September 29, 2007
Racism at Rutgers - never criticize the athletics program
Yesterday, Jeff Goldstein touched on the O'Reilly 'racist' kerfuffle. There's also another "controversy" over Rush Limbaugh, in a segment with a caller, using the term phony soldiers -- also snipped out of context because four remarks later, still in conversation with the same caller, Limbaugh discusses "fake soldiers" like "Jesse Macbeth".
At a lower profile is the troubling story of Rutgers' English Professor William Dowling. The good Professor has been a thorn in the administration's side for some time and has recently published a book
For more than a decade at Rutgers, Dr. Dowling has stood as an idealistic absolutist, an intellectual convinced that the thunder of big-time athletics was crumbling the ivory tower of academe.He has been the conscience, the Cassandra, the crank, the nag, the pain, infuriating opponents and, at times, exasperating allies. Enough years of being the whistle-blower, after all, can make even a tuneful musician sound shrill.
But now, just as Rutgers’s recent triumphs in football and basketball might seem to have justified the university’s investment of tens of millions of dollars, Dr. Dowling has answered in his own subversive way. His memoir of the decade-long campaign against high-stakes athletics at Rutgers, “Confessions of a Spoilsport,” has just been published by Penn State University Press. It is his valediction, and its tone, far from mournful, is defiant.
Bureaucracies don't take kindly to gadflies. Especially if such gadfly is challenging the program that puts butts in the stadium seats and new buildings, suitably dedicated, on campus.
“I wanted this book to be a monument,” Dr. Dowling, 62, said after class. “I wanted it to be a monument to the kids and the faculty who rallied around this issue. We tried to take on the monster of commercialized sports, even if it swallowed us up and passed us out the other end. Someone should know that we fought the good fight. And because I believe in literature as a form of symbolic action, I want readers to see the possibility of another way. Think about the impact of a book like ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ on slavery.
”Naturally, Dr. Dowling’s thesis has many detractors, particularly of late.
This is where the fun starts. The article on Dr. Dowling concludes with the following short paragraphs:
Dartmouth also instilled in Dr. Dowling an appreciation for what he calls now “participatory sports” — sports without scholarships, separate dorms, team tutors, product endorsements, television contracts, reduced admissions standards, easy classes and so many other tropes of Division I-A sports.
Rutgers, in turn, provided a striking example of before and after. For more than 100 years after playing Princeton in the first intercollegiate football game in 1869, Rutgers had competed against schools like Lafayette and Colgate with which it shared academic standards. Then, in 1991, Rutgers joined the Big East Conference, making it a peer of ethically challenged football factories like Miami.
Dr. Dowling grew convinced that the shift was degrading the caliber of students, indeed the entire communal culture. A self-proclaimed “academic traditionalist” who doesn’t drive and still thinks Bob Dylan betrayed folk music by going electric, he became the hub of RU1000. And while he enjoyed teaching many members of the track, swimming and crew teams in his courses, he vociferously resisted the notion that athletic scholarships offered opportunity to low-income, minority students.
“If you were giving the scholarship to an intellectually brilliant kid who happens to play a sport, that’s fine,” he said. “But they give it to a functional illiterate who can’t read a cereal box, and then make him spend 50 hours a week on physical skills. That’s not opportunity. If you want to give financial help to minorities, go find the ones who are at the library after school.”
It is that last quote, now taken out of context and unmoored from the utterer's intention that has the Rutgers' administration engaging in public character assassination of Dr. Dowling.
Weapon of choice? The charge of racism
Rutgers Athletic Director Bob Mulcahy told local newspapers that Dowling's comment was "a blatantly racist statement."
In a statement released by the university, Rutgers President Richard McCormick called it "inaccurate and inhumane."
"It also has a racist implication that has no place whatsoever in our civil discourse," McCormick said in the statement.
To his credit, Dr. Dowling isn't backing down
Dowling defended his statement, saying that Mulcahy and McCormick had taken it out of context, that he was directly answering a question related to minorities."
If someone has a way to answer that question without mentioning race, I would like to hear it," said Dowling, who called the officials' accusation of racism the "cheapest rhetorical ploy I've ever heard."
