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What is truth? And does it matter?
October 8, 2003 9:15 AM   Subscribe

Saving Private Lynch From Misinformation.
John Fasano (screenwriter of such classics as Darkness Falls, Megiddo: The Omega Code 2, and Another 48 Hours) offers a very interesting caveat regarding his in-production film about the icon apparent (or not) of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This begs the question: With a public undoubtedly waiting for this made-for-TV movie to know "what really happened to Jessica" and such a blurred line between truth and propaganda, is this responsible movie-making? Many Americans turn to Hollywood for their history lessons, so I have to wonder...
posted by grabbingsand (21 comments total)

 
I want to cry, but I know it won't help anything. I want to tell people, but I will be brushed off as some radical. I want to vote, but it probably won't matter.
posted by Keyser Soze at 9:18 AM on October 8, 2003


(Oh, and that's an NYT link... FYI.)
posted by grabbingsand at 9:18 AM on October 8, 2003


hm. it's so easy to be a hero these days... you don't even have to actually -do anything-.
posted by shadow45 at 9:22 AM on October 8, 2003


Who knows? Maybe with a bit of luck history will look at this movie like we do with "Triumph of the will".
posted by Keyser Soze at 9:29 AM on October 8, 2003


I think the primary reason we remember Triumph of the Will is because it is very good film making, the fact that its message is anathema to most of us is, whilst still significant, secondary to that. If it wasn't good it would just have been on the junkpile of history, which leads me nicely into an assessment of where Saving Jessica Lynch will end up.
posted by biffa at 9:57 AM on October 8, 2003


hm. it's so easy to be a hero these days... you don't even have to actually -do anything-.

It's just as easy to be a traitor. All you have to do is speak the truth.
posted by jpoulos at 10:07 AM on October 8, 2003


grabbingsand: what is "responsible moviemaking"? as long as it doesn't incite hatred against an ethnic group or something alike, what's wrong about this movie-to-be? After all, of all these that complain of the propagandistic flavor of what this movie will undoubtfully be, how many have similarly complained about Michael Moore's propagandistic fantasies? If you haven't, why critique this one (unless you are unabashedly partisan)?
posted by bokononito at 10:24 AM on October 8, 2003


I don't think it's necessary for a filmmaking to be "responsible", per se; I just think it will be a terrible bit of moviemaking if it errs on the side or propaganda. If people are stupid enough to take history lessons from a movie, without and factual backchecking, they deserve whatever they get.
posted by The God Complex at 10:30 AM on October 8, 2003


This Saturday will mark 3 weeks my LiL Brother's been back from Iraq. His take after hearing all of her popularity: What the hell!, . He had more to say but it's not printable. Also note, he is under the impression she is the one spinning her tales.

Last week in the Dallas Tx area there was a film crew filming Iraqi street scenes. Anyone know if it was this movie mentioned in the post? Heard that there will be several movies made about her, some official some not.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:42 AM on October 8, 2003


We're shooting ... [but] ... Please . . . don't shoot the messenger.??

With the approval by the DoD and the network, I can see two alternatives to preemptive whining.

1. Do not participate in the movie

2. Go indie

Also note, he is under the impression she is the one spinning her tales.

If that were the case, she might have also thought of leaving the army and selling the rights. Just saying ...

posted by magullo at 10:58 AM on October 8, 2003


bokononito. my concern is twofold. the movie is not being produced for the sake of entertainment, but rather for one of two reasons: either propaganda or exploitation. and from what i can tell, "saving private lynch" (or whatever it is called) will be pitched to the public much like the why we fight films of the 1940s, only this time the footage will be filmed on a backlot with actors. we can hope that the film acknowledges its own inaccuracy, but i doubt it will.

sure, it would be very exciting to see little jessica whip out a matched set of desert eagles and blast away at an onslaught of foes until her triggers clicked empty like some kind of camo-clad trinity... if it happen'd.
posted by grabbingsand at 11:14 AM on October 8, 2003


It sounds like this script writer at least made an effort to find sources close to the actual incident. Really, I just assumed the tv movie-watching public would be subjected to a Rambo-style film about how a heroic young soldier made it, against all odds. The last scene would undoubtedly include her silhouette against a flag.

Whether the network actually makes the film as he's written it is yet to be seen.
posted by mikeh at 11:16 AM on October 8, 2003


leaving the army and selling the rights
How does that work, anyone? She did sign a book deal and is currently working on a film project.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:17 AM on October 8, 2003


OK, now that I've thought about it... this reminds me of something John Waters said when I saw him speak last year.
He made the point that with modern digital video cameras, inexpensive editing, and a group of friends, you could easily recreate the evening news by the next day. Imagine reading about a burglary in the paper, then going home in the evening to watch a dramatic recreation on tv. Ripped from the headlines? Oh yeah.

