Today’s Phrase for Latin Lovers

Rex in Regno suo superiores habet Deum et Legem.

The King in his Realm hath two superiors: God and the Law. -- Henry Care (1646-1688) on English liberties and the Magna Carta


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|Pop Culture | Prudence Potpourri

Movie Review: Act of Valor

Once upon a time, Hollywood loved to splash all that made America great across the silver screen. It made our heroes larger than life, made the whole world look upon us with awe, envy and desire. We were the strong and the brave, striving to do the right thing, fighting the good fight. In times of trouble, Hollywood cheered us and rallied us, kept the home fires burning.

Then came Vietnam, and suddenly the men that put their lives on the line for us were no longer treated as heroes—they were barely even treated with respect. Not much has changed in the nearly 50 years since then. Hollywood lost touch with the common man. It went from being cheerleader to scold and naysayer.

Therefore, it’s a refreshing experience to see a movie in which America’s military is portrayed with pride. Act of Valor is one of those rare films that isn’t ashamed to be patriotic. Yet it’s not sugar-sweet; it doesn’t make battle pretty.

We go on a couple of missions with the SEALs, during which they operate with skill, precision, professionalism and honor. The incredibly difficult, tense missions pit them against tough, ruthless opponents. The SEALs don’t waver for a moment. They do their job, without apology. The film is made without apology.

While the actors were Hollywood amateurs yet military professionals (real-life active-duty Navy SEALs), they performed quite well. Some of the dialog came across as a bit hokey, a little stilted, but that was easily forgiven, in that the film was much more action-based than dialog-focused, letting the guys do what they do best.

The filmmakers packed the movie with action from start to finish. The audience was thrown into the adrenaline and confusion of a firefight, as the SEALs on screen achieved their objectives calmly and purposefully, with awesome firepower, using much of the latest weaponry and surveillance tools.

Throughout the film, the families of the sailors aren’t far from their minds or the minds of the audience. Before the men go off to battle, they say they have to make everything right at home so they have no distractions in the field. America’s military families can take pride in knowing their sacrifices, their strength and contributions, were well represented in the script.

If the movie had a downside, it was the portrayal of whom we were fighting. The terrorists were not Middle Eastern bad guys. Instead it was an odd assortment of two Russian kingpins (and a handful of babushka seamstresses sewing suicide vests), Costa Ricans, Mexicans and a few Filipinos thrown into the mix. The movie has drawn some criticism because one of the Russians, the billionaire money man funding the terrorist operation, is called out in one line of dialog as being Jewish. Islamic terrorism commentators Debbie Schlussel, Bookworm and Pamela Geller claim this makes the movie anti-Semetic. I disagree. It wasn’t a central point of the film.

I do agree it is rather stupid to make the financier of Islamic jihad a Jew. Would radical Muslims even want to take Jewish money to pay for their supposed way to heaven? I rather doubt it. By inserting this one line (“But you’re a Jew”), the filmmakers ask the audience to suspend disbelief that the money man is so down with the cause that the Muslims could overlook their religious animosity. But that premise isn’t supported at all. For one, the head Muslim honcho is a Chechen convert to Islam. No lifelong Muslim takes part in directing the operations. We’re told the Russian Jew and the Russian Muslim convert have joined forces because they were friends back in childhood. Yet they don’t seem to like each other, and they never give the audience any common goal that has now brought them together after all these years.

In fact, the billionaire tries to back out, saying he doesn’t want to be directly involved anymore though he’ll keep paying for the plans in motion. We’re never told why this billionaire, who has made his rubles as a drug smuggler, would benefit from blowing up Americans. Throughout the first part of the movie, we are left to assume he is a radical Islamist too. Later, when the Rob Reiner-looking SEAL senior chief confronts him on his yacht and mentions he is Jewish, it makes no sense.

It’s just all so preposterous, the Russians’ backstory, that it is easy to dismiss as lousy scriptwriting and forget it all when the action soon retakes the screen. And that’s the last we see of the inexplicable Mr. Russian Jew Islamic Jihadist.

Schlussel, Geller and Bookworm seem to be upset that anyone engaged in terrorism could possibly be Jewish. But this guy didn’t seem very religious or very bright. (From the start, I was wondering how in the world this greasy-haired hippie could have possibly amassed a billion dollars, even in a corrupt Russia.) I could see someone who was obsessed with making money by any means could associate themselves with terrorism if they were gonna make money off of it, but this guy was funding it, not profiting from it, thereby negating that angle (and potential charge of pushing a negative Jewish stereotype).

But I ask Schlussel, Geller and Bookworm, why should Jews be excluded from being the bad guys? Are all Jews perfect angels, never driven by baser motives? Wouldn’t it be anti-Semetic to say Jews can’t be treated like everyone else? Be bad guys in action movies? Granted we would all prefer bad guys that make sense in the constructed scenario….

If I had to guess, I’d say Obama’s Defense Department had a lot to say about whom the bad guys were to be. The people that Obama has spent most of his presidency bowing to, giving apologizing speeches to, relinquishing all American military superiority to, attempting to ignore all their connections to violent terrorism, are the people that are completely left out of the movie: radical Islamist Middle Eastern Arabs.

