Thursday, September 07, 2006

Conservatives Should Hate Disney's Path to 911, Too

When I heard that Disney was making a film to be broadcast on ABC called The Path to 9/11, I was concerned. I thought it was too soon to be making a cartoon about September 11. Dramatizing the terrorist attacks using anthropomorphized talking and singing animals did not strike me as the best way to tell the story. I thought it might be inappropriate to have, say, Scrooge McDuck play Osama Bin Laden or even Mickey Mouse play Rudy Giuliani, as much as I admire Mickey Mouse. I was worried that Disney might take some literary license with historical fact the way they did in Pocahontas and Tarzan. By teaming up with Harry Potter publisher Scholastic to help distribute the film to schools, it seemed that the miniseries was being aimed at children instead of adults. Still, I thought, even children deserve some accuracy and the format invited questions of taste.

I was relieved to find out that instead of making an animated version of the events of September 11, Disney was actually making a live-action film in the tradition of such live-action Disney classics as Son of Flubber and The Shaggy Dog. I still wasn't sure that America was ready for September 11 to be turned into heart-warming family entertainment but at least some of my worst fears were allayed. Considering that Disney produced the wonderful Chronicles of Narnia and was planning to produce a miniseries about the Holocaust helmed by Mel Gibson, I thought, how bad could it be? I was further reassured when I learned that the Republican chair of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Kean, was a paid consultant on the film, director David Cunningham was once an evangelical Christian missionary and screenwriter Cyrus Nowrasteh was an avowed conservative who had spoken at the conservative Liberty Film Festival. The early reviews by such respected conservatives as Rush Limbaugh, Govindi Murty and Dean Barnett at Hugh Hewitt's blog were ecstatic. But the more I heard about the film the more troubled I became about it.

I have not actually seen The Path to 9/11 (apparently I was one of the few conservative bloggers who did not get a review copy), but since that didn't prevent conservatives from attacking the movie about the Reagans that CBS eventually pulled under pressure, I feel no qualms about weighing in on this film. While I appreciate that the miniseries reportedly puts most of the blame for 9/11 where it belongs--on Monica Lewinsky--I am bothered by reports that it also criticizes President Bush. I was astounded by this statement from David Cunningham on the blog for the movie: "You may feel we 'bash' Clinton and/or you may feel we 'bash' Bush but the facts are that the eight years from the first WTC bombing to the day of 9/11 involved two administrations with plenty of culpability all around." For the life of me I cannot think of anything that President Bush has done wrong. Does the film "bash" him for ordering interrogation tactics that were not "tough" enough? For not invading more countries? For not skirting more bothersome laws that stymied him from stopping terrorists? What more could President Bush have done?

The blog about the making of the film seems to consist of one "clarification" after another. It seems to me it would have been a lot easier if the director had just made the film itself clearer. In one of his "clarifications" he claims that the people who worked on the film "have a wide range of political perspectives" and that "most of those perspectives (which is the vast majority in Hollywood) would be considered 'liberal' or 'left'." This statement certainly did not reassure me and left me even more confused. Although Cunningham has very good conservative credentials, he must be a very weak director if he allowed these liberal perspectives into the film. Is he saying the film doesn't represent the director's vision? Has he never heard of the auteur theory?

Screenwriter Cyrus Nowrasteh just makes things worse by claiming, "This miniseries is balanced in its presentation." Someone should tell him that the correct phrase is "fair and balanced." "Balanced" without "fair" sounds suspiciously like moral relativism, which is the worst kind of liberalism. If you want to know what "balanced" without "fair" is like, all you have to do is watch CNN or read The New York Times. For example, after signing the order to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden in 1998, President Clinton had two whole years to get him but failed to do so. President Bush had only eight months to get him before 9/11. It may be "balanced" to equate the two but it wouldn't be fair. It seems to me that President Clinton is more accountable for not getting Bin Laden after two years especially since we reportedly had him surrounded in Afghanistan and let him slip away (though perhaps not exactly the way it's depicted in the film). How hard could it have been to find a 6-foot-4 terrorist after two years?

