What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
This movie is on my list of essential films.
NOTE: This installment of Sports Analogies Hidden In Classic Movies is being done as part of something called The Blizzard of Oz Blog-a-Thon, which is a celebration of all “Down Under”. This event is being hosted by The Midnite Drive-In, who will be co-hosting The “1st and Ten” Blog-A-Thon with me in September. As you might guess, that event will be all about that wonderful brutality known as American Football. Be sure to comeback for that one, it could just be almost as good as this one!
“The Year of Living Dangerously” takes place in 1965 in an Indonesia on the precipice of a revolution. Guy Hamilton (played by Mel Gibson) is a rookie foreign correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Service. Upon his arrival in Jakarta, he comes to know others in his line of work from countries such as the UK, the US, and New Zealand. Hamilton struggles at first not only due to his inexperience, but because his predecessor failed to introduce him to the close-knit members of the foreign correspondent community. Since they are all in competition for the rare bits of reportable information tossed out by the dictator Sukarno’s regime, Hamilton is initially not well-received by his fellow journalists.
An exception to this comes in the form of Billy Kwan (played by Linda Hunt). Kwan is a Chinese-Australian photographer who also happens to be well-connected throughout the country. Kwan’s connections get Hamilton interviews for him not only in Sukarno’s government, but in the conservative Muslim Indonesian military and the opposition Communist Party of Indonesia. Kwan also introduces one of his closest friends to Hamilton. Jill Bryant (played by Sigourney Weaver) is on the staff at British Embassy, which is why Billy subtly manipulates her encounters with Hamilton for reasons the viewer will discover later in the film.
In no time, there is obvious chemistry between Hamilton and Bryant. Despite the fact she resists the budding romance because she is due to return to the UK shortly, they fall in love. As a result, Bryant passes information to Hamilton that Red China is in the act of smuggling arms to the Communist Party of Indonesia; the intention being so he won’t stumble into something which may get him killed.
A problem arises when Hamilton makes it clear he wants to stay in Indonesia after the Communists take delivery on the Chinese arms shipment in order to cover the rebellion which will start immediately thereafter. By now, even the most obtuse viewer has figured out Billy Kwan is an anti-Sukarno activist; as such he knows a lot more about what is going to happen, which is why he used his old friend Jill Bryant as tool to save the life of his new friend Guy Hamilton. With Hamilton’s revelation, he infuriates both Kwan and Bryant; so much so they disassociate themselves from him.
Once Kwan and Bryant turn their backs on Hamilton, for friends he is left with only an American journalist and his driver/manservant, who just so happens to be a covert member of the Communist Party of Indonesia. Despite that, the secretive Communist rebel still tries to help Hamilton by trying to hip him as to what is about to happen.
Meanwhile, Kwan’s outrage at Sukarno’s disregard for the Indonesian citizenry leads to action. In protest, he hangs a banner from a high-rise along Sukarno’s motorcade route which says “Sukarno Feed Your People!” Once discovered by Sukarno’s secret police, the banner is removed and Kwan is thrown from the window to his death. Hamilton presses on in search of his prized “big story,” and it seems as though it is about to happen when the military stages a coup d’état after they learned of the arms shipment to the Communist rebels.. Hamilton attempts to enter the occupied Presidential palace, but is severely beaten by a soldier. The film ends with Hamilton blinded in one eye and alone except for the American’s driver/secret Communist rebel, who gets him to the airport to board the last plane out of Jakarta as Indonesia sinks into a civil war.
The Hidden Sports Analogy:
While the theme of this blog-a-thon is all about all things “Down Under,” today’s hidden sports analogy is distinctly American. While these events may involve topics which cross boundaries because they are written by people in various locales across the globe, I’m sticking to what I know first-hand; the plight of a Yank in his own court.
America is the country which brought the world the idea of a Bill of Rights, and there’s a reason why the one about “free speech” comes first. America is also a country in which free speech is decidedly under assault. If you are reading this, you obviously read blogs; you are also likely to be a blogger. As such, you’re the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” for the imposition of censorship.