Maybe Dr. Dowling has spent a little too much time in his ivory tower. This particular cheap, rhetorical ploy is beloved of "movement builders".
Both O'Reilly and Limbaugh will survive. As long as O'Reilly and Limbaugh bring in the audiences, they'll be having their say each and every day and they can wrest the narrative back.
What is worrisome is the vagaries of faculty fortunes rarely make the news. Rutgers' cynical use of the racist card against Dr. Dowling has already been picked up and spread by others invested in one way or another in slapping down someone who doesn't play well with the university's investment.
William Dowling, a Rutgers English professor, was once leader of the "Rutgers 1000." Its goal was to have the school de-emphasize sports. Suffice to say he's not a fan of the new-and-improved football team. [...]
Dowling should Google Don Imus, who lost his talk-radio job last spring after making disparaging racial comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team.
Larry Summers' has come to the realization he is now judged not for his work, words or even character but he is a "symbol" of "gender and racial prejudice". Now Dr. Dowling is being touted as the new Don Imus.
Dowling's remarks were thought on a level next to Imus, who called the women's basketball team a group of "nappy-headed ho's." [...]
"Imus was making a joke. What got him fired was referring to nine specific women," said a faculty member, who did not want to be identified. "Dowling's remarks were much more racist, but he didn't attack specific people."
This is bunk, of course. Mulcahy and McCormick have defended the overarching narrative that individuals of pallor may never comment, criticize or hold The Other to any standard by slandering Dr. Dowling to the press.
The irony of the explicit bigotry of such a narrative is lost on people like Mulcahy and McCormick but, hey, gotta keep the endorsement dollars rolling in and if many of the athletes never graduate or get a degree that qualifies them for an assistant sales manager at the local Kia Dealership (to be trotted out to greet and impress the customers) at least they tried to help. Right?
crossposted at Protein Wisdom
September 25, 2007
Ahmadinejad speaks at Columbia? It's a JOOOO conspiracy!!
pablobut not surprising at a site [in]famous for dancing right up to the line on anti-Semitism.
September 25, 2007 at 9:12 pm
This is an AIPAC manufactured controversy. Ahmadinejad doesn’t even hold real power in Iran.
KyleOf course, VW Amanda wanders the map on "I just don't understand!" in regards to the problem of having an ostensibly prestigious American university give an ugly little man such as Ahmadinnerjacket an honorable platform from which to spew. Her Willing Blinkeredness blabs
September 25, 2007 at 9:12 pm
I’m really glad you mentioned this. It’s important to point out that a packed house of college students couldn’t help but laugh at the president of a major world power. That says plenty about how serious or threatening his ideas are. Like:
1. “There needs to be more research on the Holocaust.” No, there doesn’t. There’s plenty of evidence and we still have first-person accounts. This conversation is pretty near over.
Personally, I think there are way better arguments against Israel anyways. He should start using those.
As Ezra notes, the crowd at Columbia laughed their asses off at Ahmadinejad.Well, only that the "gays? what gays? we have no gays in Iran." part. About eliminating the Jews? Not so much.
(I understand why only that caught St. Amanda's attention; she's all about teh sex)
For those of us paying attention, there was quite a bit of applause in there and, as I pointed out in the previous post, Islamist media has already picked up on the "Moudy was given a standing ovation! He was beloved!" meme already.
This was never about "free speech" but to understand that, one must have at least a passing acquaintance with virtue.
September 24, 2007
All of Columbia's dissembling on commitment to "free speech" and "hard-nosed debate" in order to show Ahmadinejad for "what he truly is" -- Columbia's invitation was an honor for him and not one bit of "unpleasantness" would be allowed to seep into any Islamist coverage. Here it is from the Islamic Republic (sic) News Agency:
Despite entire US media objections, negative propagation and hue and cry in recent days over IRI President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's scheduled address at Colombia University, he gave his lecture and answered students questions here on Monday afternoon.
On second day of his entry in New York, and amid standing ovation of the audience that had attended the hall where the Iranian President was to give his lecture as of early hours of the day, Ahmadinejad said that Iran is not going to attack any country in the world.
