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Thursday, December 27, 2012


The jingoistic Kathryn Bigelow

Many commentators, foremost among them the brilliant Glenn Greenwald (and here), have taken director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal to task for the homage to torture called "Zero Dark Thirty." But many of them seem surprised.

Having seen Bigelow and Boal's first award-winning film, "The Hurt Locker," only recently, I wasn't. That film too was an exercise in propaganda. All of the killing of innocents was done by the "bad guys," never by the noble American soldiers. In one scene, someone watches the bomb disposal expert from a distance, holding what may (or may not) be a camera, looking very suspicious. In real life, the American soldiers would have almost certainly shot him, but not in Hurt Locker. In another, someone with a cell phone is spotted watching the bomb disposers, and in fact triggers the bomb. Needless to say, the soldiers in the film didn't shoot him either. And we also have the noble American soldier repeatedly risking his own life to disarm bombs and save Iraqi civilians. If I'm remembering correctly, and I think I am, there isn't a single instance of improper behavior from the American soldiers, except when they fight among themselves.

Whether it's propaganda extolling the U.S. military or propaganda extolling torture and the CIA, Bigelow and Boal seem to be up to the job.

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