“Act of Valor” cleared of antisemitism

Of the many, many things I do that irritate my husband, two are pertinent here.  First, I actually listen to what he says.  This can be frustrating for him, because he doesn’t always use his words with precision.  When we’re having a discussion and I say “But you said…” his return is usually “I know that’s what I said, but you know that’s not what I meant.”  Well, no.  If you said one thing, how the heck am I supposed to know that you meant another thing?

My other irritating habit is that I can totally read movies.  Aside from the fact that I don’t generally like what’s coming out of Hollywood, I also have a very low boredom threshold.  If I can figure out character, plot, and motive in the first ten minutes of the movie, and I don’t like where the movie is going, I’m so out of there.  This irritates my husband, although he can also find it useful:  “Why did that women get on the train?”  “But I thought those two characters were married?”  You know . . . questions like that.  If there’s foreshadowing or nuance in a movie, I get it.

These two traits are relevant to my perception of antisemitism in Act of Valor.  First, I was paying close attention to the dialog, so I heard what I heard.  Second, had there been nuance, foreshadowing, character development, etc., I would have gotten it.  The line “You’re a Jew,” was out there, and the nuance, foreshadowing, plot, or character development that would normally have explained that line’s meaning were missing, both before and after the line was uttered.  That’s my defense.

BUT — and this is a really important “but,” so please stick with me here.

I just got an email from someone purporting to be close to the SEALS involved in the production, and for the time being, I’m comfortable believing that this person is who he says he is, and that what he’s saying is the truth.  I won’t quote the bulk of the email verbatim, because I haven’t been given permission to do so.  I will, however, pass on the pertinent data, along with my apologies to the SEALS generally and the Senior Chief specifically for having misinterpreted their motives and for having done so very publicly.

First, I have been assured that the Senior Chief is not an antisemite, and I absolutely believe that to be true.  I actually never meant to accuse the real Senior Chief of being antisemitic, so I apologize for creating the perception that I did.  I didn’t even perceive his character as being antisemitic.  I perceived the movie as being antisemitic or, rather, having a rather stunningly antisemitic moment.  To the extent, though, that perception becomes reality, I apologize directly to the Senior Chief for accusing him of being antisemitic.

Second, the email writer explained to me that, in the context of the scene (and I am going to quote here) “it was a device to try to separate Christo from Shabal by appealing to the natural enmity between Jews and radical islamists.”  Further, the actor, Alex Veadov is, in fact, Jewish, so that charge against him in the movie was a form of method acting that brings together both reality and fiction that, to my mind, meshed in an unfortunate way.

I totally believe the above is true.  Indeed, in my earlier posts, I even explored the possibility that it might be true — but rejected it because the line “you’re a Jew” existed in a vacuum.  I don’t doubt that the SEALS and the other actors understood the subtext, but for the audience, the line stood there in glorious isolation.  The second, missing, line should have been “How can you make common cause with a man who is dedicated to your people’s destruction?”  Except that line wasn’t there.  As a literalist who listens, its absence was a potent force for me.  And I have to say that, as someone who reads movies, there was nothing else in the movie to help me understand that there was an unspoken line driving this scene.

My sense here is that, much as I really dislike Hollywood, Hollywood is adept at one thing, and that is telling the story at both the big, obvious level, and at the lower, more subliminal level.  When it’s doing pure entertainment, this works.  When it’s doing propaganda, this facility is irritating.  This movie bypassed Hollywood, something that I really appreciate.  It made an amateur mistake, however, which is to forget that the audience has to have things spelled out, and that’s true whether they’re spelled out explicitly or implicitly.  I can’t know what the movie’s makers intend; I can know only what they tell me.

The letter writer closed by asking me to correct my earlier email as quickly as possible lest it create dangerous risks for the men and women in the field.  He could have just appealed to my conscience, because I do have one.  If I do something wrong, I say so.  If I hurt someone’s feelings, I apologize.  And if I create the incorrect impression that a person or group has bad motives, I move as quickly as possibly to remedy that error.  I now have data showing I was wrong and created a bad impression.  This post, written as soon as possible, is meant to correct that, and I’m disseminating this post as widely as possible.  And I do most heartily apologize to the Senior Chief and the SEALS for wrongly impugning them.

 

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments

  1. Caped Crusader says

    An ongoing saga of why we have not, with rare exception, been to a movie in years.
    In our world the only movies that exist are of the TCM era and genre.

  2. says

    If anybody thought in the SEAL community that coming out and supporting the Obama Private Army propaganda line via Hollywood movies was going to get them lined up with OPSEC and all the other safety goodies, somebody needs to hit them with a battleship sized clue bat.