Before President Ahamadinejad's address, Colombia University Chancellor in a brief address told the audience that they would have the chance to hear Iran's stands as the Iranian President would put them forth.
He said that the Iranians are a peace loving nation, they hate war, and all types of aggression.
Referring to the technological achievements of the Iranian nation in the course of recent years, the president considered them as a sign for the Iranians' resolute will for achieving sustainable development and rapid advancement.
The audience on repeated occasion applauded Ahmadinejad when he touched on international crises.
At the end of his address President Ahmadinejad answered the students' questions on such issues as Israel, Palestine, Iran's nuclear program, the status of women in Iran and a number of other matters.
Bollinger's 'intro' of Ahmadinejad was spot on - BUT
... it's doesn't matter one friggin' bit.
Iranian/islamist/anti-American media won’t show it. They have their clip… Ahmadinnerjacket honored by speaking by invitation at an ostensible prestigious American University …
… and being applauded by the students.
Indeed, in the Q/A session the students applauded the little dictator’s “final solution” of the question of “the problem that began 60 years ago”
the ONLY time they laughed derisively at whackjob was when he said “homosexuals don’t exist” in Iran.
See? Deny gays and the Enlightened and the Anointed(tm) will know you’re a liar … advocate murdering Jews? Not so much.
Guess this new Columbia school is not so far fetched.
Jeffery Harrell is asking for a do over because he hasn't written a piece of fiction all week.
Which depresses me not only because he's one of the few truly talented short fiction writers around (I needs me fix, Jeff!) but also because my own attempts at getting the stories I want to write down my arms and out the end of my fingers have taken a hike into the Sierras and refused to come back.
So I'm going through some of my old writings, rereading and hoping to coax muse back into town. One of the things I really enjoy is finding a photo, or news story or even an odd turn of phrase and using that as a jump point for fiction. 100 word stories is like training camp where a word, phrase or photo is presented as a story inspiration and the story one writes is restricted to 100 word, no more, no less. It was there a couple of years ago this picture was presented:
My 100 word story over the jump:
Her eyes were not filled with wonder but a growing horror. She looked across a foresaken landscape, emptied of people. Decaying buildings, slouching in shame of their paint-stripped nakedness. It no longer spoke of a community where people once walked, laughed, lived and...For more pictures, the full gallery here
The car. A rusted hulk that mocked her. She could still feel the soft leather against her bare back, his hand sliding up her thigh, his lips against the soft of her neck.
She whirled on him, grabbing fistfuls of his shirt.
"Take me back," she hissed, "Back. NOW. I don't want to know the future."
September 23, 2007
Love letters to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
According to Mz. Sally, writing at the sober, tolerant and please-don't-question-their-patriotism, DailyKos, she has a little crush on the cuddly, Mr. Dinnerjacket himself. Oh, he has a few flaws ...
you know, denying the Holocaust, wanting Israel to cease to exist, condoning the execution of gays and fornicating females but hey ...
Moudy is anti-American and hates Bush! It's enough to make Mz. Sally go all damp in the private places and consider going straight! She is turned on by his anti-American rhetoric and wants to have his babies.
And people think the phrase "the personal is the political" is misused.
UPDATE Mz Sally is no agent provocateur but is Project Director at The Center for Community Change.
'of course, Hitler could speak at Columbia'
Hot Air brings us the Dean of Columbia who doesn't even have the common courtesy to blush
What more to add about the broken moral compass of the Left?
September 21, 2007
I'll discuss the 'Jena6'
When all the facts are clear. When Jesse and Sharpton have apologized to the Duke players and when someone brings up the "guess what would have happened if the roles were reversed" they just take a gander at what happened to the "Long Beach 8".
From what I've read so far, it is FUBAR from the get go, but over-charging the defendants doesn't mean they shouldn't be punished for a six-on-one beating. Indeed, it appears that for one of the perps, this was the third time he was arrested for assault.
Is medicine a 'right'?
If so, is food a right? Clothing? A house? A car?
