25 Apr 2006

Leftism-Which-Astounds Award

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Today’s award for Leftism-which-Astounds goes to Keith Uhlich, who reviews films non-commercially (meaning nobody pays him) on several web-sites, including Slant Magazine. Uhlich did not like Universal Studios’ new 9/11 film United 93.

First of all, he didn’t like the film’s emotional direction.

It’s pornography, really, a kind of somber sub-Bruckheimer sideshow that stokes our anger instead of stroking our libidos, all building to an inexorable and anticlimactic cum shot—a sound-deprived descent into black—that does nothing more than empty us of any kind of constructive emotion. We’re constantly told to “never forget,” but on the evidence of United 93 I have to ask what it is, exactly, we’re being asked to remember beyond a Pavlovian sort of rage that constantly and deceptively folds back on itself?

But, worse:

while the stench of death and dread permeates every frame of United 93, it is nowhere near as strong as the stink of synergy. Certainly this isn’t the first Hollywood production done in by the competing corporate and personal interests that funded it (consider the unspoken implications—both commercial and propagandistic—of the film’s last-minute title change from Flight 93 to United 93), but it is the only one I’ve come across where the families of those onboard gave it their full-on approval. Not all the families, of course. All evidence suggests that the terrorists’ relatives were left entirely out of the creative process, an action which goes a way toward revealing the film’s hagiographic bias (how easy it then becomes to turn victims into heroes and adversaries into monsters) and points up the general ridiculousness of involving the families in the first place (too many cooks spoiling an already rancid broth).

What could be worse than a film which provokes emotions of sympathy for your own murdered countrymen, and indignation at the actions of fanatical mass murders? Films ought to be instructing the audience to identify with the viewpoint of the enemy, and blaming American corporations and the US Government. NYU obviously succeeded in training Mr. Uhlich to believe that the only proper response to enemy attack is treason.

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Hat tip to LGF.

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The Cranky Insomniac

Disgusting. I have a similar post on Salon’s review of United 93 here: http://crankyinsomniac.blogspot.com/2006/04/united-93-not-as-cheery-as-salons.html



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