Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I’m Ready For My Close-Up, Mr De Luded

If you didn’t know the Telegraph was a Conservative paper, you wouldn’t guess from reading this story.
The powerful film, unveiled for the first time at a London screening this week, deals with the aftermath of the capture and murder of 11 Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972.
And later on the Israeli counter-strike:
[Ciarán Hinds character] cleans up the murder scenes...

The quintet travel to European locations (Rome, Paris, Cyprus, Athens, London) to confront their victims.
So when terrorists seize unarmed hostages they ‘capture’ them, but when an Israeli taskforce zaps the Tangos, they ‘murder’ the ‘victims’. Folks, this ain’t moral equivalence, this is moral nihilism. Still, the article does raise one serious question: does Hollyweird remove all sense of self-awareness and humility from its denizens, or do you have to be insane to make it in the first place ?
Munich was already a hot Oscar favourite even before it was completed, just 10 days ago. Yet Spielberg seems less interested in chasing awards than in using the film to provoke an international debate about terrorism.
So, no cute aliens in this one then ?
The aim of [hiring a bunch of former Washington insiders as flacks] is clear: to position Munich, which opens in America on December 23 and in Britain on January 27, as a serious, important film that goes beyond mere entertainment. Spielberg wants it to be discussed by politicians and in newspaper comment pages. To underline the film's blue-chip credentials, its script was co-written by playwright Tony Kushner, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Angels in America.
Lest we forget, that was the film about AIDS in which the comic relief was provided by the depiction of one of Joe McCarthy’s former assistants dying of the disease. No wonder Spielberg wants such a classy guy on board.
Also, there are no one-dimensional baddies here; even the hit squad's targets are sympathetic or well-rounded. One Palestinian is a charming, civilised author; another is the loving father of a young daughter. A third has a calm, rational chat on a staircase with Kauffman about his dreams for a homeland. "The Palestinian targets are not demonised," Kennedy said.
‘Cause, y’know, the last thing you’d want would be to demonise Islamopathic killers.

Of course, the Yin of stupid moral equivalence can’t exist without the Yang of the supposed terrible, corrosive effects of violence:

Most crucially, the squad's killing mission is neither casual nor fun. It comes to exert a heavy toll on them. "All this blood comes back to us," says one of them, mournfully. "We can't afford to be decent any more." Kauffman says bleakly at one point: "I feel less every day." As events progress and the assassinations mount, he becomes increasingly fearful, paranoid and prone to nightmares.
So, to sum it up, killers are people too, and any attempt to resist them leads inevitably to a descent into madness. A-huh. Of course, that last bit is pretty much the line Spielberg was pushing in War of the Worlds: even when faced with alien invasion, the real danger is from those people who want to resist.

Well, alright, Spielberg is another Hollyweird Moonbat. Quelle surprise! Except that these people keep pushing this line, it’s the underlying assumption behind their position on issues such as Gitmo, invading Iraq and the like, but when anyone calls them out on it, they deny it. Oh no – they’re totally behind the WoT, it’s just that they genuinely believe complete surrender is the one thing Al-Quaida are most scared of. Right!
This ties in with Spielberg's views about terrorism in the Middle East. "The biggest enemy is not the Palestinians or the Israelis," he told Time. "The biggest enemy is intransigence. I don't think any movie or book or any work of art can solve the stalemate in the Middle East today. But it's certainly worth a try."
And next week we’ll be curing cancer through mime. Anyway, there must be a hell of a lot of ‘intransigence’ out there, what with all the trouble in Thailand, Chechnya, Nigeria and now Sydney – amongst many others.
To this end he has bought 250 video cameras and players, and is giving half to Israeli children and half to Palestinian kids. He wants them to make video diaries of their daily lives, then exchange them to promote mutual understanding.
And this really is the one, truly profound moment in the whole interview. It’s one of the central questions of our time: why is it always the people who babble about the importance of ‘understanding’ are always the ones who so obviously fail to understand anything about actual Islam ?

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