Yes, Act of Valor Is Propaganda – But What
posted at 3:36 am on February 28, 2012 by Dafydd ab Hugh
Let’s mull and contemplate a movie about a new kind of warfare, and the new, informal, ad-hoc, improvisational kind of men who fight that new kind of war.
Let’s make a movie with no real plot in the classic sense, no growth in the characters, no mental or emotional breakdowns. A movie where nobody ever questions his own morality in defending his country. A movie where, when a compadre is killed in battle, the others just carry on the fight, instead of crouching over the body and erupting into hysterical melodrama.
One where, in a supreme coup of “patriotism,” the director hires actors who are actually current or former military personnel, from the very same kind of unit portrayed in the film. How little, patriotic hearts must go pitter-pat at such indulgence!
By all means, let’s show the unenlightened booboisie, the American people, a movie comprising one victorious battle after another, even though we all know the overarching campaign is a lost cause. Never mind the inarguable facts; show the popcorn munchers a movie where the men are always willing to make “sacrifices,” and where the United States is always the good guy who will ultimately triumph, no matter how bad things may look.
Even when there’s a setback, by all means, show us only soldiers who suck it up and do it better next time — and without the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth that constitutes drama in the minds of sophisticated New York film crickets. No doubts, no introspection, no existential angst; how is that realistic? How does that show the inevitable bestialization of the warmongers?
A movie with no “boy meets girl” or even “boy meets boy” love story, and where alternative lifestyles simply don’t exist! A movie where men are men (as if gender can ever truly be deterministic), and men don’t discover their feminine side or the inherent inequality of traditional marriage. Heck, a movie where wives refuse to cry until after their husbands or boyfriends have left, because they don’t want to “burden their men” with worry when they’re about to go on a deadly mission.
Yeah, a movie like that. How nice. Just lousy, damned propaganda; rah-rah, flag-waving Americanism. How disgusting. It’s nothing but anti-art; what kind of a brainwashed, mind-melded moron would want to see that garbage? What’s the real point… to bump up military-recruitment stats? Make it seem that war can ever be noble? To “lift morale,” for cripes’ sake? What a low and vulgar consciousness that bespeaks. Who could possibly imagine the brilliant lights of cinema paying even the slightest attention to such “all-American” bubblegum like that.
What film critic could possibly praise trash like — trash like — I forget, what’s the name of that filthy piece of propaganda we’re talking about?
Oh yeah: Films like They Were Expendable (1945), about those crazy, new, fast, maneuverable, and barely armored PT boats, which took on Japanese cruisers and destroyers in the Philippines during World War II. The movie starred, and was partially directed by, Lt. Commander Robert Montgomery (who actually commanded a PT boat during the war) and John Wayne — two conservative Republicans — along with liberal Democrat Donna Reed. It’s considered a classic film today.
The war against radical Islamism has never been “Barack H. Obama’s war,” despite the fact that he is the current Commander in Chief — and despite the fact that, as he brags at the drop of a hijab, he is the man who “got” Osama bin Laden. (Oh, sure, the CIA and the SEALs were the ones who actually tracked bin Laden for years, infiltrated into the wilds of Pakistan, hunted him down, entered his compound, took out his bodyguards, and pulled the trigger to send him to the boiling pitch of Jahannam… acting on orders under a program initiated by George W. Bush. But Obama signed the order! Clearly, he deserves the lion’s share of the credit.) But that war was never Obama’s war.
No, the war against radical Islamism has always been seen as Bush’s war… hence good liberals see it as unalloyed evil, folly, and madness. Any movie extolling the virtues of its warriors is, by definition, propaganda.
Inexplicably, liberals have never affixed that libelous label to the heroes of Roosevelt’s war. After all, that’s totally different.
Cross-posted on Big Lizards…