Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine is one of the most important books I’ve ever read. But at over 700 pages, I have had a hard time convincing many people to read it. So I was pleased to see that Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross had produced a documentary based on the book called (Surprise!) The Shock Doctrine.
Without the book for comparison, the documentary is really good. It reminds me of the many documentaries I saw when I was 17 or 18. Those films opened up my eyes to the way the world really was as opposed to the happy horseshit propaganda that came from the TV and classroom. So for those without the time or inclination to read the book, The Shock Doctrine is really worth watching.
The film of course, is a pale shadow of the book. One of the things that makes the book so great is the detail with which Klein tells the story—especially the story of Chile and Augusto Pinochet. So one more time: you should really read this book if you haven’t. And if you have read it, it is worth reading again, but I give you permission to skip Part 1.
My one criticism of the film is that it manages to have a happy ending, with lots of shots of Obama, since he had just become President when this film was made. Klein encourages people to organize and force Obama to do the right things. But after the OWS movement, I’m not sure I can believe that any amount of arm twisting would make the modern Democratic Party abandon their upper class base. Again, this is not a recommendation of the Republican Party. The Democrats are the party of the upper 10%; the Republicans are the party of the upper 0.01%. But in the long term, we’re going to have to replace the Democratic Party with something better.
Are you still sitting there? Why aren’t you out organizing!? If you need some encouragement, watch The Shock Doctrine.
Here is a lecture about the book by Naomi Klein: