Saturday, May 24, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Hollywood Stupid Tax

Imagine the following scenario: soldiers of an enemy nation invade this country, kill several US servicemen, seize control of a government base, kidnap a college professor and coerce him to help them steal government property.

Further, after this college professor escapes imagine foreign agents of this same enemy nation threaten and attempt to kidnap him at gunpoint in broad dailight in a crowded restaurant.

If such things were to occur, wouldn't the citizens and government of the US be justified to feel some anxiety, almost paranoia in response?

The opening scenes of the latest Indiana Jones movie show those very crimes being perpetrated against Professor Jones and his young side-kick Mutt. And though I thought it unbelievable that the Soviets could mount such attacks on US soil, I was willing to go along for the sake of the story.

My complaint is that after this narrative setup, Messrs. Lucas and Spielberg feel obligated to pay the Hollywood stupid tax and invoke the dread scourge of McCarthyism. So be it, but I find it then altogether incongruous that Indiana Jones should then express the customary Hollywood sentiment that the Communists are really no big worry.

Either the Commies were credible antagonists OR the Red Scare was justified. You can't have it both ways.

The problem is that Stalinists make effective antagonists. Lucas and Spielberg know this and I think they did a good job of making them appear suitably evil. It's a pity they could not be true to their art.

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