In her review of the film New York Times critic Alessandra Stanley, who has never been much of a stickler for the facts in her own columns, writes that Bush "is shown sweaty and dismissive in jogging shorts" (though I have never seen him sweat), and she seems to have no problem with the idea that "it is a fictionalized account of what took place." Well, I do. I was very chagrined to discover that not only had some events been invented, some important events had been left out of the film entirely. Apparently the director didn't bother filming the scene where President Bush learns of the attacks while reading My Pet Goat to schoolchildren. How could they leave out one of the Bush's greatest moments as President, the seven minutes when he sat there motionless and plotted out his entire strategy for the War on Terror in his head? Perhaps it wouldn't have been very dramatic to film the President just sitting there for seven minutes but the filmmakers could have telescoped time a bit, as they claim to do in other scenes, and showed him sitting there for, say, four minutes. And I have not heard any mention of a scene showing Saddam Hussein planning the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. Leaving out an important scene like that seems to me to be a big dramatic oversight, basically confusing the viewer by making the invasion of Iraq appear to be completely pointless.

I wonder why many conservatives are embracing this film. Although the screenwriter is a close personal friend of Rush Limbaugh's, who is a man with very few close personal friends, it's hard to believe that he would let that influence his review of the film. Maybe he fell asleep during the second half. Some conservatives such as The Anchoress and Ed Morrissey are concerned that Democrats in Congress are trying to pressure the network into censoring the film by threatening government action. But isn't that what we have been trying to get the FCC to do for years? For example, by fining such indecent programs as Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues, the FCC has forced CBS to question whether it should air uncensored a 9/11 documentary that has bad language. I thought this was a good thing and it seems hypocritical to be against chilling free speech and prior restraint only when Democrats do it.

It seems odd that liberals are up in arms about this docudrama while many conservatives seem to have no problems with it even though the filmmakers themselves admit it is just as unfair to President Bush as it is to President Clinton and that they just made stuff up. Do we hate President Clinton so much that we are willing to look the other way when President Bush is unfairly attacked? Although ABC claims to be re-editing the film to mollify Clinton supporters, it is apparently doing nothing to make Bush look better. I am very surprised that my fellow conservatives, with few exceptions, are crowing about the film. Didn't the brave Swift Boat Veterans teach us about the importance of standing up for the truth? Shouldn't the truth matter to conservatives, too?

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Anonymous said...

You funny. Funny haha not funny queer.

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

I think a better cast of cartoon characters would be those from the Popeye crew - Popeye as Bush the Younger, Bluto as Bin Laden, J. Wellington Wimpy as Clinton, Olive Oyl as Monica, etc.

P.S. The "word verification" module needs fixing - the one I had to retype was definitely NOT a word at all.

Anonymous said...

Let me add more casting choices for future docu-dramas on the Bush Administration:

Goofy as George Bush, Cruella DeVil as Condi Rice, Tinkerbelle as Al Gonzales, and Sleepy, Grumpy and Dopey as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Michael Chertoff, respectively.

One right-wing myth-busting note in the Cyrus Nowrasteh saga: he belies the conservative mantra that only liberals thrive in Hollywood. He’s earned a lotta moolah from the liberal left, and worked with numerous Hollywood power players like Steven Spielberg and Oliver Stone. That’s because talent trumps ideology in creative venues like Hollywood and Broadway, and because “Lefty’s” by nature are more open and welcoming than “Right-Wingers” who seem to be born with a genetic disposition to exclude, segregate, or just plain lock up those who disagree with them.

Here’s a link to an interview with Nowrasteh you may find enlightening:

By the way, I’ve linked to your site on my blogroll at My site’s still a work in progress – not as coherent as yours… but I’m getting a decent amount of hits and hopefully you’ll get some spillover..


Pope Bandar bin Turtle said...

Teh funny!

Pope Bandar bin Turtle said...

P.S. The "word verification" module needs fixing - the one I had to retype was definitely NOT a word at all.

Also teh funny!

liquiddaddy said...

