The new film "Lone Survivor" is, as Salon's Andrew O'Hehir put it, a "jingoistic, pornographic work of war propaganda." And it's evidently so beloved by Glenn Beck that the conservative pundit would attack another critic because she dared to critique it.
L.A. Weekly's Amy Nicholson wrote, late last year, that the film depicts a real story (based on the memoir of Marcus Luttrell, a Navy SEAL who fought the Taliban in Afghanistan and played in "Lone Survivor" by Mark Wahlberg) with astounding jingoism, reducing its four military men to action-figure depth in order to communicate a story of American might devoid of thought or consequence :
"These four men were heroes. But these heroes were also men. As the film portrays them, their attitudes to the incredibly complex War on Terror, fought hillside by bloody hillside in the Afghan frontier with both U.S. and Taliban forces contributing to an unconscionably high civilian body count, were simple: Brown people bad, American people good."
Beck didn't see the nuance in Nicholson's argument: On his Blaze network today, Beck called out Nicholson, claiming the critic was a "vile, repugnant, and ignorant liar" (apparently based on her extrapolation that Luttrell was not heavily involved in the writing of his own memoir). Beck invited Nicholson to meet Luttrell -- though, as she's critiquing the film and not the facts of Luttrell's story, wouldn't she be better served by meeting the director Peter Berg instead?
The former Fox News Host went on:
“I mean this sincerely – I will fly you first class. I will put you up at the Four Seasons … You will dine on the finest possible food, and you will come in here and you will sit down and speak these words to Marcus Luttrell. If you have the balls to say what you just said to Marcus Luttrell and back it up, go for it. [...]
"And Amy, Marcus is a Texan. That’s different than an American … He listens and obeys his mother. He treats his wife and all women with respect … You’ll walk into the studio and Marcus will know who you are, and Marcus will hold the door open for you even though … that will drive you out of your mind. He will treat you with respect.”
With all of Beck's insinuations about Nicholson -- that she's driven crazy by the respect of men, that she has somehow slandered Luttrell and needs to be enticed with material goods to give him a fair hearing, that her review conveyed the idea that Luttrell himself and not his character was a racist -- it's no wonder that the trolls came out. Below is Nicholson's measured attempt to explain her review as a critique of a work of (aggressive, violent, anti-Muslim) film and not of someone's life story, and the response she got from Beck listeners. (Warning: Some of the replies are extremely upsetting.)
You have to wonder: Beck and his fans seem to have conflated the Luttrell character with his real self. Are the people angrily tweeting at Nicholson aware that the stakes in war and the stakes of film are vastly different, and that one can acknowledge and respect the grave duties inherent in the former while acknowledging flaws in the latter? If criticizing a film is tantamount to criticizing a soldier, does that mean war is no more real to the world's Glenn Becks than is a movie?