FLINT - If you're like me you wondered how fundamentalist rioters in Egypt, Libya and Yemen could possibly be moved to action by the nonsense contained within the shoddy, obscure movie that is being blamed as the spark for this week's attacks on our embassies.
"What's wrong with those people?" you perhaps thought.
I don't know the answer to that question other than to say that people tend to believe anything that seems to confirm their beliefs, especially their darkest ones.
But I do know that it's not just young Middle Eastern knuckleheads who are swayed so easily by hate films. American knuckleheads apparently are, too.
Case in point: The description I just read on my local theater chain's website about "2016: Obama's America," which it turns out is an actual movie playing in actual movie houses across the nation.
The description says (note: I've left the grammatical flubs for amusement's sake, plus I think they make the blurb even creepier):
"2016 Obamas America takes audiences on a gripping visual journey into the heart of the worlds most powerful office to reveal the struggle of whether one mans past will redefine America over the next four years. The film examines the question, "If Obama wins a second term, where will we be in 2016?"Across the globe and in America, people in 2008 hungered for a leader who would unite and lift us from economic turmoil and war. True to Americas ideals, they invested their hope in a new kind of president, Barack Obama. What they didnt know is that Obama is a man with a past, and in powerful ways that past defines him-who he is, how he thinks, and where he intends to take America and the world. Immersed in exotic locales across four continents, best selling author Dinesh DSouza races against time to find answers to Obamas past and reveal where America will be in 2016. During this journey he discovers how Hope and Change became radically misunderstood, and identifies new flashpoints for hot wars in mankinds greatest struggle. The journey moves quickly over the arc of the old colonial empires, into Americas empire of liberty, and we see the unfolding realignment of nations and the shape of the global future. Emotionally engaging, 2016 Obamas America will make you confounded and cheer as you discover the mysteries and answers to your greatest aspirations and worst fears. Love him or hate him, you dont know him."
I chose to go see Batman instead. I figured it would be more realistic.
As it turns out, I was probably right. A Washington Post review of the film says, "D'Souza's one-sided argument ultimately stoops to fear-mongering of the worst kind, stating in no uncertain terms that, if the president is reelected, the world four years from now will be darkened by the clouds of economic collapse, World War III (thanks to the wholesale renunciation of our nuclear superiority) and a terrifyingly ascendant new 'United States of Islam' in the Middle East. These assertions are accompanied by footage of actual dark clouds and horror-movie music."
What, no giant close-up of Devil Lord Obama chortling while smaller images of ragged Americans in chains being trooped off to liberal re-education camps by jack-booted socialists swirl around his head? I'm disappointed. If you're going to go for over the top, go big. (See: Michael Moore.)
That's the new American way when it comes to politics, after all. Go big or go home. Truth be damned. What matters is winning and nothing else.
I know this new style isn't going away, but I don't have to like it.
It bothers me that we don't settle for attacking candidates based on what they've done or what they actually believe any more. Now we just attack them based on how much we hate them.
Sounds a bit like what happened this week, doesn't it?
EDITOR'S NOTE - Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist for The Flint Journal, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. For more of his work, visit his blog at blog.mlive.com/flintjournal/aheller. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.