Hollywood Hijrah

by EDWARD CLINE April 18, 2017

A correspondent sent me the links to two commentaries on the fate of “Homeland,” a TV series, described by Wikipedia as “an American spy thriller television series developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa based on the Israeli series Prisoners of War….”

I have not watched the series, because, for one thing, I don’t subscribe to Showtime. I very much stopped watching “broadcast” TV. Years ago, after broadcasting changed from analog to digital, I could not find a reliable, problem-free device that converted the media to my computer or TV, so I gave up “regular” TV, and haven’t missed it. Combine those reasons with the fact that most TV today is a hoochie-coochie belly-dancer of the MSM, charged with the task of keeping the public pacified, distracted, and dumbed-down. With very few exceptions, I could see where it was going and how Politically Correctness was dulling its future. It was no loss to me.

Because Showtime has an international subscriber-viewer list, this column does not address American readers solely.

Two insightful articles appeared about “Homeland,” one by Patricia McCarthy on American Thinker, “Uh-oh, Homeland: Hillary Lost! Now what?“ from April 11th, and by M.G. Oprea on the Federalist site on April 7th,  “’Homeland’ Actor: The Real ‘Guilty Ones’ this Season are White Men, Not Islamic Terrorists.

Both writers detail how a hit show has succumbed to political correctness in its story to become drearily boring and predictable. Political correctness, subtly or blatantly, has been damning up its own mosquito-infested, “drainable” Swamp for decades, since before WWII.

McCarthy begins with an ominous warning:

The writers of Homeland, Season 6, obviously were so confident that Hillary Clinton was going to be the next president that their new narrative had a female Democratic Party candidate win the election.  Elizabeth Marvel is a wonderful actress and a pretty fair doppelganger for Hillary Clinton.  But the writers got it all wrong.

Did the writers “get it wrong”? Or were they given their marching orders from on high, after the 2015 election, to rewrite the denouement in Season 6? Just as you can’t abruptly change a car’s speed from first to third while going at sixty mph, but not expect the gears to grind and strip and create nasty results.

In an interview, show creator Alex Gansa revealed that their scripts were by design following real events, but "five or six episodes had been completed when the election happened."  Hillary lost, and they were stuck with the wrong real-life president-elect….

Suddenly, the people who have been running the CIA for years, the good guys who were trying to protect the country, set out to murder the president-elect!  Did they construct the new direction after Donald Trump won?  The latter must be true, because the first female president-elect, a Democrat, is by the finale somehow a female Donald Trump, to be dealt with exactly in the manner the real left have been behaving since their loss to Trump in November.  Total derangement…. 

The writers have inadvertently demonstrated exactly how the left functions, not the right.  Now that we know that the Obama administration functioned like a crime syndicate, it is easy to surmise how easily the writers projected these tactics onto their own characters.  They even created a character (presumably based on radio conspiracy theorist Alex Jones) who operates a massive bot organization to propagandize by social media. 

“Inadvertently”? “Unconsciously”? Or “accidentally on purpose”? If an Antifa thug tosses a rock at a Berkeley auditorium window to protest the appearance of a scheduled speaker he has been told not to approve of, is that an inadvertent, unconscious, or incidental action? To toe the politically correct line is to dilute one’s volition, to rob it of any power or consequence, to reduce oneself to the level of a kneejerk village idiot who believes anything anyone tells him. The only realm of volition an Antifa thug can exercise is initiating physical force. Yes, that is how the left functions.

Mandy Patinkin, who has played Saul Berenson from the beginning,  Carrie's father-figure and mentor, was interviewed on NPR and, as M.G. Oprea explains, admits to and totally supports the guilt-driven narrative shift.  Who knew he was such an abject moonbat?  Probably lots of people.  And he plays one of the good guys!  But as Oprea writes, "[a]ctors tend to think they are the only ones with the knowledge and power to speak the truth about the injustices in our country and the world at large, that they are our last great hope."  She goes on: "But they aren't.  They are entertainers and, much more rarely, artists."

Later in column:

“Homeland’s” season six finale will air on Sunday night. If you’re like me, at this point you couldn’t care less. That’s because the show has taken such a sudden turn toward political preaching and progressive tut-tutting that its story and characters barely resemble those of the previous five seasons. If you’ve been wondering what on earth happened, wonder no more.

On Thursday, the actor who plays Saul Berenson, Mandy Patinkin, explained everything on NPR. In an interview with “Here & Now’s” Jeremy Hobson, Patinkin discusses past accusations that the show is Islamophobic. He says that although the “Homeland” crew never meant to be Islamophobic, and certainly didn’t expect that kind of criticism, it is nevertheless true. According to him, the show became “part of the problem of the Islamophobia.”

