Author Topic: Black Hawk Down:ridley scotts a racist!!  (Read 114 times)

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Black Hawk Down:ridley scotts a racist!!
« on: March 09, 2002, 05:42:31 PM »

Falsification:The American Media and Establishment
shames its liberal heritage

The new movie Black Hawk Down hails the heroism of
U.S. special forces, in the form of the Delta Force
and Army Rangers. The reality was somewhat different.
Recall that prior to U.S. intervention by Bush I in
1993 Somalia had spent many years under the corrupt
sway of Siad Barre, and that the role of U.S. oil
companies was sufficiently strong for the
postintervention U.S. embassy to be located in the
Conoco compound.

But, citing famine in Mogadishu and in the southern
part of the country, and an urgent need to restore
order, President Bush I sent in the Marines. The
United States meant business in Somalia: this was
obvious from the location of the American embassy,
established a few days before the U.S. marines arrived
in Mogadishu, in the Conoco corporate compound.

The "humanitarian" intervention was talked up as one
of the first bouts of nation-building of the New World
Order, supervised by various nonprofit aid groups and
protected by the UN-sponsored military force. Soon
ugly stories of murder and torture by Canadian
"peacekeepers" appeared in the Canadian press. To
efface such unpleasantness the U.S. press whipped up a
frenzy about a local warlord called Mohammed Aidid, a
sort of mini-Osama, and he became public enemy
number-one, target of various bumbling efforts to kill
or capture him.

On Oct. 3, 1993, a team of so-called "elite troops"
composed of Delta Force and Rangers tried to nab Aidid
again, in central Mogadishu. But the American troops
became confused. Shortly after, they were surrounded
by angry crowds. There ensued a massacre in which
somewhere between 500 and 1000 Somalians were killed,
along with 18 Americans.

In 1999, Mark Bowden’s book Black Hawk Down appeared.
Bowden had worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer and
had filed pieces right after the 1993 massacre. As the
movie director Alex Cox points out in a recent,
excellent discussion of Black Hawk Down in The
Independent, "It’s interesting to observe how the
story was re-told over that time. An article by the
former Independent correspondent Richard Dowden [not
to be confused with Mark Bowden] the previous year
makes the clear point that US troops killed unarmed
men, women and children from the outset of their
mission: ‘In one incident, Rangers took a family
hostage. When one of the women started screaming at
the Americans, she was shot dead. In another incident,
a Somali prisoner was allegedly shot dead when he
refused to stop praying outside. Another was clubbed
into silence. The killer is not identified.’"

Bowden’s original articles were filled with these
unpleasant details. They are not to be found in the
book. I am reliably informed that the publisher, Grove
Atlantic, thought it politic to remove them,
preferring an unblemished epic of American heroism.
The only blemish that disfigures the release of the
movie is the fact that GI John "Stebby" Stebbins,
renamed as Company Clerk John Grimes in the film, is
now serving a 30-year sentence in Fort Leavenworth
military prison for murdering a 12-year-old girl.

After the massacre, Canada, Italy and Belgium all held
inquiries into the behavior of their troops. Canada
put some of its soldiers on trial for torture and
murder. The U.S. never held such public investigation
or reprimanded any of its commanders or troops for the
Somalian debacle.

On Sept. 29, 2001, Saturday Night Live broadcast an
image more invidious than the World Trade Center
towers crumbling to dust. The episode opened with
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani showing America–and the world–a
questionable picture of New York courage: Giuliani
stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Police Commissioner
Bernard Kerik and Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen
and behind their mean faces, a wall of police and
firemen–all male, all white. And all too clannish to
be tolerated as a definitive emblem of America.
Representation matters in an image like that; Giuliani
and Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels let
the world know their narrow imagination of strength,
courage, heroism, America. Against the reality of
9/11’s widespread loss, multiethnic sacrifice and
cross-cultural survival, an old-fashioned, racist
sentimentality prevailed. It resurfaces in Ridley
Scott’s Black Hawk Down, the new war movie presenting
status-quo thoughtlessness through streamlined, subtly
racist propaganda.

American media’s need to trump up heroes and villains
seems like self-congratulation for which 9/11 has
simply been the pretext, not the inspiration.
Understand: I’m not disputing genuine sacrifice, but
the media’s careless tossing about of "hero" abuses
the concept. That SNL stunt, no different from the
pre-mayoral Giuliani’s ugly power play during the
police march on City Hall, revealed Giuliani’s belief
in white power. His years of police/community
antagonism (now readily forgotten by the media)
shamelessly hid behind a national defense posture.
Black Hawk Down also fabricates a narrow view of
heroism by perverting the disaster of American troops’
1993 intercession in Somalia’s civil war. It turns a
death knell into a valiant last stand.

