DINESH D’SOUZA: I want to thank the people at Fox and Newscorp for inviting us to contribute a commentary to this excellent film. Far too often DVD commentaries exhibit a distinctly liberal bias.
ANN COULTER: I agree. I think it’s basically endemic of the hegemonic leftist control of all forms of media expression — burying conservative subtexts beneath a lot of lefty cuddling. Now, as the titles come up, perhaps we should talk a little bit about the first Alien movie. I see that film as evidencing the insidious effects of a creeping, dangerous worldview slowly infecting a small group of people, and then one by one destroying them. Not unlike, say, liberalism.
D’SOUZA: I see your point there, and I don’t disagree. I think there’s an interesting thing going on in Alien. I like to think of these movies as reflections of the presidents who were in office when they came out. As I’m sure you remember, Alien provides an impotent response to an unknown threat — that threat being, of course, the alien. A single alien, with the help of a quisling android, murders an entire crew.
COULTER: With the exception of Ripley, let’s remember. She’s independent, strong, and tall.
D’SOUZA: Extremely tall.
COULTER: A very Phyllis Schlafly-like figure.
D’SOUZA: To get back to my earlier point, we shouldn’t forget that Carter was president at that time. One word: malaise. We all know what Carter did to this country.
COULTER: Screwed it seven ways to Sunday. The liberal contribution to America is essentially worthless. During the Carter years it was actually worse than worthless.
D’SOUZA: Now, we open with Ripley asleep in some sort of cryo-stasis from having escaped the Nostromo’s last terrible voyage in Alien.
COULTER: I think it’s interesting to point out some of the literary undercurrents in the Alien films. Nostromo was, of course, the captain of the ship in Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and, like Ripley, destroyed strange animals. Here we follow along with a remote-controlled camera peeking into Ripley’s escape pod, which has been adrift for many years. So, obviously, this is the future.
D’SOUZA: Look at the impressive technology. We can see already the great leap from the world of the preceding film to this one. This is the Reagan world. This is a world of incredible technology and administrative competence with deep faith in its military prowess. A utopia.
COULTER: How well do we suppose Ripley will adapt from her sad, paranoid Carter world to this efficient, powerful Reagan world?
D’SOUZA: I don’t think I could put myself in the mind of a woman!
COULTER: Notice when Burke comes to the hospital to see Ripley he’s wearing a very snappy — and very appealing — outfit. Very hip. Very Chess King.
D’SOUZA: I like this guy, too. It’s a welcome relief to have a character in the Alien movies who is clean-shaven and looking sharp. He’s wearing a suit, he’s washed his hair. He seems like someone you can trust.
COULTER: Notice, though, that Ripley’s cat doesn’t especially like Burke. The cat could be a liberal. It wouldn’t surprise me. What Burke understands is something some stupid cat never will: people are essentially horrible. Enlightened people are and must be out for themselves. Sorry, liberals! But it’s true.
D’SOUZA: Now we’re having an apparent dream sequence. Ripley’s giving birth to an alien here. This is some kind of nightmare flashback — we’ve all had them — to 1979.
COULTER: I think of this as the film’s abortion subtext, something that, unbelievably, no one has yet thought to address. What I think this movie is doing is showing Ripley — who, in her nightmares, imagines she has been impregnated by an alien — slowly coming to terms with the fact that, during an abortion, someone dies. In this case, when the alien bursts out of her stomach, that someone is Ripley.
D’SOUZA: Or perhaps the alien represents Ripley’s unconscious recognition of the life within her hostile womb? Perhaps this shows her reeducation from the pathological hostility she has, up until now, shown for the Corporation’s capitalism and traditional morality.
COULTER: Yes. There’s this typically liberal refusal to think of abortion as a real action involving the annihilation of a living thing. Ripley is coming into her own as a conservative hero. And it’s breathtaking. I don’t know if I can wait to see her start wasting aliens. What do you think of the future as it’s so far been shown? Personally, I like it a lot.
D’SOUZA: Well, it certainly looks like business and technology have really done an excellent job providing for the needs and cares of the citizenry.
COULTER: Absolutely. I detect the hand of distinctly private enterprise in that medical frigate. If it were a government medical frigate I can only imagine all the freeloading, obese people loitering around in the hallways.
D’SOUZA: And look at the splendid, bucolic backdrop Ripley’s looking at here. How beautiful the earth looks in the future. I think there’s a lesson here for those alarmist, organic-farming, fruit-juice-drinking, garbage-sorting enviro-nuts who —
COULTER: That’s actually a TV screen Ripley is looking at. Those trees aren’t real.
D’SOUZA: Well, it’s a great simulation, an ingenious solution.
COULTER: Again, here: Burke in a very natty red tie. And he really fills out a pair of chinos.
