Your Lying Eyes

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27 July 2007

LIfe Imitates Art - Quelle Horreur?

Why is it that when learn in the news that some of the ways we imagine things happening actually do happen that way, we find ourselves in fits of outrage?

So today we hear that some numbers of shuttle astronauts have violated the 12-hour bottle-to-throttle rule. We've all seen the Right Stuff and Space Cowboys, so we all assume that astronauts are hard-drinking sorts who nevertheless perform heroically despite the throbbing cranium. Yet, judging from news reports, this is simply shocking.

A more common depiction in movies than the hard-living astronaut is the covert spy operation. Since the end of World War II, novels and movies alike have shown our brave intelligence agents scurrying about the globe saving our freedoms by tracking down bad guys and dealing with them in ways that would not be entirely appreciated by the local governments. The popularity of these tales suggests that that is exactly what we hope they're doing. I can't offhand think of a popular spy tale centered around data collection and diplomatic contacts, suggesting that playing by the rules in tracking down international villains does not excite our imagination.

So when it was reported that the CIA had been engaged in "extraordinary rendition" - the practice of tracking down a suspected terrorist, bundling him up and sending him off to a place where he can be interrogated the hard way - we were "shocked, shocked" to find that our spy agencies are behaving exactly the way we always expected them to act.

So what is this all about - is this outrage real, or is it drummed up by a sensationalist press egged on by leftists and politically motivated pundits? Perhaps the astronauts pounding down shots and spies breaking laws in the movies are characters of unrealistically heroic qualities, while we suspect the real deals are considerably less valiant in practice, and so we're less comfortable ?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just MHO but I'd go with the it's drummed up by a sensationalist press egged on by leftists and politically motivated pundits.

July 28, 2007 10:13 PM  
Blogger Glaivester said...

I think that what makes for good entertainment does not make for a good real life.

July 29, 2007 9:09 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

True, particularly since real life is much messier than the movies. Yet the popularity of covert operations (by the good guys) in spy movies certainly suggests that people aren't offended by it. I can't imagine that the typical American is offended by either extraordinary renditions or Guantanamo. But then the press wouldn't play these up as bad things if there weren't some real unease in the public. I remain puzzled.

July 29, 2007 9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only unease I have about summer camps like Guantanamo is when things like this happen:

Or when you read stuff like this:

A torture chamber? The place sounds like a fucking country club. Some Koran supposedly had some piss spattered on it, and the American media considers this torture. The lefty press loves shit like that, they eat it up. It proves how horrible America is and how unjust the war is.

July 30, 2007 5:11 PM  

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