Mr. Swift:

You may be too young to remember, but between Walt Disney and Ronald Regan secretly fingering jewish people, there were a heck of a lot less suspected communists, and riff-raff of that sort poisoning the minds of citizens with brainwashing disguised as songs and laughter.

Anyone who was alive in the 60's and 70's and had any contact with Disneyland, must have truly admired the strict policy of Mickey Goons beating the shit out of smelly hippies, to include truncheons, body cavity searches, and full body groping for the stinky, hirsuit hippy girls. This community of undesirables quickly learned of this policy, but would wig out and get all hopped up, and in that crazed mental state found themselves drawn like moths to the flame of sparkly lights and happy dancing characters. A sound thrashing and detainment by LA's finest usually did the trick.

As time went by, Disney has grown more sophisticated in making sure that the unpleasant, non-conformist element could not ruin the fun for the rest of us. History and culture, Disney-style is meant to serve the better part of all of us.

Look at the way Disney handled the issue of racial strife: "Song of the South." "Zippidy Doo Da," effectively articulated the sentiment on all of our minds: why can't negros be happy? My oh my, what a wonderful day! And "Dumbo" - what great wisdom is imparted by those wonderful old colored crows, singing, drinking and shooting dice, all to the tune of "I've seen elephants fly."?

Besides Pocohantes and Tarzan, what could have portrayed Indians better than Davey Crockett?

Look there are some things more important that the "truth"; like truthiness, and Disney has that in spades.

Anonymous said...

"Do we hate President Clinton so much that we are willing to look the other way when President Bush is unfairly attacked?"

Apparently so. Six years of abject failure and ruin will do that to all but the dumbest of conservatives.

OutOfContext said...

What troubles me most here is the issue of copyright infringement and intellectual property. It was my impression that "9/11" was the intellectual property of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. I'm not a lawyer (that should go without saying), but I believe that George W. Bush retains the rights for 70 years. While it may seem that Disney has it's heart in the right place here, they are still Hollywood types and after that Peter Pan/children's hospital thing I don't trust them as far as a shareholder can throw Michael Eisner.
By the way, I really like that "Fake, but accurate" guy at QandO blog. Hell of a concept. Although it's questionable for a conservative to break the 'u' after a 'q' rule.

Libby Spencer said...

Too bad Don Knotts is gone. He would have made a heckva Dubya...

Ken Houghton said...

outofcontext -- We can tell you're not a lawyer; the Sonny Bono (read: Disney) Copyright Extension Act made that 90 years, not 70, no? After all, isn't Steamboat Willie from 1927.

"tuizxhfv" - Clearly, this was a transcription from the Arabic; I fear the "word verification" is run by Liberals as well.

Anonymous said...

"George W. Bush retains the rights for 70 years"

No. I believe that's 70 years after Cheney's body completely decomposes. With the advances in embalming science, Mr. Bush may own the copyright until 2120 or so. I'm starting a collection to install a Cheney's Tomb on the Washington Mall.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. I stand corrected. 90 years after Cheney's body completely decomposes.

Anonymous said...

Surely it has the scene where GB comes in from clearing brush in Crawford and is presented with the PDB titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US" and then tells the aide, "Great, now you've covered your ass."

Anonymous said...

Comments posted above, attributed to Anonymous, were not, in fact, posted by me, Anonymous.

Thank you.

Jack Steiner said...


Prisstopolis said...

So THAT'S what the seven minutes were for.

(Added you to my blogroll.)

benmerc said...

js sez:

"Shouldn't the truth matter to conservatives, too?"


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Swift,

I did not watch the programme, either, but I was rather taken (as, I think, may be some of your readers) by the brief review in the British blog Smokewriting.

I particularly liked his description, 'UNDISPUTED HIGHLIGHT: right after the Clinton Administration neglected to kill Osama Bin Laden due to being non-Republican and therefore entirely ineffectual, the titular head of the Northern Alliance says to the grizzled and honourable CIA field operative (who had just established his deep understanding of the history, traditions and aspirations to freedom, justice and consumerism of the Afghan people by insisting that his two Agency buddies drank the tea offered them by Mr Northern Alliance): ‘What, are there no men in Washington?’'

