There’s nothing that makes Hollywood more nervous than portraying Islamist terror. As far back as 1994, James Cameron’s True Lies was denounced as racially insensitive for imagining a chillingly plausible Islamist terror threat involving nuclear weapons. Cameron, anticipating accusations of unfairly linking terrorism with Islam and Arabs, took care to try for “balance” by placing an Arab-American character on the good guys’ side (the actor who played him, Grant Heslov, this year won an Oscar as one of the producers of Argo). Yet the advocacy group the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) slammed the film anyway. The hysterical 1998 movie The Siege imagined that, in an overreaction to a terrorist attack, Brooklyn would be placed under martial law and all young Muslim men would be interned in Yankee Stadium. Ridiculous.
Since 2001, of course, Hollywood has almost completely avoided showing any Muslim involved in terror, changing the bad guys in 2002’s The Sum of All Fears from Palestinians to neo-Nazis. The 2005 Jodie Foster movie Flightplan, about an abduction on an airplane, used a hint that Arabs might be responsible as a red herring. The actual villain: an all-American air marshal played by Peter Sarsgaard. Several Middle East themed movies like Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies essentially saw a moral equivalence between the U.S. and the Islamists, saying both sides were up to comparably nasty stuff in the War on Terror.
Jazz and Islam, Part 9
Jazz was more popular than ever in the early ’60s. Then the Beatles exploded onto the American pop music scene, and that was the end of that. Jazz artists who had begun the decade engaging in innovative and enthusiastically received explorations of harmony and rhythm finished it by offering up tired, pale instrumental covers of psychedelic Top 40 hits. Ever since then, many of jazz’s fiercest partisans have spent an inordinate amount of time insisting that jazz is not dead — which, like the claim that “Islam is a religion of peace,” wouldn’t have to be endlessly repeated if it were obviously true.
If jazz is dead, two suspects who should be brought in for some intense questioning are two of the unlikeliest people ever to be thought of as the ones to have administered the coup de grace to America’s foremost native art form: Miles Davis and John Coltrane.
Now don’t get me wrong: I am one of the most ardent fans either one of them could possibly have ever had. On my shelves are easily two hundred discs featuring one or (better yet) both of them. Their historical role as towering musical pioneers and composers, improvisers, and virtuosos of the first order is unshakeable. Yet in their own ways, where the vibrant and popular jazz of the 1960s is concerned, they became death, the destroyer of worlds.
John Coltrane took the road less traveled. He became enamored of Ornette Coleman, the great innovator of “free jazz” — and with good reason. Coltrane liberated his sound from the dense chordally based improvisations he pursued with characteristic passion in the late ’50s and early ’60s — first adopting Davis’s modal approach, and then emulating Coleman in exploring improvisations free from harmonic structures altogether.
In The Company You Keep, Robert Redford stars in as well as directs a story of an ex-Weather Underground radical who has been living quietly as a public-interest lawyer in upstate New York for more than 30 years. His true identity is discovered by an annoying reporter (Shia LaBeouf) after the apprehension of one of his co-conspirators (Susan Sarandon), who was one of four terrorists who robbed a bank and murdered several security guards in the process.
Redford, that noted “liberal activist,” shows where his sympathies truly are. This is a movie that argues:
1. The Weathermen were fighting for peace.
The Company You Keep begins with a montage of real news clips (and a fake one) edited together to tell the story that the Weather Underground grew out of the antiwar group Students for a Democratic Society and that its activities were meant to end the Vietnam War by “bringing the war home.” Nonsense. The Weathermen loved war and wanted more of it. They were a murderous group of Black Power and Marxist revolutionaries bent on the violent overthrow of the United States. After the 1970 accidental explosion that killed several terrorists who blew themselves up with their own bombs in a downtown New York City townhouse, the true intent of the bombs was revealed: They were meant to be used to blow up a library on the campus of Columbia University. Not exactly a military target.
It wouldn’t be fair to call The Incredible Burt Wonderstone a disastrous movie. It would be fair, however, to call it three or four disastrous movies crammed into one: It’s abysmally awful as a buddy flick, as a broad satire of Las Vegas, as a romance, and as a soulful character-based comedy. In a moviegoing year that is already piled deep with the remnants of terrible movies, this one skitters atop the garbage heap like a roach.
Steve Carell plays the title character, who in the opening scenes is a kid in the 1980s who turns to magic because he’s lonely. He’s the kind of boy bullies chase around the block, and after a rough day of being forced to eat tree bark, when he arrives home at an empty house we find out that it’s his birthday. But all he has to show for it is a note from his mom, a single present and instructions to enjoy making his birthday cake (if he wants to bake it himself). The present, though, is a box of magic tricks, together with a video by legendary magician Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin) that give him an opportunity to master something and a lifelong friendship with a classmate, the equally dorky Anton.
Cut to the present day, when Burt and Anton, under their goofy stage names, play packed houses every night in a Vegas hotel-casino despite putting on a groaner of an act complete with red velvet tuxedos, corny patter, and the theme song “Abracadabra.” The act seems to be a spoof of David Copperfield, Barry Manilow and Siegfried and Roy, staged with the maximum cheesiness of Gob’s magic act on Arrested Development. Carell and Steve Buscemi (as Anton) sport silly wigs and prance around being bitchy with stereotypically gay mannerisms. (Yet minutes later, Burt is revealed to be a ladykiller, the homoerotic scene between the two men forgotten.)
