News / Arts & Entertainment

    In Valerie Plame's 'Blowback,' Reality Grittier than Fiction

    Real Life Grittier than Fiction in Valerie Plame's 'Blowback'i
    X
    October 10, 2013 11:14 PM
    The 2010 drama "Fair Game," starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, catapulted the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame onto the silver screen. VOA's Penelope Polou has more in this report.
    Penelope Poulou
    The 2010 drama "Fair Game," starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, catapulted the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame onto the silver screen.
     
    Plame's life took an unexpected turn after having her cover blown by Bush administration officials, shortly after her husband, former U.S. diplomat Joe Wilson, refuted government claims that Iraq's Saddam Hussein was trying to buy enriched uranium from Niger.
     
    Ten years after the scandal, Plame has returned to the world of espionage — this time as a novelist.
     
    In a pop-cultural medium where female agents are often stereotyped as femme fatales, Plame says Vanessa Pierson, the main character of her new novel, "Blowback," is a woman trying to balance personal life with career, very much like herself.
     
    “They are either over sexualized, or [there is] heavy reliance on physicality, or they are victims," says Plame. "Or basically I think of them as paper dolls.”
     
    Plame cites Angelina Jolie's role in "Salt" as an example.
     
    “Angelina Jolie looks so beautiful that she looks fabulous doing anything," she says. "But I cannot say that it has anything whatsoever to do with reality.”
     
    More recently, however, female spy characters have broken that mold and captivated audiences with the likes of CIA operative Maya, played by Jessica Chastain, as she hunts down Osama bin Laden in Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty."
     
    "I'm all for courageous and strong women that persevere against great odds, but it really was a team effort of dozens of CIA officers over an extended period of time that led to finding Osama bin Laden," says Plame.
     
    But products of popular culture, she adds, have sometimes successfully portrayed real life aspects of modern espionage.
     
    "The government has been in bed with the entire telecommunications industry since the 1940s," she says. "They have infected everything. They get into your bank statements, computer files, email, listen to your phone calls."
     
    The 15-year-old drama "Enemy of the State," in which the protagonist, played by Will Smith, has his life upended by sophisticated government surveillance techniques and whistleblowing is a good example, and, Plame says, eerily close to recent revelations of the NSA's electronic surveillance.
     
    “There is a dynamic and a balance, of course, between security on one hand and privacy on the other," she says. "But I worry about what an overzealous prosecutor or... heaven forbid, if there is a part of the government that moved toward tyranny. [It would be] very dangerous because information is power and we now know how deep and how pervasive — I mean, this is no surprise — the NSA has gone in order to keep us safe.”
     
    Blowback is Plame's first in a series of novels throwing light on the shadowy life of a female spy.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs

    African Music Treasures