Friday, May 20, 2005

The Evening Outrage

John Podhoretz continues to dig himself a hole in my viewpoint. Didn't notice the "airport terminal", and I don't care that the Old Republic didn't have ultrasound. There's probably a logical fallacy somewhere around Podhoretz's assumption that just because we have ultrasound that the OR would as well. But of course, it's John Podhoretz, so obviously his criticism is dead-on accurate, and he stands in the ranks of film criticism right beside Pauline Kael. Note to the so-called "J-Pod": When in a hole, stop digging. Next, we have the marginally funny Warren Bell commenting the following: I deliberately avoided the political overtones of Revenge of the Sith. Enough has been made of it already. The so-called political overtones are not there. I discussed this with Boy of heterophobic (Caution; journal not necessarily work safe) and we agree that the people reading modern politics into the picture see it because they want to see it. I suppose that it's a desire to feel persecuted or rebellious against evil Hollywood; rise up, man the barricades, and demand that Senator Frist exercise the nuclear option! (Which, incidentally, I can't care a whit about.) Mr. Bell continues: Heroes on both sides? Utter nonsense. If there are heroes on the Separatist/Droid side, we never see them. The notion that there are heroes on both sides sounds an awful lot like "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter," and it's indicative of the grade level of Lucas's political sophistication. He is right about one thing: We never see any heroic figures in the separatist army. As best as I can remember, we get some wheezing Montgomery Burns of a droid with a biological heart in General Grievous, and then a lot of so-stupid-it's-implausible droids who serve as 'saber fodder for our heroes. That is, unfortunately, the first and last time that Mr. Bell is accurate about anything in his post. It's not much of an intellectual effort to realize that on any side of a conflict, you're going to find soldiers who do things that would be considered heroic. In World War II, Audie Murphy performed actions that we in the United States would consider heroic. I doubt the officers and men of the Wehrmacht would see it in the same light, but there you have it. Murphy was a war hero, and I do not dispute it. On the other side, consider the actions of G√ľnther Prien, commander of U-47. On 14 October 1939, Prien led his ship into the Royal Navy anchorage at Scapa Flow. While there, he was able to torpedo the battleship HMS Royal Oak, and then return to the German submarine base at Kiel. This was no small action; Scapa Flow was one of the most, if not the most, important Royal Navy bases. It constituted a major victory on a variety of levels for the Germans, and won Prien tremendous fame. He was hailed as a public hero when he returned to Germany, and reportedly remained Admiral Karl Doenitz's favorite commander until the loss of U-47 in mid-1941. (For a good account of the Scapa Flow action, see here.) Setting aside for the moment the fact that Prien sailed for National Socialism, a question for Mr. Bell: Do you not think that Prien's actions were heroic? Merriam-Webster includes in its definition for hero the following: "an illustrious warrior, a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities, one that shows great courage" I don't know anything about the noble qualities---or not---of Prien, but sneaking into the British equivalent of Naval Station Norfolk and sinking a capital ship sounds rather courageous and like an achievement worthy of praise. And then of course grit your teeth, clench a fist, and curse the man for his success. Enh. Perhaps J-Pod is blinkered to the point where everything comes to him through an ideological lens. He reportedly wrote a book that hailed George W. Bush as the greatest Presidential speaker since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, so that may be some indication that Podhoretz is overly sensitive to perceived criticism of the sitting President. As for Warren Bell, I'm not sure what to think. It's rather juvenile I would think to believe that only one side's soldiers are capable of heroic deeds. Oh well. My new Revenge of the Sith litmus test is humming along just fine, and more names are being added to the list of those who get ignored. Warren Bell, you just wrote yourself on there. Mr. Podhoretz, you've inscribed your name not only in blood, but with hammer and chisel.


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