The reviews are in: ‘Zero Dark Thirty makes me hate muslims’

The film Zero Dark Thirty is now showing in theaters nationwide and reactions are starting to appear on social networks. Here are some collected on the tumblr site dapsandhugs:

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Here are some more that I found:


Responses to ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Storified by Mondoweiss· Thu, Jan 17 2013 08:17:14

#PanicMode when two Muslim ladies come in to @ZeroDarkThirty 30 minutes into the movie. #shadyDarian Greb
The Muslim behind me constantly reminds me why I loved #ZeroDarkThirtyStephen Peter
@ZeroDarkThirty If you’re a woman you need to see this film. If you’re an American you need to see this film. If you’re Muslim, not so much.Joe Fitrzyk
That awkward moment when you are sitting next to an entire Muslim family at #ZeroDarkThirtyZeke
A woman catching Bin Laden is the biggest F you to the Muslim world #ZeroDarkThirtyMichael DeWitt
Should I be concerned that the Muslim dude in front of me in Psych class is watching a Osama Bin Laden video on his laptop? #zerodarkthirtyMark Baldwin

While the film has obviously found its supporters, backlash against it continues to grow. Yesterday, director Kathryn Bigelow defended her film from charges it promotes torture in an Op-Ed for the Los Angeles Times . Bigelow claimed artistic license writing, “those of us who work in the arts know that depiction is not endorsement.” While this is obviously true, the film goes further than depiction. As Deepa Kumar wrote the film promotes extra judicial killing and the drone warfare that has become the hallmark of the Obama administration’s “war on terror.” Not sure? Check out this tweet from the official film Twitter account:

Update: The tweet has been deleted from the Zero Dark Thirty Twitter account.

(h/t @shishibean)

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Media, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics, War on Terror | Tagged

{ 103 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Woody Tanaka says:

    I haven’t seen the film yet, so I will withhold judgment of the film itself, and Kathryn Bigelow is right that depiction is not endorsement. But she does seem to be a big time War-on-Terror buckle bunny, so I’ll take her protestations with a grain of salt.

    • Boston says:

      The comments about Muslims being in the theater for the viewing of this racist piece of crap strikes me as nonsense. People flapping their lips. Kind of like blacks going to view “The Birth of a Nation”.

      • Woody Tanaka says:

        I have no reason to disbelieve that any person was seeing any particular film, because there are myriad reasons to see films. So that point, of itself, means nothing in my opinion. And I am certain that there are many African Americans who’ve seen Birth of a Nation. Simply because you’ve seen a film doesn’t mean you agree with it. I’ve seen Triumph of the Will; that means nothing as to anything.

      • Cliff says:

        The racists probably think all brown people = Arab and Muslim.

        When I was in junior high, on an away basketball game in Indiana, I was called a camel jockey by a person on the other team during the handshakes.

    • thetumta says:

      “I haven’t seen the film yet, so I will withhold judgment of the film itself”. I haven’t either and I won’t. If I was to be part of torture now(I know what it looks like), I would have to be well paid. It’s awful business, it diminishes you. Strips away your humanity while you’re doing it. You really need to be very well paid if your not a fanatic. Sadly, every side of every issue has those that are waiting to step up. The song remains the same.
      Hej!

      • Woody Tanaka says:

        “I haven’t either and I won’t.”

        Then you’re a fool and someone who’s outsourcing his thinking to others. That’s more dangerous than any piece of propaganda.

        • Donald says:

          “Then you’re a fool and someone who’s outsourcing his thinking to others. That’s more dangerous than any piece of propaganda.”

          I don’t agree. On most subjects most of the time we all outsource our thinking to others to varying degrees. Life is short and you can’t be an expert on everything.

          In the case of a controversial movie we are always being told that we have to see it before we can judge it. That’s very convenient for the moviemaker, because it means you can’t listen to any reviewer that you trust–you have to pay money and see it for yourself before you can have an opinion on it. Frankly, I don’t trust any work of fiction to inform me in a reliable way on any important issue. Fiction can be moving and it might even be an accurate depiction of reality, but to know that I have to listen to experts on the subject who have seen the film and can tell me how good a job the film does in that department, unless I’m knowledgeable enough to judge for myself. On something like this, a live moral issue of great importance, I don’t want to give financial support to someone who makes a movie on a subject if it isn’t accurate.

          We’re talking about a movie whose director has at various times claimed to have produced something close to a documentary and then at other times has claimed artistic license when pressed on its lack of accuracy. Then people who are deeply involved experts on this subject have seen it and they’ve found it repugnant. Well, that’s good enough for me. I don’t see that many movies and I don’t relish spending time and money on something that I’m 98 percent sure I will find disgusting. Sure, Jane Mayer and Glenn Greenwald and others might be wrong–I don’t agree with GG 100 percent of the time and maybe he’s wrong on this. But Mayer has forgotten more about this issue than I will ever know and she didn’t like the flick. So I can dismiss it as misleading on the subject of torture, keeping in mind the slight chance that I might be wrong. (BTW, do I have to be present at an atrocity to know what to think about that too? No, instead, I listen to people’s testimony and read books and articles and base my opinions on the Nakba and other incidents on books written by people who didn’t necessarily see it either.)

          It might be great art though. That I can’t judge–as it happens I also don’t care. “Birth of a Nation” is supposed to be great art and horribly misleading about the Klan. I wouldn’t object to paying money to see that–support for the Klan is not a live issue for most people today. But until or unless I ever get around to seeing it, I will trust what others have said, that “Birth of a Nation” is a well-made piece of racist propaganda.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “On most subjects most of the time we all outsource our thinking to others to varying degrees. Life is short and you can’t be an expert on everything.”

          No, we reference objective sources to determine objective facts. Here, we’re talking about a wholly subjective thing. Big difference.

          “In the case of a controversial movie we are always being told that we have to see it before we can judge it. That’s very convenient for the moviemaker, because it means you can’t listen to any reviewer that you trust–you have to pay money and see it for yourself before you can have an opinion on it. ”

          Yes, that is the burden of being a grown up. You have to be actually informed, in order to have a valid opinion about a thing.

          “Frankly, I don’t trust any work of fiction to inform me in a reliable way on any important issue.”

