Wednesday, August 10, 2011


After it became known that Sony's planned movie project to be based on the raid on bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan would actually be more like a reelection prop for Obama, Big Hollywood ran a poll, and the results show that a solid number so far - 98 percent - are discouraged from seeing Katheryn Bigelow's movie because of how it could be less a straightforward focus and more of a political election maneuver.

I think it's worth arguing that these kind of dispiriting turn of events aren't too surprising. It brings to mind how, as a comics reader who's been alienated from much of the output of both Marvel and DC comics because of some of the most horrific editorial mandates and politicizations of their own material they've been making in the past decade, that's why I was discouraged from reading anything more positive they might have done, and still am. In fact, it's worth noting that some of the not too many conservatives allowed to work in the wider field aren't much better than their liberal counterparts: Bill Willingham, for example, may have made Fables into a pro-Israel metaphor, but the problem is: if you're someone who finds misogyny in showbiz a concern, you wouldn't be happy to know that Willingham, willfully or not, lent himself to a couple such steps DC did during 2004-05, and then, when people voiced their offense at one of his steps, he took to insulting them, rather rudely too, I might add. It was as though he was mocking the audience, and I think it goes without saying that's hardly at all a way to maintain one's audience.

Later on, he wrote a piece about "superhero decadence" on Big Hollywood at the time it was just starting out, where he verified his conservative stance, but not only does it not excuse his prior behavior, I personally just couldn't bring myself to congratulate him. His actions from several years ago struck me as so jaw-droppingly vulgar, how was I supposed to just congratulate him now? It makes no difference if he wrote those stories at the behest of the editors; after he insulted his own audience - something I don't think he's ever actually apologized for - it's hardly helping to tell everyone he's written a story where Robin helps on a mission to Afghanistan when he's done something else that runs contrary to common sense. And it sure didn't bring him much audience afterwards either.

There's a lesson to be learned both ways here - on the one hand, when you turn what could be a powerhouse film project about the raid on bin Laden's hideout into a politcized project, or on the other, if, as a conservative, you do something that's offensive and contradictory to what most conservatives would stand for, there's every chance that even conservatives will be alienated. If my offended reaction to Willingham's terrible behavior from 2004-05, and the Big Hollywood audience's reaction to the news on how the Pakistan raid movie project's being handled, is any indication, then yes, there are conservatives out there who aren't just going to overlook past mistakes when it's more likely there's a case at hand of scoundrels using patriotism as their last refuge. Sometimes, these kind of people really know how to sabotage potentially good ideas and make it impossible to appreciate them, even when there's good intentions at hand.

The news of Sony's politicization has led to a call for investigation by Rep. Peter King:
New York Republican Rep. Peter King sent a letter Tuesday to Defense Department Inspector General Gordon Heddell and CIA Inspector General David Buckley, expressing his concern about declassifying sensitive information for pure entertainment.

“The administration’s first duty in declassifying material is to provide full reporting to Congress and the American people, in an effort to build public trust through transparency of government,” he wrote. “In contrast, this alleged collaboration belies a desire of transparency in favor of a cinematographic view of history.”

In his letter, Rep. King noted that the mission was successful because it was extremely covert, and that providing “high-level access” to a Hollywood filmmaker runs contrary to that effort.
There probably is a valid argument here that it isn't proper to just give away classified info for the sake of making a movie.

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