Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hollywood Goes to GWoT
Thanks for the Ambivalence

So there's this at Captain's Quarters. The points:
(a) Hollywood (traitorous, liberal, etc.) is making anti-GWoT movies
(b) They aren't doing well at the box office
(c) So there (i.e. the public is On To Them)

The idea is that movies like Rendition basically show us as full of ennui, and uncommitted to the war(s), because, well, they aren't really worth fighting. Etc.

My thoughts, in order of occurrence:

(i) Slow blog day? There should be a word for manufacturing outrage about minor issues in order to have something to blog about. Also: partisanship sells, and the right loves to bash them some Hollywood. (Cripes...and what a slow-moving target that is... I want get in on some of that action...)

(ii) Wait a second. Movies are basically what pass for American culture these days (that and music videos...). So maybe the messages getting sent out there do matter after all! Holy crap!!!
Does this stuff really get into people's consciousnesses(eseses)? I mean, I've already begun to think that...move over Tipper Gore...rap videos are a plague on the land (not, like, excellent old school rap, but, ya know, the new stuff where it's nothing but fat guys waving money at aych-oh-apostrophe-esses in gold bikinis who are having orgasms by looking at BMWs) it's a short hop to worries about movies...(and a short hop to cutting my hair and yelling things like "hey you kids! Git off'n my property!"...)

This requires some thought, I fear.

(iii) But one almost footnote before I leave to do what passes for thinking with me... There's a note of disapproval and anti-liberalism, of course, in all these kinds of arguments. And some of it may be warranted. But as for ambivalence about the GWoT...that is almost 100% attributable to Bush/Cheney and conservative proponents of the Iraq invasion. Return with me now to those glorious days of yesteryear, early 2002, when we were, ya' know, attacking the people who attacked us. Everybody but the tiniest handful of total nuts backed the invasion of Afghanistan. The whole world loved us, even my liberal friends were saying things like "why don't we have more boots on the ground now?" I have two pacifist colleagues, and they were both in favor of invasion!

They were the bad guys, we were the good guys, and never was there a more justified invasion. A state run by (mostly foreign) totalitarian religious kooks who were protecting the world's foremost terrorist who had just committed an almost unbelievable act of mass murder. There was unity, baby, at home and abroad. We were righteous and everybody knew it.

But then you know what happened. The administration dropped the ball, shifting crucial resources for an invasion of Iraq that was already being planned and OBL got away. Then the lies, the distortions, the exaggerations, the marketing campaign for the unjustified and disastrous Iraq war. The derisive and mendacious attacks against everyone at home and abroad who tried to talk sense--old Europe, unpatriotic, objectively pro-terrorist, and all the other shameful hogwash.

And so now the good war is inextricably linked with the bad one in the consciousness of the world.

So, yeah, I think it may be worth worrying about how this is all being portrayed in fiction. But this fiction has a factual basis. The culprits here are not the conflicted public, nor the conflicted movie-makers, but the despicable and incompetent administration that made ambivalence a sensible attitude.

(And if ambivalence is a sensible attitude for us to have...reflect for a moment on how things must look from the perspective of lots of folks in the Middle East. Congrats, Mr. Bush, for being so wrong that you can make it possible for OBL to say "I'm right" without getting laughed out of every house in the world.)


Blogger Colin said...

re: point (ii)

a) In all fairness, Big Pimpin' was a pretty good song, and that recent Fat Joe video where his car exhaust shot 20 dollar bills was hilarious.

b) Plenty of old school rap was fairly degrading to women, and plenty of new school rap/hip hop culture is pretty pro-woman. Remember, Missy Elliott and Queen Latifah are considered cultural icons nowadays.

I would say that the difference is that because getting your song in rotation/on MTV is expensive as hell, you can't exactly do a 'Roxanne's Revenge' and have a counterpoint get as wide exposure as it would have when hip hop was trading tapes on street corners and getting parties going. I think your beef here is with culture industry (MTV/Clear Channel/Us Weekly magazine/etc) than it is with hip hop; you can probably safely say that culture industry is responsible for the Big Stupid American Movie, too.

I admittedly didn't read the link but if I had to guess I would say this is a case of someone saying 'Big Stupid American Culture doesn't reflect my values exactly.' This was stupid when certain folks on the left were complaining about 24 and torture, and it's stupid now.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...


7:38 PM  

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