The Green Zone as a Rorschach Test

I was linked to a very interesting article by Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood. The article, written by renowned film critic Christian Toto, points out that the just released film The Green Zone with Matt Damon is the ultimate Rorschach test for determining a film critic’s ideological views. The reason for this is that the movie is apparently a shoddily made, decently unrealistic political rant. It makes up for lack of character and content by loudly claiming that the Bush administration lied about the weapons of mass destruction, but invaded anyway for selfish reasons. It gets worse from there. If there ever was an outright, outspoken diatribe from Hollyweird and it’s left wing wingnuts, this is it. Accordingly, movie reviews follow ideological lines. Roger Ebert, the notoriously socialist reviewer for the Chicago Sun-Times gives it a maximum four stars, as does social-liberal New York Times. On the other hand, Big Hollywood’s John Nolte as well as the New York post massacre the movie in their reviews. It can be stated with a fair degree of empirical accuracy that this movie does, in fact, force critics to show their ideological colors.

The next step then is to determine what Swedish reviewers thought of the movie. For reference, the movie flopped in the US, earning just $15 million in its first week on a budget eclipsing $100 million. It simply isn’t a good movie. That said, there are usually two bonus criteria in Sweden that give films higher grades. The first is being preferably Swedish, or at least from some random non-American foreign country. This usually adds a +1 to the score, at least. The second is being a low-budget indie film, preferably with a social message, which adds another +1 or more to the final grade. In any event, let’s get digging for reviews. All right, let’s get to it. Reviews get a tag as Socialist or Not Socialist.

In Dagens Nyheter, Eva af Geijerstam shows herself to be a proud anti-American socialist. Aside from giving the movie a highly respectable 4, she comments that it “displays the deeply depressing process of hubris, cultural blindness, arrogance, pure lies, and blind republican loyalty to Bush” that made everything “go wrong”. In an even more idiotic statement, af Geijerstam notes that it is tragic that Americans didn’t listen to and implement “Iraqi democracy instead of American democracy.” This statement is not only laughable, but shows a complete lack of historical knowledge and education in general. Iraq has never been a functioning democracy. What, exactly, did Geijerstam wish to implement? Final verdict: blood red socialist.

In the liberal tabloid Expressen, Bernt Eklund gives the movie four “bees”. No political rants, but no criticism whatsoever, simply praise. Verdict? Socialist.

The next site I decided to Google actually disappointed me. I’d expected a fair amount of far-left ranting in the other newspapers. This is, after all, socialist Sweden, and certain things are expected. SvD:s Jan Söderqvist has at least to me always seemed like someone willing to go his own path and oppose the ruling dogma of what should automatically be hailed or critiqued. Unfortunately, he also gives the movie a 4 (out of 6), despite some misgivings. Verdict? Not a good one.

What really surprises me are the reviews in Aftonbladet (socialist) and Göteborgsposten (officially liberal, actually socialist). Both give the movie 3’s. In Aftonbladet, Emma Gray Munthe simply calls it a “decent and fairly entertaining action-thriller with political bias.” In GP, Mats Johnson complains about the camera work, yet uncritically recounts all the perceived failures of the administration the movie presents. In something of a paradox, these left-wing critics are so far out there on the left in their newspapers, that they can focus mostly on the physical aspects of the movie. Unlike socialist writers in officially bourgeoisie newspapers, these don’t need to overcompensate to prove how red they are. Verdict? Socialist.

Finally, Metro. C-G Karlsson is probably the most outright, biased left-winger out there when it comes to movie reviews. More often than not, he tosses in a line or two of propaganda when he can, and otherwise seems to base the majority of his take on a movie not on the story or characters, but rather what left wing political idea it champions, or opposes. Following in the footsteps of GP and Aftonbladet, Karlsson gives the movie a 3, stating that it is “smart” but the “hero clichés” are unlikable. It would follow, then, that Karlsson would prefer a “smart” anti-American movie with no heroes. Verdict? Blood red socialist.

As a final thought, it occurred to me that there are no Swedish watchers of the watchers, so to speak. No groups that monitor the media and point out bias. No Newsbusters or Big Hollywood, no Discover the Networks or pundits like Hannity, Malkin, Coulter, or the staff at Human Events. In Sweden, the journalists and critics are allowed to say pretty much whatever they like, disseminate whatever lies they choose, and no one will hold them accountable. Try googling any of these names and “vinklad” (biased) or “socialist” (self-explanatory), and you get nothing. The intellectual and cultural opposition in Sweden truly is dead or missing in action. More likely, they’re simply planning their emigration to the US or Hong Kong. In a way, it’s sadly amusing. Many of my American friends complain about the tragedy of the so-called culture war raging in newspapers, movies, books, TV-shows, and radio programs in the United States. They should be happy there’s still a war going on; in Sweden, that fight is long since lost in the MSM.

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~ by Escaping Perdition on March 15, 2010.

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