Kevin Drum has a short post noting that Trump has taught other Republican politicians how to lie more brazenly. Politicians have never been noted for their honesty, but we are seeing something new this time around. It is very aggravating that Trump simply makes it up as he goes along, while Clinton is the one endlessly on the defensive about her honesty.
Relax, this is not going to be another election post. Instead I want to direct your attention to this article, from Slate. Compared to the daily calumnies emanating from our freak-show election, it is extremely small potatoes. And yet for some reason it has been bothering me for several days now.
The article is a review of the film Sully, directed by Clint Eastwood. Fair warning: Major spoilers ahead.
The real story of Sully is short and simple. Shortly after its take-off from LaGuardia Airport, a plane had a run-in with some geese. This resulted in engine failure, forcing the pilots to make an emergency landing. The pilot, Chesley Sullenberger, determined that they would not be able to return to the airport runway. He landed the plane in the only place he could find, which was the Hudson River. Everyone got out safely. The National Transportation Safety Board did a routine investigation that quickly exonerated Sullenberger of any wrongdoing. The end.
That doesn’t make for much of a movie, so Eastwood simply made up a different story. Slate’s Forrest Wickman summarizes the results:
But the conflict Sully invents is a fantasy that aligns itself with some of the dumbest and most dangerous ideas of our era. By making an enemy of bureaucrats, experts, and “facts,” Eastwood has made the perfect movie for the year of the Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump.
Here’s the key part of the article:
Still, the flight, even seen from multiple perspectives, makes up only a small portion of the film, and the rest is about one thing: The wizened old salt-of-the-earth pilot Sully (played by Hollywood’s favorite so-called everyman, Tom Hanks) vs. the National Transportation Safety Board, government regulatory eggheads who have the gall to conduct a standard investigation of a major aeronautic incident.* Sully, the hero, defends the wisdom of his gut, developed over the course of 40 years of piloting. The movie makes a villain of the technocrats with their scientific method and their acronyms (“QRH”? “APV”?) and their newfangled computer simulations, which they use to suggest that Sully could have landed the hobbled jetliner on a nearby runway instead of setting down in an icy river. (“They’re playing Pac-Man and we’re flying a plane full of human beings,” Aaron Eckhart’s co-pilot growls, through his matching Sully-esque moustache.)
This conflict reaches its climax in a scene that’s completely, well, trumped-up. Sully prevails by requesting that the NTSB redo the simulations while making one crucial adjustment: The pilots must wait 35 seconds before turning toward one of the nearest airports, in an approximation of the time it might take to assess the situation and make a decision. Sure enough, the test pilots all lose altitude too quickly and go down in deadly crashes just short of their landing strips. It’s a satisfying dramatic conclusion, but it’s pure fiction: In real life, it was the NTSB, not Sully, that suggested adding the 35 seconds.
Go back to the original for links.
Really savor that final sentence for the moment. Eastwood did not simply make something up for dramatic effect. Instead he presented the exact opposite of what actually happened, for the purpose of demonizing real people who did not deserve to be demonized.
How sick do you have to be to do that? How devoid of conscience do you have to be to even think of such a thing?
Eastwood is well-known for his right-wing politics. As has become clear from Trump and his many supporters, the political Right in this country has no conscience, and cares nothing about facts or reality.