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Based On An Unreal Story

There's an old saying that "truth is stranger than fiction." A while ago, I read something that explained this -- truth can be stranger than fiction, because fiction has to be believable.

Now there's a new twist on the old phrase -- truth is scarier than fiction.

The BBC runs a medical TV show (I guess it's kind of their version of "ER") called "Casualty." Their season opener (or, as they call, "series opener") involved dealing with those injured in a large terrorist bombing.

Here in the US, this would be labeled "Torn From Today's Headlines!" For the BBC, that's a bit too on-the-nose.

In the good old days, the most likely suspect for such an act would be the IRA. But they're pretty much retired now, and besides, they never much went for wholesale carnage.

No, these days, the mass murderers and wannabes are not shouting "Erin Go Bragh," but "Allahu Akbar!" We saw that several Julys ago in London, two weeks apart, and in Glasgow about a month ago.

So, one would think that if one was discussing a fictional terrorist bombing in contemporary England, Islamic radicals would be the likeliest suspect, right?

Wrong.

I once read a bit of wisdom that has stuck with me. It was in a medical context, but it applies in many areas: "When you hear hooves, think horses, not zebras." The idea is that when you have a little bit of evidence, look for the common, simple answer, not the complex and obscure, and you're more likely to be right.

That seems especially appropriate in this case, where the BBC has decided to make the villains in this case "animal rights activists."

Now I have no truck with PETA and their ilk, but in this case I think they might have a grievance.

It's not unique to the BBC. When Hollywood adapted Tom Clancy's "Sum Of All Fears" "Clear And Present Danger," which involves a nuclear attack on a US city, they changed the bad guys from Islamists to European neo-Nazis.

This is beyond fantasy, this is self-delusion. It is denial. There are a few undisputable truths about Islamism and the world today. For one, when there is a terrorist attack, it's a damned safe bet that it was done by an Islamist. For another, the most logical response to a Muslim group announcing that they fear a wave of persecution is "oh, Christ, what got blown up now?"

I have a few suggestions for the BBC for future villains, since they've proclaimed Muslims a protected class: genetically-engineered sheep, Scottish Independence activists, and radioactive hamsters from a planet near Mars.

Anything to keep from mentioning the camel in the room.


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Comments (21)

Maybe instead of using PETA... (Below threshold)

Maybe instead of using PETA, they could use Earth Liberation Front or Animal Liberation Front as the bad guys.

stupid,stupid,stupid...if t... (Below threshold)
tj:

stupid,stupid,stupid...if they was to pull their head out of the camels keester,they just might see it. maybe

I, for one, welcome our new... (Below threshold)

I, for one, welcome our new radioactive Martian hamster overlords!

I'm amazed they didn't choo... (Below threshold)
sanssoucy:

I'm amazed they didn't choose one of Hollyweird's hands-down favorite villains:

(1) The Evil Capitalists
(2) The Evil CIA

Are you saying that in ever... (Below threshold)
Rance:

Are you saying that in every work of _fiction_ which involves mass homicide in London, the bad guys have to be Islamists, because they are the most likely to do it in real life? That will certainly make TV boring and repetitive, as if it isn't enough already.

As for zebras v. horses, I can see your version of House: "It's only headache. Take two aspirin."

The problem is not that the... (Below threshold)

The problem is not that they picked some other group to be the villain, but that they actually had one group of believable villains and changed it because it was too close to reality.

The real Camel in the room.... (Below threshold)
nogo war:

The real Camel in the room....
How about the anthrax terrorist that targeted only selected Dem elected officials and certain liberal media?
Ya know selective memory serve us all....
Does anyone really believe the anthrax terrorist
prayed to Allah?
I am waiting for the Anthrax movie..

R.I.P. those killed by the anthrax terrorist...

The problem is not that ... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

The problem is not that they picked some other group to be the villain, but that they actually had one group of believable villains and changed it because it was too close to reality.

I dunno. I think 'militant Islamists' and 'Eco/Animal rights whackos' are about the only two groups that do stuff like this these days.

I don't think the BBC was too far from the truth here. (I can't believe I just typed that!)

In general, I agree with th... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

In general, I agree with the point of the post but I will point out that Britain's animal rights crowd is getting increasingly violent.

It's not unique to... (Below threshold)
It's not unique to the BBC. When Hollywood adapted Tom Clancy's "Clear And Present Danger," which involves a nuclear attack on a US city, they changed the bad guys from Islamists to European neo-Nazis.

Jay, Is it possible that your choice of movies here are wrong? Clear and Present Danger involved the clash between the CIA and a Columbian drug cartel----where as the Peacemaker involved the presence of a mini-nuke in New York City.

