Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's About the Screen!

When I watched a few YouTube clips from the 1958 film "The Big Country," I noticed how the camera would linger over the striking landscapes, which when reduced to the size of a netbook screen weren't so striking. This reminded me of the importance of properly viewing this kind of movie. This is certainly the case with "El Cid."

When you watch a big screen movie-- whose compositions and images and sound were designed for a large scale-- on a computer, you're getting maybe 1/100th of the real impact the artwork is supposed to have. When you see it on the largest home video screen possible, you're still getting maybe 1/4 to 1/2 the intended artistic experience.

Not all movies are like this. Some classic films well fit the intimacy of a small screen, and when blown up don't give all that much difference. I think of something like "All About Eve," black-and-white with small interior sets, and almost no shots taken outdoors. A big screen, in fact, sometimes reveals the staginess of these kind of films-- an example being the toy night club in "Citizen Kane."

To have people understand the impact and importance-- the sheer magnificent power-- of "El Cid" is why I'm pursuing the idea of the El Cid Project, showing the movie as it should be shown, at a time and place where its symbolism and power will be most strongly felt.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Stronger Magic

Apparently it was pointed out on TV's "Sixty Minutes" last night that there already is a mosque in Imam Rauf's Park 51 structure at Ground Zero. Commentators like Mike Gallagher sound pessimistic about moving it. The problem is using the wrong tactic against it. The direct head-on approach didn't work-- but there are other approaches.

The trick is to understand the mentality of Imam Rauf-- and confront his symbolic "magic" with stronger magic: namely, the great artwork and movie masterpiece known as "El Cid."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Another Movie

AT MY JOB the other day I was discussing western movies with a co-worker. We got around eventually to the 1958 classic, "The Big Country." Like "El Cid," it has unbelievably beautiful photography, dynamic characters played by the likes of Greg Peck, Jean Simmons, and Burl Ives, and a rousing musical score-- in this instance, by Jerome Moross. (Plus it has "El Cid"'s Charlton Heston in a supporting role, as well as one of my favorite all-time actresses, Carroll Baker, playing the spoiled daughter of a wealthy landowner.)

Afterward I looked up a few YouTube videos of the flick on the Internet. I haven't seen the film in years-- never on a movie screen. The opening credits and the trick riding sequence alone convey the movie's magic. It captures America in all its size, beauty, and sheer exuberance. The year 1958 stood at a peak of American confidence. There was no doubt THEN about ourselves and our culture. The great movie westerns like "The Big Country" were a celebration of American culture, history, and spirit. A wonderful spirit which no one should apologize for. Didn't American culture, freedom, and energy capture the imagination of the world?

What's my point? My point is that America needs to renew itself by remembering why it was founded, by reconnecting with its authentic culture and its cultural and historical roots. America is a unique place. "American" is a distinct identity. My forebears didn't come here to be watered-down facsimiles of the world they left. They came to become American-- and they became American, melding themselves into America; earning that through their belief in American ideals and by their hard work. America isn't some multicultural imitation of Europe, Asia, Africa, Mexico, or Arabia. It's a unique place and thing unto itself. The minute we throw away that identity-- the minute we become afraid to embrace and defend it and this land, this place-- then we become no longer visionary and great.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Real Battle

The real battle in America and other Western cultures is over what kind of societies they're going to be, what their cultures will look like. It's over whether they will remain unapologetically Western with all that entails, all the magnificent principles, thought, spirit, and art-- or whether they will instead become amorphous meaningless blobs where there are no distinctions-- and no distinction-- where everything is assumed to be, indeed mandated to be, of equal value; a characterless uncourageous blob beyond good and evil, ultimately beyond intelligence, a limp flag symbolizing a once-great memory flapping in the breeze.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Understanding Rauf

The elite media in this country are incapable of understanding Imam Rauf. They see in him what they choose to see-- a reflection of themselves. They confuse the average Muslim American, who no doubt just wants to be a good citizen, and the Islamic intelligentsia, who are required by their positions to be ideologues; who are obligated by the dictates of their religion to "plant the flag" of Islam wherever they can. This is what the Ground Zero controversy is about.

The idea of the El Cid Project is to oppose symbolism with symbolism.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Hero

Picture of Charlton Heston  as El Cid  from El Cid   High Quality Photo  C30118

The very idea of the hero has become an archaic concept in today’s cultural climate. Presented instead as models are endlessly self-involved moral jellyfish incapable of grasping the notion of a cause or meaning greater than themselves. When you wipe out the ability to distinguish differences between societies, civilizations, people, and actions, you not only elevate the concept of the world as meaningless mush, you’re not seeing or understanding reality at all. Are there things in life and the world worth fighting for? Yes there are!

