Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fair Game

Wisconsin man so upset
by Bristol Palin’s dancing
he destroys TV with shotgun.

The motion picture, Fair Game, about the Valerie Plame affair, has now been released. I have not seen it. I may never see it because it may never come to our part-time little theatre. If and when it does come I probably won’t see it anyway. I don’t have to see it as I already know what it is supposed to be about. And I also know that whatever is ought to be about is not what it will be about. I saw somewhere on the internet the other day that the Washington Post and the New York Times reported Fair Game was wonderfully “entertaining.” Knowing who Valerie Plame and her husband Joe Wilson were, and what happened to them, I thought the description “entertaining,” to be at least a curious one. So I looked up reviews and comments about the movie on Google (this is entertaining in its own right).

As you might suspect, some people really liked the movie and some not so much. Everyone seemed to agree that the main actors, Sean Penn and Naomi Watts, were pretty terrific, some predicting Oscars for one or the other of them. Some thought the Director, Doug Limon, should not have been trusted with such a film, although it was not clear to me just why they thought so. Some seemed to think the movie was fine until towards the end when Penn became “too political.” Still others seemed to be put off because it became too “sanctimonious” (having not actually seen it I have no idea what this refers to). In any case I get the impression that one’s political leanings have something to do with their appreciation of this film.

What I think is so fascinating about this film is that it is apparently very non-political about what was a purely political act. In fact, what happened to Valerie Plame was an act of treason on the part of Bush/Cheney and others. Outing a secret CIA agent is treasonous in the extreme. Nowhere can I find any mention of this, either in the film itself or in the many reviews I have seen. The Director seems to have concentrated mainly on the characters involved, and on their marital relationship as it had to do with this incident. The movie was meant to be entertaining, and even though it was based on a true story that was not what I would consider entertaining at all, was forced into that mode. Many of the reviews focused almost exclusively on the talent of the actors who, it is said, turned in marvelous performances. Others were struck by the success of the couple to manage their marital affairs in the face of such stress. Still others see Fair Game as basically another spy story, based upon fact but mainly just a basic spy story nonetheless.

In other words it seems that everyone concerned, the director, the actors, the critics, everyone, manages to see this as just another movie, entertaining and well acted, a fine character study, everything but what the story really was. In only one review did I find any mention of what may have happened to any of the other agents that might have been exposed by the outing of Valerie Plame. As far as I know the names Bush and Cheney are never mentioned, the treason is never mentioned, it is basically a kind of spy story/love story that is entertaining.

Is this not vintage Hollywood (maybe not just Hollywood anymore, but the “industry,” the “business)? I mean, they seem to be unable to make a move about anything that does not have to have a love story of some kind. Don’t we know from For Whom the Bell Tolls that the Spanish Civil War was primarily a love story between Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman? I’m sure this love interest kind of stuff began long before For Whom the Bell Tolls. Many, many of our war movies feature love stories. They can manage to make something like Pearl Harbor into a love story. The Russian Revolution was also mostly about a love story, according to Dr. Zhivago. I think that if you get your view of history (or reality) from movies you might well think the Second World War was mostly an affair of linked love stories. Although I haven’t seen one yet, I have no doubt that someday we’ll see a story of, “ The Holocaust, a Love Story.” It would seem to me that if you want to make a motion picture based upon a treasonous war crime you ought to be obliged to at least mention it. But the movie industry, like all businesses, is out to make a profit, and the profit is in entertainment, not in the facts of life. Unfortunately this same motivation has spread to our MSM, now into “infotainment” rather than news. This has not been healthy for our country as we have failed to insist on a relationship between free speech and responsibility, emphasizing only the former.

No one can deny that much of our modern advertising is essentially dishonest; and it can be maintained that to lie freely and all the time for private profit is not to abuse the right of free speech, whether it is a violation of the law or not. But again the practical question is, how much lying for private profit is to be permitted by law?
Carl L. Becker

The pygmy rabbit is one of only two species of rabbit to dig its own burrows.

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