     There’s a reason why previous Executive orders and Presidential administrations forbid the military from utilizing propaganda actions on domestic soil, against US citizens. Bush II didn’t try to override it, even when he needed that military propaganda support to win over US opinion on Iraq and Afghanistan. If people think there’s some way to “mitigate” the dangers the US security forces suffer as a result of this, then they shouldn’t have entered into this sort of deal to begin with.

     And to a certain extent, Chiefs aren’t the ones that actually make decisions at the strategic level, where flag ranked admirals and officers hob nobbing with the elites of DC. Whether he was given a go or not a go, wasn’t his decision to make. Because they were so worried about “Muslim” reactions, they probably told him to intentionally change the characterization of the chief villain. But there’s always somebody called Murphy in war, and if you change things that way, don’t expect to be safe from the other things you caused as a backlash.

    I don’t care how much the bureaucrats in DC and at the Pentagon think what they are doing is a good idea. They aren’t the ones with a brain that matter at this moment in American time. 

    The US military, the US Navy admirals, and the US SEALs are the ones that should be defending their work and funding of propaganda projects. In a time when Totalitarian regime changes have been instituted in America’s heartland, they don’t get to say that they didn’t mean it. Because frankly, the opinions of a few SpecWarfare NCOs don’t really matter in the greater scheme of things. They take their orders from the Pentagon. And the Pentagon, from the totalitarian in chief called Obama. End of story. 

  3. says

    Of course, if anyone wants to bring up the whole “privately funded” aspect of this, then they’re basically falling into my other trap. Which is the Hollywood is evil trap. Don’t think you can run with rabid dogs and not get infected. There’s something called a transmission vector in Hollywood.

    The reason why they have a monopoly isn’t just money. It’s also because they know how to control their workers. So even if you hired a “free lancer” writer and actor, to do the “little things”, what you ended up with was a Hollywood light clone. Writers who get their bread from Hollywood jobs, as well as stunt men and other “little guys” working the set, have been conditioned not to go against the Leftist line in Hollywood. So they will, unconsciously, write and do things that appeal to the Leftist overlords. Unless you catch them doing it and tell them otherwise. Or if they have true original creative spirit, that has already gotten them in trouble with Hollywood robber barons.

    So take your pick. “Privately funded movie based upon US citizen opinions” or “government sponsored propaganda designed to prop up Leftists and the Obama totalitarian regime”.

     

  4. folerlas says

    Two things:

    1. How do you know that Alex Veadov is Jewish?

    2. If the rule is “Jewish actor = Jewish character”, I’ll take that deal. That means that from this point on, every character played by Natalie Portman, Logan Lerman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Paul Rudd, Mila Kunis, etc. will be explicitly and unmistakeably identified as Jewish in the movie they’re in. That’ll be the first time for many of these actors. So it’s a good deal.

    • says

      You’re right, folerlas. The problem is that this conflating of actor with character resulted because the Senior Chief was improvising the interrogation in order to give more verisimilitude to the scene. Without in any way being antisemitic, he did what he’d usually do with a real detainee which is to try to connect with that detainee at an emotional level. Because the actor in front of him was Jewish, that’s where he tried to connect. The problem arose because the movie makers kept in this “legitimate in the real world” approach, even though it had no place within the movie’s context. By doing say, they turned the most evil character in the movie Jewish too. That’s amateur stuff, and it’s the kind of stuff that’s going to trip up amateurs when they play in the big league. I don’t like it, but I’ll live with it.

      Keeping in mind the previous paragraph, I’m cognizant of a lot of things with regard to my apology: (1) I believe that the Senior Chief specifically and the SEALS generally are not antisemites individually or as an organization. (2) I think this scene in the movie was a result of amateur hour at the Ritz, rather than any malevolence. (3) Making a point is good, and I think I did that here. Beating a dead horse, especially when you like the horse and you’re pretty sure the horse doesn’t dislike you, is bad, and I’m not going to do that.

      Movies like this — pro-American movies, that is — should continue to be made. I’m not going to be the one to nip them in the bud. I’d just like to think that I’m the one who is reminding them that they have to be more careful playing in the Majors.

  5. says

    To me, the primary aspect of this has nothing to do with antisemitism. That’s not a big issue with me. The primary aspect would be government funding, potentially, of a propaganda piece, controlled by DC firebrands, in the heart of America, targeted against Americans specifically.

    That has been normally something the military has been prevented from doing. Some good and bad reasons to go with that as well.

     Government funding is usually the herald of another totalitarian policy change. It’d be better if such things… no longer happened. Then people wouldn’t have to be upset over antisemitism. No logistics, no war.

