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Why liberal critics hated Amazon’s Jack Ryan (and why you’ll probably love it)

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Why liberal critics hated Amazons Jack Ryan and why youll probably love it

No spoilers ahead. We’re going to talk about Amazon’s Jack Ryan television show from a general perspective.

With a modest 72% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s clear that most critics enjoyed the 8-episode streaming series based on the late Tom Clancy’s beloved leading man. Even many politically progressive critics couldn’t get past the strong quality, great acting, and compelling storyline. Others, however, chose to politicize it and pass judgment based on one overarching message.

There’s just too much patriotism and not enough “blame America” for these political progressives to appreciate it. For example:

Jack Ryan Is a Patriotic Nightmare

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/08/jack-ryan-amazon-tv-show-review-tom-clancy-john-krasinskiIt seems that in order to get a portrait of a Syrian woman grappling with personal and political crises, one must also slog through the narrative of an unimpressive American man. If you guess that the show hinges on Jack Ryan rescuing her from her evil terrorist husband, well—spoiler alert!—you would be right. And that says basically everything you need to know: this is a propulsive, enthusiastic, confident action-thriller that makes a glossy, gooey narrative of American generosity and valor. It lauds Jack Ryan—a true American hero who unfailingly escalates every situation and lacks even basic collaborative skills—while neglecting to even attempt to challenge the narrative of noble American involvement and intervention abroad. Both its protagonist and its plot are based on the foundational, unquestioned notion that American-military might—the best-funded killing infrastructure in human history—is helping to save the world.

What are the sins that made some liberal critics cringe? To answer that, let’s get an idea for what they would have like to have seen. Based on the negative reviews I’ve read, there were a few themes that recurred, changes that they would have preferred. The biggest one was the way the American government was depicted.

In the eyes of these critics, a spy story can’t be good unless the scenario involves evil American overlords. They want the bad guys to turn out being pawns of the military industrial complex, proxies for the CIA, or good guys driven to do bad things because of American greed.

The other major flaw, as progressive critics saw it, was that radical Islamic terrorism was just that… radical Islamic terrorism. The story had young Muslim men being radicalized in jail, Islamic militants who were rapists and murderers, girls being taken as brides, and terrorist plots that centered simply around promoting Islam rather than feeding a starving village or avenging a filthy act if violence perpetrated by westerners.

In other words, the story stayed within a plausible modern storyline rather than romanticizing the plight of an oppressed people, as many progressives see things.

The saddest part about these reviews is they neglected to notice aspects of the story that balanced it against the two perceived flaws. The good guys weren’t immaculate. There was an awkward scene of anti-Muslim racism by a key character, a couple of government officials who were motivated by power more than justice, and a good guy willing to look away from human sex trade in order to get help catching the terrorists.

On the other side, there were admirable Muslims among the bad guys and a couple of good guys who were Muslims. Some of the kindest acts in the series were performed by Muslims, and arguably the second and third smartest characters in the series were terrorists.

This show has its share of problems, but ideological expressions were not among them. Don’t let liberal critics dragging down the ratings prevent you from watching a thoroughly enjoyable and completely binge-worthy show. I’ve been a fan of Amazon Originals since watching Bosch and this show adds to their growing resume of great productions.

Star John Krasinksi is my favorite Jack Ryan yet. That’s hard to say as a Harrison Ford fan, but he brings an emotional depth to the character that Ford simply didn’t have time to do. Ford’s two movies were pure action flicks while this 8 episode season gave Krasinski and the writers enough time to give him flesh.

The main supporting characters were also perfectly cast to offer Krasinski sharp dialogue. Abbie Cornish was more than a love interest as Cathy Mueller, offering an appropriate foil as a doctor to Ryan’s CIA officer angst. John Hoogenakker is the stereotypical elite military operative who somehow breaks the stereotype despite the script. Lastly, Wendell Pierce took his character to a higher level as the broken but not beaten James Greer.

