Monday, October 31, 2011

Holy Terror: Frank Miller’s “Fixer” Takes on Jihad

In an interview a month ago on FrontPage, cartoonist and FrontPage contributing artist Bosch Fawstin observed that “comics have been as truthless and as gutless as any corner of pop culture about Islam and Jihad since 9/11.” After dismissing several comic books that promoted appeasement toward the threat of global jihad, Fawstin, whose own work fearlessly confronts that threat, concluded with a contrasting example:

And finally, there’s Frank Miller’s Holy Terror, originally a Batman vs. al Qaeda story, which appears to take on the enemy in a more direct way than we’ve seen in comics so far, outside of my own work. I’m curious to see what kind of effect Miller’s book will have, if it will inspire more work that takes on this enemy.

Released two weeks after that interview, Miller’s 120-page graphic novel Holy Terror so far seems to have prompted more indignation than inspiration. The English-language website The National, for example, based in the United Arab Emirates, reports that some critics are denouncing the book as “Islamophobic” – and then proceeds to provide those critics with a forum in which to slam Holy Terror unchallenged by an opposing point of view.

Mark on The Jamie Glazov Show

I'm honored to be a guest w/Nonie Darwish & Andrew Klavan on the first Jamie Glazov Show. Jamie is the editor of FrontPage Mag, and we'll be chatting about current events. Check it out Tuesday night, November 1 from 8-9 Pacific time...

Update: Looks like previously scheduled guest Robert Spencer is back on for tonight's show, so I don't need to fill in. I'll appear on the show another time. Meanwhile, check out tonight's debut of Jamie's show...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bomb, James Bomb

This could be very bad news for Bond fans. Word is that the tentatively titled Skyfall, the latest James Bond film, will be taking a disappointing direction with auteur director Sam Mendes (American Beauty) at the helm.

Fans like myself have already endured a serious delay of the film’s release due to MGM’s precarious financial position. Then news of the ingenious casting of Bond antagonists Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem, who have played two of the most chilling villains in recent years (in Red Dragon and No Country for Old Men, respectively), whetted our appetites even further.

But now rumors are that Mendes is axing most of the grand action sequences which are of course a staple of the long-lived movie franchise, and instead is aiming for Oscar-worthy, “characterful performances” and the kind of “emotional depth” which star Daniel Craig has longed to bring to the iconic role.

Have audiences worldwide been clamoring for this? For “characterful,” “emotional depth”? Except for the Roger Moore films, which I boycotted while mourning Sean Connery’s Bond retirement, I’ve been a rabid fan since Dr. No, and I think I speak for the others when I say we don’t care a whit for Oscar legitimacy. What Bond fans want, and what separates the franchise from the moodier Bourne competition snapping at its heels, is breathtaking, cartoonish fun. If Mendes et al don’t grasp this, or don’t care, then I predict that not only will this be a box office bomb (by Bond standards), but Oscar gold will elude them as well.

(This article originally appeared at PJ Lifestyle here, 10/27/11)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Me and the only politician I can get excited about...

Today at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Allen West is not only presidential material, he makes ALL the other GOP candidates this election pale by comparison. It's depressing to have to settle for anyone less than Col. West...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

When in Dubai: The Kardashians Shop for Burqas

In Dubai last week to open a milkshake franchise, promote her signature fragrance, and pursue other opportunities to expand her business empire, uber-celebrity Kim Kardashian and mother Kris Jenner stopped by the Dubai Mall to shop for the latest Middle Eastern fashions – including matching burqas.
“That's me!” Kardashian later squealed on Twitter beneath a photo of herself with her famous face completely obscured except for a slit for the eyes (this is actually a niqab, not a burqa, which covers everything, but burqa is becoming the popular catchall word to describe the covering in general). Considering that Kardashian’s fame is entirely the result of the relentless marketing of her curvy sexuality, beginning with a sex tape, a burqa – the purpose of which is to obliterate female sexuality and to reduce a woman’s identity to a rumpled, repellent blob – is a curious fashion choice.
And a disappointing one. One of the most famous women in the world and a style icon for countless millions of fans, Kim Kardashian may have just given the burqa her considerably influential fashion imprimatur.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Showtime's "Homeland": War Hero or Terrorist?

