1) The Zeitgeist Movement is all about support of Zeitgeist: The Movie!
Actually, as per my experience over the past 6 years, most within The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) do not subscribe or agree with this film in general, although mixed reactions are most common. Zeitgeist: The Movie was created years before TZM was formed. TZM was created originally to support Jacque Fresco’s Venus Project (TVP). After TVP and TZM split three years later, TZM became a self-propelling institution with its own body of work. The text “The Zeitgeist Movement Defined” is the core source of Movement interests and expresses what TZM is about clearly.
As of 2015, any ongoing association with TZM and Zeitgeist: The Movie is often perpetuated by those merely with malicious intent. As the rest of this list will express, Zeitgeist: The Movie has been a point of extreme attack and bigoted reactions since its inception. Having been seen by literally hundreds of millions of people, it is no surprise so many in vehement disagreement rise to the top. I wish I counted the number of death threats and the amount of cyber stalking I have personally endured. I have spent upwards of $20,000 in legal fees fighting constant defamation by those offended by that film.
As an aside, many have suggested that a simple name change (remove “Zeitgeist”) would have solved the problem. Yet, if a name change alone is that persuasive, isn’t that actually indicative of a deep lack of critical thought? Where a mere superficial title changes people’s sense of association? I find this troubling if so. But regardless, the genie cannot go back in the bottle. Love it or hate it, Zeitgeist: The Movie isn’t going anywhere and its content/implications 8 years later seem to only get stronger and more validated. According to my online distributor, it is one of the most popular docs on Netflix, now in many languages/regions there.
2) It’s all been debunked!
The term “debunked” has become a mantra of sorts by the anti-ztm crowd. You also see this kind of overly zealous absolutism in other communities as well, such as the atheist community. As an atheist myself, I have learned that compassion is much more powerful than ridicule and if the goal of any communication is to change minds, taking a condescending and “absolute” approach does nothing but inflate the initiators ego – not help educate others.
In that, many interpreted the first section of Zeitgeist: The Movie as an attack on religion. I would say it is providing a contrary view of its history and it does so in a non-derisive way. It is very academic in its presentation and to call it an “attack” is without merit.
That noted, “Zeitgeist: The Movie” was an art piece first and foremost and a great deal of liberty was taken in its expression. In the very first edition, I had a section with John F. Kennedy talking about the “grand conspiracy” of Communism and overlaid it onto his assassination footage. I knew what I was doing and did so because it was an amazing artistic effect. It wasn’t until the film was grossly misinterpreted in its mixed genre style and artistic license that I later went back and made such editorial changes to conform it to a more “documentary form”.
I was sad to have to do this, in fact… but It seems it was too advanced a piece for common culture 😉 and people were not ready to be critical of such liberties; understand the context. Zeitgeist: The Movie was the ultimate expression of demanding critical thought. It wasn’t made to “declare”, it was made to challenge. Same goes for the long held up cry of “manipulative filmmaking”, such as when footage of the Madrid subway bombing was used to introduce a section on the 7/7 London Bombings. How dare I show a different explosion!
In 2010, I “cleaned it up” to conform to a more traditional “documentary” form and produced a free 220 booklet to support the literally 100s of claims made in the work. To date, no one has addressed this text. I would also add that while points made in the film — from the origins of religion, to the events of Sept 11th, to the history of war for profit and social manipulation by financial interests — are subject to interpretation and could perhaps be wrong, no single opposing claim or group of contradictions “debunks” the whole film. As the filmmaker, I will state that even I am not sure about some of the claims as far as what the absolute truth is. But again, that isn’t the purpose of this work.
3) There are no sources!
I have seen this claim posted in reviews constantly. Zeitgeist: The Movie is likely the most sourced film in documentary history. I know of no other work that has painstakingly shown where the content came from. Again, one can argue about the truth of any given idea, but to say it is “made up” is beyond absurd.
Companion Source Guide : http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/Zeitgeist,%20The%20Movie-%20Companion%20Guide%20PDF.pdf
4) It’s anti-semitic!
This one really took me by surprise when I starting hear about it, especially since I end the film with one of the most heart warming/human unity quotes of all time by Carl Sagan. It appears to have started with a woman named Michelle Goldberg. She essentially stated that my use of a 1941 anti-war speech by Charles A. Lindbergh implied this, as Lindbergh was supposedly anti-semitic.