D’SOUZA: We’re watching how he tries to help Ripley help herself, by convincing her to get back on the bike and revisit an alien-infested planet. Just in case anybody thought that conservatism and compassion couldn’t go hand in hand …
D’SOUZA: Yeah, look at him. He’s clearly got Ripley’s best interest in mind.
COULTER: I think so.
D’SOUZA: Or, if not, then he’s got the best interest of the Corporation in mind.
COULTER: Of course he does.
D’SOUZA: Would Ripley have gotten that great medical care without the Corporation?
COULTER: Absolutely not.
D’SOUZA: I don’t think so.
D’SOUZA: Would she have a job without the Corporation?
COULTER: She wouldn’t.
D’SOUZA: Would she have any purpose in this movie without the Corporation?
COULTER: Lieutenant Ripley?
COULTER: No, not without Burke.
D’SOUZA: Not without Burke.
COULTER: You’ll notice, too, that Ripley doesn’t need any 23rd century Gloria Steinem to tell her that she has worth, or is a meaningful person. She just does it on her own. She doesn’t need any external, cultural validation.
D’SOUZA: She could clean herself up a little bit better. Don’t you think?
D’SOUZA: Ripley’s got a little bit of … you know, she looks like the head of a woman’s studies department.
COULTER: I violently disagree. Ripley is slightly mannish. But that’s her right as a woman. Look at Barbara Bush. Mannish women are often better soldiers. Let’s talk about this scene, though, this fantastic boardroom scene, in which the board members discuss with Ripley the Corporation’s alien policy. Two things. We see that Ripley is 1) a take-charge woman but certainly not a whining feminist, and 2) completely unrepentant about the destruction of the alien in the first film. If certain cultures — for example, the alien’s — are going to be hostile to your own, then they have to be either Christianized or destroyed.
D’SOUZA: You listen to liberals today and they talk about this kind of species equivalency. You know, “All species are equally good.” Anybody who believes that should try going to live with those species. When I first came to the United States I met this crazy, smelly guy on campus who told me how wonderful it must have been to grow up in India. I said, “You think India’s so great, why don’t you try living there?”
COULTER: Still, I think Ripley is within her rights to be angry here.
D’SOUZA: Angry with the Corporation?
COULTER: Angry is maybe not the best word. Frustrated, rather, that the Corporation does not yet realize how important alien annihilation really is. Ripley’s larger point is that the Corporation does not yet appreciate the danger. Naturally, the Corporation has everyone’s best interest in mind — given the information that it has now.
D’SOUZA: It will devise a method of dealing with these problems. Initially it might not always be the best method …
COULTER: But it will get there. That’s how capitalism works. Self-interest, rationality …
D’SOUZA: If this Corporation’s board makes some ghastly mistake that brings back a rabid alien that’s going to destroy the world, well, then a new board will be appointed that won’t make the same mistake. And in this film we’ll see the integration of two skill sets: the Corporation’s resources, power, and technology used in concert with the righteous anger and imperialist might of Ripley’s related project to eradicate another species.
COULTER: Uniquely conservative impulses — intelligent financial self-preservation, moral righteousness, and the understanding that threatening alien ideologies need to be ruthlessly crushed — do come together beautifully in the movie. And look at this. Here we have one of the additional scenes cut from the film’s theatrical release. What are we seeing? We’re seeing the brave, hard-working people in the colony that the aliens ultimately destroy.
D’SOUZA: They’re a colony, right? They’re terra-forming this lifeless planet?
D’SOUZA: They’re trying to make this planet habitable for humans.
COULTER: Perhaps trying to Christianize the aliens as well.
D’SOUZA: I think they probably thought the aliens were beyond Christianizing.
COULTER: “The Wayland Atomic Corp: Building Better Worlds.” That’s the admirable motto of this company. And here’s little Newt, the young girl Ripley eventually rescues, who’s shown in these regretfully deleted scenes to be a real go-getter. She’s the recipient of the colony’s Second Grade Citizenship Award, for instance. Imagine the great work this colony could have done had the aliens not destroyed them!
D’SOUZA: Well, there is a cautionary element to this tale, which is to always be better prepared than your enemy is for battle. If only liberals understood the importance of military preparation.
COULTER: Finally! The Marines! Coming out of their cryo-stasis. And Burke is with them, thank goodness. He knows what’s at stake here.
D’SOUZA: Let’s talk about Burke for a moment, because he’s a complicated figure in this movie. Does wanting to get rich by betraying your friends, or opportunistically using the Marines, necessarily make you a bad guy? Of course not. Indeed, I would go further. The rich are in the best position to be the good guys because only the rich have the resources necessary to be of actual help to those in need.
COULTER: Technological capitalism, not government, is the true catalyst for equality.
D’SOUZA: That’s right.
