I recently had a private tour of Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. I was shown the famous stage where the original “King Kong” was filmed. “Do you know how big the real King Kong was?” The tour guide asked me. “He was huge!” I exclaimed.” “Wrong answer,” she said. “King Kong was an 18-inch puppet. Magnification and special effects did the rest.” Next we went into the prop room where a model submarine only a few feet long was hanging on a wall. “That’s the real Red October,” she said. The rest of the movie was filmed on a stage set. Then she showed me an ordinary parking lot. “Here is where we parted the Red Sea in ‘The Ten Commandments.’ ” A trench had been dug in the middle, and then the whole area was flooded with water. The film was edited and restitched backward so that the trench looked like it was emptying out. “Everything here is fake. That’s what you have to realize,” she said.
My tour guide did not mean “fake” in any negative sense. In the 20th century, such fake material was confined to the entertainment industry, which in that earlier age of technology was clearly separate from the news industry. Now the scope of what constitutes fake is vaster. And I do not mean President Trump’s false claims of “fake news,” which is merely news he doesn’t like or agree with. I mean the world of digital and video technology that has allowed the Hollywood mind-set of manipulating reality to distort how we think about the great issues of the day.
Read the full article in The Washington Post.