Brutally Honest Audio Rant: The Next Conservative "Outrage"
(Computer – Introduction)
(Music intro – "American Idiot Remix" – by Green Day and David Matthews 2)
Good evening, and welcome to this week’s Brutally Honest Rant. I’m David Matthews 2, writer of the weekly online column Brutally Honest.
I’m neither a mind reader nor a fortune-teller. I’ll tell you that right up front. But there are certain things that do seem somewhat predictable.
If a soap-opera couple is just too nice and too lovey-dovey, then they’re doomed for breakup. If you’re a celebrity, then anything that you have ever done in your life, no matter how secret, no matter how confidential it is, will eventually all come out. If you air a TV show that doesn’t explicitly glorify a certain religious belief, then you’re going to be accused of being ANTI-religious. Come up with a way to fix the tax code? Then you’re going to be accused of giving "tax-cuts to the rich"
Patterns of hatred and divisiveness are pretty much predictable, and when you have certain issues that YOU KNOW will come up at some point, then the more prepared you are, the better that you can neutralize the hatred and divisiveness.
But the REAL fun is not in predicting them, but rather it’s in exposing the outrage BEFORE it happens. Because there are some outrages that are deliberately prepared and timed well in advance. And I think that there’s one about ready to blow pretty soon.
In a couple of weeks from this rant, the movie "V for Vendetta" will hit the movie theatres. It stars Natalie Portman, John Hurt, and Hugo Weaving, it is produced by the same people who came up with the whole Matrix series, and it is based on the 1982 graphic novel series from DC Comics by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. The movie promos really don’t give the description justice. The setting for "V" takes place in a very, very BLEAK future of London. England is a totalitarian government where church and state are one, order is enforced at all costs, and those in the government can do whatever the hell they want to.
The hero in this story is a mysterious man known only as "V". Much like Morpheus in "The Matrix", he is considered to be a powerful and dangerous threat to the status quo. He’s basically… a terrorist. He blows things up and he kills people. He causes fear and uncertainty. That’s certainly a terrorist. And he’s the good guy in this story!
So now that you got the gist of this movie, here goes the future talking point: at some point prior to the movie coming out, you’re going to hear either Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, or some other conservative or neoconservative talking head get their Jesus Underoos in a bunch over the release of this movie and try to claim that this movie is a deliberate and specific slam against the Bush Imperium.
Matter of fact, I can almost hear Rush Limbaugh get in front of his EIB microphone and rant on and on about how "The liberal left is attacking the White House by painting it as a totalitarian regime." I can see Sean Hannity bitch and moan that Hollywood is trying to glorify terrorists and sabotage the Bush Imperium. I can hear Bill O’Reilly calling for a brand new "War on Hollywood" to go along with his fraudulent "War on Christmas". I can even hear the various Fox News talking heads wonder out loud in their little coffee klatch forums whether this kind of movie should be considered treasonous because it glorifies terrorism.
If you think about it, this would be a pretty good time for such a nonsensical tirade. The cons and neocons need some sort of diversion to get the people away from thinking about the lack of adequate aid for Hurricane Katrina, the problems in Iraq, the economy that they refuse to believe is in decline, the dropping poll numbers for the Imperium, and the scandal with the port deal with the United Arab Emirates. Let’s not forget the renewal of the PATRIOT Act, which is set to expire on March 10th. So the cons and neocons could even consider the promos for this movie political advertising.
Plus it wouldn’t be the first time that the cons and neocons made a claim that Hollywood was trying to paint the Bush Imperium in a bad light. Remember last year with the release of Star Wars, Episode III?
(Play clip from Episode III)
Ian McDiarmid: "In order to ensure the security and the continuing stability, the Republic shall be reorganized into the FIRST GALACTIC EMPIRE… for a safe and secure SOCIETY!" (Heavy applause with musical fanfare)
Natalie Portman: "So this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause."
Remember that? Remember how there was all of this talk about how Hollywood was trying to slam the White House and paint Bush Junior to be like Chancellor Palpetine? The cons and neocons were getting their Jesus Underoos all in knots over the comparrison.
Well you can imagine how much spin the talking heads will make out of this clip from the trailer for "V".
(Play clip from trailer for "V for Vendetta")
Unknown: "Fear became the ultimate tool of this government."
John Hurt: "I want this country to realize that we stand on the edge of oblivion. I want EVERYONE to REMEMBER WHY THEY NEED US!"
Natalie Portman: "I wish that I wasn’t afraid all the time."
Hugo Weaving: "People shouldn’t be afraid of their governments. Government should be afraid of their people."
Pretty powerful message. And interspersed in the movie are pretty strong Orwellian images. One poster being displayed says "STRENGTH THROUGH UNITY - UNITY THROUGH FAITH". The symbol for this repressive state is a double-crucifix. Is any of this sounding a little like the stuff we’re seeing in the real world?
The correct answer should be "not anytime soon", but the really scary part is that we CAN see just a little bit of that dark future in the here and now.
