Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Path to 9/11 Censorship

Censorship is wrong no matter who does it. The ABC television mini-series, "The Path to 9/11", is under attack. Democrat Senators and Congressmen, former President Clinton and his lawyers are using suasory pressure, threats of legalisms so far accomplishing some changes to the film that may, in fact, have been morphing without the protests, and making the Clintonista Democrats look fools. Although there is talk that the series will not air, E!Online says

the network has not bowed to pressure from former Cabinet members and left-wing groups to "dump," "yank" or otherwise pull the movie from the schedule.
Films, "docu-dramas", mini-series, and tele-novelas are not facts or history; they are movies and, as such, are entertainment. "P9/11" may be based on a true story, but so was "JFK" and "The Alamo". John Kennedy was President of the United States and, yes, he was assassinated and the movie makers got that right. The verisimilitude ends there. The Alamo truly was in Texas and the Texicans within were killed by Mexican troops under General Santa Ana. What happened to Davy Crockett and Colonel Travis is mostly guesswork. The only other part we know is one man rode out with a message to Sam Houston. It read, "Ah, Houston, we have a problem." But the line was left out only to be used in another movie based in fact, "Apollo 13".

The current controversy and movie, "Path to 9/11", is based on true events. How those events are interpreted is anyone's guess until the series is shown. I would suspect anyone familiar with the events surrounding the real 9/11 attacks will find plenty of fault in "P9/11". It may even turn out that the only "facts" will be two airliners crashed into the Towers and they fell.

What I see as the truly important aspect here is the blatant disregard for the First Amendment guaranteeing the movie makers the right to create their version of events as they see fit. The characters involved are public figures and under court decision (mostly liberal courts) are fair game for interpretation and depiction so long as the public figure is not targeted with malicious intent and the generalized depiction serves the greater scope of the story.

True or false fictionalized accounts of many historical events have helped the general public "visualize" history that may be otherwise seen as terribly opaque and eye-glazing. Jeff Shaara has made a good living fictionalizing the American Civil War; Terry C. Johnston brings to life actual events of the Old West through fiction. Hollywood has fictionalized realty for decades. "Lawrence of Arabia" is a grand move and winner of 7 Academy Awards, but is no more "true" than "Julius Caesar" by Shakespeare. Depictions of Wyatt Earp are numerous, and "Tombstone" is one of the best. It is, however, not true; it's no more true than "My Darling, Clementine" or"Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter".

The point is this - movie makers and book writers have the right to produce whatever crap they damned well want. The 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America says so. The only place individuals are obligated to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is in a court of law.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.


Reel Fanatic said...

You're definitely right about censorship being wrong in any form, but it's not just the Democrats who look bad in this sorded affair ... ABC should never have greenlighted a "docudrama" on this horrid subject, especially one written by such a partisan source .. I'm gonna do my own small part by simply tuning out

bernie said...

You fail to mention that in order to enjoy "Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter" (which I believe is a true story as well as that Islam is the Religion of Peace) you have to watch it with "Billy the Kid versus Dracula" also by the same director and produced as part of a double feature in order to make the viewing that much more pleasurable.

These two movies, produced when the tax laws allowed to deduct for movie losses against ordinary income, proves that US tax policy can sometimes cause enormous waste and even intolerable pain to the American public.

Indigo Red said...

Reel Fanatic -

Tuning out is the only valid censorship. This reminds me of a Bill Cosby bit called "Chicken Heart", a horror tale told on radio when Bill and his little brother Russel were left home when the parents went out for the evening. The Chicken Heart was devouring New York City and it was coming closer to Bill's house...THUMP,'s in your neighborhood...THUMP, thump,,,it's on your street...THUMP,'s at your back door...THUMP,THUMP...Bill smears Jell-o on the kitchen's coming through the door...THUMP...

Just then his parents return and enter the kitchen and dad slips on the Jell-o. What the...he yells.

Dad, dad! The Giant Chicken Heart is going to eat us, says young Bill. What are you talking about, asks Dad. It's on the radio, the Giant Chicken Heart ate New York and now it's going to eat us! explained Bill.


I learned alot from the Coz.

Bernie -

I debated a moment which to use Jesse Meets F's Daugter or Billy VS. Dracula. I had only seen Jesse & Frankenstein on TV because Dracula scared the hell out me (still does!).