This one’s easy, guys. I’m standing with Chuck.
Chuck Yeager, that is. The 95-year-old badass who broke the sound barrier after serving as a fighter pilot in World War II.
When told that the new movie about fellow pilot-turned-astronaut Neil Armstrong didn’t feature the planting of the American flag on the moon, because Armstrong himself would have viewed such an obvious patriotic gesture as less important than the film’s broader humanistic appeal, Yeager shot that bogey down.
“That’s not the Neil Armstrong I knew,” he wrote.
So add “First Man” to the list of movies I won’t see, along with “A Wrinkle in Time” and others that go way past not agreeing with my worldview to openly mocking it, contorting it beyond all recognition, or simply lying about its historical significance. That’s a game I won’t play. You don’t get to charge me a fee for being laughed at or lied to.
And that, if you haven’t been paying attention lately, is progressivism’s jam. It is propaganda through and through. Agitprop is its natural habitat. Because you will be made to care.
The moon landing wasn’t an unambiguous American success story, says Ryan Gosling, the actor playing Neil Armstrong. It was “widely regarded in the end as a human achievement [and] that’s how we chose to view it.”
And choosing to not recreate the flag scene in the movie – arguably one of the most iconic moments in all of American history – wasn’t remotely political in its motivation, said another of the film’s actors, Jason Clarke: “It’s just silly and naive I think. … People look for conspiracy theories rather than looking for the truth.”
Ironically, Clarke’s last starring role was his portrayal of a young Ted Kennedy conspiring with his father’s political allies in the historical docudrama “Chappaquiddick” (which is great, by the way). But you can’t blame Clarke for his lack of self-awareness, for that lack is all the rage these days.
This is how propaganda so often works, with the perpetrators not coincidentally using the tactics of the serpent in the garden, wielding various versions of “Did He really say that?”
Was it really an American success, or is that just jingoism and unfair to the rest of the planet? Was it really us lying to you or are you lying to yourselves?
Well, if you are ready to believe such nonsense concerning the moon landing and its obvious relevance within the historical record as a purposeful and heroic American achievement, then I’ve got some Nike stock to sell you.
This movie should have been the second coming of “The Right Stuff,” which came out in 1983, when tensions with the Soviet Union were at their highest and a reminder was needed about who we were as a people and what we could achieve. The movie was such a success along those lines that the Washington Post wrote about it this way at the time:
I don’t doubt for a second that “The Right Stuff” is going to make millions of people feel gloriously proud to be Americans, or proud to identify themselves with Americans, but one of the profoundly heartening things about this movie’s patriotic impact is that it comes without sanctimonious, bombastic forms of expression. … Unless I miss my guess, “The Right Stuff” is also primed to conclude a process of unofficial national morale-building that began in 1977 with the release of “Star Wars,” which George Lucas envisioned, in part, as an inspirational boost for the space program. This process also involves a renewed respect for the military as a calling and career, and I think an obvious progression can be traced from “Star Wars” to “An Officer and a Gentleman” to “The Right Stuff.” Even Jane Fonda has rediscovered patriotism through the grace of Sally Ride and NASA, and only the sorriest remnants of the counterculture would bother pretending anymore that they didn’t feel a twinge of envy and excitement each time the space shuttle takes off. It would require a fanatic devotion to outmoded ideology to accuse “The Right Stuff” of dreadful reactionary tendencies, since there’s never been a patriotic epic that carried its patriotism more modestly or amiably.
I can only imagine how Gosling, Clarke, and the makers of “First Man” would be triggered upon hearing such words. Hollywood is, after all, an almost constant lesson in taking for granted the various freedoms and privileges that America has made possible through the years through the sacrifice of blood, sweat, and treasure, and then cruelly attempting to turn the sorts of men who remain proud of that legacy into irrelevant at best or bigots at worst.
I mean, regarding this flag/patriotism nonsense, we’ve reached the point where a movie about Betsy Ross wouldn’t include any mention about her making of the American flag and would simply describe her as a lover of needlepoint.
You shouldn’t buy that, literally or figuratively. Spending your money to see “First Man” won’t help celebrate Neil Armstrong. It will only help turn him into a progressive patsy.
And that is unacceptable. Just ask Chuck Yeager.