One more politically oriented post and then we’ll turn away, ok? Hard to argue that politics doesn’t have a place on a movie site when America’s most revered Oscar-winning movie legends are doing prop comedy endorsements, conventions are stage-managed by Hollywood producers, and movies like 2016: Obama’s America somehow exist. Campaign ads — and I’m including this movie — are often pure fiction and even when legitimate facts emerge, they’re framed for greater impact with movie techniques. I would like to think Dinesh D’Souza’s smear piece will peak this weekend and then shrivel into its own disgusting husk. But while the thing is still out there percolating hate, I’m glad to see some critics refuse to be blinded its shiny sheen of skillfully constructed sleaze. Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir dismantles Dinesh D’Souza the way he needs to be.
Somebody in Dinesh D’Souza’s shaggy, piecemeal right-wing screed “2016: Obama’s America” definitely has a problem with post-colonial theory and the conflicted ideologies of third-world intellectuals. But I don’t think it’s Barack Obama. A blend of genuinely fascinating observations and shrill, repetitious character assassination, “2016” is the surprise hit documentary of late summer, hypothetically lifting the spirits of true-hearted Americans as they battle to thwart the dastardly schemes of … well, the middle-of-the-road, drone-happy politician who has occupied the White House for the last four years, apparently without showing his true colors.
As far as actual argumentation about Obama goes, there’s nothing new here that Sarah Palin didn’t try in 2008: The president spent his childhood and young manhood pallin’ around with terrorists of various stripes and haunted by the specter of his Kenyan radical dad, and those influences have shaped him into a creature of unique deviousness. While the birthers may not be precisely correct when it comes to troublesome factual details – D’Souza does not endorse, disavow or even mention the kookier conspiracy theories – they’re right at the level of essence and insight. Obama is a dyed-in-the-wool anti-American who was born in a hospital with a funny name, reared on his absent father’s “Third World collectivism” and elected president in a nationwide racial pity party after concealing crucial elements of his own background. He is “weirdly sympathetic to Muslim jihadis” and hopes to enable a “United States of Islam” in the Middle East while raising taxes to 100 percent at home. Any questions?