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Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco
by Burt Prelutsky
by Mark Steyn
Trade Center': Stone Cold Politics
Shaw Crouse [author,
Stone, a major Hollywood talent and the director of the upcoming
about the World Trade Center attacks, explained to a reporter
that 9/11 “comes with baggage.” Despite rumors
to the contrary, I expected to see anti-American or anti-Bush “baggage” at
the advanced screening of Stone’s film last week. After
all, his movies usually stir controversy and are typically
saturated with far left ideology and distorted history –– for
example, Platoon (1986), Born on the Fourth of July (1989), JFK (1991) Natural
Born Killers (1994), Nixon (1995), The People
vs. Larry Flynt (1996) and Alexander (2004).
Surprisingly, critics are praising the sensitivity and impact
of Stone’s World
Trade Center. Some optimists wonder if this movie signals a return to films
that the whole family can watch; those that celebrate the triumph of the human
spirit over adversity and tragedy. There’s also talk that Stone at long
last wants to redeem his legacy. More cynical observers think that he is courting
the audiences that flocked to The Passion and The Chronicles of Narnia –– that
the detour through red-state values merely ensures a blockbuster hit to restore
his clout in Hollywood.
Janice Shaw Crouse is senior fellow of Concerned
Women for America's Beverly LaHaye Institute.[go
to Guest index]
else people think about Stone’s World Trade
critics generally give Stone credit for leaving behind the typical liberal “baggage” to
make an apolitical movie.
But could being apolitical actually be a political statement in disguise?
Scrub out virtually all aspects of terrorism –– only a slight shadow
of a plane on the towers –– and the story morphs into a challenging
event no different than a natural disaster. Afterwards, leave out the dynamic
presence of Rudy Guliani and there is no evidence of the extraordinary leadership
that was so transformative in that crisis. Read President Bush out of the script,
except for a brief televised image, and the national and international impact
of the attack seems incidental. Purge all patriotism from the scene, leave
out the president’s stirring remarks, subordinate the heroism of the
rescuers and the story is one of extraordinary personal duress and survival.
Moreover, the only person shown to be interested in avenging the attack is –– no
surprise –– a Marine who is a devout Christian. I don’t think
it is accidental that the film provides no bridge from 9/11 to the War on Terrorism –– especially
the Iraqi war.
I was profoundly moved by the courage of the two Marines whose consciences
prompted a call to duty on 9/11, but I also saw broader implications in their
actions. The attacks on the World Trade Center towers produced an unprecedented
response –– literally thousands of Americans volunteered to help
an overwhelmed New York, a city that lost so many brave firefighters and policemen
Oliver Stone’s movie is not the full story of 9/11. Minus its complicating
factors, the movie becomes a simple, though emotionally gripping, slice-of-life
from a monumental event: the story of two policemen who get trapped in the
rubble of 9/11, manage to stay alive long enough to be rescued and, after numerous
operations, return to a relatively normal life with their wives, children and
extended family whose anguish during their ordeal is a tremendously moving
sub-plot of the movie.
As personal drama, it is affecting theatre, but it doesn’t convey the
essence of that pivotal day in 2001 when evil triumphed and fear became a way
of life for the most powerful nation in the world.
The two Port Authority cops were the 18th and 19th persons out of the mere
20 that were rescued alive from the terrorist attacks.
That fact alone is worth pondering.
Why did Oliver Stone choose to focus only on those two guys in telling a story
about 9/11? This movie is only the second movie of Stone’s career that
he did not write or help write the screenplay. The screenplay loses something
when it ignores the larger context and the pain of the families of the hundreds
of firemen and policemen who died that day.
Not to take anything away from those two courageous men; it is horrific to
even imagine being practically buried alive under all that cement and steel.
Nor would I want to take anything away from their families whose agony was
painful to watch on-screen; I wouldn’t want to live through what they
But those two men and their families would be the first to point to the heroism
of those who gave their lives in the effort to rescue people from the flaming
hell created by the Islamic terrorists determined to destroy the gleaming towers
that were so symbolic of capitalistic America.
Am I too cynical to wonder why the firefighters were reduced to mere splashes
of yellow in the background? I do recall that the New York City firefighters
and policemen booed liberal Hillary Clinton when she took the stage at Madison
Square Garden about a month after 9/11. Did they fail to give the liberal Stone
the cooperation and support that would have been needed to include them in
the movie? Has living in Washington over the past decade made me too jaded?
Plus, I can’t help but wonder if the movie’s respectful treatment
of people of faith is just another attempt to show that conservatives don’t
have a monopoly on respect for religion –– paving the way for left-wing
political victories in 2006 and 2008? Imagine, a movie directed by Oliver Stone
portraying religion in a positive light! Why those liberals really are part
of the mainstream after all –– even the most left-leaning of them
respects American and Judeo-Christian values. That would be Stone cold politics.
Ultimately, it is impossible to be apolitical about the evil attacks on America.
The personal triumphs are inspiring and I’m glad there is a movie about
the two men who were miraculously rescued; their story is worth dramatizing
and Oliver Stone told their story well. With three Oscars to his credit, Stone
is without a doubt a creative and skillful moviemaker. He gave us a glimpse
of the personal horror of 9/11 as it affected two families. But, the fact that
he views the terrorist attacks as “baggage” explains why, finally,
he couldn’t depict the virulent Islamist hatred of America and our response
to their terrorism.
Yet, the 9/11 “baggage” was necessary to lift the movie beyond
entertainment to make it historically relevant. New York and the rest of the
country still wait for an artist with the genius and burning passion to interpret
9/11 in a transcendent way that conveys a larger vision of the full meaning
of the attacks and their significance to our national psyche. CRO
First appeared at Human Events Online