The use of fear to get what the government wants? Absolutely! We have politicians that are OBSESSED with 9/11! It IS the ultimate tool for OUR REAL-LIFE government. Our president can’t begin a conversation without saying 9/11 at some point! "How’s the weather, President Bush?" "Well it’s good… it’s really good… well it’s better than it was on 9/11!"
The merging of church and state? Well the movie takes place in England, a country that has merged church and state for centuries, so that kind of blurring the line is to be expected. But here in the US? We’re not supposed to have that kind of merging here… and yet to some extent it has been happening, even more so in the past five years.
But let’s get brutally honest here… any time you have an overly aggressive government - like the kind we’re seeing with the Bush Imperium right now - there will ALWAYS be the temptation to take it all the way down the road to tyranny. The potential for abuse is ALWAYS there, no matter which political party is in charge. I was warning people about an abusive tyrannical government ten years ago when a DEMOCRAT was in charge of things, so don’t think for a moment that I’m going to give the Republicans any slack just because their Golden Boy Barney Fife is in the White House.
Having conservatives and neoconservatives bitching and crying about the kinds of movies that Hollywood crank out doesn’t absolve the current government from its abusive tendencies. It doesn’t absolve the Bush Imperium from bypassing the FISA court or for their "signing statement" which the president is using to RE-WRITE laws in a way that no member of the judiciary would ever be allowed to do.
If anything, these kinds of Orwellian movies and books REMIND us that such abuses in the government are WRONG! WE NEED these movies to remind ourselves just where that path of fear-mongering and perpetual warmongering takes us. It doesn’t take us towards peace and it certainly doesn’t take us towards freedom. That path only takes us to more fear and to more tyranny.
If Rush and Sean and O’Reilly and the rest of the Fox News coffee klatch people want to get on their soapboxes about "V" or "Star Wars" or some other FICTIONAL movie that reminds us of these abusive tendencies, then I have a good challenge for them. How about actually DEMONSTRATING what SAFEGUARDS are in place to PREVENT that kind of Orwellian future from happening? And how about demonstrating with SPECIFIC EXAMPLES how our current government has been kept in check by these safeguards? And, no, you can’t just say "trust us" because that excuse doesn’t work anymore. You want to bitch and cry about people making the natural comparison between the current government and a fictional dictatorship? Fine. Then the burden’s ON YOU FOLKS to prove otherwise.
I HAVE read the graphic novel that the movie was based on. It’s a damned good story… and without giving all the secrets away, I will tell you that the kind of evil that is experienced that leads the viewer towards that dark possible future of "V"… the utter atrocities… the crimes against humanity that happen… are the kinds of events that thankfully haven’t happened in the here-and-now. Plus, the Wachowski Brothers are on record as saying that they were trying to make this story into a movie BEFORE they started work on the whole Matrix series… and that was ten years ago, back when a certain DEMOCRAT was in charge of things.
This really all goes back to something that I have been saying for ten years now… the transformation of any society into an abusive tyrannical authoritarian government - whether that government is an oligarchy, a theocracy, a monarchy, or even a constitutional democracy – NEVER happens overnight. We don’t wake up one morning and suddenly see John Sutler’s black-uniformed thugs marching down Main Street. It only SEEMS like that because we blind ourselves to the transformation. We wrap ourselves up in flags and in patriotic symbols and buy into the zero-sum chant of "with us or against us". We delude ourselves into thinking that any steps towards tyranny are just temporary or just for that particular situation. We forget that there is no such thing as "temporary" or "limited" when it comes to government, especially one that is allowed to run unchecked.
No, the transformation NEVER happens overnight. It just happens because people forget that it can.
(Computer – "Fear is my ally" clip)
(Fade Music In – "In Amber Clad" by Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori)
As I wrap up tonight’s rant, I want to give you three little items… two of them are trivia, and the third is somewhat disturbing.
First: There’s an interesting twist in the movie "V for Vendetta" in that John Hurt is playing a character that was the complete opposite from the one that he’s best know for. In the movie "1984", based on the George Orwell novel, Hurt played Winston Smith, the everyman hero who was the victim of Big Brother. In "V", Hurt plays John Sutler, the leader of the movie’s version of Big Brother.
Second: The origin to the movie’s dark future will probably be changed, but in the original story by Alan Moore, one of England’s dark secrets was initiated by the United States under the administration of… and you’re not going to believe this one… President Edward "Teddy" Kennedy. You can probably see why the Wachowski Brothers would want to update that one.
And Third… A study by the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum that came out today shows that more Americans can name all five family members of an animated cartoon series than they can list all five protections in the First Amendment. They can tell you who the judges are on American Idol, but they can’t tell you what the first three protections listed in the First Amendment are. Worse yet, one in five in this study believed that the First Amendment gave one the right to own a pet!
So let me ask you… how can the public be expected to stand up to tyranny when they have no idea what their rights are, never mind how those rights can get subverted?
I’ll let you think about that for a bit…
Brutally Honest is a Get Brutal production, all opinions expressed are those of the commentator, and may or may not be shared by the online provider. This is David Matthews 2 saying good night, and I’ll speak with you soon!
(Computer – End/"End of Recording")
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