Who You Are

Thanks to America's disastrous education system, there's been created a group of people in this country who are afraid to identify themselves as Americans-- much less as Americans of Christian (or, if you will, Judeo-Christian) heritage. For them there's an embarrassment at anything associated with the very idea, and so they collapse in the face of those who do know who they are, and who strongly present a belief system alternative such as Islam. There's nothing wrong with Islam if it can demonstrate it's compatible with Western civilization, isn't trying to conquer or alter it, and is willing to repel jihadist extremists from its ranks. Islam needs to adapt to America. America won't adapt to it. The jury is still out regarding this.

The movie "El Cid" should be seen as an acceptable, liberal model for what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Moral Victory or Defeat

TOO MUCH emotional capital has been invested on the Ground Zero mosque issue, by both sides, those for and against it, for either to easily back off. This is why Imam Rauf has accepted no attempts at compromise. To move the mosque project would be seen as a moral defeat for Jihad and the spread of Islam. If Imam Rauf were truly a Westernized moderate this wouldn’t matter to him—but it does matter to him. He doesn’t seek peace and harmony within American culture and society. He wants it under the umbrella of Islam, through a new Caliphate. Moving the mosque would be no less of a defeat for the U.S. elite media, which through their one-sided vociferousness have staked even more on this issue than he has.

Failure to move the mosque would be less of a defeat for the other side, the populist insurgency which opposes it, because their numbers are growing regardless. In the big picture of things, it would still be a moral defeat.

My opinion is that Rauf makes a mistake by not grabbing a compromise now and demonstrating his oft-proclaimed moderation. Likewise, the collapsing elite media backing him should be looking for any way out; any method of getting back in touch with the American public. They’re in a lose-lose situation. Whether the mosque moves or stays, they’ll be perceived as weak.

What will be the outcome of this issue? What are the next moves by the various parties?

Supporting a showing of “El Cid” in New York City benefits every side—except, of course, the side of the Jihadis.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Prophetic Movie

PROPHECY is demonstrated when it comes true. I’ve not seen a more prophetic movie than “El Cid.” The opening scene of the fanatical speech given by Islamic fundamentalist Ben Yussef foretells the arrival of Bin Laden. More striking still, next we’re shown a burned down church, a scene of devastation which resembles the aftermath of the destruction of the World Trade Center. All that’s left of the church, amid the rubble, is a statue of Jesus on the cross—with arrows through it. A knight knocks off the arrows with his sword and puts the cross on the back of his horse.

I’m told that in the aftermath of 9-11-01, rescue workers found a cross, presumably from the Orthodox church destroyed in the disaster. (See link on the right side of this blog.) They rescued said cross in the same way Rodrigo rescues the cross in the 1961 film. Strong parallels!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Knight

Picture of Charlton Heston  as El Cid  from El Cid   High Quality Photo  D53796

Life is strengthened by having something to believe in and fight for.

Art is more compelling when it’s based on a greater cause.

We’re more in touch with the universe when we seek to communicate with the spirit which animates that universe.

Without the ideal, we have nothing to strive for; we have no adequate model to seek to match: a model of honor, truth, and courage.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Blackmail of Violence

ISLAM AND ITS ENABLERS
While burning a Koran is a dumb idea, it's also a dumb idea for everybody and his brother to publicly begin handwringing about it: "These mobs of irrational people, if we don't do exactly what they say they'll start killing and rioting!"

People are too willing to excuse and enable the worst aspects of Islam-- when the proper reaction is to ask the proponents of that religion to become civilized. Where are the so-called moderates? If the religion is so flimsy it can't survive one harmless crackpot act in the wilds of Florida, then it turns out to be the very extremist faith which everyone's been proclaiming it's not. President Obama and General Petraeous both need to publicly say it's time for the backward faith to leave the primitive age. If it can't, then why should a mosque at the site of the worst attack on America be tolerated?

