Pressuring television’s top drama to whitewash Islam.
No matter how far backward Hollywood bends over to placate Islam, its foot soldiers among the leftist media still complain it isn’t far enough. Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor at Britain’s left-leaning The Guardian and The Observer, wrote an editorial this weekend about Showtime’s terrorism drama Homeland entitled, “Homeland is brilliant drama. But does it present a crude image of Muslims?” Guess how he answers his own question.
The show centers on a U.S. Marine, missing and presumed dead in Iraq since 2003, who is rescued and brought home to Washington D.C. where he rides his war hero popularity all the way into a Congressional seat and a possible vice presidential nomination. The twist? This supposed patriot is a Muslim convert here to carry out a plot spawned by a terrorist mastermind.
As readers of FrontPage know well, political correctness and moral equivalence reign in Hollywood, and Homeland is no exception. The show suggests, as Hollywood always does, that the root cause of Islamic terrorism is “blowback” – justifiable retribution for America’s imperialist foreign policy and CIA ruthlessness. Hollywood never acknowledges that our enemy might be motivated, as it has been for 1400 years, by the supremacist imperatives of Islam itself.
I’ve written about Homeland before for FrontPage, when its first season finale proved it to be disappointingly typical of Hollywood’s blame-America-first, post-9⁄11 perspective on our clash of civilization versus barbarism. At that time, I’d been encouraged by the fact that the show at least didn’t shy away from presenting Islamic terrorists. But in the long run Homeland, like Hollywood in general and the Obama administration itself, simply refuses to put forth a narrative truthfully identifying who the white hats and black hats are in this global conflict.
Thus it’s odd to find myself in the position of defending the show, but Peter Beaumont’s piece is so typical of the left’s complicity with Islamic fundamentalists (the unholy alliance, as David Horowitz calls it) in their agenda to criminalize the defamation of Islam, that a response was necessary.
Why is the show worth writing about at all? For the same reason Beaumont himself devoted a lengthy column denouncing it: it’s an important cultural marker. Homeland just brought home the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series, and Best Actor and Best Actress Emmys for its two leads. It is currently the most highly regarded drama on television, and perhaps the only show that is even addressing what used to be called “the war on terror.” Its messages matter.
“I find the depictions not only crude and childish but offensive,” Beaumont says, and God knows the left has elevated “offending someone” to the level of violent crime, so you know he’s serious. He complains that on Homeland, it doesn’t matter whether Arabs/Muslims are “rich, smart, discreetly enjoying a western lifestyle or attractive” – all are suspect. But the fact is, not all jihadists are backward, bearded bombers; some are affluent, educated, slick and Westernized subversives, like CAIR spokesmen or celebrity academics like Reza Aslan and Tariq Ramadan. So yes, those qualities do not exempt one from suspicion – far from it. This is the reality, not bigotry or the mythical Islamophobia.
Beaumont goes on to complain that “Arabs and Islamists have been portrayed thus far [in Homeland] as violent fanatics, some of whom are powerful and influential infiltrators.” Why, that’s outrageous! Where could that offensive stereotype possibly have come from? The real-world fanatics and infiltrators themselves, perhaps? Beaumont should be directing his ire at them for establishing and perpetuating the stereotype he blames on Hollywood.
Homeland presents “an odd and unbelievable image of relationships,” Beaumont claims, “between countries and identities in the Middle East, where Palestinians, Iraqis, Saudis all share an agenda regardless of background, culture and history.” It’s not odd or unbelievable at all – that agenda is the annihilation of Western civilization and the establishment of a worldwide caliphate, and it is shared by Muslim fundamentalists regardless of national background, culture and history. This is something Hollywood and the left refuse to acknowledge.
Then Beaumont lets his own bias slip. Referring to the fact that Homeland originally spun off of an Israeli TV show, he notes that “what Homeland portrays is a peculiar view of the Islamic world, one rooted, perhaps, in its genesis as an Israeli drama, where the view of the surrounding neighbourhood is more paranoid and defensive.” Paranoid and defensive? Israelis’ wariness about the Islamic world’s open determination to exterminate them is not “a peculiar view”; as the saying goes, it’s not paranoia if they’re really trying to kill you.
Beaumont launches into an explanation that “how we portray the ‘other’ – those whom we fear or are suspicious of – reinforces cultures of conflict.” This is standard self-flagellating claptrap from multiculturalists who want us to wallow in cultural guilt and self-loathing instead of acknowledging the existence of real-world enemies. In fact, what reinforces “cultures of conflict” is when one culture – supremacist Islam, the most intolerant ideology on the planet – is literally hell-bent on erasing another culture – ours – from the face of the earth.
To bolster his argument that Hollywood is generally bigoted and racist, Beaumont predictably cites Jack Shaheen, an Arab-American (but non-Muslim) academic and pro-Palestinian apologist who has built a career on judging Hollywood’s purported anti-Arab racism and discrimination. In books such as Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People, he scours nearly 1000 movies for instances in which Hollywood has failed to portray Arabs and Muslims as doctors, lawyers, and all-around nice guys. Too bad white Americans don’t have an academic apologist tallying up all the instances in which they’re portrayed in a bad light in world cinema, including in Hollywood.
Since 9⁄11, favorable depictions of Arabs and Muslims abound in the entertainment biz, despite their whining to the contrary. In being offended at the depiction of them as terrorists, Beaumont is conveniently ignoring the fact that Homeland is an action thriller about Islamic terrorism; hence, there are necessarily characters who are Islamic terrorists. Remove them and you have no show – which is precisely what Beaumont would prefer. Pressuring Hollywood to present a balanced diversity of Muslims and Arabs is not the true aim of terrorism apologists like Beaumont or Shaheen; their goal, like that of Islamic fundamentalists themselves, is to ensure that absolutely no depictions of Muslim terrorists are allowed, and no connection is made between Islam and terrorism. They’re not looking for balance – they want a complete whitewash.
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