     

  6. says

    Ymar, your assumption Act of Valor was funded by the US government and Pentagon is wrong. No taxpayer money was spent on the film. All of the equipment – carrier, sub, Harrier, choppers, river boats, etc – and personnel were all filmed during regular military training exercises. The SEALs appearing in the film also were used only during down time and the two year filming was interrupted by their regularly scheduled deployments. One of the links in my review goes to a military media explanation of how the film crew and the military worked together. 

  7. says

    As I implied before, it’s not an assumption. Unlike other people, I don’t come up with a conclusion and assume it is true. I come up with a set of premises that will be tested depending on if the conclusions come out to be true or false.

    Part of analysis work is to build different logic branches depending on what could happen, and simply wait to see which one fits the best after some time.

    What you’ve described is insufficient to call it a privately funded independent endeavour. The amount of Pentagon and DC authorizations required to allow this is not insubstantial, and more powerful things than money must be trafficked for such things to be allowed. What you have described is neither purely a commercial endeavour run by civilians with private backers, but nor is it an entirely independent film project that happened in the vacuum of military and political authorizations. This means that further ramifications to the model will have to be tweaked somewhat later on.

    These authorizations are not cheap to obtain. Which demonstrates one point, while removing itself from another.

    The premise was never the US government funding Act of Valour. That’s a misinterpretation. The premise of my analysis is US federal control and authorization of a project, irregardless of who funded it, to serve propaganda purposes designed explicitly to target American civilians, not foreigners or external terrorist organizations. So far it “seems” like it is an alliance between Leftist Hollywood movie productions and Washington DC political and military insiders, which far from rejecting my analysis, simply includes the worst of both worlds.

     My concern for DC funding of such a movie was explicitly stated that it was potentially the case here, and thus my concern is for when this potential becomes reality later in the future. I never claimed it was actually funded. That was, again, not part of the initial premises which analyzed the problems of the relationship between this movie, Hollywood, the US SEAL operations, and the Pentagon in Washington DC.

     My conception of how such alliances work is a lot more subtle than most can imagine. For example, if a Republican administration wished to see propaganda used against the US population, perhaps to bolster war support, then a direct edict or law or funding support may be provided, much in the open. And thus much to be contested and debated over. Or it could even be similar to FDR’s war time edicts that motivated Hollywood to blur over FDR’s role in Pearl Harbor and Wake island. But now a days, I think the way it works is a lot more subtle and hidden from overt view. There may not have been any direct money exchanged, but we all know that corruption in DC is funded by favor trading and “donations” to institutions after the favor has been done.

    The fact that whatever alliance of backers behind this movie was able to buy access to the US Navy Seals and US military operations, is indisputable. That access was bought. As sure a bet as General Diversity Casey cares about multiculturalism in Ft. Hood. The form this trade takes, is in dispute. Whether money, favors, or other things were exchanged, is something left to the investigators. For me, at this time, it is enough for me to know that, given what you have said and the direct consequences and format of the movie itself, that they were able to buy the access needed and that this access was not given to the movie producers and writers for free. The government wanted something in return, and they most likely got it. “What” that particular thing is, I have already analyzed and formed tentative conclusions on. But not even the Navy SEALs themselves know for sure “what” that is, and they were in the movie.

    So basically, a privately funded movie, that is able to buy government and military access to sensitive OPSEC and Special Warfare details, can still be funded by private citizens, yet still be an arm of Leftist and thus federal government, propaganda. Given the nature of those “private citizens” are in fact, not Americans to begin with, but international trans progressive power players. Which is a staple of Hollywood, and thus not surprising in the least.

    So to directly answer what Indigo Red said, Marc Rich didn’t directly pay Clinton off for the pardon, in terms of a direct bribe. Yet, few doubt that this is exactly what transpired. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,99302,00.html

    And they say Bush was responsible for ENRON… given the nature of how Democrats act and who their allies are in the robber baron territory of capitalism, I wouldn’t bet on it.

    So Indigo Red is both right and wrong. He’s right that no direct monies “may” have made it from the Pentagon to the movie producers. Even now I’m not ready to accept common sense wisdom as being true, when it comes to the federal government and corrupt Hollywood backers. But he is also wrong in another sense.

    And all of those little details are something which is included with my analysis model, one way or another.

    were all filmed during regular military training exercises.”

