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Monthly Archives: August 2012

About That Evil Jew in Act of Valor

August 10th, 2012 - 7:41 am

A reader in Amsterdam wrote to remonstrate with me because my positive review of the film Act of Valor ignored the evil Jew character and thus missed the film’s anti-semitic message. This is a fair criticism: I meant to mention this scene but, having thought it through to my own satisfaction, neglected to include my thoughts in the blog.

This is a small spoiler. It turns out the Islamist plot against America that powers the movie is being financed, irony of ironies, by a Jewish guy. When I saw this reveal, my jaw dropped and my first thought was: “You have got to be kidding me!” Was the movie selling some sort of Elders of Zion scenario where the Jews financed everything, including the work of those dedicated to wiping them off the face of the earth?

On reflection (and after consulting with the mighty and also all-knowing John Nolte at Big Hollywood), I came to feel that this was not the intent of the film. Rather I thought it was a ham-handed attempt to avoid the appearance of Islamophobia and give the picture some sort of moral complexity. Often, as we know, it’s the person who is NOT bigoted who says the most awkward thing — “Boy, that black gymnast is swinging around like a monkey!” — because he hasn’t got the implied slur in his mind. I believe that to be the case here.

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Suddenly It’s Offensive to Be Offended

August 7th, 2012 - 6:55 pm

All through the 1980s, feminists called men pigs, leftists called conservatives racists, and columnists openly compared right-wing politicians to Hitler. Then Rush Limbaugh came along and started fighting back, and all of a sudden we started to hear about the lack of civility in public discourse! Civility only became an issue when the left started taking it on the chin.

Likewise, getting offended and demanding apologies has for a long time been the default mode of the left. If you said “Obama’s policies hang over America like a black cloud,” there was a collective gasp. You used the word black and Obama in the same sentence! You must be racist. Talking while conservative was like being locked in a room with one of those Woody Allen characters who hear the word “Jew!” embedded in the most innocent remarks. The idea was to silence and hobble right wingers by making them worry about everything they said.

Well, sorry, now we have the internet where we conservatives can point out that the hatefulness and violent anger spewed by the left against anyone who disagrees with them, especially women and blacks, are megatons worse than anything coming from the right. And what do you know? Suddenly, being offended is out of style!

Here’s Bill Maher, writing not long ago in the New York Times: “Let’s have an amnesty — from the left and the right — on every made-up, fake, totally insincere, playacted hurt, insult, slight and affront. Let’s make this Sunday the National Day of No Outrage. One day a year when you will not find some tiny thing someone did or said and pretend you can barely continue functioning until they apologize.”

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A Mainstream Media Glossary

August 6th, 2012 - 6:00 am
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After watching and listening to mainstream media news reports of the presidential race, you may have begun to realize that our journalists use words in a different way than the rest of us. This is because they are highly trained news experts who have developed a precise technical language in order to explain things more exactly. So to help you decipher their coverage, I’d like to offer a partial glossary of terms that may come in handy over the next couple of months.

Let’s begin with the word gaffe. Now and then you may hear a news “person” say something like, “Mitt Romney made a gaffe!” or “Mitt Romney’s foreign trip was full of gaffes!” or “Wow, that Barack Obama, he’s so darned wonderful, he never makes a gaffe!” and you may wonder what that particular word means.

Gaffe comes from the french word for “hook.” A gaffe is something a Republican says that is absolutely true, but that can be twisted like a hook to sound false or embarrassing by the journalist using the gaffe. For instance, when Mitt Romney recently said that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that cultural differences between the Israelis and Palestinians accounted for Israel’s greater success, he was trying, in his silly, fumbling way, to say that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel and that cultural differences between the Israelis and Palestinians accounted for Israel’s greater success. But even though these statements are not only wholly factual but also obvious, a chronically dishonest PLO official pretended to be outraged, thus giving journalists the opportunity to put in “the gaffe.”

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I finally got to see Act of Valor the other day. This is the Navy Seal action film that stars actual Navy Seals. It’s good! An exciting action yarn with a very intense feel to it. The acting, of course, isn’t first rate, but it’s not bad at all and doesn’t get in the way of the story. Arnold Schwarzenegger was not exactly Laurence Olivier either. Great acting is not what action films are about.

