Monday, 19 January 2015

The “Gollum of the Week” award goes to – film-maker Michael Moore, for branding military snipers as "cowards"

There comes a point – there are usually several – in the life of a person with strong political prejudices (like me) when you suddenly realise that you’re in danger of tipping over the precipice into irrationality. Or, to give it another name – extremism. Fortunately, most of us pull back from the brink well in time, not wanting to turn into the sort of creature which has allowed obsessive hatred or desire to destroy its very soul, in the manner of Tolkien’s ring-obsessed Gollum, who forsook his human (or, if you prefer, Stoor Hobbit) identity as Sméagol in order to give full rein to his overwhelming desire for The Ring.

If the Gollum analogy doesn’t work for you, just think of Michael Moore, who no doubt started off wanting to help the downtrodden, the exploited and the dispossessed, but who – in the manner of many politically-motivated people who really aren’t that bright – has allowed frustration, anger and hatred to destroy whatever vestige of a soul once resided in that extraordinarily unattractive, mountainous mess of a body.

For an indication of how far Moore’s self-Gollumisation process has advanced, take this  tweet which he posted yesterday in the wake of the huge popular success being enjoyed by American Sniper, the biopic of a Navy SEAL marksman, directed by Clint Eastwood:

(I couldn't help wondering if his uncle was fighting for the Germans at the time, but let's move on.) This isn’t some inadequate, confused, bepimpled internet troll spewing out adolescent bile while creating a malodorous funk in Mom’s basement. This is a mature (in years) documentary-maker who has enjoyed a considerable degree of success during a lengthy career (whatever you might think of the meritless, babyish, lie-strewn, far-left piles of filmic ordure he regularly excretes). For someone of Moore’s age and (inexplicable) eminence to react in this ridiculous, intemperate, petulant fashion suggests someone in the grip of a reality-altering obsession so strong, so overpowering, that it has devoured his rationality and, therefore, his humanity.

To suggest that all snipers are cowards is as ridiculous as suggesting that all soldiers are cowards, or that all white policemen are racists, or that all politicians are “in it for the money”, or that all bankers are greedy, conscienceless, scum-sucking pigs (oh, wait – let me think about that one). I know nothing about snipers, but I somehow doubt that cowardice is a defining trait. As for occasionally shooting people in the back – well, sort of comes with the territory, doesn’t it? Moore evidently hates his country and everything it stands for – and, because he lives in a free country as opposed to one of the many dictatorships he seems so enthusiastic about, that’s his privilege – but to brand a whole class of soldier (marine?) as innately cowardly suggests someone in the grip of a soul-destroying mania.

I haven’t seen American Sniper, but the reaction of left-wing critics (i.e. the vast majority) here and in the States has made my mouth positively water. Given its success – and the popularity of 2013’s rivetting Lone Survivor, about a stranded American soldier trying to escape from the Taliban – it seems that the conservative film critic Michael Medved was spot on in his 1992 book, Hollywood vs. America, when he suggested that left-wing studio executives had allowed political peer pressure and their own liberal world-view to persuade them to churn out virulently anti-conservative, anti-American films which almost invariably bombed at the box office, rather that conservative, pro-American films which tended to do well. From what I’ve seen of recent releases, nothing much has changed.

Moore's little tantrum reminded me of what happened when he and Clint Eastwood attended the same awards ceremony in 2005. As Eastwood accepted his award, he said, "Michael, if you ever turn up at my front door with a camera, I'll kill you." When the audience tittered nervously, the actor added, "I mean it." There's a thought.

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