    People may not know this, but Obama specifically ordered a brigade of strykers destined for Afghanistan, and rerouted them to Iraq. He then took a brigade of strykers destined for Iraq, and rerouted them to Afghanistan. This was something Johnston, Lyndon, did when he didn’t want to draw down troops in Vietnam but also didn’t want to increase troop resources in Vietnam. This was done in 2009 or 2010. It was done expressly as a political gameshow to make voters think that Obama was somehow reinforcing troops in “both” Iraq and Afghanistan, to make him seem tough and determined, as if he was Bush in 2006 advocating for the Petraeus COIN surge. So yes, I can readily believe that they were all “regular military training exercises”. Yet, I cannot help but remmeber that such training exercises are determined by the Pentagon, and the Pentagon receives its orders, unless you think I’m wrong on this matter, from a President named B Obama.

    Again, the nature of these alliances are perhaps more subtle than many people give it credit for.

  8. 11B40 says

    Greetings:

    Perhaps a bit of Bronx humor is in non-miiltary order. In the local dialect common in my youth, there was a joke about how the locals mangled the former King’s English. It went like this: “Geet yet? No, gew?” which in more proper language was “Did you eat yet? No did you?”

    So, one day my supervisor, who happened to be a Jewish woman and apparently was unaware of the local folklore, asked me if I had had my lunch to which I replied vernacularly, “No, gew?” which sent her into a rare but deep tizzy from which it took several days and several roses to extricate the both of us.

    Life is like that some times. 

  9. jj says

    Basically what happens is quite simple.  Those with an interest – be they a move crew, a documentary crew, a TV network or local crew, magazine writers and photographers, or anybody else – requests access.  This is done in a number of ways, none of them about money.  You cannot buy access to the military.  The military will look at your script, review your request, and either grant it or deny it.  This will be at least somewhat based on how badly you’re going to be underfoot and in the way, and the goal of the production.  If the goal is to make them look stupid, inept or otherwise bad, or excessively bloodthirsty, then the answer is generally no.  (In spite of what everybody thinks and what you may have heard, the crew of Dr. Strangelove did not get access to the interiors of B-52s.  All those control panels and crew stations in the movie were sets, based on good imaginations – and possibly some uncontrollable private intel, because in a couple of cases they were pretty damn close to real.  But they were not real.  No one on that movie ever saw the inside of a B-52, because the Air Force didn’t like the script.  Same with the Henry Fonda thing whose name I forget: all stock footage.)
     
    If the makers of this movie had looked like they were going to be underfoot, or otherwise in the way, endangering themselves or anyone else – the answer would have been no.  BUDS training in particular, SEAL training in general, has been filmed so many times the Navy at this point wouldn’t have a problem with it – there are probably a few hundred miles of footage available.  These guys wanted to do it themselves, they were telling Clancy’s story (he gets a lot of access, all branches approve of him), they promised to stay out of the way, nobody was going to be made to look foolish; so the Navy said okay.  Repeat: the Navy said okay.  Nobody asked Obama.  Movies have a lot of lead time, the script was probably being written when Bush was in the white house – and nobody asked him, either.
     
    You ask for permission to film.  If the branch approves of what you’re doing and the way in which you intend to do it, you get permission.  You can come along on training evolutions.  You get underfoot, you screw up – you’re gone.  Maybe the movie crew bought the guys they were using some beer, maybe they didn’t.  It’s pretty simple.  Access is not sold, it’s granted.   

  10. says

     ”If the goal is to make them look stupid, inept or otherwise bad, or excessively bloodthirsty, then the answer is generally no.”

    Or in the case of Michael Yon and Rolling Stones, the answer is “maybe, yes, and no”.

     Surely if the Rolling Stones got access to McChrystal for some interview, it couldn’t be that bad a consequence. But here we’re talking about a US Navy Team or Teams and their training operations.

    Somehow, this isn’t very convincing given the last 3 or 4 years of Ft. Hood. It’s already known the military is fallible. On that it is quite obvious. Sometimes they make good decisions, and sometimes they make decisions which only make sense in the political sense.

    But it all hinges upon that statement. Access is not sold. Which assumes that corruption in the US military is held back. There’s already corruption in the procurement process in DC for political favors and in Hollywood business models. There’s no way to argue ethics by citing their methods because their methods are clear.

    So it all hinges upon that statement Access is not sold, it’s granted

    I don’t think that’s statement is true any more. But we’ll see.

  11. says

    To be realistic, nobody asks Obama much of anything these days, but his administration still seems to find ways to do things like Fast and Furious, and people are agape that such a thing could happen. They are surprised because they think that the business as usual model still holds to be true.

    Again, I don’t think that state of affairs is true any more.

