web analytics
April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Atlas Shrugged’

Pamela Geller Banned from England

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

British media sources are reporting that the bloggers Pamela Geller (Atlas Shrugs) and Robert Spencer (Jihad Watch) have been banned from entering the UK. They were banned as their entry was considered to be “not conducive to the public good,” following a campaign by left-wing activists to block their entry into the country.

The two bloggers were planning on attending and speaking at a rally in Woolwich organized by the right-wing EDL (English Defense League). Woolwich is the location were British soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was beheaded by a Muslim man in May.

The EDL is a street protest movement which opposes what it considers to be a spread of Islamism, Sharia law and Islamic extremism in the United Kingdom.

But Geller and Spencer shouldn’t think themselves exceptional here. Likud MK Feiglin is permanently banned from entering the UK, while other Israeli government officials have been afraid to enter England under threat of arrest. At one time that even included the left-wing Minister Tzipi Livni, for her involvement in defending Israel against the attacks from Gaza.

Atlas Shrugged II: The Plot Thickens

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Speaking for myself, I can’t wait to see John Galt’s 100-page soliloquy on screen, a pleasure that should be heading our way in, what? Twelve months? Eighteen?

Samantha Mathis as Dagny Taggart adds some gravitas to the second in the Atlas Shrugged series – Atlas Shrugged II: Either-Or – and director John Putch (the 2005 Poseidon AdventureThe Book of Love) keeps the story moving right along.  Some of the aesthetic choices are kind of weird (what were they thinking with the cut of that silver evening gown on Mathis?  And why the Boyz-in-the-Hood slow-mo with the Taggart Transcontinental board sauntering down the corridor?), but overall, the action is peppy and interest-keeping.

I had two strong impressions, however, watching the film yesterday.  One was quite simple: this should have been done as a TV miniseries.  Ending with cliffhangers is just tacky for theater fare.  (Changing out the lead actors between Parts is hard to overcome as well.  Hank Rearden was Grant Bowler but is now Jason Beghe – another change for the better, in my view, but it’s still jarring.  And where was Esai Morales when we needed him for Francisco D’Anconia in Part I?)

The writers (Duke Sandefur, Brian Patrick O’Toole, and Duncan Scott) tried to square the circle on the cliffhanger problem – Dagny pilots her plane into John Galt’s mountain redoubt, and Part II ends with his face in shadow as he pulls her out of the wreckage – by making it a story resolution previsaged in the movie’s opening sequence.  But, naahh, it’s still a cliffhanger, and it belongs in a cable miniseries.  I’m seeing six episodes and endless cult fascination.

The other problem is harder to solve.  The similarities between the U.S. federal government of 2012 and its fictional doppelganger in Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel are – who knew this would be weird – too obvious.  The tanking economy of Atlas Shrugged hits too close to home.  What you sit there thinking is not so much that Rand wrote prophetically as that the trappings of her fictional world are outdated and a tad annoying.

It’s as if someone had made – in 1942 – a movie of the Homer Lea geopolitical classic The Valor of Ignorance, which in 1909 prophesied a war between the US and Japan, starting with a sneak attack across the Pacific.  Had such a movie been made in 1929, it would have been appreciated later on, and perhaps become a minor classic.  But in 1942, post-Pearl Harbor audiences would have seen little point in creating a fictional story to compete with the real one.

An Atlas Shrugged made – faithfully to the novel – as a 1970s miniseries would no doubt be beloved of Rand fans today, and would figure in YouTube clips as a clincher to libertarian and conservative arguments across the infosphere.

Trying to set the story in the present day, with tablet PCs and ubiquitous information screens dotting the landscape, just highlights the incongruity of plot elements like railroads and steel – and in particular, the conundrum of the “motor of the world” device, which comes off in II as laughably silly.  With all that information at their fingertips, the remaining Great Brains of Fair Share America can’t, like, do some web searches?

One scene is especially poignant.  At the Unification Board hearing on Hank Rearden’s unauthorized shipment of Rearden metal to coal magnate Ken Danagger (Arye Gross), the scene is staged much like a 1930s show-trial, with sanctimonious officials presiding and a chamber full of press and people forming judgments as they watch.

But the theater of 20th-century collectivism has never figured on the American political scene, and it doesn’t today.  The real inroads of ideological collectivism on America have been made more sedulously and incrementally, in the most banal and uninteresting ways, with some industries sued into co-dependence here, and some silent job-killing over there.  Today’s industrial titan faces less the public calumny of show-trial tribunals than the disdain of bureaucrats.  The latter never approach their real goal head-on, but instead administer death to the titan’s bottom line by a thousand tangential cuts.

Ayn Rand’s ideas were formed by Sovietism, and ultimately, it would take a lot more editing to make Atlas Shrugged stand outside of its time on screen.  Americans saw the cartoonish bluntness of Sovietism coming; it was making the rule of law available for service to ideological arbitrariness that few recognized as a great threat 40 or 50 years ago.  That’s hard to capture in film, but the difference between that reality and Rand’s more dramatic vision of the collectivist threat lurks over the Atlas Shrugged movies like an unanswered doorbell.

