Monday, January 23, 2017

Debbie does Boston

Debbie Schlussel's review of Patriot's Day -- the new blockbluster Hollywood movie about the Boston Marathon razzia -- is disappointing: Minor caveats aside, she gave it a thumbs up, in terms of the Counter-Jihad.  As for whether it's a good movie irrespective of the Counter-Jihad, that's another matter (to me, it wasn't that great as a thriller action movie, but rather rolled like a slightly better-than-average TV movie).

Since the movie is about arguably the second worst Islamic attack on the U.S. (though a good case can be made for the Orlando massacre, in which the Muslim involved killed far more people), the Islam angle, one would think, should be central -- at least to a lucid Counter-Jihadist like Schlussel.  And yet, she announces her review with this asseveration:

I expected this to whitewash Islam. It doesn’t.

Well, that depends on several things:  1) what constitutes "Islam"; 2) what constitutes "whitewashing"; and 3) the literacy of the critic about both the problem of Islam and the problem of the problem -- namely, the problem of the West's persisting myopia to the problem of Islam.

We'll see how Debbie fares as we continue this analysis.

Concerning the Kevin Bacon character, a high-ranking FBI agent, Schlussel says:

The film also shows the disproportionate concern that then-Boston FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers (he was Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI before that) had for Muslims and the usual fictional, non-existent “backlash” against them. DesLauriers (played here by Kevin Bacon) doesn’t want to call the Marathon bombing a “terrorist attack,” because he says it will harm Muslims. Then, when his agents and other law enforcement personnel locate the bombers’ mugs on video, DesLauriers doesn’t want to release the photos to the public for quick help in identifying and locating them, wasting valuable time and costing more lives. Again, he’s worried about putting Muslims under suspicion. (After all, the two brothers who did these attacks were not Muslim immigrants, but native-born Christians, right?) The photos were only released after someone on the team leaked them to FOX News and the network went with them. DesLauriers vowed to find the leaker, seeming more intent on that than actually finding the terrorists. Kudos to Peter Berg for showing us the FBI’s deadly political correctness.

Debbie seems to be reading into this scene.  Sure, it shows DesLauriers being anxious about his concern not to imply a general dragnet of Muslims, but he does add "We'll be crucified!" -- which could be his awareness of what a politically incorrect hot potato that would be.  Also, from what I saw of that scene, DesLauriers isn't balking at publishing the photos because, as Debbie claims, he doesn’t want to call the Marathon bombing a “terrorist attack” -- but rather because the photos, if it turns out the perps are Muslims, will imply a generalized implication of any and all Muslims.  And this pivots to the point of the problem of the problem:  PC MCs like DesLauriers have no problem robustly fighting against terrorism per se; they only have a deep problem with fighting terrorism in such a way that it hints at connecting Muslims -- especially any and all Muslims -- to terrorism.

As for DesLauriers' higher concern to go after the one who leaked the pictures to FOX news, Debbie's interpretation is debatable: to me, he's just angry in the heat of the moment, since everything else about his character in the movie implies he's on the same page in his central concern to catch the terrorists.  Interestingly, what Debbie leaves out of that scene is the single most important line of the movie, when after DesLauriers says of the pictures -- "They don't even look like prototypical jihadists!" -- the character John Goodman plays, Commissioner Ed Davis, shoots back:  "What does a 'prototypical jihadist' look like?  Do you have a picture?"  The import of that retort, however, is not developed in the movie at all, even though arguably it's probably the most significant aspect of the whole problem of terrorism, of which the Boston Marathon attack was but one of all too many examples in our time.

The import of that retort leads to the open-ended problem of the alarmingly systemic nature of the Islamic fanaticism that directly inspires and guides the global metastasis of terrorism in our time.  If one educates oneself on the problem (which would include the devastating sub-problem of taqiyya) and follows the logic, one concludes that any and all Muslims are, at best, suspect, and that comprehensive vetting on a macro scale is nearly (if not utterly) impossible.  The logic continues, when we would contemplate what we need to do to protect our societies from this metastasizing problem of terrorism.  The problem of this problem, however, involves a mass neurosis (if not a mass psychosis) of Denial throughout the West about the direction of the logic following our education on Islam.  This Denial is as much a fear of how horrifyingly open-ended the problem is, involving hundreds of millions if not 1.6 billion Muslims, as it is an anxious fear of our own potential for white Western "bigotry" and "racism".  (Often, it seems that the latter fear is more powerful, psychologically, in the hearts & minds of PC MCs, than is the former fear.)

