Sunday, January 29, 2006

Neither a Luddite Nor A Fundamentalist Be



More From The Annals of the Self-Deluded

Spielberg, on attempts to talk himself out of making Munich:
I discussed this film with all kinds of people who mean a lot to me, in the hope that they would talk me out of it, even my parents and my rabbi. But no-one would do me that favor. So my scriptwriter Tony Kushner and myself took on the project as seriously and politically unbiased, and as uncompromisingly as possible.
That's right. Spielberg thinks that Tony Kushner's approach on Israel is politically unbiased.

Heh! Now I'm forced to imagine a mental landscape in America where Tony Kushner's Zionism would be regarded as centrist.
SPIEGEL: You are celebrated enthusiastically by the critics, and you have also been slammed. But rarely has a director been attacked and vilified so personally for a film as you have now. You have been called a blind pacifist, even a traitor to the cause of Israel.

Spielberg: Fortunately, the people who write that kind of thing are a small but very loud minority. It saddens me to see how narrow-minded and dogmatic some of the right-wing fundamentalists here in the USA are. I thank God that people who are important to me see "Munich" quite differently. Liberal American Jews, for example, but also some families of the victims from that time in Israel. They have embraced the message of the film.
Those poor, deluded, narrow-minded, dogmatic right wing fundamentalists...

Now watch Spielberg entirely dodge the question:
SPIEGEL: In a long closing sequence you show the -- then still standing -- Twin Towers of Manhattan, implying that you see a link between September 5, 1972 in Munich and September 11, 2001 in New York.

Spielberg: I don't think that these acts can be compared in terms of their perpetrators. There is no connection between the Palestinian terror of that time and the al-Qaida terror of today. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Jihadism have nothing to do with each other.
Which on the one hand misses entirely the point of the question. The question isn't whether Al Qaeda and the PLO are the same "in their perpetrators," an obviously absurd question. The question is whether, as so many leftists believe, Arab grievances, as symbolized in the situation of Palestine, is linked to the mood fueling jihadism. And that is the question Spielberg refuses to answer here - because he would have to answer it in the positive. Because if he didn't believe it were true, he would not have layered in the symbolism of the Twin Towers.There is absolutely no reason to hint at the future in that way as a filmmaker - on a purely iconographic level that any idiot can read - if you don't believe you are foreshadowing what you know will be the political future of the world.

That is, of course, unless you are a bad filmmaker, not in control of your medium.

That's a possibility, too, I suppose.

Elsewhere Spielberg commented:
[that] he knew the film was going to "receive a volley from the right," but he was surprised "that we received a much smaller, but no less painful, volley from the left. It made me feel a little more aware of the dogma, and the Luddite position people take any time the Middle East is up for discussion."

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