Overheard At the Whistleblower Film Series

Last week’s Whistleblower Film Series event was our best yet. After a screening of the movie Silkwood, POGO’s Peter Stockton — a congressional investigator of the Silkwood incident — and POGO Board Member David Burnham —  the New York Times investigative reporter referenced in the film — fielded questions from the audience.

POGO Director of Operations Keith Rutter was on the scene as well, keeping an ear to the ground and a finger on the pulse of the crowd.  Here, he lists choice comments overheard throughout the course of the evening.  According to Keith, they are presented “in no particular order, with the names left out to protect the innocent . . . and the guilty.” Take it away, Keith:

On the movie:

  • Having the film here in Rayburn is much more impressive than in the Capitol Visitor Center.
  • This film has way too much plot.
  • If you weren’t anti-nuke before you probably are now.
  • There sure is a lot of character development in this film.
  • I like the Capitol Visitor Center so much better than this hearing room.
  • Karen Silkwood might have been a little flaky, but you have to give it to her — she had guts.
  • Nowadays this film would have been cut down to 90 minutes and you probably wouldn’t have missed anything.
  • That’s why unions are necessary.
  • Wow, how inspiring is Karen Silkwood?!
  • I saw some flaws in the movie that today wouldn’t pass.
  • Oh my God, did you see how young Cher was?!
  • Unions are like democracy, flawed, but better than the alternatives.
  • Could you believe they had Silkwood singing “Amazing Grace” twice in the film?!
  • If you’re not from a working class background, you might have trouble relating to the film.
  • This movie might have had its problems, but it is a must-see film.
On the post-film discussion with Stockton and Burnham:

  • This was by far the best discussion of any of the films so far.
  • There was a lot that they said that should have been in the film.
  • Ever notice that bringing the topic of Israel into a discussion is like bringing in “abortion”? It is just going to polarize whatever you’re talking about.
  • I wish the film would have been shorter so we could have had more time with Burnham and Stockton.

This week we’re showing The Insider on Thursday October 22, at 6:30 P.M. in room 2247 of the Rayburn House Office Building.  After the screening, there will be a discussion with Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, the whistleblower who took on the tobacco industry and is the protagonist of the film.  We hope you’ll join us!

— Bryan Rahija

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2 Responses to “Overheard At the Whistleblower Film Series”

  1. Greg Williamson 22 Oct 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I agree that this is a great introduction to the idea that nuclear safety doesn’t begin and end at the power plant – it involves the entire nuclear fuel cycle.

    It begins when the uranium is dug up, and tailings are left in huge piles next to the mine to get rained on and seep into the ground water. It goes next to under-paid laborers like Karen Silkwood, who’s management pushes them to cut corners in order to make a buck. And then after materials are used in the plant the waste has to be stored for thousands of years, and as a nation, we can’t even agree on where to store it.

    A few years ago, the U.S. program to stabilize waste through vitrification essentially had not progressed from where it was way back when I was at POGO nearly two decades ago.

    Keep up the good work, and keep finding new ways to introduce new audiences to this issue.

  2. Larryon 22 Oct 2009 at 1:57 pm

    I also heard a woman say she wished there would have been an intermission during the film, because the movie was so long she needed to run to the bathroom.

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