Faux Facts, UFOs and the Hollywood Dream Machine
Visit "Battle: Los Angeles" online and you’ll see that it’s a contemporary movie based, in part, on an event that really did take place in 1942, the so-called “Battle of Los Angeles."
Of particular interest is the site’s “eyewitness testimony” tab where a “professor” talks about a study he did of American military personnel who he believes had battlefield encounters with “aliens observing how we fight.” It's a perfect example of a marketing device that Hollywood now wields with impunity, and one we hope consumers are learning to recognize ... the faux fact.
The video's end titles state that the professor died in 2010 of unknown causes and that his family asked that his name be withheld. The inference we're supposed to make, of course, is that he was killed by minions of the military-industrial complex.
Thing is – and this may be exculpatory – none of the “eyewitness testimony” videos ring quite true. To me. But I’ve worked in both the marketing and entertainment industries, so I have to wonder whether I sometimes pick up on things that most viewers miss. Are the subtle invitations to suspend disbelief generally perceptible (and creative license granted thereby), or am I a canary in the coal mine?
What mercifully little I’ve seen of reality television also seems rehearsed to me. I ask myself whether fans of these shows ever stop to consider how fragile a thing authenticity is and how a camera crew hovering inches away is certain to upset it. Are reality show fans like wrestling fans? Do they participate knowingly in the ruse that they pretend to defend as part of the ruse itself?
Not Nome, not now, not ever
The “Battle” website reminds me of how "The Fourth Kind” was promoted last year as a quasi-documentary about an actual psychotherapist's study of actual patients in an actual Alaska town. The therapist determines that her patients aren't hallucinating, rather they're recalling under hypnosis extremely traumatic encounters with extraterrestrials. Her name is given as Abigail Tyler and the town is identified as Nome.
Advance publicity for the movie stated as apparent fact that Nome citizens had been disappearing mysteriously for many years prior to Tyler's arrival there. Disappearing and staying disappeared.Continued on the next page