Saturday, August 4

Movies - Ugh!

<-Saw a shrill movie tonight. It was all preachy and about how my country is a despicably evil place run by sinister people who are driven to maim, steal, plunder, and murder to enrich or protect themselves. It was ninety minutes of unrelieved hatred aimed at making it clear that the only true patriots are those who awaken from their terrible actions long enough to ruin the conspirators in the Presidential branch.

The unrelenting one sidedness of the thing left me with a grim feeling about audiences. The plot was not based upon any real events, but it was presented as if they actually happened in just the past seven years, which coincide of course with the present President's tenure. All of evil doers in this international conspiracy to wreak world havoc were white anglo males. Two of the three heroes were women.

Which, I suppose is why my image tonight is so passive. The emotion has been sucked away... leaving me as empty of joy as this scene. Oh, I'm still warm and welcoming, but after an evening of watching high decibel insults hurled at much that I cherish... Well, tonight it's hard to find a way to shine the sun onto my neighbor's doorway.

GEEK STUFF: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EFS 17-85mm (f4-5.6),1/20@f/4.5 exposure Bias value: -0.67, ISO: 400, Focal Length: 26 mm, Date/time: 5/30/07: 7:08pm pm, Metering Mode: Partial, Camera RAW


advman said...

And, may I guess, this movie was made by Americans?

Isn't it interesting that the US are so omni-present in the media, that even their most distorted caricatures are produced by themselves? And of course this omni-presence is one reason why the US face such grim resistance all over the world: American money forces American culture down everybody's throat, whether they are able and willing to digest it or not. It happens everywhere, and even here in the heart of Europe many people don't like our "Christkind" being replaced by Santa Claus, and All-Saints by Halloween, but of course it is not easy to resist McDonalds when Ronald takes over your children.

And this is only Europe. We may resent some of the American attitudes, but after all we are not so fundamentally different and our general history with the US is one of cooperation and peace.

Not so in all parts of the world. In many countries European colonialism was simply replaced by American dominance, and for people starving or struggling to keep their beloved alive, it is often not so much of a difference if they live in an independent state or not.

So, from an outside view, cultural dominance is one reason why the US have a problem with their image, being the only remaining super-power is another, and, let's put it carefully, some aspects of the American foreign policy do not particularly help. I mean, there were all reasons in the world why Saddam Hussein deserved his fate. He was a cruel dictator, but so was Augusto Pinochet, and Pinochet was supported by the US all through his infamous career, right from the beginning. On the other hand, the image of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein didn't help either.

I think one of the problems of the US is, that they always argue on moral grounds, while it is so often so easy to see through. Basically, the perception of the war against Iraq is, that after 9/11 a helpless president, having no clue on how to act effectively, waged war against a country that had not been involved at all, simply because he wanted to be a war-president and being such would allow him to get re-elected. Again, it didn't help that he left the impression of wanting to clean up where his daddy had failed. And when it all fell apart, when it was clear that Iraqi people in general had been better off before the war, even with their cruel dictator, when it had become clear that the US had effectively fostered terrorism by giving the Islamist fundamentalists a moral base, and that the world had not become a safer, but a more dangerous place, that left an impression of blunder and incompetence.

I don't know if this is seen that way on the non-Republican side of American political life, but Hollywood has always been open to really very critical views on official US policy. Think of Barry Levinson's hilarious satire "Wag the Dog". Can it get more cynical? I can remember other movies where the NSA, the CIA or other government agencies were the bad guys, so what does this tell us about the internal perception of the US?

Is this simply a sign of a working democracy? Or is this a sign, that in a society where money is the highest value, nothing can be exempt?

I don't know. As you may see from my comments and as you may have already guessed, I don't hold the government of George Walker Bush in high esteem, much to the contrary, so I probably would have found the movie you saw perfectly plausible (and then maybe not), but what really interests me is, what exactly made you so furious? Isn't that one-sidedness only a counter-balance to the one-sidedness of the official image America tries to show of itself? Can the one be condemned without questioning the other? Isn't all reality veiled by imagery, one way or the other? Isn't a bit of truth in all of them and never the whole truth anywhere?

Hmm ... reality may be the most complicated place to be in :)


Bill said...

To use your own words, this image is 'warm and welcoming'. That soft warm light in the doorway and window speak to me. If I were a stranger in need of assistance, I would not hesitate to knock on this door.
I won't jump into the political discussion here, but I will say that in all of my travels in the U.S., Americans, on an individual basis, have always been, just like your neigbour's doorway, warm and welcoming and no movie or other media hype will change that.

I'll leave it at that.

John Roberts said...

I agree. This home looks warm and welcoming, as our country still evidently appears to the most of the rest of the world, evidenced by how many still try to come here. Conversely, I don't see America bashers lining up to go somewhere else.

Ted Byrne said...

(Andreas) Ah the great satisfaction of political freedom is that people who respect one another can have wildly divergent interpretations of data and yet share similar desires with respect to a common goal of bettering the quality of life for all. The richness of differences and their consequent passions I suspect have allowed us to discover over time what does and doesn't work. Unfortunately the act of discovery has been unpleasant from time to time. But given enough years and enough experiments perhaps we shall realize utopia. Be a pity though if utopia means such a universal agreement that passion becomes the final victim.

Sorry I seemed to get political with this post. Actually I was reacting to the clod-like lack of nuance of the "creative" people who executed the movie. Which is why I develop a, "grim feeling about audiences," which simply tolerate polemical drivel as entertainment. BTW, I don't care if the propaganda is from the right or left, I either want it out of my entertainment, or to be sufficiently creative that it enobles me. My reaction to this flick is that it did neither. Sigh...

(Bill) My image making is my therapy. Days in the editor's office are sufficiently, um, cramped, that it's useful to escape into the warm and charming stuff of fiction... ergo... the name of my blogsite.

(John) For a long time I was a network talk show host with a daily show broadcast throughout the United States. Before that I did television work. Simultaneously I did a certain amount of writing. Much of all of that involved intene debate of political and cultural issues. And much of that was unfortunately propelled by contention. Talk radio audiences are attracted to contention the way that drivers cause gridlock when they pass an accident. We humans have a taste for the grisly.

I have put that gun into my holster, and placed the holster in a safe. I'm glad you found the image warm and welcoming... after the movie... those were qualities which sounded appealing to me.

pnfphotography said...

What a comfy neighbor door... I love the red and the golden light. I too have just watched a scary movie and will be up way beyond the hours I need to be tonight. I am not a horror film person so they really get my mind cranked into overgear.

A pretty heavy topic politics and I too shall pass on that. I know everyone is not happy with the US and I understand why.

Chad Oneil said...