Bloggers are going to be the next Billy Kwan; we are in the year of writing dangerously.
It’s no secret so-called “big tech” like Twitter, Facebook, and Google are already cutting off the voices of larger well-known users whose opinions with which they disagree, and it’s already happened to me. Three years ago in the run-up to the 2016 election, I was still doing the Radio J-Dub podcast, and in one episode of that series which dropped six months before the election, I predicted Donald Trump would win. Right after that, Dubsism’s site traffic nose-dived, despite the fact that I made it crystal-clear that I was not making an endorsement, rather I’m was stating which horse I was betting on. Later that year, I did a “what if” piece proposing should he win, Trump could find some great cabinet appointees from the world of sports. You guessed it, yet another traffic nose-dive.
But what cemented my place in censorship jail was my long-running criticism of Colin Kaepernick and those so-called NFL national anthem “protests.” Nothing will get you relegated to the back waters of WordPress faster than being critical of a darling of the New American Left.
See, if you are a member of the New American Left, you can say pretty much whatever you want about whoever you want. But if you aren’t, you can expect to be somehow silenced. Another entity I’ve historically been critical of is ESPN; an organization which exemplifies this totalitarian hypocrisy. The World-Wide Bottom Feeder has no problem savaging those with whom they do not agree opinion-wise, but will easily turn a blind eye to terrible words and deeds from those on the same side of the “politically-correct” fence. This is how guys like Curt Schilling get fired for posting something on a Twitter account which had nothing to do with ESPN, yet guys like Stephen A. Smith can use the most reviled of racial epithets on ESPN’s very own airwaves and suffer only the most minimal, if any, repercussions.
Here’s the part where some pointy-head is going to tell me that the First Amendment and the entire concept of “free speech” exists only between private individuals and the government in America; “free speech” is about what the government can and/or cannot do to you for saying things it doesn’t like. That is very true, People who doubt that should criticize the American government, then do the same in a place like Iran and compare the results.
But what Mr. Pointy-Head fails to realize in this case is that societal opinion shapes government policy, and if enough people buy into a belief, it can become the law of the land. This is why the term “hate speech” scares the crap out of me…and it should you as well.
“Hate Speech” is the Orwellian term which has been used to chip away at the idea of free speech. 35 years ago when it actually was 1984 is was super-trendy to toss his terms around, but if you can’t see the correlation between today’s “political correctness” and Orwell’s “newspeak;” if you can’t see how close “hate speech” is to “thought-crime,” there’s only one reason why.
You don’t want to.
Maybe you believe in the original idea behind the banning of “hate speech.” Maybe you agree there are certain terms so offensive they need to be scrubbed from the American lexicon. Maybe you even think the term “hate speech” doesn’t go far enough. If that’s the case, that makes you the threat. Not the government, not “big tech”…you.
This is why I can’t understand bloggers who buy into the concept of “hate speech;” they are just Billy Kwan backing themselves into the high-rise window. Bloggers are the “canaries in the coal mine” for the suppression of speech; we should all be terrified at the idea of how “hate speech” has been used to transmogrify the American Left from being the staunchest of free speech absolutists into the very force advocating censorship through whatever means necessary. Accepting the concept of “hate speech” is Winston Churchill’s definition of appeasement; feeding the crocodile hoping it eats you last, especially in a time when “hate” has been re-defined as simply having a different opinion.
Even if you don’t buy that argument, there’s an inherent flaw in the mentality behind censorship. No matter the reason behind the squelching of speech, every time it is done there is an unintended consequence of stifling something genuinely thought-provoking and worthwhile in the process. Not only that, but last thing in the world we should want is to silence anybody. If the idea is to suppress that which is offensive or dangerous, I want those people to have every voice available. That way, I know exactly who they are; there’s anonymity in silence.
Billy Kwan waited until he was backed into a high-rise before he made his stand. Don’t make the same mistake.
The Moral of the Story:
The sentence “I believe in free speech” ends with a period, not a comma. It is the most concrete of absolutes. If you have ANYTHING other than a period after the word “speech,” you believe in censorship. You either believe in free speech or you don’t.
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