October 24, 2005, - 9:26 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Detroit Free Press Film Critic Terry Lawson quoted me in his “Entertainment at Large” column in Sunday’s edition of the combined Detroit News and Free Press.
Lawson quoted from my column critical of pro-homicide bomber movie, “The War Within,” produced by NBA brat owner Mark Cuban:
“Detroit-based conservative commentator Debbie Schlussel recently railed on her blog against ‘The War Within,’ which purports to get inside the head of a terrorist radicalized by 9/11 imprisonment and torture as he plans an attack on Grand Central Station. Schlussel answered the above question this way: ‘No time is the right time for a movie sympathetic to terrorists and suicide bombers.’”
I strongly disagree with Lawson’s column, which claims–as Cuban and the makers of the movie do–that we need films from the terrorists’ point of view to “understand” them. We understand what they did on 9/11 just fine–without this and a host of other movies in the unfortunate new genre of “understand the terrorists” chic, like the upcoming, horrid “Paradise Now.” We don’t need movies sympathetic to the enemy, as is “War Within.” We didn’t need such movies to defeat the Nazis or the Communist Soviet Union. We don’t need them to undermine us, now.
That said, even though I disagree with Terry Lawson on many things, I greatly respect him and regularly read his mostly spot-on reviews and cogent, interesting columns about pop culture. Although he is a liberal, he’s reasonable, not doctrinaire, and one of the few film critics of national prominence who is occasionally willing to shine the light on the liberal elite in Hollywood. Terry’s knowledge of pop culture throughout the decades is matched by few.
I’ve quoted Terry a couple of times with approval–when he dissed Michael Moore (whom Lawson has always been able to see as the phony Moore is, while most movie critics gush all over him), and, more recently, in his comments about former Marine Josh Rushing of “Control Room” and now Al-Jazeera. The Lawson-coined description of Moore’s phony “blue collar bonhomie” is a great one–from a Lawson-penned column ripping Moore that is the best I’ve read on the bloated fake-umentary maker (can’t find an online link to it).
I like that Terry Lawson was not afraid to expose the lefty filmmakers and critics that surrounded him at Sundance, so orthodox that, Lawson wrote, they were “openly hostile” anyone who dared ask critical questions about Jazeera and openly hissed whenever Bush Administration officials appeared on-screen. Most other film critics wouldn’t dare do that.
This is the second time, this year, I’ve been mentioned by a major movie critic. Earlier, Roger Ebert mentioned me in his syndicated movie review column on “Turtles Can Fly” (because I gave a written “thumbs down” to his opposition to deportation of PKK terrorist Ibrahim Parlak).
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