At first glance, it seems surprising the Defense Department consented to make Russians the bad guys, no matter how bumbling and disconnected to true Islamism they were. Obama has been courting the Russians since Day One, unilaterally giving up key strategies and forsaking our allies for them. But one bad guy was a Chechen, whom the Russians don’t like anyway, so they’d be cool with that. Making the other Russian Jewish also fits with Obama’s world view of good and evil. With the animosity this current administration has shown towards Jewish people, it would not surprise me if that group would be Obama’s personal choice to make the bad guys (if he had to choose some group other than American right-wingers).

As far as the Mexican connection is concerned, hey, the Obama administration has sent Americans guns into Mexico and caused Mexican deaths and crime as a result, without giving Mexico the typical apologies they love to give to our foes, so it’s no surprise they wouldn’t care much about making them the bad guys. I don’t know what beef the Obama administration has against Costa Ricans. Perhaps they better start worrying what Obama has up his sleeve for them.

So yes, having a Russian Jew fund the operation was a dumb, unexplained twist. But it was such a minor plot point, it did not impair my enjoyment of the movie. (In fact, Bookworm retracts the charge of anti-Semetism after more consideration.)

Our military deserves to finally have a supportive film in the long 10 years of war they have endured. Films like Act of Valor and Restrepo have sadly been few and far between. In an torn America that can’t even bring itself to give our returning warriors a parade, supporting this little film feels like a fine way to support our troops.

Good job, guys. Bravo, for all you have done.


In My Butterfly Net: 2011-04-01

Here’s what the little men in white coats captured from the scattered tweets and thoughts that fluttered forth from the mind of Prudy in the last 24 hours:

  • The Libyan “Kinetic Military Action” is not going well. NBC’s Jim Maceda reported, after apologizing that the media had done such a poor job reporting it: “It’s not Khadaffy’s army that has Libya rebels on run. It’s LOCAL MILITIAS in pickups.”

    What have we gotten into? If ordinary citizens are going out on their own to fight the “rebels,” perhaps we haven’t thought this whole thing through, have we? [*]
  • Donald Trump is running for President, unofficially for now, but… He has made a bold splash in the media by asking why doesn’t Obama just release his long-form birth certificate and end all speculation. MSNBC’s Daily Rundown hungrily booked him, and then @savannahguthrie and @chucktodd openly mocked him, rolled their eyes, smirked and postured, and asked him preposterous questions, in their phone interview. Would they have done the same thing, treated him as disrespectfully, if he had been sitting right across from him? How was that a “news” interview? The name of your show is the Daily Rundown, not the Daily Show, and you really aren’t that funny. In fact, you’re rather humorless. #LeanDisrespectful #PoorManners #Cowards [#]

    FUN SIDE NOTE: Saw someone comment that the Birther label is really a misnomer. It should be applied to all those that believe Obama WAS born in the US, not those that have questions about it.
  • Quote from Thursday’s Stossel show on Fox Business: “Where’s the anti-war movement now? They weren’t anti-war, they were anti-Bush, and they aren’t anti-Obama.” –Cato Institute’s @David_Boaz [*]
  • @The_Alien tweeted: “The next Osama bin Laden is currently a lieutenant in the ranks of Libyan rebels.” I can’t help but think his current lieutenant is probably there right now too. [#]
  • @SamValley tweeted: Socialists agree in limited choice, as long as they get a personal waiver.” But I’ve always suspected that socialists think they’ll be the ones in charge, making the rules, not the peons having to live under them. [#]
  • The Lottery Game: Odds assure the ticket-issuing government will pay out less in prizes than the amount of money the ticket sales take in. Fine. That’s typical of any business. There is an expectation of profit. But the magical government part occurs when the winning customers receive only a portion of their promised winnings, losing nearly 50% of the winnings once all taxes get collected—mostly by the very same government giving them the money.

    That would be like going to any business, say, a barbeque restaurant, and ordering a pound of pulled pork, but receiving only half a pound. And you drive away content to have received whatever they gave you. Heaven help you if you don’t want receive your pulled pork half pound over 20 years. You want it now, for dinner tonight. That means you’ll be receiving only the fraction of that half pound that the restaurant would have to invest today to earn, with compound interest, the full half pound by the end of 20 years. Hope you weren’t very hungry. [#]
  • Chevy Volts are the Pocket Chairs of automobiles. (The Pocket Chair is a flimsy-seeming camping chair that can be compactly folded to fit in a pocket and taken everywhere. The ads appear on middle-of-the-night TV, such as during the 3am show “RedEye.”) [inspiration: SwedenG *]

[*] = clickable link to the original Prudy tweet, which may or may not have been modified here, for elaboration or clarification

|Prudence Potpourri | Tea Party

Play Obingo!

Most presidents like to deliver a speech from the Oval Office within a few hours of the US initiating bombing against a foreign country. But not our current President.

It doesn’t matter so much now as we’ve all heard about everything he has to say about it (not to Congress or to the American people, but to Bo the dog).

So let’s have a party. Use this card to drink your way to agreement with Obama’s Arab war policy. Don’t worry if it doesn’t make perfect sense.

It was put together a bit hastily, almost as if we were invading an Arab nation or something. Perhaps we should have invested more thought and planning into it, but hey, we’re turning it over to the Twitter community to supervise and carry to fruition.

Take a drink for every phrase Obama uses in his speech. If you get a whole row, either down, across or diagonally, chug-a-lug!


Click here for the OBINGO Game Card. Special thanks to SooperMexican for the sooperdesign!!!!!