The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Embracing Fantasy

I never bother watching the Academy Awards, although I do realize that a lot of people enjoy the spectacle. For me, spending precious time watching a collection of pampered Hollywood types indulge in a self-congratulatory celebration is just a bit much.

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Some Hollywood types are possibly just a little uneasy that they make tens of millions while the workers whose names scroll by at 60 mph at the end of a feature film make peanuts. The Glitterati seem compelled to polish their social justice bona fides on stage when they win awards. I'm told that there were more that a few of them who participated in this year's Oscars, but none quite as noteworthy as Jonathan Glazer. John Podhoretz summarizes Glazer's 17 seconds of fame by noting that it:

... provided the only memorable moment at the Oscars, after the International Feature award went to the British-Jewish Jonathan Glazer. His movie, The Zone of Interest, is literally set next door to Auschwitz and (I haven’t seen it) makes clear the horrors going on merely through the sounds that travel across the wall between the commandant’s house and the death camp.

One could say The Zone of Interest win was the Oscar way in 2024 to punch the Holocaust card, and boy did Glazer punch it. Standing aside his two producers (one of them an oligarch named Len Blavatnik), and visibly trembling with what appeared to be terror, he took out a piece of paper and read out:

"Our film shows where dehumanization leads, at its worst. It shaped all of our past and present. Right now, we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation, which has led to conflict for so many innocent people. Whether the victims of October the 7th in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza, all the victims of this dehumanization, how do we resist?"
We can, if we wish, debate the meaning of this poorly written set of sentences for a couple of seconds, or until there’s another anti-Semitic attack somewhere that is the direct result of October 7th, whichever comes first—and guess which will come first. Any way you look at it, it’s disgusting.

I don't know Glazer's politics, but I suspect he's one of millions of anti-Israel leftists who desperately need to prove to their fellow travelers a desire for 'justice in Palestine.' This allows them to draw moral equivalency between the rape, murder, mutilation, infanticide and kidnapping perpetrated by a death cult, Hamas, that is supported by 3/4 of the palestinlan population, and a declaration of war against that death cult—and by default, their supporters—in response to the atrocities committed by the death cult. It's astonishing, but hardly surprising, that Glazer is tone deaf to the irony of making a film that alludes to similar atrocities committed only 80 years ago. 

I think that Glazer is doing what many on the left are doing--playing what Will Storr has called "The Status Game." In my book, Normalizing Insanity, I write about it:

[Storr] argues that all of us have brain circuitry that might be characterized as “copy-flatter-conform.” To succeed in the status game, we need allies, and the higher the status of those allies, the better. If those allies (e.g., influencers, members of a particular follower group) believe in a fantasy idea or narrative, our “copy-flatter-conform” circuitry pushes us to emulate their beliefs. As a consequence, Storr points out that “sometimes we end up believing crazy things.”

When people normalize insanity, they actually normalize the belief in “crazy things.” Those who embrace a fantasy idea do it for a number of reasons—fear, ideology, connection with others of like mind, hysteria (driven by some motivating emotional factor) and status. 

Because Hollywood deals in fantasy every day, it's not a giant leap for Hollywood's movers and shakers to think that fantasy ideas are, in fact, reality. That why they embrace Hamas' propaganda and lies—malign fantasy is still fantasy, after all.

But believing fantasy, even malign fantasy, does not excuse anyone from exhibiting their profound ignorance of historical fact in front of millions of people. When Glazer uses the word "occupation" he does exactly that. If he were capable of shame, he might feel it now, but I'm sure he's basking in the glow of higher status bestowed by a group of Hollywood morons who have allowed their embrace of fantasy to overwhelm their recognition of this reality--if any one of them stepped foot in Hamas' Gaza, they'd be dead in less time than it took Glazer to finish his acceptance screed.