Posted by Peter W. Schramm
Andrew Klavan writes a very interesting op-ed in the L.A. Times on Hollywood and how it is ignoring the war. Why can’t we fictionalize that Islamo-fascism is an evil and American liberty a good? (via NRO)
Hollywood isnt ignoring the war; its just scared of it. Making a movie about the War on Terror while were still in the thick of it could be disastrous for Hollywoods reputation, safety, and financial well-being. Due to dissatisfaction, most people equate the War on Terror solely with Iraq and Guantanamo Bay now; given the power and speed of the media nowadays as compared to every other war, Americans cannot pick up a newspaper or turn on the radio, television, or computer without seeing something about new attacks in the Middle East or the latest American death toll, and theyre getting sick of it. Not only that, but its almost to the point where a lot people dont even care when they read about a dozen or so American soldiers dying in an explosion; now they just skip over the headlines. For Hollywood to portray something about the present war on terror would probably be financially disastrous, as many people like to escape the real and present world for the fantasies Hollywood grants them--- leaving the real world to go see more about the current fighting would not be something a lot of people would do.
And, as the article mentioned, Hollywood has fallen victim to political correctness. They dont want to risk offending Muslims, especially after the riots held around the Muslim world just for a European cartoonist making fun of their Prophet. And while Hollywood tends to portray certain bad aspects of our Middle Eastern escapades like in Syriana, they dont go out of their way to make the Muslim world look too friendly towards us. Studios still havent forgotten the Hollywood Blacklist. Youll find most of the celebrities involved in the recent protests dont praise Muslims as their excuse for withdrawing from the war, but rather vent frustration at American deaths in Iraq and the Presidents handling of things.
Now, do I think what Hollywood is doing is good? Not necessarily. But it just is trying to tread carefully. One the war on Terror starts to turn and the American publics opinions start to change, you can probably expect a brave studio to make a pro-American movie on the world. They, like the public, just havent reached a point yet where they equate Islamo-facism to evil like many people equated communism to evil.
If they were really concerned about not offending Muslims, theyd be cutting way back on the nudity, which doesnt seem to be happening. Their best excuse probably is the box office, although Jack Bauer doesnt seem to be doing poorly. But one of their stated excuses is silly, the idea that showing American soldiers fighting Islamists would be racist because it would pit white guys against a dark-skinned enemy. But the American military is thoroughly integrated and it wouldnt be hard to depict only a few whites in an otherwise integrated group of American warriors--which Hollywood PC would tend to dictate anyway, whatever the color of the enemy.
In fact, war movies didnt too very well during World War II, either. Heck, the top grossing film of the entire war was Bambi. People went to the movies to get away from the war, not to hear more about it. The only reason Hollywood made so many war films then was that the Roosevelt administration was pushing them to do so. FDR knew that the studios were subject to prosecution under the antitrust laws, and used that as leverage to get pretty much whatever he wanted out of them.
I find it interesting that Hollywood felt free to portray Muslims as terrorists right up until 9/11 when they actually carried out a great crime against humanity. Then, it became offensive to portray them that way. After all, people might get it into their heads that Muslims might be terrorists in the real world.
That is because Hollywood was and is well aware of the fact that there are decent Muslims in the United States and did not want to incite any more hatred for them than there already was. The world has become increasingly hostile to Muslim Americans. Many people fail to realize that most (though, sadly and dangerously, not all) of our Muslims are different than the ones in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, as we can successfully integrate most of them with our beliefs and customs. In the days following 9/11 there were several attacks on Muslims in the US, and due to the overwhelming anger and frustration of the American populace after the attacks, the movie industry is not so keen to incite anything else.
I guess thats a possibility, though there is also the possibility that they are unwilling to represent all those Muslim terrorists as well . . . terrorists. Or, I guess they have bought into the whole "peaceful" religion theme. When Buddhists become responsible for hundreds of attacks around the globe, Ill be glad to prod Hollywood to call a spade a spade.
I think its just because they believe that the "terrorists" are just a victim of their circumstances and therefore a non-issue. Much better to focus on global warming and shady American doings (a la Syriana, The Good Shepard, et al).
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