Rumors of life in the Gulf are greatly exaggerated

Rumors of life in the Gulf are greatly exaggerated

The Big Fix, screening at the Ojai Film Festival, explains why the BP oil disaster was worse than we imagined

By Michel Miller 10/25/2012


“The political establishment here have been prostitutes to the oil industry — and not high-price call girls.  In many cases, cheap hookers.”


— Bob Marshall, outdoor editor of The Times-Picayune


If you think the BP oil disaster is over, think again. If you believe your geography grants you immunity from the ecological havoc it wreaked, you’re unfortunately, wrong.  And if you’re under the impression there’s nothing more to the story, you are mistaken. The Big Fix, a documentary by brave Ojai filmmakers Josh and Rebecca Tickell (Fuel), not only explores the spill’s devastating impact on the environment, economy and culture of the Gulf of Mexico — and the reverberations elsewhere – it exposes the dirty truth about the cleanup and goes deep to the root of oil dependence and the political corruption that keeps us shackled to corporate power.

When news of the Deepwater Horizon explosion first made headlines, Josh, a Louisiana native and environmentalist, paid close attention to reports.  As the story unfolded, he and his wife, Rebecca, began to suspect the mainstream media wasn’t telling all, so they packed up and headed to the Gulf — camera and actor/executive producer Peter Fonda in tow. (Fonda, an avid sailor, took the spill personally.) As the crew spoke with locals, BP officials and activists, the utter tragedy of the situation became acutely apparent, as did the feeling that “cleanup” was becoming synonymous with “coverup.”

The Big Fix begins with the history of oil production in the Gulf (including activist Huey Long’s heroic battle with Standard Oil and his subsequent untimely death) and ends with a blistering indictment of a political system bound to corporate interests — it’s not a pretty picture and one is left with little hope by the time the end credits roll.

With each turn of BP’s PR machine and every special interest dollar that changes hands, this film becomes more important. And as the nation is once again forced to choose between the lesser of two evils for the presidency, understanding how and why the oil industry controls public policy and which candidates are getting the most lube, is crucial to making informed decisions.

The Tickells put themselves in harm’s way to shine a light on the sinister goings-on in the Gulf and its shocking consequences, which we won’t know the scope and severity of for generations to come. Shortly after being exposed to the toxic soup of crude oil and chemical dispersants that continue to choke the life out of the region, the skin on Rebecca’s  feet began to peel off. Within weeks, her symptoms worsened, and after a boat ride into Gulf waters, her chest broke out in blisters and she contracted chemical pneumonia. The doctor who examined her said he, too, had been suffering  from a burning throat and chest since the spill. According to the filmmakers, residents and insiders say not only is oil still leaking as a result of the Deepwater Horizon accident, but dispersants continue to be sprayed in the dark hours of the night.

There are as many elements to the BP disaster as there are chemicals used to cover it up, and all of them are equally critical to understanding the corporate takeover of these “free” United States of America. From BP’s history of disregard for safety, and its recklessness in the days leading up to the explosion, to the destruction of the region’s fishing industry (second only to oil in economic impact), the scandalous use of cheap and highly toxic dispersants to hide the volume of oil released from the well (fines are directly related to gallons spilled) and the unimaginable ecological wreckage and human health toll (to date only one of 91,000 medical claims has been paid by BP), not to mention payoffs in the form of grants and campaign contributions plus Washington’s failure to hold BP accountable in any form, and the new contracts for drilling in the Gulf that were green-lighted by the Obama administration, this is a story that every U.S. citizen needs to know — and this is the film to tell it.

The Big Fix will screen at the Ojai Film Festival on Saturday, Oct. 27, 3 p.m. in the Chaparral Auditorium. For more information, visit or


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Lordy, those of us that live along the Gulf Coast sure do love you Califonia folks.

You will not allow your own oil and natural gas resources to be developed because your beaches are way too nice for that. It use to be OK in the Gulf of Mexico because, afterall, nobody needs oil more than Califonians, now its not OK, people need to go to jail and...lets make a movie out of it!! Hot diggity dog.

The Macondo tragedy was an accident. Good men died. Thousands of good men have died in California over the years developing onshore oil and gas. And some of the biggest messes ever recorded have been made in California. We have to look for and produce oil in hostile environments like 5000 feet of water now days because the easy, inexpensive stuff is gone. Where are you folks going to get all your gasoline if we stop looking for oil and gas in deep water? Heaven? By the way, the 3rd biggest mess in US history (besides the worse one ever near Taft) was the Exxon Valdez. That oil in that tanker was bound for Long Beach, California of all places. I don't think you folks have the right to point your clean fingers at anyone.

BP has been held plenty accountable, to the tune of 40 billion dollars and counting. They fixed the blowout using robots with little mechanical arms, in pressure that would crush all your BMW's like ripe squash, then cleaned up what there was to clean up. You should have seen the effort. I did. It was amazing. Now there is saftey mechanisms in place that equal engineering feats similar to going into space if somthing horrible like that happens again. And it might. Accidents happen.

Cover up? That blowout was the single most visible disaster the world has ever known; you could litterally sit in front of a computer and watch the blowout flow? Cover up, my ass.

I just got back from Venice, the water in the marshes and along the front beaches was clean and clear, the redfishing was outstanding, there were people bringing in big yellowfin tuna from offshore near the blowout site, the fried trout and shrimp gumbo was outstanding. People were working and living the good life. The Mississippi River stunk from all the pesticides and fertilizers floating down from Iowa but it always stinks. We're carrying on down here, working hard, providing for our country's energy needs the best we can. When you folks get ready to chip in and help, let us know.

Enjoy the picture show.

posted by Mikey on 10/25/12 @ 12:37 p.m.

You calfornians are unbelievable. Greenpeacethe last remnant of greasy hippies,have learned how to make a fortune floating around in the ocean acting heroic and basically doing nothing.
They"greenpeace" are very good at riding a huge private DIESEL burning vehicle around
the world on duma--es dime while telling everyone the sky is falling. Having lived in a coastal city that saw tons of oil tankers sunk during ww2,I can tell you oil is not radiation,it will soon be eaten by microbials. I never saw any oil on my eastern beach.No,not even 10 years after the germans laid waste to many a tanker here.
Now California,a place every child of the sixties dreamed of going to,is the laughing stock of the rest of us.People leaving by the thousands weekly and old governor moonbeam has been re-cycled.Grow up,the world is not and never will be a panacea.
Get a real job and quit trying to baffle everyone with your liberal BS.

posted by firenet on 10/26/12 @ 03:15 p.m.
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