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Today, many American college campuses are dominated by the ideology of political correctness. According to the tenets of political correctness, the United States is the source of all the world’s troubles, capitalism is evil, and people’s biological heritage makes them either “oppressors” or “victims”. Political correctness does not tolerate dissent, so students who disagree with the ideology are often punished. Tools like speech codes are used by school administrators to enforce thought conformity. At Cal Poly, one student endured a Kafkaesque disciplinary ordeal that lasted more than a year and ended up in federal court—just for posting a flyer announcing an upcoming event! Welcome to the world of higher education today, where universities seem more intent on teaching students what to think than how to think.
During the past year, I’ve been researching political correctness and traveling around the country talking with students, faculty and administrators. What I knew first-hand to be a problem when I was in college a decade ago has only gotten worse. Much worse. Political correctness is now a grotesque parody of itself, but as you can imagine, the students affected aren’t laughing. Neither are the parents and alumni whose money is used to prop up this system. Taxpayers have a stake in this, too. All public universities are funded by tax money, and almost every private university in the country is subsidized by taxpayers in the form of government grants and tax breaks.
Chances are, if you’re an American, your money is being used to finance higher education. You have a right to know what’s happening on our campuses. You have a right to know how your money’s being spent.
A year ago today, I was sitting in a car staking out Michael Moore, hoping to interview him about the documentary film business. Not only did I manage to get the interview, but I found Moore to be surprisingly encouraging to people like me who want to make films from a different perspective. Shortly after I posted the resulting video—entitled Michael Moore’s Call to Arms—Stuart Browning contacted me. Stuart is an entrepreneur who started the software company Embarcadero Technologies. In 2000, when Embarcadero went public, it was the most successful IPO of the year, eclipsing even the much-hyped Krispy Kreme.
After seeing the Moore interview—which contained a not-so-veiled plea for financing—Stuart wanted to know if I had any ideas for a feature-length documentary. I did: even before I posted my very first video on this site, I wanted to show the world the current state of higher education.
Stuart liked the idea, but he wanted a second opinion. He called on Blaine Greenberg, an attorney and 23-year veteran of the entertainment industry. During his career, Blaine has represented major motion picture studios, record labels, and celebrities like Angelina Jolie, James Farentino, Joe Theismann and Vanna White. With that much industry experience, Blaine has undoubtedly seen his share of bad ideas. Stuart fully expected Blaine to talk him out of it. But instead, Blaine wanted to be involved.
So, in the fall of 2003, the three of us formed On The Fence Films LLC, the production company that would handle making the film.
Since then, we’ve logged thousands of miles, visited around a dozen campuses, and interviewed scores of people. We still have many more hours of footage to shoot, so we’ll be traveling all throughout this new school year.
Our ultimate goal is to release a feature-length film in 2005. In order to be successful, we’ll need to find distribution for our film. Unfortunately, people in the film business generally don’t see the world the way we do, and we know that’ll work against us. (Just ask Mel Gibson.)
We’re releasing Brainwashing 101 now because we hope it’ll help us show distributors that there’s an audience for this type of documentary.
Since we don’t have a big marketing budget, our only option is a grassroots campaign. That’s where the Internet comes in. Having watched the rise of the populist new media—in the form of blogs—I truly believe that we can achieve our objectives online. Of course, a word-of-mouth campaign only works when there’s something interesting for those mouths to talk about. We believe Brainwashing 101 is worth talking about, but then again, it’s our film, so you might expect us to say that!
In the end, you will decide. And if you decide that our film is an important project, if you decide that other people should see what’s happening on our campuses, then you can make a difference. You can make a difference by e-mailing your friends. You can make a difference by writing about the film on your blog. You can make a difference by talking about the film in online message boards.
This is a remarkable opportunity for online media to flex its muscles once again and show the traditional media—the media that’s virtually ignored this story for decades—that there’s a new sheriff in town. We hope you’ll help us get the story out.