The article is unmitigated tripe.
1) Using a plane built in 1963 as a reason for why you need big burly pilots is bullshit. The majority of aircraft flown in the armed forces are fly-by-wire. Besides which, the outcome would have been similar had the crew bailed out of the craft and allowed it to crash.
2) The mean height of a Chinese male is 5'5. The mean height of an American female is - wait for it - 5'4 1/2 - 5'5. If we're talking physical strength, there's a hell of a lot more to it than men are bigger.
3) Admissions standards for the military are not the same as specialist standards for the military. Yeah, a 17-year-old girl needs to be able to do 13 push-ups to enlist. That's very different from being able to do 13 push-ups to be able to join DEVGRU.
4) Yes, men and women respond differently to stress. This is stated as if diversity is a bad thing, or as if women will suddenly get all silly and weepy when being shot at.
5) "A battery of studies cited by Browne confirms the reluctance of men to accept female leadership when the shooting starts." A battery of studies also confirmed the reluctance of white people to Jackie Robinson playing baseball. That means they're prejudiced, not correct.
Take a look at this photo. Take a good look at it:
That's Dr. Ruth, IDF sniper.
"When I was in my routine training for the Israeli army as a teenager, they discovered completely by chance that I was a lethal sniper. I could hit the target smack in the center further away than anyone could believe. Not just that, even though I was tiny and not even much of an athlete, +I was incredibly accurate throwing hand grenades too.+ Even today I can load a Sten automatic rifle in a single minute, blindfolded."
I would actually argue that as a general rule of thumb David Frum needs to STFU but that's too broad for this discussion. This is, after all, Mr. "Axis of Evil."
Dear Person Born in 1992:
An amazing thing happened a few years before you were born that you've likely read about but never fully understood. After nearly eighty years, the world was no longer divided in half, with both sides swearing total annihilation of the other side. After nearly fifty years, there was no longer a prevailing sentiment that the world would end in a thermonuclear fireball. After nearly thirty years, five billion people no longer considered - every day - the fact that armageddon was half an hour away, 24/7/365.
It's easy to say "oh, but people didn't think about it all the time" but it's also accurate to say that if people didn't think about it all the time, they were reminded of it regularly. One cannot frame the Cold War in the same terms as the Global War on Terror. The Soviet Union was not Russia, was not China, was not North Korea - it was a monolithic, totalitarian presence with four times as many nuclear weapons as we had that our president called "The Evil Empire."
'80s culture, more than any other, reflects a fatalistic optimism - "enjoy yourself while you can because you'll be dead soon." Whereas the 60s and 70s were an era of "free love" the 80s brought us AIDS, which still killed you back then. It was an era where the computers that you have lived with your entire life were just starting to penetrate into the collective conscious (but certainly not the collective living room). It was an era where the thousand channels you take for granted were busily blossoming from four. They 80s were an era that started out with marketing to children through television being illegal and ended with Transformers, GI Joe, He Man and Rainbow Bright. It was an era of banking dergulation that swept us from austerity and inflation to massive tax cuts and a rebirth of the new Oligarchy. It is the period that followed the Long Boom and ended Monetarism. Back in the '80s, the future founders of Google and the dot-com era were not visionary wunderkinds, they were future listless slackers distrusted by the Baby Boomers because they didn't do a good enough job babysitting their children.
There are certain periods of culture that, even through the long lens of history, remain unique and relevant. Which is not to say they are beyond reproach - there is much that was tragic about the 80s, not just historically speaking but also culturally. My recommendation to you is to look on the 80s not as a descendent of the era too comfortable in your own trappings to truly understand and empathize, but as a visitor from a distant culture absorbing and reflecting on the downfall of Communism and the twilight of Capitalism from a privileged vantage.
You might see a thing or two of beauty.
