Sunday, May 11, 2008

Is That REALLY What They Think?

Christian Spotlight on the Movies is what is, and I don't have any problem with a few uptight Christians doing movie reviews to help each other avoid seeing stuff that might offend them. Sure, they're occasionally WAY off base (Dragon Wars is a 3-star film?! Negative 3 maybe.), but I suppose it serves a purpose. I really have no opinion about whether or not any given film is good or bad for the Christian soul, but I get the occasional giggle out of checking out the reviews there. Heck, CSotM was the first place I'd ever encountered the term "male upper body nudity" (yeah, that's right a guy with his shirt off) as a potentially offensive bit of content in a movie.

In any event, I happened to read their Iron Man review the other day, and it was...interesting. Don't get me wrong, Iron Man was an awesome movie, and their 4 1/2 star "Moviemaking Quality" rating seems right on the money. The reviewer seems to take the whole "miniature arc reactor keeping Tony Stark alive" thing to be an extended metaphor for Christian rebirth, but hey, whatever. My recent 10-page article about what we can read into the Godzilla films ties my hands as far as complaining about people taking metaphors too far. Really the only bit that bothered me (and keep in mind that very few of these reviews ever do much to actually bother me) was this:

Leftist viewers will be gratified that there is an indictment of American arms manufacturing, that American soldiers are shown being killed with American weapons to illustrate the consequences of American “crimes” overseas, and that Tony Stark renounces the military-industrial complex...In their effort to offend no one and name no names, the writers describe the Afghani terrorists as “foreigners,” completely ignoring the home-grown Taliban who terrorized the country for decades and who just last week tried to assassinate President Karzai, killing three people. The terrorists are called the “ten rings” because they come from ten foreign countries and, in one especially ludicrous moment, one of the terrorists is identified as an Hungarian."
I've added the emphasis. I'm going to address the last bit first because it's shorter. The terrorists in Iron Man are called the Ten Rings because...wait for it...they're the Ten Rings. It's a reference to the main villain from the comics, an evil Chinese dude named the Mandarin, who uses ten magic rings. It was to set up for using him as the villain in the second film. You'll even note that the main terrorist has a big ridiculous looking ring on for much of his screen time.

Okay, now on to the first bit. So political liberals want to see American soldiers being killed? Really? Fuck all, is that stupid. I'm unclear as to why there's this whole cultural myth about how left-leaning folks hate American soldiers. I could make a long argument about how campaigning for an American withdrawal from Iraq would save the lives of countless soldiers versus "staying the course" like so many of my conservative "we support the troops" friends advocate, but I'm not going to. Instead, I'm going to say this: I consider myself to be a relatively moderate (everyone considers themselves to relatively moderate) liberal. I think the current administration is pursuing a wrongheaded course in Iraq and that the actions taken by the administration have for most Iraqis had negative consequences that exceed the (honestly intended) beneficial results that were intended. That being said, on a volunteer basis with absolutely no compensation to myself, I have an active role in helping to train troops that are being sent overseas to the both of the current operational theaters.

It involves long drives to and from, staying at a particular site until late into the night regardless of the weather conditions, and some degree of physical risk. It's also a small sacrifice on my part compared to what American soldiers are prepared to make. These are men and women, many of them even younger than I am, who are preparing to ship out in a matter of weeks, sometimes even days. I have the utmost respect for them. The other civilians that volunteer to help in this endeavor (and there are lots) come from a variety of backgrounds and political affiliations, and all of them feel this same sense of respect and gratitude for the men and women of our armed forces.

So hey, Michael Karounos of Christian Spotlight on the Movies: piss off. There are a lot of people in this country who are willing to put themselves out for our troops, and it may shock you to learn that not all of them are just like you.

1 comment:

Garret said...

I prefer hollywoodjesus.