Hoo boy. THIS is absolutely hilarious.
Most people are aware of the Michigan Militia, a very disorganized group of separatists who believe the government is the enemy and that there’s a conspiracy behind every tree. Timothy McVeigh spent time with them before he blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and they have been in and out of the news since then with their anti-government shenanigans.
Well, there’s a remake of the movie Red Dawn coming out soon and they are PISSED about it. In the original movie, a band of Americans fights back as America is invaded by Russia. In the new version, some of which was filmed here in Michigan, it is Asians who are invading. The original screenplay had China as the invading country. However, in a desire to appeal to a Chinese audience, the movie producers changed the invading country to North Korea.
And that is what has the Michigan Militia pee-ohed.
“This whole thing seemed a copout on the studio’s part,” said Mike Lackomar, spokesman for the Southeast Michigan Voluntary Militia.
The group’s annual “militia field day” on Saturday includes a protest of the “Chinese Government’s attacks on our 1st Amendment rights by indirectly pressuring” MGM to change the movie, according to a press release. The event also will include a session on making your own “dangerous citizen alert” poster from copies of the “suppressed release” of “Red Dawn.”
If you bring your own poster, you’ll get a free hot dog or hamburger.
The also claim MGM suppressed the release because, so far as I can tell, they believe that the movie would have helped conservatives.
The militiamen originally protested what they called the “suppressed release” of the new “Red Dawn” because its release had been put on hold while MGM Studios was undergoing bankruptcy, Lackomar said.
He said the film’s release was first delayed more so because it might make the American government look vulnerable during an election season.
The whole conspiracy theory part of this is part and parcel of the deranged thinking of Michigan Militia types. It’s unsurprising, predictably comical, and pretty much what we’ve come to expect from them. But let’s back up to something they said in their press release:
They are protesting “the Chinese Government’s attacks on our 1st Amendment rights by indirectly pressuring [MGM to change the movie].”
Let’s review the 1st Amendment for just a second, shall we?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The Constitution of the United States of America pertains to Americans. If an American movie production company decides to change its movie to appeal to a broader audience, that is a choice it is free to make; a free expression of its freedom of expression you might say. The 1st Amendment says nothing about the motivation that leads to decisions Americans make about how they express themselves. They may express themselves for whatever reasons they choose. That is, in fact, the point of the 1st Amendment.
But even more importantly, as Darrell Dawsey points out, it isn’t even possible for the Chinese or MGM to infringe on our 1st Amendment rights.
We don’t even have to set aside the tinfoil hat paranoia that says that the MGM marketing department, in trying to get the movie seen by the largest audiences possible, is somehow in cahoots with the Chinese government to “suppress” a remake of 30-year-old teen cult flick.
You can crank up the crazy on that one as high as you want and it still doesn’t matter. Because the Chinese government can’t violate your First Amendment rights. And neither can Metro, Goldwyn nor Mayer.
The First Amendment seems pretty clear on this actually: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
“Congress.” Get it?
The First Amendment protects us from assaults on our freedom of expression by our government. While I seriously doubt that the boys in Beijing are that worried about who opposes this new batch of fictional Wolverines, the Chinese government can talk all live long day with MGM, a private company, about script changes, marketing choices and whatever else it wants.
That is not an attack on our First Amendment rights.
It’s fine to be stupid. It’s fine to be ill-informed and unintelligent. But when you do it so blatantly and in public, well, you’ll pardon the rest of us when we point at you and laugh.
The scary part is that these people have guns.
UPDATE: I just noticed that I got a hit on my site from the Southeastern Michigan Volunteer Militia forums so I suspect someone has put up a link to this blog there. Let’s just hope they hold the freedom of expression in this country in such high regard that believe it applies to ALL Americans, even those with whom they disagree. Like me.
I’m just sayin’…