Lefty Professor: What Do ‘American Sniper’ and Republicans Have in Common? ‘Delusion and Aggressive Violence’

Liberals sneered at George W. Bush for saying “I don’t do nuance.” It’s unsurprising, then, that lefty Penn State professor Sophia McClennen dislikes the mega-hit movie American Sniper, since in her judgment it has not merely “no nuance” but also “no context and no subtlety.”

In a Monday article for Salon, McClennen asserted that American Sniper and the Republican party share a “combination of delusion and aggressive violence”; that when Chris Kyle (played by Bradley Cooper) “zero[es] in on a pinpointed target…we are reminded of the ways that such a narrow, aggressive vision is itself a metaphor for GOP beliefs”; and that the film’s director, Clint Eastwood, “represents a dark, disturbing feature of the GOP mind-set.”

From McClennen’s piece (bolding added):

Much has been made recently about the inaccurate representation of Chris Kyle in “American Sniper.” We’ve learned that, despite the fact that the film depicts Kyle as a hero and a martyr, the real American sniper was heartless and cruel...

…In addition to sugarcoating Kyle, the film suffers from…a complete inability to see the larger picture. And that is why criticism of the film has to look at its director, Clint Eastwood, and the troubling ways he represents a dark, disturbing feature of the GOP mind-set.

…[We] need to remember two key moments in recent Eastwood public appearances. The first took place in 2005 when Eastwood confronted filmmaker Michael Moore at the National Board of Review dinner, where both men were being honored…After Eastwood accepted his award, he directed comments at Moore. “Michael Moore and I actually have a lot in common – we both appreciate living in a country where there’s free expression.” Eastwood then added: “But, Michael, if you ever show up at my front door with a camera – I’ll kill you. I mean it.” The tone was I’m sort of joking, but maybe not really joking, provoking nervous laughter from both the audience and Moore himself…

...Eastwood’s reaction tells us a lot about the way that some members of the GOP treat those with whom they disagree. If you don’t agree with me on guns, I’ll just kill you.

The second event took place at the Republican National Convention in 2012 when Eastwood delivered a monologue to an empty chair, which supposedly had an invisible Barack Obama sitting in it…

…On “The Daily Show,” [Jon] Stewart explained that Eastwood’s performance could be understood as a metaphor for the existence of a president that only exists in the minds of the GOP…

These two events taken together help explain what’s wrong with “American Sniper.” They illustrate the combination of delusion and aggressive violence that governs too much of GOP politics.

...The film draws a direct link between the events of 9/11 and the war in Iraq…

…[That] link is delusional, but it is also a common link in public perceptions of those on the right who watch Fox News…

The second problem is the culture of violence…[In “American Sniper,” Kyle] divides the world into categories. As his father puts it in the film, there are wolves (those that want to kill you), sheep and sheep dogs (who have to protect the sheep from the wolves)… [T]hese categories are also defined solely by a logic of violence and aggression…Iraqis are almost all depicted as wolves, even women and children…

But the fact that the film has no nuance, no context and no subtlety should not surprise us...We watch Kyle zero in on a pinpointed target and we are reminded of the ways that such a narrow, aggressive vision is itself a metaphor for GOP beliefs. This is a movie that’s not just about a sniper, but also about an attitude that threatens to destroy any chance in our nation for political compromise and productive debate.

2012 Republican Convention Foreign Policy Iraq Military War on Terrorism Conservatives & Republicans Salon Entertainment Media Movies Fox News Channel Chris Kyle Clint Eastwood


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