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Friday, September 08, 2006


A Crappy TV Movie That Isn't on Lifetime

Awake again, and I've just spent the last half hour over at Salon, slogging through letters responding to an article Joe Conason wrote about the ABC "Docudrama" Path to 9/11. And, like any comments section on Salon or Huffington Post or any sort of liberal site, what I found was a nasty back and forth between extreme folks on either side, many rife with name-calling and spelling errors. I'm not sure why I spent the entire half hour pouring over this crap, but it had a sort of train-wreck appeal, I guess. It wasn't so appealing that I read the last nine pages of vitriol, but I did make it halfway through.

For anyone who hasn't heard the details of this, allow me to summarize: ABC is airing this movie, which they have advertised as "Based on the report of the 9/11 Commission!" It was written by a gentleman who apparently shares some things in common with Rush Limbaugh, and it's not belt size or an addiction to pain meds. So the script "dramatizes" a number of incidents from the Clinton years--"makes up" would be a fair substitution for dramatizes--to make it clear to viewers that the blame for the terrorist attacks falls squarely on Bubba. It also makes no mention of a number of blunders from the early Bush White House.

ABC and parent company Disney have teamed with Scholastic to distribute "educational packets" (man, I'm quotation mark-happy tonight) to schools, which some have pointed out is a great way to make sure that children grow up thinking Bush and co. didn't utterly fuck things up.

Meanwhile, Democrats have gone on the offensive, kind of. They've made much hue and cry to the effect that ABC needs to pull this film, as it has so much bias and so many inaccuracies.

And this is where my uncertainty on this subject comes in. I'm a big believer in free speech. Any/all speech. This movie is a Bush-sucking piece of shit. But that doesn't mean that ABC shouldn't be allowed to air it. The first thing that popped into my mind when I read this story was the CBS biopic about the Reagans from a couple of years back. It starred Barbra Streisand's husband/bitch and supposedly was not very nice about Nancy. Right-wingers howled. They got out the torches and pitchforks. They demanded that it be pulled. And those huge pussies at CBS caved. They aired it on one of their cable channels, where it was seen by three people.

I thought the people who called for the movie to not be aired were wrong then and I think that the people who are calling for ABC to not air this one are wrong, too. The letters I read on Salon took up this same subject right from the beginning. The GOPinheads wrote in to point out left-wing hypocrisy on the subject while lefties differentiated this episode from that one by saying that that one was a "fluffy biopic" about someone whose presidency was far enough in the past that it was no longer relevant, while this movie touches on events that are still happening today and, in fact, could be seen as a Republican attempt to sway feelings about the War on Terror in the year of the mid-term elections.

, y'know, I don't give a shit what the movie says, ABC still has a right to broadcast it. People who are calling for it to be scrapped are promoting censorship. Freedom of speech is one of the rights that our soldiers are supposedly fighting for. Do we want to erode that right the way Bush and his gang are eroding so many of our other rights?

The answer to this is not to censor the movie or whine like a toddler. The answer is to make sure that more truthful accounts of the "path to 9/11" get out there, too.

Good God. Are we ever going to get back to a time when we do more in this fucking country than partisan bickering? Fucking Republicans.

I take an opposite but related view. I believe that when people are depicting historical events they should be accurate. The Reagan thing and this thing just seem to be partisan hack jobs, from what I understand of them.

If we want a decent dialog maybe we should all start by less obfuscation and villification.

There's too much hypebole, especially considering the language of politics is inadequate anyhow.
At least Scholastics has pulled the educational guides after much complaint. Those thngs were just horrible GOP talking points.
I must admit, though, that now my curiosity is piqued.
I'm with you, Joe.

To me, if artists depicting historic events were required to be accurate, half the canon would be gone--Shakespeare, Marlowe, the Bible, the works. Indeed, most of the rewriting in which these cats engaged was "partisan", in some sense (though not necessarily in the sense we're experiencing in the current political climate).

I'm less concerned about what such polemics do to dialogue than I am about what they do to art; all too many artists use such content to cover up a lack of formal vigour.
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