     

  12. Catoi says

    The fact that the Senior Chief ad-libbed the “Jew” line doesn’t absolve the filmmakers.  After all, this wasn’t a live show, it was a movie that presumably spent time in post-production being edited.  When actors ad-lib, it’s up to the director and editor to decide whether to use that line or another (I assume they did multiple takes).
    Another thing:  I’m surprised that they didn’t work out in advance the back story of the villain.  In fact, I suspect they did, and this folderol about ad-libbing the line is just an attempt at damage control.
    I haven’t seen the movie yet, but what I’ve read about the plot sounds like a mess.  Having one strong villain character is key to a good action movie.  It sounds like they created a Benneton ad of villains to appease the PC gods.
    I fear that in a quixotic effort to appeal to a broader (i.e., liberal) audience, they left behind their core constituency, conservatives like myself.  Sad thing is, they appear to have failed to win over the lefty critics, so they’ve managed to alienate everyone.
     

  13. Catoi says

    One more point:  I don’t think the email correspondent’s explanation absolves the film of the charge of antisemitism.  As you suggested, what a character feels inside is irrelevant to a movie’s meaning if it isn’t on the screen.  Character is defined through action and dialogue, not through their unexpressed inner thoughts.  Whatever the filmmakers themselves feel or believe, it’s what we see and hear in the movie that matters.  That is what moves the culture.  To hell with your personal beliefs, if you don’t have the courage to put them on the screen.
     

  14. Mike Devx says

    Catoi in #13 said:
    > It sounds like they created a Benneton ad of villains to appease the PC gods.

    That is my take on this, too.  Do not forget the murderous jihadist who perpetrated the Ft. Hood massacre, and the military’s subsequent efforts to whitewash the murders of Islamic jihadist intent.  From what I’ve read about this movie, here in Book’s domain and elsewhere, they have gone out of their way again to scrub the script and movie of any realistic portrayal of Islamic jihadism.

    The terrorist group that is about to infiltrate and attack America is supposedly composed of all Islamic jihadists… yet their two leaders are a Jew and a Russian/Chechen?  How often do you think that happens?  The point has been made that towards the end of the movie, these murderous jihadists were reluctant and fearful to continue with the mission, but were forced to by their evil Jewish overlord.  Oh, come on!  How realistic is THAT?

    In other words, there are some VERY odd choices in the scripted plot here.

    On the other hand, it may be useful to step back and look at the broader picture.  Perhaps we’re not seeing the forest for seeing the trees.

    The new Hollywood tropes since the late 60′s are all about how bad the American military is.  Perhaps such a take was “innovative” and “daring” at first when these movies started coming out.  But now it is all the standard Hollywood total bullshit. Look at G.I. Joe – nothing pro-American in that movie.  They’re an “international force” controlled by the U.N…. and they did THIS to G.I. Joe, a quintessential American icon!  The other Hollywood trope is that our military exploits and harms its grunts.  They are hapless victims of their military and most of them just want to get home again.

    Act of Valor seems to be a pro-America, pro-military movie, tossing all those new Hollywood tropes onto the garbage bin.  And you’ve seen the vicious commentary elsewhere, sarcastically disrepecting the movie because of this.  From leftist movie commentators, no doubt.

    The only other movie in recent memory that resisted the current Hollywood tropes, that I can remember, was “Taken”, the Liam Neeson movie.   The Americans were the good guys, and all the baddies were foreigners, and Neeson kicked their butts.  There was even an evil Saudi sheik, towards the end, cruising his opulent yacht along the Seine through Paris, and Neeson kicked his butt too.  ”Taken” was viciously assaulted as mindless and stupid, but Americans ate it up at the theaters.  

    Act Of Valor may have been compromised by its attempts at PC-whitewashing of murderous Islamic jihadism, but it has other things strongly in its favor.  Not only is it (from what I hear) pro-American and pro-military, it’s apparently a very good movie, too.   Too bad it also has some points in its disfavor, but do they make the movie worthy of protest by not seeing it?

     

  15. Mike Devx says

    I’ll also add ‘Battle: Los Angeles’ as another movie that tossed the current Hollywood trope BS into the garbage bin. It had its flaws.  But it was an engaging look at soldiering, and had strong, positive, wonderful points to make about the qualities that make up great military leadership.
     

  16. netsez says

    You must not be very bright.  First of all the line was “BUT you’re a Jew”  It was said is an incredulous, ie shocked, tone of voice.  It was obvious it was meant to be a shocked reaction that a Jew would have anything to do with  Muslims.  Besides he was only an arms dealer, not a “mastermind”

  17. netsez says

    Let me explain further.

