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November 1997, Week 3


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Dan Streible <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 21 Nov 1997 10:58:17 -0500
text/plain (36 lines)
The spin the pres. receives from films like INDEPENDENCE DAY must be a
mixed one.  Yes, it is true that the POTUS of ID4 is an un-Clinton in
construction, a war hero who inspires his military.  Clearly this calls to
mind for many viewers the relentless news media and anti-Clinton
propagandists who harp on Bill's last of military service and opposition to
the Vietnam War.  Sure it was Bob Dole would went to Rupert Murdoch's Fox
studio and told them we need more great films like ID4.  (That was really
reading Hollywood the riot act, huh?  'You folks need to make more
big-budget, big-hype scifi blockbusters with pro-American military
But, can it really hurt any sitting president to have films come out which
portray a generic president as a kick-ass war hero topgun?  If the residue
of 'this is what a strong president is like' lingers after the films,
surely the sitting president gets some of that to fall on him.
Some of the news media seemed anxious and poised to make Clinton into
something like this bigstick president during the latest go-round with
Saddam.  Pentagon and Middle East correspondents seemed to get really
excited that maybe the Gulf War "euphoria" of American "sorties" were going
to rule again.  The U.S. once again became "we" to reporters, just as it
had during Bush's Iraq war.  So perhaps INDEPENDENCE DAY rah-rahs have
their afterglow that embues the presidency with power and legitimacy even
if Commander in Chief Clinton takes his lumps for not serving in an
unpopular war.    (I always found it a little curious though, that very
little was made of the fact that Bill Clinton DID, in his first weeks in
office, bomb Iraq in response to no-fly-zone violations in 1993.  Yet he is
still portrayed as a pres who never pulled the trigger.)
The more interesting cinematic treatment of the Clinton presidency will no
doubt be the forthcoming film a clef  version of PRIMARY COLORS.
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