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4 things tagged “documentaries”

The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (2019) · IMDb · B+

A great complement to the book.

When I think of Theranos, I really think that there were two entirely different worlds. There was the carpeted world and there was the tiled world. In the carpeted world where Elizabeth was a goddess. Everyone, you know, almost worshipped the ground she walked on. She could do no wrong. She was the next Steve Jobs. Theranos was changing the world. And then you go into the tiled side and nothing works. We’re on a sinking ship. Everything is a lie. Reconciling the differences between those two worlds was really hard for me to do.

[…] I would leave the tiled world thinking, ‘Oh man, sinking ship.’ And I would go have one conversation with Elizabeth. And I would be so motivated to go back and work and I felt like I was changing the world again. And I would go back into the tiled world and I would go, ‘Wait, what just happened?’ You want it to be true so badly and even for me, I was working with these devices every single day and she could still kind of convince me. When I think back on those conversations, I just think ‘How did she do that?’

Tyler Schulz

They Shall Not Grow Old (2018) · IMDb · A+

A masterpiece. Powerful and harrowing. Glad I stayed till the end of the credits.

Still, the film doesn’t hold back in its depiction of the brutality of trench combat, and how most British soldiers started seeing the war as a pointless effort the longer it dragged on. “The strongest opinion they would have had was, ‘The German army’s in Belgium and France, and we’re coming over here to push them out because we’re friends [with Belgium and France],’” Jackson said. “I don’t think people could quite get their heads around why the British and the Germans were suddenly enemies.” As the conflict winds down and more prisoners of war are taken, testimonial after testimonial in They Shall Not Grow Old suggests that British soldiers saw little difference between themselves and their supposed adversaries.

“They were dealing with the same hardships, eating the same crappy food, in the same freezing conditions, and they felt a sort of empathy,” Jackson said. “They were there because their governments told them to be there.” That empathy, mixed with a sense of futility, is what makes They Shall Not Grow Old such a precise triumph. Jackson takes whatever amorphous ideas the average viewer might have about the First World War and uses real human experience to give them shape. As the film’s hundred-year-old footage springs to life, each face—whether muddied, wearied, relieved, or overjoyed—suddenly belongs to a recognizable person again. It’s both thrilling and humbling to witness.

– David Sims, “They Shall Not Grow Old Is a Stunning World War I Documentary

It was the greed of rich belligerents trying to get richer. W.E.B. Du Bois, the black writer and activist, said it was the competition over resource-rich colonies in Africa. It was a struggle between liberty and autocracy (although czarist Russia’s alliance with France and England undercut that argument). It was because mankind’s moral instincts—this was philosopher and pacifist Bertrand Russell’s view—lagged behind its material wealth. It was Germany’s psychological insecurity, triggered by Britain’s naval supremacy and the fear of Russia’s rising might. It was, simply, the insanity of the only carnivorous species that kills its own kind for no good reason.

– Burt Solomon, "The Tragic Futility of World War I
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The Convicted Love Charger

Al Jazeera on godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh:

This is insane:

Chauhan: One day the Guru summoned a meeting of his closest male devotees. There were about 400 to 500 people. He said “We are going to remove your virility. After that, your mind isn’t going to wander. You’ll come closer to God.”

Narrator: Chauhan says he didn’t understand that the Guru was talking about castration.

[. . .]

Chauhan: Guru had put a lot of property under the names of castrated devotees. He knew that we would never get married or have children. When we died, we would leave the property here and he would put his name on our Power of Attorney.

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The charlatan is responsible for the most horrifying song I’ve ever seen:

There’s a book by an investigative journalist on the whole sordid enterprise.

The Watchmaker

The calmest 9 minutes I spent today.