    The terror mastermind is a Muslim convert. Weapons are provided by a childhood friend, who is a Jew. He is a drug dealer and arms merchant, that happens to be Jewish.  It is unrealistic to never see someone Jewish as a bad guy.
    It is CLEAR that radical Islam is the enemy.  The movie is NOT antisemetic

  18. Mike Devx says

    netsez says in #17:
    > You must not be very bright.

    It would be useful if you identified your target.  Me (the most recent commenter prior to you)?  Or Book herself?

    Your corrections to someone’s misapprehensions have been duly noted by this reader.  I’ll be seeing this movie soon, and I hope your claims are on target.  I have high hopes that I’ll really enjoy this movie.

    I’ll add that it’s not very useful to introduce yourself with the words, “You must not be very bright.”  First impressions, you know.  I’m tempted to say: That wasn’t very bright.  (Not useful for me to say, but gosh gee golly, I feel so much BETTER now that I’ve let my mouth run off.)

  19. netsez says

    The “not very bright” comment was directed to the blog owner since she could not tell the context of that phrase without someone connecting the dots for her, especially after she boasted about her skills of being able to “totally read movies” It still stands.

    To Mike Devx I hope you enjoy the movie.

  20. beefrank says

    Life is not as lucid, clear-cut, and well-defined as a Hollywood script where a page is one minute of screen time.  Mankind’s (inclusive noun) history is filled with characters whose actions are antithesis to the perceived personality, cultural and religious type. Cain killed Abel, Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, Judas, a Judean, betrayed another Judean, Jesus Christ.  Saul, a Judean, imprisoned and killed Christians prior to his conversion to Paul, Karl Marx was born Jewish, the Third Reich consisted of members and supporters who were born Jewish even in Hitler’s praetorian guard, the Schutzstaffel.  Similar situations occurred in regimes of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Chi Mien and Pol Pot regimes.  There are Arabs of the Muslim faith who enjoy being Israeli citizens. A ‘terrorist’ leader who was born a Jew in a movie ‘based on actual events’ should be no surprise since we did have a major Al Qaeda figure who was an American citizen. It would not be surprising we found Islamic terrorists who were Jewish or even Israeli citizens.  The ‘fact’ remains they would be terrorists and criminals regardless of their cultural, religious or national affiliation.  Frankly, from their perspective, it would be a perfect ‘mind-frack’ and similar to when communists, nazis, ‘islamo-nazis’ and other ungodly groups used armed children approaching American soldiers troops daring them to shoot.  By the way,  interrogation sessions include ‘role play’ as a method to garner information from the subject.  You see this all the time in every law and order, CSI, military type television show and movie.  However, Jack Bauer would simply stick a knife into the subject’s knee for more instant results.  On another note, the word ‘antisemitmism’ and its variants should be reserved for overt actions and not diluted as the word ‘racism’ has been by the Left.
     

  21. Mike Devx says

    netsez says:
    > The “not very bright” comment was directed to the blog owner since she could not tell the context of that phrase without someone connecting the dots for her, especially after she boasted about her skills of being able to “totally read movies” It still stands.

     I can’t speak specifically to your criticism until I’ve seen the movie.  But I’ve found Book to be consistently thoughtful and fair, in a manner far exceeding almost everyone I know.  (I can think of only one person in my personal experience who is as careful and thoughtful as she is.)  So my iniitial impression is to be fairly certain that you’re far, far off base here.  But I’ll wait til I see the movie and make up my mind then.
     

  22. netsez says

    Labeling ANYTHING with the POWERFUL CHARGE of antisemitism after hearing one line is fair?  A line she even miss quoted? You toss out that charge, as well as with racism, you better have some STRONG proof.  I saw none.  Is just making an evil character Jewish enough to be antisemetic?  Already this blog has been quoted by other blogs as proof of antisemitism (look up Pam Gellar) and is hurting box office  Even though she retracted her alegation you still think I am far far off base?  Despite other posters that agree with me?  Yeah, good luck.  I would write you off as a moonstruck fanboy, but saying you will wait until you see the movie is the right thing to say and do.  I hope you go in with a TRULY open mind.

  23. says

    Netsez,

    To the extent I may have misquoted the line, I still got the gist of it.  I wasn’t recording the movie, so I was relying on memory.

    An ordinary guy who happened to be Jewish would not be a big deal.  I guy who looks precisely like a caricature of a Jew is a big deal. 

    The fact that the line could be explained away by a combination of amateurism and poor editing does not mean that, in context, one would instantly thing “Oh, geez, these guys are amateurs who obviously made the error of conflating actor with character and then didn’t have the smarts or sophistication to edit it out.”  Knowing the history means that they didn’t intend to be antisemitic, but it doesn’t change the end product.

