Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Movie Demonstrates What’s Wrong With U.S.

Last week, some friends and I went to the movies to see “The Matador.” Good movie, mostly because of Pierce Brosnan’s hilarious one-liners.

But it’s not “The Matador” I want to discuss. I would like to know more about a film that hasn’t come out yet. While I was exiting the theater, I saw its preview poster hung in the corridor. The movie is entitled, “World Trade Center.”

Why am I offended, appalled, ashamed, disappointed and yet strangely not surprised by such an endeavor? After all, it’s not the first time a movie has been made about a true story of historic scope, about a war, a revolution or an assassination.

I think my anger has to do with the state of American culture and its obsession with audio-visual media. I get the feeling that history is translated to movie and TV screens faster than it is to books. And most importantly, the facts of history are often lost in favor of heroism and drama in this process of translation.

Once someone has made a movie or a TV special, that’s it, it’s definitive. You won’t find another version of the story.

What is going to happen to a country that learns about its own history, culture and politics more readily by watching a program reflecting the views of one or a few people (director, writer, editor or producer) rather than actually researching and reading about it in books or newspapers? Indoctrination and stupidity are gaining more and more ground.

The second problem that I have with a World Trade Center movie is that it won’t address the real issues. The focus of the movie – the heroes who saved the last survivors of the crash of the towers – is far from what should be reflected upon. Instead, we should ask, “Why did this happen?”

Why did some people hate us so much that they committed suicide in order to harm us? Were they really that crazy? And if not, is it possible that we might have harmed or offended them to the point that they now hate us that much? Did we do something wrong?

But no, most Americans will never ask themselves this question. And in all honesty, I’m not even going to blame Americans for such behavior, because it’s embedded in the very nature of this country itself. After all, this is a nation built by rejects of the British Empire. The very premise of the nation is a constant, “We’re-right-because-we-say-so” attitude. We’re free because we say so. This land is ours because we say so. Democracy is good because we say so. Look at the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self evident.” It’s true because we say so.

So in the end, it’s no surprise that a movie that could actually raise some interesting political, cultural or diplomatic questions ends up downplaying the causes of the event by making it a story purely about the heroism of ordinary Americans. After all, movie viewers are ordinary Americans as well. If those regular guys in the movie are heroes, I guess we’re all potential heroes, right?

I think I’m going to put that on my business card from now on. “Nicolas Lizop, potential hero.” Beats Ph.D.

Nicolas Lizop graduated from the College in 2005.

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