleep easily knowing that if the BBC or CNN or even FOX decided one day that they would knowingly and recklessly put innocent lives at risk just for the sake of sticking it to The Man, someone would answer for it in a court of law.

Thanks for the laugh - that's really hilarious.

They probably would face court for "sticking it to the man" - but they likely won't if they do it "sticking up for the man" as they typically do.

But your comment is still funny, with both the notion that they would upset the status-quo, and that they are held accountable for their actions. The BBC most likely an exception, but as far as CNN and Fox, there's very little likelihood of them either rocking the boat, or being held accountable.

A fine article, except that it's "its", not "it's". But more importantly, I think it's probably not a useful thing to claim ideological neutrality, since that, of course, brings with it the trappings of not being able to recognize one's own subjectivity in specific situations. For instance, going for the 'what works' approach is itself a sub-stream of pragmatism that is either fiercely or partially opposed by other philosophical and/or religious viewpoints. Also the idea that 'consistency' is a bad thing, or at least unrealistic, points to a value judgement that places a progressive approach over a conservative one and thereby also denotes certain political sympathies.

Farther than stars:
Also the idea that 'consistency' is a bad thing or at least unrealistic points to a value judgement that places a progressive approach over a conservative one and thereby also denotes certain political sympathies.

What makes 'consistency' more of a progressive value than a conservative one, or vice-versa?

Am I the only person who loathes Assange and all his WikiLeaks cronies?

Aardvaarkman:

Farther than stars:
Also the idea that 'consistency' is a bad thing or at least unrealistic points to a value judgement that places a progressive approach over a conservative one and thereby also denotes certain political sympathies.

What makes 'consistency' more of a progressive value than a conservative one, or vice-versa?

Because psychologically, conservatism is meant to represent putting things in boxes of good and evil while progressives are meant to be more grey-area folk.
This is obviously not true when you look at certain groups on either side (live and let live libertarians versus hardcore socialists fighting evil), but that's one of the findings in psychological research on political affiliation.

maxben:
Because psychologically, conservatism is meant to represent putting things in boxes of good and evil while progressives are meant to be more grey-area folk.
This is obviously not true when you look at certain groups on either side (live and let live libertarians versus hardcore socialists fighting evil), but that's one of the findings in psychological research on political affiliation.

Seems to be a trait that is way too vague and lacking in relevancy to ascribe to either side of politics. It's almost like saying "brown hair is a liberal value" if statistically more liberals have brown hair - it's so unrelated to actual policy and politics as to be meaningless.

In any case, you said the opposite of the person I was replying to, who described 'consistency' as a progressive value, and you are describing it as a conservative trait. When we can't agree on the nature of such descriptors, it might be an indication they should be removed from the discourse as irrelevant.

Oh, and a postscript to "why is there more political discussion about games these days" comment I partially addressed up-thread: the biggest reason why, outweighing every other reason by a wide margin: the internet. There's more discussion about everything due to it. It has become so ubiquitous, that we almost forget it's there.

There has always been political discussion on games (remember the big scare over Dungeons and Dragons back in the 1980s?) It's just that the internet has made it much more accessible to everybody. This obviously doesn't mean a higher standard of discussion - just a lot more of it is visible.

hermes200:
I am not sure why so many critics have recently addressed the issue of politics in media, but since he put it a lot better than me, I will leave this here:

Hasn't this been a trend for quite some time? I think people are trying to make a return to the jaded cynicism of the 90s.

Repeat after me: "whatever, man."

But slightly less flippantly, there has been a huge politicisation of things in recent years. A backlash against that is sort of expected. That's not to say I disagree with ES, but people tend to get fed up with almost anythin g that lasts for more than five minutes.

And wandering into the ES video for a moment, it's freaking absurd that games like GTA V, which are supposedly all satire and social commentary, are being treated by so many as though they are above criticism. And as though people bringing up the politics of the gmes are the ones bringing politics into it.

Sean951:

Or Wikileaks/Assange isn't as benign or helpful as you would like to think.

They don't need to be benign or helpful at all for RP's statement about something being up to be accurate, so that's not it.

Dunesen:

I think the apparent rise of discussion of politics in media is a result of the recent rise of hyper-partisanship and the transformation of everything into a political football. While partisanship has always been a thing, there used to be far more topics and subjects that weren't treated as a 'liberal vs. conservative' or 'Democrat vs. Republican' issue. For example, prior to the Obamas moving into the White House the First Lady would traditionally have a pet cause she would advocate, something apolitical like combatting illiteracy or drug use. Michelle Obama chose childhood obesity, and Sarah Palin and others reacted to this as if she was calling for the government to step in and control everyone's eating habits.

