Corporations. Governments. Don't you just love 'em? Some seem somewhat responsive to constant vigilance and pressurizing expectations. While you're holding your breath awaiting moral reincarnations, take in the 5th Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival - Jan. 12, 13 and 14 - in Nevada City.
Amongst more than 100 films, many draw attention to the unsavory behavior of the powers that be. Many draw attention to dedicated Davids pitted against entrenched Goliaths, often with inspiring, even hopeful, outcomes.
As documented in the film "McLibel," the longest trial ever in the United Kingdom involved McDonald's, the poster clown of corporate insidiousness. In documenting McDonald's lawsuit against two ordinary people, you are educated dramatically about more than the contested litany of McDonald's contributions to heart disease, misleading advertising claims, nefarious marketing to children, exploitation of workers, and shocking treatment of animals.
"McLibel" is a legal battle that is more about freedom of speech than it is about those other kinds of corporate abuse. In Britain, anyone sued for libel has to prove each claim to the court. McDonald's was quite successful in shutting up newspapers and other media. People who were sued for libel were not entitled to the kind of legal aid available in other kinds of cases. When a postman and a gardener handed out leaflets, McDonald's spent about $20 million to shut them down.
Two ordinary people defended themselves. After more than three grueling years, McDonald's claims they won. Never mind that the court held that half of the leaflet's assertions stood up under this intense legal scrutiny. Never mind that the public relations nightmare yielded a relatively paltry damage award that McDonald's dared not try to collect.
Never mind that two ordinary people continued the good fight, suing the United Kingdom in international court. Since such documentaries are about raising awareness and seeding inspiration, it seems OK to "spoil" movie viewing by saying they won. People who can't afford a lawyer in the UK are now entitled to legal aid in libel cases. People in the UK now have a right to express their opinion about corporate behemoths. People attending the 5th Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival can learn lots about good fights being fought and some good results against huge odds.