Monday, September 8, 2008

Wag the Dog...

Why does a dog wag its tail? Because a dog is smarter than its tail. If the tail were smarter, the tail would wag the dog.

Wag the Dog (1997) was produced and directed by Barry Levinson. Hilary Henkin and David Mamet co-wrote the screenplay. The film is based on the novel American Hero by Larry Beinhart. The book, however, differs greatly from the picture. In the book the president is specifically George Herbert Walker Bush (in the movie he is unnamed) and the fake war operation is explicitly Desert Storm.

The film explores serious themes, such as the manipulation of the mass media and public opinion, with a comedic sensibility. The film drew attention at the time for similarities to the Clinton sex scandal, although the movie also makes reference to the Persian Gulf War as an example of war used as an electoral tactic. The idea of war as a creation of the media is not, of course, original to the movie.

Great movie!

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