And partisanship has impacted specifically consumerism for quite some time now. Even if games are a product and nothing more, products have been politicised and made partisan quite often in our recent history. The car you drive, the food you eat, the beer you drink, the the places you frequent.

Aardvaarkman:

That seems unlikely to me, as the people who seriously address politics in games tend to come at it from a very moderate and considered viewpoint, such as Bob in this article, and the Errant Signal video linked here.

People who seriously address politics in games are few and far between, though. Also, both Bob and ES are accused of being TEH BIAS by the more common variety.

It actually seems to be the people who object to the discussion of politics in games who are the most partisan, but they seem to lack the self-awareness to realize this. Just look at all the guys who scream "political correctness" and get hyper combative when the subject of gender in games come up. As the Errant Signal video says - they think they are being apolitical, and just saying "that's the way the world naturally is" - when they are actually arguing from a very skewed worldview.

In short, I think it's the biggest partisans who want to shut down any discussion of politics in games.

Well, yes and no. The partisans you reference tend to want to shut down one side of the discussion. Continuing the example you were on, they want to keep talking about the sex/gender issues in GTA. They just don't want it criticised. Fox News--quick to politicise anything that fits their narrative, true or not--frequently chastises others for injecting politics into things when they don't agree. Are they not self-aware? I think they are quite self-aware. Calling "bias" and calling for false neutrality have become easy ways to dodge criticism of any sort.

More importantly, though, the moderates tend to get shouted down. It's hard to have a serious discussion of the political/social/whatever elements of games because SHOUTING IS WINNING even off the internet. On the internet, it's worse, because people will make death threats, call you a faggot, or spam your channel. A week or two ago, someone made a fresh account just to give MovieBob shit, and it's kind of weird to me because it wasn't long before that that I was basically accused of hating MB's videos because I was critical of one or two elements. I'm a hater, and Bob is some militant radical, evidently.

To borrow a phrase, "this is why we can't have nice things.

Sean951:

NameIsRobertPaulson:
Yeah...

I'm siding with the real Julian Assange on this one. The movie is a glorified smear campaign, and holds almost zero accuracy.

When the British Prime Minister, one of the people most hurt by WikiLeaks' actions, calls the film about the leader of WikiLeaks a "Masterpiece", something has gone horribly fucking wrong.

Or Wikileaks/Assange isn't as benign or helpful as you would like to think.

Is being benign meant to be a good thing? And helpful to whom? Certainly not anyone in politics.

MovieBob:
The real Assange, as of this writing still holed-up in a London embassy avoiding sexual misconduct charges a thinly veiled attempt at extradition to the USA, has denounced the film as falsehood and propaganda, charges Cumberbatch cheekily recites at the film's climax

Fixed that for you

SexyGarfield:

MovieBob:
The real Assange, as of this writing still holed-up in a London embassy avoiding sexual misconduct charges a thinly veiled attempt at extradition to the USA, has denounced the film as falsehood and propaganda, charges Cumberbatch cheekily recites at the film's climax

Fixed that for you

Clearly you haven't read article 3 of the USA's extradition treaty with Switzerland.

Daymo:

SexyGarfield:

MovieBob:
The real Assange, as of this writing still holed-up in a London embassy avoiding sexual misconduct charges a thinly veiled attempt at extradition to the USA, has denounced the film as falsehood and propaganda, charges Cumberbatch cheekily recites at the film's climax

Fixed that for you

Clearly you haven't read article 3 of the USA's extradition treaty with Switzerland.

You site article 3 but the only thing I see in there other than a minimum time frame for revocation of liberties (aka incarceration) of the extradited is that the crime must be one of the ones listed in article 2. However in later articles it sites that extradition may (implying that article two is not a a complete list of crimes for which one can be extradited for) be refused if stipulations in article 2 are not met. If you are referring to something else in article 3 please quote the relevant text and your reasoning.

Furthermore since any offense the USA gov could charge him with would have been committed outside of USA's territorial jurisdiction according to article 1 articles 2 and 3 do not apply, only article 4.

*Edit* Clearly you haven't read anything on Julian Assange's legal woes as it is Sweden not Switzerland that is charging him with sexual misconduct. Nice diversion though, can't believe I didn't notice sooner.

Aardvaarkman:

maxben:
Because psychologically, conservatism is meant to represent putting things in boxes of good and evil while progressives are meant to be more grey-area folk.
This is obviously not true when you look at certain groups on either side (live and let live libertarians versus hardcore socialists fighting evil), but that's one of the findings in psychological research on political affiliation.

Seems to be a trait that is way too vague and lacking in relevancy to ascribe to either side of politics. It's almost like saying "brown hair is a liberal value" if statistically more liberals have brown hair - it's so unrelated to actual policy and politics as to be meaningless.

