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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Politics > Propaganda > American Blackout (Documentary)

American Blackout (Documentary)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Documentary: C-



When we get a documentary to look at here for the site, we take it in good faith and look forward to seeing a challenging, intelligent work.  However, when we feel we are being hoodwinked, we call it as we see it.  Ian Inaba’s American Blackout (2006) is another look at stolen elections since 2000 and focuses more on the racism.  Not that Unprecedented (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and others failed to do so, but the purpose presented here is to show the most explicit racism, including that directed at a certain African American Congresswoman.  We have 100% no doubt about said racism in the elections and that it remains a big problem in the U.S. as much as anywhere.  However, it is insidious to use the issue to forward a highly manipulative agenda and in a way Michael Moore could not achieve at his worst, this film is nothing short of some kind of bizarre Black Supremist answer to Triumph Of The Will!


This Trojan horse is supposed to be a sincere, honest look at some very serious problems, but instead, is a 86-minutes-long campaign launch for voted in and out and in and out Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.  She has been radical and outspoken against the Bush Administration and some of her arguments are solid and inarguable about their abuse of power, but two wrongs do not make a right.  The piece says it is about one thing, but really has a second supposedly invisible sub-story about what a victim and fighter Miss McKinney is, playing like a movie star’s vanity project, except you would never see that star using their film to run for office.


The victim/fighter dichotomy is loaded with so many illicit appeals to pity that I lost count.  Yes, McKinney was censored by the media, sometimes in odd ways, but the work claims full disclosure about the Bush Administration disastrous policies and also implies the same about McKinney’s “fight” for justice and tolerance.  Unfortunately, it is well-edited grandstanding and is highly manipulative in how picky and choosy it is about showing what she has done.


Yes, she has been even misquoted on purpose by big media outlets, but why have you not heard about her except for some minor incidents?  Because she has simply been consolidating a semi-dictorial stance disguised as fighting for justice and its boldness and ultimate goal would shock The Black Panthers.  The portrait painted of her is that she is the tough lady who has to be tough, but has some deeply hidden heart of gold.  The documentary tries to “teach” you this and does this through sinister brainwashing tactics via editing and constantly asking constant obvious questions about what injustice is that all essentially ask if racism is bad.


Shockingly, this retro-Stalinist lemmings-fest won the Sundance Special Jury Prize, Cleveland Int. Film Festival and similar Columbus Audience Award, Urbanworld Vibe and Conquest Film Festival Best Doc winner and Boston Independent Doc awards.  Could all those people be wrong?  Absolutely!  I know the hatred of the entire Bush junta is high and for good reason.  We know about how his father’s presidency and the beginning of the Reagan era have been bad for the country, but two wrongs do not make a right and it is obvious that people are so blinded by “Bush bad, blind Political Correctness good” that Stalin is applauding from his grave.  This kind of mentality has obviously made many viewers blind to the work’s hidden agenda, but this new Stalinism has become the new opiate of the P.C. Left.


So what is the problem with McKinney?  She has nothing to lose alright, but has become organized in a way that is not that of an innocent victim.  Is she well intended and just going about things badly?  I doubt it.  Taking on Donald Rumsfeld is going to get cheers, but by the end, the documentary is so neatly wrapped up that you know you have been lied to.  When it says become active and go to a website, it actually echoes in some way the ending of Melvin Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971) with its pro-militant stance.  It was more powerful when it was original and especially sinister in context to this particular recycling.


If you criticize her, a point also made obvious by the documentary, you are automatically a racist in one of those hatemongering “if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem” moments, which is the kind of cornering proposition the work offers.  She says officials all the way up to Mr. Bush are not above criticism, but she sure is.  Really?  The hypocrisy really gets good and becomes more obvious in what was left out.  The most interesting is what she did after 9/11 which really speaks volumes about her bad judgment and manipulation.


It is included to appeal to certain types of diehard followers, but the risk is someone who can see it for what it is will call her on it.  This involved then New York Major Giuliani and the incident where an oil sheik sent $10 Million to help with post-9/11 recovery efforts.  The string attached was the message that the U.S. should not support Israel and 9/11 was the fault of the U.S. involvement with The Middle East versus Islamo-Fascists bent on destroying the world.  Yes, the Right loves going overboard with Islamo-Fascists, but they can because it exists.


Knowing what was at stake, Giuliani wisely returned the check and with the message that the U.S., Israel and the free world were non-negotiable and that was supposedly the end of it.  However, McKinney wrote to this sheik, apologized to him for the actions of both Giuliani and the U.S. in The Middle East (by her own uncompromising admission) and asked if she could have the money for “African Americans” (read herself) to “help” them.  She then states on camera that she is not an anti-Semite and “just” was supporting the Palestinians.  Throughout al the footage here, that one is out of left field, because she never even discusses Palestine or anything remotely resembling foreign policy except in war expenditures.  Next thing you know, she’ll talk about how she loves Munich and Schindler’s List so much that she rushed to get the DVDs as soon as they were announced.


The wacky race baiting extends to a scene where a white guard is “caught” on camera being racist, checking out a why a camera crew is in a sensitive area until he realizes it is her.  Then she rants about how this is always happening to her and how she is sick of it.  He apologizes and really (post-9/11 especially) doing her job.  In a move not on the disc, not so much because it was not in time but because it was timed to happen at the release of this DVD, she has been all over the news for slapping one of these white guards.  Who does she think she is, Zsa Zsa Gabor?


No, it is about firing up the potentially militant side of her base.  To “prove” that everything you are seeing in the manipulative main feature is true and if “The Jews” get blamed (including non-Jewish Giuliani, recently called a Jew because of some wacky 9/11 theorist who said none were killed in the 9/11 attack, calling him part of the conspiracy was his name being Jew-liani!) for being behind the conflict…  Well, you can figure out the rest.


Inadvertently, you can see what a masterwork of manipulation American Blackout really is.  Sure, Michael Moore can bluntly be a Civil Rights & Democracy hustling poverty pimp at his worse and stands to make more money the longer the Bushes and their like stay in power, but he has never gone this far and advocated the kind of hate and militancy this work is.  When all is said and done, the true purpose of American Blackout is unless you are part of Miss McKinney’s obvious junta, to keep everyone regardless of race, sex, age, religion and nation origin in the dark permanently.  However, this reviews purpose is to “shine the light, shine the light, shine the liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight!” and show it for this for the 21st Century Battleship Potemkin that it is.  Angry bigots of the world unite?  I don’t think so.


They would not want you to read books like George Orwell’s Animal Farm or Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, or see Truffaut’s film of Bradbury’s book to boot, but would love to burn them, and that is where the new round of “burn baby burn” is likely to begin and we ain’t talkin’ Disco Inferno by The Trammps.  Read about and see Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election instead at the following link:





The letterboxed 1.78 X 1 image is mixed, but has a certain consistency, while the Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is passable with music by D.J. Shadow.  His talents make this all the more effective, but I bet he has no idea what he was really accompanying here.  Extras include those extra deleted scenes, a 19-minutes-long “Activist Tool” and several supposed Capitol Hill officers speaking out about how since they are African Americans, they are still racism targets in a populist piece calling Washington, D.C. the last plantation.  Unfortunately, this work seeks to build a new kind of plantation and ultimately should be viewed as a warning of a possible new domestic terrorism to come.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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