Have a video. it's four minutes of your life and, in my opinion, is a nice capsule of the cultural mores that nobody is talking about (but everyone has on the back of their minds) throughout all the horrible culture you mention. If you have the patience, here's two hours of horror.
Quite simply, we had other things on our minds and lots of us, when we look back on it, consider ourselves fortunate to still be here in this unimaginable era of 2013. It was a foregone conclusion where I grew up that if we were around in 1998, we'd be eating dog food and polishing The Great Humungous' boots.
Patrick Nagel says hello from an era when coke addicts died from heart attacks because they did "aerobithons" for charity.
Well, here's the thing:
It's really easy to say "this stuff sucks." If you read the follow-ups, they're an art student saying "this stuff doesn't suck because X" and the guy saying "no it REALLY sucks because Y."
One of the things I discovered as a screenwriter is that it's far more useful to watch a bad movie and figure out how you would make it good than to watch a good movie and figure out what was bad about it. More importantly, if there's a movie or genre or director that everybody else loves that you hate, don't sit there going "I'm so original" figure out what the audience is getting out of it that you aren't.
So we see all this modern art, and it's all selling for shit-tons of money, and we all go "WTF was the point of that" and we presume that it's just bullshit and the people who like it are stupid. But are they really? The guys buying "modern art" are all richer than croesus and most of it isn't inherited money, so they're smart enough to get rich, at least. And they tend to buy the kind of consumer goods we wish we could, so they aren't totally tasteless, either.
So to me, the observation isn't "I don't get Art" it's "Why don't I get art?"
For me, the most transformative art experience I ever had was at the SF Moma. I was shooting a wedding and had a day to kill, so I rode the BART from Oakland to downtown and wandered around. One of the first things I saw was one of Yves Klein's monochromes (now you know where the name comes from). And this is a canvas, painted blue, sitting on a wall.
And I stared at it, transfixed, for twenty minutes.
Because it wasn't just blue - it was this amazing blue that can't really be described. It was an insane amount of pigment, painted in just such a way that it held my attention in a way that Guernica never did. I wandered through the entire bicentennial Van Gogh exhibit in Amsterdam and didn't really give the first shit - saw Starry Night in person and everything. But there was something about Yves Klein Blue that left me positively gobsmacked.
So I "get" that. I get Klimt. I get Kandinsky. I get Mondrian. I get these guys that had an amazing amount of craft in what they did that renders something thought-provoking and new.
But I don't "get" Warhol. I don't get Basquiat (but I totally get Banksy). I sure as fuck don't get Damien Hirst.
Steina and Woody Vasulkaare good family friends. I have a framed poster from one of their exhibits at The Kitchen in '69. Helped them put up one of their exhibits a few years back. They're "artists." Make a good living at it. Saw some of their stuff at the Stedelijk But, I mean, some of it is just weird goofing around. So, to me, "I don't get art" is an admission of failure, not a brag. If there's something that a whole bunch of people think is awesome, you owe it to yourself at least to figure out what they think is so cool. That's why I'm at peace with the fact that I f'ing hate Chris Nolan, but still uncomfortable over the fact that I f'ing hate Wes Anderson. I know exactly what people get out of Nolan films (and reject it) but Wes Anderson I haven't quite figured out yet.
Let me also state that there are no conditions, no crew, no cast, no story possible that will allow any remake of RED DAWN to be anything more than a callow, derivative attempt to cash in on what was a perfect storm of cultural confluence.
I wrote this about three years ago:
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Dude. I haven't really seen Red Dawn since I was in maybe tenth grade. Certainly not since I was a student of film... And now it's playing on AMC. My god. What a masterpiece. From the metallc blue lifted Chevy stepside asshole truck with the chrome light bar to the allegorical discussion of the Mongol hordes from the Only Black Man in Rural Colorado to the opening cards about the Green Party winning in Germany and "NATO stands alone" to frickin' Sandinistas firing rocket launchers at school buses...
Milius is a genius.