COULTER: And technological capitalism is exactly what this movie is about. There’s no government even mentioned in this movie. These Marines are corporate Marines — though Frost, encouragingly, does have an American flag stitched on his shoulder. So does the Marine’s leader, Gorman. So we see that this future military is, also promisingly, subject to a rational, profit-driven Corporation, not some meddling, do-gooder government. Do you think that a liberal government would even respond to the alien-human genocide on this planet? No. They’d want some multistellar force to “investigate.” Like aliens, liberals hate human beings. But imagine if the aliens were attacking each other and destroying precious alien culture. Then, naturally, the liberals would be hysterical. Then they would send in the Marines.
D’SOUZA: Sacrificing good human lives.
COULTER: And good bullets, too, frankly. We’re going to squander some good M-80 rounds to preserve an alien culture? Conservatives take care of their own. Like Newt. This is a tough little girl. She knows what life is about.
D’SOUZA: In trying circumstances, she shows resilience and a can-do spirit. She doesn’t wait for someone else to take care of her.
COULTER: People are victimized by aliens because they allow themselves to be victimized by aliens. But I have to ask: Which of the Marines is your favorite?
D’SOUZA: I think I’d have to go with Corporal Hicks. He’s an all-American guy.
COULTER: As much as I admire the Marines, I have to say that this Captain Gorman is a disaster. A liberal disaster. He has no idea what he’s doing. Right now he’s mistakenly telling Ripley that a recently infested area has been made secure. But Ripley knows the truth. She knows how insidious these aliens are. Once you let them through your borders, they’ll do everything that they can to destroy your society because they hate liberty.
D’SOUZA: I think that the Corporation is quite prudently investigating the source of these problems: aliens.
COULTER: They’re not putting aliens in zoos. They’re not trying to understand them.
D’SOUZA: They’re not talking to them. They’re putting them in petri dishes and cutting them up and putting them under microscopes. This is where Newt pops up and is almost shot. Again, I can only imagine what a liberal would do with Newt in this situation. Probably discard her as cavalierly as an unborn child. For a liberal, Newt’s barely old enough to be a real person.
COULTER: But Ripley chases Newt into a garbage chute, finding, among other things, Newt’s Second-Grade Citizenship Award. What are we seeing here? I think we’re seeing compassion — conservative compassion. Liberal compassion is primarily a matter of telling poor people they’re not to blame for their poverty, telling women they’re not to blame when they kill their unborn children. But Ripley is reaching into herself and finding the warmth that women naturally have for children.
D’SOUZA: Let’s just hope she finds a father to help raise Newt by the end of this movie.
COULTER: Well, of course. Hicks, perhaps?
D’SOUZA: Maybe. But we certainly can’t have her raising a child alone.
COULTER: Look at the expression on Ripley’s face when she finds Newt’s Citizenship Award. Pride. This is an enterprising, academically successful young woman.
D’SOUZA: Citizenship. It’s a wonderful virtue to be extolling. And it looks like she’s been ravaged. The liberal alien infestation has almost completely damaged her.
COULTER: Did you hear that? “Come on, we’re wasting our time.” That’s what Gorman says when he’s faced with this little girl, the last survivor of the aliens’ rampage. Poor Newt. Newt is heartbreaking, I have to say. Newts will always break your heart.
D’SOUZA: And she plays with a doll. Casey. It’s nice to know that playing with dolls isn’t stigmatized in this future for a young lady. Newt has just learned a hard lesson about the reality of life.
COULTER: That aliens will kill your family?
D’SOUZA: Yes. As Hobbes says, “Life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” And constantly terrorized by aliens.
COULTER: Frankly, I don’t like Bishop, the android — or as he puts it, in a nauseating example of 23rd century political correctness, the “artificial person” — who is seen here dissecting one of the hateful face-hugging alien egg-implanters. “Magnificent creatures.” That’s what he calls them. Whose side is he on?
D’SOUZA: I’d say it’s an example of the widely known liberal tendency to aestheticize evil — if liberals had a concept of evil at all.
COULTER: Now the Marines discover that there are a lot of good, upright colonists still alive in the cooling towers. And they have to go rescue them.
D’SOUZA: They’re the right people for the job. Who else would you send — the United Planets?
COULTER: What do you think of the shoulder-mounted security cameras that each of the soldiers has?
D’SOUZA: The only problem is that there aren’t enough of them.
COULTER: We need to talk about something, though. What do we think could have been done differently in this cooling-tower rescue mission, which ends so tragically, as a kind of interstellar Mogadishu, with the loss of so many brave Corporation Marines?
D’SOUZA: Well, unlike a lot of armchair generals we saw during a recent war, I’m not going to pretend I have any kind of military expertise — particularly 23rd-century military expertise — but I think that a long sustained air campaign followed by modest use of ground force would have been enough.
COULTER: That’s the nice thing about wiping everything out with air strikes first. You don’t have to spend a lot of money rebuilding afterwards.
D’SOUZA: If nothing is left alive then you don’t have to build it a school.
COULTER: Did I call what’s coming up an interstellar Mogadishu?
D’SOUZA: Yes, you did.