Reports that Michael Bay, the Auteur of Awesome, may be tackling a feature film about Benghazi was both welcome, and rather exciting, news.
I have no particular interest in addressing the various controversies surrounding the attacks on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that led to the murder of our ambassador to that nation. It seems clear that the administration initially tried to downplay the idea that this was a terror attack. And they had good reason to, given that Obama had spent the last two years campaigning on the idea that al Qaeda was in retreat and, therefore, not an important issue. “Osama bin Laden is dead and GM is alive,” etc. But it’s all a moot point now.
What is interesting about this news is that it seems to be a perfect fit for Bay, one of our foremost populist filmmakers. It’s a story that hits all the right populist buttons: honorable military/ex-military types fighting to the death to defend an American ambassador from a raging horde of foreign terrorists as the civilian elite completely and utterly botches the response to the attacks and the commander in chief jets off to a lavish fundraiser in Las Vegas. Even if Bay completely avoids all the political insinuations one way or the other—and I imagine he will, as his populism has never struck me as terribly partisan—he can still churn out an incendiary indictment of the Obama administration’s handling of the crisis. On film, incompetence and malfeasance are more or less interchangeable.