As the influence of new media increases, while the role of the antique mainstream media decreases, we can watch how the old guys handle various stories…
The Case of Abdur Rahman
At this moment, it would appear that Mr. Rahman, set to be executed in Afghanistan for the heinous crime of converting from Islam to Christianity, will be released. Apparently, even a medieval Muslim society is not immune to the pressures of various other governments, and, of course, the glare of the international media.
It is ironic, though, that members of the media, most of whom are surely functionally atheist, should care so much about quaint religious matters in a far-off country. Instead, the publicity garnered here was obviously meant to embarrass the Bush administration. After all, in the astoundingly superficial and naive levels of understanding we have come to expect from the antique mainstream media, if Bush was able to defeat the Taliban government militarily, it would necessarily follow that Kabul would be immediately turned into San Francisco, right?
Far from caring about the fate of Rahman, they would have been delighted if he were to have been executed. However, the intended strategy of publicizing this case backfired. Abdur Rahman is safe, and George W. has dodged another bullet.
Movie–Inside Man (SPOILERS)
The current box office champ, this pic portrays a supposed bank heist, that is actually something else. Most of the reviews have been mildly positive, and a few have delved into only the most obvious of the plot holes. Indeed, there is little wrong with helmer Spike Lee’s direction. The fault is all in the script.
As the heist unfolds, the perps have no intention of making a quick getaway, and an elaborate—far too elaborate—hostage situation develops. All those within the bank, including the offenders, don identical coveralls, and when the time is right, simultaneously exit the bank under cover of a smoke bomb. Since the perps have never shown their faces (although they certainly have used their voices) they will supposedly blend into the panicked exiting crowd, and will bluff their way through the subsequent investigation.
Without a doubt, there are problems with this scenario, but we’ll let them go for now.
After much exposition, including the intervention of a completely pointless character played by Jodie Foster, the heist is revealed to be a ruse to obtain certain items from a safe deposit box within the bank. Among these items are diamonds, that will enrich the offenders, who notably left untouched the considerable cash contents of the conveniently wide-open vault. But the real prize seems to be documents that will prove that the owner of the banking company in question founded his fortune on doing banking for the Nazis.
Many critics did ask why our banker would keep such incriminating documents at all—other than to drive the plot. Good point, but let’s go deeper.
If there is something inherently wrong with being the banker to a legitimately constituted, albeit evil government, then there are hundreds of real-life pariahs at present, and thousands throughout history. If we add to the list governments that were not legitimately put into power, then the numbers would be staggering. So what?
And who established the Nazis as the gold standard of evil, anyway? Stalin, Mao, and even Belgium’s King Leopold have more direct blood on their hands, while Islamic terrorists specifically target innocents as a matter of course, as well as cowardice, in their paramilitary tactics. The inescapable fact is that although they were socialists, the Nazis were avowed anti-Communists, and that is about as evil as it gets in the minds of the intelligentsia that care about such things. But I digress.
How did our lead perp know exactly which safe deposit box contained the prize, since it was kept secret ever since 1948, and was on no bank records? Moreover, if he already knew about the bank CEO’s history, why bother with the evidence, especially since obtaining it would jeopardize dozens of innocent lives? Why not simply expose the man to the willing media?
A weak explanation is that the diamonds were given to our banker by Jewish friends for safekeeping, but they all perished in concentration camps. Perhaps the ringleader was a descendant of the original owners, and wanted his inheritance. But, this raises other questions as to how an affluent family, with important connections, was not able to make good their escape from Nazi Germany in the first place, or who was left standing that would know about the diamonds, and why it took 60 years for someone to do something about it, and why he could just have not confronted the guilt-ridden banker.
That none of these points were raised in any review of the film at least demonstrates again that the antique mainstream media is consistent in its superficial approach to all stories, whether they be hard news or movie reviews.