‘Bad Will Hunt­ing’

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. -

Matt Da­mon is scared. Ear­lier this month his e-mail run­neth over with nasty Sarah Palin ru­mors. And be­fore he could get his facts straight, the “Bourne” film se­ries star and Barack Obama sup­porter spread false fears in a hys­ter­i­cal video that im­me­di­ately went vi­ral on the In­ter­net.

“I want to know if she thinks di­nosaurs were here 4,000 years ago or if she banned books or tried to ban books,” Mr. Da­mon raged to the As­so­ci­ated Press. “I mean — you know, we can’t — we can’t have that.”

Mrs. Palin has nei­ther pushed for cre­ation­ism in Alaska schools nor moved to ban a sin­gle book in Wasilla. Yet the “Ocean’s 14” en­sem­ble is cur­rently un­able to get through an­other smarmy scene for fear that a John McCain pres­i­dency will lead to an evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tian theoc­racy and cat­a­strophic artis­tic op­pres­sion.

The sad fact is that ac­tual artis­tic op­pres­sion — book ban­ning in its many mod­ern forms — is a mat­ter of course in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try, es­pe­cially when the un­der­ly­ing prod­uct is de­clared po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect or runs con­trary to the in­ter­ests of Hol­ly­wood’s po­lit­i­cal al­tar, the Demo­cratic Party.

The Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Is­lamic Re­la­tions runs rings around Hol­ly­wood’s pi­ous First Amend­ment ab­so­lutists.

“I hope you will be re­as­sured that I have no in­ten­tion of pro­mot­ing neg­a­tive im­ages of Mus­lims or Arabs,” di­rec­tor Phil Alden Robin­son wrote af­ter chang­ing the script from Mus­lim ter­ror­ists to Aus­trian neo-Nazis in the Tom Clancy thriller, “The Sum of all Fears.” “And I wish you the best in your con­tin­u­ing ef­forts to com­bat dis­crim­i­na­tion.”

While Mr. Clancy put up an ad­mirable fight, ac­tor Ben Af­fleck ac­qui­esced, cashed his mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar check and fought the dreaded Aus­tri­ans, whose flag­ging Teu­tonic self-con­fi­dence again took a hit. Thanks to Hol­ly­wood artis­tic ap­pease­ment, Arab youth in to­tal- itar­ian Mus­lim coun­tries in­doc­tri­nated in anti-West­ern thought dodged an­other es­teem bul­let.

Per­haps Mr. Af­fleck would still have a ca­reer as a lead­ing man if the highly an­tic­i­pated “The Sum of All Fears” added up to the re­al­is­tic “war on ter­ror” head­lines that dom­i­nated news cy­cles as it came out in 2002 — or, God for­bid, matched up to its au­thors’ cho­sen words, char­ac­ters and ideas. Now Mr. Af­fleck sits near the craft ser­vice ta­ble watch­ing his wife, Jen­nifer Gar­ner, fight the bad guys.

The si­lence of the celebrity po­lit­i­cal class was heart­break­ing when Dutch film­maker Theo Van Gogh was mur­dered by an Is­lamic rad­i­cal in re­tal­i­a­tion for mak­ing “Sub­mis­sion,” a crit­i­cally ac­claimed film that por­trayed hor­rific fe­male op­pres­sion within the prac­tice of Is­lam.

Yet Hol­ly­wood — quick to find mar­tyrs near to its heart (Va­lerie Plame, et al) — ig­nored its fallen Dutch com­rade and re­fused to cel­e­brate the film and its maker, ful­fill­ing his mur­derer’s great­est de­sire.

“It’s like a re­ally bad Dis­ney movie,” Mr. Da­mon said of Mrs. Palin’s po­lit­i­cal rise.

Yet it was a re­ally good Dis­ney movie that stands as a last­ing sym- bol that cen­sor­ship is alive and well in lib­eral Hol­ly­wood. In 2006, ABC and its par­ent com­pany poured $40 mil­lion into a five-hour, com­mer­cial-free minis­eries called “The Path to 9/11.” Built to play ev­ery year on the an­niver­sary of the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror at­tacks, the docu­d­rama chron­i­cles how the al Qaeda men­ace grew un­der the Clin­ton and Bush ad­min­is­tra­tions.

