Theodore's World: Victor Davis Hanson - Well Said!

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December 30, 2005

Victor Davis Hanson - Well Said!

Hollywood's misunderstood terrorists

Victor Davis Hanson Hits a Bullseye!

When terrorism goes to the movies in the post-Sept. 11 world, we might expect the plots, characters and themes to reflect some sort of believable reality. But in Hollywood, the politically correct impulse now overrides all else. Even the spectacular pyrotechnics, beautiful people and accomplished acting cannot hide it.

Instead, moviegoers can anticipate before the opening credits that those characters who work for the American government or are at war with terrorists will likely be portrayed as criminals, incompetents or people existing on the same moral plane as killers.

Take this fall's "Flightplan," in which the U.S. air marshal on board and a flight attendant turn out to be the true terrorists. Meanwhile, four Middle Eastern males are unfairly put under suspicion in the lynch-mob atmosphere on the plane.

The film warns us that the real threat after Sept. 11 is certainly not young Middle Eastern males on planes who might hijack or crash them into iconic American buildings. No, more dangerous in Hollywood's alternate universe are the flight officials themselves — who in reality on Sept. 11 battled terrorists only to have their throats cut before being blown up with all the passengers.

A slickly filmed "Syriana" is the worst of the recent releases. The film's problem is not just that it predictably presents the bad, ugly sheik as a puppet of American oil interests while the handsome and good independent crown price is assassinated for championing his oppressed people against Western hegemony. Or that the conniving corporate potentates have big bellies and Southern accents while the good-hearted, sloppily dressed George Clooney is double-crossed by his stylish, pampered CIA bosses safe in the Washington, D.C., suburbs.

"Syriana" also perverts historical reality. Everything connected with the oil industry is portrayed as corrupt and exploitive, with no hint that petroleum fuels civilization. Hollywood producers might not see many oil rigs off the Malibu coast, but someone finds and delivers them gas each morning for their luxury cars.

And who are the really greedy? Do the simple arithmetic of pumping petroleum in the desert: After expenses of typically under $5 a barrel, rigged cartels in the Middle East — run by Iranian mullahs, Gulf royals or Libyan autocrats — sell it on the world market for between $50 to $60. They don't merely price-gouge Americans in their SUVs, but also third-world struggling economies in places like Africa and Latin America.

Plus, in the real world outside Hollywood, does the United States really assassinate Gulf royalty who wish to liberalize their economies and give women the right to vote?

Contrary to "Syriana"'s premise, the gripe against contemporary American foreign policy is just the opposite. Realists, isolationists and leftists alike damn the United States as naive or foolish for obsessing over democratic reform in Afghanistan and Iraq, pressuring Saudi Arabia and Egypt to hold valid elections and insisting that the terrorist patron Syria leave the voters of Lebanon alone.

The price of gas skyrocketed after the American invasion of Iraq. And oil companies, especially French and Russian, were furious when Saddam Hussein's kleptocracy fell —and their sweetheart deals were nullified by a new democratic Iraqi government.

Moral equivalence is perhaps the most troubling of Hollywood's postmodern pathologies — or the notion that each side that resorts to violence is of the same ethical nature. Steven Spielberg best summed up the theme of his recently released film about the 1972 murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics and the subsequent Israeli hunt of the perpetrators: "A response to a response doesn't really solve anything. It just creates a perpetual-motion machine."

Spielberg's "Munich" assumes just such a false symmetry between the killers who murdered the innocent athletes and the Israeli agents who hunted them down — each in their own way victimized and caught in a cycle of "perpetual" violence.

Lost in this pop moralizing is the reality of 1972, when none of Israel's neighbors were willing to accept the existence of the Jewish state within even its original borders. Then there was no chance that Israeli agents would storm an Olympic event and murder athletes — but every probability that the Soviet bloc, Western Europeans and Middle East autocracies would never hunt down international terrorists who had done so to Israelis.

Actors, producers, screenwriters and directors of Southern California live in a bubble, where coast, climate and plentiful capital shield the film industry from the harsh world. In their good intentions, these tanned utopians can afford to dream away fascist killers and instead rail at Western bogeymen — even in the midst of a global war against Middle East jihadists who wish to trump what they wrought at the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

If Hollywood wants to know why attendance is down, it is not just the misdemeanor sin of warping reality but the artistic felony that it does so in such a predictable manner.

Wild Thing's comment......
Hollywood's hatred for President Bush is so intense, (heck all liberals hate for Bush has the same intensity) that their hate for Bush takes their mental disorder right into wanting Death to America. Oh they may not say it although some do (!) , but their actions, their words, the slant of the films loaded with propaganda against those wanting to go after the terrorists, their visits to the enemy i.e. Sean Penn, Barbara Streisand etc. scream out their hate for America.
If our country does not start to bring back some kind of serious punishment for traitors and those that commit acts of treason there will be hell to pay. I could care less if the hell rains down on the traitors but sadly it will not single them out, it will smack down on the innocent, those that love America and those that have supported the war on terrorists and the innocent will be included right along with the traitors.

You are invited to visit my Traitors To America page at my website.

Posted by Wild Thing at December 30, 2005 12:27 AM

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IIRC WT, I think Tom Clancy washed his hands of the making of the movie based on his book "The Sum of all Fears" because of hollywood's insistance that the rag head characters from the book be replaced by some shady european types. I've never seen the movie even though it was one of my favorites of his books-

Posted by: Lee at December 30, 2005 09:03 PM

That is interesting Lee, thanks for the information and comment. I did not know that but it makes sense that he would feel like that he has always been very careful about how his books are made into films.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 31, 2005 12:19 AM

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