Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Political tidbits

I would have voted for John Edwards in the California Primary yesterday if he hadn't dropped out. Instead, I decided to vote for Obama based on the unfortunate negativity emanating from the Clinton campaign (it's kind of a turn-off) and because I've been very impressed by the huge number of new and crossover voters that Obama is luring to the polls. It seems pretty obvious to me at this point that, even though I think both candidates will be able to beat McCain in November, Obama may have an easier time if he can attract independents and even Republicans who would never vote for Hillary.

Also, the state of each campaign can be seen in two campaign-finance stories out today: Hillary and Bill Clinton have loaned $5 million to her campaign, while Obama has, just since the polls closed, raised $5.6 million. That certainly bodes well for him.

In other news, the right-wingers are trying hard to paint Rambo as something other than a mildly amusing, mildly condescending bloodfest. According to this Reuters story, those opposed to the military junta that rules Burma/Myanmar are using Stallone's movie as a rallying point.

Let's make this clear: it's great that a movie, any movie, is making America and the world in general aware of the repressive political situation in Burma. That said, the movie can't honestly claim to be anything more than crude propaganda. Stallone could have made his movie anywhere without much significant difference in what happens on-screen: just replace the cardboard Burmese bad guys with cardboard bad guys from Sudan or North Korea or Uzbekistan, stick in some white people for him to rescue (because he can't help repressed Asians or Africans on their own, that would be nonsense!) and let the revenge machine that is John Rambo do his thing.

I have to say that I'm relieved that Stallone didn't follow the 300 template here and pitch his movie as a battle between the Civilized World and the decadent forces of the East. But what he did do, suggesting that the repressed people of Burma need a white liberator, is patronizing in your standard colonialist/nothing new kind of way. So let's give Stallone credit for having heard of Burma and that's about it.


cjkennedy said...

Stallone: UN Peace Envoy

Jeff McMahon said...

More like war envoy. They aren't praising Stallone for bringing world attention to a situation, like Clooney has tried to do with Darfur. They're praising Stallone for making a typically simplistic pro-war cartoon that just happens to also serve a social good (riling up the Burmese against their government).

They can't give Al Gore credit for An Inconvenient Truth, but any excuse to cheer on Stallone...