More Netflix Documentaries – Blaugust 10

You might have noticed I don’t post a lot about games here, and that’s mostly because I haven’t played much of anything in the last month. So the “here’s what I played last night” style of post is completely off the table for me so far in Blaugust. It makes it kind of hard to think of something to say. :)

I could tell you what I watched last night, which was a Netflix documentary called Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist. I had never heard of the so-called “pizza bomber” before, and the 4-part series fascinated me, in the same way that one is fascinated watching a train wreck. I don’t often watch documentaries about recent events (though I suppose one could argue that 2003 isn’t exactly “recent” anymore), and I was struck by how strange and unsettling it was to see a lot of HD footage. Documentary footage is supposed to be grainy restored film or old photographs moving around with Ken Burns' panning and zooming effects.

I’ve been on quite a Netflix documentary tear lately. I started watching a Netflix original on Amanda Knox, another incident I don’t know much about. That documentary seemed excessively exploitative and self-indulgent and one-sided (at least at the start, where a lot of narration came from Knox herself) so I stopped.

It suddenly occurs to me that I don’t much like writing blog posts about shows and movies because it makes creating an image for the post really hard, if one wants to stay 100% outside the bounds of blatant copyright infringement, which is my preference. Yesterday I ended up taking a picture of my television screen with my phone, which was the best I could think of. It looks terrible but I’m pretty confident it would fall under the category of fair use if I had to defend it in a court of law. As opposed to, for example, just copying images from IMDB, which is something I’ve done before, for which I would have no defense other than “well everyone else does it.”

Anyway, the most fascinating documentary I’ve seen in the past week was called American Anarchist, which was a show I stumbled on about the author of The Anarchist’s Cookbook. The Anarchist’s Cookbook has been well known to me since I was a kid, as my older brother had a copy and I’m sure I’ve flipped through it a number of times, though I doubt I’ve laid eyes on it since the 80s. This was the most comprehensive look at the author I’ve ever seen, and I found him to be a complex, fascinating, intelligent person. (Also not American hehe.) I found the documentary filmmaker to be a complete jerk, though, and I wanted to punch him in the face a number of times for so obviously trying to “trap” the author into incriminating himself, as if they were in a courtroom under cross examination. If nothing else it was a great lesson in how authors should retain ownership of the copyrights of their work. I’m curious if anything like that still happens in today’s publishing world.

P. S. This time I took a picture of my computer monitor and used a median filter to cut down on the moire patterns. Sophistication!

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