I do hope the 'drama-mentry', or whatever it's called, did full justice to my favourite Northern Alliance commander, dear old General Dostum. Now there's a military commander and politician to admire, in every sense of the word.

Mark Prime (tpm/Confession Zero) said...

Mr. Swift...
Your literary and literal irony is palpable... I enjoyed the read, may not agree entirely, but methinks you see the picture better than most...


Anonymous said...

What a shame Pluto was fired by Disney before the Path to 9/11. Pluto would have made an excellent former President Clinton because the more we investigate either of their pasts the less significant they become.

It was sad when Pluto was voted out of the Disney Galaxy just because he wouldn't fly around Disneyland and Disneyworld in orbit. Maybe he got dizzy flying and talking in circles. What dosen't go around dosen't come around at Disney.

What went around came around for the the Democrats in Hollywood and at the TV Networks with the Path to 9/11! After decades of countless Democrat Agenda hit pieces on Republicans a movie slips through which bashes a Democrat President and a Repulican President.

The difference between the political response was the present and past politicians in the Democrat Party went on public record to censor the free speech effort. Another first for the Godless.

When you wish upon a star...

Anonymous said...

Half a decade? (Do the math, moonbat.)

Given my current belief (given to me by the angel Moroni) that the way one’s understanding of how language works either determines (or possibly is determined by) one’s ideological disorientation, which then translates into an adenoidal voice on the heated air of the political continuum, I (unwillingly enough) have to come clean: My political ‘conversion’ (if you will) (if I may) came as quite a shock to a guy who’d spent the last 10 years of his so-called life happily occupied with inhuman inanities; and let me tell you, was that guy surprised. (Although. in retrospect, I don’t think it should have been quite the shock I like to pretend it was.)

My own disorientation—which I’ve come to identify as classical gibbering — also exposed an ideological fault line between me and both of my friends, a rift that had previously been a far more localized and discipline-specific dispute about Herman’s Hermits, (often argued sniggeringly over wine coolers and extended dance mixes of Abba.) Unsurprisingly (to me, at least), my friends were of the postcolonial/new historical/post-structural (including reader-response) schools of interpretation theory, and held treasonous political views, having been voted Most Likely to Embrace Ideas about US Imperialism/Hegemony and ‘Who-Could-Have-Seen-That-Coming-Blowback’ by their respective high school graduating classes. Often they would trot out their knee-jerk anti-American views as a way to distance themselves from me and my faithful native-bearers who had taken to wearing American flag lapel pins through our noses and decorating our mud huts with ribbon magnets; dismissively they called us ‘Cargo Cultists’ who had committed the unpardonable sin of having never read Pynchon or Delillo, Said or Walter Benjamin.

So, for me and the little fellow, not only was 9/11 an horrific day of tragedy, but it was likewise the day that began my political unmaking, and compelled me to slink through the scarcity of my beliefs, as well as endeavor to understand the philosophistrical underpinnings of my pathological inclinations in much the same underhanded way I’d previously gone about misunderstanding A Night Without Armor or My Pet Goat.

I remember that day (as if it was tomorrow) … We had gotten up early, me and the ‘guana, bracing ourselves to face the horrors of a sunny September morning. We were having our coffee, watching “Good Morning America,” playfully arguing over who would pack the car for the weekend trip we’d planned to visit our maiden aunts in Tucson, N.M., (they’re teachers at a Christian school there… well, they’re not really our aunts …)

And then, it happened. The little fellow jumped up, screaming, “The plane! The plane!” And, like Rosemary with the thin lips of the spawn of Satan clamped to her left tit, I knew: This is no dream. This is really happening.

We decided to stick around a while before setting off for the Land of Enchantment, (at least until we had misconstrued what was happening,) and because we did, we watched it live as the second plane hit. It was at that point, I think, that we decided to cancel our trip, (which was alright by the little fellow since our ‘aunts’ had always kind of creeped him out.)

