Online "doctumentary" lives up to its premise in the most ironic way imaginable
If you watch the online "documentary" film Zeitgeist closely enough, it isn't too hard to decode the film's central message:
Hey, you. Yeah, you. You're fuckin' stupid.
"The last thing the men behind the curtain want is a conscious, informed public, capable of critical thinking," the film's omnipresent narrator insists. "Which is why a continually fraudulent zeitgeist is outputted via religion, the mass media and the educational system. They seek to keep you in a distracted, naive bubble. And they are doing a damn good job of it."
Zeitgeist is broken down into three parts, taking aim at religion, 9/11, and banking.
In the end, however, the film falls flat on its face because of its premise: you, the viewer, are fucking stupid.
It makes this assumption, and quickly unravels in the intellectual grasp of anyone who isn't stupid: provided they bother to check the necessary facts.
In the first part of the film, entitled "The Greatest Story Ever Told", Zeitgeist takes aim at religion: specifically, Christianity. By noting a number of alleged similarities between Jesus Christ and various other religious figures throughout history.
Then, unfortunately, the claims fail to hold water. In particular, many of these claims are based on theological claims that remain largely unsupported.
In particular, the film claims that the Egyptian god Horus possesses all the characteristics of Jesus Christ. However, they have to rely on Harpur's un-anotated and unsupported work in order to do so.
The claims become even more contrived when the film claims the Greek god Attis, who castrated himself in a fit of passion and bled to death, is another Christ-tale.
Perhaps the film's producers believe they made a novel point when they relied on scholarly work that scoured the world's various religions and mythologies for figures that passed any spurious resemblence to Jesus Christ, then labelled Christianity as "plagiarism" and "fraud".
Then one remembers that what moderate Christians the world over agree is really important about Christ is his benevolent message.
Oops. Better pretend he never existed. (More on this later.)
In the second chapter of the film, entitled "All the World's a Stage", Zeitgeist portrays 9/11 as a "false flag operation" carried out against the United States by its own government.
The film predictably attempts to make the case that the World Trade Center was actually the result of a planned demolition.
Despite the persistence of these conspiracy theories, they have been consistently and chategorically disproven. Only those who are predisposed to insist that a malevolent conspiracy is the only plausible answer continue to believe them.
The less time wasted on these conspiracy theories, the better.
In the film's third part, "the Men Behind the Curtain", the film insists that central banking, and existence of the United States federal reserve, is part of a grand conspiracy theory to give international bankers control over the United States, and enslave its citizens via the distribution of currency.
In particular, the film accuses international bankers of warmongering, and various U.S. presidents (including Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt) of war mongering on their behalf, and dragging the American people into wars "they wanted nothing to do with," even insisting that the Lusitania was "sent" through German-occupied waters during WWI in a bid to force American entry into the war.
Essentially, Zeitgeist argues that belief in religion -- specifically, Christianity -- builds a foundation for people to believe the so-called "lies" the "establishment" feeds them regarding historical events.
The film concludes by raving over the so-called "North American Union" they argue is imminent, and claim that it, along with European Union, African Union, and Asian Union, will lead to a greater amalgamation, and "One World Government".
In the end, however, Zeitgeist can be reduced to nothing more than Michael Mooreism at its very best (or, depending how you look at it, its very worst). What the producers can't prove, they distort. What they can't effectively distort, they simply ridicule. What they can't prove with evidence, they simply make up.
Ultimately, however, the film finds its downfall in its online format. Thanks to the fact that the film must be watched online, every "fact" cited in the film can be checked through little more than a rudimentary Google search.
All too often, these so-called "facts" don't stand up to scrutiny.
For example, the film at one point claims that there's no evidence that Jesus Christ ever existed, noting that no active historians of the day took note of a man wandering about and performing miracles.
And certainly, this is true. If only it were the entire story.
Unfortunately for the producers of the film, there is a good deal of archaeological evidence for not only many of the historical events described in the Holy Bible, but also for the existence of Jesus himself (albeit indirect evidence in this particular case).
In the end, the film relies on the many similarities between Christianity and various pagan religions to disprove Christianity entirely. Of course, this falls intellectually flat to anyone who's so much as read The Da Vinci Code, who know that pagan traditions were adopted into and adapted to Christianity, and with good reason.
In another case, the producers claim the United States Federal Reserve is a private corporation with no culpability to the U.S. government.
The producers of the film fail to mention that the U.S. government maintains control over the Federal Reserve by appointing its Board of Governors. The board's seven members are appointed by the president, each serving 14-year terms. Theoretically, these appointments are made infrequently enough to ensure this board retains a largely non-partisan demeanor.
The chairman and vice chairman are similarly appointed by the president, to four-year terms.
The film sustains yet another factual black eye when it claims the pre-Vietnam war Gulf of Tonkin incident never happened.
Which, if you refer only to the second attack alleged during the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which would actually be true. However, the initial naval battle on August 2, 1964 did occur. This being said, the entire incident was demonstrably manipulated in order to support overt American entry into the Vietnam war.
For the average commentator eager to denounce American foreign policy, this alone would be enough. Unfortunately for the producers of Zeitgeist, they didn't simply need to demonstrate that the truth regarding the Gulf of Tonkin was twisted, they needed to pretend it never happened, so they could link it to what is clearly their prime target: 9/11.
Sometimes, the claims made in the film don't even stand up to the most basic scrutiny, such as the case wherein a 9/11 survivor claims that he felt a massive explosion from the World Trade Center's basement mere moments before feeling the impact from the plane hitting the building.
This despite the fact that the tower took more than an hour to collapse, making the implied theory that the so-called "basement explosion" was part of a planned demolition entirely untenable.
Perhaps the most telling image within Zeitgeist, however, is the constantly-displayed image of the Earth in a cage, suggesting Earth has become something of a Prison Planet -- one may draw their own conclusions in regards to this.
Zeitgeist clearly leans heavily on the half-boiled "revelations" offered by self-aggrandizing would-be conspiracy messiah Alex Jones. It's very plausible the film may be more than merely a convenient platform for his ideas.
Zeitgeist is a film so eager to cut away the so-called "fallacies" that it targets that it ultimately falls on its own sword. In the end, its own premise becomes its downfall, as anyone prepared to do even a precursory amount of critical thinking can quickly dismiss the film as sheer garbage.
"The more you educate yourself, the more you understand where things come from, the more obvious things become, and you begin to see lies everywhere," the film insists.
This is actually a very fitting quote for the film. The problem with Alex Jones and his breed of conspiracy theories is that they see lies everywhere, even where they don't exist. Worse yet, they aren't above a little dishonesty themselves in order to "prove" the fallacy of these so-called lies.
People used to agree that such dishonesty was a bad thing.
The convenient thing about dealing with ignorant people, however, is that they generally don't bother to double-check what they're being told. They accept it at face value.
The producers of Zeitgeist assume the viewer is stupid. As such, they make themselves easy prey for those who aren't.