The Silver Screen
Consider a world where you can lose your pants as long as you don't lose face. Then look around you. The War on Terror "largely does not exist" for Hollywood, argues Andrew Klavan, because the idea of good American guys hunting down foreign bad guys is just not cool -- it sounds bigoted. In the LA Times Klavan writes:
In order to honestly dramatize the simple truth about this existential struggle, you have to depict right-minded Americans — some of whom may be white and male and Christian — hunting down and killing dark-skinned villains of a false and wicked creed. That's what's happening, on a good day anyway, so that's what you'd have to show.
Moviemakers are reluctant to do that because, even though it's the truth, on screen it might appear bigoted and jingoistic. You can call that political correctness or multiculturalism gone mad — and sure, there's a lot of that going around. But despite what you might have heard, there are sensible, patriotic people in the movie business too. And even they, I suspect, falter before the prospect of presenting such a scenario. ...
Which is a shame. It's a shame for so powerful an art form to become irrelevant because we can't find a way to dramatize the central event of our time. It's a shame that we live under the tireless protection of lawmen and warriors and don't pay tribute to them. And purely in artistic terms, it's a shame that so many great stories are just waiting to be told and we're not telling them.
But thanks, anyway, to the men and women of the FBI, for the seminar and, oh yeah, for trying to keep me alive and free. You truly have my gratitude. Just don't expect to see it at the movies.
Klavan's article is brilliant, but he fails in his choice of words in one singular respect. It's not a "shame" for "for so powerful an art form to become irrelevant because we can't find a way to dramatize the central event of our time". It's a scandal. Some individuals may find it convenient to blame President Bush for all the reversals that have taken place since he started fighting the War on Terror. And doubtless many reversals are the result of the President's mistakes and his alone. But to a certain extent whatever failures have befallen are partly ours too. The desire for safety without paying the price; the hope that evil men will back down simply because we believe they will. All will have its price. And it would be well to remember, for those who rejoice in watching George Bush pay the penalty for his errors, that the Wheel may round on us too. That one day we may awake to world grown weary of our childhood. Alone in the movies. And the lawmen gone away.