          And no one should. Anyone who believes they can truly learn from a film (even a documentary) is a moron. Films are inherently fake. It’s created to tell a story, not to be a slave to mere facts. It’s art; it’s to be experienced as art.

          “On something like this, a live moral issue of great importance, I don’t want to give financial support to someone who makes a movie on a subject if it isn’t accurate.”

          And that’s your prerogative, but it’s a dumb position, because we’re talking about the art, not the issues of torture in real life. (It’s also dumb if you’re talking about non-fiction, too. Because one should ALWAYS give the other side a fair hearing, for no other reason than to be sure that the opinions one holds are genuine, and not merely the mental bleats of the sheep in one’s head, born of selection bias.) If I, as an atheist, said, “I won’t listen to ‘Ave Maria’ and ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ because the artist wasn’t a person I would trust on theological matters” that would be stupid and I would have missed out on great art.

          “Then people who are deeply involved experts on this subject have seen it and they’ve found it repugnant. Well, that’s good enough for me.”

          That’s, again, your prerogative. Too bad for you. Again, I’d rather think for myself.

          “I don’t relish spending time and money on something that I’m 98 percent sure I will find disgusting.”

          Too bad for all of the great art you’ve missed for fear of actually having your preconceived notions challenged. Rather weak way to live, in my opinion.

          “BTW, do I have to be present at an atrocity to know what to think about that too?”

          Not the same thing. This isn’t an historical event. This is a piece of art. This isn’t the equivalent of not being present at an atrocity to know what to think about it. It’s the equivalent of not reading a book on the atrocity to know what to think about the book. See the difference?

          “It might be great art though. That I can’t judge–as it happens I also don’t care. ”

          Then I feel sorry for you. You’ll miss out on a lot in this life with that kind of approach.

    • kalithea says:

      “I haven’t seen the film yet, so I will withhold judgment of the film itself…”

      I’m sure you’ve seen clips, trailer and read enough to be able to state: this film is RACIST, but then, there’s integrity and there’s hesitation. How long did it take you to get behind the Palestinian cause? The writing on the wall reading: A thousand more Palestinian slaughters?

      When it’s wrong you know it and you don’t hesitate to say so.

      • Woody Tanaka says:

        “I’m sure you’ve seen clips, trailer and read enough to be able to state: this film is RACIST”

        No, I haven’t. And anyone who says that without seeing the film is a fool, a fanatic or worse. Without actually seeing the film, I cannot state that the film is racist because i can’t discount the possibility that everyone who claims it’s racist is either stupid, misguided, biased, unable to understand the langauge of cinema sufficient to understand that which he sees or otherwise wrong. No, I prefer to think for myself.

        • Donald says:

          “i can’t discount the possibility that everyone who claims it’s racist is either stupid, misguided, biased, unable to understand the langauge of cinema sufficient to understand that which he sees or otherwise wrong. ”

          You could say this about literally anything, not just films. Unless you’ve seen it for yourself, you can’t judge for certain that there is such a place as Australia, since those who claim to have been there could be stupid, misguided, unaware that they were really in New Zealand or New Guinea or on an elaborate movie set like Truman, etc…

          Also, of course, once you’ve seen Australia you can’t discount the possibility that you are stupid, misguided, etc…

          This is a live issue for me. I’ve never been to Australia. And I might be stupid, misguided, etc…

          More seriously, this line of thinking seems to come up a lot when it comes to movies and I guess it’s because people on the left associate revulsion at films with rightwingers who try to engage in censorship and so that’s why there’s this tendency to say you have to see a movie before you can condemn it. Well, no. You’ll be in a stronger position to condemn it, just as I’d be in a stronger position to condemn the Nakba if I’d actually seen some of it happening, but failing that, you can read about it and if you think the people you are reading aren’t idiots and might know something about, say, the history of torture as used by the US in connection with 9/11, you might be willing to give their opinion a lot of weight if they see Zero Dark Thirty and find it horrifying.

        • Carowhat says:

          “No, I haven’t. And anyone who says that without seeing the film is a fool, a fanatic or worse.”

          You are so right. I find that even people I know and otherwise respect sometimes grievously mis-characterize films, videos and press conferences. If you don’t go view the source material yourself you would come away thinking that the person being characterized is an idiot or a bigot. Then when you actually view the supposedly egregious material in context, along with the speaker’s intonation and inflection, you discover that his remarks were completely reasonable and unexceptional. Or, as one of my writing instructors in college used to say, “over-checking has ruined many a good story.”

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “You could say this about literally anything, not just films. Unless you’ve seen it for yourself, you can’t judge for certain that there is such a place as Australia,”

          There’s a difference between objective fact (“Australia exists”) and subjective fact (“This film is bad”).

          “More seriously, this line of thinking seems to come up a lot when it comes to movies and I guess it’s because people on the left associate revulsion at films with rightwingers who try to engage in censorship and so that’s why there’s this tendency to say you have to see a movie before you can condemn it. ”

          No, because it’s a simple fact. If you haven’t seen the film, you can’t have a valid opinion about what it means or what it says or whether it’s good or bad. These are things which are all simply subjective. It has nothing to do with politics, except that right wingers are more likely to hold categorical opinions (i.e., if it depicts certain things, it’s inherenly “bad.”) It is a defect in their thinking.

          “You’ll be in a stronger position to condemn it, just as I’d be in a stronger position to condemn the Nakba if I’d actually seen some of it happening, but failing that, you can read about it and if you think the people you are reading aren’t idiots and might know something about, say, the history of torture as used by the US in connection with 9/11, you might be willing to give their opinion a lot of weight if they see Zero Dark Thirty and find it horrifying.”

          You are conflating two things: the event and the depiction of the event. The map is not the territory; “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” and all that. No one is saying that one has to see this film to have an opinion on torture. I’m saying you have to see this film in order to have a valid opinion of this film.

  2. Chu says:

    Who needs Pam Geller when you have
    Katherine Bigelow and Mark Boal.

    And isn’t Argo producing the same effect for
    Persians? Why is Argo virtually free of criticism.

    This link is to a Turkish article about Argo’s
    propaganda: link to crescent-online.net

    • marc b. says:

      Who needs Pam Geller when you have
      Katherine Bigelow and Mark Boal.

      really, chu. whose work has the broadest impact? most people have never been exposed directly to geller’s insanity. but bigelow? they may not know her name, but she has an audience of tens of millions.

      Bigelow claimed artistic license writing, “those of us who work in the arts know that depiction is not endorsement.”

      ah, ‘artistic license’. spoken like a true propagandist. she doesn’t advocate torture as a tool for gathering intelligence, she’s simply the medium for portrayal of one particular viewpoint of how soulful and sexy and necessary torture can be. (i think she meant to say ‘those of us who practice the black arts’.) at least riefenstahl was candid about her influences and ideology.

      • Woody Tanaka says:

        “ah, ‘artistic license’. spoken like a true propagandist”

        She’s absolutely right (Goya no doubt did not approve of, e.g., battlefield executions, but the world would be a poorer place without his depiction in “The Third of May 1808.”) Nor is there a demarcation between art and propaganda. (Riefenstahl was both, and the roster of people who were one or the other are almost without end. [Topic: N. Rockwell: artist? propagandist? both? neither? Discuss...])

        I don’t know if her statement is defensible in this particular case, though, as I haven’t seen the film. But she is on the mark in general, and the last thing we want is artists not depicting things for fear of being accused of endorsing them.

        • marc b. says:

          woody, i agree with the principle, but it’s a principle ripe for exploitation. bigelow and boal’s comments giddily sum up their personal perspective on the subject matter of zd30.

          Asked why she thought it was an important story to tell onscreen, Bigelow emphasizes that Zero Dark Thirty aims to be more than just entertainment.

          “This is an amazing story about the triumph of will, dedication, and duty,” she wrote. “[It’s] about the real life heroes in the intelligence community who worked behind the scenes day and night on what was perhaps the toughest assignment of their lives. As such, it’s a story that needs to be told respectfully.”

          and

          “I’m fascinated by people who dedicate themselves to really difficult and dangerous things for the greater good,” Boal said in a phone interview. “I think they’re heroic and I’m intrigued by them. I’m fascinated by the world they inhabit. I personally want to know how they caught bin Laden. All I can do is hope that it interests other people.”

          sound more like a couple of helmut sniffers than goya to me.

        • iamuglow says:

          I haven’t seen the movie but based on the reviews here it isn’t fair to compare it to Goya etchings. Goya etchings depict brutality and the gruesomeness of war. There is no glorifying of violence, no attempt to justify it. The effect is that viewers are revolted by the violence.

          It sound to me like this director is using art as a cover from criticism. It would more be accurate to say those who work in the Arts know that we use symbols, words and images to change people’s consciousness.

          If people walk away from your movie with a new acceptance of torture and a ‘whole new hatred of Muslims’….you either succeeded in your intent and are talented propagandist/horrible person or the meaning of your message failed miserably and you are a terrible artist albeit one that will go far in Hollywood/USA.

        • kalithea says:

          Oh puhleez! There’s a difference between artistic license and BIASED propaganda, racist porno.

        • kalithea says:

          The former is the more accurate description, and as for the latter she’s a terrible artist but not for the usual reasons.

        • kalithea says:

          Cockamamie analogy. You do Goya an injustice, ugh! Oh and how utterly naive can you get?

        • marc b. says:

          This is an amazing story about the triumph of will

          jeezus. how’d i miss that in my own pull? ‘triumph des willens’. there you have it. bigelow channeling riefenstahl.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          marc b.,

          You very well may be right regarding this particular film. Having not seen, I can’t say. But I think that it is extremely important that the principle be upheld and held free of doubt. That was my only point.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “I haven’t seen the movie but based on the reviews here it isn’t fair to compare it to Goya etchings.”

          I’m not comparing the film to Goya. I’m using Goya as an example of the truth that depiction does not mean endorsement.

          “There is no glorifying of violence, no attempt to justify it. The effect is that viewers are revolted by the violence.”

          Yes, and, in fact, that is the one part of Goya’s work that I find difficult, because there is no other way of viewing the work. Suffice it to say that “being revolted by the violence” is a conclusion I wish to reach myself and not one which I wish the artist to dictate to me. Better a film like “Patton” which, while superfically glorifying war actually presents a very damning portrait of the warrior and war. But one which is open to other interpretations, too, of course.

          “It sound to me like this director is using art as a cover from criticism.”

          That may be the case.

          “It would more be accurate to say those who work in the Arts know that we use symbols, words and images to change people’s consciousness.”

          That is another truth, but the statement that depiction does not equal endorsement is equally valid.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “Oh puhleez! There’s a difference between artistic license and BIASED propaganda, racist porno.”

          And no one is saying there is not.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “The former is the more accurate description, and as for the latter she’s a terrible artist but not for the usual reasons.”

          Actually, she is a talented filmmaker. Anyone who would deny that truth because they don’t like the message in her film is a fool.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “Cockamamie analogy. You do Goya an injustice, ugh! Oh and how utterly naive can you get?”

          Oh, baloney. You’ve demonstrated that you don’t even understand what it is that we’re discussing on this thread.

      • Kathleen says:

        “depiction is not endorsement” what a sleazy cop out. Her movie is basically a hate crime. Definitely promoting Islamophobia and torture

    • David Samel says:

      Chu, interesting point about Argo. I feared that Argo would depict Iranians as being a country of lunatic fanatics that would be easier to bomb than a normal country. The first five minutes of the film is a condensed history of 1953-1979 that I could have written. It very explicitly accuses the US and Britain of the 1953 coup against a democratic government and maintaining a bloodthirsty tyrant in power for decades. Then came the movie I feared it would be. I left with the impression that the five-minute prelude was not enough, and would be entirely forgotten by the average viewer. But at least they tried a little, conveying to the few who carefully watched the beginning that there was a reasonable source of Iranian anger toward the US.

      I understand that ZDThirty’s prelude is 9/11. In other words, mindless Islamic terror directed against the US without any context provides the reason that we had to slay the dragon. Along the way, there were tough, dirty things we had to do, like torturing terrorists, and it’s a good thing that there were people with the stomach to heroically take on those tasks. ZDT appears to be in an unapologetically jingoistic class by itself. It seems to have a lot of similarities with Homeland, but Homeland also makes a tiny effort to be fair.