September 18, 2007
Trojan Horses spotted
Hillary! has announced HillaryCare v2.0*, a more nuanced plan to eventual nationalization of American healthcare.
WASHINGTON - Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday that a mandate requiring every American to purchase health insurance was the only way to achieve universal health care but she rejected the notion of punitive measures to force individuals into the health care system. [...]I won't argue that there are not serious problems with our how current health industry delivers its services and products; however, much of the imbalance is the direct result of governmental policies ...
She said she could envision a day when "you have to show proof to your employer that you're insured as a part of the job interview — like when your kid goes to school and has to show proof of vaccination"
... policies that Hillary! wants to expand and entrench.
As Rich Lowry* states
Because the private health-insurance market doesn’t function properly, the government is left to pick up the pieces. But it is government policies that distort the health-insurance market in the first place. Ideally, people would pay for their own health insurance, the way they do with, say, auto insurance. But the tax code favors insurance that people get through their employers.I would add that most people are over insured. When faced with our employer choices at open enrollment (and we are not allowed to shop outside of our employer) all of the plans cover even the most basic office visit with minimal co-pays. For most healthy people who won't visit the doctor more than a handful of times in five years, one is paying hundreds of dollars a month in order to pay a $10-20 co-pay for a $60 office visit. Where is the option to purchase a catastrophic insurance plan with less monthly premiums but higher out-of-pocket for the individual? Auto insurance is an excellent comparison, where beyond a certain minimum of liability/medical, people are allowed to choose higher or lower deductables or extended coverages based on their individual needs and budgets.
This creates all sorts of problems. Because employers pay for their insurance, for most people the costs of health care are essentially hidden. They have no incentive to shop around for cost-effective plans. Meanwhile, when people lose their jobs, they tend to lose their insurance — exactly when they probably need it most.
This creates an expensive system that’s anxiety-inducing for people who worry about losing their insurance. The way the system is set up makes it difficult and expensive for individuals to buy insurance, which is one reason why 47 million Americans are uninsured.
Clinton’s plan would make this ramshackle system worse. She proposes more regulations on insurers and a mandate on large employers to provide insurance coverage or pay a tax. The regulations will make insurance even more expensive, while the employer mandate would only augment the current senseless system of people getting insurance through their jobs.
HillaryCare v2.0 sets up private healthcare to fail in order to allow government to "come to the rescue."
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.' ~~Ronald Reagan
Amnesty for illegal aliens, this time on the installment plan, comes back as "the Dream Act."
Sessions argues in his letter to his Senate colleagues that the Dream Act and a separate immigration measure that Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is pursuing ''would provide amnesty to approximately four million illegal aliens [roughly one third of the current illegal alien population].'' Feinstein's AgJOBS bill would allow agricultural workers to obtain legal status.The pro-illegals lobby are ignoring what most Americans want .... secure the border and enforce current immigration laws first, then talk to us about "earned" citizenship.
Among Sessions' complaints: it would eliminate a federal provision that discourages states from providing in-state tuition to undocumented immigrant students.
The act, he says, would ``allow future illegal aliens to qualify for in-state tuition even when it is not offered to citizens and legal permanent resident students living just across state lines.''
And Sessions argues that the act ''is not just for children and young adults.'' It only requires that the immigrant's illegal entry occur before they were 16 years old and says nothing about their current age.
And, please, stop trying to give goodies - ie instate tuition - to illegal aliens that American citizens can't receive.
... I've been pretty good this summer at ducking colds even as my office has sounded like the lung ward.
This morning I woke up and found out my luck wore out.
grumble.sore throat.grumble.stuffy head.grumble.grumble.
September 17, 2007
Why I don't watch award shows ...
...and it's kind of hard to duck them, too, seeing as there's one broadcast every week or so.
I ignored the Kathy Griffin "Suck this, Jesus" kerfuffle because Miss D-List obviously knows her audience. The Christophobic ones would cheer and all she had to fear from those who were offended were some really harshly worded letters. Otherwise, a great deal of column inches went her way ('attention' is an actor's heroin). Kathy picked herself a safe target ... somewhere under all that cheap red dye floated a thought "now don't say, 'suck this, Muhammed'".
