Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Michael Bay's Benghazi movie was a flop, but in the New York Post, film critic Kyle Smith dutifully follows the conservative party line and describes it as a zeitgeist-defining cultural moment:
One of the final, devastating images in the Benghazi film “13 Hours” is of an American flag lying in a pool of filthy water and debris after the jihadi raid on two American outposts in Libya.

As the movie was shown to New York critics Tuesday night, President Obama was giving his “Everything Is Awesome” State of the Union speech, droning the words, “Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction ... The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth, period. Period. It’s not even close. It’s not even close. It’s not even close.”

... To tens of million of Americans, that American flag in the muck is a little closer to the truth. For a large and restless segment of the public, a line that rings far truer than anything in the State of the Union is the one delivered by another political orator of our time: “They’re laughing at us.”
President Obama, why don't you hate America? Where's your patriotism?

Smith then shouts out, "Who killed the four Americans in Benghazi?" -- and, after all, it was you and me, but not him, or any other conservative, and it certainly wasn't Donald Trump, who (bizarrely) turns out to be the hero of 13 Hours, according to Smith:
We thought “13 Hours” was going to be a movie about Hillary Clinton. Instead, it’s about Donald Trump. Because “13 Hours” dramatizes in the most searing way imaginable what’s going on in the country: bureaucratic indifference on the one side, things going up in flames on the other.

The movie is a study in the difference between thinkers and doers, between the theoretical and the practical, between Harvard graduates and guys who drew hot rods in their notebooks during algebra class.

In “13 Hours,” the officious CIA station chief in Benghazi who stands in for every technocrat you’ve ever met tells the brawny security contractors who will soon save him from death, “You’re hired help. There is no real threat here. We won the revolution for these people.” He thinks he can’t be wrong because “We have the brightest minds from the Farm -- educated at Harvard and Yale.”

A lady spy with a French accent who works in Benghazi tells one of the security contractors (ex-military men), “I know what I’m doing” because it’s her second tour in a war zone. A contractor replies laconically, “It’s my 12th.”

Another security guy says, referring to the probable assassin who was following her, “I might not have gone to Harvard, but I’m pretty sure that was a tail.”

It’s the old story of nerds vs. jocks. Donald Trump has left little doubt which one he is. He has spent this presidential campaign giving locker room wedgies to Jeb Bush and President Obama.
Donald Trump, of course, was a millionaire's son who attended private schools and ultimately got a business degree from Wharton -- but he's one of the "guys who drew hot rods in their notebooks during algebra class" and you and I are filthy elitists. As such, we killed Chris Stevens and the other three Americans. We're the villains, not the people who actually attacked the diplomatic outpost.

But it's always this way. Conservatives may loathe swarthy foreigners, but at the end of the day, their real enemy is stateside liberals, who, according to right-wing propaganda, are elitists by definition. Conservative billionaire CEOs are never elitists. But a unionized schoolteacher who occasionally shops at Whole Foods? Now we've identified the real oppressor.

Trump certainly isn't an elitist to these folks. Ask John Juvenal, an evangelical retired police officer from Oklahoma City, who tells The New York Times today that he and Donald Trump are soul mates:
“He is like I am,” he said. “He speaks like I do. He doesn’t hide what he’s saying. And he comes across very, very truthful.”
Buford Arning, a retired building supply executive from North Carolina, says in the same Times article that Trump is a doer, unlike certain fancy-pants presidents he could name:
“We’ve had an administration the last eight years of someone that never ever hired anybody and was responsible for a payroll, who filled 90 percent of his cabinet with academia, teachers and professors,” Mr. Arning said. “I want a guy that’s run a business. I don’t care if it’s a bulldozer and he’s cleared lots for 20 years.”
(Um, you know who ran a business? Dick Cheney. You know who else ran a business? Donald Rumsfeld. But I digress.)

However much Kyle Smith may praise 13 Hours, it was a failure at the box office. Maybe what it really needed in order to be a hit was a shirtless, pumped-up Donald Trump shooting bad guys, like Stallone in Rambo: First Blood, Part Two, and then turning his wrath on the evil Americans who betrayed him, the way Stallone did in Rambo's climactic scene.

I wish I had the video-editing skills to put Trump's head on Stallone's body in this clip. That's what conservative America wants.


flipyrwhig said...

Not that it's intended to be a factual statement, but "filled 90 percent of his cabinet with academia, teachers and professors"? The original Obama cabinet is Hillary Clinton, Tim Geithner, Robert Gates, Eric Holder, Ken Salazar, Tom Vilsack, Gary Locke, Hilda Solis, Kathleen Sebelius, Shaun Donovan, Ray LaHood, Steven Chu, Arne Duncan, Eric Shinseki, Janet Napolitano. I think one of those is an academic: Chu. Where would this guy get that line from? Who told him that?

Steve M. said...

If you're a conservative, it feels right. Why does it have to be factually accurate?

The Grand Panjandrum said...

I plan on seeing the movie when it comes out on Netflix. Unitl then I'll reserve judgement as to its merit as a film. What is clear to me is that most of the "free market" decided to throw cash at buffalo wingts, beer and big screen TVs so they could watch the NFL playoffs.

Victor said...

Wow, what a perfect description of the W & Dick mis-administration.

Those two assclowns, along a myriad of other sins agains this country - and humanity - had a lot more diplomats and staff members killed on their watch, than 4.

Oh, right!
Those were Bill Clinton's fault!

W's was the most blameless administration in history.
Every thing bad that happened in those 8 years, was either a carry-over from Clinton, or was bungled by Obama, afterwards.

Unknown said...

I'm expecting Trey-Trey Binky now to broaden the scope of his Extra Special Committee into vicious unfounded criticism of the 13 Hours film, and to that end, hundreds of Committee aides will be fanning out across this land to find, depose, and duly warn about future subpoenas and the consequences of breaching the committee's investigative confidentiality, all those who gave it a "certified rotten" score on Rotten Tomatoes.

'Due the usual Democrat party obstruction and unspecified secret squirrel shenanigans, we fully expect to find them in grates [or ingrates; the audio's pretty scratchy just there]'.

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retiredeng said...

@Kate Mark - "Spellbinding" Well, something is bound up anyway.

swkellogg said...

The review is a study in the difference between journalists and entertainment writers, between fact and fictition, between people who grasp reality and people who get their ideas about life from movies.

SW1 said...

Didn't Kyle Smith attend an Ivy? (Checks internet) Yes. Yale. I guess we're not supposed to notice that.

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Greg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg said...

If you're a conservative, it feels right. Why does it have to be factually accurate?

I suggest many conservatives intuit, in a way they rarely fully acknowledge, that the system has their back in maintaining perpetual victimhood. They know that such a stance, stubbornly held, gets results in at least holding their lib'rul enemies at bay. Hence they don’t need no stinkin’ smartypants factcheckers. They know what they “know” works.

J said...

I love the 'argument' of the extract. 'A tendentious and highly fictionalized film shows people I dislike in an unfavorable light, proving that that is what they're like.'

Aunt Snow said...

If I recall correctly, President Obama gave Donald Trump a serious wedgie at the 2011 White House Correspondent's Dinner.