Now, obviously, the film is patriotic and has a very powerful warrior ethos — that’s part of the pleasure of it, and you have to get your John Wayne on to fully enjoy it. This is no problem for me because I’ve got my John Wayne stuck on with KrazyGlue but I imagine there are some people who have to be in the proper mood. Whatever. The point is, the movie does what it sets out to do, and fans of cool, all-American action movies (like me) will definitely enjoy it.

Okay, so after I watched the film I went on Rotten Tomatoes and checked out the reviews. Viewers gave the film 75% positive ratings. Professional critics gave it 25%.

What??? Three fourths of the people who watch this movie like it, but only one fourth of the critics say it’s any good? How does that make sense? I mean, what is the point of a movie critic anyway? He has a job, right? His job is to tell you whether you’ll like the film or not, no? He’s supposed to tell you whether to plunk down your money for it. Otherwise, who cares what his opinion is?

Sure, we all understand that a critic might see a film and have aesthetic or personal objections, but shouldn’t he also have an awareness of what you, his readers, the reason his job exists, might think? Couldn’t he say, “Look, this fails as a work of art in my opinion, but lovers of hard-hitting action will enjoy it?” Couldn’t he say, “Hey, I prefer romantic comedies where guys sheepishly apologize to their girlfriends but if you, on the other hand, have testicles, you might like this instead?” Couldn’t he say, “You know, I’m a wet noodle of a leftist anti-American, but real men who love their country might be edified to watch a story about the tough guys who protect their freedoms?” Because, of course, that was the big objection the Tomato critics had to Act of Valor. Any number of them called it “propaganda.” Right. A piece of anti-American, anti-military, dishonest and poorly written horse wallop like “Valley of Elah,” won 72% praise from these knuckleheads, but a patriotic film is perforce propaganda.

A critic who hasn’t got the judgement or wisdom or simple frankness to tell you whether or not you’ll like a film regardless of his personal opinions should do something else for a living. Same goes for a journalist who can’t cover a story without tainting it with his personal politics. They are wasting skin that could be used to make an honest human being.


Cross-Posted at PJ Lifestyle

Related: See Roger L. Simon’s take:

An Academy Member Looks at Oscar and Act of Valor


August 1st, 2012 - 8:27 am

I like gay people and — let me be frank — hate fast food. But this nonsense about Chick-Fil-A underscores the reason I’ve been hesitant to indulge my natural libertarianism and plunk outright for gay marriage.

In general, I have no problem with marriage for gays, if it comes about legislatively rather than through judicial fiat. I’ve listened carefully to the arguments of several social conservatives of good will who feel that changing the age-old definition of marriage will weaken a principle pillar of liberty. I’m not convinced — not even convinced that the possibility of such a moral hazard is a compelling reason to keep people from doing whatever they bloody well want with their private lives. As for the ideas that being gay is unnatural or a sin per se — that is, a sin whether it does any earthly harm or not — I reject them outright. Homosexuality seems as much a part of nature as left-handedness and is probably much less annoying when using scissors. And if it is somehow offensive to God, that’s His business: I am specifically instructed to judge not in such matters and tend to my own manifold offenses.

But when activists and government officials feel justified in attempting obnoxious boycotts and illegal vendettas against a business like Chick-Fil-A merely because it puts forward traditional beliefs, I am reminded of the deep, vicious and steadfast intolerance of those who claim the mantle of tolerance. I begin to suspect — I do suspect — that the movement for gay marriage is nothing more than an assault on freedom of religion and freedom of expression by other means — yet another ploy of those who believe in an all-powerful state shepherding powerless individuals into leftist nirvana. Truly, I wish to deny my gay friends and colleagues nothing. But the right to express, exercise and live by your faith and conscience is far more essential to human liberty and dignity than the government’s official approval of your relationships. If what gay activists really want is the power to silence those who disapprove of them, then to hell with them.

I have never been able to see the problem with being gay and don’t know why some people find it repellent. What I find repellent are the hateful and intolerant radicals who wage war on people for their opinions. Wise gay people will throw these idiots overboard and make their case for acceptance with patience and reason to their fellow Americans. They are going to win this fight eventually, I think, but the method by which they win will matter to their future and the future of the country.