This attention certainly wasn't lost on the aging Flying Nun Field, who decided last night to drop one of those "seven words you don't say" into her little Women Superior speechlet at the Emmys. She got cut-off at the goddamn.
To hear the crazed Leftcult blogsphere tell it -- this is FAUXNEWSNEOCONMURDOCHNAZICENSORSHIP!!!
You see, I can say "fuck", right here. On this blog. My dime.
But in case anyone hasn't been paying attention, the Emmys were being broadcast on a regular broadcast channel (not exclusively cable). That makes them subject to Federal broadcast rules and what CBS went through after the Jackson Nipple Affair has made ALL the broadcast stations a bit more careful on crossing the line on "obscenities." Oh, they push it (phrases like "suck it" "pissed off" and other vulgar expressions that stop just short of "fuck" or "shit") but they still will "bleep" out certain words. Also, this was an award show where the expectation was a lot of families would be in the audience. Again, it raises the bar for "bleeping out" offensive words.
Little Miss "You really love me" Field had a contrived, bumpersticker meme, "generate ME some publicity" moment at yet another show where the Entertainment Industry strokes their own.
Grow up, people.
(h/t Dan @ PW)
September 16, 2007
Disciplining Elizabeth [updated]
(h/t and photoshop inspiration to Dan Collins @ PW)
UPDATE a defining comment in Hamsher's Discipline thread over the jump
General Betryaus conspired with the Executive Branch to knowingly provide false testimony to the Legislative Branch.Gen. Betrayus’ criminal consipracy and his lies to Congress are both Federal crimes.But never, ever question their patriotism!
These crimes - in wartime - extended the course of the iraq Occupation and the number of US troops who will be killed and wounded in the Occupation.
Of course, since he is a traitor to the Republic, his Oath to uphold the Constitution, and the troops he is sworn to lead, Gen. Betryaus pulled it off without a hitch.
Now that the military has brought back the death penalty, Gen. Petraus’ crimies may not always wiegh so litely on his shoulders.
Of course if the method is still hanging, neither would his head.*
September 13, 2007
Hillary's other Hsu drops
She loves her some criminals.
This is Congress
September 12, 2007
Best wishes for a Happy New Year.
And here's a question for those who are still bitching that 9/11 should be buried ...
How is it that the Jewish people, reviled and hunted and murdered, even on to today … still survive as a people/nation/religion?
September 11, 2007
Morally clueless quotes of the Day [Updated]
Top entry this morning comes from zuzu
So let me get cranky: I’m really fucking sick of 9/11. ... It’s been six goddamn years. Can’t we move some of our energies onto addressing the devastation of Katrina?Goddamn amazing, ain't it?
UPDATE... zuzu is actually outdone by the lovely Dianne in the comment section:
The majority of Americans HATE New York and the “liberals” who live there and were no more horrified by the attacks than they were horrified by the (much worse) bombings of Iraq. Admit it, you thought the WTC collapsing looked really cool on TV and probaly taped it so you could see it over and over again. And most Americans got really excited about the idea that they could now feel good about going out and lynching first Arabic individuals (Islamic or not) in their community and then a whole country! Not satisified, many called for the attack of another country which had all shit to do with the attacks in the first place.What a piece of work.
'Stay Pissed Off'
I'm not feeling kindly this 9/11. After the Left's reckless slander of General Petraeus yesterday in collusion with Democrat officials who both directed the slander and those, conspirators after the fact, who blatantly refused to denounce the slander and sought to blame the victim and his supporters, I'm really fed up to here by their quisling approach to this century's fascism with an Islamist face.
FUCK them, they obviously care more about gaining power to nationalize health care, or taxing that other rich guy behind the tree, or sending goon squads into radio stations to shut down speech they don't agree with than this.
This morning CNN (former Saddam toadies) acts like this is anyother day and is NOT covering the Ground Zero ceremonies, it is FoxNews ... which asswipe Olbermann declares "is worse than Al Qaeda — worse for our society. It’s as dangerous as the Ku Klux Klan ever was" ... that is there.