In the opening section of part 3 of the film, she claims Charles A. Lindbergh was “talking about the jews” when describing warring interests trying to bring American into WWII. This is just about as wrong and irresponsible as it comes. Sadly, this theme has carried forward through history as the echo of pro-war/pro establishment media propaganda redefines reality. Long story short, Charles A Lindbergh was a famous American aviator, author, inventor, explorer, and social activist. He was the son of Congressman Charles Lindbergh Sr. who was extremely outspoken against the banking system a generation prior, writing texts on the “Money Trust”, referring to the financial system and its power. (He too was often called “anti-semitic” with no validation as a means of personal attack.) Charles A. Lindbergh deeply opposed US involve in WWII. He was an isolationist. In this crusade, he was attacked as “anti-semitic” in order to pollute his message. (sound familiar?) It’s that simple. To his discredit, his speaking skills were poor and he often spoke primitively about groups. He held some bad science views that were very common of the time and it’s easy to look back on such un-informed issues and find false relationships. Yet, his non-racist stance is very clear to those paying attention.
For example, he once stated: “I am not attacking either the Jewish or the British people. Both races, I admire. But I am saying that the leaders of both the British and the Jewish races, for reasons which are as understandable from their viewpoint as they are inadvisable from ours, for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war. We cannot blame them for looking out for what they believe to be their own interests, but we also must look out for ours. We cannot allow the natural passions and prejudices of other peoples to lead our country to destruction”
This was a political statement, not a racist one – but the press at the time ran that it was “anti-semitic”, which, again, is a good ploy if you want people to distrust someone. We see this technique being used today, constantly. Here are the last lines of the speech used in Zeitgeist: The Movie (that was called anti-semitic), along with the next sentence, not included in the film (in bold):
“Our theaters soon became filled with plays portraying the glory of war. Newsreels lost all semblance of objectivity. Newspapers and magazines began to lose advertising if they carried anti-war articles. A smear campaign was instituted against individuals who opposed intervention. The terms “fifth columnist,” “traitor,” “Nazi,” “anti-Semitic” were thrown ceaselessly at any one who dared to suggest that it was not to the best interests of the United States to enter the war. Men lost their jobs if they were frankly anti-war. Many others dared no longer speak.”
Later in the speech he then states: “No person with a sense of the dignity of mankind can condone the persecution of the Jewish race in Germany.”
Does this sound like a racist to you?
In a book written by his wife, she states:
“His prewar isolationist speeches were given in all sincerity for what he thought was the good of the country and the world…He was accused of being anti-semetic, but in the 45 years I lived with him I never heard him make a remark against the jews, not a crack or joke, and neither did any of our children.”
So what we have is a victim of the media culture, glamorized through history with the vile horror of hindsight given the horrors/persecutions around WWII. Lindbergh might not have been the smartest and most strategic in his manner of activism and communication – but there is no evidence he was a racist.
5) It’s an anti-New World Order Conspiracy Film!
Proponents who talk about the “New World Order”, (long before Zeitgeist The Movie) have always agitated me. I have never supported this bizarre and esoteric body of assumptions and, to this day, can honestly say I have no idea how the current ideas even came about given the origin of the original term. New World Order is a term put forward by H. G. Wells in his book of the same title. In this, he speaks about the world unifying as one for the better. Since that time, however, the term has been skyrocketed into bizarro land. The only times I have ever sympathized with anyone who does have this pop culture belief was when I tried and get behind it and talk about root causes of human behavior and power abuse. And yet, even the current Wikipedia entry on Zeitgeist: The Movie says it is about “New World Order forces…” But then again – its Wikipedia — the encyclopedia that lets random opinion and select “news” sources serve as historical fact. 😉
Anyway, while the very original version of the film did talk about global government run by corporate power as an Orwellian “1984” type assumption for the future, this was artistically presented and deduced as a result of global financial power and the tendency to constantly concentrate this power. I later removed this section entirely (in 2010) as I was disgusted by the constant misinterpretations.
Likewise, the notion of a “Conspiracy” film is equally as misguided. This is simply derision by categorical association. No different than how the term “communist” was used to force people to shy away from any information or ideas that were against the status quo during the Mcarthy Era in the 1950s.
Zeitgeist: The Movie takes three subjects and bridges them within the context of social myth. This context is then evidenced to show how people become biased and can be manipulated based upon those dominant shared (bogus) beliefs (hence the term “zeitgeist” itself).
In the context of the real world, power abuse is obvious since the nature of our economy supports massive class division and the movement of power and money to a small group. This isn’t “conspiracy” – it is a system reality. We live in a war system and massive gaming for personal/group self-interest is happening at every moment.
That’s enough for now. 😉
~Peter Joseph, Feb 22nd 2015