The message of "El Cid" is that moderates from all camps need to move forward. Moderation doesn't mean tolerating nonsensical violence. If we're going to be FOR civilized culture, freedom, and values then we need to be INtolerant of the opposite.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Politics

The last thing America needs is another political blog. Yet I've set one up at
www.populistamerica.blogspot.com

The intent is to supplement and support the El Cid Project, as well as to document America's populist insurgency, which has the potential to revive this nation and restore sanity to its thinking. While I have to improve the blog's appearance, which is subpar, feel free to take a look. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Problem Is the Media

Mark me down as someone who thinks burning a Koran in Florida is a dumb idea. The question I have is: How did this obscure happening become an international story? It seems that if one segment of the media isn't enabling Islam, another is doing its best to inflame it. The irrationality of the followers of Islam is a given. For journalists pushing an agenda of "Islamophobia," the incident is, er, excuse the phrase, a godsend.

My suggestion is that some interest be given to a more intelligent response to the Ground Zero mosque-- like the El Cid Project!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Have You Seen It?

Have you seen "El Cid" yet?

Yes, I know, my argument is that you need to watch the film on a large movie screen to truly experience it. But I'm curious if anyone checking out this blog has viewed it anyway, whether in the past, or now to check out its relevance. If so, on what kind of screen did you view it? I hope you plugged in stereo speakers, if possible, because not only is "El Cid" a visual masterpiece, no movie ever made has better sound.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Reviving the Culture

The underlying theme of this blog is that American culture needs to be renewed. Establishment arts are morally and intellectually bankrupt. Current intellectual thought is built on a shaky foundation of relativist nonsense. In their world there can be no distinctions and no values. Issues of character such as those displayed in “El Cid” have been long forgotten.

The pillars of establishment print media like Time, The New Yorker, and the New York Times are self-destructing through not attempting to understand the American public. They’ve become little more than propaganda sheets pushing outdated ideology.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Unreal Media

There would be no contention over the Ground Zero mosque if the American media elite didn’t live in an unreal world of multiculturalism, political correctness, false history and distorted philosophy, a world they either were brainwashed into or brainwashed themselves into. They’ve actually convinced themselves that the 9-11 destruction of the World Trade Center never happened. This is the only convincing explanation for their actions.

The elite media have spent forty years at war with Christianity. Suddenly they decide they want to jam Islam, of all faiths, down the public’s throat. It should be no surprise to them that the American public rebels.

Debates rage constantly about whether America was intended to be a Christian nation or a secular nation. The truth is likely somewhere in between. What’s indisputable is that Christian moral philosophy was the foundation, seen or unseen, of American civilization—and one of the pillars of Western civilization from which America sprung. Christianity is compatible with American ideals because it’s always been part of those ideals.

Many people are Christians not so much religiously, but culturally and historically. More than 90% of Americans have roots in the Christian faith. NOT in Islam, which has not shown itself at any time in its history to be compatible with democracy, peace, and pluralism. The media elite have cut themselves off from their roots, drifting above the planet in bubbles of their own narcissistic self-importance, believing in their own pristine wonderfulness, a perspective from which they continue to lecture the people below.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

“To Serve Man”

What gives the game away in the Ground Zero mosque issue is the use of the word “Cordoba,” which points to the Islamic conquest of Christian Spain—an almost total conquest that was unraveled beginning with the historical figure of “The Cid.”

I’m reminded of a classic Twilight Zone episode, “To Serve Man,” in which hapless earthlings welcome visitors from another planet, who they believe have arrived as benevolent aliens. After all, their book says, “To Serve Man.” At the conclusion of the episode it’s revealed that the text is a cookbook! (See the “meaning of the word Islam” matter in the post below.)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Huffington Propaganda

The political website run by superwealthy establishment Leftist Arianna Huffington should do basic fact-checking before publishing articles. The August 14th screed by Zahra Khan, "The Potpourri Resolution for a Ground Zero Mosque," at
www.huffingtonpost.com/zahra-khan/the-potpourri-resolution_b_678839.html
gets some basic things wrong.

Note that Ms. Khan says in her article, "--Islam, a word that literally means 'peace.'"

Yet Wikipedia says "Islam literally means 'submission (to God).'"

The Random House Dictionary has Islam as "submission (to God)." The Collins English Dictionary has Islam as "surrender (to God) from 'aslama,' to surrender."

Elsewhere, Zahra Khan says that "--hating Islam means hating peace." Yet the history of Islam's spread is a history of war and conquest, beginning with the religion's founder.

The sad thing about Ms. Khan's article is that the gullible people who run and read The Huffington Post no doubt believe what she says, because they want to believe it.
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A scan of Zahra Khan's other articles for The Huffington Post shows that she cries often and loudly about racism, presumably against her. I don't know if she's been discriminated against. I do know that, as she's a graduate of Harvard University, at some point she was discriminated FOR by getting into that exclusive bastion or privilege and power, which makes her cries all the more curious.