|Susan Sarandon and Cindy at protest in front of White House in 2006|
With full disclosure, I have
not seen director Clint Eastwood’s American
Sniper and furthermore, I have zero plans to do so. I have also never had
bamboo shoots jammed into my fingernails, but I have a feeling that procedure would also be painful and vile.
The film is based on the
sniper’s book of the same name. The sniper’s name was Chris Kyle and as most of
us know, he was ironically murdered by a young vet on a gun range—something
about those who “live by the sword” and such.
Besides Kyle’s apparent glee
and pride in murdering people in his role in the illegal, unwarranted,
inhumane, and bullshit war in Iraq, the only other thing I need to know about
him is that he called the Iraqi people “savages.”
Even some members of the US
“antiwar” movement seem to care more about the lives of The Troops™ than the
innocents put in harm’s way by the policies of the US War Machine. The context of Kyle calling Iraqis “savages” is sadly already well established in the
US, but is over-the-top thrilling to Reich-wing war lovers.
Of course, the term “savages”
has been used throughout US history to kill, imprison, intern, nuking, or displace
millions of people and Kyle lines up behind other war criminals that also delighted
in murder. Centuries of dehumanizing the “other” has been deeply ingrained in all
of us and it does takes a shoehorn, or murder of ones oldest son (for example), to pry us out of
that stinking thinking.
Basically, those are my
feelings about the film and the response for awards, accolades and defense of
the war criminal Kyle. Along with another glorification of the War State (Zero Dark Thirty) winning best film
title at the Oscars last year and Hollywood’s long history of working with the
Pentagon (or War Department) to make decades of Warnography, I was reminded about an
episode in my own history.
Soon after I camped out in
Crawford in the summer of 2005 and became the latest cause célébre of the
faux-gressive set, a film producer named Jill (I cannot remember her last
name—lots of people gone under that bridge) approached me saying that she wanted
to do a feature film about my story. Soon after, she lined up noted director
Mimi Leder to direct the film and noted actress Susan Sarandon to star in the
movie playing moi. Obviously, I thought this film was a done deal.
I had meetings with them, but
by 2007, the film was dead in the water with really no explanation. I remember
they kept asking me to sign over my rights to my memoir Peace Mom, and I would patiently explain to them that I did not own
the rights that Simon and Schuster did. One day I got an email from an attorney
saying that since I wouldn’t co-operate, the project was over. Interesting,
that was after I left the Democratic Party and resigned as the face of the
antiwar movement. Even though Jill and company kept dangling the promise of a
film over my head for a couple of years, I got no compensation for that stall
Then shortly after the collapse
of the first film, I was approached by Jeremy Kleiner and Dede Gardner
of Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B so they could option the rights to my
story. Again, we had many meetings at their office, interviewed screenwriters,
and I signed the uncompensated options, but after more delays I was told,
“movies with an antiwar theme just don’t make any money.”
I don’t know in either case if
the rights were optioned to prevent a movie about my story with an antiwar theme being made,
but I do believe that it’s a sad commentary on our war-saturated and blood-soaked society that Warnography and glamorizing psychopaths and psychopathic behavior
not only do big box office and win awards, but also define the very culture
that spews it up.