Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Hate The War

Eric Ruder, who's honestly a good writer most of the time, has a horrid review praising Green Zone and a number are e-mailing about it. How did such a racist movie and such a revisionary one (the US was lied into wars by that Iraqi exile!!!!! -- Ava and I covered it on Sunday) get praise from Ruder? Some community members note Richard Seymour's "Green Zone: an arrogant movie that justifies American wars" and wonder what the deal is? Shouldn't Socialists agree?

Not necessarily, it's not a cult. Socialism is a political theory. And people can disagree. But, yes, it is telling that Seymour can call it out and Ruder's praising it.

What it most likely goes to is the fact that Seymour writes for the British Socialist Worker and it's not vested in Matty Damon. Whereas the US Socialist Worker acts as if Matt's Howard Zinn's widow.

Ruder doesn't know what he's talking about in this review. At one point, he types: "BASED ON the book Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, the Washington Post's former Baghdad bureau chief, Green Zone artfully fictionalizes while remaining faithful to the facts, peering into the dark recesses of the American war effort." Ruder either didn't see the movie or he didn't read the book.

Ava and I addressed the book on Sunday:

Marketing was faced with a turkey of a film starring an asexual lead and with no female co-star offering sexual heat. They were faced with a film 'based on' a book -- a book that has as much to do with the film as Natalie Wood's Sex and The Single Girl had to do with Helen Gurley Brown's best seller of the same name (actually, Wood's film at least used the book's title). They were faced with a film that preview audiences were either luke warm to or outright hated. Their job was to squeeze as many dollars out of Green Zone as possible before it "got off the lot and people realized what a lemon it really was" -- as a Universal exec put it to us a few weeks back.

The film was trouble, everyone at Universal knew it. They put on their game faces for public consumption but, having seen what was shot (even after reshoot), they knew the film was going to be a huge bomb.

Why is that?

It has to do with the source material being discarded, for one thing. Had it been true to the source material, even if it was a bad film, it could have broken $50 million in ticket sales during its run just by pleasing purists and those who don't read but like to pretend they do.

The book is not about a madcap blonde go-going through the streets of Baghdad and figuring out everything and possibly solving the day. The film is and, while we're not sure even Carole Lombard could have pulled that concept off, we're damn sure (as the box office receipts demonstrate) that Matt Damon can't.

But if that's too many words or just too complex for anyone to understand, let's go to the author of the book.

Ruder says of the movie, "BASED ON the book Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, the Washington Post's former Baghdad bureau chief, Green Zone artfully fictionalizes while remaining faithful to the facts, peering into the dark recesses of the American war effort." And what does Chandrasekaran say? Uh, not what Ruder says. From Tuesday's Talk Of The Nation (NPR):

CONAN: Let's see if we can get some callers in on the conversation. We'll begin with Mike, and Mike's calling us from Denver.

MIKE (Caller): Hey, I saw the movie recently. I did not read the book. And - but I did see the movie, and it was a, you know, second to the "Hurt Locker," it kind of captured for me the chaos, the just the insanity of the whole Iraq thing. I just thought what a mess it all was from watching it. I wonder how the movie differed from the book. I know that it took a lot of license and stuff like that. But would you say it was, you know, honest to what you wrote in the book?

Mr. CHANDRASEKARAN: That's a very good question. You know, the movie was inspired by the book. It wasn't based on the book. There is no Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller character. That's the protagonist of the movie played very, very brilliantly by Matt Damon. There is no individual figure as played by Greg Kinnear. My book was really a nonfictional account of that wacky world inside the Green Zone for the first 15 months.

Ruder says it's based on Rajiv's book, Rajiv says "It wasn't based on the book." Again, Ruder either didn't see the movie or he didn't read the book -- you can't have done both and claim the film is based on the book.

