We destroy the beauty of the countryside because the un-appropriated splendors of nature have no economic value. We are capable of shutting off the sun and the stars because they do not pay a dividend. — John Maynard Keynes
I've been thinking a lot about Latin America and how the media filter and distort info, so when the accomplice suggested we rent a movie last night, I wanted to see Oliver Stone's powerful 1985 almost-true "Salvador". Wow! So gruesome it's often hard to take, but not nearly as gruesome as the reality it portrays. You see but don't get to smell the rotting, mutilated corpses of the U.S.-backed "killing machine," as former Ambassador White calls the Salvadoran military regime of the period -- in the fascinating documentary that's also packaged onto the DVD. In that documentary, you also get to see the real Richard Boyle (the character played with such overwhelming intensity and believability by James Woods); Boyle co-wrote the screenplay and shot the scenes in El Salvador (Woods refused to get closer than Mexico, where most of the movie was shot -- there was still a war going on in the real El Salvador). Woods is brilliantly crazy, and the real Boyle must have been, well, at least crazy and, like the character version of himself, basically honest though sleazy. If you haven't seen it recently, maybe you should, as a way of thinking about how information gets to us from Iraq, Afghanistan and Venezuela, among other places.
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