Couple of things, Jay. The... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Couple of things, Jay. The Clancy book you're referring to is The Sum of All Fears, not Clear and Present Danger (Columbian drug lords in that one). The people who made Sum dispute that they changed the villains to neo-nazis out of sensitivity to Muslims (it was written and filmed prior to 9/11, btw). Hollywood sees fit to change details in books all the time for extremely stupid reasons, so who knows.

Also, a "planet near Mars" is this one, or at least we're on the nearest one to Mars. One wonders how the hamsters survive on the gas giants further out. Ok, now I'm just being a pain in the ass (now...?).

Jay,Rovin's right.... (Below threshold)
BrandonInBatonRouge:

Jay,

Rovin's right. You mean "Sum Of All Fears", which was one of Clancy's better books.

The baddies in the book were mainly Arab terrorists, with a few other random groups through in there like some East German ex-Stassi agents.


Clear And Present Danger was filmed with the book pretty much intact, as the baddies were Colombian drug traffickers.

Hard to know where to go wi... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Hard to know where to go with this.

On one hand, they may have considered the issue of touching a nerve of British bombing victims and thier families and not wanted to get too close to home with it.

On the other hand, they likely considered the fact that the Muslim Council of Britain threatened, after 24 Muslim men were arrested for planning to blow up American bound airliners:

"Some police officers and sections of the media are demonising Muslims, treating them as if they are all terrorists, and that encourages other people to do the same. If that demonisation continues, then Britain will have to deal with two million Muslim terrorists, 700,000 of them in London. "If you attack a whole community, it becomes despondent and aggressive," he added.
"Trust could break down if things are not clarified, said Abdul Bari the secretary general of Britain's largest Muslim organization. "Angry people can do anything ,angry people can even feel they should take the law into their own hands..." [say, nice place you got here, it's a shame if anything should happen to it..ed., mine]

We don't have to say it on tv, or insinuate it in cartoons, the Muslim Council of Britain apparently contends that every Muslim is a potential terrorist.

So what should a screenwriter and television network do? Well they're not in the business of informing people, they're in the business of making money and providing entertainment. It's difficult to accomplish this when you're found dead on the street, an angry note pinned to your chest with a knife.

Of course I would appreciate it if they didn't skirt the reality of the problem, but there it is.

A somewhat related note: In Tom Clancy's 'Rainbow Six', environmental extremists were the antagonist. He actually made it plausible though.

They might of got the villi... (Below threshold)
Matt:

They might of got the villians right. ELF/ALF and fellow travelers have staged some pretty blatant and violent attacks in England in the past. They've destroyed labs and attacked and seriously injured sceintists and employees. In the U.S. they have been responsible for more individual acts of terrorism than Islamists have.

"Angry people can do any... (Below threshold)

"Angry people can do anything ,angry people can even feel they should take the law into their own hands..."

Abdul Bari should heed his own words...

I'm just sayin'.

In case someone hasn't been... (Below threshold)
Rob:

In case someone hasn't been paying attention to the last century of cinematic arts, most television and films, especially Hollywood films, are not real. They do not portent to deal with reality, but with fiction. Can we entertain the faintest possibility that rather than a cowering attempt at political correctness, perhaps the decision to shift the identity of the aggressor is an attempt not to alienate a potentially significant part of the AUDIENCE base (especially in "Londonistan")and increase the financial viability of the show/film?

It was in a medical cont... (Below threshold)
Brian:

It was in a medical context, but it applies in many areas: "When you hear hooves, think horses, not zebras."

That's Occam's razor. Though I wasn't previously aware of the medical connotation.

I don't find the animal rig... (Below threshold)
Eric:

I don't find the animal rights people credible as mad bombers. Red paint splashed on fur wearers, animal researchers getting their tires slashed, maybe even a small letter bomb - sure. A bomb that kills 100 people? Nope. With very, very feew exceptions you can only call them terrorists by pushing the envelope on the word.

It's past time to come to the realization Britain (whatever the word means these days) is a lost cause. They've completely capitulated to the Islamists in a campaign of appeasement that would have shocked Neville Chamberlain. They've opened their doors to massive immigration of people who don't intend to ever be British. They culture is doomed.

Eric,The FBI still... (Below threshold)
Rance:

Eric,

The FBI still considers ELF and associated groups to be one of the top domestic terrorist threats.

Eco-terrorists don't limit themselves to red paint and "small, letter bombs". They took out a 200+ condo units in San Diego, a $12 million ski lodge in Vail, and fire bombed a classroom and office building at Michigan State University.

They also firebombed at least one housing development and an auto dealership.

I like the radioactive hams... (Below threshold)
LAB:

I like the radioactive hamsters idea. But only if they can be destroyed by loud, shrill country yodling. It's okay if their little heads explode because they're radioactive...

There was a bomb actually d... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

There was a bomb actually deployed by animal rights terrorists against a medical researcher at UCLA last month, fortunately no injuries.




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