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‘The Great Wall’ Review: Keeping Monsters at Bay Matt Damon stars in this medieval saga as a sharp-eyed European archer helping Chinese soldiers defend against zombified beasts By Joe Morgenstern

The organizing principle of “The Great Wall” is Lots—lots of Chinese and American money lavished on a remarkably dull spectacle in which lots of medieval Chinese soldiers, plus a European mercenary played by Matt Damon, struggle to repel successive attacks from lots—and we’re talking in the zillions now—of ravening, slavering beasts that behave a lot like zombies. The Great Wall of China wasn’t built to keep out the Mongol hordes, as we’ve been told, but to keep out these digital hordes (who were not, as far as we’re told, asked to finance its construction). That isn’t a bad idea for a fantasy, but the computer-generated monsters, like the film as a whole, are numbingly repetitive, and devoid of any power to move, scare or stir us.

And what, you may ask, is Mr. Damon doing here? Mainly providing a star presence for an expensive movie that was produced, with extensive English dialogue, for the international market. He also seems to be channeling his inner Charlton Heston—his character, known only as William, is stolid as a fence post, except for occasional moments of fugitive charm. But William, who came to China in search of gunpowder, is a formidable archer and a good soul who can’t resist helping the soldiers who captured him, especially since their anti-monster campaign is being led by the lissome Commander Lin (Jing Tian), a young woman warrior of unlimited courage, if limited interest in a hot love affair. (The culminating mood is one of human commonality and international solidarity.)
Jing Tian

Jing Tian Photo: Universal Pictures

The director was Zhang Yimou. He’s a seminal figure in Chinese film, the man who directed such small-scale masterpieces as “Red Sorghum” and “Raise the Red Lantern,” then made a different sort of name for himself with lavish spectaculars like “House of Flying Daggers” (martial arts as MGM might have staged them) and the opening ceremony for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. There’s no lack of spectacular sequences or fancy weaponry in “The Great Wall,” the most expensive movie ever produced in China: syncopated drums, incendiary arrows, giant harpoons, explosive grenades, aerial balloons that predate the Montgolfier brothers by several centuries, and an elite battalion of female fighters in gorgeous blue uniforms who swoop down on the monsters like aerialists in a circus designed by Busby Berkeley. Yet there’s not a lot of levity, let alone exuberance. Even the 3-D effects are flat, though I did enjoy dodging one wayward discus. CONTINUE AT SITE

The Great Wall, on the Border of Art Zhang Yimou’s visionary epic on monsters and diplomacy By Armond White

When a blockbuster titled “The Great Wall” opens now at the beginning of a new political administration that pledges to “build a wall” as U.S. border protection, it’s a delirious coincidence. Hollywood’s storytelling and money-making impulses collide with the industry’s professed political leanings, seeming to mesh with stated White House policy. But the truly spectacular result achieved by director Zhang Yimou is more delicious than political pundits and moviegoers deserve in this destabilized social moment. It may even be unifying.

The Great Wall itself uses the history of China’s partition, built in the seventh century b.c. and measured today at 55,000 miles, as the source of a fantasy narrative. A band of Western mercenaries, including Matt Damon as William and Pedro Pascal as Tovar, sneak into China, searching for black powder (“the weapon of my dreams,” as belligerent William describes the explosive that “turns air into fire”). They encounter a monster that attacks the Wall and the imperial court of the Song dynasty, whose elite military unit, the Nameless Order, is headed by Commander Lin Mae (Tian Jing) and Strategist Wang (Andy Lau).

Bordering on Hollywood’s conventional, fact-based Oriental historical epics (55 Days at Peking, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, The Sand Pebbles), The Great Wall adds a supernatural monster element that also respects Asian sci-fi and supernatural conventions (Bong Joon-Ho’s The Host, Stephen Chow’s Journey to the West). The film is a model of that longtime business practice, the international co-production, which was common for several decades after World War II, as Hollywood sought to rehabilitate the European film industry and expand its own global market. The decision to co-produce was politically ingenious. East-and-West histories and antagonisms are resolved in the diplomacy of legend.

