Sunday, July 23, 2006

As you can see, I find a light touch often helps

Why We Fight (2005) uses Eisenhower's farewell presidential address, in which the army general and two-term Republican president rather boldly and presciently warned of the encroaching military-industrial complex, as the basis to rehash many of the same salient points about the folly of our recent military endeavors that are usually dually noted, then blithely ignored by most people. Really, aren't political documentaries essentially ineffectual? Aren't those who seek them out and watch them usually, overwhelmingly already inclined to agree with the filmmaker? I haven't heard of lawmakers rushing to address global warming so far in the wake of An Inconvenient Truth, and global warming by right isn't even inherently a political issue, although it has been successfully politicized.

Anyway, Why We Fight also profiles a retired New York cop who lost his son in 9/11, wholeheartedly threw his support behind the Iraq war, then felt betrayed when Bush backpedaled and said the administration never claimed Iraq had anything to do with 9/11. It's a shame the left is in such bad shape that it often desperately latches on to these manipulative human interest/political conversion stories, seemingly believing them to be the last, best hope to shake up and convince the hopelessly indifferent, stubborn or just plain mean-spirited people who remain spitefully unmoved by any amount of evidence or analysis. Returning to An Inconvenient Truth, that film implores Americans to get in touch with the rah-rah can-do spirit that we're so often told made this country great in order to combat that particular threat. I fear we've sacrificed too much of that spirit in the name of power and wealth and have started on an irrevocable downslide, with the inability to deal with the Katrina situation a preview of what's to come. In fact, I tend to think I'll see the complete collapse of human civilization in my lifetime.*

*"Goddamnit, kid, how do you expect to get more readers for this two-bit rag with this depressed horseshit?" "Wait, who said that? Who are you?" "Ava Gardner, kid, who do you think I am? I'm the cigar-chomping mogul that watches over you and tells ya how to become a bigshot like me! Although half the time I might as well be talkin' to the medicine bag at my lousy brother-in-law's gym." "Oh, but this long asterisk is going to draw people in? Do you give advice to David Foster Wallace too?" "David who? Listen kid, I don't have time for this, I got a meeting with this Wes Anderson kid, I'm gonna tell him he needs to do a boxing picture with Lawrence Tierney." "Lawrence Tierney's dead." "Wait, what? You're crazy, kid, I just saw him at the Tropicana -- wait, I keep forgettin' it's not 1949. *buzz* Doris! Cancel that meeting. Doris? Where the fuck's Doris?!? Wait -- died in a boiler room explosion?!? In 1956?!? Get outta heeere!" "I'm leaving now." "Wait, kid, I wanna tell ya about the time I knocked out Artie Shaw with a blackjack." "Goodbye." "Ah, suit yourself ya deadbeat. *buzz* Doris! Fetch me some coffee and get Sterling Hayden on the phone, toots. Doris?"

1 comment:

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