An added bonus to D’Souza’s ‘America’: Biased movie critics exposed again

America Rotten TomatoesDinesh D’Souza of ‘2016: Obama’s America’ fame is back with his second attempt at Hollywood film making with ‘America: Imagine a World Without Her.’ The reaction by critics proves once again why more conservatives should be writing books, making films and generally getting involved in as many creative endeavors as possible. ‘America’ is a mixed bag — I have plenty of gripes about it — but no fair-minded critic can look at the 13 percent “rotten” splat on Rotten Tomatoes and say that it’s an accurate reflection of the movie’s quality. When one compares the critical reaction to a Michael Moore film with the feedback D’Souza’s efforts have received, the bias becomes even more hilarious.

Fahrenheit 911 Rotten TomatoesA quick perusal of the reviews yields a predictable pattern of sentiments:

  • Stanley Kauffmann reviews Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 for The New Republic in 2004: “Sometimes slipshod in its making and juvenile in its travesty, and of course it has no interest in overall fairness to Bush. But it vents an anger about this presidency that, as the film’s ardent reception shows, seethes in very many of us.” Conclusion: Fresh.
  • David Ehrlich reviews D’Souza’s ‘America’ for AV Club in 2014: “Graced with a hilariously definitive title, America is astonishingly facile, a film comprised entirely of straw man arguments.” Conclusion: Rotten.
  • Kevin Carr reviews D’Souza’s ‘Obama’s America: 2016’ for 7M Pictures in 2012: “D’Souza never actually shows [the president’s anti-colonial views] with Obama’s own words or deeds. Instead, he engages in guilt by association.” Conclusion: Rotten.
  • Andrew Sarris reviews Moore’s ‘Sicko’ for the New York Observer in 2012: “One may quibble with Mr. Moore’s anecdotal oversimplifications and his xenophilic fantasies, but he has struck a socio-psychic nerve in the body politic, generating a feeling of outrage that seems to be reverberating in every theater.” Conclusion: Fresh.

Obama America 2016 DSouzaIn the case of Mr. Carr, readers are treated to an outright lie. The truth is that Mr. D’Souza quoted President Obama on numerous occasions throughout the movie. If I’m not mistaken (it’s been awhile), he even used the audio from “Dreams From My Father” to give certain scenes more weight. With most other critics, you simply have hypocrisy; Moore’s simplifications are excused because he’s tapping into feelings of national “outrage”; Moore’s “juvenile” tactics are forgiven because he’s in tune with “anger” that “seethes” in “very many of us” over the president’s actions.

Mr. Ehrlich’s “straw man” assertion is perhaps the most humorous of the bunch, given that D’Souza lets liberal academics make their own arguments against America’s greatness for the first 30 minutes of the movie. Only after they state their case does he respond. Unlike Michael Moore, Mr. D’Souza actually took the time to set up interviews with men like Noam Chomsky, Michael Eric Dyson, Ward Churchill and others. There were no ambushes. Mr. D’Souza asked questions, and guys like Churchill went on to call America the new “evil empire” that may, under the right circumstances, need to have an atomic bomb dropped on its population. That isn’t D’Souza making a “straw-man” argumentit is a hard-core liberal saying what he actually believes.

Does the movie version of D’Souza’s ‘America’ have problems? Yes. One particular fault is a cartoonish portrayal of Hillary Clinton towards the end that, quite frankly, cheapens the movie. The scene comes off as weird and conspiratorial.

Should viewers know about Mrs. Clinton’s college thesis on Saul Alinsky, “There is Only the Fight: An Analysis of the Alinsky Model”? Sure. But it seems shoe-horned into the movie and its execution (i.e., a recreation of Mrs. Clinton’s first meeting with the “Rules for Radicals” author in her Methodist church in Chicago) is bizarre.

Fair critics can see where ‘America’ hits (e.g., D’Souza smartly gives America’s most ardent critics plenty of screen time in his movie) and where it misses (e.g., briefly alluding to his own legal issues with the Department of Justice, which will leave less politically-aware moviegoers incredibly confused). The problem is that there aren’t many fair critics out there.

