"When Immigrants Become Humans" is an interesting, if not acerbic, title of a recent L. A. Times piece on the latest episode of Morgan Spurlock’s TV show, "30 days".
The Times obviously is of the opinion that the Minutemen, the organization that has taken upon itself the job of patrolling our borders, don't think that immigrants are human if the story is any indication. In fact, the Times is saying that those against illegal immigration "...too often compare a class of mostly decent human beings (illegal immigrants) to rodents or insects."
Funny, but I have never seen any official Minuteman communication that does this at all. In fact, there are very few people in these activist organizations that have said such things publicly.
Perhaps the Times can read people's minds?
This isn't the 1890s when anti-Chinese immigration activists said things about the Chinese in those days like what the Times alleged the Minutemen have said today. Nor are we in the days when the anti-Irish discounted the humanity of Irishmen or those days when other immigrant populations were attacked by fearful nativeists.
The Times also seems shocked that anti-illegal immigration activists can come to feel that immigrants. "... can be noble, hardworking, funny, angry, God-fearing, sassy, patriotic ... and, well, human."
Wow. Immigrants can be human? Imagine that?
Naturally, they aren't just attaching this harsh sentiment to the Minutemen. Representative Steven King from Iowa comes in for a backhanded slap, too.
Anyway, the Times piece is about how wonderful Supurlock's new episode is. In this episode a member of the Minutemen named Frank Jorge is filmed as he lives for 30 days with an illegal immigrant family. It seems to present a man transformed by his experience living with these "real humans" and coming to soften his anti-illegal immigration stance.
Of course, it turns out the show is all a hack job, misrepresenting Mr. Jorge's real positions after his experience with the show. Mr. Jorge himself is denouncing the lies of Spurlock's fantasy hit-piece, that he has posted on the web, titled Letter From Frank Jorge.
Jorge says in his public statement that Spurlock twisted things badly.
"In these last few minutes the editing crew had a field day putting together a sequence that to someone who is as sensitive as myself and my wife over this issue of illegal immigration appeared to twist things to make it appear as if I had changed my mind and am in fact in favor of the illegal immigration family of seven staying here and allowing more in."
Now, most people know that TV is a land of fantasy, and no one should be surprised that Spurlock is creating his own fantasy land with his little show, there. Still, Jorge has a right to set the record straight.
"I told the producers that they had purposefully twisted the story and they said that I had actually said those things and I replied that they had taken it out of context from the 300 hours of video that they had shot."
Mr. Jorge goes on for quite a while about the misleading TV episode. But, I don't suppose it should be too surprising that Spurlock has done this to his subject. Twisting and warping, falsifying and misleading ... that is Spurlock's game. He is an entertainer after all. "Truth" is the first casualty of the story-teller.
But, what is the Times' excuse? The Times sure isn't entertaining, I'll tell ya' that much.
Previously: The rise of "docuganda" films, television.