Clowns & Jokers

Stuck in the middle.... Left, right, centre. It's a mess out there.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Its Oscar Weekend! Oscars for Osama

By Charles Krauthammer WASHINGTON --

Nothing tells you more about Hollywood than what it chooses to honor. Nominated for best foreign film is ``Paradise Now,'' a sympathetic portrayal of two suicide bombers. Nominated for best picture is ``Munich,'' a sympathetic portrayal of yesterday's fashion in barbarism: homicide terrorism.

But until you see "Syriana,'' nominated for best screenplay (and George Clooney, for best supporting actor) you have no idea how self-flagellation and self-loathing pass
for complexity and moral seriousness in Hollywood. "Syriana's'' script has, of
course, the classic liberal tropes such as this stage direction: The Deputy
National Security Advisor, MARILYN RICHARDS, 40's, sculpted hair, with the soul
of a seventy year-old white, Republican male, is in charge''.

Or this piece of over-the-top, Gordon Gekko Republican-speak, placed in the mouth of a Texas oilman: ``Corruption is our protection. Corruption is what keeps us safe and warm. ... Corruption ... is how we win''. But that's run-of-the-mill Hollywood.

The true distinction of "Syriana's'' script is the near-incomprehensible plot -- a muddled mix of story lines about a corrupt Kazakhstan oil deal, a succession struggle in an oil-rich Arab kingdom and a giant Texas oil company that pulls the strings at the CIA and, naturally, everywhere else -- amid which, only two things are absolutely clear and coherent: the movie's one political hero and one pure soul. The political hero is the Arab prince who wants to end corruption, inequality and oppression in his country. As he tells his tribal elders, he intends to modernize his country by bringing the rule of law, market efficiency, women's rights and democracy. What do you think happens to him? He, his beautiful wife and beautiful children are murdered, incinerated, by a remote-controlled missile, fired from CIA
headquarters in Langley, no less -- at the very moment that (this passes for
subtle cross-cutting film editing) his evil younger brother, the corrupt rival
to the throne and puppet of the oil company, is being hailed at a suitably
garish "oilman of the year'' celebration populated by fat and ugly Americans.
What is grotesque about this moment of plot clarity is that the overwhelmingly
obvious critique of actual U.S. policy in the real Middle East today is its
excess of Wilsonian idealism in trying to find and promote -- against a tide of
tyranny, intolerance and fanaticism -- local leaders like the Good Prince. Who
in the greater Middle East is closest to "Syriana's'' modernizing, democratizing
paragon? Without a doubt, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, a man of
exemplary -- and quite nonfictional -- personal integrity, physical courage and
democratic temperament.

Hundreds of brave American and allied NATO soldiers have died
protecting him and the democratic system they established to allow him to
govern. On the very night the Oscars will be honoring "Syriana,'' American
soldiers will be fighting, some perhaps dying, in defense of precisely the kind
of tolerant, modernizing Muslim leader that "Syriana'' shows America
slaughtering. It gets worse. The most pernicious element in the movie is the
character who is at the moral heart of the film: the physically beautiful,
modest, caring, generous Pakistani who becomes a beautiful, modest, caring,
generous ... suicide bomber.

In his final act, the Pure One, dressed in the purest white robes, takes his explosives-laden little motorboat head first into his target. It is a replay of the real-life boat that plunged into the USS Cole in 2000, killing 17 American sailors, except that in "Syriana's'' version, the target is another symbol of American imperialism in the Persian Gulf -- a newly opened liquefied natural gas terminal. The explosion, which would have the force of a nuclear bomb, constitutes the moral high point of the movie, the moment of climactic cleansing, as the Pure One clad in white merges with the great white mass of the huge terminal wall, at which point the screen goes pure white. And reverently silent.

In my naivete, I used to think that Hollywood had achieved its nadir with Oliver
Stone's "JFK,'' a film that taught a generation of Americans that President
Kennedy was assassinated by the CIA and the FBI in collaboration with Lyndon
Johnson. But at least it was for domestic consumption, an internal affair of
only marginal interest to other countries. "Syriana,'' however, is meant for
export, carrying the most vicious and pernicious mendacities about America to a
receptive world.

Most liberalism is angst- and guilt-ridden, seeing moral equivalence everywhere. "Syriana'' is of a different species entirely -- a pathological variety that burns with the certainty of its malign anti-Americanism.

Osama bin Laden could not have scripted this film with more conviction.


I disagree that 'JFK' was thankfully for domestic consumption. My sister - if shes
reading will know what i mean. I was completely taken in by that film as a
teenager & my opinion of America skewed - "Back, and to the left... Back, and to the left...".

The BBC of course lapped it all up.

Drinking From Home :-

Here are some Clooney quotes from his interview on the programme, talking about
world affairs as only film stars can:

"The truth of the matter is you don’t have to run the cartoons. It's not necessarily censorship. It's maybe just saying, 'It's a little hot right now - let's not push those issues.' Look, I'm a freedom of speech guy. I grew up, you know, I'm the son of an anchor guy so I believe you should be able to say anything."

Except when things get "a little hot", obviously.

"The New York Times - that’s where we get our straightest news from."

Ha ha ha ha!

"Sanctions and inspectors were working."

Yes I suppose they were, in a UN multi-billion dollar fraud kind of way.

So, if like me you've grown a bit sick of the BBC's week-long promotion for George Clooney and the rebirth of 'idealistic cinema', above's the bit in Team America where his head gets blown off

In short & in my humble opinion the films crap, confusing & Clooney doesnt even look good. 'Munich''s better. Thanks to City Troll and Drinking from Home


At Sunday, 05 March, 2006, Blogger associatecontributor1 said...

Everybody's trashing Hollywood these days, but they're not so bad. You're
friends at The Dick List just signed a big deal with Steven Spielberg to produce the ultimate Liberal movie. Check it out.

At Monday, 06 March, 2006, Blogger "Alice" said...

Everybody's trashing Hollywood these days, but they're not so bad.

No, they are just plain old Hollywood trash.

p.s.Again, Alison, great post.

At Monday, 06 March, 2006, Blogger Jo said...

Disappointing cut and paste Alison.

Have you seen the movie? I was criticised for not having my own views but pasting others...I think a genuine personal review might be worth something.

But after all, if you dont want to watch something you just dont go. Should Hollywood be closed down?

I daresay, if the politics of 2006 Holloywood is something you find repulsive, you may have liked the Stallone Rambo movies? If not, why not? I wouldnt have thought they were too mindless for some that you choose, in your wisdom, to link to. I would have thought you smarter than that, though :)

At Monday, 06 March, 2006, Anonymous alison said...

Perhaps yes i should have started by stating it was a cut and paste of note - when i read the piece i thought it hit the nail on the head. And as such I chose to share that. The author touched on JFK which had a profound effect on me. I was angry that Stone only professed his true feelings many years later.

The films i link to are just an eclectic mix of stuff ive grown up with of all genres, not an attempt to look smart. Films should be entertainment after all.


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