Friday, November 25, 2005

Just Asking

From a San Bernardino Sun review of Syriana by Glenn Whipple:
Clooney's disaffected agent is but one of many characters populating the richly detailed "Syriana." In another plot thread, Damon plays an energy analyst who becomes friendly with the reform-minded Prince Nasir (Alexander Siddig), a leader-in-waiting of an oil-rich gulf country. Nasir wants to bypass a long-standing deal with U.S. business interests and sell his oil to the highest bidder, plowing the profits into a much-needed upgrade of his country's infrastructure. Needless to say, the American oil companies aren't happy with the possible switch.

Elsewhere, we see an ambitious attorney (Jeffrey Wright) trying to wedge the merger of two oil companies through a Justice Department investigation, while his boss (Christopher Plummer) labors to ensure that Nasir's reforms remain pipe dreams and that U.S. oil interests will continue to dominate...

"The job of the film is to show the process that leads to terrorism - and at least understand that there is a process involved," Clooney says. "If you are fighting a war against an idea, you have to understand what creates that idea. It's much more complicated than saying, 'These people hate a liberal society and that's why they want to kill us.' The danger in that is that we're not trying to glorify these characters," Clooney continues.

"But it's not just about labeling things as 'good' and 'bad.' I think people are coming to see that what's called 'the war on terror' is more complex than what was initially presented. And I think there's the opening of the ability to discuss these issues without being called a traitor. That's all this movie is doing. It's saying, 'Let's ask some questions.' "
Ok, let's ask some questions, Mr. Clooney:

When can we expect Hollywood to examine the process by which adult American whites joined the Ku Klux Klan and blew up black choirgirls in Birmingham, Alabama?

Would your participation in the project depend on the strength of the script?

Do you regret owing allegiance to a constitutional republic instead of the sort of benevolent despotism that
Syriana laments?

Do you see any such benevolent despotism out there?

Would you consider dual citizenship with that despotism?

Would it be fair to say that US oil companies direct OPEC?

Why do American firms permit the existence of European competitors?

Can you explain your understanding of a real difference between glorifying something, tolerating something, and refusing to label something as good and bad?

There weren't any American oil companies in Libya from 1986-2004, and there haven't been any American oil companies in Iran since 1979. How would you rate the progress towards liberalization, development, and curtailment of terrorism in those countries in the absence of the insidious influence of American "Big Oil"?

How do you respond to the thesis that the American Left is essentially Americentric, that it focuses entirely on altering American policy and attitudes because it is impotent to reform anything foriegn?

Just asking some questions.

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