Friday, January 10, 2003

Lileks Says It Right... Again

James Lileks, the best writer in the blogosphere (1630 inbound links can't be wrong), once again puts what many of us are thinking in a way that few if any of us could manage, and he does it every day. In today's "Bleat" he comments on the propensity of otherwise talented Hollywood creative types to add their two cents to the national debate. The piece starts out as a critique of Scorcese's latest effort "The Gangs of New York," but then he adds this priceless bit:
You know what I’d like to hear, just once? ?As a New Yorker, I remember too well the death and destruction that arrived on our doorstep that day in September. As an American, I worry about regimes who possess both the means to kill innocent citizens and the devilish will to do it. As an artist, I value the freedom I have in a pluralistic, secular democracy, and I realize that these traits are not only rare and worthy of defense, but deserve to be extended to people in other nations. As a student of history, I am impressed by how our military - which has the ability to annihilate cities and nations - has spent billions to develop weapons that destroy a single building. Surely this says as much about us as our crass and extroverted culture; what other nation with our abilities would take such care? Presented with enemies who build weapons factories next to kindergartens, we invent missiles that take the former and spare the latter. This may not mean we are right, but it surely means we are are bound by a notion of decency our opposites lack. As a human being, I mourn the loss of innocent life that will surely attend any war - but I must admit, if we could have prevented 9/11 with a military action that cost a dozen innocent lives, I would have supported it with the reluctance that must attend any act of organized violence. And finally, as a filmmaker who lives in a special kind of isolation, surrounded mostly with affluent like-minded people from the arts community, I must admit that when it comes to foreign affairs and military matters I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.
Absolutely priceless. I am sure that most of us would like to hear Scorsese, Penn, Baldwin, et al say something similar, just once.