Wednesday, April 26, 2006

United 93

left: from, right: a still from the upcoming film, "United 93"

I posted this a couple of days ago, but have added a couple of brief additional comments below. Also, I have been cross-posting, including this post, at Arvin Hill since Monday while he's out of town. "Spartacus O'Neal" is subbing for AH as well.- JV

here's the letter I posted in response to Stephanie Zacharek's review of United 93 at Salon:
"making money making movies"

As I write this, I note that the previous letter writers are virtually unanimous in condemming the making of this film as inherently exploitative, irrespective of the points of views that might be expressed, and any other thematic underpinnings.

I have to disagree. Although I can understand this reaction, I think it's wrong because making narrative works and sharing them with the world, profit or no profit, is also about deciding
who gets to tell the story, not just how it's told.

How is declaring the 9-11 narrative sacrosanct any different from a war supporter venomously decrying anyone who disagrees with his interpretation of the meaning of soldiers' deaths? I haven't seen this picture, living here in the middle of the country in a middle-sized town, and I don't know what I would think of it. But I know that as long as the 9-11 narrative is sacrosanct it's only one narrative, the one we don't dare talk about. This film may spur the creation of another about events of the same day, one that's screechingly jingoistic. Or another that tries to be humanize the hijackers. Or both, and more.

Meanwhile, the deification of the 9-11 dead has been used to launch a war designed to glorify a president and to stifle dissent. And arguably, to predispose people to accept, little by little, life in a prefascist state as normal.

I remember when the 911 emergency tapes were released, without the voices of the callers, except when their survivors "gave" their permission. While I
don't believe the occasional conspiracy theory about how the towers were supposedly filled with preset explosives, it occurs to me that when you condition people to see it as normal to create for the dead these kinds of privacy rights, authoritarian leaders can use these expanded expectations that certain things are off limits to cover up their screwups and misdeeds.

We have to start talking about 9-11.
although some of the letter writers seemed like they were written by idiots, this one struck me as worthwhile:
Nothing New:
Movies made about ongoing events, made for propoganda, profit and/or because someone thought it made a good story are nothing new.

On TMC, during their 31 days of Oscar, I saw a movie called "So Proudly We Hail". The movie takes place in the Philippines during WWII. It tells the story of some military nurses who managed to leave before the American forces in the Philippines surrendered to the Japanese. Most of the nurses did not get away and ended up being captured by the Japanese. The movie was made in 1943. From what I've read, at the time the movie was made it was not known what had happened to the nurses who were left behind. Their families didn't know if they were alive or dead.

I'm sure that was no more or less upsetting than "Flight 93". This sort of thing has been going on for a long time. I'm not sure why the events of 9/11 are seen as so much more traumatic. Maybe having TV and being surrounded by media has changed our impression of things.

by "4 greyhounds"

Friday, 28 April: I realize it was and is harsh to suggest that the majority of commenters for this article left idiotic comments, not only because it was tacky, but it was ultimately untrue(there were fewer than 10 letters when I posted my entry; the last I checked there were around 120. And while there where additional ones that struck me as lacking substance, there were also several worthwhile ones.)

Initially, I was just going to change the above sentence, "...although some of the letter writers seemed like they were written by idiots..." I decided to keep it in and comment on it instead, as I'm going to discuss internet revision(-ism) in a couple of subsequent posts.