    Yes, it was just one line, but it had a powerful narrative effect:  Evil character who looks like Shylock, and who kills CIA men, tortures CIA women, who hangs around with murderous jihadis, and who cheerfully funds a devastating terror attack on the U.S. — oh, and by the way, he’s a Jew.  That’s a very bad impression.

    Gotta run.

  24. netsez says

    OK, I violated the first rule of blogging, never reply when angry (OK, that is the SECOND rule, the first rule is never reply when drunk)

    I had never heard of this blog, I read Ace of Spades HQ, an only heard about this place since it was posted as a place calling Act of Valor antisemetic.  After googling the name, and seeing it quoted elsewhere as a reason to boycott the film I got angry.  When I saw the reasoning behind it I got angrier still. I just looked over the site for a few miniutes and I see the owner of this blog claims to be a conservative.  If that is true I will calm down a bit, as a fellow conservative I say we need more conservative blogs on the net.

    BTW I feel trapped in the wrong time as well, I often longed to be alive in the 40s, 50s, or even the 20s!

  25. netsez says

    Wow, I guess as an Italian-American I should be offended every time an evil gangster is Italian? Hint, it has happened HUNDREDS of times.  Or is it acceptable because there have indeed been Italian gangsters in real life.  There have been evil Jewish people in real life.  There have been Jewsh arms dealers.  There have been Jewish Nazi collaborators.  For all we know there might have been Jewish collaborators with Muslim terrorists, they say war makes strange bedfellows. 

    You ignore the fact that the true mastermind behind the plot was a Muslim.  You ignore the fact that some people call the Jewish character a hero for helping the Seals.

    I ask again, is just the act of making an evil character Jewish antisemetic?

  26. netsez says

    Another reviewer writes:

    From Ed Morrisey’s review thread.
    “[The Jewish character] wasn’t the main terrorist, [he] was the Eurotrash drug-smuggler facilitator.

    Just to be clear, the main villain was explicitly an Islamist terrorist,
    and the motivation for the attacks was Islamist terror. That point
    comes across explicitly in the film.”

    Is everyone else so wrong about this movie?

  27. netsez says

    I will be 100% fair regarding Adam Yahiye Gadahn.  He has Jewish heritage but he was raised a Christian.  His real name is Adam Pearlman.  Gadahn’s Jewish paternal grandfather, Carl Pearlman, was a prominent urologist; and on the Board of Directors of the Anti-Defamation League.

  28. Mike Devx says

    netsez,
    If by “moonstruck fan boy”, you mean I have an immense amount of respect for Book, the answer is, yes.  I’ve been following her here for years now, and I am quite impressed.

    You admit you’re new to her blog.  And you came here with a strong disagreement in hand.  And you were angry.  (The anger explains your opening comment (“You must not be very bright”) by the way, and I withdraw my criticism of it where I thought you were a typical interloper.  And the Ace Of Spades blog and commentary is a much cruder free-for-all compared to what you’ll see here.  Though that blog, too, is in my top ten list that I look at every day.  I find the commentary there to be not worth the time.)

    The more you investigate Book’s articles here, the more your opinion will change, I believe.

    Book wrote a set of posts a few months back about ‘stereotypes’ that you might be interested in.  You could search for it.

    No one here would claim that all Jews are virtuous, that there are no evil or malicious Jews.  What we tend to see is that anti-semitism is on the rise; that much of the world, especially the U.N. holds Israel to one incredibly high standard that no nation can meet, but holds the Palestinians and surrounding Arabs to another standard that is ridiculously low.  This monstrous double standard is a complete outrage.

    For those who are anti-Israel, I’ll usually just ask them, “Can you tell me what you know about how those Palestinian refugee camps came into existence?  What do you know about the history of this, throughout the 20th Century?”  Sometimes they tell me.  Often they know none of the history at all.  I’ll usually just say then that I’ve learned a set of facts that tell a different story, and if they’re interested, they can hear it.  Usually they’re not interested.

  29. netsez says

    Mike Devx,

    Everything you said about Israel is true, including the double standard.  However, in America the double standard is reversed.  There are protected groups in this country that you cannot offend, or you do so at your own peril.  Those groups include blacks, gays, latinos, and yes, Jews.  I am in the unprotected groups, white, Italian, finacially comfortable.  Heck I see Italian stereotypes everywhere, Jersey Shore ALONE is a huge afront.  Luckily I just laugh it off, I have a thick skin.  It does gall me though that the slightest quip against a black person or a Jewish person is met with strong rebukes, and in most cases termination.  That is why I have a sensitivity to seeing claims of racism and antisemitism when at worst it is simple bigotry.  To reach the level of racism and antisemitism takes something more serious than an off color joke.