Protectionist ideology, older than any U.S. president and with ancient, global precedents, gets personified and made into a metaphor. The Tao Tei are mythic creatures whose rapacious claws William first severs and presents to the Chinese as evidence of a conquerable opponent. The Tao Tei are like Ray Harryhausen beasts, updated with digital technology reminiscent of other sci-fi ogres, from Godzilla to Alien. But the green-skinned and green-blooded Tao Tei makes for a wonderfully nightmarish foe, a political analogy that could have been envisioned by a wartime global economist: Its jaws and claws attack first, while its eyes are set back (foresight and reason recessed). The Tao Tei are explained as mutations from outer space (from the gods) sent to punish the emperor, but in fantasy movies monsters are always a reflection of one’s inner conflicts.

The monster-movie script by Hollywood hands Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro, and Tony Gilroy (from a story by Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz, and Max Brooks) reflects a humanist agenda: The only thing that stops these masses of savages in their rampage is a magnetic rock that William claims for use as a compass. A symbol of what draws East and West together, it also holds all dangerous opposing forces in equilibrium.

As a hybrid of historical, fantasy, and political genres, The Great Wall requires a certain equipoise from viewers. The best thing about this hybrid is the decision by producers Thomas Tull and Charles Roven (who also produced Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) to enlist director Zhang Yimou, best known for staging the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a spectacle still unsurpassed. Zhang is also a true cinematic master (Hero, Curse of the Golden Flower, Coming Home, Raise the Red Lantern), who raises this film to a level that transforms its politics into pure vision and emotion. When the Nameless Order prepare to fend off the Tao Tei, the military phalanx, from drum corps to aerial soldiers leaping from towering parapets, are dressed in an array of colors that recall Kurosawa’s Ran, but perfected. Underground scenes of the army traversing caves dug by the Tao Tei combine the atmospherics of Andrzej Wajda’s Kanal with the tense pursuit of Alien. Images of the army’s hot-air-balloon squadron rising into dark skies for a nocturnal offensive are also dreamlike.

This era’s degraded movie sensations are part of our degraded social perception. Zhang’s deployment of realism and abstraction is a reminder that Peter Jackson’s standard-lowering Lord of the Rings F/X had no beauty. Zhang achieves visual splendor worthy of silent movies — Griffith’s teeming crowds, Fritz Lang’s geometric patterns — plus digital intercutting that makes images seem to burst before your eyes.

Land of Mine – A Review By Marilyn Penn

We first see Sergeant Rasmussen barking orders at a line of young, dispirited German prisoners of war. The Second World War has ended and the Danes have ordered German soldiers to clear the Danish coastline of millions of land mines planted there by the Nazis. Rasmussen’s reaction to seeing one of the POW’s carrying a Danish flag is to beat him to a merciless pulp, revealing the pent-up frustration and fury at the German occupation of his country. With his mustache and shrill shrieks, we get a subliminal reference to the Fuhrer who started WW II and we quickly understand that this is a movie that will unsettle our certain feelings about winners and losers and heroes and villains.

The 14 young soldiers under Rasmussen’s command are teenagers, obviously drafted by the Nazis towards the end of the war. Their adjustment to the brutal demands by the Sergeant has been seen before in other war films, most recently in Hacksaw Ridge. Despite the familiarity of this set-up, we feel our own tension mount, not letting up until much later in the film which is as much about the conversion of Rasmussen as it is about the fate of his charges. Their job is to clear the beach of thousands of mines after which they will have earned their discharge and be sent home. His job is to regain his humanity and relate to these German boys as people, not the hated enemy.

The success of this film resides in writer/director Martin Zandvliet’s ability to transcend the sanctimony of the previous sentence and manage to bring everything down to a very differentiated and personal set of relationships between the young men and the Sergeant, the young men among themselves and the Sergeant and his Commanding Officer. The very real tension of live mines capable of exploding at any moment adds a layer of suspenseful fear and tragic ramifications of the war even after its conclusion. No matter how many WW II movies you have seen, this is a searing and original story that most of us were not aware of. Zandvliet deserves enormous credit for sustaining the drama of the individuals as well as the moral and humanistic issues that resonate from their predicament. Land of Mine is one of the Oscar nominees for best foreign film – I give it my vote and hope it wins. Don’t miss it.

TV’s ‘Homeland’: Alternative Facts About Settlements By: Joseph Schick

In the latest episode of Showtime’s program “Homeland,” veteran senior CIA operative Saul Berenson visits his religious sister in a West Bank settlement. The two clash over his opposition to her living there, with Saul fuming, “Haven’t you driven enough people from their homes already? Bulldoze their villages, seized their property under laws they had no part in making?”
Saul’s sister responds as a stereotypical religious zealot would, offering no substantive response to his charges.