Debbie goes on to note:

(FYI, DesLauriers is now employed as Vice President of Security at the Penske Corporation in swanky Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. If what is in this movie is true, Richard Penske and his minions aren’t safe in this dhimmidiot’s hands. Since DesLauriers appeared here in the Detroit area to promote this movie, I can only assume he’s proud of his portrayal in the film as putting Muslims first before America’s national security, which probably cost the MIT police officer his life.)

She doesn't seem to consider that DesLauriers proudly attended that movie promotion event because he saw nothing wrong with the portrayal of him in the movie -- because the movie doesn't damn him as much as Debbie, reading into it, thinks it does.

One of Debbie's caveats about the movie is on point:

There are a couple of other things I could have done without. When the Tsarnaev brothers are about to leave to the Marathon to wreak their carnage, Dzhokhar hesitates, asking his brother, “But what about Martin Luther King, Jr.?” PUH-LEEZE. As if that ever happened. There’s no evidence of it, and we don’t need a movie to soften his image and act as if he’s down wit da civil rights struggle. He’s a cold-blooded, black-hearted mass murderer. Nothing less.

However, she doesn't critically mention another moment in the movie that seemed embellished -- when the older brother, Tamerlan, after he has carjacked the hapless Chinese guy, Dun Meng, starts pontificating about how 911 was a conspiracy done by the U.S. government to make Muslims look bad.  The problem is that I haven't been able to verify that from several news stories about the Chinese guy and his role in the film, nor from the complete transcript of Dun Meng's testimony in the trial.  It's possible that the director, Peter Berg, found out that extra detail from his four hours of talking with the Chinese guy -- but I haven't seen any verification of that.  My educated suspicion is that Peter Berg added that in. Why do I think that? Aside from the fact that there's no evidence I've found to indicate that that bit of dialogue was accurately verbatim in terms of what the Chinese guy reported, it's reasonable for us to assume that Muslims know that 911 was a jihad attack and are proud of it, but they lie about that when they talk to Westerners.  That moment in the movie conveys the impression that Muslims like the Tsarnaev bothers, whose anger was driven to attack Americans, actually sincerely believe that 911 was concocted by the U.S. government to make Muslims look bad.  This then conveys to the viewers that Muslim terrorists sincerely believe in the propaganda they routinely spew out -- namely, that they are angry about the West "attacking" them in the Muslim world and lying about them, and thus they are driven to lash back.  However, if the Muslim Tsarnaev brothers were alone with their carjacking victim, it's highly unlikely that they would feel the need to continue doing their taqiyya in that circumstance -- and we already reject the supposition that Muslims sincerely believe 911 was not done by Muslims and are only lying about it in opportune circumstances (which would not plausibly be driving around with their solitary terrified carjacking victim in the dead of night).

About the elder brother's wife, Katherine Russel, an airheaded white woman who married a fanatical Muslim, Debbie writes:

In fact, there's are a couple of scenes in the movie that does what I did, but the mainstream media still won’t: showing that Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, widow of jihadi Tamerlan Tsarnaev was in on the whole thing. We know she was, but she’s been painted as some sort of innocent victim. Not in this film. In fact, she lectures an interrogator about how her participation in the plot that murdered several and wounded hundreds, is just a matter “balancing” the “duties” of being an Islamic wife.

Yes, the movie does paint the wife in a markedly suspicious way, but Schlussel is exaggerating a tad.  The movie ends the interrogation with the FBI agent played by Kevin Bacon saying that his gut tells him she's guilty.  But nothing in the interrogation proves it.  The interrogation is nicely hostile, but not decisive.  Apparently, the director/producer Peter Berg didn't bother to learn the damning evidence about her which should have moved him to make the scene more definitive.  As it stands, the audience could come away thinking she was fooled by her romanticized conception of the Islam she converted to (amplified by her love for her husband) into a hazy, vague enablement of his jihad plans.

Debbie's final sentence of her review:

Other than that, though, I thought the movie did a very good job of telling a story–a real-life story–and not lying about who did it and why.

I responded on her blog:

"Did the movie say that the Boston Marathon jihadists were Muslims (the who), who did it because they were following the fanatical dictates of mainstream Islam, the same mainstream Islam of all Muslims (that would be the why)? If the movie didn’t explicitly and centrally document & dramatize both this how and why, then it lied."

She responded to me:

The movie made no attempt to hide that they were Muslims and acknowledged that they were and that she, the wife, was a “wife of a Muslim.” 

