In a world full of real violence, industry executives should reconsider making movies and money from the glory of assassinations.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am having a grand time watching Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep sweat. Next thing you know, somebody who really hates mindlessly violent movies or cloying, sappy films with singing ABBAs, will threaten to retaliate against studios that produce this garbage and the movie theaters that show it. For now it seems that folks are incensed that censorship by a real or imagined threat has come to America.
Well, pipe down, it happened a long time ago — censorship arrived on our shores with the pilgrims and continues in 2015 with their modern-day progeny. For starters, school boards abound that want our kids to be taught American exceptionalism as history, even when real history suggests the unexceptional, and a healthy dose of today’s enraged movie goers insists on biblical messaging in lieu of real biology.
But enough of this; it is time to ramp up the patriotism for a PlayStation war with North Korea. To set the stage, the US president took time out from his vacation plans to pimp a movie about assassinating a real head of state from another country (North Korea), while scolding a corporate movie-making machine for bending to the will of cyber vandals.
With all that is going on in the US and the world, this seems so unseemly. But perhaps most troubling in the entire overhyped farce is that neither the president, nor anyone else seems even remotely concerned that the made in America movie is actually about the CIA trying to assassinate an existing head of state.
Since all of this is fiction, let’s try a different storyline: some made in France movie, financed by Pakistanis just for fun, where the real US president is targeted, by name, for assassination. How do you figure this would go over with the First Family? Maybe not so well. I imagine the Secret Service would have a collective peptic ulcer.
In a world full of real targeted violence, perhaps everyone should reconsider making movies and money from the glory of successful targeted death or comedic efforts that trivialize it. What next — a comedy about a drone strike on an elementary school in northern Mexico thought to be harboring child drug runners? I can surely see Tom Cruise as the Homeland Security or DEA psychopath drone master and Meryl Streep as the unsuspecting aid worker caught at the school when the mayhem hits. The Mexicans probably wouldn’t be laughing, but who cares — it is all about freedom of expression. I don’t like North Korea, you don’t like North Korea, but I wonder how hard North Koreans are laughing at our corporate comedic venture about the assassination of their leader.
Our collective movie-going bloodlust, and the corporate world that feeds off of it, may finally be on the receiving end of some of the chaos that our domestic and international real world killing brings to others. How many movies about cops in gun battles does it take for some cops, and many in the populace, to accept the fiction as a viable substitute for fact? Are cops under siege? They sure are in the movies and their response in that realm is something to behold.
How about places like Chile, where a little helpful CIA assassination assistance led to almost two decades of dictatorship and repression in the wake of the real assassination of Chile’s democratically elected president in 1973? Good movie stuff for sure, except it really happened. Ask the Allende family and the families of thousands of “disappeared” kids how much they would enjoy a good Sony thriller about a CIA plot to kill the current president of their country.
Since the list of real world atrocities with a made in America label on them is long, there is plenty of material available for the corporate movie-making machine to project onto future screens. I am partial to war movies that unapologetically glorify all manner of killing for some greater good, but never seem to leave the cameras around long enough for the anguished living to make even a cameo.
I saw a trailer for one the other day with some sniper about to blow away a kid – you have to see the movie to find out if he actually pulled the trigger. I am sure plenty of folks will, but I won’t. I will be waiting instead for the next act of creative cyber vandalism and wondering if I am the only person who thinks that maybe this time it is a self-induced advertising stunt. If a sniper about to kill a child can be used to sell a movie, what won’t be used to do so? I bet those smart Sony Entertainment executives are crunching the numbers right now for their next magnum opus.
My advice for those who care is to stop patronizing this violent garbage, stop supporting glorified violence and start teaching our kids that real dead bodies don’t get up again and head home after a “hard” day on a movie set.
*[A version of this article originally appeared on Larry Beck’s blog, Hard Left Turn.]
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