Rarely has war looked this chic-yet-chaotic. Choppers
(Black Hawks) swoop through the dusky, mazelike
streets of Mogadishu, the U.S. troops’ encampment a
shifting pattern of khaki-mauve-olive-lavender. But
Scott can’t keep the war strategy straight. Soldiers
seem to aim at each other as targets because one
action-filled shot follows another with painterly, but
not military, logic. Scott can do lavishness, yet he
flubs the clear orchestration of action that was
central to all the great battle directors since
Griffith and Eisenstein. Appreciation of coherent
cinema probably died with the popular mixmaster mess
of Armageddon. Yet, people who fall for Black Hawk
Down actually want Scott to make their political
frustration into one long, hellzapoppin’ trailer.
Armageddon II. This enables irresponsible,
exploitative filmmaking to pass as patriotism even
though its connotations–as with that SNL/KKK
tableau–offend the ideals reasonable people care about
in wartime.

Humanitarianism isn’t part of Scott’s esthetic.
Effectiveness being the commercial-maker’s rule, he
takes no responsibility for the meaning or consequence
of his images. Black Hawk Down could be the first
wartime war movie that teaches nothing about
sacrifice, but only exploits it. Scott makes grief
over America’s foul-up in Somalia feel like a noble
esthetic experience by risking American viewers’ best
principles. He reduces the war to the oldest, base
oppositions of the flickers, coming discomfortingly
close to cowboys-and-Indians, explorers-and-savages
stereotype. Ironically, this Western hegemony is
what’s customarily exported to the global movie
market. (It’s the same tribal instinct Giuliani/SNL
used to make 9/11 seem an attack on white folks only.)
Somalia gets rewritten as an elegy for our military’s
caste system. Scott depicts that war as, literally, a
black-vs.-white battle. His cast of American soldiers
is all white (with one exception) but their
targets–The Enemy–are characterless, or cliched, black
Africans who only know how to wage battle against Good
and Innocence. Scott and screenwriter Ken Nolan don’t
bother examining the confused motivations in Third
World politics or the treacherous involutions of
modern-day civil war that extends from Cold War
subterfuge. This garbled mythmaking would be appalling
if it weren’t so cartoonish. Its post-9/11 release has
clicked with media mavens eager to play on America’s
current anxiety about Afghanistan and bin Laden’s
terrorist network (linked to Somalia in the film’s
lengthy introductory epigraphs).


« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by 1034398800 »
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Re: Black Hawk Down:ridley scotts a racist!!
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2002, 05:43:15 PM »
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer casts the same generic,
photogenic, banal white troops as in last summer’s
Pearl Harbor. Josh Hartnett is back as the central
pilot-hero, Sam Shepard takes another vacation from
the avant-garde to personify ornery all-American
militarism and Ewan McGregor, Eric Bana and Tom
Sizemore (reprising his gung-ho Saving Private Ryan
grunt) comprise the testosterone chorus. Throughout
the film’s relentless battle scenes, these actors are
always in motion, always in peril. Masculine versions
of silent movies’ Little Nell, they evoke the
trepidation we felt for the besieged whites in The
Birth of a Nation. Patriotic fervor isn’t yet the rage
so Bruckheimer resorts to "our boys" shorthand. This
displaces the political screwup and military fiasco at
the heart of the Battle of Mogadishu. Switching
history with fantasy is easiest for American
viewers–and jingoists–to swallow. Blatant prejudice
isn’t Bruckheimer’s agenda (after all, he produced
last year’s brotherhood epic Remember the Titans), but
trite manipulation is. He’s in the bang-bang nostalgia
business, shooting off platitudes like fireworks.
Enlisting Ridley Scott gives Bruckheimer’s con-job the
semblance of artistry, and that–combined with
misrepresenting the soldiers of various denominations
who served in Somalia–is Black Hawk Down’s greatest

Scott’s heartless technique easily converts into
racist propaganda because he’s selling the battles as
product, just like a tv spot. After tv’s specially
managed coverage of Desert Storm, only a generation
distanced from war can approve the noisy
imprecision–the machine-gun delectation–on display in
Black Hawk Down. It takes a modern form of barbarism
to misread Scott’s mayhem for engaged, forthright
self-defense in the anti-Al Qaeda spirit. Scott has no
special view on battle or death–that’s why he imitated
Saving Private Ryan’s 20th-century look of chaos and
oblivion for the ancient battle scenes of Gladiator
and here. Scenes of white soldiers mowing down the
marauding black Somalis have the same convictionless
chill as the concluding sequence of American soldiers
trotting through a cloudy miasma. Cheered on by
frolicking roundheaded native boys welcoming them to
the liberated area of Somalia, the G.I.s are greeted
with gleaming, pellucid glasses of water. After two
and a half hours of relentless bloodshed, this harmony
of First and Third World archetypes follows Benetton

