American Sniper, the latest film from director Clint Eastwood, is seemingly designed to enrage the Left. The film tells the story of the late Chris Kyle, a rodeo rider from Texas who became a Navy SEAL and the deadliest sniper in American history. It unapologetically portrays Kyle as a proud warrior dedicated to his country and his profession, a bracing change from the usual Hollywood treatment of American servicemen as either psychopathic killers or ashamed and broken victims.
Associated Press attributes the film’s success to conservatives flocking to the see the movie [‘Sniper’ success reveals power of conservative audience, Washington Post, January 20, 2015]. But this is a simplistic assessment of American Sniper’s appeal—it’s an unapologetically pro-American movie with a white male hero at a time when white male Americans are constantly lectured to feel guilty about their race and nationality.
That would be bad enough in the eyes of the Left, but American Sniper also came out over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. Worse, it’s competing with the latest political hagiography dedicated to “Dr.” King: Selma. As King is less a historical figure than a modern American god, a competing film about a heroic white man has been interpreted as nothing less than a form of blasphemy.
What’s especially infuriating to the Leftist nation of “anti-America” is that American Sniper made $110 million over the Martin Luther King Day weekend and received several Oscar nominations. [Wow! “American Sniper Four Day Take Was a Whopping $110.6 million, by Roger Friedman, Showbiz 411, January 20, 2015]. In contrast, Selma is a box office flop.
The response from the cultural commissars who govern the commanding heights of American entertainment: this is a kind of national moral failing.
Film critic Scott Mendelson moans:
The sad irony of a weekend dedicated to a black man who preached non violence and created great social change through pacifism being dominated by a movie about a white guy who (at least in the movie, final ten minutes notwithstanding) is most noteworthy for his record-breaking body count on a battlefield is not lost on me. [Box Office: 'Selma' Grossed $5M On Martin Luther King Day, Forbes, January 21, 2015]Matt Taibbi, whose anti-establishment posturing conceals his shameful retreat on immigration, threw up a lazily written blog post for Rape Hoax Magazine entitled “’American Sniper’ Is Almost Too Dumb to Criticize” [Rolling Stone, January 21, 2015]. Unconsciously echoing the “millennial generation motto” of the permanently triggered, Taibbi intones, “It’s the fact that the movie is popular, and actually makes sense to so many people, that’s the problem.”
And of course, there’s Lindy West, a kind of walking (or waddling) caricature of the “Social Justice Warriors” who busy themselves searching for and complaining about “racism,”“sexism,” and “homophobia” among normal people. West compares American Sniper to Chappelle’s Show, a comedy show abandoned by its eponymous black creator because he found whites were laughing for the “wrong” reasons. West screeches:
If [Eastwood], intentionally or not, makes a hero out of Kyle—who, bare minimum, was a racist who took pleasure in dehumanising and killing brown people—is he responsible for validating racism, murder, and dehumanisation?It’s no wonder critics are so angry. Kyle was a real-life Captain America, the kind of positive heterosexual white male role-model our elites have been desperate to drive out of the military. [Bradley Cooper on portraying famed Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, by Meghann Myers, Navy Times, January 16, 2015]
The real American Sniper was a hate-filled killer. Why are simplistic patriots treating him as a hero?, The Guardian, January 6, 2015]
But in an age when schools ban the American flag, American Sniper seems like a subversive phenomenon. The audience’s rejection of the official Narrative about evil traditional values and racist white males is eerily reminiscent of the public’s reaction to The Passion of the Christ. The film is a reminder the historic Majority of America thirsts for the type of heroes Hollywood, academia, and the federal government are increasingly devoted to destroying.
The rarely-spoken rationale behind the System’s hatred is that our cultural commissars link any expression of patriotism and pro-military sentiment to Nazism, a trope that Peter Brimelow calls “Hitler’s Revenge.”
Actor Seth Rogen made it explicit when he tweeted, “American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that’s showing in the third act of Inglourious Basterds.” He was referring to “Nation’s Pride,” a fake Nazi propaganda film shown during Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 Inglourious Basterds, a movie that featured the gleeful torture and slaughter of German prisoners by a fictional unit of Jewish-Americans. There were few Main Stream Media complaints about that film.
In contrast, “hate porn” like Selma is a product of the official culture and was heavily subsidized by both charities and the school system. Primarily black K-12 public school students were able to see Selma for free this past weekend thanks to the Selma for Students campaign. [Black business leaders raise over $2M so students can see ‘Selma’ for free, by Brooke Lefferts, FoxNews, January 19, 2015]
An estimated 275,000 tickets were provided to students just by part of this effort, making this cinematic entitlement an important part of Selma’s box office take. [275,000 Students Receive Free Tickets to Academy Award Nominated® “Selma,” Business Wire, January 16, 2015]
This includes students in:
Perhaps Barack Obama will issue an executive order dispensing reparations to reimbursing the producers of Selma, one of whom is his fellow ex-congregant at the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church, Oprah Winfrey.
The box office battle between Selma and American Sniper is just another chapter in our cultural Cold War. An official culture dedicated to multiculturalism, egalitarianism, and white guilt tries to impose itself on a historic American nation which is still showing signs of life. But, as the ticket sales show, racial fatigue is beginning to hit home. Even the cinematic equivalent of Affirmative Action can’t force whites to sit through yet another movie designed to trash the country they once possessed.
The real question: will Hollywood executives—and politicians—will take a look at the money made by American Sniper? Change will come when elites decide, if only out of self-interest, that they can benefit from championing the people that the official culture ignores.
Paul Kersey[Email him] is the author of the blog SBPDL, and has published the books SBPDL Year One, Hollywood in Blackface and Escape From Detroit, Opiate of America: College Football in Black and White and Second City Confidential: The Black Experience in Chicagoland. His latest book is The Tragic City: Birmingham 1963-2013.