The political commentary of popular Chicago-Sun Times film critic Roger Ebert has drawn some harsh scrutiny here at NRB. He authored some discombobulated rants against extending due process to BP in the wake of the Gulf oil spill. He since wrote in support of the Cordoba Initiative’s construction of a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero of the 9/11 attacks in New York City. The unfocused nature of these posts demonstrate an apparent disconnect between Ebert’s clear ability to perceive the fictional worlds of film and any ability to perceive the real world in which he lives.
Despite my unrelenting scrutiny, I hardly wish the man ill. I would like nothing more than to peruse an Ebert blog post which contained a substantive, challenging argument. To satisfy, it wouldn’t have to be an argument I agreed with, just one where the point of disagreement could be taken seriously.
For a moment, while reading Ebert’s latest blog post regarding the public perception of President Obama’s religious affiliation, I thought such a moment had come. Compared to many of his recent posts, Ebert begins remarkably coherent.
Rush Limbaugh has told his listeners he can find “no evidence” that Obama is a Christian. In Paul Krugman’s op-ed column in the New York Times on 8/29, Limbaugh is quoted: “Imam Hussein Obama, is probably the best anti-American president we’ve ever had.” Limbaugh obviously doesn’t believe Obama is an imam. How many of his listeners realize that? Is he concerned that his words will be taken seriously?
For several paragraphs, Ebert at least seems focused. Unfortunately, his effort is not sustained. Like an elder rattling off war stories to a captive grandchild, Ebert soon drifts into complete irrelevancy. In the process, he takes us through a connect-the-dots breakdown of an insidious plot by Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin which sounds like it could have been written for Adam West’s 1960′s Batman.
This process may soon be arriving at a moment of truth. The new issue of Vanity Fair mentions in its profile of Sarah Palin, as a casual aside, that Glenn Beck has booked the Dena’ina Center, the largest venue in Anchorage, for the date of September 11, 2010. What do you think that means?…
…it cannot be a coincidence that he has chosen 9/11. Nor does it take special insight to connect that date with Palin’s many statements about the “Ground Zero Mosque” and the even more pointed “9/11 Mosque.” The association is obvious: “9/11″ feeds into “mosque” feeds into “Muslims” feeds into the misperception that Obama is a Muslim. Beck and Palin speak about “taking back America.” The buried message is that they will take it back from Muslims. This is a heartless misuse of the tragedy of 9/11 and its victims.
… The symbolic date of 9/11 invests this event with the inescapable possibility that he and Palin plan to announce their Presidential candidacy for 2012.
Someone close to Ebert ought to be reigning him in at this point. Publicly employing this kind of Scooby Doo logic is just too embarrassing. Unless the intent is comedy, some editorial discretion is in order.
Seriously, I haven’t seen such cartoonish deduction since the revelation of the sinister plot in last year’s Black Dynamite.
Warning: Explicit Language.
Who really knows though? Ebert may be on to something. If Beck and Palin announce their Presidential candidacy in Alaska on 9/11, or reveal their belief Obama is a Muslim, I will eat my hat.