      At any rate, Argo depicts heroes peacefully freeing innocent captives from a potentially horrible fate. ZDT depicts “heroes” torturing human beings in order to murder someone. There is a qualitative difference. I was upset with Argo, but I expect to hate ZDT.

      • Woody Tanaka says:

        “Then came the movie I feared it would be.”

        What about the film did you find offensive? It’s not as if the revolutionary government was the local Rotary. Not exactly progressive minded fellows.

        • Keith says:

          WOODY TANAKA- “What about the film did you find offensive? It’s not as if the revolutionary government was the local Rotary. Not exactly progressive minded fellows.”

          I didn’t see the film, only the previews which were enough to make me think that Argo was an attempt to psychologically prepare the American public for further hostilities against Iran, which, in fact, may yet occur. The film’s brief introductory explanations aside, the film appears to be part of the Hollywood tradition of depicting Americans (and whites in general) as the “good guys,” and the “other” (and non-whites in general) as the bad guys.

          How many Argo viewers are even remotely aware of the overthrow of Mossadegh by the CIA to be replaced by the tyrant Shah of Iran? How many Argo viewers are aware of US/Israel involvement in the creation of the Savak, the Shah’s notoriously brutal secret police? In other words, how many are aware of the extent to which the Iranian revolution was blowback from US actions, and that the CIA “heroes” had a lot of blood on their hands, those rescued not fully “innocent,” and the depiction of crazed Muslims a little too convenient? Additionally, how many are aware of the fact that the US fully supported a nuclear Iran under the Shah. Hey, but that is typical Hollywood, perhaps more significant as a source of propaganda than the mainstream news media.

        • David Samel says:

          Keith answered for me. Argo was an attempt to psychologically prepare the American public for further hostilities against Iran. I’m not sure that was the intent, but it was the feeling I came away with. At a time when there is a public debate about whether to go to war with this country, and not even a debate on whether to continue cruel sanctions, this movie made the Iranian people as a whole look more killable. And it wasn’t just the revolutionary govt. With very few exceptions, all the Iranians were portrayed as fanatic psychos. I should add for Keith’s benefit that the first five minutes really was very informative about Mossadegh, the Shah, Savak, etc. It was enough for my daughter to pooh-pooh my complaints, but I thought after the next two hours, the first five minutes would become lost for the average viewer.

        • eljay says:

          >> I should add for Keith’s benefit that the first five minutes really was very informative about Mossadegh, the Shah, Savak, etc. It was enough for my daughter to pooh-pooh my complaints, but I thought after the next two hours, the first five minutes would become lost for the average viewer.

          Well said. I agree completely. Good information up front, buried by an avalanche of rah-rah-America. But they did get one thing right: We don’t pronounce the second “t” in Toronto. :-D

        • Donald says:

          “But they did get one thing right: We don’t pronounce the second “t” in Toronto. ”

          You don’t? This comes as a considerable surprise. I’m almost tempted to see Argo now just to hear how it is pronounced.

          Otherwise, though, you guys are confirming my suspicions about the movie.

        • eljay says:

          >> You don’t? This comes as a considerable surprise. I’m almost tempted to see Argo now just to hear how it is pronounced.

          Toronno, or sometimes even Tronnah. There, I just saved you the cost of a movie ticket (and maybe popcorn and a drink, too). :-)

        • Donald says:

          I usually stay away from the popcorn and drinks, but yes, this does spare me the ten or twelve dollars or whatever movies cost these days (haven’t been to one in many months). What a boon to my personal finances it has been to hang around blog comment sections. Plus you learn things you didn’t even know you didn’t know, like how the natives pronounce “Toronto”.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “With very few exceptions, all the Iranians were portrayed as fanatic psychos.”

          Fair enough. I disagree with this assessment, but if that’s how you viewed it, I could see how you reached your conclusion. I disagree with this view of the film, because I thought they showed a fairly broad spectrum of Iranians: good people and bad and I thought they were more nuanced in showing everthing that went into the events of the time. It was told from an American perspective, of course, and since the primary antagonists were the revolutionary government, they were depicted more than other Iranians, but overall I don’t think it was a black-and-white depiction, at all.

          And I think that the first few minutes of the film were very important to making people understand the setting was much more complex (and one which the US was not wearing the white hat). And I believe that you don’t give viewers enough credit, to say that this will get lost on them.

        • Chu says:

          Keith, good points made. After the film’s success, Affleck is on Capitol Hill schmoozing with politicians – what a site. If I were the film maker,
          that’s probably the last place I would wish to go. And this month, Affleck appeared on Face the Nation and Schieffer questioned a future run for senate. And he said the slippery words ‘I’m not going to get into speculation about my political future’. oh yeah? Seems like a successful propaganda film will get the establishment media offering you a ticket into national politics.

      • Chu says:

        David, I try not to support these box office successes by avoiding the film altogether. I am curious about the controversy, but I can probably wait till until a video release.

      • sligoker says:

        Thank you for your rational explanation of Argo. Funny how people forget the parts of movies that don’t fit in with their political views.

    • sardelapasti says:

      Chi:
      “link … to a Turkish article”
      Not Turkish in any way or wise.

  3. Scott says:

    Very important post. I had no idea it pushed buttons like this, apart from the torture issue. The vast majority of Iraq war era films did not promote Islamophobia, I don’t think. “Stop Loss” last one I saw.

  4. Citizen says:

    New legislation allows this direct conflation of entertainment media with government propaganda. Thank you, Obama. It use to be less direct.

  5. MRW says:

    As I noted on another thread about this, Steve Pieczenik’s podcast about this is well worth listening to:
    “HOLLYWOOD FILMS SECRETLY DICTATED BY THE CIA”
    link to stevepieczenik.com

    Scroll to the bottom of the podcast list.

    • Thanks for this.

      I referenced Mr. Pieczenik in my comment (still in moderation).

      • MRW says:

        @LanceThruster,

        Pieczenik is as credible as they come. His review of the film sounds a lot like the subsequent preamble and reaction in Matt Taibbi’s review, but Pieczenik adds knowledge from the psyops interrogation programs he actually designed for State and the military. He’s worked for five presidents, is ex-military, and medically credentialed up the ying-yang. Since Fox will apparently no longer allow him on air, Pieczenik has used Alex Jones occasionally (in addition to his new website) in spurts over the past decade, whenever certain world events happened. He’s been on a lot in the last four months.

