boycotts and demonstrations arc bestrnseen as a kind of passionate historicalrnreenaetment, rather hke those weekendrnwarriors who are constantly dressing uprnto refight the Civil War.rnOnce yon do go looking for a target forrnactivism, it is only too easy to find one: Itrnis all but impossible to name a corporationrnor institution, a city or region, whichrncannot be blamed for something if someonerndecides to do so. Given the complexrnspider web of business relationships, virtuallyrnany hotel or resort, any restaurantrnchain, is likely to have a link to anotherrnfirm which carries some political stigma,rnwhich can be claimed to have violatedrngay rights or women’s rights, trodden onrndie wrong toes over abortion or pornography,rnbeen too enthusiastically pro- or anti-rnIsrael, or—an up-and-coming favoriternin the protest stakes —which operatesrn”sweatshops” in low-wage countries. Andrnany corporahon which invests outside therncontinental United States risks chargesrnthat it is supporting tyrannical regimesrnand acquiescing to human rights violations.rnThere is no need to suggest that arnparticular company which attracts publicrnobloquy is any more guilty of these kindsrnof abuse than any other: The corporaterntarget dii jour usually happens to be thernlatest one identified in media reports, orrnat odds with some bureaucratic agency.rnIt is rather like the calls we hear occasionallyrnfor U.S. military interventionrnaround the globe: The situation involvedrnis rarely the most destructive to humanrnlife or threatening to international securit)’,rnbut rather that which CNN has nominatedrnas its latest obsession, the placernwhere Christiane Amanpour is currentlyrndonning her designer flak jacket. If yournare determined to go through life havingrnnothing to do with any institution or corporationrnwhich is somehow tainted byrnsome controversial association, the onlyrnreal solution is to find a well-watered hillsidernsomewhere and live as a hermit. Ifrnyou want to attend a convention in a majorrncity while avoiding tainted hotelrnchains or restaurants, then sleep in thernstreets and enjoy whatever goodies yourncan find in the dumpsters.rnFor all its grim financial consequences,rnthe OAH’S action over Adam’srnMark proved immensely rewarding tornmany within that organization. It permittedrnactivists a great deal of emotional satisfiictionrnand gave them the opportunityrnto indulge a little old-fashioned rhetoric,rneven to pretend that the good guys werernsHll fiicing down Bull Connor in the Alabamarnof the eady 1960’s. A little playactingrnis always enjoyable, though thererncan also be costs. Venting so much outragernon something so ambiguous as thernAdam’s Mark case discredits campaignsrnon more serious issues, while the incrediblyrnself-destructive nature of recent boycottsrntends to drive away moderate membersrnwho resent the waste of theirrnmembership dues. In the process, thernOAH is reduced to an assembly of truernbelievers, a New Left Re-Enaetors’rnGuild. This is a shame since, as I’ve remarked,rnthere are occasions when boycottsrnand principled resignations are justifiedrnand necessary. Me, I’m starting byrnresigning my membership in the OAH.rnPhilip ]enkins is Distinguished Professorrnof History and Religious Studies atrnPennsylvania State University.rnA Waste of Spacernby George McCartneyrnMission to MarsrnProduced by Walt Disney ProductionsrnDirected by Brian De PalmarnScreenplay by Lowell Cannon, ]imrnThomas, and Graham YostrnReleased by Buena Vista PicturesrnInstead of insulting our intelligence, asrnso much third-rate science fictionrndoes, director Brian De Palma’s secondraternMission to Mars is just good enoughrnto do something much worse: It insultsrnour hope in a purposeful universe. Itrndoes so by invoking the now standard-issuernmovie metaphysics in which traditionalrntheology is replaced with extraterrestrialrnteleology. Wliether De Palma’srnreliance on this arthritic commonplacernindicates a failure of imagination or arncommercially minded cynicism is a delicaternquestion. A glance at his career torndate, however, may suggest an answer.rnFrom his earliest efforts, De Palma hasrnbeen the perfect film student. Glib andrnovertrained, he’s always been eager tornborrow from his idols, Alfred Hitchcock,rnMichelangelo Antonioni, and HowardrnHawks. Sisters was his Rear Window; Obsession,rnhis Vertigo; Blowout, his Blowup.rnThen, of course, there’s Scarface, hisrnlurid and ludicrous remake of Hawks’rnScarface. In each, you can see him appropriatingrnthe camera moves, compositions,rnand pacing of his masters. But herndoes so like a talented child copying hisrnfavorite cartoon characters. The resultingrnimages may formally resemble thernoriginals, but they have none of their subtletyrnand little of their energy. Everythingrnis laboriously overdone and consequentlyrnheavy, even oppressive.rnThat is why his films generally feelrnempty and unengaging. This is a shamernbecause he can be a very good directorrnwhen he stops being a chameleon ofrnpure style and comes out on his own. Hernproved this with his hugely enjoyable andrnoften trenchant 1987 film. The Untouchables.rnBut even with a tough, drivingrnscript and strong actors, he couldn’t resistrnsome flashy filching. The film almostrnfounders on one overwrought scene designedrnas a smirking homage to SergeirnEisenstein. In it, De Palma reworksrnPotemkin’s famous Odessa steps heartstopperrnwith his own toddler in a carriagerncareering down the stone steps of a trainrnstation while Eliot Ness’s feds shoot it outrnwith Al Gapone’s mob. This spectacularrnbut enormously self-indulgent set piece isrnnot storytelling; it’s just vulgar preening.rnThis is De Palma’s signature failing.rnFor him, filmmaking is almost alwaysrnabout previous filmmaking. It’s preeminentlyrnan exercise in form over substance.rnWorse, operating in a postmodernistrnmode, he feels compelled to provernhe’s cooler than his subject matter. Ironyrnmust always trimip mere meaning.rnGiven this background, I’m persuadedrnthat the trouble with Mission to Mars isrnthe unacknowledged mockery at its frigidrnheart. This time, De Palma has stolenrnfrom another master. He’s broken intornStanley Kubrick’s one indisputable masterwork,rn2001: A Space Odyssey, releasedrnin 1968, and ransacked it thoroughly.rnLike most thieves, however, he has littlernrespect for his loot. He only values it forrnwhat it can do for him.rnLike 200J, Mission focuses on astronautsrnwho stumble upon the remains of arnmysterious alien force. Instead ofrnKubrick’s black and seamless monoliths,rnDe Palma has given his aliens a humanrnface in the form of a huge, somewhatrnEgyptian sculpture, its elegant nose risingrna couple of stories above the peak of arnMartian mountain. When approachedrnJUNE 2000/45rnrnrn