Sunday, March 06, 2005

Next thing you know Green Goblin and Doc Ock are part of the Axis of Evil

OK, I've seen a commercial for the new Bruce Willis movie Hostage a few times today. The narrator describes the hostage-takers as a "terror cell."

I've seen the trailer (available here) and read a few things about this movie, and I have seen nothing so far that terrorists are involved. The original hostage takers are petty thieves who break into the wrong house. The "second" hostage takers are members of an organized crime syndicate. Neither of them should be called a "terror cell."

Here's the problem: I think everyone should be a little more careful with the term "terrorist." Sometimes I think the media don't use the term correctly. Eric Rudolph is without a doubt a terrorist, but he's not a swarthy Arab and his politics are shared with a lot of people, so the term tends to disappear from news reports. The PSAs a few years ago about how drug money fuels terrorism caused more confusion and misusage. When someone uses violence to attempt to achieve political aims, that's terrorism to me. Petty thieves, drug dealers, numbers racketeers, etc. They're all bad people, but not terrorists.

Now, maybe there've been late edits to the film and I'm jumping to conclusions (let me know if I am). If not, I think it's bad taste to cash in on the import of the term when it doesn't apply.