Escape From the Preachy
by Saab Lofton
“Chained to the dream they got you searching for, the thin line between entertainment and war. There be no shelter here, the front line is everywhere.”
--Rage Against the Machine
“To those who say people wouldn't look; they wouldn't be interested; they're too complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply: There is, in one reporter's opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost. THIS INSTRUMENT CAN TEACH, IT CAN ILLUMINATE; YES, AND IT CAN EVEN INSPIRE. BUT IT CAN DO SO ONLY TO THE EXTENT THAT HUMANS ARE DETERMINED TO USE IT TO THOSE ENDS. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box. Good night, and good luck.”
--Edward R. Murrow
What do I mean when I call someone spoiled? I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve argued with people over the validity of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. If you don’t know, it’s the one the late, great Christopher Reeve (God rest his soul) co-wrote about how the man of steel rids the world of nuclear weapons. The Quest for Peace was a great story with an even better message, but the only thing folks that I’ve argued with can fixate on is its lackluster special effects. Or as Wikipedia -- the online encyclopedia -- put it:
“Unfortunately, Golan & Globus had so many other films in the pipeline at the time that their money was spread too thinly to properly accommodate what became Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, released in 1987, forcing the film's veteran director Sidney J. Furie to cut corners everywhere.”
That’s what I mean by spoiled. Ask a survivor of Hiroshima or Nagasaki whether the latest in FX is more important than an anti-nuclear message being disseminated by the masses. Ask white suburbia, however …
What’s the party line? “After a long, hard day, I don’t wanna think!” Well, I’m sure a Hiroshima survivor would be the first to tell yo’ ass you don’t know WHAT a hard day is!
There's always some chickenshit excuse as to why is it Americans (in particular) don't want to deal with anything the least bit disturbing and I'm beyond sick and tired of it. Let’s look at another, similar film. Turning once more to Wikipedia:
“On Deadly Ground was also criticized for using the context of an action-adventure film to promote an environmentalist message … The final scene, with (Steven) Seagal giving a speech about the obsolescence of the internal combustion engine and the need for cleaner alternative fuels, was cut from its original 11 minute length before the film’s release after audiences at initial screenings complained it was overlong and preachy.”
I can see the tombstone now: Here lies the planet Earth -- died from global warming because some spoiled-ass white folks thought an eco-friendly movie was too preachy! “Africa, which contributes the least to global warming, is suffering the most,” the August 21st, 2003 issue of Workers World reported. “The United States, with 5 percent of the world’s population, emits 25 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.”
I wonder how On Deadly Ground fared in Africa?
I remember when Syriana came out and an anarchist buddy of mine insisted on sneaking into the theater in order to spite the likes of Matt Damon and George Clooney since they were well off enough. I appreciated his position, but as I tried to explain to my buddy, it ain't about them. It's about what those condescending bastards at FOX News would claim if the box office indicated Syriana was a flop.
Fortunately, as of April 2006, Syriana grossed over fifty million across the country and almost another fifty million around the world. I told that anarchist it's important to hurt the right-wing by MAKING the film successful (which is why, when Syriana premiered, I arranged for half a dozen people to see it with me). As any nerd attending a high school reunion knows, success is the best revenge.
Besides, there’s such a thing as a “black tax,” which is to say blacks have to perform a task twice as well as whites just to get by, and sadly, the same double standard exists with left-wing films. Since filmmaking is so costly, it’s obviously that much harder for the poor/oppressed to reach the public -- let alone satiate a spoiled pallet for spectacle. Therefore, the trap lies in how the emphasis is put on whether a “suspension of disbelief” can be maintained during the theatrical experience as opposed to if a substantial lesson was learned by the audience.
In the end, providing escape for the so-called “average American” is less of a priority than letting the rich/powerful off the hook yet again. It’s clearly in the best interests of the military-industrial complex that The Quest for Peace continues to be panned, so whenever you hear some stuck up prick say, “that movie sucks,” keep in mind the film’s ideology -- and NOT its quality – may be the issue …