Zero Dark Thirty: The Woman’s Guide to Success Thru Torture
I. The Globe
See the Globe. More than half the 7 billion people on the Globe are women. Women are different from men. Why are women different from men? Because, according to international humanitarian agencies, women have special percentages that stick out. See women’s percentages:
• Women make up 70% of the world’s poor.
• Women do 66% of the world’s work yet receive 11% of the world’s income.
• Of the 130,000,000 children who currently do not go to school, 2/3 are girls.
• Gender-based violence kills 1 in 3 women.
These are bad percentages. Why are these bad percentages? Because they reflect global sexism. What is sexism? It is the belief that women are inferior to men. How can women triumph over sexism? Who cares? Let’s watch TV!
II. The Golden Globes
See the awards ceremony. The Golden Globes recognizes artistic achievement in television and film. Look and see! This year’s ceremony is being touted as a woman’s event, where “Strong Women Dominate.” See women triumph over sexism by winning awards.
See the two funny women MCs hand out prizes. See a delicate blonde woman win Best Actress in a TV Drama for playing a CIA agent who fights evil Muslims. Now, see a delicate strawberry-blonde woman win Best Actress in a Film Drama for playing a CIA agent who helps torture evil Muslims. Win, win, win!
See these two women winners combine the feminine virtues of being delicate and blonde with the masculine virtue of being on top. They have discovered that all you have to do to triumph over sexism is to (a) be a legal resident of the United States; (b) possess breathtaking Western beauty with the symmetrical cheekbones reminiscent of a female cyborg; (c) wear a low-cut, $2,000,000 gown; and (d) act the female lead in stories about how torture renders men inferior.
III. Zero Dark Thirty
See the first high-tech, big-budget feature film about finding and killing Osama Bin Laden. On second thought, don’t.
Instead, see the film’s director. The film’s director is a woman. She may not have a Golden Globe, but she does have big balls. Why does she have big balls? An important male film critic has called this woman “in a nice way, Hollywood’s ballsiest director.” Thank you, Mr. film critic! We women know we are doing something right when you ascribe to us “balls” that are “nice”!
The director’s ballsiness has allowed her to take cinematic risks. What is one of those risks? The director has spliced a state-of-the-art, you-are-there, documentary-style film with scenes resembling cutting-room footage from a Saw movie. She has elevated B-movie torture to the level of fine American infotainment. Here is how we are infotained:
IV. The Only Good Muslim Is an Interrogated Muslim
See the 3,000 human beings who tragically perished in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11. Do NOT see the hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of human beings who tragically perished in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, due to subsequent U.S. invasions, bombings, and drone attacks. Do NOT see flashbacks of the United States creating and supporting dictatorial regimes to facilitate oil drilling in the region. Do NOT see Western sanctions imposed on Iraq, years before September 11, 2001, which killed an estimated 500,000 Iraqi children. Also do NOT see people having qualms about the wisdom of killing Bin-Laden in the first place, or the ethics of assassinating anyone, based on a president’s secret “kill list.”
ONLY see the delicate, determined beauty of the pale, strawberry-blonde woman. ONLY see her obsession with killing Bin-Laden.
See the pale strawberry-blonde woman help U.S. agents starve Muslims, strip Muslims naked, drag Muslims around on dog leashes, water-board Muslims, kick and punch Muslims, scream in Muslim’s faces, hang Muslims from the ceiling, and cram Muslims into tiny wooden boxes – all without losing an ounce of her femininity.
These interrogations are hard to watch. Why are these interrogations hard to watch? Because they are hard on the Muslims? No, because they are hard on the CIA interrogators. See the cruel Muslims forcing the CIA interrogators to wring accurate information about Bin-Laden out of them.
Poor CIA interrogators. They must do their job, yet their interrogation work is both banal and evil. The interrogators are sad. Wait, sad interrogators! Here is something you can be cheerful about: Hannah Arendt is no longer alive to write about you!
V. No Justice; Blonde Peace
Onward! The pale, strawberry-blonde woman will lead her team onward! The torture-derived information will lead to Osama Bin-Laden! And once the evil Bin-Laden is killed (along with a few evil nameless bystanders), the entire U.S. Department of Defense will never be sexist again!
Soon American women of all hair colors and coiffures will be allowed in front-line combat! Why, look! The Pentagon has just announced that it will allow women in front-line combat! Yay! With friends like the U.S. military, who needs feminism?
Thank you, pale, strawberry-blonde woman! You have blazed our women’s trail! When we were staggering around in the dark of Dark Thirty with bad percentages, you delivered us into the light of supreme vengeance.
Which brings us to our stunning denouement: Here in the US of A – as in that other formidable European “Homeland” only a few decades ago – Justice is Blonde.
© Susie Day, 2013
Global facts on women:
Golden Globes, where strong women dominate:
Golden Globes, women:
Jessica Chastain, Golden Globes:
Claire Danes, Golden Globes:
Zero Dark Thirty criticized for whitewashing history, promoting torture: