Patriotic Film Provokes PC Scorn

The radical left can’t abide expressions of American patriotism, which are an affront to their sneering conviction that this country is the fount of all oppression and evil. For them, patriotism = jingoism. They find the very image of the Stars and Stripes itself jingoistic, which is one reason they’re always trying to replace it with a variation featuring Barack Obama’s face, logo or name. Hence the director of 2009’s GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra, explaining why his movie featuring a patriotic American icon was scrubbed of any patriotic American symbolism like flags, said “It’s an Obama world now.” Indeed it is, and so it’s open season for the left on any movie that might display unabashed patriotism – like Red Dawn.

If you haven’t already heard, Red Dawn –a remake of the 1984 original – features a handful of young Americans in Washington State taking on an invading force from North Korea. Yes, North Korea – not exactly a credible invasion threat, but an enemy of America to be sure. The invaders in the Cold War era of the original film were Soviet Communists, and the remake’s original script replaced Russians with the Chinese – but concerns about rubbing China the wrong way prompted the producers of the updated version to switch to North Korea (at least Hollywood went with a real-world enemy instead of the politically safer option: aliens, as in Independence Day or Battle L.A.). “No one would distribute the film if the enemy was China,” says producer Tripp Vinson. That country’s investment money, booming film industry, and surging moviegoing audience are the looming future of the entertainment biz.

I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I can’t speak to its cinematic quality. But the film’s quality is irrelevant to the issue of the hostility directed toward it, for its apparent patriotism, by the community of left-leaning movie reviewers. And no reviewer I’ve read so far takes the complaint quite so ludicrously far as the Wall Street Journal’s Jeff Yang.

Yang found it impossible to “swallow [Red Dawn’s] manipulative, horse-pill jingoism,” by which he means the depiction of Americans as the good guys, unapologetically defending American soil against invasion. This is unacceptable, so naturally Yang reaches for the left’s go-to nuclear weapon, the race card. He complains that the fact that Red Dawn makes use of any Asians as bad guys “plays readily into classical stereotypes”:

Those that depict Asia as a Mordor-like netherland where every hand wields a weapon and every weapon points at the throat of the civilized West — and those that treat Asians as an interchangeable, all-same mass. Can’t offend these Asians? Well, let’s just say they’re those Asians instead. A little cosmetic adjustment to flags and uniforms, and we’re off to the races.

Who thinks that way? Only the straw men in Yang’s race-obsessed mind. Certainly no one among the PC-straightjacketed, hand-wringing cowards in Hollywood, who would rather cut their own throats than offend anyone except Tea Partiers. Yang’s weird assertion is that, to the supposedly bigoted producers and their supposedly bigoted audience, any Asian country would suffice instead of China, because it’s all the same “Yellow Menace” to them.

But the producers didn’t pick just any Asian alternative; they didn’t make the invading force from Bhutan or Thailand or Japan. They chose North Korea, which is our enemy, however unlikely it is to actually invade us. Red Dawn producer Vinson tried to push past the controversy about North Koreans by explaining that the film is “not about who the enemy is. The enemy could be anybody.” No, it couldn’t. It couldn’t be Bhutan or Thailand or Japan, because audiences know that these countries are not our enemies, and would therefore find it even more unbelievable than North Koreans parachuting into the U.S.

In any case, Yang poses the question, “But if… the enemy could be anybody — and given that the film’s appeal is inextricably rooted in us-versus-them jingoism — why bow to the darkest fringe-element xenophobes and conspiracists by making them Asian? Why even make them human?” Why not make the enemy “the undead” or “an invasion of vampires,” Yang wonders, exposing his own xenophobia against the much-maligned undead and vampires. “Every underdog trope, every patriotic theme, every soul-stirring rally-to-the-flag moment could remain intact, without the potential to inflame hate.”

“Us-versus-them jingoism”? I’m sorry, Mr. Yang, but wartime is by definition us-versus-them, and deluding yourself otherwise is how you lose wars, including culture wars. How is it jingoistic to unite against those trying to kill you and conquer your homeland? Funny how the left never labels our enemies as jingoistic. Why don’t they call the North Korean or Iranian regime jingoistic and racist? Why don’t they call openly supremacist Arab terrorists jingoistic and racist? Why only Americans?

To Yang and his ilk, if a cinematic enemy is Asian or Muslim or anything other than a white businessman or Aryan Europeans like the GQ-styled terrorists of Die Hard, then we’re racist for fighting back. That is one big reason that Nazis are the only foreign enemies Hollywood is comfortable depicting as unequivocal bad guys. 2002’s The Sum of All Fears, for example, is a famous example in which political correctness forced the bad guys of Tom Clancy’s original novel to be changed from Muslim terrorists to neo-Nazis.

The Castro/Chavez/Ahmadinejad-embracing left never acknowledges that America has external enemies (or internal ones, for that matter, but let’s stay on topic). They consider rational wariness about actual enemies to be “paranoia”; if that enemy is non-white, they dismiss it as “xenophobic” (Yang used both insulting labels in a different article about Red Dawn). Apart from the fact that North Korea is not going to invade us, they are an enemy, so it’s neither paranoid nor xenophobic to cast them as the bad guys.

But the only movie enemy that Americans are allowed to engage without incurring hateful labels from PC policemen like Yang are nonexistent ones like vampires. Real-world enemies are off limits, because in the left’s warped mind, America itself is the real enemy.

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  • harrylies

    Doesn't Frontpage bash Hollywood all the time? Now they praise it. As Dorthoy Parker said in the 1920s, the only ism Hollywood believes is plagarism. This is a remake of a 1984 movie. Liked the original. Have yet to see the remake.

    People are watching "Twilight". Look at the box office results. They are also watching "Lincoln". Lincoln said the Founding Fathers made a mistake with slavery. Time for Hollywood-bashing. Mind you, chances are "Red Dawn" probably does not have to make a lot of money,

    • adamjw2

      You didn’t read the article, did you?

    • deanr

      hey yang i know some parks and kims from south korea
      just trade their white korean faces and substitute the south korean flag
      i know these men would go wolverine until finally the long suffering korean people get some peace
      also, i bet some in hollywood would love to go tibetan wolverine

    • Mary Sue

      Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. This article wasn't about bashing "Hollywood" it's about bashing the idiots in Hollywood and in the world that object to films like the new Red Dawn based on politically correct horse puckey.

  • Tanner

    Right on Mark! I agree. I fear that one day, Hollywood will make all Christians, Israeli Jews, and freedom lovers as the bad guys in future films to come, and that radical Islamists and Communists will be portrayed as peaceful gun-slinging savages. In other words, they'll make good as evil, and make evil as good. I have a feeling that one day, Hollywood will go to far. This is more than a culture war. As the saying goes in the video game Homefront, "Home is where the war is."

    • RoguePatriot6

      Where have you been, man? They already have. Besides Tyler Perry, I can't name a whole bunch of films where Christians are actually portrayed anymore than the silly silly stereotypes that they and others alike love to portray them. They already have portrayed people who stand by good Godly morals, as twisted, evil or in-human.

      And we allowed it to happen.

    • Raymond in DC

      In future films? It's already happening.

      "2002’s The Sum of All Fears, for example, is a famous example in which political correctness forced the bad guys of Tom Clancy’s original novel to be changed from Muslim terrorists to neo-Nazis."

      Note that the nuclear device that resulted in the destruction of Baltimore was … Israeli! Lost, buried in the desert, and forgotten. (As if!) I'm not a Clancy fan, but based on Op Center and this movie, it appears he has a problem with Israel.

      It's happening on TV too. Consider NCIS. The only "Israeli" character on network television I'm aware of, she is the daughter of the head of Mossad, initially serving in a liaison capacity. But ultimately she renounces her family and her country after Mossad abandons her in the deserts of Somalia, only to be rescued by her US colleagues. Gibbs describes Mossad (or her father, I forget) as "not one of the good guys".

    • Questions

      There hasn't been one American film yet that validates your preposterous prophecy.

  • http://frontpage richard sherman

    I’m sure Mr Yang celebrated the 3000 people murdered by Muslims on 9/11…I have no doubt he has pictures of Usamma bin Laden on his walls…He is another sociopathic left ist who hates American exceptionalism ( just like Obama) and loves it whem Muslims murder Americans.

  • MikeWood

    The left always jumps to its ready-made conclusions with its smattering of social science cliches: stereotypes, racism, sexism, jingoism, xenophobia. These pseudo-intellectual platitudes are always applied in a uniform way: as accusations of their cultural/political opponents. They never stop to think that their characterisation of their political opponents (the Right) with these labels is itself a form of stereotyping and false homogenization. Nor do they stop to think how they romantically stereotype “the other” when they look at people in other cultures, never open to the possibility that these cultures may be based on premises antithetical to liberty and equality, and with aims genuinely hostile to us and all we stand for, and against which their is no countermeasure other than superior force. No, instead, they just like to have “fun” demonising “the Right”.

  • tagalog

    The original Red Dawn was also an "us vs. them" flick, and it featured -gasp!- Cubans along with the Soviets. The whole concept of movies like "Red Dawn" is us vs. them, as is pointed out in the commentary.

    Jeff Yang, sad to say, appears to have been reaching hard for something to write about this time.

    What's his explanation for the PC willingness to avoid offending Red China and substituting North Korea? Oh yeah, it was "if we can't use one type of Asian, we'll use another." So how does he expaln the tip-toeing around radical Islam (not Islam in general) in movies like "Sum of All Fears?" After all, as the commentary points out, they're REALLY against us.

    He probably wants the kids to shout "Koala Bears!" instead of "Wolverines." Wolverines are so VICIOUS…

  • Chiggles

    What was missing from the original was Redski soldiers shooting their officers and trading their AKs for blue jeans.

  • clarespark

    We can't even identify internal enemies, let alone North Korea. Who is covering black nationalism and its ejection of the original integrationist Martin Luther King Jr. wing of the civil rights movement? I wrote about their politics and threat here:…. "Petit-bourgeois radicalism and Obama." We have an inner Fifth Column to match any external threat whatsoever. The purpose of multiculturalism is to create a mobilized anti-"white" American cadre that will hasten us along the path to non-white supremacy. See Eric Hobsbawm if you don't believe me.