Here, Debbie demonstrates an incomprehension of the problem of the problem -- namely, that the PC MC West distinguishes Muslims into a tiny minority of "radical Islamist extremist Salafists" on the one hand, and the vast majority of Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism, on the other hand.  (Note too how Debbie ignored the crux of my qualification of "Muslim" -- to wit: "Did the movie say that the Boston Marathon jihadists were Muslims ...who did it because they were following the fanatical dictates of mainstream Islam, the same mainstream Islam of all Muslims...?") So if a PC MC movie can't avoid mentioning the fact that these central perps were Muslims (because in fact they were), that doesn't even begin to approximate being honest about the problem of Islamic terrorism -- unless the film delves into this problem by dramatizing the problem of Muslims in general (by, among other things, developing -- which it doesn't -- the one good line of the movie I mentioned above:  "What does a 'prototypical jihadist' look like?  Do you have a picture?").  To fail to do this is, in fact, propaganda by omission.  Also, the movie has many long scenes of the two Muslim jihadists in their interactions with the Chinese guy whose car they carjacked -- but not once did director Peter Berg have them say, as the Chinese guy in fact testified in court:

Meng testified that as Tamerlan drove him around, the now-deceased suspect told him: “I'm Muslim. Muslims hate Americans."

See also the complete court transcript of the Chinese guy's testimony.

Also see my two comments to a reader, (named "Nobody") below in the comments section, for more details that flesh out my argument in my essay here.

Instead, director Peter Berg lays it on thick with how bad the two were, and how they threatened and terrorized the Chinese guy with a gun -- all in vaguely general ways that any hardened violent criminals would do.  With zero religious (Islamic) references (except the specious blather about 911 being a US conspiracy).  Similarly, Peter Berg failed to include the key detail provided by the Chinese guy, that much of the time he was in their presence, they were speaking a foreign language:

Meng testified he could not understand the brothers, who were speaking in a foriegn [sic] language.

Continuing with Debbie's response to me:

The movie was about that day and the few following days when they tried to catch the guys behind it. The movie made no pretense about any of that and it was true to the chain of events. 

Here, Debbie resorts to the argument that the movie was only about the immediate attack and apprehension of the perps.  Well, sure.  But that doesn't let the movie-makers off the hook for failing to include the centrally Islamic motivations and behaviors of those perps (rather than parenthetically and tangentially showing details that indicate those motivations and behaviors -- see the numerous links I provide below substantiating this; and I only provided an incomplete list).  I stand by my assertion: Because the movie failed to show things like, for example, the Muslim Tsarnaev brothers and the white convert wife (and the mother and mother-in-law and sister, for that matter) going to mosque, praying at least once -- or how about having them freaking mentioning "Allahu akbar" or "Muhammad" or "Qur'an" or "Islam" even once out of their mouths -- it lied about the central point of the attack America suffered in Boston in 2013.  Instead, Peter Berg slyly plays up the seemingly Westernized behavior of the Tsarnaev brothers. One example of this is during their carjacking of the Chinese guy, two glaring instances of which I mentioned above.

You’re never going to get what you want from Hollywood. 

That doesn't mean that we shouldn't intelligently complain about what they produce about the problem of Islam.

This is pretty close and far better than most others. 

The locutions "pretty close" and "far better than most others" don't mean that it's satisfactory and that we shouldn't intelligently complain.  A piece of shit wrapped in fancy paper and doused in perfume may be "far better" than a stream of sewage let loose into a nice home, but it's still a piece of shit.

The movie did NOT lie. It appears that you did NOT even see it, since you incorrectly wrote that the woman who interrogated the wife was a Muslima, and the movie makes clear she wasn’t and was just pretending. 

Nope.  I saw the movie.  It does not "make clear" that the interrogator is not a Muslima.  At best, it remains ambiguous.  All she does is take off her hijab when she leaves the interrogation room.  That's hardly proof that she's not Muslima.  Doesn't Debbie know about the countless Muslimas in the West who pretend to be assimilated by not wearing a hijab?  What other "proof" do we have of her not being a Muslima?  She seems to drop her vaguely Middle Eastern (or African) accent later in the interrogation and after it; so there exist no Muslimas in the West (working for the US government and Homeland to boot) who don't have accents?  And again, the movie at no point shows the interrogator say "I am not a Muslim" nor any of her colleagues say the same.  Why is Debbie being this specious on this point?

Another sly (or ignorant) thing the director, Peter Berg, does in the movie is make it seem like the young hip college roommates/friends of the Muslim terrorists were just hapless pot-smoking punks; however, several of the links I provide below indicate otherwise about at least a couple of them.

