Arts & Culture

Is Iron Man A Blame-America-First Defeatocrat?

Writing at Pajamas Media, New York Post film critic Kyle Smith gives Jon Favreau's new Iron Man movie 3 out of 4 stars. Which is a pretty generous rating, considering that Smith has discovered that Iron Man and Iron Man … Read More

By / May 7, 2008

Writing at Pajamas Media, New York Post film critic Kyle Smith gives Jon Favreau's new Iron Man movie 3 out of 4 stars. Which is a pretty generous rating, considering that Smith has discovered that Iron Man and Iron Man — both the film and the character — are rooting for our defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan, and who knows where else. That's right ladies and gentlemen, the tentacles of the Islamofascist octopus stretch farther than you thought; indeed, they've poisoned the #1 grossing movie in America. Fortunately Smith was able to recognize the threat and sound the alarum — otherwise Ali Jon al Favreau bin Omar might have succeeded in corroding the will of armchair amateur warriors that's so crucial to maintaining neoconservatives' paranoid cocoon our struggle against Islamic radicalism.

And how did Smith manage this startling deduction? Iron Man is "another America-as-root-of-all-evil message" because at some point along the way, Robert Downey, Jr./Tony Stark/Iron Man, a weapons manufacturer, decides to get out of the biz when he "realizes his products can't be kept out of evil hands." And not to give anything away, but the comic book Iron Man is basically an ally of the US government, and the film in no way makes any radical revision of the character.

That's. It.

Iron Man doesn't even weakly imply that the terrorists are anything but bad guys. It doesn't imply that Americans are anything but good guys. It doesn't imply that US foreign or military policy is in any way objectionable or even flawed; it doesn't imply that US private citizens are involved in objectionable enterprises. It merely suggests that if terrorists were to get hold of weapons that happen to be made by an American, they would do bad things with them.

So apparently, unless you agree that anything made in the USA is so pure, holy, and righteous that it'll repel Islamofascists like garlic on vampires, or perhaps melt them like Nazis in front of the Ark of the Covenant, then you, my friend, lack moral clarity. Don't despair though: There's no shortage of people who have the moral clarity to see that waterboarding isn't torture, and who will be more than happy to set you right.

Observing the wreckage of Smith's review, Julian Sanchez writes: "What’s intolerable is any hint of ambiguity, any hint of doubt. This is the fragile insistence of a movement that has lost its confidence."

But has the mishmash of neoconservatism, psychopathological vicarious living through soldiers in the field, and apolitical belligerent nationalism that constitute Bush Republicanism ever tolerated a hint of ambiguity or doubt? I distinctly remember the roll call of the Ships of the Decent in 2002, embarking on their Iliadic journey to Baghdad by sacrificing former comrades who voiced doubts about the wisdom of the enterprise to appease Artemis Ahmad Chalabi. (I remember because I was part of that cadre.) And I remember the Glorious Summer of War in 2003, when it was pretty much the same story, except with more smugness and premature triumphalism.

Suppose, at any time from the moment the dust of the towers settled, until… — what time is it now? — you suggested that invading sovereign states under conditions of dubious international legitimacy, occupying them in a manner indistinguishable from what someone seeking to stoke a nationalist uprising would have done, and establishing a regime of torture in lieu of a functioning judicial system, weren't the awesomest and decentest ideas ever. In that case, you can be sure some self-righteous scrivener would be only too happy to accuse you of cheering for our defeat.

On the other hand, there is plenty of independent evidence for Julian's claim that the war party has lost its confidence, cf. their apparent determination to run the principal exponent of their ideology for president not on any platform, not for any positive program, not against any presidential candidate, but against a few irrelevant petrified relics of the 60s radical left.