The arrival of an amazingly annoying Jim Carrey on the scene as Steve Gray, an underground hipster street musician modeled after Criss Angel and David Blaine, sets the woefully tame plot in motion: Will Burt and Anton adapt to contemporary tastes or will they fade into irrelevance?
The lyrics of the anti-US song performed live by PSY and several other popular Korean singers in 2004 (shortly after the US invaded Iraq) were first translated into English two months ago on CNN’s iReport:
싸이 rap :
이라크 포로를 고문해 댄 씨발양년놈들과
고문 하라고 시킨 개 씨발 양년놈들에
딸래미 애미 며느리 애비 코쟁이 모두 죽여
아주 천천히 죽여 고통스럽게 죽여
Kill those f***ing Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives
Kill those f***ing Yankees who ordered them to torture
Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers
Kill them all slowly and painfully
PSY’s anti-American views weren’t discussed when the K-Pop star appeared on Ellen.
Exit question: Will anyone in the mainstream media ask PSY if he still supports killing US soldiers and their family members?
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Political theology, as defined by Wikipedia:
Political theology or public theology is a branch of both political philosophy and practical theology that investigates the ways in which theological concepts or ways of thinking underlie political, social, economic and cultural discourses.
Writing amidst the turbulence of the German Weimar Republic, Carl Schmitt argued in Political Theology that the central concepts of modern politics were secularized versions of older theological concepts.
Center-Left polemicist John Avlon at The Daily Beast claims that “Over the past four years, no less than 89 obsessively anti-Obama books have been published.” This isn’t true — and Avlon knows it — as a casual stroll through “Interactive Hate: The Great Obama-Loathing Canon” reveals. Many of the titles he calls “books,” those who made them understood as short pamphlets. I recognize several that I helped edit and produce for a conservative 501(c)3. Others come from obscure, self-published authors with no influence.
Avlon’s big number of anti-Obama “books” hides the reality: plenty of titles with scary Obama pictures on the cover filled the market since 2008 but few offered little more than a polished collection of what you could find for free doing anti-Obama google searches. To understand the president one must look beyond the new release shelf.
Here are the 15 books I’ve found most useful in grasping the intentionally confusing worldview of our commander-in-chief: 4 recent books focused on Obama by conservative critics, 6 historical books on movements and ideologies, and 5 titles by the president, his supporters, mentors, and influences.
To grasp Barack Obama we need to understand the books he read when he first began his community organizing journey three decades ago. We have to put ourselves in the head of the young, college-age Barry to understand how ideological seeds grew into the disastrous public policy of his administration. To know where to begin we start with the two books by Barack Obama’s best, most underrated analyst, Stanley Kurtz.
Since its publication in October of 2010, Radical-in-Chief has served as my primary map for navigating the stormy media waters of the Obama presidency. I reviewed it here for the publication I edited at the time, instructed all my writers to read it, and applied a blunt headline to summarize its importance: “Case Closed: Barack Obama is a Socialist Working to Destroy America.”
My progressive friends laugh their heads off when I argue this with a straight face. They see Obama as a corporate sell-out still carrying on most of Bush’s war policy. Obama’s just a wimpy, moderate liberal and party hack beholden to Wall Street. To which I respond,
That’s what Obama wants you to think. In his memoir he admits attending Socialist Scholars conferences in New York City in the early 1980s. Stanley Kurtz has verified which ones he attended, who spoke there, and what ideas were argued. It’s there that Obama learned about what community organizing really is all about. And when you read these people’s books — like Saul Alinsky — they admit it quite openly that they are just pretending to be centrist pragmatists in order to dupe do-gooder liberals like I was and you still are so they can gradually implement a European social welfare state. There’s a reason why over 90% of Europeans would vote Obama. He’s one of them.
That’s when my friends usually change the subject.
How do we know for certain that Obama’s ideology is still the same as in the early 1980s when he began his career as a stealth socialist community organizer? It’s not just because his administration draws from the ranks of community organizers and employs the movement’s tactics on the national level. It’s because Obama still works with the same people who are still pursuing the same goals. All that’s changed is now Obama’s the “good cop,” a friendly politician, instead of the hardball activist “bad cop.”
In Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities, Kurtz shows Obama’s second term plans. He reveals that the exact same community organizing mentors who trained Obama now work for him. Their goal? To quietly, as no one pays attention at the national level, use regulatory boards to implement “Regionalism.” The objective: create regions based around metropolitan areas that can swallow up and redistribute tax money from the richer suburbs to the poor inner cities. They would also seize control of schools, lower educational standards, and implement regulations to stop the growth of suburbia. Kurtz describes it as replicating the collapsing system of the European Union here in the United States. This is the “fundamental transformation.” And Kurtz unearthed documents within the archives of these stealth socialist community organizing groups irrefutably identifying Obama as a partner in the effort.
Barack Obama may have begun as a minor figure within the world of community organizing but by the mid ’90s he was a major player, responsible for directing millions through his position on the boards of numerous charitable foundations. The paper trail Kurtz assembles between his two books of Obama’s deep associations with this ideological movement to transform America lies too deep for any of the president’s defenders to explain. So they can only follow the president’s lead, a favored tactic of Alinsky, and obfuscate.
Just like the youtube deception with Benghazi, and just as we see in the next two books, focusing on the methods of ACORN and Eric Holder’s Department of Justice…
Related from Ron Radosh: The Book to Defeat Obama: Stanley Kurtz’s Spreading the Wealth
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