Tuesday, June 26, 2007

James Taranto's Movie Review Chops

From Roger Ebert's review of "A Mighty Heart" in the Chicago Sun-Times:

We reflect that the majority of Muslims do not approve of the behavior of Islamic terrorists, just as the majority of Americans disapprove of the war in Iraq.

The trouble with this--aside from the suggestion that the liberation of Iraq is morally equivalent to terrorists' wanton murder--is that Americans' disapproval of the war in Iraq is contingent. Something like 70% approved of the Iraq intervention at the outset. Those who switched did so mostly because they have been persuaded that we are losing, not that the war was immoral.

Is Ebert simply saying that Muslims are as fickle as Americans? Who knows? His message is hopelessly muddled. That's why he should stick to what he's good at: reviewing movies.

This is courtesy of James Taranto over at the WSJ, who felt the need the bring out the Movie-critics-have-no-business-discussing-politics argument -- the Michael Medved Assertion, if you will. I was going to give a quick look at what kind of work Taranto has done in the field of cinematic review over the years, but frankly it's too hot to do even a mere Google search, so I'll just have to be content to remind him that this line of argument is a two-way street the next time he feel obliged to subject his readers to his filmic critiques.

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