Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hollywood's Offerings Promise Only to Get More Anti-American


Possibly you have heard of Andrew Klavan's problems with Argo (via Instapundit), along with such fare as Charlie Wilson's War and Zero Dark Thirty not to mention the Chinese flags of the Red Dawn remake being digitally transformed into North Korean banners.

(I agree with Klavan about the dishonest historical notes at the end of Argo, but I would have added that the notes at the beginning of the film, if anything, are worse — what with the Shah being presented as nothing but a despicable American pawn and Khomenei's Islamic takeover being presented — I kid you not — as nothing if not a "people's revolution.")

Over at The Daily Beast, Michael Moynihan suggests that we should calm down and stop politicizing everything, but the truth is that anti-Americanism rears its ugly head in even the most innocent-looking children's (or family) fare.

Thus, even a mainstream media outlet like Le Monde noticed, uncomfortably, that Kung Fu Panda 2 should "be understood as a metaphor for the China-US struggle for world supremacy" (guess who, between the Chinese and the Americans, are the heroes and who are the villains).
 … the heroes of the movie (Po, the Furious Five, the master — all of them wise, honest, and upright — and the whole populace that they are determined to protect — all of them innocent and virtuous) can only be the Chinese, while the bad guys with their evil designs — and with superior firepower — can only be the Americans…

Is this what it's come to? American, and Western, artists and filmmakers giving China's communist dictatorship the image of poor innocent victim fighting for justice, while Western Republicanism and Democracy is to be the destroyer of the peaceful status quo?

The more I think about it, the more there seems to be some truth to it or, certainly, the more it seems that that is how the movie will be perceived among Chinese spectators… As for the Tibetan occupation, saber-rattling over Taiwan, and China's threats to its neighbors, along with the genocide of tens of millions of citizens, those are facts are conveniently left to the side…
Now we learn, indirectly via an in-depth New York Times article, that
When “Kung Fu Panda 3” kicks its way into China’s theaters in 2016, the country’s vigilant film censors will find no nasty surprises. After all, they have already dropped in to monitor the movie at the DreamWorks Animation campus here. And the story line, production art and other creative elements have met their approval. 
According to Michael Cieply and Brooks Barnes, the
lure of access to China’s fast-growing film market — now the world’s second largest, behind that of the United States — is entangling studios and moviemakers with the state censors of a country in which American notions of free expression simply do not apply. 

Whether studios are seeking to distribute a completed film in China or join with a Chinese company for a co-production shot partly in that country, they have discovered that navigating the murky, often shifting terrain of censorship is part of the process. 

Billions of dollars ride on whether they get it right. International box-office revenue is the driving force behind many of Hollywood’s biggest films, and often plays a deciding role in whether a movie is made. Studios rely on consultants and past experience — and increasingly on informal advance nods from foreign officials — to help gauge whether a film will pass censorship; if there are problems they can sometimes be addressed through appeal and subsequent negotiations. 

But Paramount Pictures just learned the hard way that some things won’t pass muster — like American fighter pilots in dogfights with MIGs. The studio months ago submitted a new 3-D version of “Top Gun” to Chinese censors. The ensuing silence was finally recognized as rejection.

 … One production currently facing scrutiny is Disney and Marvel’s “Iron Man 3,” parts of which were filmed in Beijing in the last month. It proceeded under the watchful eye of Chinese bureaucrats, who were invited to the set and asked to advise on creative decisions, according to people briefed on the production who asked for anonymity to avoid conflict with government or company officials. Marvel and Disney had no comment. 
Can you imagine to what extent liberals the nation over — not just in the movie-making business — would be screaming bloody murder should some sort of traditional American group ask for some sort of right to simply take a look at their group's depiction in a motion picture?!

The whole accepted history of Hollywood from the 1960s on has been: Finally, the victory over the early decades of feudalistic censorship along with the triumph of freedom of speech — i.e., the artist's right to self-expression.
Hollywood as a whole is shifting toward China-friendly fantasies that will fit comfortably within a revised quota system, which allows more international films to be distributed in China, where 3-D and large-format Imax pictures are particularly favored.

 … Co-productions like “Kung Fu Panda 3” draw close monitoring by the censors at every step. Scripts are submitted in advance. Representatives of S.A.R.F.T., according to Mr. Cohen and others, may be present on the set to guard against any deviation. And there is an unofficial expectation that the [Chinese] government’s approved version of the film will be seen both in China and elsewhere, though in practice it is not unusual for co-productions to slip through the system with differing versions, one for China, one for elsewhere in the world. 
At this point,  you are allowed to ask yourself, with a dollop of disgust or despair, will most Hollywood producers ever again release a major motion picture not minimizing the danger of America's enemies while treating average Americans (businessmen, capitalists, Bible Belt types, Southerners, etc) as the country's — as the planet's! — main, if not only, peril?
Questions about how Chinese forces are shaping American movies are now playing out in the making of “Iron Man 3,” which is set for release on May 3. 

 … For Americans, the hard part is knowing what might suddenly cause trouble — initial approvals notwithstanding. In 2009, Sony Pictures and its partner, the China Film Group, submitted their script for “The Karate Kid” to China’s censors, and dutifully changed parts of the story to suit them. But the finished film was rejected, according to people who were briefed on the process, essentially because film bureaucrats were unhappy that its villain was Chinese.

 … Steven Soderbergh, whose film “Contagion” was shot partly in Hong Kong, said the participation of China’s censors simply added to the chorus of input that surrounds every big-budget filmmaker.
“I’m not morally offended or outraged,” Mr. Soderbergh said. “It’s fascinating to listen to people’s interpretations of your story.”
"It's fascinating to listen to people’s interpretations of your story" — except when they are conservative Americans!

And especially when they are members of the communist bureaucracy's élite.

Ladies and gents: speaking of liberals screaming bloody murder, what is this if not what the alleged HUAC "witch hunt" from the 1940s was supposed to prevent from happening?!

The main reason the Republicans were defeated in 2012 was because of years of the liberal monopoly in the (public) schools and in Hollywood's movie offerings, leading to an ever-larger number of voters whose main approach to the political process is: compassionate and forward-looking Democrats versus insensitive and treacherous Republicans.

I agree with Andrew Klavan that "This is precisely what Conservatives have to learn to counter … The imagination is the only nation where Democrats get it right. We need to conquer that country."

On the school side, no teenager should be allowed to graduate from junior high without having taken an (in-depth) course on W Cleon Skousen's The 5000 Year Leap (A Miracle That Changed the World). In high school proper, it should be studied at least once a year.

Conservative movies must be made (how to do that? a big question), and conservative movie reviewers in newspapers and on TV shows around the nation must be made to understand that they are not being killjoys for pointing out — repeatedly and unvaryingly — the liberal bias in all sorts of movies, however apparently small — such as Charlie Wilson's War and Argo, which, again, was an outstanding film in all respects, except for the notes at the very beginning and at the very end, which were deeply anti-American in addition to giving a heroic part to Democrat lawmakers and presidents while flat out ignoring any positive contributions — and the very existence — of Republican lawmakers and commanders-in-chief.