Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Lights...Camera...Empathy!

Know who needs a beating? Steven Spielberg, that's who. Not a critical drubbing, not a stern verbal dressing-down, not an open letter in the New York Times, a real, honest to god, within-millimeters-of-his-life thrashing. It won't teach him a damn thing, but it'll make me feel a whole lot better.

Spielberg, or as I prefer to call him Official Schmaltzographer of the Zionist Project, has Broken the Wall of Secrecy surrounding his unspeakably hateful-looking new film 'Munich', trailers for which have been souring my evening television enjoyment for a week. Responding to Israeli and Palestinian concerns about their respective portrayals in the closely-guarded film, Spielberg has stepped forward to pour oil upon the waters, magisterially informing Time Magazine that
the film is a "prayer for peace", and that the biggest enemy in the region is not the Palestinians or the Israelis but the intransigence that exists between the two sides.
Ahahahaha! See what he did there? Guns don't kill people, intransigence kills people.

But His Mawkness wasn't finished. That pearl of perspicacity was merely a lagniappe, an amuse-bouche to prepare our palates for the big revelation, to wit Spielberg's new project 'aimed at tackling that lack of understanding':
"What I'm doing is buying 250 video cameras and players and dividing them up, giving 125 of them to Palestinian children, 125 to Israeli kids, so they can make movies about their own lives," he said. "Not dramas, just little documentaries about who they are and what they believe in, who their parents are, where they go to school, what they have to eat, what movies they watch, what CDs they listen to - and then exchange the videos.

"That's the kind of thing that can be effective, I think, in simply making people understand that there aren't that many differences that divide Israelis from Palestinians - not as human beings, anyway."
What is it about filmmakers and messianism? Your average dentist doesn't believe that the salvation of humanity lies in collaborative bridgework. The American Carpenters' Association isn't organizing a Let's Nail Peace Now cabinet-making exchange. Even people like Médécins Sans Frontieres generally confine themselves to quietly going about the business of healing the sick and wounded, rather than, say, sponsoring International Sick-Ins where the aforementioned can learn to Share Each Other's Pain.

But find me a single fucking filmmaker who doesn't believe, loudly and without irony, that we really could all get along, if only people would make more films.

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