Clint Eastwood’s latest cinematic masterpiece, “American Sniper,” has many viewers walking out of theaters starry-eyed and overcome with patriotism, ready to grab the nearest American flag and dance with Uncle Sam. While moviegoers across the country are riled up watching Chris Kyle gun down bad guys in the name of freedom, not everyone has been so quick to put Kyle on a pedestal. Some Hollywood big shots have taken to social media to question the messages the film sends.
Seth Rogen recently sparked a Twitter debate by vaguely comparing “American Sniper” to Nazi war propaganda, tweeting “American Sniper kind of reminds me of the movie that’s showing in the 3rd act of Inglourious Basterds.” The scene he’s referring to shows clips from a fake Nazi war propaganda movie about a Nazi sniper. It quickly continued to spiral as Michael Moore tweeted “My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heros. And invaders r worse.” While Rogen later attempted to retract his initial claims, saying “I wasn’t comparing the two. Big difference between comparing and reminding. Apples remind me of oranges. Can’t compare them though,” and Moore stated in a Facebook post that his tweets were not in reference to the movie, huge waves had already been made by their statements.
As I watched the story unfold and felt for the characters portrayed, part of me was furious with Rogen and Moore for their comments, but a bigger part of me was relieved by them. Their tweets and the numerous responses that followed made me more proud to be an American than any war movie ever could. Everyone living in our country is free to say whatever they want to say about anything they want. The ability to watch “American Sniper” for yourself, read up on the surrounding controversy for yourself, formulate your own opinion and make that opinion known is where patriotism truly lies.
Sitting in front of a computer reading what others have to say and then frantically typing out and sending your own thoughts into cyber space is freedom. We have access to information and the ability to gain knowledge and understanding of what happens in the world around us, and the freedom to speak our minds, be it about movies or the more serious topics addressed within them. We are not shackled to the beliefs of others and oppressed by unfair leadership. By publicly making their thoughts known, Rogen and Moore are embodying a major part of being an American; they are making use of their freedom of speech and others are encouraged to respond, whether in agreement or disagreement.
Maybe this movie is just an action-packed thriller blown way out of proportion, and maybe it’s something more. Regardless of what your opinions of snipers and war movies or religion and government are, here in the United States you have the right to express that opinion without fear and that makes me overwhelmingly proud to be an American.
Emily Silverman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org