The American Ruling Class (2005)
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First rate documentary about a class of people in the U.S. that supposedly do not exist. John Kirby's satirical documentary features former Harper's Magazine editor Lewis Lapham leading the viewer through a number of clips and interviews that question if America has developed a culture that runs the nation, or if it still is possible to rise up through hard work [you have to be kidding] and become one of the powerful people.
Among the artists and power brokers who dispense their ideas on this topic are director Robert Altman, writer Kurt Vonnegut, and folk singer Pete Seeger.
see the youtube trailer;
THE AMERICAN RULING CLASS is a morality tale set to music about two Yale students who seek their opportunities after graduation.
Lewis Lapham, the renowned essayist, author and longtime Harper's Magazine editor, conducts them through the corridors of power - Pentagon press briefings, the World Economic Forum, philanthropic foundations, Washington law firms, banks, the Council on Foreign Relations and New York society dinners.
As they make their way, the real-life luminaries they meet become characters in a dramatic story about power, its responsibilities and abuses. The subject is our country most taboo topic: class, power and privilege in our nominally democratic republic.
Part Monty Python, part Michael Moore, THE AMERICAN RULING CLASS is an entertaining clarion call for all citizens to consider who has power, how they acquired it, and most importantly, how they keep it.
Yale Alumni Magazine saw this film and their review:
"Take two earnest young Yale grads on an insider's tour of the nation's inner chambers of power: what would they think? What would they learn? Would they want to stay? The American Ruling Class, a satirical, quasi-journalistic expose of American oligarchy, not only asks these questions, but prances out on a limb to answer them."
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NOTES about the film:
1 The film stars Lewis Lapham, who plays himself as editor of Harper's Magazine. Lapham opens the film with the question of whether or not America has a "ruling class", a circle of wealthy and powerful families that run the banks, businesses, and government, essentially controlling everything in America.
2 And then there is Walter Cronkite. ''The ruling class is the rich, who really command our industry, our commerce and our finance,'' Mr. Cronkite says. ''And those people are so able to manipulate our democracy that they really control the democracy.''
3 ''The American Ruling Class,'' a documentary that frequently casts money-making in a muddy light at best, was followed by a PARTY (a Party folks, yes, you read it right) on the TRADING floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange. (you know the very floor that shows all those monkeys jumping up and down yelling out their bids on stocks).
I mean, really! a party was held after these geeks saw this film! The arrogance of it all is astounding!
4 The New York Times had an article about the film's debut:
"Bashing the Rich, Then Celebrating at a Hub of Commerce"
The following people are interviewed:
James A. Baker III
Hodding Carter III
William T. Coleman Jr.
Joseph S. Nye Jr.
Peter G. Peterson
Lawrence H. Summers
Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr.
William Howard Taft IV
Warning: You may want to 'take out' (ie, destroy) a Starbucks after viewing.
Conceptual and Entertaining. Informing in a almost sarcastic way. At times it caused me to feel underprivileged then immediately over privileged. Although I can't relate to any of these people, but thats part of the point. (I guess)
the kind of "documentary" that makes middle class folks cringe.... mindblowing, depressing.... nonetheless interesting.
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