Category Archives: Middle East

Loose Lips and Seal Team Six

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This whole notion that the White House might have leaked classified information to the makers of the upcoming movie about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, just to make President Obama look good in time for the next election
, strikes me as absurd. I mean, what kind of administration would leak national security secrets and endanger our intelligence assets in the field and our efforts on the War on Terror, just for some short term political gain?

Oh, right.

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Filed under 2012 Election, Barack Obama, Feuds, Middle East, Movies

“Lost” vs. “24”: A Tale of Two Americas

Ben and Hurley in "Lost" series finale, "The End"It’s fitting that both Lost and 24 should come to a close within 24 hours of each other at the dawn of new decade. Both summed up what it felt like to be an American in the George W. Bush era of post-9/11 existential dread. But they came at that feeling from opposite angles.

I’ve tried to make sense of the ‘Lost finale in this post at AOL’s TV Squad. Of all the other ‘Lost’ post-mortems I’ve seen, this one by the Washington Post‘s Hank Steuver is the one that has best addressed what 24 and Lost said about America. Of course, each show seemed to be speaking to a different America, which itself says plenty about our conflicted age.

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Filed under Feuds, Media, Middle East, Religion, TV

Nicole Kidman, Expert Witness

When Hollywood stars testify before Congress, does anything ever get accomplished? Does either the star or his or her interrogators ever come off looking smarter or better informed about the issues?

Yesterday, Nicole Kidman testified before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee. She was seeking funding for a United Nations initiative to thwart violence against women throughout the world via humanitarian grants to local organizations. But all the headlines talked about was her offhand comment, prompted by a Congressman’s fatuous question, in which she appeared to endorse the notion that movie violence has contributed to the real-world violence against women that she is trying to reduce. (See headlines here, here, and here.)

The question by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) deftly shifted the blame onto Hollywood; Kidman was equally deft in deflecting the blame away from herself, insisting that she, at least, doesn’t make the kind of movies that portray women as weak sex objects and targets of violence. (Watch the whole exchange here.) But the damage was done. Not only did the media focus shift to the most tangential part of her testimony, but she seemed to concede a point long argued by censorious types on both the right and the left, that Hollywood violence is somehow responsible for real-world violence. Continue reading

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Filed under Barack Obama, Censorship, Media, Middle East, Movies