Like Mandy Patinkin – the actor who plays him who has expressed support for actors and artists who refused to perform in the settlement of Ariel – the character of Saul Berenson can certainly express his criticism of settlements. But as the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan quipped, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”
The oft repeated charge Saul repeats – that settlements in Judea and Samaria are built on the ruins of bulldozed villages from which Arabs were driven from their homes – is completely false. Yet “Homeland” presented it to tens of millions of viewers as an uncontroverted fact.

Alas, this Big Lie has been repeated so many times that most people in the world have come to believe it – baselessly equating West Bank settlements with forced, violent dispossession of civilians from their homes, thereby maligning the more than 400,000 Israeli residents in Judea and Samaria.

The program’s showrunners – themselves longtime friends of Israel who have filmed portions of several episodes there – might even be among those who think this lie represents the truth, which only highlights how insidious this false narrative is.

In fact, in the still mostly empty West Bank, settlements were built alongside or across from Palestinian towns and villages. (Hebron is the only place inhabited by both Israelis and Arabs.) Palestinians were not expelled from their homes as a result of the construction of settlements, nor has any Arab village ever been bulldozed or otherwise evacuated in any way to make way for a settlement in Judea or Samaria.
Indeed, the last West Bank villages to be destroyed (aside from the four Jewish communities evacuated by Prime Minister Sharon in 2005), with people not merely driven from their homes but murdered, occurred in 1948 when Arabs looted and then completely destroyed all of the Jewish settlements in Gush Etzion, massacring 240 women and men.
As “Homeland” is a work of fiction, some might contend that no offense should be taken if its characters deviate from the truth in furtherance of dramatization. But that’s not the position the program itself has taken. Showrunners Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa have expressed their strong efforts to emphasize that the vast majority of Muslims – both in America and throughout the world – are peaceful. In seasons 3 and 4, the “Homeland” cast included a devout hijab-wearing woman who served America heroically and courageously as a CIA analyst.
Most recently in previewing the current season, Gansa and Gordon expressed their surprise and concern about allegations that “Homeland” has been offensive to Muslims, and discussed how that contributed to the current season’s storyline in which the show’s lead character has left the CIA to devote her efforts to assisting Muslim-Americans targeted by U.S. prosecutors.
The show’s lead producers are right to recognize that in today’s incendiary world, the entertainment industry should be thoughtful in the way it tells its stories and portrays characters. Sensitivity and nuance are vital and laudable.
This must not stop only when it comes to Israel, which is continuously defamed by its wide array of enemies and deserves much better than that from its friends. Disagreement with Israel’s policies – including its settlement policies – is absolutely legitimate. Subjecting Israel to slander that is broadcast to Showtime’s wide audience is not.
Joseph Schick

Why Hollywood as We Know It Is Already Over by Nick Bilton

With theater attendance at a two-decade low and profits dwindling, the kind of disruption that hit music, publishing, and other industries is already reshaping the entertainment business. From A.I. Aaron Sorkin to C.G.I. actors to algorithmic editing, Nick Bilton investigates what lies ahead.
I. The Raindrop Moment

A few months ago, the vision of Hollywood’s economic future came into terrifyingly full and rare clarity. I was standing on the set of a relatively small production, in Burbank, just north of Los Angeles, talking to a screenwriter about how inefficient the film-and-TV business appeared to have become. Before us, after all, stood some 200 members of the crew, who were milling about in various capacities, checking on lighting or setting up tents, but mainly futzing with their smartphones, passing time, or nibbling on snacks from the craft-service tents. When I commented to the screenwriter that such a scene might give a Silicon Valley venture capitalist a stroke on account of the apparent unused labor and excessive cost involved in staging such a production—which itself was statistically uncertain of success—he merely laughed and rolled his eyes. “You have no idea,” he told me.

After a brief pause, he relayed a recent anecdote, from the set of a network show, that was even more terrifying: The production was shooting a scene in the foyer of a law firm, which the lead rushed into from the rain to utter some line that this screenwriter had composed. After an early take, the director yelled “Cut,” and this screenwriter, as is customary, ambled off to the side with the actor to offer a comment on his delivery. As they stood there chatting, the screenwriter noticed that a tiny droplet of rain remained on the actor’s shoulder. Politely, as they spoke, he brushed it off. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, an employee from the production’s wardrobe department rushed over to berate him. “That is not your job,” she scolded. “That is my job.”

