Thursday, June 29, 2006

Truth, Justice, and Dolla Dolla Bills, Y'all

So there's a new Superman movie out. Yay.

I never cared much for Superman as a kid. Yeah, it's neat that he could fly, and see through shit, and beat up mad scientists by the boatload. But, really, Superman gets old. Nothing can hurt him, except for kryptonite. And, somehow, every two-bit purse snatcher manages to get his hands on a hunk of the green shit.

Still, though, Superman stories can be entertaining. Just not for long. Fortunately for moviegoers everywhere, two hours is not that long, so they should be alright.

However, the usual right-wing douchebags have their draws in a bunch over something in the movie. Over at Libertas, there's a committed platoon of morally-outraged hankie clutchers who valiantly and vigorously keep watch on the collective output of the Hollywood movie studios. They've found that--horror of horrors--Superman's motto has changed. Instead of fighting for "Truth, Justice, and the American Way," Clark Kent's nonbespectacled alter ego now stands for "Truth, Justice, and all that stuff."

Clearly, as Jeanne Wolf mentions, the writers, director, and producers were after that filthy, filthy overseas lucre, so they dropped "The American Way," hoping that people in countries that, say, aren't terribly fond of "The American Way" these days will still plunk down their cash to see the latest film about the Man of Steel. Predictably, the hapless halfwits at Libertas (A Forum for Conservative Thought on Film) have taken this fact as further indication of the decadence of the American Left, which of course finds its willing accomplice in another favorite, monolithic rightwing bogeyman: Hollywood. Yes, the movie industry. In case you didn't know, the movie industry is an almost perfect model of Adam Smith's capitalist dreams. Studio decisions (for these gigantic summer movies, anyway) are driven by profit and nothing else. I'm kind of shocked that Superman isn't wearing this on his chest:
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Cha-Ching, bitches!

Anyway, these fearless paladins of conservatism are, predictably, outraged by this obvious perversion of a Great American Icon by those dastardly liberals who hate America SO MUCH, they just can't stand to have any positive depictions of the USA in any movie ever. Here's Govindini Murty, shrewdly seeing through that "It's all about the international dollar" excuse:
Now this is really sad. It used to be that American films counted on making a significant amount of their money - in America! “Gone With The Wind,” the number one grossing film of all time, made over $1.29 billion dollars domestically (adjusted for inflation). The first “Star Wars” made $1.13 billion dollars domestically, “The Ten Commandments” made $838 milion domestically, and “Titanic” made $821 million domestically (all adjusted for inflation). I imagine that the rest of the top ten or twenty grossing films of all time (check out the full list on Box Office Mojo) also made much if not most of their money in America. The American market is still the single largest and most lucrative film market in the world, so it’s strange that Hollywood seems so willing to discount that American market at home in order to pander to the presumed anti-Americanism of markets overseas.

And why do the makers of “Superman Returns” assume that the words “the American way” or some other such pro-American sentiment would necessarily keep moviegoers away in the rest of the world? The “Spiderman” movies had American flags waving all over the place, and they made huge amounts of money both in America and abroad. The same is true of “Independence Day,” which very much had a pro-American message. Having lived extensively overseas, in particular in Asia, I can say that overseas anti-Americanism is greatly overstated, and I’m tired of hearing Hollywood liberals cite that as a reason for not including pro-American sentiments in their films.

Since 9/11 and the commencement of the War on Terror, Jason and I have travelled to Japan, Hong Kong, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Italy, England, and Canada - and we haven’t had a single anti-American comment directed at us. Whether visiting friends and colleagues, or chatting with people on the street, we’ve always been treated well as Americans abroad - and that includes in a Muslim country like Malaysia. (The media and diplomatic elites in some of these nations are another matter). Frankly, we find more anti-Americanism in the West Side of L.A. than we do in the average person we encounter overseas. People in the rest of the world (who tend to still have fairly traditional values) think that patriotism is a normal human emotion, and find it odd that America’s immensely wealthy and immensely privileged cultural elites have such trouble demonstrating it in their own films… Ironically, Hollywood’s lack of respect for America may in itself be one of the leading contributors to anti-Americanism abroad.
Not to poke another hole in his blow-up-doll of an argument, but Titanic made twice as much overseas as it did in its domestic release. Also, they changed the Superman's motto to make more money. What could be more American than that? As for the rest of his confused screed, I just don't know where to start. What are these "fairly traditional values" that "people in the rest of the world" cling to in such a heart-warming way? Burkas? Vendetta warfare? Just asking.

It's fascinating and terrifying that people this incapable of rational thought have managed to learn to use computers.

Libertas star and favorite TBogg target Jason Apuzzo weighs in, as well. He actually "reviewed" the movie a couple of weeks ago, so now he only adds the following lament:
[T]here’s nothing anybody can do about this current tsunami of comic book movies. Here, for example, is the new Spider-Man 3 trailer, as Hollywood slips further into it’s (sic) dark night of anodyne stupidity.
Oh, lawd, please not that. If you're gonna use a word like "anodyne," Mr. Apuzzo, you might want to make sure you're not misusing the contracted form of "it is" earlier in your sentence. It makes you look like the dumbass that you are.

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