December 29, 2005

MAKING MOVIES FOR THEMSELVES (via Gene Brown):

Hollywood's misunderstood terrorists (Victor Davis Hanson, 12/29/05, Honolulu Advertiser)

Take this fall's "Flightplan," [which] 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 goodhearted, 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. [...]

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 the premise of "Syriana," 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.


Of course, Hollywood is paying the price of its anti-Americanism at the box office.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 29, 2005 11:00 AM
Comments

Don't they pick up a euro for every dollar they lose?

Posted by: ed at December 29, 2005 11:34 AM

ed:

Looks even worse (better) in Britain:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3525821a1870,00.html

Posted by: oj at December 29, 2005 12:01 PM

if americans reject hollywood's output then foreign audiences will pick up on that too, and likewise stop attending. hollywood doesn't lead the world, and it certainly doesn't lead america. their day of reckoning is arriving quickly. maybe it's my imagination but the really obnoxious actors seem to have gone into a steep decline (careers) since they started yapping it up. clooney is being bank rolled but his movies are universally flops.

Posted by: ebert's toe at December 29, 2005 1:59 PM

Thanks for the Steely Dan reference in the heading; it's a line from the song "Showbiz Kids", and almost any part of that song works in describing these overpaid, under-brained twits.

Posted by: John Barrett Jr. at December 29, 2005 2:44 PM
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