So, no soft fuzzy Kumbaya moment from me this morning. Truthers, C***Pink, MoveOn, Reid, Olbermann, and the rest of the Leftcult who poo-poo Islamist terrorism and are working for American defeat ... You are not my "fellow American."
Go to hell.
September 10, 2007
Note to Congressional Democrats - have you NO SHAME?
There are few words to convey my utter contempt for this pusillanimous, puerile posturing
Outside a South Carolina barbecue joint Monday afternoon, former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., called the ad "outrageous" and said, "MoveOn.org has today, in effect, said that the General leading our brave troops in Iraq is betraying his country. This is the group that funds the Democratic Party. all upon the Democratic Party and all of the Democratic candidates for President to repudiate the libel of this patriotic American."Edwards, Obama, Reid, Sanchez, Lantos, Wexler, et al...
But Democrats said doing so would be falling into a GOP trap and criticized Republicans for trying to change the subject from the substance of Petraeus's testimony.
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said while the ad gave Republicans "a new talking point," Reid would not be decrying the ad.
"They have every right to buy an ad in The New York Times," said Reid spokesman Jim Manley. "The issue isn't Gen. Petraeus, who's a good man and a fine soldier. The problem is that he is being brought in during the fourth quarter and the administration is trying to give him ownership of the entire game. They cannot deflect responsibility like this. The American people know how we got to this point and know that it is time to change course."
Justice would have you driven into the street and whipped like curs as you are driven from the company of decent folk.
And take MoveOn, Kos and Pandagon with you.
Media whores Sheehan and C***Pink
I wish I could say I am embarrassed by such hysterical, indecent displays by some of my sex as evidenced by Mommy Sheehan*
Code Pink starts screaming “no one believes you anymore!” They’re dragging them out of the room now. Medea Benjamin’s still there in the row behind; she’ll eventually stand up and get thrown out too. — And there she goes, screaming just as Crocker was about to speak.
I do think arresting this group of cynical poseurs as a good step ...
Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan was arrested Monday in or near the hearing room where Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker are testifying on the situation in Iraq, according to the U.S. Capitol Police.Four anti-war protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct. One of them, who was not named, is being taken to George Washington Hospital “due to complaint of injury” and is also charged with assault on a police officer. *
I just wish we could add "impersonating a woman" to the charges.
September 09, 2007
I challenge you ...
... to watch this and not laugh along:
September 07, 2007
getting old. Or maybe it's menopause.
Up until six months ago I was rock solid steady in the blood pressure department.
110/72. Period. Twenty mintues after giving birth for crissakes the nurses joked with others coming on shift "hey, this girl is BORING. I can tell you her stats right now without looking."
Now, suddenly I have high blood pressure. 160/86.
September 04, 2007
The Island of Doctor Moreau
I'm a supporter of science, but this creeps too close to the edge of ethics
Plans to allow British scientists to create human-animal embryos are expected to be approved tomorrow by the government's fertility regulator. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority published its long-awaited public consultation on the controversial research yesterday, revealing that a majority of people were "at ease" with scientists creating the hybrid embryos.Which people?
The consultation, a £150,000, three-month mix of opinion polls, public meetings and debates, found participants were initially cautious of merging animal and human material, but became more positive. "When further factual information was provided and further discussion took place, the majority of participants became more at ease with the idea," the HFEA's report says.Certainly the latter hybrids are the stuff of horror novels. Could we have some numbers here?
Most support was expressed for the creation of so-called cytoplasmic hybrid embryos, in which a human cell is inserted into an empty animal egg. Other hybrid embryos, such as those created by fertilising an animal egg with human sperm, or vice versa, were less well supported.
Let's just say I'm uncomfortable with the blithe assurances that no hybrid embryos will be allowed to survive past the 14 day mark.
September 03, 2007
'Our bodies, Ourselves!' ... except
President John Edwards has plans for our own good.
State nannyism doesn't get much better than this
Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards said on Sunday that his universal health care proposal would require that Americans go to the doctor for preventive care.
