I was going to post about Mark Cuban's interesting new film (well, executive producer of), The War Within, and the dust-up over the subject matter, but Henry Abbott of True Hoop beat me to it. Read the Times article here.
But in a post-9/11 America, not everyone wants to embrace a suicide bomber with a crisis of conscience. Indeed, according to the screenwriters, no one wanted to produce the film until [Mark] Cuban picked it up.
An avowed risk-taker, Cuban was intrigued by the story line. But he said he views the film's protagonist through a different lens.
“I don't think this movie necessarily gave him a conscience,” Cuban said. “I think it really portrayed him as a coward. But I think what it did do was say that this guy could be the guy next door, the guy sitting next to you on the bus. Just like we hear about friends of the B.T.K. killer who say, 'We never knew.' Or Timothy McVeigh's friends. So it wasn't my sympathy for the guy. Because there was none. But it was to say terrorists don't come in turbans with long beards, talking crazy. They're the person next door.”
It is the softer depiction of Hassan that makes the movie both compelling and controversial, Cuban said.
“You had to catch yourself on what you were thinking about this guy,” he said. “Some people try to look at it from the terrorist's side. But I look at it from the American side. It's a compliment to people who came over from the same circumstances, living the American dream, and not wavering at all.”
Sad in a country that once championed free speech that one cannot even make a movie about terrorists without the neo-fascists like David Horowitz becoming indignant.
I did want to add that Cuban does seem to be one of the rare, unpretentious rich guys in the world, at least from his public persona. I happened to be living in Austin, with a subscription to the Dallas paper, when Cuban bought the Mavs, and was happy to see Dallas become an exciting team to watch. I enjoy reading his blog, watching him 'think aloud', such as over the fact that the inane dress code fiasco was announced on the same day as the monumental NBA Cares program.
Cuban is exactly right; I consume a lot of media every day, mostly (advertising) work related, but a lot of NBA news, political news, etc., and I didn't read one peep about NBA Cares. I read or skimmed plenty of articles about the dress code initiative though. Whose fault is that anyway? The NBA? or the media? Probably both.
One final point where I agree totally with Cuban: why is in-game strategy not discussed more frequently? I always enjoy the one or two plays that get telestrated, such as by the Czar, when he worked with Marv Albert. NBA action is pretty fast, and fluid, so every play cannot be analyzed, but why not use the terminology of the plays (like thumbs down, send 4, etc.) as part of the patter instead of insultingly insipid comments like “he's got to be aggressive”. As I've written about at least twice before, if I could pay extra money on my DirecTV NBA league pass to have a live game feed (courtside mike with ball bounce, sneaker squeak, whistles, crowd cheers, etc.) that didn't contain blathering idiot announcers, I would gladly pay. Couldn't this be an option?
What do we talk about before an NBA game ? Sure we talk about individual matchups. We might even talk about individual skills. But how many in the media even know that there is a play run and a defense called , with options, bailouts and audibles on almost every single possession ? And how many write or talk about them ?
Instead we get stupid ramblings like “so and so has got to step up and earn his money”. “This is where so and so has got to prove he is worth the money”. Watching the ESPN crew with Stephen A, Greg Anthony and Tim Legler is painful. They are a cliche a second. Same soundbites every single game, just the player names are changed.
I watched a few of the 'Real Training Camp' pieces; more on that later, after I watch all the ones that interest me (which to be honest, includes about 18 or 19 teams out of the 30). Theoretically, I'd like to discuss pre-season predictions, at some superficial level at least. Last year's unpublished list was scarily prescient - I didn't pick Phoenix to make it to the Conference Finals, but I had the other three teams correct (I actually thought it would either be Minnesota, or the Mavs playing San Antonio).