This morning, after Gene Shalit was put the final touches on his crude, homemade,  Liam-Neeson-On-The-Phone-In-Paris collage,

(Poster paint and Sharpie on Cardboard, by Gene Shalit, 2009)

he sat down a minute on the Today show set to gather his thoughts about Taken, the powerful documentary that inspired his mixed-media mural. How could he convince the viewers to buy a ticket to this weighty examination about the ongoing scourge of kidnapping priviliged white American girls literally 20 minutes after they land in Paris? "It happens every day," Shalit thought, "If only people knew about human trafficking, and by 'human trafficking,' I mean 'two young American girls snatched by Albanians immediately after setting foot in their family's well-appointed pied-a-terre in Paris, thus kick-starting a Liam-Neeson kickass-a-thon.'"


Then it hit him, "Fear! I'll plant seeds of completely irrational fear! Roll tape!"

Really, he should have concluded with, "Young women of America, don't ever leave your house. Ever. Unless Liam Neeson is your father, only extreme xenophobia can protect you."


Shalit is right when he says that "the insidious trade in captured girls is a worldwide abomination."  But Taken is definitely the least realistic depiction of that trade maybe ever—which is fine. No one is taking Taken seriously, except, apparently Gene Shalit. Next week on the Critic's Corner: Gene Shalit reviews Friday The 13th, a daring exposé of the lethal dangers of camping.