"It requires that everybody be covered. It requires that everybody get preventive care," he told a crowd sitting in lawn chairs in front of the Cedar County Courthouse. "If you are going to be in the system, you can't choose not to go to the doctor for 20 years. You have to go in and be checked and make sure that you are OK."
He noted, for example, that women would be required to have regular mammograms in an effort to find and treat "the first trace of problem."
Once that's settled, I'm sure President Edwards would start mandating acceptable health standards and practices. Outlaw tobacco and transfats, then regulate and ration white sugar, red meat, dairy and how many times annually one can visit fast food restaurants.
September 02, 2007
Hollywood 'artist' as ...
Quick now ... name some recent American films in which the US military is portrayed in a positive light. Or which is based on American heroism. Any movie about Paul Smith? How about any movie about the Iraq war that doesn't portray US troops as other than crazed rapists, thuggish murderers or dyspeptic mental cripples, or who come home to be crazed rapists, thuggish murderers or dyspeptic mental cripples?
However, at the Venice Film Festival, we get two films from anti-Iraq-war directors. And some choice quotes.
First, there's the ever artful, thoughtful and subtle Brian De Palma with his latest, Redacted
A new film about the real-life rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers who also murdered her family stunned the Venice festival, with shocking images that left some viewers in tears.
"Redacted," by U.S. director Brian De Palma, is one of at least eight American films on the war in Iraq due for release in the next few months and the first of two movies on the conflict screening in Venice's main competition. ...
De Palma, 66, whose "Casualties of War" in 1989 told a similar tale of abuse by American soldiers in Vietnam, makes no secret of the goal he is hoping to achieve with the film's images, all based on real material he found on the Internet.
"The movie is an attempt to bring the reality of what is happening in Iraq to the American people," he told reporters after a press screening.
"The pictures are what will stop the war. One only hopes that these images will get the public incensed enough to motivate their Congressmen to vote against this war," he said.
Of course, the American public is totally unaware and only a man with the superlative talent to stun audiences with dumping pig blood on Sissy Spacek can bring us lesser beings The Truth(tm).
"In Vietnam, when we saw the images and the sorrow of the people we were traumatizing and killing, we saw the soldiers wounded and brought back in body bags. We see none of that in this war," De Palma said.
"It's all out there on the Internet, you can find it if you look for it, but it's not in the major media. The media is now really part of the corporate establishment," he said.
De Palma is not corporate? Hell, De Palma is the man who thought Jerry O'Connell could be convincing as an astronaut.
Then there's Paul Haggis and In the Valley of Elah
The scars from the Iraq war do not heal when U.S. soldiers return home, says a powerful new film starring Tommy Lee Jones that keeps the conflict at the heart of the Venice film festival this year.
After Brian De Palma's "Redacted" stunned audiences with its reconstruction of horrific events in Iraq, Paul Haggis' "In the Valley of Elah" brings a more nuanced, yet moving account of the brutality some soldiers bring back to the United States. ...
One of the defining images of the film is the American flag flying upside down, a sign of a nation in distress.
Because, you know, the upside down America flag is really nuanced, in a nuancey kind of way.
Haggis said he had tried not to allow his personal opinion about the war in Iraq to influence "Elah" too heavily.
The upside down flag convinces me, Paul.
In the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, at least six films on the topic are due out soon as the operations continue.
Haggis, whose 2005 film "Crash" was an Oscar for best picture, said this was partly because journalists were failing.
"During the Vietnam war, we had terrific journalists doing their job, reporting on things that we didn't want to hear ... Now we don't have that. I think that when that doesn't happen, then it's the responsibility of the artist to ask those difficult questions."
Of course, this is less the case that reporting is not happening and more a case that Paul ignores any information that doesn't conform to his perceptions.
While Valley may be wowing them in Venice, Variety wasn't being impressed by the nuance.
Unwilling to opt for the pulp-trash excesses of such military thrillers as "The General's Daughter," the film ends up delivering a poorly conceived message of alarm, bluntly signaling that the war is causing America's sons and daughters severe psychological damage.
This isn't about "information" or "larger truths". This isn't the "artist's" self-perception as ennobled soul tasked with bringing enlightment to the benighted masses.
This is "artist" as proctologist.