I became addicted to the Showtime series Homeland not because it was a masterpiece (cinematically at least) like Boardwalk Empire, but rather because it was, well, addictive. A Manchurian Candidate type plot in which an American prisoner of war is “brainwashed” by bad guys to do something awful on his return home from captivity is usually a winner with audiences and it certainly got me.
But I also liked it that the bad guys seemed, at first, to be real world bad guys, namely Islamists, not some Jeremy Irons type Brits with no clear political motivation that might possibly offend any officially certified victim group. So I suspended my disbelief that Hollywood would ever make a Muslim a villain, which now I realize was at least part of the method the creators used to suck in skeptical viewers: Do they really have the guts to create an evil Muslim?
But I should have seen the politically correct dénouement coming early on. Like when the POW becomes attached to an adorable little Arab boy who is then killed in an American drone strike. Like when the top American political figure is the Vice President rather than the President. But I didn’t, for which I will give the creators of Homeland some credit. (My wife says that she suspected something when that adorable little kid was introduced.)
So the season finale has Brody (the POW) motivated by revenge because of a drone strike ordered by the Vice President, not the President or some military officer, who knew that most of the victims would be innocent children, a Vice President who also had ordered the CIA to “torture” innocent people. Sound to you like a left wing caricature of any of our recent Vice Presidents? Sound to you like the Susan Sontag- Noam Chomsky-Michael Moore (and Ron Paul) reaction to the 9/11 attack? Here’s a bit of Sontag’s emission right after 9/11:
The disconnect between last Tuesday’s monstrous dose of reality and the self-righteous drivel and outright deceptions being peddled by public figures and TV commentators is startling, depressing. The voices licensed to follow the event seem to have joined together in a campaign to infantilize the public. Where is the acknowledgment that this was not a “cowardly” attack on “civilization” or “liberty” or “humanity” or “the free world” but an attack on the world’s self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions? How many citizens are aware of the ongoing American bombing of Iraq? And if the word “cowardly” is to be used, it might be more aptly applied to those who kill from beyond the range of retaliation, high in the sky, than to those willing to die themselves in order to kill others. In the matter of courage (a morally neutral virtue): whatever may be said of the perpetrators of Tuesday’s slaughter, they were not cowards.
As Kregg Janke wrote about why he will not be watching next season:
I guess someone will have to let me know [what happens in season two], since I won’t be watching. I have no interest in continuing to watch a show that paints Islamic terrorists as the good guys and the Vice President and CIA as the bad guys. A show that claims our CIA commits “outright torture.” A show that says we kill kids on purpose. A show in which the only person who understands the terrorist’s plans is literally psychotic.
The outrageous message of Homeland is the familiar moral equivalence hogwash that there is somehow a justification for Islamic terrorism, that we made them do it, an argument that offends most Americans which is probably why I didn’t see it coming. And I loved the touch of a CIA agent threatening to leak the VP’s “war crimes” to the New York Times, the favorite repository of Anti-American, Islamic terrorist apologists the world over.
So as Christopher Hitchens said about similar left wing apologies for Islamic terrorism, “Surrender in your own name. Leave me out of it.”