‘Private Ryan’ Decision Catches Some Flak
The Nov. 13 Times’ editorial, “Private Ryan, Unsaved,” is correct in explaining and condemning the removal by some ABC affiliates of the film “Saving Private Ryan.” It does contain violence and profanity and does depict heroism and show that “war is hell.”
It is also true that the Federal Communications Commission failed to stand up against the shameful pressures of vigilante groups. What is missed is that “Saving Private Ryan,” like “All Quiet on the Western Front,” is not a war film. It is a peace film. Is it possible the real target of the pressure groups was not sin and indecency but peace?
During the recent vitriolic presidential campaign, Americans wondered aloud at how the level of public discourse had dropped to such a nasty new low. A glance at your Nov. 13 editorial reveals that The Times can share in the blame.
Because the FCC finally discovers its spine and fines gutter-mouth Howard Stern’s employer, Clear Channel Communications, you write that “the FCC has an ‘ongoing jihad against indecency.’ ” Because some members of Congress, the American Family Assn. and the Parents TV Council protest the ever-growing vulgarity and violence on television, you call them “Taliban-like zealots.”
Defaming those you disagree with by demonizing and name-calling are techniques often, and properly, condemned on your opinion pages.
Condemned, that is, until your editors stoop to doing it themselves.
Leave it to Hollywood to portray our valiant soldiers as profane, foul-mouthed lechers.
I was in combat in World War II and never heard a four-letter word uttered. Once, though, I heard a fellow GI say, “Gee willikers, gosh darn, I wish this nasty war would end so I could go home to Mom and her great apple pie.”
Another time, under an artillery barrage, my company commanding officer cried out, “Men, stay in your holes, those nasty Germans are throwing a lot of feces at us.”
As for violence, the only violence I witnessed were a few guys getting blown up.
Those leftist Hollywood types will soon try to have us believing that Methuselah didn’t live to age 900, and Jonah never lived in the stomach of a large fish. Let’s not sing “Hooray for Hollywood.” Let’s change it to “Watch out for Hollywood.”
The FCC managed to intimidate certain ABC affiliate stations into yanking “Saving Private Ryan” from the air, but you can bet it wasn’t just for “indecent” language.
No doubt, a movie that depicts the bloody hell of war in a realistic way, rather than the sanitized version we’ve been fed through our television news media, is an unwelcome wake-up call that the Bush administration, by way of FCC Chairman Michael Powell, would like to erase from the airwaves, lest we all be reminded of the truth.