Skip to comments.Some celebrities following anti-American scripts
Posted on 07/17/2002 1:21:09 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
It is a banner year at home for American cinema, but one has to go abroad to visit the theater of the absurd or to see the next American hero epic.
Of the top 25 domestic movie grosses since January, eight American hero flicks, from Black Hawk Down to Minority Report, account for nearly one-half of the industry's $5 billion revenues. Americans love movies; we revere heroes. And, against a backdrop of our current war on terror, the marquees have afforded moviegoers a much needed escape.
Yet, while we engage in the summer blockbusters, we should pause at the sad ironies of certain celebrities campaigning against our nation. We support their work; they depreciate our values. In movies, they play our heroes; in reality, they undermine these archetypes. And they do so most dishonorably from foreign shores.
Six decades ago, Robert Altman valiantly soared across the South Pacific as a U.S. Air Force bomber during World War II. Later, he created M*A*S*H as a quirky testament to the politics and friendship in the Korean War. This past winter, Altman, as film auteur, invectively conveyed the country he served to the Times of London: "This present government in America I just find disgusting. When I see an American flag flying, it's a joke." On the 19 terrorists and the World Trade Center, he said: "We gave them the ideas -- it was a movie."
For 20 years, actor Tom Cruise has dazzled audiences with performances in American hero myths: Mach-two bravado in Top Gun, grave about-face in Born on the Fourth of July, legal élan in A Few Good Men. And, presciently and controversially, as peacekeeper in Minority Report. Two weeks ago, however, Cruise pouted about his nation to the British Daily Express: "I think the U.S. is terrifying, and it saddens me. You only have to look at the state of affairs in America." He continued with allusions toward his children's emigration to Australia -- away from "people so irresponsible that human life holds such little value." Read: Americans.
Although not a thespian, Louis Farrakhan's encore performance in Malcolm X's legacy includes marshalling the famous Million Man March and leading the Nation of Islam. He publicly rallies his troops with a general's swagger, but recently, the Rev. Farrakhan has been staging a tent revival in the Middle East. Crossing our "axis of evil," Farrakhan has proselytized solidarity in Iraq as an effort to ward off U.S. military intervention. The Iraqi News Agency quotes him: "The Muslim American people are praying to the almighty God to grant victory to Iraq." Farrakhan à la Fonda.
At this point, it may be worth revisiting a final American declaration abroad. Theodore Roosevelt remarked at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1910: "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood."
Soldiers are not unlike actors -- they perform in larger dramas, work for different directors, act for different audiences and they capture our nation's interest. Yet, while military art may be a popular genre for Hollywood, there are no understudies in the U.S. military. There are thousands of men and women whose marred faces and fatigued spirits patrol the Afghan mountains, Philippine thickets and Guantanamo encampment. They do not think of their service as a "joke," their home as "terrifying" or their enemies as friends.
In the words of John Milton, "They also serve who only stand and wait." Someday, our country will denounce these recent causes célèbres and dramatize our true heroic epics.
One such scene for an American hero epic comes from the bowels of Operation Anaconda. Capt. Nate Self, a West Point classmate and fellow Texas native, is leading a Ranger platoon in a Chinook helicopter up to an Afghan ridge to reinforce a Navy SEAL team. As Nate's chopper descends, al-Qaida members fire a rocket-propelled grenade into its right engine as enemy machine-gun reports shred the fuselage and strike the cockpit's glass. Four of Nate's men are killed, and the survivors fight for their lives. Nate and his platoon order close air support, charge bunkers, tend the wounded and endure 17 hours of hell. A fifth soldier dies as Nate desperately requests evacuation. At the end of the ordeal, Nate remarks to The Washington Post: "You see something happening and it doesn't seem real. It just seemed like a bad movie."
Nate is a hero -- the man in the arena, and he returns from Afghanistan with a combat patch on his right shoulder. But, in the inspiring words of Lt. Daniel Kaffee at the end of A Few Good Men, "You don't need to wear a patch on your arm to have honor." Too bad Tom Cruise has already forgotten his lines.
Carlson, a Houston native, is a 1998 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, West Point. He is an Army officer and freelance writer stationed at Fort Hood.
Is he alluding to the children that he and Nicole adopted? Have they dumped these children now that the marriage is over? How nice to cover the fact they dumped them in a country far, far away with an excuse like "protecting" them from terrible Americans. If these are the children he is refering to, how apalling.
What a great quote! Thanks.
*shrugs* The present government in America is disgusting. And although one couldn't say for sure that they got the idea to fly planes into skyscrapers from an American movie, it sure sounds like something you'd find in an American action film.
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