Archive for September 17th, 2010

NYTimes critic on DDT doc: Ongoing genocide isn’t news

September 17, 2010

On the bright side, New York Times film critic Neil Genzlinger reviewed the new DDT-malaria documentary “3 Billion and Counting” on the morning of the film’s premier in New York City.

On the less bright side, Genzlinger was decidedly less than impressed by the film’s message:

As for the argument, it’s not exactly new: advocates have been speaking out in support of increased DDT use for a decade, contending that its negative effects were exaggerated or misrepresented when it was banned by the United States in 1972 and that in any case they are outweighed by the millions of deaths caused by malaria.

No, it’s not news that millions of poor Africans (mostly children under 5) continue to die preventable deaths. That’s been going on for decades — ever since the New York Times helped advocate for DDT to be banned in the 1960s. The Times was even warned about the coming “genocide” in 1969 letters-to-the-editor by Thomas H. Jukes.

Then again, the Holocaust isn’t news either, yet when Genzlinger reviewed “Verdict on Auschwitz” in 2007, he found that film to be “emotionally draining.”

AIDS has been around since the early 1980s, but an HBO show about AIDS in Africa was “compelling.” That show’s producer told Genzlinger,

“Hopefully [the show] makes people who are maybe in more fortunate positions try to make a difference in whatever way they can. Even if they just think about [AIDS in Africa], that in itself is a significant thing.”

Apparently, the same consideration is not merited for the millions who have already died and will continue to die from malaria in Africa.

Genzlinger credited CNN’s “Planet in Peril” with being “thought-provoking” for showing how the introduction of the wolf into Yellowstone National Park had affected the ecosystem. But millions of kids allowed to die preventable deaths? Bo-ring.