It worked. As always. I walk in Jules Crittenden's joint, pull one of my old French socializing tricks, and I get Sister Toldjah's attention. Now all the guys who were orbiting around her, in a buzzing pheromonefest — and despite the danger of imminent death by testosterone OD — look at me with the glint of screaming murder in their eyes. But Sister Toldjah — yes, the smart and lovely jewel of the blogosphere, Sister Toldjah — only has eyes for me. Oh-boy-Oh-boy-Oh-boy.
I'm therefore rather relieved that the use of another attention-getter (namely drinking so much that one ends up telling salacious "So-Muhammad-was-riding-his-camel" jokes in the middle of the street at 5 am, wearing one's underwear as a funny substitute for a turban, to an audience treacherously sober enough to use their camera equipped cell phones) is now superfluous.
End the digression. On with the blog entry.
Since the battle of Iraq started, we've seen a profusion of desperate attempts to draw any remotely possible Vietnam analogy by silly old hippies, nostalgic of their 20's in the 60's, and personality-challenged silly young hippies trying to emulate them —mainly because this much vaunted Communist (political) victory over the Great Capitalist Satan is the only successful framework at their disposal to sap the American people's willpower and morale, and kick America down to defeat.
Kerry and Fonda can tell you it worked, once.
Fortunately, all these analogies-on-agenda misfired so far, and not just because the notion of a quagmire in a scorching hot desert and dry sand dunes defies both imagination and the laws of physics, but simply because the Vietnam War and the Battle of Iraq have next to nothing in common beyond the fact that 1. It's not in Kansas and 2. There are American soldiers kicking Collectivist guerillas' collective behinds.
To make things worse for the ageing peevish Love Child, boo-coo of said guerillas seem to disregard the ideological advantage of wearing Charlie's black fighting pajamas. Stupid Sun Goblins, heh?
The only Vietnam analogy I regard as valid however, is one the Left doesn't push that much, since it would expose their strategy and themselves for what they were during the Vietnam War, and what they are in the current one: not only passively anti-American, but actively fighting for the other side. I am talking, of course, about the fact that while soldiers lead a globally successful war abroad, citizens struggle on a vicious and not so successful — so far — culture war at home.
This culture war doesn't stop at tired old US historical military analogies, and it didn't start with Iraq either. It rages on all over the world, and in all areas of public life and civil society. On the political battlefield of course, but also on the critical fields of public education and academia where the losses are horrendous. On the media front, I expect the dreaded code word "Broken Arrow" over the field radio anytime, while online and so-called citizen journalists are fighting wonderfully. However — and I'm saying this as a blogger — I fear the actual impact of blogs and other 'new media' debunking offensives on a nation the scale of America — let alone the rest of the world — is far too marginal to achieve a decisive victory over the legions of big 'old' media and billionaire funded Left-wing activists. For one fake story bloggers bring to light or one fauxtograph they expose, how many lies and Leftist mantras slip through and establish themselves as facts in the collective wisdom?
Even worse: no matter how bad the mainstream media is, its effects are nothing compared to those of the Left-wing assaults on popular culture at large. You have to be available and interested, and follow the news to come in contact with the various nefarious influences conveyed, be they pro-Islamic Fascism or anti-Capitalist. While many people simply don't read or watch the news closely enough to get infected, those who do, when confronted with blatant propaganda, can still stop reading the paper or watching their TV and look for information elsewhere: the rise of the blogosphere in the past few years bears witness to that.
But what about entertainment? Music? Movies? These touch far more people worldwide, and the political agenda they convey is frequently no less dangerous, particularly since it's hidden under the cloak of mere amusement.
Fed up with two bits political activism from simplistic pop singers wasting otherwise enjoyable melodies, I find myself increasingly moving away from the vocal rock scene, and forward to electronica - where the lyrics are either inexistent, or limited to innocuous looped I-love-you-you're-my-love rhythmic background noise - or even obscure Indian subcultures' composers whom lyrics, if they happen to be offensive, I blissfully cannot understand.
It's worse on the movie front. I made the mistake of watching Shooter recently, and still mourn the couple of hours I lost on this crass piece of propaganda. It is however oftentimes subtler, and I regard Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down for instance, as a good example of insidious promotion of Islamofascism. I know many people, including in the military, enjoyed that movie — as I did, at first sight — but when you look behind the edgy-arty photography and the great action scenes, you can see that Sir Ridley Scott is obviously taking great pleasure in depicting American troops (Rangers and Special Forces, no less) taking a beating at the hands of Muslim militias, and running away like dogs, having failed to "force their values" on the invincible Islamic warriors.
All in all, a great Jihad recruiting ad, only matched by Scott's hysterically ahistorical follow-up Kingdom of Heaven, or "The Crusades according to Osama bin Laden".
Computer entertainment is not spared either. I was reminded how bad the situation is on the popular culture front at large, when at the end of a totally unrelated search, I hit this interview of one Harvey Smith, videogame designer of a piece of upcoming computer amusement called "Blacksite", on the eerily named Eurogamer game portal.
It is a particularly tedious interview, so I'll just extract the defining bits of the game designer's wisdom, that happen to illustrate my point.
On his first meeting with the game developers:
"(...) but I did come in and I said, "Look, I'm not going to tell you how to do this, this or this part of your job, but I'm a game designer and a writer and a creative director and here's the direction we're going. We're angry about politics."Well, everybody and their uncles are angry about politics these days. I am too. Let's just see what his anger is about...
