Title: Zeitgeist – The Movie
Run Time: 116 Minutes
Author: Peter Joseph
URL: http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/ (watch online)
After an excessively long introduction, Zeitgeist launches into a dissection of religion (titled “The Greatest Story Ever Told”), and by religion the film-makers mean Christianity. A brief summary of astrology gives way to a comparison of earlier Middle-Eastern mythologies to the mythology which predated all of them. Indeed there are many coincidences to between the Egyptian Sun God Horus and the central figures of later faiths:
- Horus was born December 25th to the virgin Isis
- He was adorned by three “kings” who followed an eastern star
- He was deemed a prodigy at 12 and was baptized at the Age of 30
- He traveled with 12 disciples and traveled around performing miracles like healing the sick and walking on water
- His alternate names included “Lamb of God”, “The truth, the light”
- He was betrayed, crucified, buried from the dead and rose three days later
Anyone who paid attention during Sunday school or at least made an effort to read a bible (a group encompassing fewer Christians that one would think) should be a bit uneasy, as the Story of Jesus Christ is nearly identical – only the names differ. Strangely (or perhaps not) the same general sequence of events can be found many other mythologies across the world. The film then attempts to link common attributes of these stories to astrological symbolism and does a fairly convincing job of it.
None of this information (or at least the discussion of its legitimacy) should be new to armchair theologians, but it was not initially clear why Christianity was singled out above all others for astrological plagiarism – it was not the first, last or worst offender among the emerging faiths. Eventually, the answer is provided – the Romans apparently invented the myth of Jesus Christ solely to exercise social and economic control over Europe. Never mind Karl Marx’s Opiate of the Masses attack – the Zeitgeist narrator directly refers to Christianity and similar faiths as “the fraud of the age”. Them be Fightin’ words.
Alas, Zeitgeist is a film about conspiracy theories – an emphatic diatribe of how small groups of shadowy figures conspire to control the masses.
The second part of the movie, titled “All the World’s a Stage”, attempts to prove that the US government plotted the 9/11 attacks in New York and contracted the dirty work to international resources. Provided evidence includes a mixture of the apparent “TV clips of witnesses describing a second explosion”, the questionable “government efforts to hide any conclusive evidence of a Boeing 757 hitting the Pentagon” and the perplexing “the demolition-like accuracy with which the buildings collapsed”. Again, the viewer is presented with a series of facts that are true or at least believable, some arousing anecdotes and a consequential induction that implicates shadowy powers.
If film-maker Peter Joseph can be credited for one thing, it’s flawlessly utilizing Dale Carnegie’s yes-yes technique to influence the viewer. Like any good conspiracy theorist, he starts with information that is true (yes #1), follows with information that is apparent enough to make the viewer question previous dogma (yes #2) and inserts his interpretation of what is driving those occurrences (in this case, that the US government intentionally detonated the twin towers). One major distinction between a conspiracy theory and a valid explanation is that conspiracy theories rarely work inversely as deduction. As a Math Professor of mine loved to recite, proving all poodles are dogs does not prove all dogs are poodles.
Hand in my Pocket
The third section is called “Don’t Mind The Men Behind The Curtain” and deals with disproportionate influence exercised by early banking tycoons like JP Morgan and John D Rockefeller. The stock market crash of 1929 is alleged to have been deliberately engineered by the “international bankers” to allow a large-scale cash grab and easy purchase of failed rivals. The 1933 American gold seizure, establishment of the US Federal Reserve and the major world wars of the 20th century are also attributed to the objectives of the international bankers, who stood to gain from the interest on loans made to both the state and consumers. These bankers are never clearly defined after the first generation of financial barons. More alarmingly, the Federal Income Tax is declared unconstitutional – a declaration backed by a pair of former IRS agents who testify to avoiding tax payment for years without penalty. Perhaps they could share what they know with Wesley Snipes.
Zeitgeist closes, strangely, with a motivational speech about unity and how the human race should unshackle themselves from the social structures imposed by a diabolical few. It did provide levity for an otherwise bleak film, but nonetheless sounded kitschy.
Worth a Tin-Foil Hat?
Is Zeitgeist worth the watch? Probably, as you can watch it for free via the URL provided above. The movie also provides an opportunity to test your critical thinking – the real enjoyment in indulging conspiracy theories is not self-congratulation for being skeptical, but being able to explain precisely where they fail.
Conversely, you may find yourself occasionally saying “wait a minute!” and questioning what you thought you knew. Sadly, conspiracy theories are one of the few remaining outlets for some good old-fashioned, politically-incorrect debate, and one area Zeitgest excels at is stimulating debate. Invite a friend or two over and have fun.
Update (2008-10-12): Review for Zeitgeist Addendum