        I think getting Alex Jones on Piers Morgan recently, where he melted down over the guns issue in nationally televised glory, was an effort to discredit Jones (whose voice I can’t stand, so I can’t listen) among those who had never heard of him; mainly because of Pieczenik’s appearances since August discussing the film before it came out, and after. Someone invested a lot of money in this Bigelow film, and they had to make sure it didn’t go to video before a national theatre opening. Jones let Pieczenik talk almost uninterrupted for two hours in May 2011, after the bin Laden capture. That is the video to listen to.

        What I like about Pieczenik is that (1) he names names, (2) he talks about geopolitical events strategically not emotionally, like a chess player, (3) his insight into the ME players and their proxy tributaries is far more nuanced than I hear from anyone else other than Brzezinski (whom he worked with in the 70s), and (4) as a real child of the Holocaust who came here not speaking the language, growing up in upper Manhattan (maybe the Bronx?) and going to an all-black school on Amsterdam Ave, his perspective on ex-pat Netanyahu and what he’s doing in Israel is wilting.

        • Kathleen says:

          Thank you. Have never heard of Pieczenik. I can’t listen to Alex Jones to over the top for me but will listen to that interview with Pieczenik if it is on line

    • kalithea says:

      Hell yeah! They were consultants on both this film and Argo.

  6. American says:

    I asked the other day if this film could be Israeli inspired propaganda film to further demonize Muslims.
    Then after looking at Bigelow’s prior films I was going to say this woman has a personal fascination with violence or is a ‘violence market’ commercial opportunist or both.
    Now looking into her background and influences and mentors I’d say it’s all of the above.
    But shame on Hollywood for legitimizing torture and Muslim hatred….no matter how you cut it this film carried a violent ‘political’ message.

    She was a student of Sylvère Lotringer.

    ”A legendary teacher on the order of Lycée Henri IV’s famed Alain, Lotringer’s classes influenced the work of dozens of his former students, including filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow, semiotician Marshall Blonsky, art critics Tim Griffin and John Kelsey, actor Jim Fletcher and poet Ariana Reines

    Sylvère Lotringer was born to Polish-Jewish immigrants who fled Warsaw for France in 1930. His early life was marked by the Nazi occupation of Paris, which — like his contemporaries Georges Perec and Sarah Kofman — he spent as a “hidden child” with documents forged by the French Resistance.

    As an interpreter of French theory, Lotringer has sought to contextualize the pre-modernist origins of “postmodern” French thought. Writing about Jean Baudrillard’s childhood, Lotringer reminds us just how far his generation has traveled to reach The Matrix. He recalls the 11 year old Jean and his grandparents riding an oxcart loaded with mattresses from Reims to Paris during the massive evacuation of the French populace that marked the onset of the War.

    In 1949, Lotringer immigrated to Israel with his family and returned to Paris the year after to join the left-wing Zionist movement Hashomer-Hatzair (The Young Garde) and became one of its leaders. He left eight years later.

    In 1957, while still at the lycée, Lotringer joined the editorial collective of La Ligne Generale headed by Georges Perec. Taking its name from Sergei Eisenstein’s famous film The General Line, this group of brilliant young Jewish men favored Hollywood westerns, slapstick and pre-Stalinist communism. The project was praised by Henri Lefebvre but strongly criticized by Simone de Beauvoir, who found it “politically irresponsible”.

    Avoiding French military service in Algeria, Lotringer spent 1962 in the US and two years (1965–67) teaching for the French Cultural Services in Erzurum, Turkey. He finally returned to the US via Australia in 1969 with a teaching appointment at Swarthmore College. He joined the French and Comparative Literature Faculty at Columbia University in 1972, where he is presently Professor Emeritus.

    [edit] Cultural synthesis
    Arriving in New York in the early 70s, Lotringer saw the opportunity to introduce French theorists whose work, at that time, was largely unknown in the US to New York’s burgeoning artistic and literary community. Marxism had bottomed out in France and post-’68 philosophers had turned to capitalism, eager extract from it the subversive energy no longer found in class struggles. Lotringer realized that America could be these theorists’ testing-ground.”

    • Chu says:

      and not to be forgotten is Bigelow’s’ hubby and screenwriter, Mark Boal. Boal got his start with the military film writing ‘Death and Dishonor’ in Playboy 2004, which was turned into the film ‘The Valley of Elah’. Then came the Hurt Locker and the Pentagon scouts could see talent in their man.

    • marc b. says:

      american, i haven’t read lotringer, but i think he started the semiotexte series which has published (through MIT press now i believe) some great stuff from paul virilio, delueze, baudrillard, Tiqqun, etc. if bigelow came out of that whole semiotics environment, nothing she does is done subconsciously. everything, simplifying it, is a symbol for something else as well. (plastic wrap + american cheese slices + refrigeration = a culture of death. that and other nonsense.) in other words, contrary to what she tried to imply with her bullsh*t comment above, she’s not just a story teller.

      • RoHa says:

        “contrary to what she tried to imply with her bullsh*t”

        If she came out of the environment that included Delueze and Baudrillard, just about all she knows is bullshit.

    • seanmcbride says:

      American,

      I think Kathryn Bigelow is overrated as a director — I find her movies to be cold and shallow. I wasn’t impressed by the Hurt Locker. I haven’t seen Zero Dark Thirty yet and probably won’t because I suspect it will irritate me and raise my blood pressure.

      But I am still not sure about this: should Bigelow be described as a torture advocate or apologist? Should she be added to this list?