An evil genius to be sure... I don't know of any movies that say "it's Morning in America" quite like Red Dawn. I mean, the opening is stolen from Superman; the title font is the same one they used for Flashdance. I seriously doubt Red Dawn could have been released before the 1984 election season or after Eugene Hasenfus was shot down... that's about a 27 month window that Red Dawn barely managed to slide into.
Someday, somewhere, somehow, someone is going to write a scholarly essay on Red Dawn and how it epitomizes culture and politics in the Reagan era. And I will read it and love it. The thing that amazes me is that Kevin Reynolds (one of my all-time favorite directors, Kevin Costner be damned) wrote it as an anti-war allegory... and Milius sure as hell didn't see it that way. "Avenge me, boys! AVENNNNGE ME!" I think Red Dawn remains the only movie that Delta Press ever consulted on. It's GOTTA be the only one Al Haig consulted on. Bloody marvelous.
It's kind of what The Breakfast Club would have looked like if it were directed by Leni Riefenstahl. The silly thing was actually filmed really close to my house when I grew up and I still can't believe they made it. The fact that a movie that features Lea Thompson with an AK-47 was #1 at the box office within my lifetime really gives me hope for the future. If we survived the Cold War in one piece, surely the War on Terror is nothing to fear.
That's all for now. I gotta go buy me a poster.
"All that hate's gonna burn you up, kid."
"It keeps me warm."
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Kevin Reynolds wrote the script TEN SOLDIERS while he was a grad student at USC. It was modeled after Philip K Dick's "The Man in the High Castle" and described an alternate reality in which the Soviets invaded the United States. As with most things from USC at the time it got sent up the tentpole, where John Milius (who wrote most of the grand-standing speeches you know from APOCALYPSE NOW - "I love the smell of Napalm in the morning", JAWS - Quint's speech, and the sum total of CONAN THE BARBARIAN) decided that the goddamn liberal hippies running Hollywood needed a little book learnin' about the goddamn Red Menace.
RED DAWN was produced in association with Reagan's Secretary of State, then just two years out of office:
Technical consulting was done by Delta Press:
And what we're left with is essentially a John Hughes film with machine guns and rocket launchers.
RED DAWN would never even have been considered if Ronald Reagan wasn't president. It certainly wouldn't have been considered once Iran-Contra broke. The whole demeanor of the film is Alexandr Nevsky - a big, brash, bodacious warning to Enemies of the Motherland that if you cross us, we will fuck you up. By the time Ollie North took the stand, it was abundantly clear that the Soviets were getting their asses kicked by a bunch of Mujahedeen, the Berlin Wall was dead man walking and the Hooah attitude that the Republicans had been using to sap the treasury in the name of defense was going to bankrupt us all.
The remake of RED DAWN, by comparison, was shelved halfway through production while MGM retrenched. It was written by nobody, stars nobody, and has had no involvement from anyone with any sort of an ax to grind. You're right - North Korea as an invader of the United States is simply not credible. They would have done better with Mexican narco gangs. Chris Helmsworth, for his part, is Thor. Josh Peck is irrelevant. And the new movie will never have Lea Thompson firing an M60. Ever.
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If you want to see what Kevin Reynolds actually had in mind when he wrote TEN SOLDIERS, you can see what he does with a Russian tank crew in Afghanistan. THE BEAST is one of my all-time favorite films. It's about the Taliban back when they were the Mujahideen, who also happened to be our allies:
If it's that "morning in america" feel you're going for, you can always mix in a little Clint Eastwood:
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Apropos of nothing, the original RED DAWN was filmed an hour from my house growing up. They ran ads on the radio for people to come down and be extras. My dad wouldn't let me - in reflection, probably not too surprising as RED DAWN was the first movie ever granted a PG-13. That said, it was the first event that made me realize that even a punk-ass kid from New Mexico could be in movies if he wanted to be... and may very well have paved the way for me working in Hollywood today.