One wonders why in the world anyone would be talking about, promoting, or taking seriously, something called ZERO DARK 30, a digital moving image now being projected on screens as we write. Who would watch such a thing, if my information about the content of it is accurate? It was directed by someone called Katherine Bigelow. Who is Katherine Bigelow? And if we find out, should we even care?
What we have here is a digital moving image (I refrain from using the word "film" because they are no longer shooting on that beautiful medium) made by a person who "has risen without trace" explaining to all of us Americans that torturing innocent Muslims was a great way to learn the whereabouts of a man who (credibly) had been dead for a decade. The Mad Mullah Osama bin Laden had to be publicly disposed of - quite a feat considering he was already dead - in a Hollywood sort of way by the US government, and once this overwrought production was completed to the mass huzzahs of the media world then the Hollywood machine went into swing and made a "movie" about it. Bread and circuses.
We wont detain ourselves talking about the propaganda show now on worldwide screens. It is the usual combination of dreadful writing and directing, high school-level acting, over-the-top sound effects, weaving camera movements, shouting and general incoherence...and lots of violence for the audience to salivate over. (Question: when one watches this kind of thing, does it induce nausea? I would hope that it does.)
What is interesting is the visible and no longer deniable close collaboration between media and government. It doesn't even have to be carefully concealed anymore. It is easy to find an ignoramus like a Bigelow, or a Quentin Tarantino, to make this sort of stuff. Hollywood is full of such people, with egos and delusions of self-importance far weightier than their abilities. They are products of an educational system that has taught them nothing but untruths and trivia. They are robots. So Washington can rest well assured that its approved stories will be dutifully told by Hollywoodians desperate to have their names and faces on the front pages.
This strange production asks us to believe that the inhuman treatment, torture and killing of supposed suspects is justified if it rids the world of crazy madmen. It attempts to shore up the hoax of a so-called "war on terror" being waged by our betters with our dollars and futures. It asks us, like the attendees of one of Emperor Nero's stadium games, to cheer on such blood-letting. Can you believe that some of your neighbors, your co-workers even (sadly) some of your children are watching such things, and with approval? Film aficionados will smirk at the ineptitude of the makers of this, but what of the general public that has not practiced much in the way of artistic discernment? One does wonder what kind of a mind it takes to sit through such garbage without feeling sullied.
There are critics of ZERO DARK 30. But some of them show their ignorance and their anti-Catholic bigotry by comparing the work of Bigelow to Leni Riefenstahl, or claiming we have adopted the mindset of the dreaded Spanish Inquisition. Sad, if that's the best they can come up with. In the first place Bigelow is no Leni Riefenstahl. Miss Riefenstahl was a genuine artist of the first rank. She is, of course, endlessly criticized by both the uninformed and the mendacious for her directing of TRIUMPH OF THE WILL, a film made at the request of the Nazi party. While ignoring her DAS BLAUE LICHT(THE BLUE LIGHT) , her incredibly beautiful "mountain" films and her brilliant OLYMPIA, they refuse to allow the woman the right to tell her own version of how she came to make the Party film. Those who wish to know, and to understand what was going on in Germany at that time, can consult her autobiography. Riefenstahl had an excuse; Bigelow has no excuse. She differs from Riefenstahl in two critical areas: she has no directorial ability and she knows she is carrying water for her heroes in the White House. Riefenstahl had tremendous cinematic ability and was, like most other Germans, unaware of the troubling ideas of the Leader. The people who made their Osama extravaganza are well aware that the US president quite literally murders innocent people by drones, by torture and God knows what else every day. The Germans in 1934 on the other hand, let us recall, didn't have the internet.
Regarding the Spanish Inquisition, if the movie's critics knew what it was all about and what it was trying to achieve and what were the historical circumstances at the time they certainly would not be comparing the methods used by the Federal Government today with that body. One example may suffice. Unlike the US government, the Spanish Inquisitors were scrupulous in making certain that the accused had every means possible for his defense, including lawyers and a trial. When some gung-ho soldier presses his little video game button and fires his hellfire missiles at some innocent bystander thousands of miles away carrying out the orders of the commander-in-chief, there isn't a whole lot of time for a trial. The critics of this propaganda show would be better to use the example of the Salem witch trials. It is a much more apt comparison.
Still, any efforts to show up this thing as the government propaganda that it is are welcome. We must never allow our family or our friends to buy into the Party Line and that is why when not laughing these boot-licking productions right off the screen we should be telling it like it is with regard to them. Far more importantly we should be asking ourselves what kind of people we have become to have let our nation come to such a sorry pass. That it was inevitable is no reason to cease being introspective about it. When nine senile old men decided like some divine oracle to allow the murdering of the innocents in their mother's wombs in 1973 that should have been the final curtain call to the whole sordid business of Americanism. We have the blood of millions on our hands.
This blog is small and of little influence. But if by some miracle someone who is in a position to shake some sense into the heads of my fellow citizens can read these thoughts, well and good.
There is one Body on earth, however, that can and should be decrying this obscene injustice that is the completely phony "war on terror" and all its pomps and works. It is the one Organization that has the moral authority to speak on such evils with authority. Today its voice, however, is muffled and it speaks in ambiguous terms. That voice is the voice of the Catholic Church. There is a propaganda campaign afoot to discredit Pope Pius XII for remaining "silent" during World War 2. The campaign is fantastical and unworthy of serious discussion. But there is a sort of silence occurring right now, the silence and ambiguity of the Vatican at the horrors being committed by many governments against the innocent. Pretty phrases and platitudes are not going to have much effect. Thundering statements of raw truth will. There are hopeful signs that a few at least are waking up in Rome and are speaking out. The history of the Church is filled with stories of both muddled indifference and glorious achievement. But we must respectfully remind our Church leaders that they must begin to get real serious, real soon.
The first way they might begin to get serious is to cease receiving these monsters for Vatican photo ops, and to cease wining and dining with them. You do not feed a monster who is trying to kill you; you starve him instead. Diplomacy is one thing; giving aid and comfort to the enemies of Christ is quite another.
And the second thing they can do to begin getting serious? Heal the beaten and bloody Church. If we cannot even project to the public a view of the Church with a single holy Liturgy, a disciplined clergy and a house-cleaning of rats then there are few people who will want to take a serious look at the Church. But if a healing process does begin, if the vermin eating at the Church's vitals are dismissed, if the Mass is restored to its ancient splendor, if beauty in music, in art, in writing, in architecture in personal lives once again becomes the norm, then will we see a real flowering of the Faith again.
And if the Church is healed, eventually so will nations be healed.