Strange Vistas


I only got one episode into the three-part documentary Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates. Not that it's bad, much less offensively so. It's not what I was looking for.

I came for a vivisection, maybe with a sprinkle of analysis on top, and they instead served me a hagiography.

I wanted to see the hunger, the drive, the callousness that gets you to the point where you can then decide to be anything – even a saint who channels his non-insignificant brainpower to finding people who are capable of solving the world's greatest problems, and then convincing them that they should help.

Instead, the documentary focuses on the latter, and inevitably, lionizes his efforts with the Gates Foundation.

It's great work, sure. Want to eradicate polio? Bring affordable sanitation to areas where children are forced to drink pestilent waters? Awesome. Big pat on the back for you. But there's nothing for me to learn there.

To do these things you need fuck-you money, and you don't get to Gates' heights of fuck-you money without having said fuck-you to a few people and the drive to step on them. Pretending that Gates' capacity to help tackle these big issues is all about how smart and uniquely talented Bill happens to be is disingenuous. His intelligence and drive help when pushing against apathy and inertia and corruption, I'm sure, but also do his uncountable piles of money. And to get there, you need to have behaved in a very particular way.

That behavior is what I wanted to see, to examine, to reverse engineer.

You can spend all your runtime lovingly zooming into perfectly glazed steaks which slowly in balanced light which brings out the impeccable garnishes.

Gorgeous, but that's advertising. What would teach the viewers something is to see the farm, abattoir, and butcher shop.

#documentary #billgates

Under the Sun - poster

Under the Sun is a documentary with a script. The script was assigned by the North Korean government to filmmaker Vitaly Mansky. It was meant to represent “an average day” in the life of a girl about to join the Korean Children's Union.

I love my country.

It's winter, but everybody wears a new coat. Their fluffy, white collars are spotless. It's as if they just came out of a container.

I feel happier about being North Korean already.

We eat so well. Our houses are so white and freshly painted. We should sit in our perfectly empty living rooms and have some banter about kimchi, while our black-clad handlers watch from the kitchen. Hahahaha. Haha.

When there's an activity, everybody claps for the exact prescribed number of seconds.

My dad is an engineer at an exemplary factory, where people work so hard that they strive to fill their quotas even through the multiple re-shoots of our documentary scenes. It's like their life depended on it. My mom works at an exemplary soy milk factory. When somebody gets sick, they get sent to an exemplary hospital. With its construction supervised by our glorious Kim Jong-Un, how could it be anything but?

I'm going to go out and grow a large, exemplary Kimjongilia. I am sure no harm will come to me as I live in an exemplary country and have behaved in an exemplary manner.

#documentary #northkorea #vitalymansky