By the time Flight 77 hit the Pentagon, I’d rounded up the .357 magnum and the 12 gauge, 20 boxes of ammo, a big-ass knife, and my 6D Maglite, just in case. I put them all in the truck box so they’d be handy.

Yeah, we were 1500 miles away and it’d be hard to fight off a jetliner with those tools, but who knew what panic would take over and how widespread it would be if the attack continued or switched to other methods?

Call it a moment of clarity, call it an epiphany, but when the little fellow turned to me and hissed: “Let’s go kill us some brown people,” I knew what I had to do.

Now, at this remove, firmly entrenched in my views, I find it rather pointless to argue with those who have become entrenched in their views.

If the moonbats want to talk, they can talk to the little fellow; he’ll be the one with the big-ass knife strapped to his waist.


So, if you’ll excuse us — (and by “us” I mean the duped, slack-jawed ‘volunteers’ we chickenhawks rely upon to feed our vicarious and cowardly bloodlust) I will leave you with this (for lack of a better word) thought: I miss Ronald Reagan. (And so did he … at least in those odd and fleeting moments when he remembered he was Ronald Reagan.)

Anonymous said...

One thing that struck me as odd in the days after 9/11 was Bush saying "We will not tolerate conspiracy theories [regarding 9/11]". Sure enough there have been some wacky conspiracy theories surrounding the events of that day. The most far-fetched and patently ridiculous one that I've ever heard goes like this: Nineteen hijackers who claimed to be devout Muslims but yet were so un-Muslim as to be getting drunk all the time, doing cocaine and frequenting strip clubs decided to hijack four airliners and fly them into buildings in the northeastern U.S., the area of the country that is the most thick with fighter bases. After leaving a Koran on a barstool at a strip bar after getting shitfaced drunk on the night before, then writing a suicide note/inspirational letter that sounded like it was written by someone with next to no knowledge of Islam, they went to bed and got up the next morning hung over and carried out their devious plan. Nevermind the fact that of the four "pilots" among them there was not a one that could handle a Cessna or a Piper Cub let alone fly a jumbo jet, and the one assigned the most difficult task of all, Hani Hanjour, was so laughably incompetent that he was the worst fake "pilot" of the bunch. Nevermind the fact that they received very rudimentary flight training at Pensacola Naval Air Station, making them more likely to have been C.I.A. assets than Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. So on to the airports after Mohammed Atta supposedly leaves two rental cars at two impossibly far-removed locations. So they hijack all four airliners and at this time passengers on United 93 start making a bunch of cell phone calls from 35,000 feet in the air to tell people what was going on. Nevermind the fact that cell phones wouldn't work very well above 4,000 feet, and wouldn't work at ALL above 8,000 feet. But the conspiracy theorists won't let that fact get in the way of a good fantasy. That is one of the little things you "aren't supposed to think about". Nevermind that one of the callers called his mom and said his first and last name ("Hi mom, this is Mark Bingham"), more like he was reading from a list than calling his own mom. Anyway, when these airliners each deviated from their flight plan and didn't respond to ground control, NORAD would any other time have followed standard operating procedure (and did NOT have to be told by F.A.A. that there were hijackings because they were watching the same events unfold on their own radar) which means fighter jets would be scrambled from the nearest base where they were available on standby within a few minutes, just like every other time when airliners stray off course. But of course on 9/11 this didn't happen, not even close. Somehow these "hijackers" must have used magical powers to cause NORAD to stand down, as ridiculous as this sounds because total inaction from the most high-tech and professional Air Force in the world would be necessary to carry out their tasks. So on the most important day in its history the Air Force was totally worthless. Then they had to make one of the airliners look like a smaller plane, because unknown to them the Naudet brothers had a videocamera to capture the only known footage of the North Tower crash, and this footage shows something that is not at all like a jumbo jet, but didn't have to bother with the South Tower jet disguising itself because that was the one we were "supposed to see". Anyway, as for the Pentagon they had to have Hani Hanjour fly his airliner like it was a fighter plane, making a high G-force corkscrew turn that no real airliner can do, in making its descent to strike the Pentagon. But these "hijackers" wanted to make sure Rumsfeld survived so they went out of their way to hit the farthest point in the building from where Rumsfeld and the top brass are located. And this worked out rather well for the military personnel in the