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The screenwriter was stunned. But he had also worked in Hollywood long enough to understand what she was really saying: quite literally, wiping rain off an actor’s wardrobe was her job—a job that was well paid and protected by a union. And as with the other couple of hundred people on set, only she could perform it.

This raindrop moment, and the countless similar incidents that I’ve observed on sets or heard about from people I’ve met in the industry, may seem harmless and ridiculous enough on its face. But it reinforces an eventuality that seems both increasingly obvious and uncomfortable—one that might occur to you every time you stream Fringe or watch a former ingénue try to re-invent herself as a social-media icon or athleisure-wear founder: Hollywood, as we once knew it, is over.

In the mid-90s, the first time I downloaded an MP3, I realized that the music industry was in grave trouble. People who were my age (I wasn’t old enough to legally drink yet) didn’t want to spend $20 on a whole compact disc when all we coveted was a single song on the album. Moreover, we wanted our music immediately: we preferred to download it (illegally) from Napster or eventually (legally) from iTunes without the hassle of finding the nearest Sam Goody. It turned out that this proclivity for efficiency—customizing your music and facilitating the point of sale—was far from a generational instinct. It explains why the music industry is roughly half the size it was one decade ago.

These preferences weren’t confined to music, either. I also felt the raindrop moment firsthand when I began working at The New York Times, in the early 2000s. Back then, the newspaper’s Web site was treated like a vagrant, banished to a separate building blocks away from the paper’s newsroom on West 43rd Street. Up-and-coming blogs—Gizmodo, Instapundit, and Daily Kos, which were setting the stage for bigger and more advanced entities, such as Business Insider and BuzzFeed—were simultaneously springing up across the country. Yet they were largely ignored by the Times as well as by editors and publishers at other news outlets. More often than not, tech-related advances—including e-readers and free online blogging platforms, such as WordPress and Tumblr—were laughed at as drivel by the entire industry, just as Napster had been years earlier.

Of course, the same logic that had decimated music would undermine print publishing: readers didn’t want to travel to a newsstand to buy a whole newspaper when they were interested only in one story or two. And, in so many cases, they really didn’t care all that much whose byline was at the top of the piece. Subsequently, newspaper advertising revenues fell from $67 billion in 2000 to $19.9 billion in 2014. Meanwhile, the same pummeling occurred in the book-publishing world. Many consumers didn’t want hardcover books for $25 when digital versions were available for $9.99. An algorithm generally provided better suggestions than an actual in-store clerk. And consumers never had to leave home to get the book they wanted. Amazon, knowing this, eviscerated the business. While print sales have finally leveled out (largely through a reliance on science fiction and fantasy), the industry has seen sales fall precipitously over the past decade.


Hollywood, these days, seems remarkably poised for a similar disruption. Its audiences increasingly prefer on-demand content, its labor is costly, and margins are shrinking. Yet when I ask people in Hollywood if they fear such a fate, their response is generally one of defiance. Film executives are smart and nimble, but many also assert that what they do is so specialized that it can’t be compared to the sea changes in other disrupted media. “We’re different,” one producer recently told me. “No one can do what we do.”

Kermit Gosnell, America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer A riveting new book tells his disturbing story. Mark Tapson

Masked by innocuous language like “pro-choice” and “reproductive care,” and protected by a media conspiracy of silence, the grim reality of abortion rarely surfaces in our cultural awareness, as it did with the recent undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s moral vacuum. But a new book about the chilling crimes of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, America’s most prolific serial killer, highlights that ugly reality in an even more horrifying but compelling fashion.

Part true-crime investigation, part social commentary, part courtroom drama, and part journey into the banality of evil, Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer was written by investigative journalists and filmmakers Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer, well-known for their controversial documentaries FrackNation and Not Evil Just Wrong, as well as a play called Ferguson drawn entirely from testimony about the shooting of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson. The husband-and-wife team have also miraculously crowdfunded a feature film based on the Gosnell story (it raised more money than any film project in Indiegogo history), directed by conservative actor and Twitter gadfly Nick Searcy (Justified), with the screenplay written by novelist and political commentator Andrew Klavan.