To correct the “problem of Islamophobia,” it was decided to “back-pedal” to insanity, to lose one’s balance, and fall gracelessly into a ditch. Who voiced the “accusations”? Muslims? John Espiosito, Professor of Religion and International Affairs and of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University? He’s had plenty to say about “islamophobia.”

John Esposito, the Saudi-funded director of Georgetown University's Bridge Initiative, is on a mission to convince the world that "Islamophobia has metastasized" as a "social cancer in America" one academic conference at a time. Speaking alongside his protégé, Dalia Mogahed, Bridge Initiative Senior Fellow Engy Abdelkader, and others at the September 22 "Islamophobia in Focus: Muslims and the Media" conference in Washington, DC, the notorious Islamism apologist pitched this message to an audience of about 130.

What mere TV writer for a spy-thriller can ignore the condemnation of such a high level academic?

Oprea offers some further insights.

Political propaganda makes for terrible entertainment. High-quality television of the sort we’ve come to expect from Showtime is supposed to present its viewers with a compelling narrative, not scold them over their supposed beliefs and concerns. That is not why most people watch television. They watch it to be entertained.

Actors want to believe they are somehow the heroes of our culture. Patinkin said in his NPR interview that the “system of false information and truth that has seemed to take over the focus of the show is so horrifyingly important to bear witness to.” Actors tend to think they are the only ones with the knowledge and power to speak the truth about the injustices in our country and the world at large, that they are our last great hope.

But they aren’t. They are entertainers and, much more rarely, artists. An entertainer’s job is to entertain, not to preach. An artist’s job is to tell us something compelling about what it means to be human, not spew political propaganda. [Italics mine]

An entertainer can be a fellow who mimes or who juggles four or five balls for the “entertainment” of people standing in a long line to see a hit movie. Or it can be Laurence Olivier delivering his Richard the Third speech.

I’ve always had a problem with the term entertainment. One can be “entertained” at a circus or by a mime pretending to be in an imaginary space, and that will be the end of it. But to listen to and watch Olivier “decamp on his deformities” and plot murder is more than entertainment; it is “educational.” It’s a moment that imprints itself in one’s mind as a glimpse into the soul of an envious, vicious power-luster. Olivier was an artist. There used to be many talented actors who were also artists. But where in the realm of “entertainment” can one segregate it from memorable artistry?

They are entertainers and, much more rarely, artists. An entertainer’s job is to entertain, not to preach. An artist’s job is to tell us something compelling about what it means to be human, not spew political propaganda.

So, there it is. “Homeland’s” monumental shift in narrative and tone this season wasn’t an accident. It was a 100 percent intentional effort to atone for the show’s previous sins. But the self-flagellation is so heavy handed, and such a departure from previous seasons, that it’s jarring for the viewer. It’s also boring.

”Political propaganda makes for terrible entertainment,” noted Oprea.

Not necessarily. Some of the most dramatic films I’ve seen have been “political propaganda.” Orwell once wrote a highly readable collection of essays: “All Art is Propaganda.” I disagree with that estimate, because much art isn’t an attempt to advance a political view, but rather to communicate an esthetic or dramatic value.

Many of my novels only seem to reflect a political viewpoint. An early one, We Three Kings, pits an American entrepreneur in America against a Saudi prince. The hero has been abandoned by the State Department to allow the vengeful prince to deal with the hero as he wishes. The hero has no recourse but to retaliate against the violence visited on him and his friends.

My Cyrus Skeen detective series, set in the 1920s and 1930s, often sees Skeen launched into an unavoidable political contest, as in Civic Affairs, A Crimson Overture, and Wintery Discontent. Speaking of Islamophobia, Skeen encounters the early agents of the Muslim Brotherhood in The Black Stone. Because Skeen is a thinking, well-read detective, he is also drawn into solving murders and mysteries set in academia, such as in Trichotomy.

Skeen “inadvertently” (or coincidentally) projects in the narrative particular political developments that will come to pass in the future. Many of the forces that engage him in conflict are invariably political ones. My latest novel, Celebrity News, could be taken as an allegory on the current campaign to discredit and delegitimize Donald Trump.

Of course, none of my titles has ever been produced for TV or the big screen, and I doubt that, given the state of Hollywood, any will ever will be. Hollywood has taken a journey to the dark side of “entertainment,” that is, it has embarked on an Islamophilac hijrah to ensure that Islam and Muslims are never blasphemed or offended.

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Edward Cline is the author of the Sparrowhawk novels set in England and Virginia in the pre-Revolutionary period, of several detective and suspense novels, and three collections of his commentaries and columns, all available on Amazon Books. His essays, book reviews, and other articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Journal of Information Ethics and other publications. He is a frequent contributor to Rule of Reason, Family Security Matters, Capitalism Magazine and other Web publications.     


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