Thursday, February 02, 2006

A Rant About a Movie Review

[Semi-edited Rant Mode On]
I don’t write many non-gun posts, but when I do it’s usually because something pisses me off. Today I’m flabbergasted at the ignorance of Tom Shales of the Washington Post who wrote a snarky review of A & E’s Flight 93 which aired on January 30th.

First I have to describe why I’m pissed off. I admire the heroes of Flight 93, the passengers who fought back on 9/11 leading to the plane’s destruction in a Pennsylvania field. They had the advantage of time that passengers in the other three planes didn’t have. Flight 93 was the last plane to be hijacked which allowed its passengers to learn of the fates of the other three planes. That knowledge led them to fight back.

Second, I might be called a 9/11 Democrat although I’m no longer a Democrat (nor am I a Republican). I once supported the party even while I nervously ignored its growing fascination with gun control. Even Clinton’s gun bans were not enough to dislodge me from my ancestral party. But, 9/11 ripped off my willful blindfold. I began questioning and while I don’t agree with every Republican talking point, I haven’t voted for a Democrat since then and I always vote.

Third, I didn’t see the show, so there are many of Shales’s specific points I have to accept at face value.

So that’s where I’m coming from, now let’s go back to Shales’s ignorant review. Shales’s tone is snarky beginning in his first sentence, “Who will profit the most from exploiting the obscene tragedy of Flight 93?” Why in the world, does he call it an obscene tragedy? It’s a tragedy if the plane crashed due to an engine malfunction or pilot error, but people taking over a plane to use it as a weapon was an act of war. I’ve never heard Pearl Harbor described as an “obscene tragedy,” although I’m certain someone will Google it for me—so I’ll say now, whatever.

Further, why describe A & E’s production as exploitation or profit? Were movies filmed right after World War II exploitative or done for profit? Are movies like Schindler’s List exploitive because they remember the Holocaust? Did M*A*S*H (movie and series) exploit Korea? Did those movie's or show's producers and crews not deserve to make money for their work?

Wow, two paragraphs for one sentence. At this rate, my rant will be a book so I better summarize. Shales dismisses an earlier Discovery Channel movie about Flight 93 with “…no doubt that film was meant as a ‘moving tribute’ too” (after dismissing A & E’s description of their movie as a “moving tribute”). I saw the Discovery Channel movie on 9/11/2005 and I was moved to tears and I rarely cry. It was damn well a moving tribute and not something that can be so glibly dismissed.

Earlier, I called Shales ignorant. He talks about the movie showing passengers, crew and hijackers of Flight 93 getting ready for their day. To quote, “…and the terrorists shave -- one of them even, for some reason, shaves his chest.” I’m not a professional writer, journalist, or scholar, but even I know that many jihadis shave their body hair before going to Allah. Why is Shales surprised—is he ignorant or disingenuous?

One more point and I’ll conclude. Shales says the pilots received warnings of cockpit intrusions and yet opened the door to the terrorists. I don’t know how much or what type of warning the pilots got. They may not have been told that terrorists were crashing planes into buildings. Granted pure speculation, but I know the attitude of pilots and passengers before 9/11 was to cooperate with hijackers. We know now that was terrible advice. We know now that you must fight against those who would hijack a plane, because you’ll most likely die while your captors achieve their twisted goals.

So many people seem to want us to forget 9/11 as if we will heal or should. We don’t see televised footage of the Twin Towers on fire. We don’t see pictures of smoke rising from a hole in our Pentagon—the seat of America’s military might. It all seems to be shoved into that “not-nice” compartment.

I don’t want to forget and I don’t mind if A & E makes a little profit reminding me of what happened on that day. You see, I don’t want America to go back to sleep, because I don’t want to wake up one day after the Islamofacists win and struggle into my burka as I begin a new day.
[/Semi-edited Rant Mode Off]

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