In any case, you said the opposite of the person I was replying to, who described 'consistency' as a progressive value, and you are describing it as a conservative trait. When we can't agree on the nature of such descriptors, it might be an indication they should be removed from the discourse as irrelevant.

Oh, and a postscript to "why is there more political discussion about games these days" comment I partially addressed up-thread: the biggest reason why, outweighing every other reason by a wide margin: the internet. There's more discussion about everything due to it. It has become so ubiquitous, that we almost forget it's there.

There has always been political discussion on games (remember the big scare over Dungeons and Dragons back in the 1980s?) It's just that the internet has made it much more accessible to everybody. This obviously doesn't mean a higher standard of discussion - just a lot more of it is visible.

Actually, what he said is that refusing to accept consistency is the progressive value, go reread what he said. That is what the grey area is, an area where judgements are fluid. I disagree strongly with your reference to brown hair. Political beliefs come about from our moral beliefs, which themselves come about from the way that we see the world. To reject this cause and effect seems weird. And yes, such research is based on correlation and statistics, there is nothing wrong with that regardless what "purer" sciences will have you believe. Political psychology is its own field and if you are interested more in this topic you ought to look into it.

I absolutely agree with you about the Internet, but games are also more "controversial" today. D&D was controversial to those who believe in demons. GTA 3 was controversial to those who believe that beating up hookers is a bad thing, and no one thought that pong was controversial.

AntiChrist:

hermes200:
I am not sure why so many critics have recently addressed the issue of politics in media, but since he put it a lot better than me, I will leave this here:

I'm glad too see, that I'm not the only one on this site who watches Errant Signal.

Count me in as a viewer too. Speaking of which, Movie Bob could do to watch Errant Signal's videos, if only to see the words "ludonarrative dissonance" being used properly.

SexyGarfield:
Furthermore since any offense the USA gov could charge him with would have been committed outside of USA's territorial jurisdiction according to article 1 articles 2 and 3 do not apply, only article 4.

*Edit* Clearly you haven't read anything on Julian Assange's legal woes as it is Sweden not Switzerland that is charging him with sexual misconduct. Nice diversion though, can't believe I didn't notice sooner.

Honestly thought it was Switzerland, my bad, anyway if the USA really wanted to take care of something, the law has never stood in their way before

I feel like this movie came out too late to be relevant. Everyone I know effectively forgot about WikiLeaks like two years ago. It certainly doesn't help that the biggest lid blown off any political entity since WikiLeaks was created (the NSA surveillance scandal) came just a few months ago and WikiLeaks had jack-diddly to do with it. That's a sure sign of irrelevance to me.

Steve the Pocket:
I feel like this movie came out too late to be relevant. Everyone I know effectively forgot about WikiLeaks like two years ago. It certainly doesn't help that the biggest lid blown off any political entity since WikiLeaks was created (the NSA surveillance scandal) came just a few months ago and WikiLeaks had jack-diddly to do with it. That's a sure sign of irrelevance to me.

While they had nothing to do with the distribution/recovery of the data they did assist Snowden in his various attempts to seek asylum. The legal director of Wikileaks accompanied him on his flight from Hong Kong and if I am not mistaken they have been providing him with counsel throughout this whole ordeal.

Aardvaarkman:

Farther than stars:
Also the idea that 'consistency' is a bad thing or at least unrealistic points to a value judgement that places a progressive approach over a conservative one and thereby also denotes certain political sympathies.

What makes 'consistency' more of a progressive value than a conservative one, or vice-versa?

Well, traditionally progressives are the people who like to switch it up in a society and try to change it for the better, whereas conservatives tend to err on the side of caution, especially when things seem to 'be going fine the way they are'. Therefore conservatives value a society which remains more of less consistent; the verb 'conserve' literally encompasses this, meaning: 'to keep the same' or 'to keep from being spoiled', i.e. consistency.
A good example of a contemporary issue where the lines are clearly drawn is gay marriage. On this issue, progressives support gay marriage, because it is seen as equalizing and would thus make society more tolerant towards gay people. Conservatives oppose this issue, because they prefer the traditional view of marriage between a man and a woman. So they want to keep the definition of marriage consistent.
That's basically the political aspect of consistency, progressiveness/conservatism in a nutshell.

Varrdy:
Am I the only person who loathes Assange and all his WikiLeaks cronies?

never the only one my friend, and yes I hate them all too:)

You know I remember a time when if someone leaked classified documents they were called a traitor and shot for treason, you know like the law states(actually scratch that it says traitors may be hung)

I've been told that it is "highly inaccurate" but what Hollywood drama isn't?

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