McElhinney begins the book with a confession that she had “never trusted or liked pro-life activists”; she resented the “emotional manipulation” of their demonstrations – until she began researching the Gosnell story, a process so “brutal” that at times she wept and prayed at her computer, not only over Gosnell’s evil but over “the reality of abortion” even when it’s performed properly and legally. Writing the book changed her dramatically, and it’s not an overstatement to say that reading this book will have the same effect on many readers as well.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell might still be butchering babies today if it weren’t for the dedication of a Philadelphia narcotics investigator named Jim Wood who followed up a lead about Gosnell’s lucrative illegal prescription scheme. The lead led to a raid on Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society abortion clinic in February, 2010, where investigators discovered shockingly unsanitary conditions and incompetent, untrained assistants, as well as improperly medicated post-abortion patients sleeping or sitting together under bloodstained blankets, a few in need of hospitalization. The procedure room was even filthier. Fetal remains were found throughout, in empty water and milk jugs, cat food containers, and orange juice bottles with the necks cut off. One cupboard held five jars containing baby feet, which Gosnell apparently severed and kept for his own amusement.

Unfazed by the presence of the FBI, Dr. Gosnell proceeded to perform an abortion in the middle of the raid. When he was done, Gosnell sat down with the investigators and ate dinner while still wearing torn, bloody surgical gloves (his staff later reported that Gosnell normally ate during his abortions). He pointed out one of the cats that roamed the clinic, which reeked of cat urine, and casually said it had killed 200 mice there. The only time his cool, casual demeanor slipped was when he realized that the staff were telling detectives about his habit of manipulating ultrasound readings to falsify fetal ages, in order to perform late-term abortions well after the state’s legal limit. Detectives also would later learn that Gosnell’s practices included killing babies that were born alive by plunging scissors into the backs of their necks and snipping the spinal cords.

20th Century Women Is a Stale Feminist Diatribe And Streep has won an Oscar nod for ranting against Trump. By Armond White

The best thing about Mike Mills’s 20th Century Women is a title that immediately tells us two things: 1) Its sexual politics are dated, and 2) its story will focus on outmoded cultural ideals. This is the same erroneous basis of Millennial social protest, which always imitates past examples.

The worst thing about 20th Century Women is that it indeed looks at women through an archaic social lens — the peculiar Obama-era combination of guilt and arrogance that has been widely accepted without thinking, as last week’s unfocussed pink-hat parades demonstrated.

In 20th Century Women, Dorothea (Annette Bening), a 55-year-old widow from Santa Barbara, Calif., raises her 15-year-old son, Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann), amid the company of several lodgers in her big ramshackle house: two wayward young women (Greta Gerwig and Elle Fanning) and a sexy but nonthreatening man (Billy Crudup). The house, a Queen Anne antique that may as well be a social-justice museum, is the site of Dorothea’s social experiment — a homegrown conversion-therapy camp. Each of these idiosyncratic, slightly damaged individuals presents Jamie with life lessons (on menarche, abortion, menopause, masculine aggression) that are like a camp curriculum. This is no mere coming-of-age tale; Mills could also have titled his tearjerker “How to Build a Male Feminist.”

Bening’s Dorothea is a post–Betty Friedan, post–Gloria Steinem, post–Germaine Greer version of the Archie comics’ pedant, Miss Grundy. (Mills regularly digresses into anecdotes from the Seventies feminist bible Sisterhood Is Powerful.) Always wearing flowered blouses, with tousled hair and age-lined face and neck, Dorothea is Everymom, but with fascinating actorly props (primarily Bening’s throaty delivery). It’s a master class in laid-back dominance, a Ms. magazine cartoon contrived of equal parts maternal nostalgia and white career-woman regret. I admire Bening’s subtlety: She limits Dorothea’s arrogance to the delicate control she exerts over her tenants and the emotional sway she holds over her son (she salts their relationship with condescension by referring to him as “kid”). But I don’t admire Mills’s maudlin shift when nostalgia for Mom turns into sanctification of the sacrifices that feminist standard-bearers claim all females shared.


This special edition of The Glazov Gang presents the Daniel Greenfield Moment with Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the editor of Frontpage’s blog, The Point.

Daniel discusses Trump Wins from Day 1, explaining why nothing the Left does can stop him.

Don’t miss it!

