If people in the media cannot decide whether they are in the business of reporting news or manufacturing propaganda, it is all the more important that the public understand that difference, and choose their news sources accordingly. ----Thomas Sowell
My contribution to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group can be found on my Monday post. But please do vote on my Battle of the Bands found below. It's related to the Monday post as well.
Propaganda As Art
In my previous post, I discussed how many in today's media have become outlets of propaganda for whatever agenda they are pushing whether it be a political party or whatever. In my view, much of the blame for the divisiveness in the United States as well as the world is due to the ideological media outlets that masquerade as vehicles to disseminate news and information. To me this seems like a dangerous trend that will make it more difficult to bring opposing sides to a point of unity where they can work together to get more positive things happening in our society. The power of informational and ideological propaganda can work as mind control if we aren't careful.
I am fascinated by much of the anachronistic propaganda of the past such as that of the Nazis, the Soviet Union, and Communist China. The garishness of the poster art can be visually enticing. Film propaganda is frequently highly stylistic and arty. The cinematic work of filmmakers such as Leni Riefenstahl who created classic documentaries for Nazi Germany are still admired for the artistry. Despite the arguably insidious nature of the art of propaganda, there can be an appreciation for that which the artists have created when examined aside from the context of the intent of the work.
As I have written about on my blog Wrote By Rote, I became interested in the propaganda that I used to pick up on shortwave radio broadcasts coming from Radio Havana back when I was in high school in the sixties. Since that time I have had an interest in Cuba and whatever little information I would hear from time to time coming from that country. This is why a year or two ago, when I noted that the Cuban sixties propaganda film I Am Cuba was going to be broadcast on TCM, I was drawn to watch it. I'm glad I did.
Soy Cuba (I Am Cuba) was released in 1964 to a poor response. The film was financed by the Soviet Union as a propaganda vehicle to promote the Castro revolution, however the audiences in the Soviet Union and Cuba largely rejected it and it was mostly forgotten until "rediscovered" and show at the Telluride Film Festival in 1992. The film was championed by U.S. directors, including Martin Sorcese and Francis Ford Coppola, who rallied for restoration and re-release. The film has since been screened at a number of film festivals and events receiving wide accolades.
What interested me most about the film was seeing the Havana and Cuba of the early sixties and how the revolution was seen through the eyes of the people who fought and lived through it. Scenes in the film show how Havana retained some capitalistic vestiges of the past. The one sequence that especially blew me away was a superbly shot musical number by a couple of musicians singing a song that made me search online until I found it. I was shocked to discover that the song had been written and originally performed by Paul Anka when still in his teens.
The film I Am Cuba looks like it could have been done by Fellini or David Lynch. It was shot in black and white often using some innovative camera techniques. The musical number that caught my attention used the 1958 Paul Anka hit "Crazy Love" song performed in Spanish by two musicians strolling through a nightclub setting with the camera following them. The sequence is surreal and aloof like a dream. When I found the clip on YouTube I knew I had the makings of a good Battle.
The match I found for this Cuban version is one by a Serbian recording star with a name I won't even try to pronounce. This version is a raunchy slow rock version complete with searing saxophones and a solid backup band driven by a steady piano tinkling away along with the beat. So let's have a Battle of the Bands!
Battle of the Bands
Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands. This event happens twice each month on the 1st and 15th. The premise is simple: Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it. Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.
Paul Anka "Crazy Love" (1958)
"Crazy Love" was Paul Anka's sixth single which charted at #15 in the United States. Anka was a teen singing sensation at that time, but he is now perhaps most notably known as a songwriter with standards like "My Way". He has appeared in numerous movies and television shows and continues to perform as a singer. I'm offering his version for those who want to hear what the original sounded like. But please don't cast your vote for this version.
For reference only!!! Do not vote for this version!!!
Here are your voting choices:
Miki Jevremović "Crazy love" (1962)
Serbian singer Miki Jevremović was born in Belgrade in former Yugoslavia in 1941, Miki achieved his greatest popularity during the sixties and seventies with numerous hits in his native country as well as recognition in other countries as well. He died of a stroke in January of this year.
Dúo Los Diablos "Loco Amor" ("Crazy Love") 1964
This group consists of Sammy and Richard, two artists that played through the years with a number of popular Cuban bands. They changed their names in the early sixties to reflect the artists who had inspired them and most influenced their styles--Sammy Davis, Jr and Little Richard. Sammy continued to perform until he died in 2014. In his 70's, Richard stilled lived in Havana according to the article that I resourced which was published in 2014.
If you've got the time to watch the video, it's pretty cool cinematography. But just listening to the music is a real treat especially if you're a fan of that musical era.
Time To Vote!
These might sound strange to you--maybe even a bit crazy, but hopefully you have an opinion of some kind. Which version do you like the best? Surely one version drove you less crazy than the other.
Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.
Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’
'Curious as a Cathy'
Sound of One Hand Typing
The Doglady's Den
Cherdo on the Flipside
Jingle, Jangle, Jungle
Winner Announced on Wednesday March 8th
I'll tally up votes on Tuesday the 7th and be back here on the next day with the winner of this Battle. On Monday the 6th I'll show up with some kind of post. I haven't decided what yet and, who knows, I might forget to post on that day. Whatever happens, happens.
Do you like propaganda art? What are some favorite propaganda films that you might have seen? Have you ever written a story that you might feel is propagandist in some way?