But this sort of melding of fact and distortion has been the Playa opponents‘ root strategy from the very beginning. To the self-styled Wetlands activists, the truth about what’s actually going on in Playa Vista often seems to be a closed book in a sealed briefcase deposited in a welded-shut steel safe in a cavern at the bottom of the Marianas Trench.
Take documentary filmmaker Sheila Laffey‘s anti--Playa Vista film, The Last Stand, for instance. This is probably the most beautifully made documentary I have ever seen that is, fundamentally, based on a lie. It’s been around for a year or so, but got another PBS airing recently in what I suppose you might call a director‘s cut. I never saw the earlier version.
But I saw this one. I saw the brisk intercutting between the shots of flying herons and spawning fish in transparent waters and those shots of bulldozers tearing up landscape. I knew that the one didn’t have anything to do with the other; but no one seeing the movies without prior knowledge could avoid the conclusion that the dozers were out to get the hatchlings and the shore birds. Even though one might recall that bulldozers, after all, are a bad choice of weapon to destroy wetlands because, come to think of it, they do not float. Of course, the intent here is to elude the fact that when the project -- which includes a section of restored wetlands -- is complete, there will be more wetlands than before construction began.
Ed Asner, a good man for parroting scripts, did a standup, telling us that these lands had to be saved. Behind him were some attractive sloping areas which happened to have already been saved -- and revegetated -- as, original Playa activist Ruth Lansford reminds us, a result of the compromise by which more than half of Playa Vista remains open space. Out of such techniques, the Soviets and the CIA used to make marvelous propaganda movies. Their craft has not been lost.