Monday, March 21, 2005

Some People Don't Want to Listen

Last week, I went to a panel discussion of three former U.S. servicemen (with differing opinions, of course, or else how could it be interesting?). Despite the hecklers ("You’re a rapist!"), it was an intelligent and interesting discourse.

The moderate of the three servicemen got famous in the movie "Control Room"--which he thought was just a student film when he talked to them in Qatar. But then, a year later, he got a call on his answering machine that said something like, "I just saw your movie at Sundance. It was great! Can we set up an interview?" The ex-marine said that he had to listen to it several times just to make sure he heard it right. And then he googled his own name to see if there was another guy with the same name who had a movie. But then he found "Control Room" and it all started to come together in his mind.

Apparently, in that film, there are several short clips of conversation between this marine (who was the HQ PR man at the time) and an al-Jazeera reporter. Over the course of the movie (which covers the whole Iraq war), it looks like the marine is gradually changing his position to agree with the reporter. But actually, it was just one 90-minute interview and the filmmakers just clipped and snipped and edited themselves a story. But anyway, this guy has now been touring the U.S. giving talks about his experience.

As I said, he's a moderate, so in conservative areas, he's derided as a liberal; and in liberal areas, he's derided as a conservative. He said something that I think a lot of people need to take to heart: Just because Bush does something doesn't make it automatically right, and just because Bush does something doesn't automatically make it wrong. (This is, of course, when a heckler yelled something incomprehensible.)

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