"The story is interesting. (...) what we wanted to do was start out with a jingoistic, patriotic kind of vibe, (...)"So to Mr. Smith, patriotic goes alongside jingoistic. Interesting indeed. Very revealing too.
"(...) and you're Aeran Pierce, the leader of Echo Squad, Delta Force Assassination Squad, and you go to Iraq looking for a bunker full of weapons of mass destruction and find out that there aren't weapons of mass destruction and it's another government lie."Right. Patriotic-Jingoistic US "assassination squads", WMD-that-don't-exist, government lies. Clever.
Awfully original too: we really haven't heard any of that stuff before; the man obviously lives up to his self-proclaimed designer, writer and creative director credentials.
"And slowly but surely the game gets more and more subversive, and by the end you're American soldiers fighting against former American soldiers who have been unethically experimented on."That's not subversive, that's bloody stupid, Pal. Also, are we to assume that it would be less subversive had the former American soldiers been ethically experimented on? Are those former American soldiers on Blackwater's payroll, by any chance?
Oh well. Subversive Smithy, nevertheless, is on a roll of conventional Leftist groupthink, dropping the standard code words as if there is no tomorrow(1):
"So we've created the insurgency; we've created our own enemies. (...) I think the last six years of American politics are a giant disaster; playing on people's fear; the military-industrial complexes. (...) there are companies making billions off of this - Halliburton and companies like that. (...) and our president is a former oil executive: my government is full of monsters (...)"And when you thought you'd seen the end of this subversive writer's conformist creativity, he tells you about his game's characters:
"(...) Mitchell Ambrose is a black guy from New Orleans, so we talk about Katrina as well, and the role of the government in undermining the funding for the people there, and the role of the government in making global warming worse that caused the problem in the beginning, so he alludes to New Orleans and Katrina;"I think we've got it all. Let me check: WMD lies, Iraqi insurgents, Blame America, military-industrial complex, Halliburton, oil, Katrina, funding-undermined black victims from New Orleans and Global Warming.
Clearly, Harvey Smith's Blacksite is more than a game; it's a binary anthology of moonbattery.
And he's only alluding here, mind you.
"Noa is a woman from the Middle-East, who has a very global perspective on the US presence over there;"Well there's a good thing actually. The problem with many women in the Middle-East is that the poor things are usually rather deprived of any kind of perspectives. Well done Mr. Smith!
The real kicker however, is hidden in the middle of the interview:
"America's Army is the most political game anyone's ever made. It is a complete commercial for the right wing. So, if that's a super-political game, what's wrong with making a game that questions the role of the US military in the world and the role of the military-industrial complex? I don't think we're any more political than America's Army - we're just on the other side of the split."I've had a look at that alleged "super-political complete commercial for the right-wing" and frankly, America's Army (the game) is as political (and 'right-wing') as America's Army (the... Army). That is to say, not at all. If anything, it's yet another modern time illustration - or byproduct - of a principle at the root of Western Civilization and liberal democracy, as explained by Victor Davis Hanson, in "Carnage and Culture" one of the most brilliant book I've ever read:
"Western armies often fight with and for a sense of legal freedom. They are frequently products of civic militarism or constitutional governments and thus are overseen by those outside religion and the military itself. The rare word "citizen" exists in the European vocabularies. (...) Western militaries put a high premium on individualism, and they are often subject to criticism and civilian complaint that may improve rather than erode their war-making ability. (Emphasis mine)"Criticism and complaint can only spawn from knowledge, and America's Army - the game - looks to me just like one of the many sources of knowledge on US armed forces at the disposal of the average US citizen - though admittedly a somewhat trivial and incomplete one.
It is also an unabashedly patriotic game, and we already know that Harvey Smith has a problem with US patriotism. Still, in case we forgot, he makes sure to remind us: he's just on the other side of the split.
Now if that's not a declaration of faith and a pledge to America's enemies, I don't know what is.
So what are we to make of all this?
First, that if you thought the movie industry screenwriters could produce some stupid and simplistic scripts, wait till you've seen the videogame designers in action.
Next, that while there's no escaping political correctness and champagne Socialists in the entertainment, movies like 300 recently proved that there was on the right "side of the split" solid storytellers, talented directors and, possibly more important, a large demanding audience. Yet, patriotic allegories celebrating the West's greatest ideals like 300 are still the exception rather than the rule.
Maybe you'd be tempted to simply dismiss all of that. It's just a movie, or just a computer game. It's not serious. No big deal.
But you would be wrong.
A people, a nation or a civilization's collective wisdom is built out of its popular culture. We may deplore it, but the fact remains: most of us are not political activists, policy experts, media minders, academics or climatologists. Whatever 'sticks' with us, the masses, on any given question is what is diffused through pop culture. Not because we, the masses, are stupid - as snub, common-man hating Lefties often pretend - but mostly because we, the masses, have a day job and little spare time to thoroughly explore all the important issues. You may publish any number of the most accurate reports on guns and citizenry, or all the scientifically exact studies debunking anthropogenic climate change in the world; you will still have less impact than Michael Moore and Al Gore with a single fairy tales flick.
The answer to the deceptive liberal media is already well under way and making progress, but where is the answer to the deceptive - and far more influential - liberal entertainment industry?