Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” is receiving wide-spread praise as one of the greatest war movies of all-time.
Not everyone has been so thrilled with the movie, however — and not for reasons related to its filmmaking.
Over the weekend, Marie Claire published an article that argued Nolan’s latest celebrates men too much. “Dunkirk felt like an excuse for men to celebrate maleness—which apparently they don’t get to do enough,” reviewer Mehera Bonner asserted in the article.
“If Nolan’s entire purpose is breaking the established war movie mold and doing something different—why not make a movie about women in World War II? Or—because I know that will illicit cries of ‘ugh, not everything has to be about feminism, ugh!’—how about any other marginalized group?” Bonner pondered. “These stories shouldn’t be relegated to indie films and Oscar season. It’s up to giant powerhouse directors like Nolan to tell them, which is why Dunkirk feels so basic.”
Predictably, the snarky review about a film “celebrating” men getting shot, drowned and burned alive on behalf of their country struck many people as totally idiotic. But it fit in with the growing chorus of complaints that the historical film was not diverse enough. For instance, USA Today bemoaned the lack of women and “lead actors of color” in its glowing review of Dunkirk, and several people complained on the internet about how the whole movie was just white dudes.
It seems the only heroic movies we can make without any controversy is having women of color leading the evacuation at Dunkirk. Historical accuracy be damned.
Then again, the first comic book movie nominated for Best Picture may be “Wonder Woman” — a film that ridiculously features the female heroine charging through gritty scenes of World War I.
Maybe the future of war movies is politically correct comic book heroes saving the day instead of white guys.
The complaints about Dunkirk not having enough diversity fit in with the cultural zeitgeist of suspiciously viewing men of the past who fail to live up to our new multicultural standards. Another superhero movie, the latest Spider-Man, amply presented this view when one of the protagonists refused to visit the Washington Monument because, she alleged, it was built by slaves.
The scene is presented as the character speaking truth to power while her dopey white teacher ineptly argues against her notion. The question of whether the Washington Monument was built by slaves is still not settled, but Spider-Man tells us it was and we should not visit the structure intended to honor our first president.
In the real world, students at campuses with statues of Thomas Jefferson want these monuments removed because they claim the third president was a racist. A few students have gone so far as to vandalize the statues with stickers declaring the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence as a “racist” and a “rapist.” In February, the Jefferson statue at William & Mary was drenched in fake blood.
At other universities, it’s great men of literature who are demanded to be removed because they’re too white and too male. In the summer of 2016, students petitioned Yale University to take out the white male writers in its English courses and replace them with more “diverse” individuals. It appears the Ivy League school met this demand earlier this year with an announcement of new “curriculum diversity” in the English department.
Taking the war on great English writers up a notch, the University of Pennsylvania appeased its radicals last year by removing a portrait of William Shakespeare and replacing him with a black lesbian poet. All for the sake of diversity.
In July, King’s College London swapped out portraits of its white founders in favor of a “wall of diversity.” The university’s dean of education was done in order to not alienate minority students from their surroundings.
Outside of the universities, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, which is funded by the taxpayers of Scotland, released an artistic video of a young black man denigrating the institution’s depictions of white men for being racist and dehumanizing to minorities. A very weird way to market your gallery, but that’s how it goes if you’re trying to appeal to anti-western sentiment.
It appears that it is a growing challenge for our western societies to offer up heroes and symbols everyone can unite around. If they’re white and male, then that is problematic from the start. It doesn’t matter if all the Founding Fathers happened to be white men and if nearly all the soldiers stranded on Dunkirk were as well. The great achievements of these men are increasingly dwarfed by their racial and sexual identity.
Liberals commitment to multiculturalism and diversity means that they must offer up politically correct heroes and symbols for our societies to honor. That means it’ll be more likely that movies dispense with historical accuracy and place women and minorities in historical events where their presence was limited.
The Founding Fathers, Shakespeare and other great figures will be replaced in school curriculum and in public places with more “diverse” figures. It won’t matter if the replacements are less important in history or literature than their predecessors — all that matters is if the new idols better support progressive orthodoxy.
The western world owes a debt of gratitude to the great figures who shaped it and advanced it. It shouldn’t come as a problem if they happen to be white men, like the Founders or the soldiers of Dunkirk. It is worth honoring them as who they were, not how liberals want them to be remembered as.
History is one of the core factors uniting a nation and society together. When that nation becomes embarrassed by its past and tries to rid itself of it, that comes at the price of the ties that bind us.
When we can’t even admire the men who founded and defended our nation, what is there to unite us?