Brain Dropping #152 – Apologists & Other Liars.
The historical revisionists are on the march, transmogrifying recent history. The audacity of these media pundits, academics and “for sale” historians in misrepresenting events to which there are still alive and kicking witnesses, is breathtaking. Was it Goebbels or Goring or Herr Shickelgruber himself who said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it!” No, I’m not referring to that sap Brian Williams and his pathetic lie about being shot down in a helicopter. If he wasn’t such a dope he would have realized that it’s far easier and less detectable to lie when there are no witnesses alive who were there to repudiate or corroborate the account. Any accomplished liar knows that the further back in time the subject of the lie the smaller chance of being exposed. Fraudulent historians depend on this. This masking and changing of the truth with passing time is essential for religious dogma. But Williams arrogantly lied about events perilously close in time, with plenty of witnesses who saw what actually happened. That incident is undoubtedly the tip-of-the-iceberg where corporate media eunuchs are concerned.
These smarmy TV newshawks or newshens, or rather pigeons, have had their balls cut off – and whatever the female equivalent might be. Their impotence in regard to the truth earns them those corporate bucks which pay for their Fifth Avenue condos and their Frank Gehry beach-houses in the Hamptons. The grist for their mill are half–truths, distortions and most importantly omissions of fact.
I’m talking about twisted accounts of America’s favorite pastime – not the NFL or Major League Baseball or NASCAR – but waging war and dropping bombs on brown people and killing them by the hundreds of thousands in the name of planting the seeds of democracy.
The latest attempt to defenestrate the facts are two movies about the brutal bungling of the American military and the consequent horror of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians being obliterated by the firepower provided by Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Boeing, Booz Allen Hamilton and hundreds of other profiteering death factories. The films are: “American Sniper” directed by Clint Eastwood and a documentary “Last Days in Vietnam,” directed by Rory Kennedy.
I have not seen either film and will avoid seeing them – so these comments are based on reviews from sources like The Nation Magazine and The New Yorker. The former has a ‘liberal’ slant and is somewhat mealy-mouthed, the latter is as slick as the paper it’s printed on, and appeals to the conscience-ridden ‘one percenter’ with ads for Prada, Rolex and Rolls Royce. And to people like me by (increasingly rare) reportage by muckrakers like Seymour Hersh. ( Sadly, the legendary cartoons have become largely pointless. )
To begin with The New Yorker review of “Last Days In Vietnam” touts it as a masterpiece, thereby putting the imprimatur of excellence on the film. How does one argue with a masterpiece? The Nation however claims that “Last Days In Vietnam distorts history large and small.” Mr. Kennedy, bogged down with patriotic tunnel-vision, deals with the final days of the illegal American occupation and the chaos of the evacuation of American personnel, leaving behind many Vietnamese collaborators. According to the author of The Nation article, Nick Turse, Mr. Kennedy saw fit to leave out all the essential background information as to why we were there as an aggressor in the first place. No details about brutal French colonialism, no mention that Harry Truman believed that if fair elections were held Ho Chi Minh would win by a landslide. No mention of the nearly two million dead because of our intervention. No mention of the tens of thousands of birth defects to this day, caused by the residue of Dioxin and Dieldrin, the two active chemicals in Agent Orange. This historical distortion is comparable to talking about the Indian wars of the West without dealing with the constant betrayal and abrogation of our treaties with indigenous peoples – a form of historical racism. And have no doubt, racism is a key element in Iraq as it was in Vietnam – good old American racism that saw thousands of lynchings and black men burned alive.
“American Sniper,” from what I read in both the NYT and New Yorker review could have been called “The Outlaw Josie Wales Frets About His Gunplay.” In Mr. Eastwood’s manichean world you either wear a white hat or a black one representative of unambiguous good or evil. It is essentially a child’s world, a simpleton’s world – no nuance, no subtext. You’re either for us or against us – pure American hogwash calculated to thrill the “good ol’ boy patriot,” whose gun can only be “pried from his cold, dead hands.” Here again the reviewers know which side their bread is buttered on. Obscenely absent from this apology for American war crimes is historical context, no casus belli. Is there a legitimate reason for us to be in Iraq? Duh! Are all the Iraqis depraved savages, men, women and children to be picked off by the hero’s sniper’s rifle? Is Eastwood aware of the history he is distorting – the fraudulent march to war by morally insane men?
From Richard Brody’s review in The New Yorker: “It’s a family story that starts with Chris’ father teaching him to hunt and discovering the boy’s natural gift for marksmanship. Chris is a sort of Mozart of the rifle.” Or A.O. Scott in the NYT: “He approaches his work with steady nerves and a clear conscience banishing the doubt and fatalism that afflict some of his comrades and buttressed by the unambiguous depravity of his enemies. These are people who use women and children as suicide bombers, who mutilate and torture anyone who opposes them, who ambush American marines in the street.” Eastwood, in his spaghetti-western world, would never dare to ask what the fuck those marines were doing there in the first place.
These liars have been found out, but if you think this historical dishonesty really doesn’t matter, allow me to imagine a review of my own employing the same mindless amorality of The New Yorker and the NYT. ( I’ll have a better chance of re-writing some history, as it’s been awhile) “Young Adolph was a quiet boy with a talent for painting watercolors. As a young man he fought in the trenches of WWI and soon came to the belief that his enemies were depraved savages who wanted to replace the purity of his world with that of a corrupt, mongrel morality. He and his followers knew that they had to act forcefully to make the world safe for the better good of humankind!”