You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

February 01, 2009

New Tomdispatch

Tomdispatch is publishing two excerpts from the graphic novel based on the Israeli film Waltz with Bashir about the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre.

Part II has just been posted. Part I from last week is here.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at February 1, 2009 12:26 PM

My wife and I saw it last night. She's less familiar with the history and liked it. I thought it was okay, but would have preferred a documentary to this subjective psychological approach.

And it's unreasonable on my part, but I felt like because it was told from the pov of young Israeli soldiers, one didn't get to see what Lebanese experienced under Israeli air attacks on Beirut. There was a tiny bit of this, but it was portrayed in a fantasized style. What would be great would be some film that portrayed the conflict (Lebanon in 1982 or some other part of the history) from both sides, humanizing the ordinary people on both sides (or in some cases showing them as part of the problem) and portraying the leaders on all sides as the ruthless bastards they all are (or were). I was skimming through Robert Fisk's book on Lebanon the other day and he really had total contempt for Arafat, and for good reasons.

If I had tons of money and any creative talent whatsoever I'd do it myself.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at February 1, 2009 12:58 PM

This is what Jeff Blankfort had to say about this piece of crap that some call a "movie":

I finally got to to San Francisco last week and went to see Waltz with Bashir. It was as I expected, designed to make the Israeli soldiers appear as victims and use the massacre at Sabra and Shatila--which we are explicitly told was committed by Chritsians-- as a disguise for the far greater crimes that the Israelis , including, I suspect, the soldiers involved in the movie, had committed against Palestinian and Lebanese civilians in the three plus months that elapsed from the June 6,1982 invasion to mid-September when the massacre was committed.

The vast majority who will have seen the film will never know that the Israelis, as in Gaza, broke a cease-fire, that they killed over 17,000 civilians,wounded tens of thousands more using white phosphorous and cluster bombs, besieged Beirut for 76 days, and as in Gaza, attacked ambulances and refused to let Red Cross vehicles bring aid and medical supplies to wounded civilians.

When I was in Israel in 1983,I interviewed a number of Israeli reservists who had become part of Yesh G'vul, the reserve soldiers refusal movement, some of whom had refused to serve from the beginning,and some who went into Lebanon with the 80,000 man invading force and then, outraged at the atrocities they saw their fellow soldiers committing, refused to return. What they told me a year after the invasion was totally different than the message contained in the film, which no doubt explains why the Israeli consulates around the country are promoting it. The former Israeli tank officer with whom I stayed outside of Jerusalem told me that every building on the road to Beirut had been blasted by Israeli tanks, what I thought was an exaggeration until I took a trip on the road myself. Another resister, also a tank commander, told me that they had left nothing more than a meter high in the refugee camp of Ain Helweh outside of Sidon. This was pretty evident from the nature of the rebuilt houses when I visted there in 1983. In relation to the truth of that war,the film is a lie. The director Ari Folman, like Israel, is still in denial.

"Israeli consulates around the country are promoting it." Too bad that this website also makes the promotion of this piece of crap, including the above commenter.

Posted by: littlehorn at February 6, 2009 06:09 AM

Thanks for posting the review, littlehorn. It looks like my first suspicions about the film, or rather the 'graphic novel', were correct. We hashed it over pretty well when the first excerpt was posted here. But I have to agree with you, why is Jon continuing to promote this Israeli propaganda?

Posted by: Duncan at February 7, 2009 11:19 AM