I end this essay with links to just a few stories from Jihad Watch (which relays reports from other mostly mainstream news sites) of information relavant to this which the director of Patriot's Day, Peter Berg, to his ignorant shame, ignored in the making of his film about this major Islamic attack on America:

Boston marathon jihad murderers' mom: Americans are terrorists my son is the best

Boston marathon jihad-murderers' mother-in-law: Islam was his obsession

Boston marathon jihadis' mom: US will pay for my sons and the sons of Islam

Boston marathon jihad mass murderers' sister: "I have people I know, people that can put a bomb where you live"

Boston marathon murderer had Qur'an quotes, jihad material on his computer

Boston marathon jihadi's sister avoids jail by admitting she misled police

Washington state Muslima suspect of funding jihadis called Boston marathon jihad bombing a blessing

Boston Globe: Muslims at jihad-terror-tied Islamic Society of Boston reassured after Boston Marathon jihad massacre

Feds searching for friend of Boston marathon jihad murderer: alarming jihad imagery posted online

Imam of Boston marathon jihadis' mosque apologizes to Islamic State

Boston marathon jihad murderers' friend convicted of lying to the FBI

Friend of Boston marathon jihad mass murderer found guilty of hindering FBI investigation

Boston marathon jihad murderers' friend wire $71,000 to people in six countries using false names

Friend of Boston marathon jihad bombers attacked FBI agent after agreeing to give statement about his involvement in jihad murders

City of Boston gave subsidy to Boston marathon jihadists' mosque

Boston marathon jihad murderer: I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger

Before Boston bombing, Tsarnaev's wife searched for "wife of mujahideen"

Boston marathon jihad bomber was "very, very religious", gave friend Protocols of the Elders of Zion

New Bedford Massacchusetts: Two Muslims from Kazakhstan arrested, associates of Boston marathon jihadis

The FBI could have stopped the Boston marathon jihad bombing

Boston jihad bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev: "I'm very religious"

Boston Muslim who had Islamic rebirth shoots two police officers

Imam at Boston jihadis' mosque: "Islam literally means a practice of peace"

Oklahoma beheader's mosque once led by Imam of the Boston jihadis' mosque

Orlando jihadi pledged allegiance to ISIS mentioned Boston jihadis in 911 call

Boston Islamic center with ties to multiple jihad terrorists hosts interfaith call for peace

Support for al Qaeda jihadis preached at New England's largest mosque

Accomplice? Boston jihad murderers' widow refused to cooperate with FBI

Cousin: Tamerlan Tsarnaev went to Russia looking for jihad

Boston jihad murderer Dzhokhar Tsarnaev posted video calling for jihad in Syria


Nobody said...

Hesperado, a movie about the Boston Marathon bombing cannot and need not say anything about Muslims other than the Tsarnaev family, who was involved in this act. And within that, they did a reasonable job.

First of all, they depicted the older brother Tamerlan as a fanatic as well as a truther. He proudly admitted to the Chinese hostage that he abducted that he did the bombing, and then, he lectured him about 9/11 Trutherisms, claiming that the US government did 9/11. Which was funny: given how proud he was of having bombed this marathon in the name of Islam, he should happily have endorsed the 9/11 acts as a pious act similar to his own, instead of mouthing those Truther statements.

The second part, as Debbie pointed out, was that they painted his wife Kathy as being somewhat in on it, even though in the credits at the end, it mentioned that they were unable to prove anything about her guilt. If this movie was about giving Muslims a pass, they wouldn't have shown any of the scenes involving her. Note that in real life, since her husband's death, she not only insisted to her family that she'd remain a Muslima, she went on to marry another Muslim and have another kid from him. I certainly believe that she was more involved in this plot than what the investigation determined, but given that the investigation didn't find any evidence of guilt, the movie could have very legitimately given her a pass, but to their credit, they didn't

The only part where they may have watered down the depiction was w/ the surviving brother Dzhokar, who was depicted as doing everything out of being intimidated by his brother. They didn't show anything on his part beyond his surrender, and certainly made him look a tad sympathetic.

Also, while the movie may not have intended to paint Richard DesLauriers as someone excessively obsessed w/ the well being of Muslims, the fact that after depicting that part accurately, they also showed Officer Sean Collier being killed by Tamerlan. Indirectly, anybody watching the movie can fairly conclude that DesLauriers was indirectly responsible for the death of Officer Collier.

While I didn't have much use for the 'Boston Strong' sloganeering at the end, one thing I did like about the movie is that it made no attempt to go out of its way to exonerate the Muslim community or any subset of it.

Hesperado said...

