Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Please Stay Tuned

It's just crazy at my work. I've been coming in at 6 am and leaving at 8 pm and I've been working weekends. I will be writing more articles when the workload lessens a bit.

Thank your for your support


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

With Thanksgiving two days away. I will have little time for myself so I will take the opportunity to reflect on what I am most thankful for now.
  • I am thankful for my wife Michelle, for she makes life worth living, in good times or bad.

    (The rest are in no particular order)

  • I am thankful for my parents. May they continue to share life together, a good while more.

  • I am thankful for my roof over my head, the food I can eat, and a warm dry place to sleep.

  • I am thankful I have the means to provide myself and my wife the above amenities.

  • I am thankful I have the tools to express my creativity.

  • I am thankful to the friends I have (Jeff, Lisa, Lee, Erik, Michele, Steve, Randy, Reggie, Gloria) as good ones are so hard to find.

Remember that Thanksgiving is the only true American holiday. Remember the significance of what it means and please don't disgrace it by referring to it as "turkey day".

Have a pleasant and safe Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Liberal Media (Part 2 of a Series)

Chapter 1
The Liberal Cinema (Continued)

Last week, I pointed out some examples of how politicians, particularly the President of the United States are portrayed in recent films. Notably, liberal politicians are good and care for the people, while conservatives are basically, not. There are many examples of this other than the four I specifically mentioned. In these film, the liberalism of cinema is pretty obvious. The same mindset is in many other, if not most Hollywood productions. The liberal innuendos can be more subtle in these films.

The De-John Wayne(ing) of the Cinematic Hero

John Wayne was the man that many boys growing up from the 1930's to the 1970's wanted to be. He was the gold standard for a movie hero. He portrayed quiet strength, independence, conviction, and confidence. He played characters who were a bit set in their ways, but had a good heart and gradually learned to accept change. I don't think it's a stretch to say that John Wayne represented an ideal of the complete conservative. When you look at the past three republican presidents (Reagan and the two Bushes), Americans saw them as the John Wayne cowboy type.

Wayne died in 1979 and by then, America had changed, mostly due to Vietnam. The war was not only unpopular, America lost it. In losing the war, America lost a lot of its mystique of being good and undefeatable. Hollywood reflected this. With a few exceptions such as Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry and Harrison Ford in Star Wars, the 1970's was not much of a decade for the John Wayne type of hero. Even the James Bond franchise changed from practically a british version of John Wayne in Sean Connery to a softer, more jovial Roger Moore. The 1980's featured a comeback of the John Wayne hero in Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, and Bruce Willis. Timothy Dalton brought back the grim James Bond. Then the 1990's came and Hollywood changed.

No Longer a Hero

In the 1990's, Hollywood seemed not only reluctant to show macho, white male heroes. They even produced movies to bring them down and expose these stereotypical heroes as bigots and anachronisms. I will discuss two of these films.

A Few Good Men

Here's another Rob Reiner film and one that I enjoy and respect. Jack Nicholson plays Colonel Nathan Jessup, an ultra-tough, militant bulldog who lives his life on words like "honor, code, loyalty". He is practically the second coming of John Wayne. In this film though, John Wayne, er Colonel Jessup is also corrupt and is revealed to be still living in the cold war. The lawyer, Caffey played by Tom Cruise, is the "Harvard mouth" with the "faggoty white uniform". He tricks Jessup into revealing he was responsible for the murder of one of his Marines. Apparently, a little know trait of John Wayne heroes is they are very gullible.

Crimson Tide

This is a favorite film of mine. It features some terrific performances by Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman and a very realistic feeling and tense situation. This time it's Gene Hackman as the anti-hero. He too, runs his life by rules of tight discipline. Unlike in A Few Good Men, Hackman is not corrupt, he is merely so conservative, it blinds him enough to make an error in judgement that nearly leads to World War III.

There are similar films that convey the same message. We have Wesley Snipes instead of Sylvester Stallone, Lara Croft instead of Indiana Jones. Even if the hero is a white male, as in Titanic or Spiderman, the guy is hardly the hearty John Wayne type. Instead it's skinny little guys of whom John Wayne would have kicked sand upon. As for westerns, the 1980's featured Pale Rider and Silverado, both of the heroic variety. The 1990's featured Unforgiven, where Clint Eastwood paints the dark side of being a gunslinger and in doing so, de-mythologizes his earlier roles as that type of individual. We also got Dances with Wolves where Kevin Costner turned his back upon the U.S. Army and became a Sioux Indian. Yes, in Hollywood today, its How the Left has Won.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Liberal Media (Part 1 of a Series)


