John Leo

The soft and squishy side of the Hollywood mind was on display in Ridley Scott’s unintentionally hilarious movie about the Crusades, Kingdom of Heaven. A Crusader is shown beheading a hostage, thus establishing moral equivalence with the monstrous terrorist tactics of today. Saladin’s sister is executed by the Crusaders (in real life, as opposed to reel life, she was released). The famous Saladin picks up and admiringly fondles a Christian crucifix he finds on the ground. Somehow I doubt this happened. Muslims had spent several centuries slaughtering Christians or converting them at swords ’ point. The good-hearted Christian king of Jerusalem aspires to establish a tolerant, multicultural, and apparently relativistic kingdom of Muslims, Christians, and Jews that seems like a 12th-century version of Beverly Hills run by a studio head.

“There is a tremendous drive in Hollywood to exculpate Islamofascist terrorists,” Michael Medved says. No movie has been made about the terrorists since 9/11, nothing on al Qaeda, the Taliban, Daniel Pearl, Saddam Hussein, the USS Cole, the embassy attacks, the daring and impressive attempts to track down terrorists. Nothing. Not even a movie about heroic action after 9/11—the firemen who ran upstairs to their deaths to save others in the twin towers, the people who drove all night from Texas and the South to help New Yorkers cope with the disaster.

But wait. Help is on the way. Hollywood is still reluctant to irritate terrorists, but a few movies about 9/11 heroes are on the way. And whom did Paramount pick for the highest-profile one? Oliver Stone, the unhinged director/screenwriter who refers to 9/11 as a justified “revolt” against the established order and the six companies he thinks control the world. At a panel after 9/11, Stone said that the Palestinians who danced at the news of the attack were reacting just as people responded after the revolutions in France and Russia. He thinks 9/11 may have unleashed as much creative energy as the birth of Einstein. Internet commentators are going berserk over the idea of a wacky pro-terrorist paranoid directing the first big 9/11 movie.

It will focus on two American heroes, not terrorists. But it could well turn out badly. Besides, why pick Stone? What can be done about the Hollywood brain? And where are those Martian attackers when you really need them?

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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