Nobody, I just spent 45 minutes responding to just half of your comment, but I lost the entire comment. Rather than write it over, I would ask you to re-read my essay, which refutes all of your points.

Hesperado said...


You wrote:

"a movie about the Boston Marathon bombing cannot and need not say anything about Muslims other than the Tsarnaev family, who was involved in this act."

I am frankly flabbergasted by your low expectations. However, your sentence contradicts itself, betweeen the "cannot" and the "need not". If something cannot be done, there's no need to point out it need not be done.

Logical contradiction aside, it's the "need not", of course, that flabbergasts me. I wouldn't have that reaction if I didn't know you were solidly anti-Islam.

Anyway, your objection is, I'm afraid to say and forgive me for being blunt, nonsense. First, movies are a narrative art form, where not everything needs to be literally prosaic. There are ways to imply the general Muslim-ness of the Tsarnaevs. For example, drawing from actual facts the director should have known already (since the stories came out at least two years before he made the movie -- see my list of links in my essay for just a few): Show the Tsarnaev brothers with their Muslim father going to mosque at least once. Show them socializing with other Muslims at mosque (before and/or after prayer). Show the Tsarnaev Muslim convert wife of Tamerlan attending mosque; and if the Tsarnaev Muslim mother was in Boston at the time (both parents were in Boston up to a certain date), have the wife attend with the mosque. Show the Tsarnaev brothers, in between their snacking on American junk food, watching videos, playing video games, texting on their phone (all of which Peter Berg the director shows to lay on thick how thoroughly Americanized they were) -- show them roll out their prayer rugs and pray, reciting the Arabic prayer, which the director could display with a translation as subtitles.

The movie failed in other related ways: During the carjacking scene of the Chinese guy, three failures:

1) according to court testimony, the Chinese guy recounted that much of the time, they spoke a foreign language he could not understand (obviously not English, since he could understand English). From the court testimony:

"Every time when they talk to each other, they speak in a different language. When they
speak to me, we talk in English." (I provide the link in my essay to a news site that refers to this, and just now I found the actual court transcript --

Peter Berg the director in failing to depict this was making the brothers out to be more Americanized than they were.

2) according to an interview, the Chinese guy recounted that Tamerlan told him "I'm a Muslim. Muslims hate Americans". (I provide the link in my essay.) Peter Berg the director failed to put that in.

Hesperado said...

[continued from last post]

3) Instead, Peter Berg the director adds in that palaver about 911, which I have not been able to verify. I combed through several interviews and stories about the Chinese guy, and not once in the complete court transcript of his testimony did the Chinese guy mention that Tamerlan or his brother say anything remotely to do with the 911 attacks.

The only testimony about "911" is about how the Chinese guy, after he made a run for it, desperately asked a gas station attendant to call the police:

"Please call 911. Please."

I thus reasonably conclude Peter Berg just made that part up, to add a motive to the Boston attack -- the same grievvance-mongering motive Muslims routinely peddle with their taqiyya, trying to make it seem like terrorists are only desperately lashing back against an America, a West, that is "attacking" them and lying about them (hence a 911 conspiracy). So not only does Peter Berg leave crucial stuff out, he adds in something that only helps Islamic propaganda (read what I say about this in my essay as well).

Furthermore, on reading the full transcript of the Chinese guy (and Peter Berg in interviews makes a big deal out of how important this witness was to the whole case), I note something else Peter Berg the director left out. At one point, they circle back (Tamerlan driving the Chinese guy's Mercedes) to the sedan which they had been driving before, and Dzhokhar gets out and retrieves something which the Chinese guy thinks was probably a CD, because, he says:

“…later on they put a CD into my car to play music . Very different music . A style I never heard of before .
Q. How would you describe that kind of music ?
A. I would describe it as a little bit weird . It sounds like religious .
Q. It sounds very religious ?
A. Yeah .
Q. How did that make you feel when that music was being played in your car?
A. Nervous.”

Furthermore, Peter Berg the director has a couple of scenes where they're in the car where Tamerlan is yelling at Dzhokhar -- clearly making it seem like Tamerlan is running the show and the younger brother is being kind of pressured to go along -- conveying the impression that the defense team of the trial was trying to paint, that young Dzhokhar was a hapless teenager who was in over his head, being led about by his older brother. However, two times in the court transcript, the lawyer asks the Chinese guy if during all the time the brothers were with him, did they have any heated conversations (even though it was mostly in a foreign language, did he detect any anger between them), and the Chinese guy said no. Then the lawyer asks:

"Q. And did you ever see him [Tamerlan] yell at his brother?

A. No. I didn't see."