Michael Moore: I was taught that snipers were cowards

Not all snipers, he’s quick to add. The ones shooting at our guys are pretty cool.

I’m too lazy to sift through his archives on Iraq to see if he ever claimed “I support the troops but not their mission,” but if he did, it sounds like he’s past it now.

The Internet blew up at him and now he’s backing away. Meanwhile, here’s the obligatory “Seth Rogen instantly squanders half the goodwill he earned from the ‘Interview’ fracas” tweet:


The film-within-a-film from “Inglourious Basterds” (a lousy flick, by the way) that he’s describing is a Nazi propaganda movie commissioned by Josef Goebbels about a German sniper heroically fending off the advancing allies. I can’t speak to Rogen’s analogy since I’m apparently the only person in America who didn’t see “American Sniper” this weekend, but my sense from the reviews is that it’s sympathetic to Chris Kyle without glorifying his cause. The fact that war is hell seems all too clear; what drives the drama is Kyle and his wife trying to cope with the hellishness and move past it. “For me, and for Clint, this movie was always a character study about what the plight is for a soldier,” said Bradley Cooper to the Daily Beast. That’s the opposite of fascist propaganda, which cares about individual sacrifice only to the extent that it serves the state’s cause. But as I say, I haven’t seen it. I wonder if Rogen did.

Worth flagging all this because, with “Sniper” suddenly a box-office phenomenon, we’re destined to see it touch off more of these cultural skirmishes in the next few weeks. Here’s an … interesting early entry:

I’m curious now to see how the film does at the Oscars. Righties were tweeting last night that Moore and Rogen are channeling Hollywood’s sour grapes that a bunch of anti-war movies about Iraq over the last 10 years went nowhere while one directed by a guy who spoke at the last Republican convention about a man with more kills than any other American sniper during the war is pulling, in Sonny Bunch’s words, “Marvel tentpole numbers” in ticket sales. Probably right, although my hunch is that the sourness of the grapes has less to do with box office than with the movie’s prestige. There’s no unambiguously great, unambiguously anti-war movie from the Iraq era that the war’s opponents can point to, irrespective of box office, as an essential commentary on it. If “Sniper” cleans up at the Oscars (as “The Hurt Locker” did before it), it’ll mean that the most memorable war films of the post-Bush decade are ones that are very pro-soldier and ambivalent about the mission itself. And if there’s one thing a liberal’s not supposed to be ambivalent about, it’s the Iraq war. Bet heavily on “Selma” for Best Picture.

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