Night 1 fo­cused on the Clin­ton years; Night 2 looked into the eight months lead­ing up to the at­tacks un­der Pres­i­dent Bush. ABC con­sid­ered the two-day movie ex­pe­ri­ence a gift to the coun­try, and over the two-night air­ing an as­tound­ing 28 mil­lion view­ers tuned in.

Less about pol­i­tics, “The Path to 9/11” fo­cused on the emer­gence of rad­i­cal Is­lamic ter­ror as a clear and present Amer­i­can threat. Nei­ther ad­min­is­tra­tion was cast as the vil­lain; the Is­lamic ter­ror­ists were. Both ad­min­is­tra­tions were right­fully por­trayed as un­der­es­ti­mat­ing the threat.

Yet politi­cians and gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees tied to Bill and Hil­lary Clin­ton, all who ad­mit­tedly hadn’t seen the film, took to the air­waves to de­mand it not be aired or be rad­i­cally edited, with only days to go be­fore its pre­miere.

For­mer Sec­re­tary of State Madeleine K. Al­bright, Rep. Louise M. Slaugh­ter and even for­mer Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Sandy Berger, who was con­victed of de­stroy­ing top-se­cret na­tional se­cu­rity doc­u­ments, de­manded that Dis­ney cut the movie to their lik­ing or pull it from the air, within days of its an­tic­i­pated air­ing.

Po­lit­i­cal hacks glee­fully de­clared victory over free speech. Hol­ly­wood stood si­lent as the po­lit­i­cal class de­manded bla­tant cen­sor­ship.

Be­cause the Clin­ton po­lit­i­cal fam­ily didn’t like one scene in one movie — one that ac­cu­rately por­trayed that the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion had chances to take out Osama bin Laden — ABC and Dis­ney folded to the pres­sure and, as a re­sult, the film will likely never be seen on net­work tele­vi­sion again, nor will it ever make its way to the lu­cra­tive DVD mar­ket — the mod­ern equiv­a­lent of tak­ing it off the li­brary shelf.

Even $2 mil­lion movies make their way to the mar­ket­place — let alone $40 mil­lion con­tro­ver­sial ones that al­ready have been seen by mil­lions.

“It’s cen­sor­ship in the most bla­tant way,” left-wing film­maker Oliver Stone said. “I’m not vouch­ing for its ac­cu­racy — it’s a drama­ti­za­tion — but it’s an im­por­tant work and needs to be seen.”

“Block­ing the Path to 9/11” is a dev­as­tat­ing doc­u­men­tary di­rected by for­mer talk-show host John Ziegler that shows ex­actly how cen­sor­ship works in Amer­ica. As long as it is sup­ported by Demo­cratic politi­cians and by lib­eral Hol­ly­wood play­ers, cen­sor­ship is a use­ful tool to sti­fle dis­sent.

Mr. Ziegler’s doc­u­men­tary is a cau­tion­ary tale on how the main­stream me­dia play a cru­cial role in sup­port­ing Demo­cratic causes and how lib­eral blogs bol­ster the me­dia and Hol­ly­wood’s left­ward at­tack. No film bet­ter il­lu­mi­nates how cen­sor­ship is op­er­a­tive in mod­ern Amer­ica and is uti­lized by the very peo­ple who de­mand ab­so­lute creative free­dom.

If you can’t find “The Path to 9/11” or the doc­u­men­tary that spells out the crime of its sup­pres­sion, per­haps you should look out for Matt Da­mon’s lat­est project, “The Peo­ple Speak,” fea­tur­ing “dra­matic live read­ings” from Amer­ica-bash­ing usual sus­pects Danny Glover and Ed­die Ved­der, and hon­or­ing Howard Zinn, the celebrity left’s fa­vorite re­vi­sion­ist his­to­rian and the Marx­ist pro­fes­sor who in­spired the Robin William’s char­ac­ter in “Good Will Hunt­ing.”

Maybe Sarah Palin can give it a look on the cam­paign trail and un­der­stand why a beau­ti­ful and ac­com­plished woman from Alaska poses such a threat to Hol­ly­wood and the Demo­cratic Party — and why so many peo­ple in heart­land Amer­ica are root­ing for her to win.

An­drew Bre­it­bart is the founder of the news Web site bre­it­bart.com and is co-au­thor of “Hol­ly­wood In­ter­rupted: In­san­ity Chic in Baby­lon — the Case Against Celebrity.”

Matt Da­mon

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