Violence Porn Part 1: American Sniper

The latest war film, this one based on the autobiographical novel American Sniper by former Navy Seal and sniper team leader Chris Kyle, has rustled a lot of jimmies in the mainstream left, not to mention the tumblrsphere. For those who somehow don’t know about Kyle at this point, he was known for having the highest confirmed kill count of any sniper in U.S. history. Essentially, he was a heterosexual white male from Texas (condemnation enough) who just so happened to also be a violence wielding badass (deplorable).

The last time I can remember so much leftist gnashing of teeth surrounding a movie was in 2004 when Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ graced the silver screen. The flak from the left was palpable. The New Republic  called it “pious pornography“,  and stating that it was “without any doubt an anti-Semitic movie.” Maureen Dowd chimed in on it’s anti-Semitism, saying it made her want to kick the teeth in of the dirty kikes and wops responsible, as well as drawing strange parallels to George Bush’s supposed homophobia. She even invokes Vatican II’s forgiveness of Le Merchant and suggest the movie “defies not only the scruples of scholars but also the teaching of the Catholic Church.”

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pious pornography ART
Vatican II, however, doesn’t apply to Jews. Darren Aronofsky’s recent film Noah upset a number of conservative Christians and Muslims when it detoured heavily from the Biblical narrative. “{W]hen Aronofsky says that his film is less “Biblical,” that doesn’t mean that his film is “subversive” or any less religious — it’s just religious in ways that are unfamiliar to most biblical literalists, but common practice for most Jews and non-literal Christians.” Oh, alright. I understand, now. If and only if you’re a Jew or a non-literal Christian, you can play with the narrative. Glad they cleared that up.

Another example of liberal outrage at movie “politics” is the lackluster G.I. Joe sequel starring Bruce Willis and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The plotline that appears to pattern itself after the modern political climate, and Mother Jones can’t help but claim that a Manchurian candidate president who wields drones against Americans on foreign soil means that the movie “doubles as a conservative anti-Obama fantasy.” Clearly , Hollywood has been taken over by racists, anti-Semites, and other bigots who want nothing but to kill the non-white masses or force them to covert to conservative Christianity.

But does the left categorically condemn violent behavior with subtle political undertones?

The Guardian went so far as to call Chris Kyle “an American Psycho“.  Alright, let’s run with that. The book American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis and subsequent movie starring Christian Bale have extensive violent content that drew significant criticism. However, in a recent article also from the Guardian, the book is described as “one of the greatest novels of our time” and dismissed any criticism chiding, “the negative reviews the novel received now sound a little like the stampeding of frightened children. That they came from intelligent people who couldn’t get past their own shock and discomfort to ascertain the true nature of it is utterly delicious.” Because, you see, it’s satire; it’s art. The violence and sexual assault portrayed “function solely in order to show the barbaric legacy of the consumerist/imperialist world we live in”.

Alright, fine. It’s satire. It’s art. Fiction. It’s not the same as a movie glorifying the life of a real life mass murderer like Chris Kyle. But what about movies such as Invictus? This tale stars Morgan Freeman (white people’s favorite negro) as Nelson Mandela and follows his attempts to restore peace to South Africa through forced desegregation. No mention is made of the bloodthirsty ways he came to power. Or perhaps Motorcycle Diaries, the story of a young Ernesto “Che” Guevara on the road through Latin America, conning people for free room and board by pretending to be a doctor researching leprosy treatments. We get to see how the plight of the poor brown people who drove Guevara to become a revolutionary, without having to see the nasty, icky parts where he directly oversaw (and by most reports participated in) the executions of over one thousand people by firing squad.

But at least we can take some solace in the fact that the Hollywood establishment and the leftists don’t condone the violence itself. Mandela and Guevara just killed thousands to protect their people’s freedom, or something. Totally unlike Chris Kyle. If anyone were to use violence and possibly ENJOY such a thing, that would be categorically detestable and unforgivable. They wouldn’t do something like give an Oscar to a convicted child rapist, for example? Except that they DID. But, hey, it was a long time ago, right? As Patrick Goldstein at the LA Times remarks, “you’d hope that L.A. County prosecutors had better things to do than cause an international furor by hounding a film director for a 32-year-old sex crime.”

God forbid.

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A soldier without a cause.