Gawker: ‘13 Hours’ Premiere Took Place In Area That’s ‘Home to Some of the Most Reactionary Politics In the Country’

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is, of course, part of the Bible Belt. Nonetheless, according to Christopher Hooks, another faith flourishes there: “It’s also a place that’s responsible in large part for the rise of the new civic religion built around the worship of the most lethal among us.”

Hooks, an Austin-based journalist, was one of about 30,000 persons who attended last week’s world premiere of 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi at AT&T Stadium, best known as the home of the Dallas Cowboys. He detailed what he saw in a Friday article for Gawker, the gossipy New York website that of late has become much more politics-oriented.

Though Hooks found 13 Hours technically accomplished, he asserted that its “moral landscape…is poisonous.” That said, he acknowledged, “Visions of hyper-competent gunmen able to navigate a bloody and confusing world are deeply soothing to many people. 13 Hours is a movie in which strong men hold all the answers, and most everyone else is full of shit. As the Obama era ends, that captures the mood among many Americans quite nicely…It’s also an artifact of a culture that is slowly becoming accustomed to, and finding things to celebrate in, endless war.”

As for why Arlington, Texas was a fitting locale for the premiere of such a film, Hooks commented that it’s “the spiritual center of…a great galactic plane of young suburbs home to some of the most reactionary politics in the country.”

From Hooks’s piece (bolding added):

[Director Michael] Bay insists…that 13 Hours…is “non-political.” That’s true inasmuch as the movie does not mention Hillary Clinton’s name. In every other way, of course, the claim is horseshit…[I]t will make an indelible mark on the presidential race, and conservatives know it…

[Last] Tuesday’s carnival laid bare the strange and changing nature of the Benghazi obsession—the odd way it veers from sincere and mournful to maudlin and kitschy, the way it’s been instrumentalized…

Bay has an almost pornographic feel for the physics of modern war…But the human element is less firmly in his grasp, and the moral landscape of the movie is poisonous…

...Quite a few people in the audience had anti-Hillary swag: One wore a shirt that extolled the virtues of waterboarding…

Will the movie inflame anger about Benghazi? Many conservatives hope so. The movie has been repeatedly subjected to salivating and lusty write-ups in National Review Online

Why did 13 Hours premiere in Arlington?...Bay said he had come because the city was “the heartland of America”…

…Arlington is…the spiritual center of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, a great galactic plane of young suburbs home to some of the most reactionary politics in the country. What happens here steers America, but it’s often less visible in the wider culture than what happens elsewhere.

It’s also a place that’s responsible in large part for the rise of the new civic religion built around the worship of the most lethal among us. This shift, which manifested in the culture some time before Hollywood began to capitalize on it, was partly born of the interest in Navy SEALs after the death of Osama bin Laden. But it’s also partly created by the warriors themselves.

Chris Kyle of American Sniper fame had much to do with this. After Kyle left the Navy in 2009 and moved to Midlothian, Texas, 25 miles southeast of Arlington, he skillfully made himself into a media figure…When he was murdered by another vet with severe psychological problems, he became a martyr. AT&T Stadium was the site of his memorial service, with his casket sitting on the 50 yard line…

Visions of hyper-competent gunmen able to navigate a bloody and confusing world are deeply soothing to many people. 13 Hours is a movie in which strong men hold all the answers, and most everyone else is full of shit. As the Obama era ends, that captures the mood among many Americans quite nicely…

…It’s also an artifact of a culture that is slowly becoming accustomed to, and finding things to celebrate in, endless war. A culture in which sacrifice is glorified, but the reason for the sacrifice—and the wisdom of it—need not be addressed.

Tom Johnson
Tom Johnson
Tom Johnson is a contributing writer for NewsBusters