    I want to know why Act of Valor is antisemetic.  Is it the way it treats Jews, or is it simply because the secondary villain is Jewish.

  30. netsez says

    I want to know why Act of Valor is antisemetic.  Is it the way it treats Jews, or is it simply because the secondary villain is Jewish.

    Looks like the silence gave me my answer.

  31. says

    Sorry for the silence, Netsez.  Life here has been busy and I’ve fallen behind on my emails.  With 300 unread emails in my personal email box and 500 in my Bookworm box, I’m very busy catching up. 

    Quick answer to your question:  The movie is antisemitic in its presentation (although I acquit it of being antisemitic in its intent) because it follows a pattern that goes back to Shylock and recurs with regularity in literature, art, polemics, and political cartoons, ranging from Oliver Twist, to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, to Nazi movies, to modern Arab propaganda:  The Jew is presented visually as a loathsome character, with greasy skin and hair (always long hair, which is an echo of the Orthodox Jews’ side-locks), he has a hooked nose, and a generally malevolent appearance.  He is vastly wealthy, with his money obtained unethically.  His personality is cruel and unctuous.  He often tortures non-Jewish women and children.  And his ultimate goal is to use his wealth to destroy the Western world (or, in Islamic propaganda, the Islamic world). 

    A creative effort that presents each of these elements is prima facie antisemitic because, with rare exceptions, the goal of such works is to vilify Jews for political, social, or military purposes.  I say “with rare exceptions” because Act of Valor apparently managed to present the image even though it bypassed the intent.

  32. netsez says

    Well my dear (to paraphrase Rhett Butler) get used to it :)  As I said, the number of movies and TV shows with Italians as the dark skinned, short, greasy, evil doer are many.  The number of movies and TV shows with Italians as pasta eating, pizza making, “whatsa matta you?” buffoons are many.  I assume you are Jewish, the other two famous women that saw antisemitism in the movie are Jewish.  You, and they, are sensitive to it, I understand.  As an Italian-American I am sensitive to how many “bad guys” in crime dramas have Italian names.  It makes me smile and shake my head.  But in a media that has many prominent people of Jewish heritage (movies and TV) the number of times a Jewish character is portrayed in a negative way is rare.  The few times it happens the rebuke is swift (Passion of the Christ and Mel Gibson for just one example)

    If you think that I am antisemtic for pointing this out, well, I have to speak my mind and suffer the consequences.

  33. Lauren says

    I admire you for coming forward quickly to clarify your comments.  Not many writers have that kind of integrity.
     
    That said, it doesn’t quite sound like a retraction or apology.  It sounds like you are still blaming the movie for not spelling out for you that it wasn’t anti-semetic, when I think that was obvious to most of the audience.  I saw the movie a few days ago and that line made perfect sense to me in context. 
    Senior Chief was pointing out, in as few words as possible, that Christo is aiding an organization that believes he and his family are the enemy.  It also sets up the Chief’s next tactic: implying that Christo’s family could easily be that organization’s next victims, because they are also Jewish, or at least Jewish sympathizers.  Without that line, the audience would be left to assume, as Christo does, that the Senior Chief as actually threatening to harm the man’s family.
    Also, I think if were so easy to assume anti-semitism from that line, the many blogs and critics who have lambasted the movie for being right-wing political propoganda and also a terrible movie would have already been screaming about it.  Their silence implies that even they couldn’t find any credible evidence of anti-semitism.
    It sounds, honestly, like you misread the line and are still being defensive about it.  You shouldn’t be.  It was a mistake, no big deal.  The only thing I find worrisome is that you actually say that you want movies to spell everything out for you — and I sure hope you didn’t mean that.  I think we need more movies that assume the audience can keep up and shade in the details out of context.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Here’s the longer version.  Many of you may know who Rorke Denver is, since he was one of the stars in Act of Valor, the SEALS’ foray in film making.  For a non-actor, he was every bit as good as most people one sees in movies.  As you may recall, I have mixed feelings about that movie.  As a movie about who the SEALS are and what they do, it’s a great action adventure film.  My problem was that the movie made the SEALS’ particular arch enemy a terrorist . . . Jew.  Long-time readers may recall that I was extremely upset, as were many other politically conservative Jews.  A military friend of mine put me in touch with some of the SEALS involved in making that movie, though, and I came away pretty darn convinced that, at the end, the scene identifying the terrorist mastermind as a Jew was accidental. [...]

Leave a Reply