  • Marty

    We'll know if hollywood ever recovers its integrity when someone there produces a full-length and accurate biographical movie of mohamad. It would require an R rating for its mass murders, rapes, and pedophilia, but there would certainly be an audience for it. Such a film would clean up at the box office. Hundreds of millions of people would flock to view it in the numerous places where islam has destroyed civilization: India alone should be good for a billion tickets.

    • tagalog

      Personally, I'd settle for a realistic movie about the 1930s under Stalin.

      I bet a really good movie could be made out of Orlando Figes' "Just Send Me Word."

    • UCSPanther

      I suspect that such a movie would garner an "X" rating as per MPAA guidelines, like Caligula.

      • Questions

        The "X" rating hasn't existed for decades. Where have you been, man?

    • Questions

      How do you know? "Avatar," which supposedly was "Leftist" and hence the sort of film people would avoid, managed to do $2.8 billion at the box office worldwide, not even including DVD sales/rentals, TV/PPV rights and streaming downloads.

      • Mary Sue

        it scored well with the Furry crowd.

  • clarespark

    So odd that the new version of Red Dawn is being trashed by the left. I used pictures from the original film in this blog:…. "History as Trauma." The notion that we have no real enemies is perfect "internationalism" with a deep Red tinge.

  • Thomas Wells

    So, I suppose Yang didn't like the movie : Tora! Tora! Tora! ?

    • tagalog

      He'd have been happier if the movie had been about the infamous Japanese attack on the Dutch colonies in the Pacific.

  • Brujo Blanco

    I suppose the enemy in this case had to be N Koreans. To pick any other group would not be politically correct. Consider a scenario when a Muslim hoard invades the US from Mexico. That would not be acceptable. In fact a good number of law enforcement organzations are not permitted to teach about Islamic violence or jihad.

    • smorgesh

      This seems to me the most correct of all the comments here.
      Hollywood is not going to let reality get in the way for profit.
      The market for ani-American films is simply an order of magnitude larger than films which are not..

    • tagalog

      Wasn't that the plot line of that Chuck Norris movie, "Invasion U.S.A.?"

  • Ghostwriter

    I think Jeff Yang is wrong. I'm not afraid of modern day Japan. They don't want to conquer my country. I like a lot of their animation. I think the Chinese/North Koreans should have been the bad guys. But they could have had a Chinese immigrant to America or a Chinese American as one of the resistance fighters. He could have been a survivor of the Cultural Revolution and this person doesn't want the same thing being imported to America.

  • mcwrath

    Yup, Hollywood is the pits really…there just are'nt any good movies comming out any more, and that is all over their political-correct dogma; which no one believes. Imagine homeland…the one focus of an enemy is a former US soldier who turned muslim in captivity and gone to bat for the Islamists..never happen…And the reality of all those jihadists plotting the destruction of America and the western world and their trying to pretend its not happening…Its treasonous.

    • Questions

      Utter stupidity. In the last several months alone, we've seen "Lawless," "Arbitrage," "The Master," "End Watch," "Trouble with the Curve," "Lincoln," "Anna Karenina," "Skyfall," and "Flight." All brilliant, not a "Leftist" film among them. If you want Red State agitprop, go make your own film.

  • pyeatte

    Perhaps Yang would like to live in N. Korea…

  • Pat D

    All I have to say is if someone is offended by American patriotism then get the "F" out of my country…..a bullet a day would take care of these problems!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Questions

      So how do you differ from a mass murderer?

    • Asher

      Maybe its time for the Americans own Jihad!

  • trickyblain

    "I haven’t seen the movie yet, (but)"

    Why haven't you seen the movie, Mark? I't's patriotic! Those don't happen much in Hollywood, as hundreds of FPM articles tell us. With a strange jealous/e"I live here! Why can't get a real job? Oh, yeah, nothing to do with ability or talent…it's my politics!" kind of tone.

    One article here today says that commies are never portrayed as enemies and only rich white people are villains in movies. Another makes a point that one of three or four communist states left in the world invades the US, in a Hollywood movie released last week.

    Author hasn't seen it, but an obscure movie reviewer that 99.999989% of us never heard of said something.
    So — premise of the article — the left hates America.
    Sad that anyone could buy this horseshoot.

  • Ghostwriter

    Well,trickyblain,the Communists were real life villains and they did things as depraved and horrifying as ANYTHING the Nazis or the Imperial Japanese did. Why don't you wise up?

  • Alice Zindagi

    Jingoism? WHAT JINGOISM? The remake had less substance than overcooked rice, and the only, I repeat the ONLY thing I liked about the movie was Captain Cho's sexy face. You probably should have actually watched the movie before writing anything on it, but I can assure you that when you finally do, you're going to be rolling around in laughter. It was utter BS. The original at least walked around with its balls out front.

    Anyway, I wrote a review of the movie if you're interested in seeing the viewpoint of a left-wing libtard who doesn't even see the jingoism.