In keeping with the theme of following the comments sections of various reports, one was forwarded to me today that actually made me smile. The article itself did not make me smile, but the comments came close to making me want to cheer. Every now and then, when I am close to giving up hope on the human race, people step forward and remind me that there are people worth knowing.
The article in question was a movie review for a film that was recently screened at Sundance called Taking Chance, based on the true story of Lt. Col. Michael R. Strobl (played by Kevin Bacon) escorting home the mortal remains of PFC Chance Phelps after the latter died in Iraq. The movie is intentionally apolitical, takes no stand one way or another on the war, and only pays tribute to the heart-wrenching final journey of a fallen marine. I haven't seen the movie but, based on the synopsis and what I have read, neither apparently has the reviewer, Ray Greene.
There is not a single word in this review about anyone's acting, though there are a couple statements about Mr. Bacon's personal life. There is no mention of directing, lighting, or sound either. There is, in short, not a single thing in this review that one should expect to find in a movie review.
What you will find is an apolitical movie given a bad review simply for being apolitical. Read that very carefully. Mr. Greene does not criticise this movie for anything it did or did wrong. He criticised this movie for not being exactly what it's makers did not want it to be. Mr. Greene's only complaint that actually pertains to the movie itself was that it was predictable.
I have a question: How many of you who have not served in that military capacity or who have not been directly affected by the death of someone in the military actually know anything about the process of bringing home a fallen soldier? I'm betting there are not many hands raised. So much for "predictable".
However, I said this was going to be about the comments and was going to be positive, and so it is. The comments section that followed this review was wonderful. It contained two posts from Mr. Greene attempting to justify his position and every single other post was basically what I have said here. The comments were from people who identified themselves as military and non-military, pro-Iraq war and anti-Iraq war and every single one of them said essentially the same thing. Every comment took Mr. Greene to task for not actually reviewing the movie and for inserting his own politics into an apolitical movie and every comment took a moment (at least) to pay respect to PFC Phelps' family.
Most of the time, reading the comments sections makes me very nervous about the direction our country is going and then I find a gem like this. I am reminded that the main difference between the quacks that fill most comments sections and the people who are the backbone of this nation is the simple fact that the quacks will sound off loudly about anything while the regular people will mostly keep to themselves unless you really push their buttons. The loudmouths do not necessarily represent the whole and, apparently, disrespecting a tribute to our fallen defenders pushes some pretty common buttons.
To the family of PFC Phelps and to the families of all of those who have lost loved ones in service to hearth and home, my deepest respect and sympathy. To the Ray Greenes of the world, step out of your towers once in a while. You might find the real world an interesting place to visit.