Islamo-Realism

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Satellite communications, the Internet, even cheap air travel have brought our society face to face with the Muslim world in a way that we couldn’t have imagined as recently as 1960. The issue of how we, Westerners, Christians, Jews, ought to deal with our meeting with this almost wholly foreign portion of humanity literally exploded into our consciousness in September 2001. Today, with the worldwide Muslim fury associated with (or taking as a pretext) the Innocence of Muslims video, we see that nothing has been settled.

Attitudes in the U.S. are all over the map, from those who think that the problem is that our right of freedom of expression makes it possible for ‘intolerant‘ people like Nakoula Basseley Nakoula to provoke violence, to those who think that it is the Muslim propensity for violence when insulted (and it’s so easy to insult them) that is important.

The official response from our government has of course been to condemn violence. This is usually joined with a statement that while we find ‘denigration of any religion’ distasteful or worse, we can’t interfere with it (although we should note that Nakoula has been jailed for violating a — ridiculous — condition of parole forbidding him from using the Internet).

By a fortuitous combination of circumstances, the video controversy was quickly followed by yet another. In response to anti-Israel transit ads like this one -

– which, by the way, is much more professional and effective than anything our side does, managing to project an image of love and friendship while opposing Israel’s self-defense — blogger Pamela Geller managed to purchase space and install images like this one, below (it required a court order to persuade New York’s MTA to allow them):

These ads immediately provoked (are you surprised?) Muslim and ‘progressive’ outrage, and were immediately defaced. After all,vandalism (and assault) are considered by this crowd to be legitimate responses to expressions of ‘racism’, by which they seem to mean anything that offends Muslims.

The use of the word ‘savage’ (it’s a quotation from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged) seems to be the focus of those who object to the ad, who say that it claims that all Muslims are savages. Geller defended herself:

[The word 'savage'] is entirely apt. They claim that the ad refers to all Muslims, or all opponents of Israel. It doesn’t. It refers to those who rejoice in the murders of innocent civilians. The war on Israel is a war on innocent civilians. The targeting of civilians is savage. The murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens was savage. The relentless 60-year campaign of terror against the Jewish people is savage. The torture of hostage Gilad Shalit was savage. The bloody hacking to death of the Fogel family was savage. The Munich Olympic massacre was savage. The unspeakable torture of Ehud Goldwasser was savage. The tens of thousands of rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel (into schools, homes, etc.) are savage. The vicious Jew-hatred behind this genocide is savage. The endless demonization of the Jewish people in the Palestinian and Arab media is savage. The refusal to recognize the state of Israel as a Jewish state is savage. The list is endless.

Unfortunately, ‘respectable’ voices in our society, even — especially — among Jews, are unable to understand what the deliberately outrageous, over-the-top Geller sees clearly. For example, here is what the head of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Richard ‘Rick’ Jacobs wrote in a recent NY Times op-ed:

By using the term “jihad” in the context of a war against savages, the ad paints Islam as inherently violent, evil and bent on overthrowing the Western democracies and their key ally in the Middle East, Israel — even though, for the vast majority of Muslims, “jihad” refers to a spiritual quest, not the more politicized idea of holy war.

Yes, these ads are lawful. But they are wrong and repugnant.

What other purpose can they have but to incite hatred against Muslims?

Jacobs is wrong about ‘jihad.’ Daniel Pipes, unlike Jacobs, is a bona fide expert on Islam, explains that the primary meaning of the word is, as a matter of fact,

the legal, compulsory, communal effort to expand the territories ruled by Muslims at the expense of territories ruled by non-Muslims.

Pipes does recognize variant, more benign meanings. But to say that the “vast majority” of Muslims perceive it as a spiritual quest is silly. Even if the vast majority does not participate in violent jihad, hundreds of millions support it and all understand it.

The Obama administration removed the word ‘jihad‘ and others relating to Islam from the National Security Strategy document in 2010 for the same reason that Jacobs wants these ads gone: Muslims don’t like it when it is suggested that more and more Muslims today are becoming radicalized, supporting the attempt to expand the territory under Shari’a.

There is a debate over whether violent radicalism is inherent in Islam. This is stupid: Islam doesn’t have to be anything other than what Muslims think it is, and the fact is — as should be evident from the daily news broadcasts — that more and more Muslims think it should be radical and violent, and that radical Islamist regimes are replacing conservative ones all over the globe.

Calling attention to this isn’t inciting hate against Muslims — it is asking for us to realize that there is an enemy of what we call Western civilization, an enemy that has already showed us its savage side on 9/11 and in the Middle East, an enemy that does not want to coexist with us but wants to replace our civilization. This enemy is radical Islamism, an ideology associated with a religion, but no less an ideology than communism and fascism.

Rabbi Jacobs would like us to believe that the ‘vast majority’ of Muslims are just like Reform Jews, except that they say “allahu akbar” instead of the shema, and he would like the others to be invisible.

But it’s not rational (or safe) to ignore them, even if it were possible to ignore the open sewers of hate speech pouring from the media in Egypt, Iran, the Palestinian Authority, etc.;  the rockets falling on Israeli towns (559 so far in 2012); the vicious threats from Iran to destroy Israel; religious wars, terrorism and more.

As another ad that Rabbi Jacobs finds hateful says, “it’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.”

Visit Fresnozionism.org.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/fresno-zionism/islamo-realism/2012/09/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: