Sunday, April 29, 2012

Neo-Fascist Observations on TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A.(directed by William Friedkin).

“If you want bread, go fuck a baker.” – Richard Chance 

“If you’re looking for a stool pigeon, go to the park.” – Carl Cody 

The best manifestation of a particular narrative — epic, legend, mythology, novel, drama — may not be a direct adaptation of the source material or even be situated in its time and place. The essence of a narrative resides as much if not more in its spirit and style as in the specific details of its world. Thus, though David Mamet’s HOMICIDE is set in NY of the 1980s, it is the best cinematic realization of the Kafka-esque, more so than direct adaptations of Kafka stories such as THE TRIAL by Orson Welles and THE CASTLE with Maximilian Schell. HOMICIDE, though historically removed from the world depicted in Kafka’s novels, captures the essence of Kafka’s obsessions. In a similar vein, the best film version of the Greek tragedy is the Japanese film HARAKIRI by Masaki Kobayashi. And some Samurai movies make better Westerns than classic Hollywood Westerns do. BLADE RUNNER, though set in futuristic L.A., may be the best Wagnerian epic on celluloid. Roy Batty’s rebellion against the towering Tyrell Corporation evokes Siegfried, Wotan, Valhalla, and Gotterdammerung. And whatever one thinks of E.T., it may be the best messiah movie, certainly more so than the piously dull Biblical epics. Most Jesus movies were made as demonstrations of dutiful obligation than in the ecstatic spirit of conversion. The concept behind E.T. is kid stuff, but there’s genuine passion and zeal in its pop-gospel.

Though there has been a fair amount of movies inspired by Greek mythology and the Classical World, few have captured the spirit and power of the heroes, stories, and themes. Most sword-and-sandal movies are not worth anyone’s time, not even for camp value. A handful, such as JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS, have a certain charm and share of thrills.
More recently, there were major productions like THE GLADIATOR, TROY, and 300. GLADIATOR was mostly whiplash action, TROY was a blend of turgidity and sensationalism — unfortunate blend of middlebrow striving for respectability and populist pandering to rabble-rousing instincts(as if co-directed by David Lean and Michael Bay) — , and 300 maybe worked on the level of a videogame. What all three had in common was penchant for exaggeration and posturing. Pervasive throughout was a collective self-consciousness of grandeur. Of course, ancient history and myths are filled with grandiosity, but that is precisely why there’s no need to press the issue. Of course, Achilles is a great warrior in THE ILIAD. There’s no need for him to turn it into a non-stop brooding fashion show. When something is inherently epic and grand, better to focus on the intimate and the peculiar to counterbalance the pomp and bombast. SEVEN SAMURAI is greater than its Western remake THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN because its heroes are not simply larger-than-life. They are admirable for their skill and courage but also interesting and full of surprises on the human level. In contrast, there’s too much self-conscious heroic mugging among the gunmen heroes of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN — even Robert Vaughn, a master gunman filled with fear and doubt, plays it archetypally than psychologically; he’s more a symbol than a character.

Of course, not all myths are the same. No one expects much in the way of humanness from Heracles. But the most interesting myths tend to involve not so much the (near)invincibility of their heroes as the tensions and challenges that test their wits, skill, and strength. It is that element of suspense, the conflict between their human nature and god-nature, that makes the stories compelling, immediate as well as timeless, intimate as well as infinite.
In many classic myths, greatness cannot be taken for granted. It’s there to be grasped, but the struggles, labors, and adventures push the heroes to the limits of their ability, endurance, and even sanity. Even with the great Achilles, the Trojan War rages on for years for the Greeks. In the end, the Greek victory, though complete, is ignoble than heroic. Greeks use trickery and betray the goodwill of Trojans to ransack the city and to kill or enslave its inhabitants.

TROY by Wolfgang Petersen is so bloated and contradictory that it’s no wonder it was rejected by both critics and the audience. Petersen tried to have it both ways on two different levels. He sought to de-mythologize the epic — shorn of gods and magic — and render it more historical and truthful while, at the same time, magnifying the epic grandeur of the narrative. (Oddly enough, though THE ILIAD is filled with gods and magic, its rhythms and mood are actually more down-to-earth and naturalistic than what’s in TROY; indeed, even gods in THE ILIAD are more human-like than the stiff archetypes that dominate the movie.) The competing sensibilities jam the psychological gears of the characters. The story moves forward, but the emotions do not. We never know what to feel about the characters since they are supposed to be ‘more real’ but strut around making grandiose poses(and speaking words pregnant with Meaning). But if this problem arose from misguided artistic formulation(and could be forgiven), Petersen’s trying to have it both ways as art film and movie-movie is near-disastrous. Too often, just when the movie becomes somewhat intelligent and interesting, it veers into simple-mindedness. And then, just when we are about to accustom ourselves to a popcorn movie, it turns thoughtful. Imagine riding in a car where the driver, in rapid alternation, drives slow & plays classical music and drives fast & plays rock music. Also, the strength of THE ILIAD derives as much from its humor, absurdity, and fun as from its sense of the tragic. Fun is a rare artifact in TROY. Kevin Reynold’s WATERWORLD is closer to the spirit of Greek mythology, another example of how the best of something may manifest itself in a radically different version.

I mention all this because the finest manifestation of Greek Hero myths on film may be William Friedkin’s TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. Charles Freeman, in his book THE GREEK ACHIEVEMENT, writes: “The eighth century... saw an intense interest in ‘the hero’... During his mortal life, the hero has superhuman strength and endurance even if, unlike in other folk traditions, he is not given any special powers. (He cannot transform himself into an animal at a moment of crisis, for example.) His exploits are always recognizably human ones, though carried out at a higher level of achievement... There is an element of the trickster... in his behavior and Homer allows him other virtues, endurance, statesmanship, and athletic prowess... It is in the heat of battle... that the ideal of heroism can be most easily achieved. In war the hero raises himself high above ordinary mortals — partly because the risks of death are so high and the intensity of the moment is so strong — but partly because it is through the act of killing that fame can be won. Yet the hero is mortal. Although he can be given help by the gods, so, too, gods can will or allow his death... When death comes, there is no special reward for the hero... The Greek concept of the hero is important, above all because the human attributes of the hero are never lost. This fostered the idea that every Greek, though most usually from the noble class, could become heroic, achieve ‘arete’, excellence, in his own life. Glory could be achieved through ‘agones’, competitive participation in battle or in games. Victory raises the victor to near godlike status. Death is something worth risking for the sake of everlasting fame and those who appeared to have avoided it could be reviled as were those who competed but lost in the games. (One of the Spartan survivors from the battle of Thermopylae was so effectively ostracized by his home community that he committed suicide.) Alongside heroic behavior comes the idealization of the heroic male body. The search for perfection in human form was to prove one of the driving forces of Greek art. In short, the heroic ethos, and the competitive instincts it released were essential elements in the Greek achievement... However, the Homeric epics are not concerned simply with the glorification of the hero. This would make the epics more than propaganda hymns concerned with the ease with which a here conquers and achieves glory for his community. The greatness of THE ILIAD and THE ODYSSEY as literature arguably lies in the way they illustrate the difficulties inherent in the heroic role. The greatest glory for the hero comes from activities which court death yet death brings nothing but a shadowy existence in the underworld. Here is the ultimate and inexplicable human tragedy. The Homeric heroes are actively fearful of death, yet they cannot risk the taunt of cowardice... There are other dilemmas for the hero presented in the poems. The clash between Agamemnon and Achilles reflects what must have been very real problems in defining the authority of leaders. On what grounds can one man be expected to accept the supremacy of another’s demands at a moment of crisis; how can individual honor be preserved in the face of such demands?”

Evident from Freeman’s book is the meaning of the Hero has undergone profound changes since its conception. Today, the meaning of the Hero is both murkier and clearer, more inclusive and more exclusive. There is the general sense of the ‘hero’ being any person who is worthy of admiration or even mere affection. So, a child may say, ‘my dad is my hero’, even though the parent hasn’t done anything special. Or, ‘hero’ can mean anyone who’s done some good for society. So, educators, doctors, and scientists have been called ‘heroes’. This is par for the course in a democratic society that seeks to flatter as many people as possible — we like to praise and be praised by everyone; thus, Oprah is the ‘hero’ of our age for countless Americans; she flatters them, and they flatter her in a display of collective/mutual/shared narcissism. This concept of hero is much more generalized and ‘inclusive’ than the Classical Greek idea of the Hero.
But, there’s another definition of Hero that may be more exclusive and demanding than that of the Greeks. As a result of Christian influence on Western History, the moral component is fundamental to our view of heroism. The Greek Hero may indeed fight for a higher/greater good and meet death/doom, but he is ultimately acting for glory and immortality — to be praised and remembered in song and verse. Achilles fights for the Greek cause, but he is primarily motivated by a sense of individual greatness. He isn’t so much self-sacrificing in death as offering his body as incense to the gods, thereby hoping to attain their recognition of his greatness, his unflinching determination to fight, die, and fulfill his destiny. Though Achilles is something of a special case even among Greeks — extreme nihilism/narcissism — , the element of self-glorification is at the heart of nearly all Greek myths and legends about Heroes.
In contrast, the great leaders of the Old Testament do it for God, their people, and righteousness; there is a great need to be accepted by the tribe on communal terms. Thus, Jacob, after having cheated Esau out of his rightful inheritance, eventually returns to his elder brother for forgiveness. In the case of Joseph, it was his elder brothers who did him wrong, but Joseph, having attained power and success in Egypt, forgives his brothers and reunites with his father. Family is important in Greek myths too, but individual greatness often overshadows everything else. Among ancient Jews, the individual, however great, must never forget he is but a servant of God, member of a tribe, and merely one link in the long chain of his people. (King David had something like the soul of a Greek, but he was careful to remind himself of his foremost duty to God. His son Absalom was even more individualistic, and this may explain why David never lost affection for his errant son. Though Absalom tried to overthrow and kill David, he was acting out the hidden Id of David.) It may be for this reason that the figure of Jesus was shocking to many Jews, for Jesus was a weird, even perverse, combination of Hebraic Humility and Hellenic Heroism. Jesus preached stuff like ‘turn the other cheek’ and ‘meek shall inherit the Earth’ but also claimed to be the Son of God — at least according to Christian mythology as cooked up by Paul and his followers. While the New Testament mentions Jesus’s lineage in Jewish ancestry — to emphasize He too is of the tribe, tradition, and community — , there is also a fundamental break with the tradition and tribe. He didn’t only arrive to preach the New Word; He isn’t simply the Messiah sent by God; He is, as the Son of God, one with God, and therefore as the equal of God, is God. Though no Hero could be the equal of the gods in Greek mythology — and though the Greek Way was to warn against hubris — it was no ‘sin’ for Greeks to strive to be like the gods or even claim to have part-god ancestry, as Alexander the Great did(and this was long after the Greek world had emerged from its Dark Ages when its myths evolved). Jews were not supposed to think and act like this, and it was only natural that Jesus would freak out a whole bunch of Jews. From the tradition of Judaism, Jesus could only be seen as a blasphemer. (Paradoxically, the traditional Jewish emphasis on humility before God may conceal a greater arrogance, megalomania, and hubris than anything in Greek culture. Though Jewish individuals had to bow before God, what was their God but a projection of the Jewish ego? Surely a people who say there is only one God — and that God happens to be ‘our God’ who blessed ‘us’ as the Chosen People — aren’t exactly a humble people. Jews had to be humble as individuals but only because their collective vanity and arrogance was unmatched. The Jewish God was a contract among arrogant, difficult, and vain Jewish individuals — each of whom wanted to be godlike and all-knowing — to get along with one another by worshiping God rather than their own egos, but this God was precisely the collective ego of all Jews. It’s like every player on a football teams wants to be the best, but if everyone plays that way, they’ll be competing more with one another than against the other team. So, each player agrees to bow before ‘team spirit’. But what is team spirit but the collective/coordinated egos of all players, each of which conceals the individual desire to be the greatest athlete? So, in a way, Jesus may not have been so much channeling the spiritual/cultural influences of the Greco-Roman world as brilliantly envisioning a way to serve both God and His own big fat Jewish ego. As the Son of God preaching humility & meekness and dying for mankind, He could be high and low, defiant and submissive, passive and aggressive, humble and megalomaniacal all at once. And this Jesus Complex has been the feature of secular Jews since the 19th century. Karl Marx claimed to serve mankind but had dreams of being the greatest prophet the world had ever known. Freud claimed to diligently serve truth, science, and mental health but also claimed to have unlocked the deepest secrets of the human mind, i.e. he knew us better than we knew ourselves. Saul Alinsky posed as a middle-class ‘community organizer’ with good intentions, but he formulated a subversive way of radicalizing all of American society and gaining power over all Americans. George Soros acts like Mr. Progressive and champion of the downtrodden, but he’s a ruthless and cunning Jewish shark who rakes in billions. This is why people say, ‘Never trust a Jew.’ Someone should write books titled “Jewish Power for Dummies” and “Jewish Way for Dummies.”)
Anyway, the Christian element of Western civilization, inspired by Jesus and the Saints, has fundamentally altered the Western concept of ‘hero’. If the Greek Hero is essentially self-glorifying and self-aggrandizing, the Christian hero — or a hero shaped by Christian ethos — must be self-sacrificing and serve humanity for a moral cause. While the pagan concept of Hero is still powerfully with us — especially in our worship of narcissistic athletes, especially Negro ones like Jack Johnson and Muhammad Ali — , the moral concept of hero is more important. Many Americans admire Muhammad Ali, but they worship Michael King(aka Martin L. King), who is said to have died for our ‘racist’ sins. Americans may know more about football than firefighters but agree that a firefighter who loses his life while saving people is a truer hero than the best running back or quarterback. Our instincts are still pagan, but our minds have been anchored by moral precepts received from Christian teachings.

Even so, the core of heroism tends to be instinctive than intellectual. A hero knows what he must do, not because he thinks about it but because he FEELS he’s gotta do what he’s gotta do. If someone’s trapped in a burning house or drowning, the hero doesn’t mentally calculate what he must do. A hero not only puts his life in danger but does it for the goodness/necessity of the act itself than for personal honor, glory, or reward. In SEVEN SAMURAI, the Toshiro Mifune character craftily devises and executes a stunt to remove one more gun from the enemy, but he does it for personal aggrandizement. By the Greek standards of Heroism, Mifune could be said to be a hero, but not by the Christian(and Japanese)standards of heroism(if such concept ever existed in Japan). (Besides, even though he did manage to wrest another gun from the bandits, his antics endangered the security of the village by provoking a sudden attack.) In THE WILD BUNCH, the bandits are tough guys and courageous/brash under fire. Thus, they have some of the qualities of ancient Greek warriors. But they are not heroes until the final scene when they risk everything for what they feel is right; motive counts as much as action. (Even so, one could argue it’s not genuine heroism — in the Christian sense — because the main reason for trying to save Angel was personal pride and honor than genuine/universal moral sense. This raises some questions about HIGH NOON as well. Initially, the sheriff wants to stay and face Frank Miller for the good of the town, but the town turns out to be rotten and cowardly and won’t stand by his side. So, he’s no longer sticking around to protect decent men, women, and children but to preserve his own personal honor. Depending on the angle, he’s motivated either by self-respect or reckless vanity. Incidentally, though one of the finest Westerns, HIGH NOON hasn’t received much respect by the new crop of film critics since the 60s who’ve found it overly solemn and even stodgy. And though respected by older critics as solid entertainment, they never went so far as to defend it as art. As a result, HIGH NOON ended up getting the worst of both worlds: traditional critics praising it as great entertainment but forsaking it as art and younger critics dismissing it as entertainment for being burdened with artistic pretensions. Oddly enough, It suffered the same fate as the cinema of Ingmar Bergman. For the new generation of critics, his films are too obvious as Art — lucid and complete than elusive and provocative — and too heavy for entertainment. Younger critics prefer open systems to closed systems, i.e. works that allow and trigger more questions and possibilities for discourse and imagination than works that are self-contained in its meaning and purpose. SAWDUST AND TINSEL, WILD STRAWBERRIES, SEVENTH SEAL, and SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT may be ‘perfect’ in conception and execution, but viewers may feel there isn’t much else but to admire Bergman’s intelligence and talent and ‘read’ those films for their grammatically and thematically ‘obvious’ meanings. Bergman’s films have a lot to say, but Bergman is doing all the talking while we are just listen. In contrast, a film like VERTIGO or MURIEL is more difficult to pinpoint, analyze, and summarize; and they offer new shades of meaning in subsequent viewing, each like different dream of the movie. Similarly, the great attention paid to John Ford’s THE SEARCHERS may owe to its dark themes and unresolved tensions. Ford could only show so much in 1958, and his movie implies and suggests far more than what is onscreen — and we must use our imagination to fill in what is not shown or spelled out. In contrast, HIGH NOON is a perfect movie where everything falls and fits into place. For some, it may seem more like a work of carpentry than a work of art; it’s a work of excellent grammar but not real poetry. Another knock against HIGH NOON may be its very mood. If the prevailing spirit of the Western has been expansiveness — even in movies mostly set in a single town —, HIGH NOON feels like a very self-enclosed world. Exteriors feel harsh and hostile under the sun. It’s like Will Clark — along with most townsfolk — feels safe and secure only under a roof and is afraid to step outside. So, the entire town may feel studio-like or stagy, foreshadowing the rise of the TV Western like RIFLEMAN and GUNSMOKE.)

Though the Western concept of the hero since the rise of Christianity has a strong moral component, there remains something amoral(or at least apolitical) about heroism even among the ‘good guys’. If heroism is essentially instinctive than intellectual, it doesn’t have to be ideological in nature. Even a Nazi or a communist can do heroic things. Nazi firemen acted heroically by saving people from a burning building during the bombing of Dresden. (I saw DAS BOOT in a movie theater full of Jews in the early 80s, and even they seemed to acknowledge the heroism of the U-Boat crew.) And whatever one thinks of communism, there were many acts of heroism by Soviet soldiers. (To be sure, one could make a distinction between individual heroism and professional heroism. One could say a fireman isn’t really being heroic since his profession obligates him to act ‘heroically’. Thus, a fireman combating flames is not like a civilian who dives into a frozen lake to save someone. On the other hand, the fact that some people volunteer to be firemen could mean they are willing to lay their lives on the line for fellow mankind, which could be a sign of heroism or heroic will. But then, some could argue that people wanna become firemen because the chance of dying in a fire is actually low and the pay/benefit package is pretty good.) While one can be ideologically heroic, most heroes are less agents of thought than of action. An ideologue may be willing to give his life for the cause, but it’s not his ideological commitment but his physical deed that makes him heroic. Thus, no single ideology can claim heroism as its own. All ideologies(and nationalities) have their share of heroes and cowards. There are Zionist heroes and cowards; there are Palestinian heroes and cowards. There are Liberal heroes and cowards; there are Conservative heroes and cowards.
Another aspect of heroism is its unpredictability. Though one can put oneself in situations rife with danger(and thereby potential heroism), no one knows when he or she will be called into action. A fireman, soldier, or policeman could spend his entire career without having been a hero. As the elder samurai explains in the final scene of SEVEN SAMURAI: the winners in the end are the farmers, not the heroes. Heroes are called into action to save lives or a community, but when the danger passes they are rendered useless. And they may be resented, even vilified, with the passage of time. White men who fought American Indians to create safe communities for women and children were praised in their day; today, they might be condemned as genocidal ‘racists’. During the London Riots, some working class white Britons organized to defend their communities from black thugs and yobs, but the PC elites denounced them as ‘racist’ thugs.
Hero to one community or ideology could be a villain to another; hero of one time may be vilified later. (ZULU is an interesting movie in this light for it lionizes the heroism of a hundred British soldiers who fought heroically against hordes of Zulu warriors. But values and deeds that the British once prized as noble and honorable may now be seen as hateful and bigoted. Contemporary elite controllers of British society & culture would rather have young British men emulate Negro savages and have young British women sexually give themselves to black studs.)
Given the unstable nature of heroism, one cannot be a hero simply because he wants to be one. A person who wants to commit a heroic deed may live out his entire life without having had the opportunity. Its corollary is that a person who is unheroic by nature may find himself in a situation that forces him to be heroic(as in the film GENERAL DELLA ROVERE).
Suppose a person, who happens to be generally amoral or even immoral — and cowardly to boot —, hears the scream of a woman and child in a burning building. Something instinctive might kick in, and he may find himself risking his own life to save the woman and child. He may find himself having done a heroic deed though he’d never thought to act heroically before. Heroism, in this sense, is a fleeting than permanent quality. It is also fraught with tension. This may explain why some people are burdened by the weight of heroism around their neck. Having done something heroic, they may be perceived by others as special, superior, and noble. But in fact, no one can be heroic all the time, especially true for people who were accidentally heroic. Thus, our penchant for immortalizing heroism is contradictory; it is an attempt to define a person’s entire being/life by a single deed or achievement, which, for most people, is too much of a psychological burden to bear, which is why there is such a cynical media factory machine to prop up false idols. (Another paradox of heroism is its masterfulness may mask a slavishness. It’s possible that the kind of people with the greatest heroic fantasies are those who don’t amount to much in society. Being a ‘loser’, they seek to compensate by being the ultra-winner. Though in their heroic fantasies, they stand above and apart from mankind/womankind, their fantasies exist in the first place because they want their worth to be acknowledged by humanity. Most superhero comics were written by nerds. Many movie directors are geeks. Take George Lucas and James Cameron. Homer was surely no macho man either. And indeed, the super-hero often starts out as a super-zero. Peter Parker is a dork before he becomes Spiderman.)
Though the hero in the modern Western sense is someone who does good, the how-what-and-why of his actions are crucial as to whether he’s a hero or not. The true hero must face physical danger, show courage(even reckless at times), be active than passive, and be instinctive. Here, we must draw the difference between a hero and a martyr. A hero can be a martyr, but not all martyrs are heroes. In Roland Joffe’s THE MISSION, De Niro’s character is a hero whereas Jeremy Iron’s character is a martyr. De Niro’s character fails, but he actively tries to put up a resistance to save the people of the village. Jeremy Irons dies with great courage and dignity, but his resistance is passive. In his devotion to Christian ethos, he turns the other cheek. This isn’t to say which is better but merely to point out that a hero isn’t simply a good person or someone who dies for a cause. In another Roland Joffe film, THE KILLING FIELDS, Dith Pran patiently cajoles men of the Khmer Rouge to spare Sydney Schanberg. Pran has courage and uses it to save his colleague’s life, but he’s still not a hero because wit and cunning, not direct action, comprise his approach. Of course, he did the right thing because had he confronted the Khmer Rouge head on, both he and Schanberg would have been killed. So, to say Pran was not a hero isn’t, in any way, to criticize him or detract from what he did. It’s merely to point out that not every good deed is heroic; it also proves that heroism could often be counterproductive. Maybe De Niro’s character could have saved the people of the village had he been less bullheaded and more willing to negotiate. Pran worked as a diplomat and negotiator, and in our modern world with nuclear weapons, such people may be more valuable than simpleminded heroes.
A true hero also has to be in the thick of the action than merely give orders(no matter how morally valuable the orders may be). Thus, though George W. Bush gave orders to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein, if there were real heroes in the Iraq War, it was the men who did the fighting on the ground than the Commander-in-Chief, his advisors, and his top generals who gave the orders. Again, this isn’t to detract anything from people giving orders. Out of necessity, leaders must not engage in combat; they must commandeer the war from a safe distance. Rather, it’s just a reminder that someone isn’t a hero simply because he ordered actions that call for heroic action or because his political reputation happens to be linked with the fate of heroic men. Even in combat, the hero is the soldier who acts beyond the call of duty. Thus, a Soviet soldier who didn’t retreat because he feared being shot by commissars behind him wasn’t a real hero motivated by courage but a soldier staying put for fear of being shot for cowardice. (His ‘courage’ was borne of cowardice before commissars with pistols. Thus, many Soviet soldiers didn’t so much choose between courage and cowardice but between cowardice before German soldiers and cowardice before Soviet commissars. But then, it must be said even cowards can be inspired into great feats of courage, and even courageous men can suddenly be paralyzed by fear, as happens to Gregory Peck character in TWELVE O CLOCK HIGH.)
The martyr has one thing in common with the hero in that he cannot choose the precise time and condition of his martyrdom. Indeed, if Jesus were around today, who would crucify Him? In a society committed to religious tolerance, Jesus couldn’t make us — even Jews and Italians — persecute and kill Him even if He wanted us to. (On the other hand, if He decided to go into a Negro community and scream ‘nigger’, that might do the trick, but then He would be denounced for ‘racism’ than seen as the Second Coming of the Messiah.) Similarly, there were many martyrs in Eastern Europe during the Cold War because there was a system in place to crush them. But who’s going to arrest or execute anyone in Eastern Europe today for saying, “Marx sucks”?
Sainthood, on the other hand, is a more stable entity because it is as much an internal as an external struggle. Even in a peaceful and prosperous society, it’s not easy to be a saint because it entails resisting temptations of the flesh and other worldly desires. A saint doesn’t necessarily have to suffer greatly or be killed though he is willing to die for his convictions. A saint isn’t just about action but spiritual purity, and thus, he is perpetually at war with himself as creature of the flesh.
Anyway, the notion that not every good person is a hero doesn’t mean that the hero is the highest kind of good person. The hero may be most amazing at the sensory level because of qualities that impress us most viscerally: (1) physical courage in the face of danger (2) skill and competence in facing danger (3) the ‘athleticism’ of his action (4) the immediate impact of his deed: the saving of lives. Though we like to flatter ourselves as rational creatures, we are more impressed by things that excite the senses. Thus, an athlete who makes a great play and wins the championship is admired more than a scientist or engineer who works diligently over time to create a new medicine or gadget. But ‘viscerally impressive’ is not the same as better-for-mankind. There are many great Negro athletes, but who has done more for mankind? Jewish scientists or Negro athletes? A story of a policeman who dies while trying to save people from criminals is more compelling than an account of a medical researcher who works over many years to come up with a life-saving procedure, but the latter may actually save more lives and do more good for mankind.
On the other hand, maybe there is an instinctive sense within all of us that what we call civilization is fragile. Though doctors and scientists do much good, they can only function in a civilization. Civilization is few thousands of years old — though for some peoples/nations, only centuries or decades old, while some folks, especially in Africa and Amazonia, are still living in a state of savagery — whereas mankind(without civilization) has been around for 100,000s of yrs. Thus, we are emotionally conditioned to value the man of action over the man of ideas. Though men of ideas are far more influential and necessary than men of action in today’s world, a part of our nature senses that the man of action is more real than man of ideas. If civilization were to fall, men of action will be needed to fight and guard property while men of ideas will be out of a job in a world of ruins. Good luck with trying to carry out experiments with test tubes when cities have been demolished and gutted — not many Silicon Valley-like facilities in Detroit. We saw in the Iraq War that when civilizational order is shattered, people cannot depend on men of ideas for protection and sustenance; before a new order can be established, there is a need for men of action with guns — men willing to kill and die to bring about the basis for a new order.
Doctors do a lot of good, but they cannot be said to be heroes except in extreme cases of medical emergency teams working in crisis zones — war or natural disaster — , but then, they are acting more as rescue teams than as doctor-doctors. In most cases, there is no physical harm to the doctor during a procedure, and doctors are among the most well-paid people in the world. Most people go into medicine to make money and gain social prestige than anything else. Doctors are healers, and all societies — from the most primitive to the most advanced — have their version of the medicine man. Again, to say someone is a healer/medicine man but not a hero doesn’t mean he is less than a hero. Indeed, in some cultures, the healer or medicine man is respected more than the hero/warrior-savior. When we are sick, we contact a healer, not a hero. A hero saves from us from a burning house, but a healers saves us from sickness and disease. And a child is more likely to die from disease than from fire.
We also shouldn’t confuse the hero with the wise-man, sage, or guru. A wise-man, sage, or guru may be indispensable in bringing forth ideas/knowledge or preserving them. His ideas or values may do much good for a community or humanity as a whole, but he functions essentially at the level of theory than practice. Thus, he may spread values and ideals that encourage noble and heroic deeds, but actual heroism belongs to individuals who put those values into practice. Jesus was notable as a man of both theory and action — as were Lawrence of Arabia, Adolf Hitler, and Che Guevara — , though He wasn’t really a hero either in the strict sense(though He laid down a new moral foundation that forever changed the meaning and purpose of heroism). A guru might say, “the noble man risks his life to save a child from a burning fire”, but it is the man who carries out the deed that is the actual hero. (As the saying goes, “it’s easier said than done.” On the other hand, it’s far more difficult to think that which should be said and done, which is why gurus aren’t merely sayers but sayers of what hadn’t been said before.)
To be sure, the guru, wise-man, or sage may suffer and even die for what he believes and expounds, as happened to Socrates. But if he suffers for ideas than for any specific action, he cannot be said to be a hero though he may qualify as a martyr. Suffering for one’s principles alone doesn’t make a hero. In that case, every Christian who suffered under communism would be a hero; every communist who suffered under Nazis would be a hero; every fascist who suffered under liberalism would be a hero. (It should also be noted that a hero isn’t necessarily someone who fights and dies for a cause, i.e. dangerous action isn’t enough. There is an element of personalness in heroism. It’s not enough to be a soldier and shoot a gun or be shot at. Heroism is always relative and depends on the context. So, not every fireman who fights a fire is a hero. It’s the fireman who makes the extra effort at the risk of his own life to save a person. And in wars, medals of honors are given to those who perform acts that go ABOVE AND BEYOND the call of duty. The hero isn’t someone who merely follows orders because he must but someone who does so out of a sense of nobility; in this sense, motive is important in heroism. Just as a person who is forced to apologize isn’t really contrite, a person who is forced to act ‘heroically’ isn’t really heroic. Sometimes, a hero will disobey or go beyond orders to do what he believes is right or necessary.)

Related to but somewhat distinct from the sage, wise-man, and guru is the prophet and visionary. The prophet and the visionary possess higher wisdom or greater truth as do the sage, wise-man, and guru, but the difference is the former tend to be aggressive, imaginative, and eccentric — and even radical or revolutionary. A sage, wise-man, or guru could be original too, but there is an element of received wisdom, preservation and continuation of timeless knowledge, extension of what’s been handed down. Chinese culture has been sage-centric. Though Jewish culture was essentially defined by Rabbinical sages and gurus, there was also the tradition of the Prophets who exclaimed bold new truths, the greatest of them all being Jesus, whose new truth was so alarming and outrageous that it spawned a whole new religion. The other great Prophet was Muhammad who also established a new religion. One crucial difference between sage/guru/wise-man and the prophet/visionary is the former depends more on learning and reason while the latter relies more inspiration/imagination. Muhammad was not particularly well-educated, but visions possessed him to preach a new message to mankind. Jesus, though intelligent and knowledgeable, was not the most learned Jew among His own people. But He was eccentric and one day decided to fast/meditate for forty days and attained a fundamentally new way of understanding/judging humanity.
If the prophet tends toward moral/spiritual truth, the visionary tends toward creative/imaginative expression. Great artists are visionaries. With special talent and reckless ambition, they are able to see/hear/feel beyond the ability of most people. The art they create in literature, music, paintings, and film can expand the horizons of man. Paradoxically, great music makes us feel emotions we didn’t know existed or were even possible, YET it also feels natural and organic, as if flowing out of own souls. (That’s the oddest thing about music. When we listen to Beethoven, we ‘get’ it right away, our emotions stirred in a primal way. Yet, if we turn it off and try to come up with comparable music in our head, we go blank. Great music overwhelms us, becomes us, yet it’s something most of us cannot compose on our own.) Great literature makes us perceive and empathize more deeply. It’s been said Shakespeare’s use of language advanced the very way English speakers communicate and think. He didn’t just write great plays but affected the way people think since words are the very instrument of thought. Bible is valued not only for its morals and narratives but its poetic passages and powerful imagery. Classical Greek culture would be inconceivable without its aesthetic expressions: temples, sculptures, pictures, prose, and drama. When we think of German culture, music comes immediately to mind. Imagine German civilization without Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, etc. The vitality of black culture owes much to blues, jazz, and soul.
Even so, we mustn’t confuse prophets and visionaries with heroes. A prophet or visionary can be a hero but not simply by being a prophet or visionary. Muhammad may have been a great prophet, great leader, and great organizer, but the heroism among Muslims belongs to the individuals under Muhammad who found themselves in specific situations that called for heroic action/sacrifice.
Why doesn’t Jesus qualify as a hero? Wasn’t He courageous? Didn’t He give His life for a higher cause? Wasn’t He tough? Those are all true, but the suffering of Jesus wasn’t active. Rather than Him doing something, He let others do something to Him. He actively chose to suffer and die, but He was passive before the persecution. Also, though He did it to save mankind, it was more in the realm of theory than actuality. If a fireman saves a baby from a fire, he has saved a baby from a fire. But did Jesus really save mankind? That’s a matter of faith, doctrine, and opinion. Christians say He did, non-Christians say He didn’t. Jesus was a prophet, wise-man, and martyr — even a visionary in His creative interpretation of God’s message to Him, though John and Paul were the truly creative agents of Christianity. But Jesus was not a hero.

According to Joseph Campbell, a hero is someone who goes on a ‘journey’ — physical and/or metaphorical —, gains special wisdom or invents an instrument, and bestows upon the larger community his discovery in the form of a gift. Words being what they are, I suppose ‘hero’ can be defined that way too. Thus, Prometheus, the giver of the gift of fire to man, is a hero. In mythical context, I suppose this definition could work, but in the real world, too many people would qualify as a hero under such formulation. After all, there are hundreds of thousands of ‘geeks’ all over the world working on innovative computer codes that do wonders for humanity. Are they all heroes? Also, in his interview with Bill Moyers, Campbell was too generous in the definition of ‘hero’, whereby just about anyone — even a woman giving birth — could qualify. I suspect Campbell wasn’t this mush-headed but felt a need to add some New Age flakery to appeal to the mostly liberal PBS viewers.
The Hero as represented by TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is closer to the Classical Hellenic model than the modern moral one rooted in Judeo-Christian tradition. Though countless movies have featured heroes of extraordinary power, central to their narratives has been the notion that heroes are good(and villains are evil). Morality isn’t as pervasive in Greek mythology(though there are stories of radiant heroes pitted against dark forces). We should also be careful not to confuse the Greek Hero with the modern concept of the anti-hero, where either the ‘good guy’ is depicted in a negative light or the ‘bad guy’ in a positive light. THE WILD BUNCH, with armed robbers as leading characters, has anti-heroes. There’s an element of the anti-hero in Richard Chance(William Petersen), the main character of TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., but on another level, he transcends the modern concepts of the hero and anti-hero because his world is one of constant flux and chaos — psychologically as well as materially. Chance believes the world is one big game, and one has to do whatever’s necessary to win. Thus, rules are less blueprints for moral behavior than tools of manipulation to play the game. The justification of fighting crime gives Chance the chance/opportunity to test the limits of his courage, endurance, and sanity. It’s a way for him to tempt and defy fate.
Similarly, love and sex are games of power in Chance’s world. There are no fixed loyalties and attachments. Legally, it’s the rule of lawyers than the rule of law. And if money and wit can’t ‘fix’ the law, you push the button on a guy. L.A. is a fitful setting for a story about secret service agents on the trail of a counterfeiter. L.A., as the center of movie industry, floods America with counterfeit reality. As a massive city built on arid land, it’s almost a counterfeit city, perhaps one that should never have been. As the power center of illegal immigration, it’s also become synonymous with counterfeit citizenship. And its vast diversity and tensions have created a sense of counterfeit culture. William Friedkin says in the making-of-documentary that the theme of counterfeiting carried metaphorical significance. One could apply it to the 80s, Los Angeles, capitalism, popular culture, corruption, etc. And some film scholars tend to value TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. as an indictment of Reagan-era greed, narcissism, and materialism. (BLADE RUNNER has been evaluated in a similar manner.)
Such attitude is not without validity. TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is indeed about a fleeting world of impermanence. Everything appears and feels fluid, unstable, temporary, disposable, unreliable, Teflon-like. No one seems to be what they are. Our assessments of characters change — sometimes drastically — from scene to scene. Take the first meeting we see between Rick Masters(Willem Dafoe) and the Fearsome Negro. They seem to get along well and understand one another. In their next encounter, they are mortal enemies in one of the most charged moments in the movie. And, if in the first act Chance seems like a high-strung but upright guy, he is later exposed as a borderline psychopath.

