jonestown - a review

I watched the latest PBS Jonestown documentary this morning (thanks bittorrent) and have to say that through the many times they've made this same basic show and brought me nothing new to contemplate, at least the soundtrack continues to improve. This time the sounds of screaming children being murdered in the jungle are audible for longer.

What will it take to discredit religion entirely? It's just so relentlessly stupid.

Obsession pays weird dividends; I'm what you might call an amateur Jonestown scholar, and I can tell you where to go to get the most intense creeps of your life so far. It's the Jonestown audio tapes you want. I've heard these tapes of the broadcasts of Jones's voice --a voice that forces itself brutally through the dark jungle, seriously, you have to hear it to believe it-- enough to know that the documentaries can be aurally improved further still, perhaps by just shutting off the video completely.

It's a well-worn topic of discussion that audio is a much more intimate medium than video, or maybe any other.

Watch the first televised "this american life" episode if you don't believe me. What a piece of shit that idea was. Only in an age where the majesty of independent radio has been annihilated by syndication and corporate mega-mergers could you sell TAL as a tv show. I'm going to let you in on an ugly little fact: used to be, every radio station had a show about half as good as this american life. And there were thousands of them. Now that there's only a handful, of course the tv agents all went chasing after this turkey like it was the world's last bottle of champagne.

Maybe audio has this effect because of the deepness of our sensory deprivation in utero, and that sense of isolated comfort in some small way returns. No one can say for sure but that's a pretty good guess.

I'd say skip the documentary and do your own homework if you want to learn anything interesting about the Jonestown massacre/suicide/whatever. You must hear to believe the sustain and reverb effects on Jones's peerless narcotized insanity. I will not provide a link to that because I don't feel like tracking it down. Because then I would want to listen to it again, and knowing what I was in store for, my expectations would wreck the experience. Anyone wants to drop that link in the comments, go for it.


At Friday, April 20, 2007, Blogger hank. said...

Father Cares is my favorite documentary on Jonestown. It's great for a rainy day at home.


Post a Comment

<< Home