Loose Change: Don't throw the baby out with the bath water

I agree with the Village Voice who described Loose Change as a "slick, witty documentary featuring a hip soundtrack and a rapid-fire assault on nearly every aspect of the "official" story of 9-11"

I also very much agree with the review on Loosechange911.com by someone called Glen who said:

"I don't think i can type out in such an expression that would come across to let you know how impressed and floored I am by everything. The opening 5 minutes was so impressive factually that it was almost like a Jerry Maguire "you had me at hello" moment"

And well, you know how it goes. Fans of any film or TV show will all have opinions about what they want to see in it, while artists of all kinds are often accused of being too close to their own works to see what they are doing so well. It's a situation we have all been in before.

My feeling is that Loose Change, in laudably ever-seeking to refine its quality, is at some risk of reprocessing itself and its message to a point of over-dilution. Powerful nuances are being lost between different edits of LC which could undermine the spirit and message of the production that made it such a runaway success to begin with.

LC2E was a huge advance from the first version, but in the version of LC2E that I downloaded months ago and have burnt DVDs for others with, I noticed the WTC lobby scene with the funky harpsichord music from LC1 had basically gone. Why it had gone is a mystery as it was one of the most memorable and captivating moments from LC1.

Today, at the top of Google's video rankings is LC2E Re-cut, where for some reason Dylan has re-dubbed the introduction covering Operation Northwoods and Lyman Lemnitzer from LC2E. Perhaps the most important part of any production, it's beginning, has now lost a considerable chunk of its power by replacing Dylan's original and excellent urgent voiceover with a more lifeless, inorganic re-recording apparently striving for BBC-like coldness. You don't need to be neutral. There are also added visuals which are simply not required.

As Glen mentions in his review, the opening 5 minutes of LC2E were something particularly special and arresting, they worked so well because Dylan sounded like a young angry guy taking on the world, he sounded human. The timbre, timing and accents of Dylan's words had you hooked. Now it sounds like Dylan trying to audition for a town hall adaption of an Alan Bennett play.

By the time this re-cut version got to a subtle and unwarranted words twiddle; a somewhat gratuitous clarification in when Kennedy removed Lemnitzer, I stopped watching, this isn't the version of Loose Change I wanted to see.

LC2E was a huge step up from LC, and I should make it clear, this is not a debate about 9/11 content; about whether Flight 77 hit the Pentagon, or did Flight 93 really crash in Pennsylvania, it is about presentation, about the power of artistic persuasion, claiming your artistic license and knowing when something is working just great to leave well alone, and I'm not entirely sure why invaluable magic moments, often quite subtle and which work so well, are ending up on the cutting room floor.

To be fair, knowing when not to change something can be extraordinarily tough as well as horrifically aggravating and time-consuming as many of us may know from our own weary experiences, it does occasionally mean abandoning well-intentioned artistic ideas that you eventually realise are actually no stronger than the ones you are trying to replace.

LC is of course their production, and its artistic direction is a matter for the creators to take in whatever direction they want. Projects evolve and the LC team can only be applauded for investing so much in the continual advancement of their production and its distribution, But if this revisionist trend becomes too dominant, there is a danger of inadvertently ending up with a product that has accidentally watered itself down into a cautious and wary response to a list of criticisms about it that are also wrongly punishing the delivery. I think that would be a huge shame, especially as LC's stunning, fresh funky presentation and f*** 'em attitude has never been criticised at all.

I should stress, Dylan, Jason and Korey have done something quite amazing with Loose Change and have made a huge effort to making sure 9/11 remains in the publlic eye, but, irrespective of the specific arguments the documentary makes, every new version of Loose Change that appears, while making strong developments, is also loosing a little something that it had before which conceivably is slowly eating away at its artistic energy and consequently its communication power.

LC has many fantastic qualities that have made it a success, so this trend, in my humble opinion, could do with some attention.