And make sure to watch Anne Marie Waters focus on The Islamic Darkness Descends on Europe, revealing that the horror is here and that now is the time to stand up and reclaim our civilization:

And make sure to watch Anne Marie Waters focus on The Islamic Darkness Descends on Europe, revealing that the horror is here and that now is the time to stand up and reclaim our civilization:

‘Homeland,’ Season 6 Review: A Politically Correct Carrie Gone is the series’ original vitality, replaced with predictable politeness.By Dorothy Rabinowitz

It’s a far from familiar Carrie, bipolar scourge of terrorists, who shows up in season 6 of “Homeland,’’ set in that destination strivers around the world dream of living in—namely, Brooklyn. She’s there having abandoned any further service to the CIA, because—she makes clear in the show’s opening episodes—she’s become increasingly dismayed by America’s policies in the Middle East. Not to mention at home, where she’s appalled to discover that the U.S government has been taking the threat of homegrown terrorism seriously and going so far as to investigate enthusiasts of jihad, creators of websites for the dissemination of messages from Islamic State, devotees of suicide bombers, and even charging some suspected of connection with terror networks abroad.

So it is that we find an even more chronically infuriated Carrie than the one of previous seasons. Instead of chasing around the capitals of the world hunting down terrorists about to set off explosions intended to take the lives of tens of thousands of unbelievers, she’s now spending her days in her Brooklyn offices devoted to legal defense of Muslim males she considers unjustly charged victims of the U.S. government. Unjustly charged in many ways, in Carrie’s view—the most remarkable aspect of which is her complaint that the government investigators aiming to prevent the next mass murder of Americans never stopped to consider the emotional factors driving these subjects, or to take into account the fact that the efforts of some of the would-be perpetrators bent on grand-scale terror assaults turned out to be ineffectual anyway. It’s around about this point in her reasoning that you begin to miss the other Carrie who used to pop pills by the handful, and to wish she’d go and find that bottle she used to keep handy.

In episode 1, awash in introductions to Carrie’s new views, she’s furious about the fate of one man convicted of trying to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge, using a blowtorch. “He’s doing 20 years essentially for being an idiot,” she broods. She goes into action in the case of a young Muslim, of Nigerian background, arrested as an online fan of jihadists and celebrator of suicide bombers, with a busy website—a possible material supporter of terror networks abroad. But in Carrie’s assessment, “just an angry kid.” In the unlikely event anybody has, within the first five minutes, not grasped the re-education mission of the series’ new season, the writers once given to obliqueness in the interest of mystery and style have Carrie hammering the messaging home. “Law enforcement,” Carrie declaims, “has to stop harassing and demonizing an entire community.”

Meryl Shoots Fish in a Barrel By Marilyn Penn

No courage was needed for Meryl Streep to stand before an audience of like-minded people to point her finger and raise her voice against the known object of their mutual disdain. That was easy. Here’s what would have taken some guts: condemning the role that the entertainment industry plays in glamorizing and disseminating wholesale violence on-screen, in video games, on television, in music and online. Particularly affected are the black youth who suffer infinitely more from the criminality of their brethren than from the purported racism of our men in blue. We’re all aware of the mind-boggling statistic of more than 750 murders in Chicago, Obama’s city of choice, this past year. Though many reasons for this may be offered and analyzed, the fact remains that extreme violence is now an available aphrodisiac 24/7 and if you have ever sat in a multiplex where one of these movies is playing, you don’t need to read here what the audience response is.

For that matter, why didn’t Meryl question why the movie Elle was nominated for several Golden Globe awards (winning two that evening). This is a movie that reverts to the canard that women can enjoy and be complicit in brutal rape. Since we westerners are free to express our vilest thoughts (on certain topics only), it’s no surprise that filmmakers can exploit this freedom, but the scolding Meryls of the industry should have the strength to question what is being singled out for special awards. As a woman who will undoubtedly participate in the Women’s March on Washington, why didn’t she at least raise that subject for her captive audience to consider?

We live in a schizophrenic society in which one industry encourages sex and violence, using the most attractive performers and sophisticated special effects to titilate viewers and turn them on. We then perversely force universities to act as campus school-marms who call any disrespect towards women sexual harassment and punish it by denying constitutional civil rights to the accused men during investigation and adjudication. Meryl had the perfect venue and opportunity to challenge her employers and peers to stop aiming powerful ammunition at a population increasingly unable to handle it.

Instead of choosing this more difficult high road, Meryl gave her audience the sure and easy high five.