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Friday, February 10, 2006


Dennis and Dubya

My friend John wrote the following in response to my last post:
I think your take on voting there is an overly dismissive POV... (Apologies, I'm reading into your writing a bit... :) When you only have two choices, it ignores the grey areas where most of us choose to live. I'm a registered Independent because I disagree with just as much Democratic Rhetoric and I do with Republican Rhetoric. I've met way too Republican environmentalists and Democratic Homophobes to feel confortable judging someone on a "Column A or Column B" choice.
Fair point, and let me clarify, I did not mean to make a blanket statement about all Republicans - I meant to characterize the way Bush I, Bush II and Reagan portray reality in a black and white way. And I should really just focus on Bush II, because his is the presidency I know the most about.

So, an amended statement: our current president, George W. Bush, promotes a whitewashed version of reality, and tells the story of America like it's in a children's storybook - or, actually, like it's a comic book, with superheroes fighting villians. In his own words:
"Just three days removed from these events, Americans do not yet have the distance of history. But our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil."
-September 2001 (source: pbs.org/frontline)

"We built a vast coalition of nations from all around the world to join us -- nations which understand that what happened in New York and Washington could happen to them, as well. They understand it's now time to unite to defeat evil."
- October 2001 (source: whitehouse.gov)

"Our war is a war against evil. This is clearly a case of good versus evil, and make no mistake about it -- good will prevail."
-January 2002 (source: whitehouse.gov)

"My objective is what I said in my second inaugural address:
to end tyranny
-December 2005 (source: fox.com)
Good idea, to end tyranny! Way to go right to the source of the problem. If only previous leaders had thought of that, we could have spared the world so much suffering. While we're at it, let's end injustice. Who's running for office in '08? That should be their platform: no more injustice. The world will be fair! We will hunt down everyone who's unfair and smoke them out of their caves and cubicles.

Note sarcasm.

You don't hunt down a concept, and no matter how much money or how many weapons you have, you cannot eradicate entire dimensions of the human experience that have existed for centuries. And the reality, to state what should be obvious to any adult, is that people's motivations are more complicated than good and evil; and good and evil are in the eye of the beholder.

To bring this all back to where I started - I am no expert on Dennis Hopper films, but I generally think of independent films as representing nuance, unique perspectives, exceptions to rules, unpopular truths, even - sometimes - unpopular characters. That's a huge generalization, but I think it's fair to associate those qualities with independent films versus mainstream films. And that's what led me to express surprise that Hopper, a guy who's certainly made more cult films than box office darlings, would support a leader whose vision of the world seems so dangerously like an Arnold Schwarzenegger film.

Isn't it a little odd that we can refer to the absurdity of a Schwarzenegger film, and then realize that the most populous state in the union elected him as their leader? :)

You might want to check out Terry Jones' (ex-Python) latest book... it's a wonderful expansion on some of his essays on our strange times in which the most powerful elected figure in the world declares war on an abstract concept.

On a related tangent:
Another interesting question to ask is "Why isn't there more right-wing independent film?" I know it exists, but it's fairly underground. Does art outside of the mainstream have to be leftist? For that matter, does art outside of the mainstream have to be at the extremes? And is the concept of extremist conservatism really as funny as the etymologist in me thinks it is? ;)
Just rhetorical fuel for the fire...

Meanwhile, I'm pleased to find that I'm moving to a swing state, but a primarily blue swing state. It'll be nice living somewhere where voting isn't essentially pointless because the outcome is a foregone conclusion... :)

And you know I love ya, I'm just startin' shit. ;)
You may find this list interesting:


It's missing at least one well-known conservative actor: Gary Oldman, the guy who played Sid Vicious in an Alex Cox film (and all sorts of other strange roles).

Remember: these are actors. They are paid by other people to play roles. We don't have any idea why they choose the roles they choose - for money, for art, for politics - who knows? We learn nothing about their personalities or perspectives from the roles they play. Personally,I'm happiest when actors (and musicians) shut the hell up about their politics. Or just shut the hell up in general. - DH
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