Monday, April 17, 2006

United 93

In what is guaranteed to draw both praise and criticism, United 93 -- the movie about the harrowing moments aboard United Flight 93 between its hijacking and its tragic end in Shanksville, Pennsylvania -- is about to make its cinematic debut at the TriBeCa Film Festival here in New York in the coming weeks. I have heard little about the movie, other than Rush Limbaugh's glowing praise for the near-final product, and I look forward to seeing it as soon as I can. It goes without saying that some of what will be seen on the big screen will be artistic license, since we do not know everything that transpired on that flight, but depending on how they do it, such license probably won't bother me.

What does bother me is the rating this movie has received from the clowns at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). You know who these morons are -- they are the people who control the ratings systems for each and every motion picture released in the United States. They are the idiots who have decided that it is acceptable to give movies with full frontal nudity, simulated sex scenes, senseless violence, and scenes depicting detailed drug use PG and PG-13 ratings. These same self-righteous sentinels of stupidity have seen fit to give United 93 an R rating.

My instinctive response? Horseshit. I suppose we have been too long enveloped in the backwash of political correctness to appreciate that there is, in the rating of this movie, an attempt to conceal history and fact from the American people. There is no reason this movie should have an R rating -- none whatsoever.

To give this movie anything higher than a PG-13 rating suggests to me that the MPAA is letting its leftist leanings, rather than their alleged objective criteria for evaluating movies, shine through. (Please, do not take my word for it. Go read the language of the various ratings and tell me where you would place this movie.) It suggests to me that they are trying to prevent huge swaths of the American people from getting a glimpse at the horror that the passengers on United Flight 93 must have experienced on September 11th. It suggests that they are uncomfortable that most Americans might remember that radical Muslim terrorists, and radical Muslim terrorists alone, are responsible for the carnage that took place. It suggests that they have no intention of releasing their stranglehold on their re-casting of the truth of that day, whether that means keeping real footage of the burning Twin Towers off the nightly news or stifling cinematic interpretations of that day's jarring events.

I can already see the wishy-washy counter-commentary to this post (I name no names to protect the innocent, and the guilty): they will point out that some of the scenes probably do contain at least some violence, which would justify an R rating. That even if there are no specifically violent scenes (which I am sure there are), the overall subject matter might be too mature for younger viewers. That rating a movie is an inherently subjective and extremely difficult undertaking. That to show Muslims breaking bones and slitting throats might be construed as insensitivity toward the Arab Street (which remains unpaved).

Again, horseshit. World War II-era Americans were not insulated from the bombing of Pearl Harbor, nor were they isolated from Hollywood's dramatic re-interpretations of those events. Americans were smart enough to view and understand Hollywood's portrayal of such events through the correcting prism of history and reality. So too, in this time and in this place, are Americans capable of making those same adjustments. What is different between America circa 1945 and America circa 2005 is that, whereas Americans from the former period sought to see the word as it really was, Americans from the latter period, or at least those who control our images, will do everything in their power to prevent the rest of us from seeing the world as it really is.

Liberal suppression of the harshness of reality is a damn shame, but it can be circumvented through resilience and creativity. If I had kids, I would be taking them to see this movie, perhaps more than once, and then I would tell them to use their minds to form their own judgments about the world around them. I wholeheartedly encourage people out there who are parents now to do the same. I also encourage the kids out there, who may be reading this, to buy a ticket for some PG movie at the local cineplex and sneak into the theater playing United 93. Go see the history the liberals at the MPAA don't want you to see.

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