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June 25, 2007
Roger Ebert's moral equivalence (updated)
Reviewing A Mighty Heart, the Angelina Jolie star vehicle about Marianne Pearl, wife of beheaded journalist Daniel Pearl, Roger Ebert is at pains to make sure we know we are no better than the head-choppers (who hardly even appear):
To paraphrase some wag whose name I've forgotten: "Watching A Mighty Heart is like watching a re-cut version of Titanic where the iceberg is discreetly never shown." And I would add, where it is darkly hinted that it was made in Dick Cheney's freezer.
But if you have the temerity to complain about the perspective of this review, Roger wants you to know that:
I'm guessing Eason Jordan and Roger get along well.
It must be a heady experience to know Truth, and to look sternly down upon the pitiful that cannot see it (as Roger in fact does from his picture in the link). On the other hand, perhaps Roger's breathtaking arrogance is due to having forgotten that the "suspension of disbelief" thing is supposed to end when the lights come back on. Now he's stuck: "IN A WORLD... where George Clooney tells the truth about America!!"
Roger clearly believes that Hollywood can be relied upon to:
- explain America to the rest of the world
- explain the rest of the world to America
- enable movie reviewers to tell us not only what most Muslims, but most Americans, really think and feel.
What's not to like about having the burning issues of the world all wrapped up in an easily-digestible package for you by movie stars and movie reviewers?
And I'm sure that Roger realizes that without our precious Hollywood celebrities to represent us, our image might be nothing more profound than thousands of idealistic young men and women risking their lives to free millions from tyranny. Doubleplus uncool, right Roger?
Can anyone doubt that without movie reviewers, Hollywood, and the news media we would be utterly morally adrift? For the advancement of human awareness, I hereby volunteer to find out what life would be like without them. If it could somehow be arranged, I'm more than ready. Please.
Update: Rosslyn Smith writes:
Despite praise from critics that imdb.com summarized as "near-reverent" and a heavy ad campaign, A Mighty Heart found very fans among ticket buyers. The film placed tenth this past weekend, grossing only $4 million in 1355 theaters, an average of $2,956 per screen.
Update: Jules Crittenden has some thoughts on Ebert and Eason: A Mighty Farce