Monday, June 25, 2007

A Muddled Heart

In a recent film, A Mighty Heart, Angelina Jolie takes time off from preening for the media and plays the role of Mariane Pearl, the wife of murdered journalist Daniel Pearl. In his review of the movie, Roger Ebert can't help bestowing his incisive political views upon the hoi polloi:

We reflect that the majority of Muslims do not approve of the behavior of Islamic terrorists, just as the majority of Americans disapprove of the war in Iraq.

Ah, ok, I get it, you sneaky devil. Average American = average Muslim; Islamic terrorists = Americans who support the Iraq war effort. That's an astute observation, Rog. Did you glean this from that perennial sage, Michael Moore? Perhaps from his new autobiographical film, Sicko? I think you should quit your trivial day job as a reviewer and put your talents to better use writing hard "news" pieces for The New York Times. As for what the "majority of Muslims believe," we have a fairly good handle on that: most support Jihad, either materially or philosophically, or express zero moral qualms about it. Where is the nigh unanimous public outrage, in the Islamic world? Where's the vocal criticism? Where's the inherent conflict between Islamic fundamentalist behavior, and Muslim teaching and Islamic texts? Maybe all of the above reside in Neverland, because they darned sure aren't facets of our reality. This is an integral point, for we know "moderates" have a platform at their pleasure, given all the strenuous efforts at convincing the citizenry that Muslim men are day traders in turbans, even as their women are soccer moms in burkhas. Yet we hear only a few lone voices, buried under avalanches of fatwas, or whispering apologetically in the relative safety of the West. Poll after poll reveals massive support for Jihad in Middle Eastern nations. After the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil in its history, we watched, horrified, as Muslims danced jigs of joy in the streets, handing out candy like indulgent neighbors on Halloween.

Even if a silent moderate majority of Muslims exists--and I contend that this assertion is the worst form of deceit and ignorance--it is irrelevant. Irrelevant because it holds no power, makes no decisions, and retains zero influence over those who do. Good ol' Rog might want to allow this a little consideration, the next time he embarks upon giving monsters a pass, while besmirching his fellow citizens.

Continuing in this morally relativistic vein, Ebert writes:

The Americans who complain about "negative" news are the ideological cousins of those who shoot at CNN crews. The news is the news, good or bad, and those who resent being informed of it are pitiful. More Americans are well-informed about current sports and autoracing statistics, I sometimes think, than anything else.

It seems Rog spends inordinate amounts of time condemning his countrymen as stupid or evil, again, while handling the truly malevolent with kid gloves. Whereas I agree with his final sentence, most people don't like negative news reports because they are one-sided, more often than not. This especially is true regarding the Iraq conflict, of which the MSM has nothing positive to say. The meeting of goals, aid given, or anything remotely beneficial is ignored, while body counts and mahem are treated in excruciating detail. Whether one supports the Iraq effort or not, reports from the MSM offer no context or well-rounded portrayal of the events-in-question. Even if folks dislike negativity in reporting for more mundane reasons, such as the truth being a bitter pill, that's a normal response, and a far cry from ideological kinship to terrorists.

So thanks, Rog, for your heavy-handed approach and moral turpitude. If I wanted clueless political rhetoric, I'd tune in to NPR, or read the text of a Bush speech. The good news is, if I want to read about the symbolic similarities between a War of the Worlds-type conquest and America careening across the Middle East like a blind colossus on stilts, I know who to call.

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