- The Washington Times - Monday, May 29, 2006

Islam ‘Code’?

“Imagine, if you can, a major studio releasing a thriller in which the stars investigate the origins of Islam. Pursued by a murderous Muslim cleric, they uncover a series of shocking discoveries: Mohammed was no prophet! The Koran is a hoax, the work of self-serving hypocrites! Modern-day Muslims are dupes, if not deranged psychopaths!

“Now imagine, in the unlikely event such a film were ever made, what sort of reception it would get in the establishment media. Given the categorical refusal of the American press to publish the Danish Mohammed cartoons, it’s a safe bet that the talking heads and big newspapers would only mention the movie to denounce it.

“This is telling, given the fawning, copious attention that’s been lavished upon Ron Howard’s adaptation of ‘The Da Vinci Code,’ which began well before the movie was even in production.”

— Chris Weinkopf, writing on “Cheering the Code After Punching the Passion,” in the June issue of the American Enterprise

Guerrilla love

“Notwithstanding the political catastrophes of the 20th century, the notion of the noble guerrilla persists on the left. According to this notion, a man or woman who takes to the hills, gun in hand, must be fighting for a good cause, and bringing about a better and more just world. The Guardian, Britain’s left-liberal newspaper, which (alas) is also its most serious paper, can’t get enough of the noble guerrilla.

“The Guardian’s latest glossy weekend supplement carried a photographic essay about PKK (Kurdish Workers’ Party) guerrillas on the Turkish-Iraqi border. Romanticizing them could hardly go further: in rugged landscapes, we see fresh-faced young men and women in gray-green fatigues either in pensive, poetic mood or happily singing revolutionary songs.

“How purposefully authentic their existence seems compared with ours, who live in large, comfortable and wealthy cities, selfishly enjoying the rotten fruits of a decadent civilization. One almost wishes one could shed the veneer of sophistication and join up, to breathe the crystalline, unpolluted air of Kurdistan.

“How many times in the 20th century did we see the same photographic essays about noble guerrilla movements?”

— Theodore Dalrymple, writing on “Fashionable Guerrillas,” May 23 in City Journal Online

Neo-disaster

“Back in the 1970s, disaster movies were all the rage. ‘Airport’ (1970) was about a bomb on a plane. ‘Earthquake’ (1974) imagined ‘the big one’ that would destroy Los Angeles. ‘Towering Inferno’ (1974) was about a deadly fire in the world’s tallest building. But the defining example of the genre was ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ (1972), in which an ocean liner capsized and a small band of survivors struggled to make their way through the upside-down vessel.

“But now, in our post-9/11, post-Hurricane Katrina world, disasters have lost most of their entertainment value. Nevertheless, we have a remake of ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ simply called ‘Poseidon’ … perhaps because the word ‘adventure’ has too many fun connotations for a movie about the deaths of thousands of people.”

— Gene Edward Veith, writing on “Poseidon,” in the May 27 issue of World magazine


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