Wag the Dog

Barry Levinson’s Wag the Dog has been nominated for best film in 1998 promoting the need for greater DEMOCRACY. Similar to Catch 22, the film plays out a plausible scenario to an absurd conclusion. In this case, a presidential candidacy wanes, provoking the incumbent to launch an external war in order to boost his re-election chances. The candidate allows political advisers to turn political campaigning into media hype, style without substance, thus destroying the meaning of democratic elections. Although the events appear to depict George Bush entering Iraq, no such docudrama is involved. Instead, the audience views a more paradigmatic portrayal of the way in which elections are used as devices to control public images rather than to debate important issues. MH