Friday, January 4, 2013

The NRA And Hollywood And Irony

To the best of my knowledge, I have not sat in a pew in the church that the P&R, who writes at P&R Miscellany, pastors. I stop by his blog because he offers a viewpoint that differs from mine, and like Ross Douthat, I believe one should expose oneself to opinions that differ from one's own.

In a recent post, P&R examines the mid-season TV offerings and finds them wanting:
Two unoriginal, derivative horror shows, a show about teen sex, a hospital soap opera, and the spies next door.  Not one worth taking the trouble to actually watch.
I'm not going to quibble with his descriptions. I probably won't watch five of the six shows he mentions. I may watch an episode or two of The Following. The program might be a excuse to revive the great game 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon. P&R, however,  doesn't share my Kevin Bacon nostalgia:
The Following is about a psychopathic murderer with a cult following who escapes from death row and the cop who is trying to nail him.  Lots of killing for no particular reason than to glory in the fact of killing and to have an excuse to put gore on the screen in order to titillate viewers.  But, hey, if we just banned assault weapons we wouldn't have any of that killing and so how would they make a TV show about it, then?
The tone and phrasing of those last few sentences seems reminiscent of the Wayne LaPierre rant about video games and Hollywood.

Given that connection, I wonder what P&R will make of this little bit of news.
Since 2010, the NRA National Firearms Museum, which is based out of the group's Fairfax, VA, headquarters, has hosted "Hollywood Guns," an exhibit featuring firearms made famous by movies like Dirty Harry, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, and Die Hard. According to NRA magazine American Rifleman, "If you love guns or you love movies or, still luckier, you love guns and movies, this is a trip you cannot miss."
. . . museum senior curator Phil Schreier says, "[W]e encourage you to come by and visit this sequel and come see a true blockbuster here in Fairfax, where all the stars of the silver screen have descended into these galleries and are represented by some of the firearms that we've fallen in love with in our youth and our adulthood, wishing that we too could be like our matinee idols."
Writing at Think Progress, Alyssa Rosenberg notes:
Notably, he [Schreier] doesn’t exactly draw a distinction between the guns employed by good, law-abiding citizens, and badass, deeply transgressive villains: guns used for mayhem against innocent civilians are apparently just as awesome as guns used by law-abiding citizens in self-defense or officers of the peace in pursuit of criminals. “We have the Joker’s shotgun, the one that Heath Ledger used in The Dark Knight, a role that he won the academy award for,” Schreier says. “And speaking of Academy Awards, we have the silent shotgun that Javier Bardem used in No Country For Old Men.”

Who would have thought that the NRA has a museum that houses guns handled by characters who killed for "no particular reason than to glory in the fact of killing"? Surely, they'd have more sense than to create a museum that glorifies props from films that "glory in the fact of killing and to have an excuse to put gore on the screen in order to titillate viewers."

In short, Hollywood and glorifying violence on screen is the enemy except when it isn't. Media Matters reports that "firearms companies seek to have their guns featured in violent movies, particularly pointing to the rise of Glock handguns as in part a result of their strategy to get the guns into the hands of Hollywood prop houses."

Sometimes politics and pop culture make reality far stranger than fiction. The NRA may not hate Hollywood after all.
According to the museum's senior curator, the exhibit "is all about phenomenal firearms borrowed from our friends in America's movie capital," a somewhat kinder description of the movie industry than the one LaPierre provided.

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