Those crazy Hollywood liberals are at it again, argues Victor Davis Hanson, historian and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution (one of National Public Radio’s many underrepresented conservative institutions). For in Hollywood, Hanson argues, “the politically correct impulse now overrides all else.” Such a conclusion is as hyperbolic as it is unsupported by evidence–in this case, three recent and fairly successful films involving discussion of terrorism of the fictional or historical kind (*Flightplan*, *Syriana*, and *Munich*). Hanson obviously neglects the existence of a whole subgenre of television shows and movies featuring cartoonish Islamic super-villains as well as ideologically pure American super heroes.
The spectacular boneheadedness of his argument doesn’t consist only in his willful neglect of countervailing evidence, but in his implicit claim that, one, the three films may be read as a consistent policy statement of a single group (“Hollywood producers”), and more dumbly, terrorism exists in only one form (so *Munich* and *Syriana* and *Flightplan* are about the same thing). Only in light of these two assumptions would it make any sense for Hanson to counter what he takes to be the argument of, for instance, *Syrianna* with an argument of his own:
>”Syriana” also perverts historical reality. Everything connected with the oil industry is portrayed as corrupt and exploitive, with no hint that petroleum fuels civilization. Hollywood producers might not see many oil rigs off the Malibu coast, but someone finds and delivers them gas each morning for their luxury cars.
Hanson should be reminded that *Syriana* is a fictional film, the product of one director and a handful of producers (not “Hollywood producers” in general). He should also be told that some Hollywood producer’s Malibu home and luxury car does not invalidate the argument of another Hollywood producer (even if he has a luxury car and a Malibu home). That’s what you call *ad hominem*.
The fine fellows at the Hoover institution should do as we do: look in the op-ed pages of our nations major national publications for silly arguments and leave the movies to Roger Ebert.