Above all else, this is a spy thriller. Some critics seem to have forgotten that point and instead wished for a more cerebral spy melodrama or something. Don’t let them keep your from this show. If you like excellent action supported by a smart story and wrapped in an American flag, Jack Ryan is worth a watch.

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President Trump lowers himself to SNL’s level every time he gives them attention

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President Trump lowers himself to SNLs level every time he gives them attention

Many conservatives have been in the midst of a conundrum since the 2016 election. On one hand, there are things to like about President Trump’s agenda as he cuts bureaucracy, reduces our tax burden, and addresses certain foreign policy issues appropriately. On the other hand, he has the temperament of a high school student at times and seems reluctant to act like the President of the United States.

The latest example of his willingness to dive into the fray with unimportant but insulting entities is his ongoing war with SNL and NBC.

My advice to the President:

Seriously, Mr. President, please just ignore them. Yes, they insult you. Yes, they mock you. Yes, they hate you. But you’re doing them a favor when you pay so much attention to them just because they were able to prick below your paper-thin skin. Collusion? No. It’s comedy, and not very funny comedy at that. There’s nothing they can do to actually hurt you in the eyes of the American public because those who are still watching aren’t your friends anyway. Even if some of your allies are watching, it’s not like they’re saying to themselves, “Man, I liked Trump but now that I’ve seen Alex Baldwin’s latest skit, I’m changing my mind.”

This is below the President. It’s so far below the President that much lesser-known people who get made fun of by SNL have the common sense to either ignore it or play along with the gag. President Trump is one of the few people of power who actually takes SNL seriously enough to draw as much attention to them as possible. It’s counterproductive and will only make them want to attack more often.

How many people actually watched the skit before the President Tweeted it? Now, he’s chosen to make the skit go viral, emboldening Baldwin and the whole SNL crew into wanting to make fun of him even more. It’s one of the saddest displays of inappropriate attention being given to something so far below the White House it’s a wonder that he took the time to Tweet about it, let along watch it and get masses of others to watch it as well.

Every time he gives SNL this level of attention, all he does is reaffirm what his detractors already think while making his supporters scratch their head wondering why the most powerful man in the world is whining about a comedy sketch.

 


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This old Tweet by Jussie Smollett may have been prescient as a condemnation of his gullible supporters

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This old Tweet by Jussie Smollett may have been prescient as a condemnation of his gullible supporte

As the walls (and possibly law enforcement) continue to close in on actor Jussie Smollett following reports he hoaxed the world by pretending to be attacked by Trump supporters, a Tweet from 2016 is quite interesting.

In today’s context, this quote would demonize those who believed Smollett’s suspicious claims without even considering the possibility they could be made up. It’s one thing to think Trump supporters are racist. It’s another to take this belief and use it as intellectual cover to blind one to obvious truths. Smollett seems to be calling out the very people who have supported him.

 


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As Jussie Smollett story evolves, let’s not give it the Covington Catholic School treatment

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As Jussie Smollett story evolves lets not give it the Covington Catholic School treatment

When a juicy story hits social media, the instant reaction is to run with it and all the implications. That’s the nature of our on-demand, always-on, real-time media world. The only thing faster than hot takes from the first hint of a story are the assumptions made by both sides regardless of the details.

Such is the case with Jussie Smollett, the actor who was allegedly attacked by MAGA-loving bigots. Smollett, a gay man of color, was allegedly targeted on the streets of Chicago, but now reports are coming in that it may have been an elaborate hoax designed to help him save his job on the cast of Empire.

But so far, police have only confirmed that Smollett is still being treated as a victim. Yes, there were two persons of interest questioned by police. Yes, Smollett skipped a voluntary interview with police this morning. Yes, the story was strange from the start and this new narrative seems to match much better regardless of which side of the political or cultural aisle you’re on.

And yet, nothing has been confirmed.


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It’s incumbent on us, whether journalists or simply social media users, to wait for the facts before jumping to conclusions. It works in both directions.

Was it all a hoax? Possibly. Some who are looking at he evidence today and the report released by local Chicago news may come to the conclusion that a hoax was likely. But let’s not assume until the truth is revealed by officials.

 


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