Meanwhile, President Bill Clinton (who like other Democratic figures was not allowed to screen the movie, even though Disney/ABC distributed nine hundred copies to press critics, right wing media figures and even right-wing bloggers as part of their promotional efforts) has weighed in on behalf of treating history as history, stating in a very forceful four-page letter to ABC that:
The content of this drama is factually and incontrovertibly inaccurate and ABC has the duty to fully correct all errors or pull the drama entirely.
In a clearly hurried and panicked half-response, ABC has just issued a defensive statement declaring that the movie is "unfinished." ("Unfinished?" Really? What now, do you suppose they need to put a few computer-graphics Jar-Jars in the White House meetings, just to spice things up a bit?) We're also learning that the FBI agent who consulted on the project quit during production, due to the writers and producers "making things up."
The Families of September 11 have also weighed in. Their statement reads, in full:
As we mark five years since 9/11, we are inundated with the media's portrayal of that tragic day. Television miniseries, Hollywood films, comic books and countless "documentaries" are dramatizing and sometimes distorting the events leading up to and happening on 9/11.
Families of September 11 believes the best way to honor those who were lost is to make sure that what happened to them never happens again. As such, we must understand exactly what took place, and not allow "entertainers" to promote misleading or incorrect information as fact to the public.
If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. Any depiction of 9/11 that is not accurate and factual propagates myths, myths that may cause us future harm.
In order to make our country safer and more secure, we owe it to those who were lost to acknowledge that which took place, so that we can ensure it never happens again.
Via a must-read, must-internalize post by Glenn Greenwald, we see that the same right wing figures continue to freak out at even the hint of a bias away from hardline neoconservatism -- which is why some of the worst figures in American politics, people like Rush Limbaugh and Hugh Hewitt, want to associate themselves very tightly with Disney now. Here's Bill O'Reilly in 2003 talking about the travesty of a movie depicting Ronald Reagan, a movie that was pulled by CBS:
"Today CBS issued this statement, 'Although the mini-series features impressive production values and acting performances, and although the producers have sources to verify each scene in the script, we believe it does not present a balanced portrayal of the Reagans for CBS and its audience.' Well, fine, but how could CBS green light the film in the first place knowing that the producers, the director and the featured actors are all left wing thinkers?
"That would be like CBS commissioning a movie about the Clintons written by Rush Limbaugh and starring Dennis Miller and Ann Coulter. Do you think that would ever happen?"
Of course, that's uncannily close to what Disney actually did -- took a fictionalized script about the attacks on 9/11 written by a "good friend" of Rush Limbaugh, and figured that even though it flatly made up entire story themes and chains of fact, they'd just throw it up on the emotionally charged anniversary. Because heaven knows, apparently, Disney stands for crassly fictionalizing 9/11. I've frequently thought Oliver Stone batshit insane, and I had no interest in seeing his account of 9/11 either -- we watched it happen, we don't need fiction -- but at least even the nutty Stone knew which parts of history are still too raw, too sacred to mess with.
(via Tom Tomorrow)
I don't fully understand why Disney would want to associate themselves with "fictionalized" fake histories of one of the most traumatic events in recent U.S. history. When I look at Mickey Mouse, I don't want to see 9/11 in the corners of my mind -- I can't imagine that branding is going to work out for them. Disneyland was a wonderful place to me, as a child, but as an adult I more and more see the dark back alleys down which my money is carted away, and it's not fun anymore. Watching "Bambi" or "Little Mermaid" or any of those other little stories with my daughter, I do not like wondering about divisive political fights, and of lies against American history, willfully told.
But it's Mickey, now, that wears the shadows of the Twin Towers on his sleeve. He's the mascot, and now he's the mascot for this too.
What should be next, for the mouse? A "fictionalized" account of Pearl Harbor that claims George W. Bush shot down twenty alien spaceships that day? A Walt Disneyesque new look at how American slavery was caused by insufficient pandering to Pat Robertson or James Dobson? Putting Mel Gibson in charge of a movie about the Holocaust -- oh, wait, they're doing that one too. What other parts of traumatic, painful history can we "fictionalize" in the name of right-wing propaganda and shallow corporate pandering to power?
Sorry, Mickey. I thought I knew you. Now I can't help but see the shadows of another day behind those ears.