Over the past few decades, ratings for violent movies have become progressively more tolerant.
Sports & Entertainment
Twenty-five years ago today, the eyes of the nation were on San Francisco.
The football-über-alles culture has not changed appreciably.
The Washington Post asks this morning if England is really a good fit for the EU. The answer is of course, no, but getting to "no" is no easy matter.
In the movie "Men in Black," the intuitive agent turns to the tabloids to get to the greater truths. Look today to the tabloids: Baby bump on Princess Kate — Harry says it will be a boy. And incidentally, England's Prince Harry met this past week warrior-to-warrior with Arizona Sen. John McCain in a most poignant moment of reflection on our most noble and honorable women and men injured in sacrifice for our joint national purposes.
President Obama’s expressed concerns about violence in football a week before the Super Bowl seem oddly calculated. Are his recent comments intended to parallel his campaign against guns and his assault on the Second Amendment? Are we Americans — the ones who watch the Super Bowl — inherently violent? He wouldn't want his boys to play, if he had any. They might hurt themselves. Surely, a viewing of Hockey Night in Canada would send Obama to the fainting couch. But it is not hard to see him in future days high up in the stands with Bill Clinton and Mick Jagger and old friend Beckham and his Spice Girls missus, hoping against hope that some unheard-of Third World nation, newly thrown together by Western clerks and movie actors, will win the World Cup in soccer (and swooning with disgust when it goes once again to those gnarly Germans).
The critical commentary about the Bigelow-Boal movie “Zero Dark Thirty,” about the search for and killing of Osama bin Laden, is wrong. The chief criticism is that the movie condones torture. I think its portrayal of torture is likely to repel most viewers, to force them to look away from it. How is that condonation? As director Bigelow remarked, a movie’s showing something is not necessarily endorsing it. Exposure in drama is often, in the best cases, the best argument against it. Think of “Gentleman’s Agreement” or “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” Portraying cultural anti-Semitism or racism did more to condemn it than condone it. The brilliance of “Dead Man Walking” was that it even-handedly dramatized both sides of the death penalty issue. It isn’t clear in this movie, or in any accepted historical evidence, that torture led to Osama bin Laden’s assassination. The issue of the morality, legality, efficacy of torture is an important and fair issue for public debate. I’m on record deploring the practice, and I would guess so are Bigelow and Boal. So I think this criticism of their movie showing the revolting picture of torture is incorrect and unfair.
There has been much media attention focus on the murder/suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs defensive player Jovan Belcher. Although it is tragic when any two people lose their lives to violence, it should be remembered that what occurred was cold-blooded murder. That would be the case if it were committed by a bum on the street, a political figure or a well-paid athlete.
The United States of America did itself proud in the 2012 Olympics, winning more medals than anyone else, including gold medals. Almost two-thirds of America's gold medals were won by women, who outnumbered men on the American team for the first time.
This is a wonderful tribute and inspiration to the power of women in our society; however, it doesn't stop there. There are now more women than men in American medical and law schools, and they are making rapid progress in business and engineering schools. Sixty percent of bachelor’s degrees this year will be presented to women in this country. All of this has significant implications regarding the future makeup of leadership in this nation.
On Friday Mitt Romney was asked whether American Olympic athletes should wear Made in America uniforms, or whether American Olympic athletes should wear Made in China uniforms. Romney's answer: No comment.
Mitt Romney is bound to be a great president because the world is falling apart. Possibly any of the past presidents except Franklin Pierce would have been great if the world had fallen apart on their watch. Those sent to preside over petty tasks like the Clintons and Obama will be destined for scorn: It is not the measure of the candidate which makes the great president. It is the depth and velocity of the breakage he faces in his tenure and his ability to survive it standing. Romney will be in that category if the world falls apart on his watch. It looks like it will and it looks like he can handle it.
But there is a disquieting rumor of revolution in the air. It could mean a return to character and honor, but anything can happen. Hollywood producer and Friend of Obama J.J. Abrams sees “Revolution” ahead; it is the name of his new TV series.