Why did the British Socialist Worker call the bad film out while the US version praised it? Why was Gary Younge able to write about what a disappointment Barack Obama was, about how fact-free he was and to do so while Barack was running for the White House? He was able to do that because he was writing for Socialist publications in England. [Added, I'm referring to his Socialist publications in England. Writing for the US magazine The Nation at the same time, he came off like the biggest Kool Aid drinker and, in fact, appeared to be the Sybil in print -- Sally Field character, not the seer of mythology.] Whereas in the US, there wasn't a damn bit of difference between the US Socialist Worker and The Nation -- both of which whored themselves out for Barack. Factor that into the equation.

Also factor in that the director of Green Zone is a man and Socialist Worker (US) only rips apart women or are we not supposed to notice that Bigelow was savaged this week by the same 'reviewer' who previously savaged Kimberly Peirce? The Hurt Locker is a piece of art. Green Zone is crap and bad crap at that. It's on the nose, it's all text. It's no subtext. It's nothing. There are no imaginative shots in the film (which is why the reviews focus on the hand held shaky -- also used in The Hurt Locker but it had more than shaky cam work). People who have no education or training in art, people who couldn't discuss brush strokes or techniques suddenly think they have the authority to speak of visual art when they have none. For those on the left who hated The Hurt Locker? I hope you weren't one of the many uneducated who flaunted your gross ignorance of the visual arts in the last five centuries by refusing to grasp what Bigelow was doing and how the visuals were commentary. But that would require being able to grapple with subtext and that's just a little too much for 'reviewers' these days.

But what really comes down to is how disgusting we've become on the left. That was proven by a show that Ava and I are tackling on Sunday but what it all comes down is the desire to finger-point. To say, "I'm so damn much better than you." That's what was broadcast tonight. That's all the Socialist Worker (US) has offered for two years when in fact they could have and should have been recruiting people. But instead they wanted to feel superior and -- obviously lacking the needed education -- the easiest route for them was to scream "racism!" over and over. Everything's racism. That's what the broadcast told Ava and I. It's all about racism. And you can believe that if you're stupid, immature or unethical. But if you have even half a working brain, you'll realize that things haven't been tough for Barack. He's not been accused of killing anyone the way Bill and Hillary were. He's had a smooth ride. The press has been in his pocket -- that $150 million that Big Pharma spent bought a lot of good press -- but if you can insist that everything's racism then you're not only smarter than your opponent, you're also better.

But, reality check, the only thing you are is a better liar. It was such an interesting broadcast. We were reminded that some actions that are 'racist' today were done by Robert Parry and Matthew Rothschild and Margaret Kimberly when *Bush* was in office. (Of those three, only Kimberly has consistently maintained her point of view. She's not tailored her opinions based on who is in the White House.) In fact, we heard a lot of things that were done by the left that weren't 'troublesome' when done by the left. But today, coming from the other side, it's a sign of how awful the right is, how evil, how depraved and, yes, how racist.

And if you want to be stupid, you can go along with that. If you want to be stupid, you can, for example, not pay attention to the man's words where -- after tarring and feathering a group of people -- he admits that it's probably not true. Probably.

And this is what passes for informed discussion on the left? Baseless smears and insisting that everything is racism. Opposition to Barack is racism. Believing he is a Socialist is racism. Believing he is a Communist is racism. Being opposed to ObamaCare is racism. A photo of Barack in Joker make up is racism. Everything's racism. Probably even a poem that the guest bragged got the writer arrested. What is that? When the hell on the left did we think it was okay for any artist to be arrested for their art?

There are no ethics. People like those writing for the Socialist Worker (US) have ensured that there are no ethics on the left. They lie and they lie some more (I'm actually back on the TV expert who is not a part of Socialist Worker). They lie and offer numbers and are so damn lucky that so few people majored in the liberal arts and even fewer ever took a research & methodology class. Meaning? If you're not as dumb as they want you to be, you quickly realize that they're making claims based on data that they really can't cite because it doesn't exist. They're telling happy little tails. But they aren't informing. And neither is Eric Ruder because how do you confuse a non-fiction book about what went on the Green Zone with that film the Green Zone?

No honest broker could. And that may tell us what we need to know. If so, that's really sad because Ruder's far too good of a writer to tailor his positions from piece to piece based upon whether he likes the actor or not.

There's a dishonesty sweeping the country.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4385. Tonight? 4386.

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