Michael Moore has acquired a reputation for himself as a producer/director of award winning documentary films. Films such as Fahrenheit 911 and Bowling for Columbine were acclaimed by critics and the general public alike. So, when news came of yet another venture from his production company in 2007, expectations were quite high. The film Sicko deals with the ailing health care system in America, which is widely believed to be the most inefficient among advanced nations. Moore compares the healthcare systems of Cuba and the United States as a way of showing the deficiencies of the latter. But, in spite of Moore’s claims to an objective and factual portrayal of the subject matter, the reality is not as simplistic as the filmmaker would have us believe.
Though there are certain merits attached to the Cuban health care system, it has its own set of drawbacks whichMooreunderplays in the documentary. It is agreed that the Cuban healthcare system works on a . . . Read More
Samuel Huntington’s book The Clash of Civilizations has evoked a broad range of responses from political commentators both in the United States as well as abroad. Huntington asserts that the fall of Berlin Wall in 1989 had marked a new beginning in the history of international politics. While prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 major ideological, geo-political and economic conflicts were carried out on the European stage, the end of the Cold War has changed the dynamics and motivations of international conflicts. In the prevailing world order, the fight for supremacy in the realms of ideology, material wealth and territorial conquest have become secondary to the assertion of ‘civilizations’. Civilization as a term in historical discourse can be difficult to define, but Huntington narrows down the scope of this term. According to the author, of all the constituent elements that comprise a particular civilization, its identification with religion, . . . Read More
America society has progressed a lot over the course of last fifty years. But, the country has always boasted of a long tradition of radical advancement, starting with the momentous Declaration of Independence two centuries ago to the more recent mandate for an African American president. While there is no doubt that America is at the forefront of dismantling prejudices and following the path of progress, these victories have not been offered on a plate. This is applicable to the issue of homosexuality as well. Just as in other cases, gay and lesbian Americans had had to persistently struggle for gaining equitable rights. The rest of this essay will assess the underlying causes for this turnaround in people’s attitude toward homosexuality and also ascertain its implications for American culture.
A brief glance at the cultural history of the United States would reveal that minority communities have been discriminated against. This could be racial or ethnic or sexual . . . Read More
The dependency between government and media is a contentious issue in contemporary times. The media, once termed the Fourth Estate due to the unique role it plays in society, is supposed to be the conscience of the First Estate, namely the government. Yet, a simple analysis of the functioning of media organizations makes obvious that its role had deviated from the purported ideal. Rather than serving the interests of the general public, the media is shown to serve vested interests of the powers that be. The object of this essay is to ascertain the magnitude of such deviances from ethical journalism. Scholarly sources are perused in the process to provide supporting evidence.
In any critical discussion of modern geo-polity, the word ‘propaganda’ finds recurrent mention. This is nowhere truer than in discussions about the policies and actions of the world’s only superpower, the United States of America. In his book, ‘Managing Public Opinion: The Corporate Offensive’, . . . Read More
Toward the end of his tenure as President, Bill Clinton said “Our children are being fed a dependable daily dose of violence – and it sells”. He was referring to the genre of action movies which are targeted at male teenage adolescents. To place this statement in context,Clinton was speaking one month after the tragedy at Columbine High School in Colorado. He further went on to say “We have got to quit fooling around with this. I know this stuff sells, but that doesn’t make it right.” (Cain, p1, 1999) This assessment did have an immediate impact, as the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission got together to conduct a thorough study of how “entertainment firms market violence to children” (Cain, p1, 1999). But more importantly, it is an unequivocal acknowledgement of the negative influence of Hollywood on society in general and teenage boys in particular.
Violence and anti-social behavior shown in Hollywood movies had even . . . Read More
When, in 1776, the 13 American colonies east of the Appalachian Mountains declared their independence from the British Crown, they set about forming a national government in subsequent years. The Articles of Confederation is the culmination of this process which concluded with the signing of a peace treaty with Britain in the year 1783. However, the Confederation Congress and the adopted Articles proved unsuitable instruments of governance in the new geo-political reality. Firstly, the Revolutionary War had depleted the financial resources of the colonies. This condition was exacerbated by the creditors’ reluctance to accept the currency of Continentals. The problem arose from the fact that the Articles of Confederation did not stipulate the jurisdiction for printing money among the 13 states. Furthermore, the Articles constrained the Confederation Congress from raising taxes and initiating legal proceedings in disputes between states. The inadequacy of the Articles was further . . . Read More
The United Kingdom as a multicultural society has had its fair share of criticisms since the post Second World War period. The British media – both print and electronic mediums – has also been criticized for its reluctance to discuss openly issues of race and ethnicity in its programmes. The advent of new mediums of communication too has not made a significant contribution toward racial conciliation in Britain. The tendency of the native British to maintain their unique cultural identity has had pervasive effects. In the political front, Britain is still holding on to Pound Sterling even as the rest of Europe is integrating economically and thereby becoming stronger. In the social realm, “the issue of racism has become a latent one, lurking behind media discussions and TV programmes such as the recent five-part “BBC White Season” which focused on what the BBC termed ‘the disappearing White Britain’, and the media’s examination of the 40th anniversary . . . Read More
(Background: On 1st July 2008 Bill Gates resigned as CEO of the Microsoft Corporation to pursue his work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is currently Chairman of the Microsoft Corporation. Bill Gates is a well known philanthropist and whilst CEO of Microsoft his pledges of money to fight many of the world’s diseases were media headline grabbers. In 2005 he gave £145 million ($258 million) to fight malaria, and in 2006 he pledged £507 million ($900 million) to cut deaths by tuberculosis. Yet corporate and personal philanthropy did little to avert negative headlines about Microsoft’s questionable business practices. Since 1999 Microsoft has been at the centre of a number of legal disputes with both the US Government and the European Commission. At the heart of the disagreements have been accusations that Microsoft had been exploiting its monopoly power in order to reduce competition, and consequently choice, in the marketplace. Microsoft was accused of anti . . . Read More
Ever since the re-introduction of Coca-Cola to Indian consumers since the late 1990s, the company had attracted criticism from activist and advocacy groups. While the high level of pesticides contained in its products has given rise to controversies recently, the charges against Coca-Cola for usurping and depleting water resources have been a more persistent issue. In fact, Coca-Cola’s operations in India since its inception have seen many ups and downs. The lowest point of the company’s history in India was reached in 1977, when the then ruling Congress government, under the leadership of Indira Gandhi, forced out the company. This essay will detail the Achilles Heel of Coca-Cola’s operations in India, namely its competition with native inhabitants over limited water resources, and critically evaluate the company’s strategy for handling of these criticisms.
Description of . . . Read More
Patrick Henry is still regarded as the ‘Homer of Orators’ within the American literary canon. He is most renowned for his words ‘Give me Liberty or Give me Death’ which he uttered to his followers on the eve of the Declaration of Independence. A recently taken public opinion poll by Gallup found that nearly one in two American associate Patrick Henry with his heroic oratory. According to the poll results, he stands alongside Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt as one of the most inspiring public . . . Read More