Are we ready for the Flight 93 movie? That's the question on the lips of the liberal media as United 93 nears its release date later this month. I mention the media because they seem to be the only folks who view the movie's premier with trepidation, as they do in reference to almost anything concerning the attacks of September 11, 2001.
As if a Hollywood representation should revile us more than the actual events themselves. The thing which really troubles the left is that Americans might remember that supporters of those who murdered 3,000 of their fellow citizens are now treated with kid gloves by the same media who, for the most part, cowered when they took offense at political cartoons.
They're afraid that Americans will remember that we're participants in a war and not merely the perpetual victims of an act by some misunderstood group of unfortunates. The men and women on Flight 93 grasped that fact immediately and acted on it, saving countless lives. And that's another reason why the left fears the movie's release: the celebration of true heroism.
Movies about heroism today involve brave homosexual sheep herders who must hide their sacred love, and women unafraid of their male oppressors. That's why schoolchildren are taught to disparage our Founding Fathers as greedy, slave-owning hypocrites and why most modern biographies are simply attempts at knocking other heroes off their pedestals. Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio, indeed?
Many voice concern about memorials to be built on the sites of the gaping hole that was formerly the World Trade Center and the scorched earth at Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Some of the original designs were deemed too controversial while some of the revisions are just plain dull. People worry that these vapid memorials will or will not send the right message to future generations.
These concerns are certainly valid when one considers the insanity that passes for current judgments of history and the way modern memorials are constructed. Any memorial, and certainly one to commemorate heroism in defense of one's country, is meant to evoke certain emotions in those who view it. But liberalism seeks not to elevate patriotism but to blunt it.
Take a trip to the nation's capital and you'll see what I mean. Go first to the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, more commonly known as the Iwo Jima statue. Gaze up at the instantly familiar image of brave and determined fighting men raising the U.S. flag, and if pride and patriotism fail to well up within you, you're not human.
Now travel over to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, simply known as The Wall. While feelings of pride and patriotism are no less due the brave men and women who served there, the Wall's effect is more of sadness or even regret; precisely the emotions the left projects toward our military.
In fact, check out the older statues or war memorials in your own home town, then compare them to the newer efforts. The striking difference is that most modern sculpture consists of what was once known as abstract art: the work of those unskilled in the depiction of the recognizable.
This genre, while fine for private collections, is often an insult to the memory of those persons or events intended to be memorialized by the public; but in a way, that seems to be the point. Ayn Rand summed this up nicely in The Fountainhead, her brilliant invective against collectivism: "Don't set out to raze all shrines -- you'll frighten man. Enshrine mediocrity, and your shrines are razed."
The "art" produced by these maudlin modernists represents just that sort of mediocrity; the sort which we are encouraged to venerate lest we be mocked for our deficiency of taste. Worse yet, we run the risk of appearing un-nuanced for wanting to celebrate a patriotic love of country and heroism in its defense -- precisely that for which we revere the passengers and crew of Flight 93.
The run-up to the release of United 93 has coincided with the penalty phase of the trial of "20th hijacker" Zacarias Moussaoui, where a recording of the flight's last moments was played for the jury. When asked by a prosecutor if he would like to see 9/11 happen again, Moussaoui responded: "Every day until we get you."
If we're able to overcome the fear and loathing of patriotism by the left, Mr. Moussaoui and his ilk may have a long wait.
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