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“What if someone offered you a job which paid a million bucks, but you knew it would kill a million people? How about if it meant the end to a hundred thousand, or, say, ten thousand… or a thousand? Would you take the job?” — Question posed by Alex Gibney to the author

A new Netflix series kicks off with a scathing look at the Volkswagen emissions scandal of 2016 which is an absolutely MUST SEE. For folks who think they know what the VW abominable revelations were all about… do not. I can guarantee that hardly anyone knows the depth and full ramifications of the scandal. In fact, “scandal” is far too weak a word to apply to what came down; it didn’t just involve action which was morally and legally wrong causing public outrage and punishment.

In fact, the thrust of the horror delineated continues courtesy of many corporations and with multiple countries’ complicity. And it is nothing short of jaw-breakingly astounding that this “story” has left the front pages.


I’ve read ten reviews of the documentary which were all positive… securing a 100% approval rating from critics. But not a single one of them got the import of the film’s message. All they did was get excited about positive aspects of the work, praising the cinematic accomplishment in general. The socially-conscious bottom line was lost on them, as was the environmentally-conscious urgency that was underscored.

The VW top echelon’s indiscretions included the gassing humans and animals. But the parallels with the horrific history of Nazi Germany are not as important at this juncture as the fact that the ongoing crimes being committed by advocates of our car culture exceed the sins of VW.

By “advocates” I mean members of the general public who are more interested in jobs, convenience, status and other personal concerns than the Collective Good. Automobiles are — clearly — killing us in a number of ways, and the Dirty Money series — in its very first segment — does a great job of encouraging viewers to do something about our momentum.

Its creator, Alex Gibney, does not preach that we should do something about the unholy alliance between governments and automakers. Rather, he merely delineates the nuts and bolts necessary to light a fire under oneself to make a difference.

The cover-up dynamic uncovered in the documentary alone begs for new movement in solidarity and a transformation of consciousness regarding our main means of transportation. The vast amount of professional time and energy wasted on waging unnecessary battles with the powers that be at VW to honor their bottom line is disgusting… and such unconscionable waste of human heartbeats continues.

People responsible for such a waste of life need to be held accountable far more than they are at present. And not just within the realm of our car culture , of course Across the board, and against the spirit of the capitalist consciousness which protects them, encourages their indiscretions… and mendacity. [Pause.] And murder.

I’m overstating the obvious for most, I imagine. But it seems worth the heartbeats to write this piece, if you the reader will take the time to see if the details in this documentary move you to make a radical difference. Soon.

Perhaps you’ll be one of the people who make VW come to stand for Venal Waste in the minds of millions, and move many more to do something about their many corporate counterparts in our culture.

Marcel Duchamp Oxman can be reached at


One Comment

  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    People, including some serious journalists , love to dwell on cosmetic touches of documentaries, films, art or books: they rarely expose inner meaning of the message. They live on ‘ Dirty Money’ without bringing out the ‘ dirt’ … The society is moving towards indifference towards ecology