The fact that a poorly-made and hateful video can foment rioting halfway around the world is the dark side of instant communication. The same technology which helped create the Arab Spring can be used to upend it.
You can form your own opinion about what the varying statements by Mitt Romney have to say about his candidacy for President. I’ve certainly formed mine. But that’s not what I want to talk about. Unlike Governor Romney, I can speak with authority on this creative matter because I’ve actually seen the 14-minute “trailer” for a “film” called THE INNOCENCE OF MUSLIMS – from all we can tell, it’s the only part that actually exists. If you’re also curious, find it for yourself: it’s easy, but I’m not going to help you by linking to it.
The backstory is as shady as it can be: the video was made by pseudonymous people who have lied about everything, including their “$5 million budget.” (“Sam Bacile,” the “director,” falsely told everyone he was an Israeli Jew, just to stir the pot a little bit more.) They even duped their actors, who answered an ad in Backstage like most other struggling thespians and dutifully reported for work. The marketing department seems to consist of Terry Jones, the off-world theocrat who infamously threatened to burn the Koran a few years back and has been missing those ENG crews ever since. (Monty Python’s namesake member must cringe every time he hears about this blasphemous fool.)
OK, so let’s go to the video tape. It’s disjointed, impossible to follow in any traditional story sense, and it jumps around like a newborn wallaby. Thus, I’d imagine, its titular depiction as a “trailer”: we’re only giving you the best stuff out of context, just like the big guys do. But listen: most of the lighting is just what you’d expect from a competent film-school production. Most everything’s in perfect focus. You can even tell that some of the actors are obviously pros. “Tech creds,” as Variety might put it, are not dissimilar to those in a no-budget indie. It can absolutely masquerade as a real production to deep unsophisticates.
But any five-year-old can suss out the incompetent desperation. It’s clear that the actors on set were not required to speak the name of Islam’s prophet; it’s clumsily looped in (that is, re-recorded after the fact), like all those risible attempts to cleanse R-rated dialogue for network tv. I’m just spitballing here, but if the Backstage casting call actually asked for Muslim actors, then they would have been horrified to take part in a physical depiction of the prophet – a canonical no-no. Even the “innocence” title may have been invented to lure them in. I have no proof; I’m just speculating. (We later learned that at least some of the actors were told they were working on a film called DESERT WARRIORS.) One actress has come forward to say she had performed under false pretenses, and deeply regrets doing so. Other whole scenes are clearly looped, no doubt to conceal their real purpose on set; sometimes it’s like watching a Sergio Leone movie, with actors of multiple nationalities.
The CG work is hilarious. In “outside” scenes, the actors appear to be walking on air above the desert sands, like an 80s-era Chyron effect achieved by a high-school member of the AV Club. All that’s missing are the shimmer lines. As far as the red meat is concerned, we revert to elementary school. The prophet is accused of everything shivering haters can possibly think of, including being gay – and they use that precise word, “gay,” even though the “story” is “set” 1500 years ago. Man, I can distinctly remember using that word innocently in my own lifetime, wholly apart from its current context, and I’m not even 1000! He hacks through men, women and beasts. He molests children. His henchmen snicker like Snidely Whiplash as they fake drawing and quartering a senior citizen.
OK, you may be sneering right now, and this bilious piece of flyblown crap thoroughly earns your scorn. But here’s the thing. In the Arab world, some people just may not understand that any American has the right to assert that their duly elected President is a secret Muslim socialist. The “universal right of free speech,” which was affirmed in that original Cairo embassy statement, is a foreign concept to many radical people on our planet. To them, if this “film” exists, it’s because the U. S. ruler wants it to exist – otherwise, Obama could just snuff it out, like their leaders do in their own lands!
I haven’t seen all that much coverage of the many Muslim citizens who have condemned the murderous acts of their fanatic cousins, the Terry Joneses of the Islamic world. But they’re out there. They are just as ashamed of Osama bin Laden as we are of Fred Phelps, the nauseating GOD HATES FAGS guy. But, as we’ve been constantly instructed these past few years, whenever we oppose freedom in any sense, the terrorists win. That freedom is why this heinous video exists, and why its makers have blood on their hands, maybe even proudly. No, they probably didn’t kill Ambassador Chris Stevens; that may have been a back-burner plan which only used the video-induced riots as cover, just as we used 9/11 as cover to “do” Iraq. But by paying to translate their venom into Arabic, these zealots used their money, and the relatively new ability to communicate to the world, to forge a digital sword that quickly slew. It can no longer be sheathed. Shame on them for defaming a great, proud religion: Christianity.