Welcome to the 2013 Academy Awards, a celebration of rich, attractive people applauding! Tonight, we honor filmmakers unafraid to tell us that slavery was bad and that bipolar people can enter dance contests if they're really hot.
Our credo cannot be, "It's right because it works." Some argue that the evidence seems to indicate that torture doesn't work. Drone targeted attacks kill innocent people as well. Wiretaps listen in on millions of conversations between law-abiding citizens.
When considering torture and terror, the first question of relevance is, Do we require an experience of torture and terror first hand, either as a survivor or as a witness, to be credible on the subject?
The discussion about Django seems diffuse and unfocused. People can't seem to agree about what it is they disagree about when criticizing or praising the film. The same is true of Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty.
Michael Moore has characterized the movie Zero Dark Thirty, as a "21st century chick flick." Oh, absolutely. Women now to be fully integrated into combat opens up possibilities for an entire oeuvre of "war chick flicks" for Ms. Bigelow or some as-yet unknown up-and-comer.
Torture has no place in a civilized society. No matter the success or means to achieve a good end, torture (or as some leaders referred to it, enhanced interrogation techniques) reflects our darkest impulses and pulls all of us in this democracy to a dark place.
That really should be the main takeaway from Zero Dark Thirty: That good detective work can bring fruitful results -- and that torture is wrong. Eight years of torture -- no bin Laden. Two years of detective work -- boom! Bin Laden!
My concern about films like Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker is that they might set back civilian-military relations by giving people a false understanding of the struggles of U.S. troops and the mechanics of U.S. national security.