Requiem For The American Dream Essay

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Social 30: Citizen Action Movie Review
Requiem for the American Dream - By: Bo Dewsnap TA: Visy
It is universally difficult to write about a documentary like Requiem for the American Dream. For one, it’s not a conventional documentary. It’s more of a long-form conversation with American philosopher, linguist and social activist Noam Chomsky. If it’s documenting anything, it’s the depth and breadth of Chomsky’s thinking.

Noam Chomsky’s new film “Requiem for the American Dream” is a clear-eyed, easily accessible outline of how and why American idealism has been sabotaged. Although he doesn’t detail the dream, Chomsky sketches its promise of mobility, an expectation of progress toward a better life through some sort of democratic polity.
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Without overwhelming the viewer or the material, he marshals data, example and anecdote, cutting through 250 years of history to distill ten basic principles of wealth and power which have conspired against the American Dream. More than anything, the film is a well organized, thoughtful look at these forces and their consequences.
This is not an exhortative polemic. Although Chomsky is not dispassionate, he is more saddened than outraged, more intent on finding cause than inciting action. Unlike fellow system critics like ubiquitous former Labor Secretary cum political reformist Robert Reich, Chomsky neither suggests, nor pleads for saving capitalism through economic reshuffling or revitalized bourgeois democratic elections.
Chomsky finds the roots of the Requiem in how the United States was originally set up. The U.S. Constitution put power in the hands of the wealthy. The Constitution was written to prevent, not promote, democracy. Concentrations of wealth resulted in concentrations of political power. The course of our history has been defined by the struggles of this wealth and political power against upsurges in democratization, most notably in the 1930s labor movement and the 1960s peace, civil rights and women’s

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