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Requiem for the American Dream 

Wednesday, Mar 2 2016
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There's no leftist alive who isn't a fan of Noam Chomsky — and for good reason — but Peter D. Hutchison, Kelly Nyks, and Jared P. Scott's documentary Requiem for the American Dream  comes across like more a greatest hits compilation than an album of new material. In a series of close-up interviews intercut with archival footage and new graphics, Chomsky lays out his "10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth and Power," which explain the methods the wealthy have used over years to make sure the distribution of that wealth stays so unequal. (One may be tempted to raise a lighter at "Manufacture Consent" as the phrase most closely associated with him — not counting the resonance that "colorless green ideas sleep furiously" has in linguistic circles, of course.) They're all interesting and well-reasoned ideas, but nothing is particularly revelatory in the days of a self-described democratic socialist running for president. Chomsky himself was never an especially dynamic speaker, particularly compared to his more personable progeny like Robert Reich, but here, he goes into full-on curmudgeon mode, particularly as he laments that kids these days are more likely to hang out in the shopping mall than the library. Requiem for the American Dream is valuable as a document of Chomsky while we still have him, but the people he's inspired may be his true legacy.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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