      # pro-torture
      1. 24
      2. Alberto Gonzales
      3. Andrew McCarthy
      4. Antonin Scalia
      5. Ari Fleischer
      6. Bush 43 administration
      7. Charles Krauthammer
      8. Christian Zionists
      9. Daniel Pipes
      10. David Addington
      11. David Frum
      12. David Gelernter
      13. David Horowitz
      14. David Margolis
      15. Dick Cheney
      16. Donald Rumsfeld
      17. Fox News
      18. Fred Hiatt
      19. Free Republic
      20. Frontpage Magazine
      21. George W. Bush
      22. Herman Cain
      23. Hugh Hewitt
      24. Islamophobes
      25. Israel
      26. James Inhofe
      27. Jay Bybee
      28. Jeff Sessions
      29. Joel Mowbray
      30. Joel Surnow
      31. John Bolton
      32. John Cornyn
      33. John Yoo
      34. Jonathan Alter
      35. Karl Rove
      36. Kathryn Bigelow
      37. Kit Bond
      38. Liz Cheney
      39. Michael Mukasey
      40. Michele Bachmann
      41. National Review
      42. neoconservatives
      43. New York Post
      44. Newsmax
      45. Norman Podhoretz
      46. Pamela Gller
      47. Pat Roberts
      48. pro-Israel activists
      49. Richard Cohen
      50. Robert Kagan
      51. Rudy Giuliani
      52. Rupert Murdoch
      53. Stephen Hadley
      54. Thad Cochran
      55. Tom Coburn
      56. Wall Street Journal
      57. Wayne Allard
      58. Weekly Standard
      59. Worldnetdaily

      • seanmcbride says:

        If Kathryn Bigelow had a bold, adventurous and inquisitive mind, she would be questioning the entire 9/11 official narrative, instead of producing inciting propaganda for the Pamela Geller crowd.

        There is really only one word to describe Bigelow: shallow. I doubt that she’s a hater like Geller, but I don’t think she thinks much about the world. And she apparently has an appetite for extreme violence.

      • Kathleen says:

        Add her to the list. Torture advocate for sure. No way around it. No matter how many times Spencer Ackerman tries to spin that the film actually spoke of how other methods worked

  7. Avi_G. says:

    Kathryn Bigelow, Hollywood’s Pamella Geller.

    Well, the good thing is that the list of movies aimed at perpetuating anti-Arab and anti-Moslem stereotypes is growing.

    So add Zero Dark Thirty to Reel Bad Arabs.

    Incidentally, I heard that Zero Dark Thirty is being shown at theaters in Israel that normally show adult films. The rationale was that many Israelis will find it just as satisfying to masturbate to Zero Dark Thirty and its hate-filled depiction of Moslems.

  8. Avi_G. says:

    I have got a great idea for a movie.

    I’m going to call it: Kathryn Bigalow: Female Gigolo.

    It will star Kathryn Bigelow as White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

    Rob Schneider will play the role of Obama. Schneider will have to put on a lot of makeup to look black. But I don’t think that’s racist as I have creative license to do so.

  9. Dan Crowther says:

    I’ll say this, I was never prouder of my fellow Americans – at least my fellow western massachusetts Americans- when I was in the theater for Django unchained and the preview for Zero Dark Thirty came on and the mostly white-bread crowd booed! I thought I was gonna be the lone A-hole to boo, and was more than pleasantly surprised when I wasn’t. ‘Mericuh!

    • marc b. says:

      dan. say it ain’t so. you contributed to the ‘tarantino’s a cinematic genius’ fund? you know he’s just gonna spend it on women’s shoes. oy gevalt.

      • Dan Crowther says:

        what can i say marc, i like his movies – derivative? sure. but always entertaining.

        • marc b. says:

          i liked ‘jackie brown’. the few of the rest that i’ve seen, i can live without. ‘basterds’ was just repulsive. (i tried watching one of the ones with uma thurman in it, with the swords and all, but didn’t have the stamina. bleh.)

    • Kathleen says:

      Where are you Amherst? So glad to hear that this was the response.

      Do people really think like those messages above “hating Muslims” and all. That movie did just the opposite to me. Made me more ashamed of the level our country has stooped to, how there has been no accountability for those who tortured, the blatant racism in the film made me furious. When that Seal hands that little girl a glo stick to allegedly calm her down after she witnessed her more than likely families bodies blown to pieces with guts and blood everywhere. Just sure a glo stick would settle a traumatized child down. So disgusting.

      On top of all the deeply disturbing parts of the movie. The main actress who I had never heard of before won some award the other night and is up for a big one in the next award ceremonies right? She is such a bad actress…beautiful I get it..but right up there with Angelina Jolie’s bad acting. How many times can they put her pretty face up on full screen acting troubled?

    • Bravo!

      Random acts of clarity.

    • Mooser says:

      “when I was in the theater for Django unchained and the preview for Zero Dark Thirty came on and the mostly white-bread crowd booed!”

      Oy Gevalt Only in America!

  10. Taxi says:

    I haven’t seen the film and won’t be either – I usually boycott movie themes that are part and parcel of Hollywood’s israelification of Americans.

    I especially see no need to see it after reading Matt Taibbi’s critique of the film:
    link to readersupportednews.org

  11. Chu says:

    Miral, (the story of four women whose lives intertwine in the starkly human search for justice, hope and reconciliation amid a world overshadowed by conflict, rage and war) is currently showing on the Netflix instant watch plan. The film’s portrayal of the State of Israel is less than favorable, so I verified what the critics and audience thought of it on Rotten Tomatoes.

    Usually with film’s ratings on this site, the critics and the audiences overall likeability of the film falls within +/- 10 percentage points. But in this case the critics rated this film at 17% while the audience rated it at 54%. That is a 37 point spread on likability. I wonder why this discrepancy is so great? I wonder how much arm twisting goes on with critics, that say review for the NY Times or the NY Post.
    link to rottentomatoes.com

    That film was made in 2011 and Five Broken Cameras (2012) has a critics rating of 94% and audience is at 84%. So is this a sign that things are changing with respect to the Israel occupation?

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      Miral got generally bad reviews (although i would give Frieda Pinto the thumbs up no matter what she appears in…) and is not particularly good. I’m guessing that it’s not a function of the critics suppressing their view (see, e.g., the very high marks given to Paradise Now), but, rather, audience members who are rating it favorably because of the politics.

  12. geofgray says:

    i saw the movie. my reaction was different than the tweeters: i was more appalled by the depiction of the americans than i was by the cartoonish depictions of the muslims. the muslims were over the top and reminded me of one of those 30′s movies e.g. gungha din: wild-eyed swarthy, dressed in diapers–a hoot. the americans were humourless, obsessed, smug, flag-pinned, supercilious. the star–chastain (like the other americans)–was flat, one-dimensional. but this was quality was celebrated. so while the muslims to me were a joke, the americans were scary in their self-congratulatory rapture.
    it was a movie about killing in cold blood an unarmed man in his bedroom in his pajamas. i walked out 10 minutes before the end; first time i have left a movie early in years.

