Re: James Fulford's article The Dominique Strauss-Kahn Scandal: Overkilling The Mockingbird, In The Heat Of The Night, By The Green Mile!
From: A Patriotic American [Email him]
Your article on misrepresentations of criminal violence in movies gives me the opportunity to vent over another (much less well-known) example. While stuck in a hotel room for business travel earlier this week, I watched a movie that I never would have chosen to view at home. It ended up being quite an educational experience about the mindset of producers and directors.
The film was Stir of Echoes: The Homecoming a 2007 made-for-TV movie about an Iraqi war veteran—Ted (Rob Lowe)—whose injuries give him Bruce Willis- / The Sixth Sense-type abilities to connect with dead spirits. Early in the film, he and his troop accidentally kill an Iraqi family and grievously injure a girl when his troop mistakenly takes the family's rushing van for a suicide attack. Ted is injured in a rocket attack immediately after the van incident, which puts him in a coma, gives him the aforementioned paranormal powers and results in his being sent home.
Most of the film is then taken up with the difficultly of his transition upon returning home: an inability to connect with his wife who doesn't "get" the trauma of war and doesn't believe he is really seeing ghosts, conflict with his teenage son who is hassled at school over having a "baby killer" father, etc. The film chugs along quite slowly just on the basis of the family troubles and a thriller / horror film atmosphere from his seeing the ghosts of Iraqi victims, but was overall quite dull and it was difficult to see where it was all heading.
Then, in the last ten or so minutes (in hindsight, I am surprised I made it that far simply because the movie wasn't that engaging and I didn't expect to end up watching a cheap horror film), the following absurd events occur:
Through his paranormal abilities, Ted learns that his son attacked and burned to death an Arab-American teenager.
The attack involves three lily-white teenagers—including Ted's son and another girl whose father was beheaded by terrorists while on a tour of duty—brutalizing the Arab-American with a tire iron and then burning him to death in a dumpster using Jack Daniels. The Arab-American teenager himself is presented as totally American in demeanor and background, having told his killers-to-be that he was born here, is just like them, etc.
Ted accidentally shoots and kills his wife in a scuffle precipitated by Ted confronting his son over the attack on the Arab-American and encouraging the son to turn himself in.
The movie ends with the wife's funeral and the son being taken away by federal marshals after having been turned in by his father (!).
The sheer scope of the skewing of reality and PC wishful thinking crammed into that ten-minute denouement is simply shocking. In the ten years since 9/11, I am not aware of a SINGLE attack on Arab-Americans involving the kind of brutality and cruelty presented in the film (and I am only aware of one news report involving an attack of any sort).
So ordinary white Americans are demonized using an entirely made-up and unrepresentative crime to drive home the point that, what? Whites are inherently racist and evil?
I actually found myself laughing while watching the attack, not because of any animus I feel towards anyone or any sympathy I have with violence, but purely because the situation was so absurdly unrealistic, painfully and flagrantly PC; and yet entirely predictable: three suburban, white teenagers including a girl, murder an Arab-American because of "who he is".
Really?! These producers can read the papers and watch the news every day and still present this situation to us with a straight face? This is the scourge of violence that Americans need to be vigilant against?
Finally, the redemption of the father by turning in his own son in, so as to make his peace with a young Iraqi girl who he never even intentionally harmed, is something of a perfect morality tale that whites are supposed to buy regarding their dispossession by non-whites, their guilt towards non-whites and the absolute innocence of non-whites.
We all support the justice system and I certainly believe the son was guilty. But let the prosecutors handle that; why show the father turning in his own son as "the right thing to do"?
The only way white America can redeem itself is by betraying their children on behalf of total strangers who happen to be minorities?
Sorry for the long message on a small point.