It’s been almost a year and a half since the long-running Fox TV series 24 ended. The counterterrorism action show featured Kiefer Sutherland as the self-sacrificing super-patriot Jack Bauer, who took down terrorists by any means necessary, including torture – a tactic which created no end of controversy and earned the show scorn from the Left as “right-wing porn.” Now creative alumni from 24 have created a new show with an admittedly compelling but decidedly more ambiguous take on what used to be called the “war on terror” (before the Obama administration changed it to “Overseas Contingency Operation” and then dropped a name for it altogether).

Homeland, which premiered two Sundays ago on Showtime, is based on Prisoners of War, an Israeli TV series about the reintegration of two soldiers held prisoner by the Syrians. It centers on a Marine named Brody (actor Damian Lewis) missing and presumed dead in Iraq since 2003, who is discovered alive and rescued during a CIA-driven operation. Brody is welcomed home to suburban Washington D.C. to a lot of CIA self-congratulation and media fanfare – “a poster boy for the war,” as skeptical counterterrorism analyst Carrie (actress Claire Danes) calls him. Unknown to her superiors, Carrie received a tip from a high-level informant that an American prisoner of war has been "turned" traitor; she suspects it is Brody, and that he is a sleeper agent involved in an imminent terrorist attack. (Warning: possible SPOILERS ahead)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hollywood Propaganda

The entertainment trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter commissioned a poll of 1,000 registered voters to gauge the moviegoing tendencies of Democrats versus Republicans. According to results that will shock absolutely no one, political allegiances have shifted entertainment viewing habits, and conservatives are increasingly fed up with Hollywood. Why? “Typically, when you see a movie, it will reflect a Democrat's values,” says pollster Jon Penn. “Republicans aren't getting the films they want.”

This comes as no surprise to the center-right “flyover audiences” between the coasts, who over the years have grown to resent Hollywood’s increasingly left-leaning fare to the degree that many have simply given up on Hollywood. Weary of movies and TV shows that don’t reflect their values – like director James Cameron’s Avatar, which pushed a radical environmentalist agenda and denigrated the U.S. military in the process, or Glee, which fellow FrontPage Mag contributor Ben Shapiro calls” the most subversive show in the history of television” – many conservatives are reluctant to give Hollywood a single hard-earned dime.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Shock Warning: An Interview with Michael Walsh

“Serious” novels about 9/11 and Islamic terrorism tend to suffer from navel-gazing guilt and moral equivalence. Hollywood too often blames America, the CIA, and capitalism for Islamic rage. The thriller novel seems to be the last fictional arena in which writers like Brad Thor, Daniel Silva, Vince Flynn, and now Michael Walsh are allowed to pit good guys against politically incorrect, yet real-world, adversaries like (among others) Muslim militants.

Walsh is a novelist, music critic, screenwriter, and media critic. Until recently he was also the editor of Andrew Breitbart’s A former American Book Award winner for his novel And All the Saints, Walsh recently undertook a spy thriller series featuring an NSA super-agent code-named Devlin, who takes on America’s enemies foreign and domestic. The series began with 2009’s Hostile Intent, followed by Early Warning last year, and now the just-released Shock Warning, which takes Devlin from a devastating biological attack in California to an apocalyptic confrontation in Iran. Two more books in the bestselling series are still slated to appear.

