A half hour into the movie Argo, a cell phone goes off. Loudly. It takes a good 10 seconds for its owner to silence the thing.
Normally, this guy would be chopped liver. Probably tossed out of a second-story window by those around him. But, not tonight. Because, no matter how riveted the viewers around him are, they're also aware of what they're watching. And, because of that -- because it seemed so real and so current -- for these two hours, it felt like we were all on the same side. As if everyone in the audience suddenly seemed more tolerant. More patient. It was all I could do not to test this theory by going outside and backing my car into the one across from me, but, I controlled the impulse. Thus, the rude patron was given an audience pardon.
Watching a movie like Argo reveal itself to you onscreen, during a moment in time when some in Iran, and others like it, still want every American dead. Where, just days ago, a diplomat and several others were attacked and killed as they lay trapped in an embassy. And, where the images, and heart-pounding suspense, of a mob of religious zealots attacking your car would ring as true today as it did 30 years ago, it definitely puts things in perspective.
That guy with the annoying cell phone isn't my enemy. That drunk idiot at the end of the bar shouting at the TV isn't as bad as he seems. Nope. My enemies are the people on that screen screaming for jihad. The ones practically drooling in anticipation of the slightest possible opportunity to inflict harm on an American, or a friend of America.
It's funny. Put aside the polyester suits and '70s haircuts, and it might as well be 2012. It wouldn't be too far fetched to think of our current leaders meeting in the Situation Room tomorrow morning, trying to figure out a way to get our diplomats out of Libya. Yet, here we were. Back when Charlie was the biggest selling perfume, and Kim Kardashian was just conceived. The more things change...
If nothing else, the one thing Argo does, is, it reminds us, in black and white, who the real enemy is. It would be great if Obama, Romney and every politico this side of the Pecos, were forced to watch this movie right before the debate. Perhaps witnessing the Canadian people risk their necks, and their own citizens, to help a neighbor in need, would be the motivation our candidates need to begin working together, instead of apart. Maybe they'd even step out from behind the curtain holding hands? One can dream.
Nonetheless, good job, Ben. I'd vote for ya.