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Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I've been following Romney's attempts to blame the President for the unauthorized press release of a terrified embassy staffer, and failing to check out the supposed "movie" that provoked the riots.

Or, to be more accurate, the video clips which were the excuse for the riots. Even the most cursory glance at the supposed movie will show you that it is not a "movie" at all, but a laughably bad series of clips pasted together by someone who is unfamiliar with how editing works. The historical clips are of bad actors amateurishly lit in a studio, composited over generic Arabian footage, and badly dubbed. Any Concordia student could do a better job over the weekend with her iPhone and iMovie.

Seriously, look at the picture. Saturday Night Live actors wear more convincing makeup.

It mystifies me that anyone would consider this mishmash worth an angry tweet, let alone a riot. I would have to assume that jihadi elements spend a lot of time sifting through the Internet to find something, anything they can use to outrage their fellow citizens, because you would really have to go out of your way to find something this badly made. There are much better dubbed cat videos.

(Meanwhile, there are reports that the riots were staged as a distraction to enable a plot to murder our embassy personnel.)

I think the only proper thing to do, the patriotic and righteous thing to do, to show who we are as a civilization, is to turn this into the next Downfall meme. Okay, raise your hands: who's willing to be beaten to death by humorless fundamentalists?

UPDATE: The story just gets weirder and weirder. The apparent director of the movie is an American Egyptian of Coptic Christian persuasion, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who is on probation for bank fraud.

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10 Comments:

"jihadi elements spend a lot of time sifting through the Internet to find something, anything they can use to outrage their fellow citizens"

Maybe those citizens were already outraged by the US indiscriminately bombing the shit out of their country?

By Blogger circadianwolf, at 10:42 AM  

I don't think we've bombed any Egyptians in the past 60 years. Do you mean when we bombed Qaddafi's forces with incredible precision and helped the Libyans liberate their country? I'd be surprised if the Libyans in general are mad about that.

But this is not a political blog, even if I do get carried away with myself sometimes, so if you want to argue about US foreign policy, please feel free to email me privately.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 11:07 AM  

I'm astounded at the reaction to one incredibly horribly made "film". I didn't even make through the whole trailer, if that's what you want to call it. I don't see the point of the protests. No one would have ever heard of (let alone seen) the movie without the protests. Now everyone has. I don't deny people have reasons to protest against the US, but this is most definitely not one of them.

As for the film itself, $5 million budget??? Are you kidding me? Either someone was lining their pockets and saying it went to the film, or that was one of the worst distribution of funds I've seen. Did they spend ANY money on talent, because it doesn't look like it.

By Blogger Tim W., at 2:59 PM  

I pretty much agree with your assessment of the film. I have no doubt the filmmaker's motives weren't noble. But I'm really disturbed to see that he's now being interviewed by the police. He does have a first amendment right to say even inflammatory, stupid things. He bears no more responsibility for others' reaction to his "work" than Salman Rushdie does. But now, due solely to others' reaction, he is essentially being investigated.

By Blogger David, at 4:29 PM  

He's being interviewed by the police because he was ordered to stay away from computers for the duration of his probation, and he obviously didn't.

When you're violating your parole, and you thereby cause riots, you're going to get some attention from your parole officer.

Parolees don't have all the rights that ordinary citizens have. For example, they do not have an absolute right of assembly, either. They can't hang out with criminals. They do not have the right to carry guns. They do not have the right to travel freely. And so on. That's the deal you make with the government when they agree to let you out of prison a bit earlier than you deserve.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 5:38 PM  

Well . . . sure, if you want to actually present fact-based details of the case. ha, ha. I hope parolees don't have to give up their right to party.

Nevertheless, I would still resist the idea that some piece of media (be it high quality or garbage) causes violence from others.

By Blogger David, at 4:41 AM  

There's a legal concept, I've been told, of "fightin' words." If you go up to a guy in a bar and call him a bunch of names, you are committing a crime (disturbing the peace). See Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire.

I'm torn. I'm very fond of the First Amendment. But it does bother me that this film seems to have been made for the express purpose of insulting Islam. One may have a legal right to make such a thing, but I'm not sure one has a moral right to make it.

Which is why I would be very comfortable with the guy going back to jail for breaking his parole, which I'm pretty sure he has.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 9:19 AM  

This post on Neil Gaiman's blog adds a whole new twist to this...

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2012/09/a-letter-from-scared-actress.html

By Blogger Liz Holliday, at 2:28 AM  

Yeah, this Bassily guy committed fraud. He's probably covered himself with releases, and I'm not a lawyer, but morally he deserves to go away for a long time.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 2:03 PM  

Seems to me like the whole film was cooked up to engineer a "let's you and him fight!" situation.

Disgusting.

By Blogger Dwight Williams, at 10:21 PM  

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