As if all that doesn’t keep him busy enough, Walsh writes political commentary in a twice-weekly column for the New York Post and also for the National Review under both his own name and the alter ego David Kahane. Kahane’s outstanding Rules for Radical Conservatives: Beating the Left at its Own Game to Take Back America came out last year (FrontPage editor Jamie Glazov interviewed Walsh about it here). Somehow I managed to catch up with Walsh for a few questions in a brief interim when he wasn’t writing.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Journalism and Jihad

Muslim-American advocacy groups with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), are on a mission to combat what they claim is the Western media’s habitually negative reporting on Islam. After all, it’s difficult to advance the Brotherhood’s agenda of “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within” when the media keep reporting on a steady stream of terror plots, honor killings, and encroaching shariah on American soil. But if journalists take to heart the message of an online course from The Poynter News University, then their “skewed” perspective won’t be a problem anymore.

Covering Islam in America” is a free, self-directed course offered by the Poynter Institute,* which describes itself as “a school dedicated to teaching and inspiring journalists and media leaders.” It purports to give journalists a basic education in how “to humanize, analyze and put news about Islam and Muslim communities into context.” Check out the course and you will discover that what putting such news “in context” means is finding ways to deflect negative attention from jihad and shariah, and instead to give credence to Muslim “grievances” against the West, cast suspicion on politicians who speak out against shariah, and spotlight a rightwing network of “bigots” as the real threat.

Monday, October 3, 2011

No Celebrity Outrage for Iranian Pastor Nadarkhani

When it comes to publicly protesting the sentences of death row inmates, celebrity outrage for a convicted cop-killer is off the charts, but a Christian pastor in Iran about to die for his beliefs doesn’t even rate a “tweet.”

Last month Troy Davis, convicted of the 1989 murder of Georgia officer Mark MacPhail, the married father of two, was executed for his crimes despite a wave of urgent protests on the part of celebrities proclaiming his innocence and horrified by his imminent execution. Kim Kardashian, P. Diddy, Russell Simmons, and Alec Baldwin were among the many stars who felt that the evidence of his guilt was insufficient to overcome reasonable doubt (Ann Coulter was not among the doubtful – in her FrontPage Mag article, she detailed the overwhelming evidence condemning Davis and described him as “the media’s new baby seal.”).

The celebs used their substantial platforms like the social media network Twitter to raise awareness about the case and demand clemency. “If Troy Davis is executed in Georgia it will be a crime,” “tweeted” novelist Salman Rushdie, himself still living under a death fatwa for his book The Satanic Verses, denounced as blasphemous by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini the same year as MacPhail’s murder (contrary to a common assumption, the fatwa has never been rescinded; Iranian authorities have said merely that they have no intention of carrying out Rushdie’s sentence).

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Jordan is Palestine: Arieh Eldad’s Two-State Solution

With a petition for Palestinian statehood presented before the United Nations last week, the issue of the disputed right to the land of Israel seems to many to be on the verge of an historic, if unsatisfying and controversial, resolution. But Dr. Arieh Eldad, a Member of Knesset and chairman of the Jewish nationalist Hatikva party, insists that the root of the issue is not territorial, and thus any peace plan based on the concept of dividing the land is destined for failure.

In his pamphlet titled simply Jordan is Palestine,” Eldad writes

Dividing the land of Israel west of the Jordan into two states – Israel and a Palestinian state – has become the only political plan accepted for international and domestic (Israeli) discourse. This, despite dozens of failures in trying to implement it during the past ninety years. Every failed attempt has been accompanied by bloody conflict and/or war.

Recently Eldad – also chief medical officer and senior commander of the Israel Defense Forces Medical Corps and a Brigadier-General in the IDF (Reserves) – spoke at Temple Ner Maarav in Encino, northwest of Los Angeles, to clarify the truth and present his alternative plan. Also entitled Jordan is Palestine,” his presentation put forth what he calls the “simple truth” that the Jews, and not the Arabs, have an historic right to the land of Israel. “I’m all for ending the occupation,” he said. “We must end the occupation. Of course, I’m referring to the Muslim occupation of the land of Israel, starting in the seventh century.”