  13. I hate that it continues to promote the lie that Bin laden was still alive. Pure propaganda.

    From: link to 911dude.net

    Back in April 2002, over nine years ago, Pieczenik told the Alex Jones Show that Bin Laden had already been “dead for months,” and that the government was waiting for the most politically expedient time to roll out his corpse. Pieczenik would be in a position to know, having personally met Bin Laden and worked with him during the proxy war against the Soviets in Afghanistan back in the early 80?s.

    He’s said he’d be willing to go before a Grand Jury and state as a much.

    But, quelle horreur, he was on Alex Jones so he must just be another nutjob truther.

    [sigh]

  14. Memphis says:

    these people are a disgrace to humanity, they should be arrested and charged with hate crimes and inciting violence.

  15. Les says:

    Anti-Muslim anti-Arab films are a staple of Holllywood. No wonder Americans don’t know enough to distinguish Christian Arabs from Muslim Arabs or Iranians from Arabs. The over-the-top racism of these images, Americans do get. Who put up the money for Zero Dark Thirty?

  16. Avi_G. says:

    S_Peter10
    Stephen Peter@S_Peter10
    The Muslim behind me constantly reminds me why I loved #ZeroDarkThirty

    What’s funny about American racism is that the average American can’t tell the difference between Indian, Egyptian, Peruvian and Italian.

    The average ignorant American bigot is familiar with only three categories of people:

    (1) Whites
    (2) Blacks
    (3) Browns

    And Browns breakdown into two sub-categories:

    (a) Hispanics
    (b) non-Hispanics.

    If the person in question appears to be non-Hispanic then he or she must be Moslem.

    That’s why Sikhs and Indians are often the victims of anti-Moslem attacks because the average racist doesn’t know his a** from his elbow.

    And the simple fact that many Moslems are not the stereotypical “Brown” person further complicates matters for the average bigot.

    I don’t mean to put her on the spot, but Kate who does the daily news roundup is Moslem and she is blonde and whiter than all the other Caucasians on Mondoweiss.

    So much for stereotypes and caricatures, eh?

  17. piotr says:

    The funnies racist video lately was produced by Shas party, a wedding in Israel with Arabic wedding music with Russian bride who got conversion certificate on the spot by fax.

    The reactions on youtube were more in the direction of drooling (the proper conversion time for gorgeous platinum blonds should be 1 second rather than 10 seconds!) and reverse racial sterotypes.

    Concerning Caucasian Muslim, I really like the video on an European girl coming to an Asian country and singing their patriotic song in their language: South meets North, Christianity meets Islam. link to youtube.com
    But how many Caucasians on Mondoweiss can dance Lezkinka like at this Caucasian Muslim wedding: link to youtube.com

  18. yourstruly says:

    the movie could (aims to) intensify hatred towards muslims?

    ratchet-up support for perpetual wars?

    special forces, drones & such?

    worldwide too?

    & still?

    justice for palestine?

    the way out?

  19. Blank State says:

    This is not a film I would go see. Cognizant of Hollywood’s participation in advancing propaganda at our government’s behest, why would I contribute to thier efforts with my patronage?

    However, as far as the postings of these bigoted jackasses cited above, given as examples of this film’s effect, I am skeptical that the film awoke these people’s prejudices. Of course, they were probably ignorant bigots when they entered the theatre, and the film merely tittilated thier sense of justification for thier prejudice.

    Really, I think we, (the public at large), are being primed for an epic act of bloody imperialism that has only just barely began. Part of that indoctrination is the insidious implantation of a carefully focused, and widely held, prejudice. We ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. These megalomaniacal monsters in DC have big plans for the Middle East, and getting us to hate the natives is an imperative to thier agenda. A coupla more 9/11s are undoubtedly in the cards.

  20. kalithea says:

    Well, well and I’m the one who wrote here that the dumb American movie-going masses would leave the theater burping hate. Bigelow’s laughing all the way to the bank and all’s well with the world. The film should be retitled: CASHING IN ON ISLAMOPHOBIC PROPAGANDA.

    Is she responsible for these hate comments? YOU BETCHA! Because they’re all uttered within the context of the racist shet she manufactured. When you feed meat to animals; don’t expect them to go vegetarian, stoopid!

  21. Qualtrough says:

    Serious question here. Can anyone list any Hollywood movies or TV features that featured a positive depiction of Arabs or Muslims in, say, the last 50 years? How about any movies or TV shows that were sympathetic to the Palestinian cause? If the list is too long perhaps you can save it to a web site and post the URL here :)

    • Citizen says:

      @ Qualtrough
      LOL. Here’s a relevant article: k/tv-and-radio/2012/oct/13/homeland-drama-offensive-portrayal-islam-arabs

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      Off the top of my head, I thought that Syriana, Green Zone and Three Kings all contained pretty fair depictions of Arabs and Muslims.

      • Qualtrough says:

        That’s good, thanks, and if you think hard enough you might be able to come up with a couple more. Bear in mind none of those deals with Palestinians, and you say they contain ‘fair’ depictions, which really is damning with faint praise isn’t it? I bet if I asked you (or any other avid movie-goer) to come up with a list of Hollywood productions that portrayed Jews and/or Israel positively it would start with Exodus and continue on for several pages. This movie is just part of a long Hollywood tradition.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          Then go make the movie you want to see.

        • Qualtrough says:

          The chance that my ‘movie’ would receive any kind of distribution in the US is close to zero. The people making movies know that, surely you do too?

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “The chance that my ‘movie’ would receive any kind of distribution in the US is close to zero. The people making movies know that, surely you do too?”

          You’re making excuses; gving up ahead of time because it’s easier to not do it and complain about “the system” then do the hard work. Paradise Now got distribution. Five Broken Cameras got distribution. Miral got distribution. You could get distribution, too. But it sure is easier to wallow in victimhood and pretend that the system is stacked against you and complain than to do the work.

