A “Non-Stop” view into the conservative mind

An article from Chicks on the Right came to my attention via my Facebook feed. It’s panning a movie that I didn’t know anything about. I don’t have to watch it though, all I need to know is that it contradicts the conventional, conservative line in just about every possible way.

There’s a collection of insights that can be gleaned from 24NCIS, CSI, Blue Bloods, or just about any of the apparently hundreds of police-type dramas on television these days. Chief among these insights is that American law enforcement and American military policy are always virtuous and righteous (except when they’re not, in which case there is a careful distinction drawn between the “good” good guys and the “guys who aren’t really good guys after all”). There are other ideas that the American television and movie consumer is meant to learn from these nightly civics lessons:

  • The bad guy is always Muslim/Middle Eastern (or at the very least a foreigner). This is an interesting parallel to the days of the Cold War, when bad guys always spoke perfect English with an Eastern European accent.
  • The good guy is always presented with a clear choice between right and wrong. He or she is never asked to make a judgement call within a gray area.

So, with all this in mind, the movie that Chicks on the Right is shouting down is Non-Stop. I’ll stop right here and say that from this point on, this post will contain spoilers. If you follow the link to the COTR article, or the Breitbart article that it links to (and quotes extensively), you’ll encounter spoilers galore as well.

Now, what is it about this movie that get’s these two Über-conservative sites’ hackles up? Breitbart’s John Nolte sums up:

The terrorist is a 9/11 family member. Yes, you read that right; the terrorist is a 9/11 family-member who lost a loved-one in the World Trade Center on that terrible September morning.

It gets worse…

After 9/11,  this 9/11 family member-turned-terrorist then joined the military but found himself disillusioned by the pointless wars.

And now…

The 9/11 family member-turned-terrorist is upset because America hasn’t done enough to ensure there will never be another 9/11. And so he figures that if he can get an air marshal blamed for a terrorist attack, America will wake up and anally probe us before we’re allowed on a plane, or something.

It gets worse…

The villain’s sidekick is a member of the American military willing to murder 150 innocent people for a payday.

It gets worse…

The one passenger on the plane who is forever helpful, kind, reasonable, noble, and never under suspicion is a Muslim doctor dressed in traditional Muslim garb including a full beard.

So, let’s take this opportunity to peer into the conservative mind. The not-so-subtle structure of the article builds to a crescendo of credulous predictability, so let’s deconstruct it from the top down.

The greatest evil foisted upon the movie-going public, according to Nolte, is that in the moment of a terrorist act, no one stood up and dramatically fingered the traditionally dressed Muslim (“including a full beard!”), shouting “There he his! That’s the guy! Get ‘im!”

The penultimate sin committed by Non-Stop is that it has the unmitigated audacity to suggest that a member of the American military is not a shiny, perfect, Army Strong™, 100 percent-certified hero. As a matter of fact, this ex-soldier is a murderer for hire! I’ve never understood how enlisting in the military obliterates any potential for vice or unrighteousness in any individual.

Next in the conservative taxonomy of sins is that the film’s antagonist joined the military after 9/11 and actually “found himself disillusioned by the pointless wars.” Perish the thought! Clearly this guy wasn’t cut out for the military in the first place. Everyone knows that America’s military expeditions are always just and it only prosecutes war in order to secure the freedoms of its populace.

Here’s where I do in fact rather agree with Mr. Nolte:

The 9/11 family member-turned-terrorist is upset because America hasn’t done enough to ensure there will never be another 9/11. And so he figures that if he can get an air marshal blamed for a terrorist attack, America will wake up and anally probe us before we’re allowed on a plane, or something.

This is a pretty silly plot device (especially for one so essential to the overall plot). However, it does hit upon the fact that real people in the real world don’t always do things that make sense. In other words, things aren’t always as cut-and-dried as they are on prime time cop shows.

The first and presumably least objectionable fault in Non-Stop is that the bad guy is a family member of a 9/11 victim. You can see their bloodthirsty conservative minds blow to think that an American could do something like that. It calls to mind the speculation after the Oklahoma City bombing that a foreign operative had lit the fuse. American exceptionalism like this forms the ground of conservative thinking. There’s simply no other way to think as far as they’re concerned.

Xenophobia, warmongering, undying devotion to the warfare state (and its counterpart inside the national borders, the police state), and unwavering praise for everything American. For conservatives, without a healthy dose of each of these, it’s just not worth watching.

  • Duke Magnum

    My issue is that in real life its never the conservative that turns out to be the culprit. You and no one can’t name one instance where the terrorist or assassin was a Christian conservative. Its usually a Muslim extremist, someone insane or a Liberal/Socialist who doesn’t think the Govt has gone far enough. Example, 9/11, Boston Bombings, Sandy Point, Reagan and Gifford’s attempted assassinations.
    Take a look at the Following with Kevin Bacon, they made some militia guys out to be part of Joe Carroll’s crew. True Militias wouldn’t be involved in that sort of thing. Something else that gets my goat is that no one has a gun on that show except cops and criminals. I find it so stupid that Hollywood creates their own reality by disarming all of their citizens on screen.