Backtalk, March 28, 2008

Hollywood’s New Censors

Mr. Pilger is certainly one of the best among Western artists and social critics. This article on Hollywood censorship is another example of his acute thinking, highlighted by personal experience and pervasive knowledge of his subject.

That said, I believe he could have gone even further in his analysis. Certainly, Hollywood is a major contributor to the myths that shape the American Empire and Western colonialism. But, long before there was a Hollywood, there were dime novels about cowboys and “Indians,” there were penny newspapers in which literati like Lafcadio Hearn wrote purely fictional accounts about the folly of the new immigrants. There were children’s books like Little Black Sambo, and so on. Indoctrination begins early and is long-lasting.

Politics has played a major – perhaps the major – role in the production and distribution of American art and literature. Our dramas, fiction, poetry, nonfiction have been altered, and generally vitiated, by political considerations. Great books with political themes like The Grapes of Wrath, have occasionally bubbled to the top out of the molten mass of mediocrity, but that was much more likely to happen in an earlier age when educated lay persons actually read books. As for our “establishment” of careerist critics, they know enough never to rock the corporate boats that support their hauteur.

I have written plays, novels, books of poems, edited anthologies, had a little success here and there, but in every endeavor I have come up against the same kind of political orthodoxy which Mr. Pilger lamentably finds in Hollywood. Those who expose that orthodoxy – its censorship and hypocrisies – are taking a heroic stand. Mr. Pilger has done so before, he has done so now, and no doubt he will do so again.

~ Gary Corseri

China: The Next Big Enemy?

In the 1990s, the neocons were also beating the war drums against China. Unfortunately, so was Buchanan. My view is that they were all doing so because they were afraid that the Reagan coalition, which was in part built on anti-Communism, would collapse without an enemy to rally the country behind.

Never mind that China is in many ways much more capitalistic than the U.S. The neocons needed an enemy and they were it.

9/11 changed it all. Bin Laden spared the Chinese from being the portrayed as the focus of evil of in the world. Unfortunately for Beijing, the “war on terror” is getting stale, so the neocons need to find a new enemy. We all know who is next in line.

~ Eric Blankenburg,

The WINEP-Weenies’ Insane Iran Advice

I get turned off after encountering words like motley crew, Grand Pooh-Bahs, insane advice, etc.

Why can’t the opposition use more convincing language? Usually it’s because they either have a very one-sided outlook or cannot make a case.

In every respect, if you want to convince the reading public, you don’t use language like that.

~ Bill Howard

Gordon Prather replies:

In every one of the thousand or so columns I have posted over the past decade, I first provide the context (via embedded links) for the remarks or actions of some protagonist, then allow the protagonist to hoist himself by his own words (verbatim) or deeds (as chronicled). In particular, you – dear reader – either consider providing the Israelis whatever arms they need to enable them to successfully attack and destroy a Russian-built nuclear power plant in Iran, defended by a Russian-supplied air-defense system, insanity or you don’t.

[1] Motley crews are, by definition, non-uniform and undisciplined as a group. They are characterized by containing characters of conflicting personality, varying backgrounds, and, usually to the benefit of the group, a wide array of methods for overcoming adversity.

[2] Grand PoohBah, by definition, is a mocking title for someone self-important or high-ranking, who exhibits an inflated self-regard.

[3] There are many people – frequently in government – who seem to go out of their way to make life difficult for everyone else. Psychologists have developed a term which is used to identify these people, they are called weenies.

Drug War Tragedy in Mexico

I found this very interesting, but I am sad to see Mr. Bock mocking the idea of trying to control the flow of weapons. We are not talking about sporting goods here. The U.S. Congress allowed the assault weapons ban to die in 2004 – why? Virtually all of the weapons being used by the gunmen are coming from the U.S. They are not buying pistols. Is it not possible to imagine trying to reduce the arms flowing out of the U.S. to all points – and I’m including weapons sales in general. Perhaps Mr. Bock might examine his own little hobby horse?

Perhaps it will take the total bankruptcy of the U.S., which appears to be arriving, to stop the policy of handing over taxpayer money to buy weapons for the military in Mexico, while turning a blind eye to the hemorrhaging of weapons to the cartelistas. In fact, we need to have the cartels get those arms so we can justify spending more taxpayer dollars to buy weapons for the Mexican authorities.

And meantime we continue our prohibition policies to ensure everything stays in place.

~ Marshall Carter-Tripp

The American Empire: A Finale

I am a regular reader of columns, and I enjoyed all of “The American Empire: A Finale” — except the part that suggests that “Christians” in general “see our doom written in the stars” and “walk around in a state of perpetual fear mixed with glee… cheered by the sight of the world economy imploding.”

While Mr. Raimondo can’t be faulted for having a narrow perception of what “Christians” see and are cheered by, based on what must be a limited exposure to the various eschatological schools of thought, I can assure him that not all Christians fit his description. It happens to be primarily the dispensationalist, premillennialist perspective that Mr. Raimondo is describing, and while that description surely fits the majority of professing Christians in the U.S., I belong to a significant minority of reformed postmillennialists, many of whom would find his broad-brush description inconsiderate, if not perhaps offensive.

I was about to share his column with several of my friends when I notice the paragraph mentioning “Christians,” and decided against it, since many of them would have been put off by that characterization (or caricature) of their faith.

Otherwise, kudos to for everything you folks do!

~ Tim Wallace, webmaster: &


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