Now’s the time to recognize the Scott threat. Black
Hawk Down, though superlatively art-directed and
awesomely well photographed, has no visual gravity.
Scott’s flat, tv compositions and blurry editing don’t
affect the senses the way true Cinemascope framing
should. Even a miniaturist like Wes Anderson does
better ’scope in The Royal Tenenbaums–a single shot of
Gwyneth Paltrow’s foot stretching across the screen to
unlock a door with her toe is more dynamic than any of
the explosions and crashes in Black Hawk Down.

Scott’s recent ascension up the Hollywood mountain,
certified by the Oscar-winning, standard-lowering
Gladiator, proves the omni-influence of his British
tv-commercial style. It has destroyed an art form.
Scott’s peers Alan Parker and Adrian Lyne also turn
out flashy garbage; so does his family (brother Tony
has his own share of gaudy junk, including Spy Game’s
geopolitical hodgepodge, and son Jake, who made the
lousy period drama Plunkett & Macleane, also does
derivative music videos). Scott was the first of this
group to be thought an artist. But the director of
Black Hawk Down isn’t exactly the same promising
esthete who, out of nowhere, did the sumptuous The
Duellists, the extraordinary Alien and the eye-popping
Blade Runner. Hoping to legitimize his style as
cinema, Scott once evoked comparisons to Josef von
Sternberg and Bernardo Bertolucci, but eventually
proved he lacked their intelligence and seriousness.
Soon–after Legend, Black Rain, 1492, Thelma & Louise
and the atrocious Hannibal–the hack overtook the hiree
who had a great eye.

In Black Hawk Down Scott goes way past superficial
spectacle for an opportunistic jingoism to which
magazines The New Yorker and Time have already pinned
the medals "best" and "resolute." (It goes with naming
Giuliani Person of the Year.) But if Somalia should
inspire anything, it’s sorrow and ambivalence. Fact
is, Scott doesn’t believe in mourning America’s
Somalian casualties any more than he cared for the
harsh lives of Roman gladiators or any of Hannibal
Lecter’s poor victims. In our 9/11 fragility, we are
susceptible to propagandists as stylish as Scott or
crude as Giuliani/SNL. This country has not survived
because white people held it together, but through the
aggregation of intelligences and allegiances–something
bin Laden thought was easily toppled, that Somalia’s
warlord Aidid tried to decimate, a fact that Giuliani
has always circumvented. Beware media labeling public
officials heroes; its usually trying to run a power
move, a hegemony play.

There used to be an astringent appreciation of the
political and moral gestures in war movies; and films
like The Thin Red Line, 1941, Saving Private Ryan and
They Were Expendable stand up to it. They don’t
traffic in spurious symbolism or distracting kinetics;
they express complicated experience. Malick, Spielberg
and Ford were fully attentive to ethnicity and race as
wartime expediencies. Scott’s simplification lacks the
political and moral standards we need (the very
nuances people yawned at in Saving Private Ryan). He’s
become one of the worst hack directors ever, because
his expressive potential succumbs to tv-commercial
sellout. Saturday Night Live could parade white
supremacy as patriotism while passive tv-watchers
nodded. Sadly, there’s been no uproar over the
captious patriotism in Black Hawk Down either. All
this mindless hero-mongering reveals the gullibility
of terrorism-weary audiences. When images of heroism
become this axiomatic, American integrity crumbles
like the towers.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by 1034398800 »
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Re: Black Hawk Down:ridley scotts a racist!!
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2002, 12:02:22 AM »
i dont know how many people took tha time to read that shit but i did and everything u said i agree wit.  i noticed that all tha police and firemen were white males and there were no ethnics, or females.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by 1034398800 »


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Re: Black Hawk Down:ridley scotts a racist!!
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2002, 05:46:43 AM »
and u think HOLLYWOOD will let the moviemakers tell the real story. HOLLYWOOD STORIES= FAKE. HOLLYWOOD = WHITE. HOLLYWOOD makes the white man powerful always
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by 1034398800 »

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  • Lil Geezy
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Re: Black Hawk Down:ridley scotts a racist!!
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2002, 07:06:34 AM »
man i never expected anyone to read tha whole thing
thx for readin

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by 1034398800 »
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