A short while ago, I was talking with some of my co-workers and the subject of the President and political parties came up. Without revealing any opinions, myself, I asked the three twenty-something fellow employees of how they thought about Bush and the War in Iraq. I got a pretty unanimous type of response with comments like: "Bush sucks!", "Republicans are racists", "Bush only cares about oil", and "Bush overtaxes us and gives breaks to rich people". I asked where they got these opinions from. Guess what? They said they didn't know. I was very curious about this so I probed a little. Do they read newspapers? Do they watch the news? The answer to both questions among all three of them was "no". So where do these opinions come from? It's a rhetorical question because I'm pretty sure I know. The liberal media is everywhere. They are clever and most people, especially younger people, have no idea they are being brainwashed. I have a feeling that these three individuals are fairly representative of young people in our nation. So, I'm going to explore different forms of media and give my take on where this liberal bias is coming from. I'm going to start where most people can relate. The movies.

Chapter 1

The Liberal Cinema

Most people watch movies. Whether it's Friday night at the multiplex or watching HBO or a DVD on the tube at home, movie watching is a national pastime. Movie lines have become part of our pop culture so their influence can be quite substantial. Movie producers recognize this and feel compelled to promote the liberal point of view in many films. This has been especially true since the early 1990's.
In the past, studio executives, who were typically conservative, had the power and made the decisions about what films to make. The power has shifted to the actors. Mega-stars, who happen to be devout liberals such as Tom Hanks, Barbra Steisand, and Susan Sarandon, who've made millions in the industry are now also the filmmakers and decision makers. This shift has changed the content of what we see on the screen.

The President

Let's look at some movies involving the president of the United States. There is a prevailing theme. Democratic politicians are intelligent, broad-minded, and compassionate human beings. Republican politicians are narrow-minded and corrupt and only have self-serving interests.

The American President
This film exemplifies my point exactly. Michael Douglas plays the seemingly ideal president. He can be charming and diplomatic with the premier of France, bomb Libya, make national policy decisions, be the perfect father, and even have time to find roses for his ultra-liberal girlfriend played by Annette Bening. But Douglas' President Shepherd has a problem. For some unexplainable reason, he finds himself trying to get anti-crime legislation (a right-wing type of thing) passed through congress. Ah, but sensibility wins in the end as Shepherd tosses the bill away in the end so he can support an environmental bill (i.e. the type of legislation that Democrats are supposed to support) instead.
What really kills me in this film is Shepherd's state of the union speech at the end of the film. He makes a grand statement that being an American is "advanced citizenship". This is the motto of conservatives. It should mean that while Americans have more freedom and opportunity than the rest of the world, the price we pay for that freedom and opportunity is less government intervention. Of course, Shepherd twists that around and makes it about free speech and how it's okay to burn the flag. This was directed by Rob Reiner, a prominent Hollywood liberal.

This Kevin Kline/Sigourney Weaver film has similar themes as The American President. Dave (Kline) is an ordinary Joe who is recruited to act as President of the United States. You see, the real president (who just so happens to be Republican) died and his evil chief of staff Alexander (played by Frank Langella) schemes to have Dave replace the dead president so he can have control. So Dave, the middle of the road, average, sweet, everyday, mainstream kind of guy (in other words, a typical Democrat if you believe this) finds out he doesn't approve of the policies of the late president so he begins to change things to the way he thinks it should be. He wants to help the homeless children of America. He tries to enact some kind of program guaranteeing every American a job (Yeah, right!). This is a fairy tale and I have no problem with that. In fact, I actually like this movie. However, I get extremely annoyed at how the Republicans are so villified.

The Tom Clancy films - Clear and Present Danger/The Sum of All Fears
I'll group these two together. Both films feature a hard-core conservative president. Neither states the political party of the president, but it's pretty obvious that they are Republicans. In Clear and Present Danger, the president sacrifices American troops so he can move forward on his war on drugs agenda. In The Sum of All Fears, the president is a war-mongering, narrow-minded coward who, since an atomic bomb was detonated, concludes that it must have been the Russians without any real information. Thank goodness that in both cases, we had the clear-thinking Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford in the former, Ben Affleck in the latter) to save the day and expose the incompetence of the president.

To be fair, Air Force One is one film where there does not seem to be a sublime political agenda. Harrison Ford plays the good president but his political sway is not clear.

In part two, I'll explore some films that aren't so politically based, yet still manage to deliver the same message. That is, liberal Democrat = good, conservative Republican = bad.