i saw the documentary the revolution will not be televised this morning at kendall square and i just want to say that it's awesome. it's got a little bit of everything, the power of the media, the struggle of class warfare, the force of democracy, the influence of american foreign policy, and the potency of grassroot politics. this documentary inspires as much as it reveals the hypocrisy of american statecraft.

hugo chavez is the current president of venezuela. in 2002 there was a military coup of his government, but 2 days later, after the people revolted and marched into the streets to surround the presidential palace, the coup was overthrown and chavez was returned to his office. chavez himself was once a military man who in turn tried to overthrow the then government back in 1992. he was unsuccessful and spent some time in prison, but upon his release he ran as a presidential candidate and won the election. he started a movement where he educated the poor people of venezuela, of which there is a lot of (80%?), with a small rich minority that controls the businesses and the media. he taught the common venezuelan about the government and galvanized people who used to have no interests in politics to get involved. he even has a weekly live television show, where people can call in and talk with the president (man, that'd be so great if we did that!). loved by the people, but feared and hated by the rich minority. feared and hated by washington as well, who see chavez as a renegade leader unwilling to bend to united states pressures, and who's leftist leanings and friendships with washington enemies like fidel castro makes him a liability to the notion of american interests. and the fact that venezuela is the 3rd largest exporter of oil to the world makes this country of particular significance to american foreign policy.

in this election year and with all this controversy about bush getting the US involved in a war that it had no legal jurisdiction to do so, the revolution will not be televised is particularly important. watch as the US press secretary and colin powell flat out lie about the situation in venezuela! if you ever had any doubts about the possibility that maybe what the government tells you isn't the real truth, look no further than this movie.

the US is always touting democracy as the best form of government, and is constantly trying to peddle a democracy to other countries in need of a stable government. but just because a country is democratic doesn't mean it will automatically be a friend of the US. take iraq for example. there's all this talk about how iraqis can now enjoy the taste of freedom, but the current administration is scared to death about giving them democracy as well. freedom yes, democracy no. because if iraqis can vote, the majority of iraqis are pro-iranian (through religion), and the US doesn't have iraq and iran to be good friends. so don't expect to see democracy in iraq anytime soon. so in venezuela, you have a democratic government, which you'd think america would applaud and champion another country that's gone the democratic way. but no. the US only likes democracy when the government is pro-US. when the government is anti-US (americans can't imagine why the rest of the world would have reasons to hate them), the administration doesn't really say anything directly, but it makes little sarcastic comments here and there, and perhaps tries secretly to influence the government to become more pro-US. that's one lesson i learned from this documentary.

another lesson is the role media plays in all of this. most people get their information from the media, but can the media ever be wrong? what if the media is wrong not by accident by through design? that's the case in venezuela, where all the television networks are controlled by rich media moguls who hate chavez and want to see him go, so they flood the airwaves with anti-chavez news and commentaries. the government only has a single media outlet and that's the one government operated channel. during the coup, it was shut down, and when the coup was overthrown, the other channels continued to broadcast how there was nothing wrong when the streets are flooded with people and the coup leaders have already fled the capital. that's where the name of the movie comes from, the revolution will not be televised. it makes you question your own sources of news. just like people nowadays are so very careful of what they eat, organic versus processed, the same care should be applied to information.

i could write all night about this documentary, it's just really great, and i don't have many must-sees, but if you get the chance, this is one film you have to go see. it's absolutely incredible and it just opens your eyes to the world, like suddenly everything makes sense.

in other news, after i came back from the theatre, after a late lunch of soup from a can, i changed into my shorts and went out running in 31 degrees wind chill weather. i was cold for the first mile but then i warmed up, rolling up my sleeves, taking off my hat, then finally removing the gloves. there were a few other like-minded individuals out running as well, and some of them wore shorts just like me. i felt like a hardy bad ass but i was so glad to be back at home in the warmth of the house. i did a load of laundry with my last drops of detergent, washed the sheets and pillowcases. in the evening, my parents came over for dinner. after we watched daredevil, they left.