Pentagon, since the side that was hit was the part that was under renovation at the time with few military personnel present compared to construction workers. Still more fortuitous for the Pentagon, the side that was hit had just before 9/11 been structurally reinforced to prevent a large fire there from spreading elsewhere in the building. Awful nice of them to pick that part to hit, huh? Then the airliner vaporized itself into nothing but tiny unidentifiable pieces most no bigger than a fist, unlike the crash of a real airliner when you will be able to see at least some identifiable parts, like crumpled wings, broken tail section etc. Why, Hani Hanjour the terrible pilot flew that airliner so good that even though he hit the Pentagon on the ground floor the engines didn't even drag the ground!! Imagine that!! Though the airliner vaporized itself on impact it only made a tiny 16 foot hole in the building. Amazing. Meanwhile, though the planes hitting the Twin Towers caused fires small enough for the firefighters to be heard on their radios saying "We just need 2 hoses and we can knock this fire down" attesting to the small size of it, somehow they must have used magical powers from beyond the grave to make this morph into a raging inferno capable of making the steel on all forty-seven main support columns (not to mention the over 100 smaller support columns) soften and buckle, then all fail at once. Hmmm. Then still more magic was used to make the building totally defy physics as well as common sense in having the uppermost floors pass through the remainder of the building as quickly, meaning as effortlessly, as falling through air, a feat that without magic could only be done with explosives. Then exactly 30 minutes later the North Tower collapses in precisely the same freefall physics-defying manner. Incredible. Not to mention the fact that both collapsed at a uniform rate too, not slowing down, which also defies physics because as the uppermost floors crash into and through each successive floor beneath them they would shed more and more energy each time, thus slowing itself down. Common sense tells you this is not possible without either the hijackers' magical powers or explosives. To emphasize their telekinetic prowess, later in the day they made a third building, WTC # 7, collapse also at freefall rate though no plane or any major debris hit it. Amazing guys these magical hijackers. But we know it had to be "Muslim hijackers" the conspiracy theorist will tell you because (now don't laugh) one of their passports was "found" a couple days later near Ground Zero, miraculously "surviving" the fire that we were told incinerated planes, passengers and black boxes, and also "survived" the collapse of the building it was in. When common sense tells you if that were true then they should start making buildings and airliners out of heavy paper and plastic so as to be "indestructable" like that magic passport. The hijackers even used their magical powers to bring at least seven of their number back to life, to appear at american embassies outraged at being blamed for 9/11!! BBC reported on that and it is still online. Nevertheless, they also used magical powers to make the american government look like it was covering something up in the aftermath of this, what with the hasty removal of the steel debris and having it driven to ports in trucks with GPS locators on them, to be shipped overseas to China and India to be melted down. When common sense again tells you that this is paradoxical in that if the steel was so unimportant that they didn't bother saving some for analysis but so important as to require GPS locators on the trucks with one driver losing his job because he stopped to get lunch. Hmmmm. Further making themselves look guilty, the Bush administration steadfastly refused for over a year to allow a commission to investigate 9/11 to even be formed, only agreeing to it on the conditions that they get to dictate its scope, meaning it was based on the false pretense of the "official story" being true with no other alternatives allowed to be considered, handpicked all its members making sure the ones picked had vested interests in the truth remaining buried, and with Bush and Cheney only "testifying" together, only for an hour, behind closed doors, with their attorneys present and with their "testimonies" not being recorded by tape or even written down in notes. Yes, this whole story smacks of the utmost idiocy and fantastic far-fetched lying, but it is amazingly enough what some people believe. Even now, five years later, the provably false fairy tale of the "nineteen hijackers" is heard repeated again and again, and is accepted without question by so many Americans. Which is itself a testament to the innate psychological cowardice of the American sheeple, i mean people, and their abject willingness to believe something, ANYTHING, no matter how ridiculous in order to avoid facing a scary uncomfortable truth. Time to wake up America.

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سما كلين said...
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