Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Towering Boorishness

My snarky $9.11 entry was posted prematurely as this week’s events have given me a pause for reflection concerning that piece.

I’m notoriously non-partisan when it comes to politics, although if one put a gun to my head - which is about what it would take - I’d say I favor the Democrats (and I’ll soil neither party by whipping out the ol’ “lesser of two evils” cliché). But this week the Dems really shot themselves in the foot by taking their characteristic whininess to toweringly boorish new levels, making them look worse than they have in a good long while. And certainly if you've been outside for so long, it's always a good idea to reenter the building looking like a bunch of spoiled mama's boys.

I’m speaking of the furor surrounding the ABC miniseries The Path to 9/11 and the near embargo the Dems vocally placed on the film prior to it even airing. Congrats, kiddos – you’ve finally succeeded by fighting fire with fire, and in doing so you’ve scored yet another goal for that great ol’ American pastime: Censorship. While ABC may not have backed down, you certainly fussed and bitched and moaned enough to get them to cut the “offensive” scenes. But there is a price to pay for your success. You’ve again allowed the Republicans to outclass and upstage you – the scenes in Part Two of the mini that discuss the Bush administration funding the Taliban were oddly in place on the Monday night broadcast, and they in fact aired mere minutes prior to Georgey Boy’s commercial interruption.

The Path to 9/11 was not only an indictment of both the Clinton administration and the Bush era that followed, but also an indictment of the American people, and their willingness to allow tawdry issues like blowjobs, cigars and semen-stained dresses to consume the political landscape. We will blame this President and that politician and that terrorist for the atrocities of 9/11/2001, but are we such victims that we cannot take any of the burdens on our own shoulders? Did we not as a country let minutiae rule the roost at a time when perhaps we should have been concentrating on bigger issues? Indeed, if the movie's assertion is that Clinton was distracted because he was having his balls nailed to wall by the 'Pubs, then perhaps the film isn't as anti-Clinton as so many seem to claim.

The movie presents a point of view – now it may not be a POV with which you agree or will allow yourself to see, but that’s irrelevant. Last time I checked, this country was all about the freedom of speech, and the content of this movie was nothing special in that regard. We had our United 93 and we had our World Trade Center – two movies that decided to not take points of view, and therefore generated no controversy. Isn’t it time we have a filmic point of view on this issue? Well of course it is, and people have had non-filmic POVs all along – but how dare Hollywood step in and try to offer up something that sparks debate and gets people thinking and talking? We live in a TV nation folks – The Path to 9/11 is the more remarkable film of the three because it dared to question and posit and address issues and say things that even Oliver Stone was afraid to address and say. That makes it important, not a lie. It’s a film, kids – film is deceptive by its very nature and about presenting points of view in order to achieve a bigger goal. Even so-called "documentaries" require that the filmmaker adopt some kind of POV - they certainly don't edit themselves.

So there we were, the day before the fifth anniversary of that horrible day, and my better half, Jeanne - whose deadline for her review (a positive one) of the movie was a week and a half prior to its airing and several days before Clinton's cronies began their silly censorship campaign – starts getting deluged with dozens of e-mails from scads of whiny Dems telling her she’s ignorant, towing the Conservative party line and that she should for all intents and purposes have her license to critique revoked. And none of them had even seen the movie. They blindly followed, once again allowing tawdry issues to take precedence. So we’ve learned nothing I guess, and it seems that another atrocity could be perpetrated against our country whilst people complain - because clearly the contents of a docudrama are the most important issues du jour. You can read Jeanne’s saga here, here and here – and read them in that order, too.

If you happen to be one of the San Antonians (or from wherever you people came) who spent Sunday and Monday, the 10th & 11th, e-mailing Jeanne - a TV critic - and/or e-mailing and calling her bosses and editors, then I really want you think long and hard about what exactly 9/11 means to you based on those actions. My guess is that the families of the victims and the victims themselves were not first and foremost on your mind. And for the record, a friend of Jeanne's, Dora Menchaca, was on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

And to those of you who still insist that the movie was “only sent to conservative bloggers and people like Rush Limbaugh”, I’ve got news for you. Jeanne is neither and she had numerous copies of the film sent to her over the past 6 weeks. Indeed, the movie’s been on the TV radar since the middle of this summer – why did you wait so long to make your little fuss? You claim that the Clinton administration was denied copies of this film. BULL. SHIT. All one of those cronies would need to have done was contact any of the hundreds of the nation’s TV critics and they could easily have scored a copy. I guarantee you that a single call placed to Jeanne would have resulted in her gladly sending a copy their way, just to be able to print a reaction, if for no other reason. What could possibly have been more of a journalistic coup for a TV critic? But no such calls were ever made to her, making any such request, nor did ABC ever send out a memo forbidding critics from sharing the materials with politicos of either persuasion.

So why am I sorry for using the 9/11 graphic novel as a means to bag on Borders? Because I now feel that despite Borders’ crass marketing ploy, the creators of the comic did not deserve my scorn and that I pulled a real Democratic maneuver by using one issue to fight another. And perhaps the point of the graphic novel itself is not all that far removed from the miniseries. My apologies – from here on out, this apology will link to the previous entry.

And in the event my words have left a bitter aftertaste in your mouth, the Morgue highly recommends you check out these words o' wisdom by the mighty J.T. Street.