Apparently this wasn't the first time he had the idea. Supposedly he filmed a recreation of the Kennedy assassination, but couldn't find a receptive audience. It might be due to the fact that he cast Divine as Jackie Kennedy. Or possibly that he filmed it in 1964.
posted by mikeh at 11:21 AM on October 8, 2003


either propaganda or exploitation

Think the best critics will be by the Soldiers whom were in Iraq. Also the soldiers captured with her, where is their tales? Down the road think little will be said and we will hear truer tales, but many years away.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:46 AM on October 8, 2003


grabbingsand: the movie is not being produced for the sake of entertainment, but rather for one of two reasons: either propaganda or exploitation.

Where in the world did you get that from?! It's absurd to think that NBC/GE would waste their time and money on propaganda, no matter how noble the cause. They have one and only one motivation: profit. They're making this film because if they do so quickly enough, some people may actually remember how Jessica Lynch is and will therefore watch the damned thing, thereby guaranteeing eyeballs for the commercial slots that NBC can charge outrageous sums for.
posted by JollyWanker at 2:12 PM on October 8, 2003


It's all good, so long as Timothy Bottoms gets to play Bush charging into the hospital, guns ablazin', for the big rescue scene.
posted by rushmc at 2:44 PM on October 8, 2003


Using Private Lynch
posted by RakDaddy at 2:46 PM on October 8, 2003


Down the road think little will be said and we will hear truer tales, but many years away.

like the completely discredited but widely believed She Said 'Yes' myth of Cassie Bernall, Columbine victim.
posted by palegirl at 5:50 PM on October 8, 2003


By all accounts, he was not Ranger material: A scrawny, 23-year-old Army soldier from Kansas who shot a mediocre 26 on the M-16 qualification range, worked as a welder in a rear-area maintenance unit, and in his own words, had authority problems with officers.

That was until the morning of March 23, 2003, on the banks of the Euphrates River outside Nasiriyah, Iraq, where Pfc. Patrick Miller became an icon of heroism and true grit.

Miller was driving a five-ton wrecker towing a water trailer when the rest of his unit from the 507th Maintenance Co. took a wrong turn and drove straight into the city. The horrific ambush that followed, where Iraqis killed 11 soldiers (including two from another unit), wounded nine and took six prisoner, has been widely documented in recent months because of the media feeding frenzy over Pfc. Jessica Lynch.

It is a sad and cynical commentary on our times that reporters, Hollywood screenplay writers and other members of the chattering class were so blinded by the politically-correct stereotypes fueled by the (inaccurate) accounts of Lynch’s heroism that they were blinded to the astounding story of what Miller did during the ambush at Nasariyah.

posted by y2karl at 6:54 PM on October 8, 2003


Great links grabbingsand [how appropriate], especially that 15 page Executive Summary on the Attack on the 507th Maintenance Company. y2karl also about Pfc. Patrick Miller.

Captain King, the Commander of the 507th, with GPS's, CD disk containing orders and route information, maps and radio's could be said to be at fault. In his haste, not comprehending which route to take, then getting the entire convoy lost and being totally unprepared for an attack after taking "shortcuts" through the deep desert where it took 5 hours to travel 15 miles. Tired soldiers with no time to have their weapons ready to work were put in danger by this, this boob.

That's the story, how he drove through An Nasiriya, people waving to them, but while retracing their route to find the correct road, the same roads were blocked with tanks and debris, leaving soldiers to get picked off.

Some words bothered me that really stood out. The "new truth" and "this is the closest to the truth we can get." The new truth being that which has been vetted by scads of lawyers and the DoD and the network. hmmmm. Truth eh? Truth as long as it makes them look good.

I wonder how many weapons and equipment GE is responsible for manufacturing for the DoD. Just curious.

Let's not criticize though, it is only a movie and since when does that [in general] reflect real life? As far as war movies go, it'll have that stench of a made up story as edited by the NBC President of Entertainmentand the DoD. I prefer the war movie Apocalypse Now from Conrad Lorenz's novel, Heart of Darkness.

This will be no Triumph of the Will, please. Leni had talent, it's about how that talent was put to use that troubles me.

As for Jessica Lynch, when she gets her memory back and signs her own book deal, she's lucky to be alive and won't have to apply to the Walmart.
"It's also the story of a girl who, because the economy is so bad, can't even get a part-time job at Walmart when she graduates from high school. So she joins the Army, believing she's selected a military occupation that will protect her: supply clerk."

Sadly to say, this is news and the truth. Since January 2001, the USA economy has shed nearly 3 million jobs. Statistics released recently showed the economy gained 57,000 jobs in September – the first employment gain in 8 months. The unemployment rate remains at 6.1%. Still out of touch with his domestic economy, eh Georgie? Just like daddy.

sorry, what were we talking about? oh, the truth, yes, the truth and a little movie, right?

Don't know why thomcatspike's brother thinks Ms. Lynch is spinning her own tales though. Does he believe that "original" feel good story in some papers? Why?
posted by alicesshoe at 10:02 PM on October 8, 2003


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