        • Qualtrough says:

          We can’t bemoan or complain about a state of affairs unless we are prepared to completely and irrevocably alter our life to do something about it?? Seriously? I am ‘wallowing in victimhood’ because I point out an extreme case of bias but am not prepared to abandon my family to pursue a career as a movie mogul?

          My apologies if you were being sarcastic, sometimes that doesn’t come through well in written form.

    • Cliff says:

      Very few if any.

      Even in Three Kings, the Iraqi soldiers are shown as cowards and stooges who are quickly disarmed by George Clooney.

      Syriana is probably the better of the three.

      And of course, there is probably no Hollywood movie that portrays Israelis in a negative light.

      I haven’t seen Miral yet. I heard it was simply a bad movie and EI knocked it for several reasons (politics).

      • Qualtrough says:

        Thanks Cliff. Just for the ducks of it I googled a subgenre of films dealing with a Jewish issue, namely “Holocaust Films”, and up comes a Wikipedia page listing, what, 250+ different films dealing with the subject (50 documentaries during 2000-2010 alone, not to mention countless dramas, etc.). Now, of course there is nothing wrong in portraying that horrible part of our collective history, and not all of those are Hollywood films, but you can see the problem here when you google “Nakba films’ and come up with something like four documentaries dealing with that, not a one of them a Hollywood production. When you stack the other list against that it is overwhelming, completely disproportionate, and telling.

  22. Citizen says:

    Tarantino’s Basterds and Django are masturbating revenge films, box-office hits, and this subject film appears to be the same. But the comeuppence here–is it as historically “justified”? Who would dare to make a movie about the 9/11 hijackers, dwelling on their courageous characters and motives, and ending in their “heroic” deaths? Wasn’t comeuppance also involved in 9/11?

  23. MRW says:

    Robert Sheer has written a great piece on this movie. He asks in the first two paragraphs:( then knocks it out of the park)

    Why aren’t film director Kathryn Bigelow’s claimed government sources, including employees of the CIA, in jail like Pfc. Bradley Manning? Or, at the very least, being investigated for their role in one of the most damaging leaks of national security information in U.S. history?

    How did the Japanese-owned Sony Corporation that released Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty gain access to information on the 10-year hunt for Osama bin Laden, so highly classified that it was denied to the official 9/11 Commission that investigated the terrorist attacks? The opening frame of the movie states the crime, clearly claiming that Zero is “based on firsthand accounts of actual events.”

    link to huffingtonpost.com

  24. I viewed this film the night before last in Tehran–of all places sanctions notwithstanding!–in the format of a complimentary “For Your Consideration” category of DVDs, passed on to me by a prized acquaintance. Although not overly gung-ho, the film does indeed liberally mete out plenty of cheap supremacist sentiments, particularly against the Arabs and Pakistanis.

    I gave it 5 out of 10 as a run-of-the-mill movie, mostly for it being relatively revealing. But I didn’t enjoy the not-so-subtle, and if I may say so, “redneck” tone of the film, doubtless aimed at the regrettably abundant appreciating dullard audience, presumably chiefly in America.

    Skimming past the shocking–but not surprising –sample remarks above at the beginning of this article mostly of the “white trash genre” category—and it has nothing to do with race realy because there’s a fair deal of the same sort of “social regrettables” in Iran too!–it is however, a comfort to also read intelligent reviews presented above by the more level-headed, more cultured Americans, which when find the chance to shine through the heaving heap of putrid “trash” which there appears to be aplenty, they are often first class in being enlightened as well as enlightening.

    I agree that the so-called “artistic license” for presenting an appallingly inhuman treatment of the prisoners in the care of the Americans, indeed speaks rather more for the reasons behind the fundamentalists’ hatred of America, than the gratuitous ignorant remarks vomited forth by the homespun US “redneck” community sampled above.

    It would be quite useful to look at the West today being overrun by immigrants fleeing from their “homelands”–a word oft emphasised in this film–ravaged by practices displayed condescendingly in this production. Pakistan and Iraq are but to name two disastrous examples of devastated “homelands”.

    This category of “artistic license” hardly makes it any easier for the sensible “others” who struggle often at the risk of their own freedom and safety to help promote peace and friendship around the world, and drive for global enfranchisement for effective establishment of the “Universal Human Rights” … of course for ALL human beings.

    Such high-minded values after all are slogans loudly lectured at the world by the American leaders, who themselves supervise reprehensible practices such as occupation under false pretenses–like the infamous WMD scam–and torture that now the world even better knows, thanks to the graphic illustration of this not-to-be-a-proud-American film, with Art as its emblem.

    Masquerading behind this subterfuge seems more unfair to the average educated Americans, than it may be to the intended targets of a precarious “artistic license” that seems to promote base inhumane sentiments.

    If there must be an agreeable “narrative” for the American leadership in the world–and who would in a sane mind oppose acceptable “narrative” for worthy goals– then this film honestly does NOT do justice to this universal ideal.

    There is a weary commonplace to inform responsible liberal Arts which might directly or potentially impact critical social development: “Leadership starts by example not by preaching”. If so, then one may as well be a most undignified American ever after watching this film than feeling proud.

    Then again, perchance, that might have been the underlying remarkably subtle vision behind making this film together with all the accompanying ignorantly violent sentiments raised in its praise, for the disgustingly outrageous practices exhibited in this “Art work” is enough to truly put any decent “Leader” to shame.

  25. rchambers587 says:

    I saw the film last week and I walked away with an entirely different feeling than what you’re reporting. I left with a feeling of despise, not for Muslims, for the CIA and the entire Bush era human rights violators.
    The first several minutes of the movie consisted of manipulation and dehumanizing an Arab man. It enraged me to think how easily we could be turned into animals attacking and torturing a human being, with no remorse.
    It sickens me to know that the movie was based on factual re-enactments.

    • Stone says:

      Yes, this is what I mean. This is why I don’t get the complaints from the progressive side. I could see Conservatives getting upset but they want the military to be heroic all of the time. I hope people read my comment here . I’m a little late to the party:

      link to mondoweiss.net

  26. sligoker says:

    Loved the film. It in no way is anti-Muslim. It’s a minor work of art. By the way, loved the comment about the Israelification of Hollywood. Hey, at least its not the usual complaint by anti-semites that the Jews control Hollywood. We are making progress.