In the end I’m happy that ‘America’ exists, because many more people will see the movie than read the book. Most of the movie is extremely positive and includes bits of history that your Ward Churchillian college professor never told you about. However, the book (as is usually the case) is much better than the movie. While the movie has its flaws, I still hope that enough people see it to warrant future installments by Mr. D’Souza and other conservative filmmakers.

Related: D’Souza’s ‘America’ reminds us: As free men ‘we must live through all time, or die by suicide’

Related: 2016: Obama’s America: D’Souza strikes a nerve

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D’Souza’s ‘America’ reminds us: As free men ‘we must live through all time, or die by suicide’

America Imagine a World Without Her

Dinesh D’Souza’s ‘America: Imagine a World Without Her’ is an important book. It addresses what Abraham Lincoln knew long ago: “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

“What kind of crazy American would want to end the nation?” is a logical question. The answer, however, is not a pleasant one. There are plenty of U.S. citizens who do not believe that America is, as George Washington put it, the “cause of mankind.” There are Americans who believe that America’s founding was so flawed that the only option is to “fundamentally transform” it, either through radical revolution from the outside or from a kind of stealth revolution from within. Mr. D’Souza directly rebuts the case against America made by men like Saul Alinsky, William Ayers, Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill, Michel Foucault, Howard Zinn and their ideological allies.

What makes ‘America’ interesting is that many of the men covered in the book were interviewed by D’Souza for his upcoming movie by the same name. He isn’t afraid to let America’s critics have their say. He is confident that when those thoughts and ideas are placed side-by-side with an articulate defense of the principles of our founding, the wisdom of Washington will shine even brighter.

Any book that defends the America’s founding must address slavery, and as usual D’Souza does not shy away from the task. And, while it’s useful to have quotes on hand by former slave Frederick Douglass, who eventually believed that the U.S. Constitution guaranteed that slavery was an ugly “scaffolding to the magnificent structure [of America], to be removed as soon as the building was completed,” readers need more. Readers need to know that slavery wasn’t an American invention — but that it was present in all cultures up until that period of time. What is uniquely Western, he says, is not slavery but the abolition of slavery.

D’Souza adds another bitter pill for progressive men like Saul Alinsky (the author and “community organizer” who dedicated ‘Rules for Radicals’ to Lucifer, “the first radical”) to swallow: Christianity helped propel the anti-slavery movement:

Slavery became controversial for one reason: the influence of Christianity. …

It is a fact of great significance that only in the West — the region of the world officially known as Christendom — did anti-slavery movements arise. There is no history of an anti-slavery movement outside the West.

Even atheists admit that the anti-slavery movements in England and America were led by Christians. I am not suggesting that the Christians were the only ones who disliked slavery. From ancient times there had been another group that dislike slavery. That group was called the slaves. So there were always reports of runaways, slave revolts, and so on. What Christianity produced was an entirely different phenomenon: men who were eligible to be masters who opposed slavery.

D’Souza then points out that while the seeds for ending slavery were planted by Christians (i.e., we are all equal in the eyes of God), the Founders in Philadelphia found themselves in an interesting predicament: the choice was not whether to have slavery or not. “Rather, it was whether to have a union that temporarily tolerated slavery, or to have no union at all,” because immediately ending slavery would have been a deal-breaker for the Southern states.

Abraham Lincoln said it well during the Lincoln-Douglass debates regarding the Declaration of Independence:

[The Founders] intended to include all men, bu they did not intend to declare all men equal in all respects. … They defined with tolerable distinctness in what they respect they did consider all men created equal — equal in certain inalienable rights. They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth, that all were then actually enjoying equality… They meant simply to declare the right, so that the enforcement of it might follow as fast as circumstances should permit.”

What would have happened to the nation in its infancy if the Founders pushed the slavery issue to the point that the Union dissolved from the get-go? The world would be a very different place. Ultimately, it did take a Civil War and hundreds-of-thousands of deaths to resolve the issue, but to assert that the Founders should have pushed the issue as they were preparing to declare independence from England is bizarre.

In short, ‘America’ is a good read and well worth your time. Luckily, if you don’t have a lot of spare time or $30 on hand for the hardcover you can see the movie when it lands in theaters July 2.

And yes, I will be reviewing the film.