Silly Remake: Boston Globe’s Ty Burr Sees New ‘Mr. Smith’ In Anti-Gun ‘Ms. [Emma] Gonzalez’

Posted on Sun 04/01/2018 by

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By Clay Waters ~

Boston Globe columnist and movie critic Ty Burr summoned the ghost of Frank Capra once more to project his liberal cinematic fantasies onto the American populace, and to save us all from the dark reality of President Trump. Burr thinks a gun-grabbing star was born in the form of a teenage Parkland activist, and pushes the conceit past ridiculousness, in Thursday’s “Can Emma Gonzalez give us a Hollywood ending?

Where is Frank Capra now that we really need him?

If the director of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Meet John Doe,” and other high-water marks of that hopeful Hollywood sub-genre called Capra-corn were around today, you know he’d already be working on a script set in and around the aftermath of the shootings in Parkland, Fla. And we’d all be waiting to see how it ended.

Last year around this time, I wrote a column pining for a new Mr. Smith to go to Washington and remind us what simple, honest decency looks like. I never expected Mr. Smith to be Ms. Gonzalez.

Emma Gonzalez, 18, is the most prominent of the survivors of the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Like her schoolmate-survivors David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, Alex Wind, Jaclyn Corin, and Sarah Chadwick, she has become a vocal activist for common-sense gun-control legislation and a figurehead for a newly galvanized political youth movement.

But Gonzalez has something extra: the charisma of a natural star. That she doesn’t seem to care about such things only makes her seem more appealing. With her close-cropped hair, steely gaze, air of sorrowful fury, and knack for the theatrical gesture, Gonzalez has captured the national imagination in a way few people her age have ever done.

Burr admitted she’s a media darling:

The media loves Emma Gonzalez, as witness a burbling New Yorker piece that likened her in sartorial style and rebellious substance to Joan of Arc — as witness this article itself — but for now, she and her friends are using it and us to further their own ends….

Note how Gonzalez’s more inflammatory classmate, David Hogg, is relegated to a single mention. Burr then smeared constitutionalists as conspiracists.

To those for whom the Second Amendment is gospel, they’re seen as a threat and so must be revealed as fakes, frauds, paid actors rather than grieving kids….

….

Imagine “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” retooled for the Age of Trump, with the gangly hero replaced by a stalwart Cuban-American girl who won’t take no for an answer from the mealy-mouthed career politicians in the Capitol. Cast Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and Devin Nunes as the fat-cat incumbents who think they’ve got Ms. Gonzalez’s number; cast John McCain in the old Claude Rains role of the silver-fox centrist who befriends the new kid but is secretly beholden to the NRA….

That May 2017 piece Burr mentioned was just a little more hard-edged than he implied: “Where’s our Jimmy Stewart?….I’ve been wondering where that guy is as the house built atop that foundation seems in danger of burning to the ground and the alarms in the firehouse seem awfully slow to ring. We have elected an Idiot in Chief — this is not bias, this is fact.”

Clay Waters was the director of Times Watch a former project of the Media Research Center .

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