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— Mischa Barton, Lawn Dogs

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Jaffa

Jaffa views the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through the lens of young love. —Matt Anderson (DVD review...)

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Right now, even as I write this — even as you read it — powerful forces may be deciding not only your fate but that of the whole world! It is the perhaps the greatest conspiracy in history! It aims to destroy all nations! All the planet will be under one government answerable to no one but the evil elite that have spawned it! It will be the New World Order!

Or so the people in New World Order by directors Luke Meyer and Andrew Neel would have us believe.

Who’s Running the Show?

New World Order is going to be big in 50 years, especially among the sociologists of 2060. By that time whatever is going to happen will have happened and this documentary is going to be a great record of what was going on before it all went down... or didn’t, as the case may be. However New World Order is not really about the The Great Conspiracy, it’s about the people who truly believe in it. Are they modern-day Cassandras cursed with the power of prophecy that no one will believe, or just a bunch of Chicken Littles bonked on the head by class politics?

Are they modern-day Cassandras or a bunch of Chicken Littles?
Are they modern-day Cassandras or a bunch of Chicken Littles?

The conspiracy in question comes down to the fact that the people who own everything are running the show. This would seem obvious but has apparently come as news to those hell-bent on exposing it.

Central to these true believers’ Great Conspiracy is the Bilderberg Group, and in many ways it is the usual suspect in populist uprisings. The Bilderbergs are a real group of rich and powerful people that hold an annual invitation-only conference and have compounded their Machiavellian aura by holding those meetings behind closed doors. The elite get like that sometimes.

Nothing New

Conspiracy theories are nothing new to the U.S. For instance, some in Lincoln’s cabinet were thought to be behind his assassination. The Republican Party may have had Harding poisoned after the Teapot Dome Scandal. FDR knew Pearl Harbor was going to happen before it did. And of course the CIA/Mob/Castro had JFK whacked.

New World Order starts with the Kennedy assassination, which is where many think conspiracy fever started. I would say that it’s more of a return to business as usual after an anomalous period of social faith and unity during and after WWII. (This may also be why Pearl Harbor conspiracy thinking didn’t take off in the 1950s like the Kennedy story did in the 1960s.)

The conspiracy du jour is 9/11 and New World Order touches on that where it intersects with the Bilderberg Group conspiracy. Birds of a feather, the followers of 9/11 dove-tail nicely into the bigger picture of the New World Order crew, both sides finding confirmation in each other’s beliefs.

New World Order is also about the current populist unrest. Again, this is not a new thing to the U.S. Andrew Jackson’s new Democrats in the 1820s, The Know Nothing nativists of the 1840s, Clement L. Vallandigham’s Copperheads of the 1860s, and William Jennings Bryan and the Prairie Populists at the turn of the last century were all reactions to many of the same things propelling the current populist wave: fear of change, a sense of losing control of one’s destiny, and a sense of being duped by monied forces beyond your understanding.

Shifting into Neutral

New World Order does not come to any conclusion nor make any comment on its subjects. No one will accuse the directors of being dupes of either The Great Conspiracy or those bound to expose it. It is unnervingly neutral throughout. These are the same guys that brought us Darkon, a documentary about Live Action Role Playing (LARPing) in which the players act out Dungeons-and-Dragons-like games over the course of a rural weekend retreat. In that film the directors were also very evenhanded and non-judgmental about fringe people and their passions.

In New World Order, there is almost a quantum-mechanics-like effect at play. To make the slightest comment is to take sides and immediately lose all objectivity. Evenhandedness here means “no-handedness.” The neutrality of New World Order is so great that this film may be one of the purest documentaries I’ve ever seen.

It does not want to convince you one way or the other about the Bilderberg Group. Or rather, it lets the faithful do that themselves. In one telling scene, an elderly man who has spent decades in pursuit of The Conspiracy and the Bilderbergs, tells the story of how as a boy he found out there was no Santa Claus. “I had been lied to,” he says. “If they were lying about that, were they lying about Jesus too?” He has a crisis of faith and decides to keep going to church because “life is more fun with (religion) than without.” It doesn’t take much to see that if you were to confront him with irrefutable evidence denying the Bilderberg Conspiracy, he would continue to believe in it. It is, as he might say, more fun to believe. All of that is done without actually saying he’s fooling himself.

This is because belief in The Conspiracy (or denying it) is like a religion. It is an act of faith. You either get that there is a God or you get that there isn’t. You either connect all the dots to the Bilderberg conspiracy or you just see a bunch of dots. The dots are really there, it’s what you make of them that’s important. Is this the end of civilization as we know it at the hands of faceless elite overlords? Or are these the manic ravings of confused and frightened kooks? You either get it or you don’t and New World Order does a wonderful job of showing you what getting it means.

DVD Extras

The DVD contains seven deleted scenes. They don’t add up to much of an extra feature until the last one: “Daniel Estulin: Book Tour New York,” which I found to be in turns sad, funny, and creepy. This is a thumbnail doc in and of itself, and I could see how inclusion in the main body of the film could be seen as a bias against the other people shown in it. Maybe it’s the next subject for the directors to tackle?

Picture and Sound

Picture and sound are first rate, though sometimes the “be here now” style of handheld filmmaking started to look and sound like the SciFi channel’s ghostbuster shows.

How to Use This DVD

Don’t expect this film to rip the lid off the world wide conspiracy of evil, but if you keep your lid on, you’ll see other peoples’ lids come off.