"[American Sniper] is just ‘American hero!’ He's a psychopath patriot, and we love him." – Bill Maher
"Hollywood leftists: while caressing shiny plastic trophies you exchange among one another while spitting on the graves of freedom fighters… you're not fit to shine Chris Kyle's combat boots.” – Sarah Palin
“He has sounded for the trumpet that shall never call retreat
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat
Oh, be swift, my soul to answer Him, be jubilant, my feet”
Having recently seen American Sniper, like a Greg Louganis of political and partisan folderol, it’s time to dumpster dive headfirst into the pool of murk, misinformation and malfeasance that is the disingenuous debate surrounding this middling motion picture.
Why middling? American Sniper is snail-paced, needlessly lengthy and drawn out; an often uncomfortable to watch, hard to follow string of questionably shot battle scenes that do little to advance what minimal story and minute character development there is. Any profundity or true depth of narrative lives primarily in the minds of the viewer and his or her knowledge of recent history. The collection of award nominations and its weekly box office success comes not from the quality of the filmmaking but rather the pointless polemic currently swirling desperately and purposelessly from the talking heads, politicians, pundits and other similar self-anointed seers, seekers and soothsayers, ardent admirers all of the sounds of their own mellifluous tones, unearthing non-existent film-based arguments with which to propel their individual agendas, celebrity and points of view.
|“Every utterance from this vast wasteland atop my shoulders is purely for self-aggrandizement. Thanks for still inexplicably listening. Umm, I don't know what most of those words mean!"|
While my, one time fashionable, Eugene McCarthy/George McGovern upbringing would suggest an automatic mind-meld with the severe critiques from the left, and a joyful journey on the Progressive bandwagon, as so vociferously, publically and shallowly represented by Bill Maher, among other lesser spot-lit Liberals; to do so would be to abandon the arena of thoughtful nuance and rational reason and instead dwell in the sometimes more satisfying, always more volatile, domain of black and white and right or wrong. Unfortunately, truth rarely resides in the easy answer and the clever sound bite, and instead endures in shades of subtlety and graduated grey tones. The issues discussed and debated are not black and white, hero or villain, Maher or Palin, few things in life are that simple, war never is.
Despite what you’ve most likely heard, American Sniper is not the rah-rah, Conservative, pro-war film that so many on the left are claiming. And before getting judgmental on the nature of heroism and acceptable forms of warfare, some perspective warrants consideration – less than 1% of our population enlists to engage in all our, far too frequent, wars and for the most part, it’s not we Northeastern Liberal elites donning the khaki and boarding the F-16 Fighting Falcons. To criticize these voluntary defenders and their behavior with no knowledge but a theatrical release, and no first-hand experience whatsoever, is both unfair and unwise. To comment on the conduct of those placed in such unusual and undeniably violent and constantly life-threatening circumstances is equally unjust and iniquitous, if not arguably foolish. Whether these wars are justified or necessary, those who participate in them are patriots committed to the protection of the country that they love. Who among us, that has not put on the uniform ourselves, has any right to condemn or question those sincere feelings and intents?
Which begs the question, has there been a conflict since World War II that has necessitated America’s involvement and that could possibly ethically, or in any other manner, legitimately support the immense loss of life and limb of both our own countrymen or those of our sometimes imagined and always temporary enemies?
|“I know true courage under fire, once my chauffeur was 15 minutes late getting me to the People’s Choice Awards!”|
The controversy that has arisen over American Sniper addresses the wrong issues. The contentious conversation shouldn't center around which acts of war are moral or justified, or what constitutes individual heroism when placed in such extreme and unnatural circumstances. Our nation's real moral dilemma is the question of why we are putting our young men and women in such situations to begin with by sending them to fight in these unnecessary wars of choice.
In conclusion, Judy Garland, the most naturally talented human being to ever be born upon this orbiting sphere we refer to as Earth (sorry, Kanye) performs the patriotic anthem, Battle Hymn of the Republic.
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