However, it’d be simplistic to approach the movie primarily as social critique. It is essentially an action-thriller centered on powerful personalities, and timeless themes lurk beneath the impermanence of things. Paradoxically, the eternal may be most potent in the moment. In Akira Kurosawa’s YOJIMBO, the main character tells a hapless young man to ‘live a long life eating rice gruel’. It’s good advice as people who avoid needless risks and live within their means tend to live longer. But, do we remember ‘most people’ who lead humdrum lives or those who risk everything for glory — even mad glory? A motorcyclist who jumps over 20 buses may be crazy, but he’s aiming for immortality. His act may last less than a minute but earns him a place in the record books. If Achilles had led a long life eating gyros, would Homer have sang praises to him? Would we even know of him(assuming such a person may really have existed)? Or, suppose Friedkin’s movie was not about secret servicemen living on the edge but about ordinary Mexican-Americans working in a tortilla factory in L.A. While there is a need for movies about ‘ordinary’ people — and meaningful truths are revealed by intelligent observation of any life, which is why Hirokazu Kore-eda’s STILL WALKING is a gem — , we tend to remember individuals and events that are ‘different’ and ‘crazy’; and most great things have an element of craziness.
Thus, Chance is not only a maniac who lives for the moment but a Hero who seeks THE moment(of truth) that earns him a piece of immortality(if only in his own mind; this is actually one area where he may be different from Greek Heroes who, though full of self-regard, seek glory for recognition through space and time; Chance, in contrast, is so narcissistic that he himself is audience enough for his feats; as long as he knows, the world doesn’t matter). Given his role as secret serviceman, he’s not out for public fame and glory. Indeed, his greatest feat — taking $50,000 from some guy — will go unknown by virtually everyone but himself and his pushover-partner John Vukovich(John Pankow). But to the extent that he felt one with the gods in a moment of pure mastery against all odds, he has ecstatically entered the pantheon of Heroes. Being a supreme narcissist, he doesn’t even need the eyes and approval of the world. What he’s been seeking above all is self-knowledge, before the eyes of gods, that he has the balls to damn the torpedoes and make the leap to enter their realm, success or fail. He lives for the thrill of the suspense, of putting himself in situations where he can prove, over and over, that he’s made of superior stuff. The great thing about Chance is he’s too busy thrusting forward and aiming for the next shot to be making airy self-conscious poses. With slightly curvy hair and Classic features, he looks like a Greek or neo-Classical sculpture. He looks like Michelangelo’s David in jacket and sunglasses. He knows the prize is in the action, not in the posturing. He doesn’t stand around and mug for the camera — or petulantly act aloof toward it — like Brad Pitt in TROY or Keanu Reeves in MATRIX do. He’s not a Calvin Klein ad. He knows he looks good but doesn’t have to be gayboyish about it. Even after sex, he looks in the mirror for a second, dresses, and moves on.

It’s the tension between the themes of impermanence(slick 80s materialism and culture of consumption/corruption) and themes of immortality(the Hero in search of labors worthy of the gods) that makes TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. such a thrill-ride, so drenching and draining as an emotional experience. Though set in the here-and-now, it’s as if ancient gods are waging bets on the outcome. Though set in L.A., there’s a sense of astrological warfare of heroes and villains etched in the sky. (There is something similar in THE THING by John Carpenter. It is, at once, all about what happens among several men in a corner of the Arctic AND a story whose outcome may decide the fate of mankind as a whole — and maybe the entire universe since The Thing travels virus-like across the stars.)
When I first watched TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. in 1985 — as a freshman in college — , I immediately sensed greatness(and subsequently watched it three or four more times in the theater). I’d been a diehard cinephile since my junior year in highschool and knew something about William Friedkin(mainly as the director of THE FRENCH CONNECTION and THE EXORCIST). I also knew Friedkin’s THE SORCERER had been a major flop, followed by the controversy and pans that accompanied CRUISING(interesting movie but corpse-like, without a pulse, fatal for a suspense thriller). 1985 was also a year or two after the death of Sam Peckinpah, the director of great promise whose career had tragically declined in the 1970s and whose final movie, THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND, was considered an embarrassment even by his staunchest defenders — though I think it’s terrific and no less interesting as an archetypal 80s movie than TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. (If anything, they make for interesting comparisons.) Even before my cinephilia, I’d seen my share of New American Cinema(of the 70s) on TV or at weekly screening at the local library: TAXI DRIVER, FRENCH CONNECTION, STRAW DOGS, EASY RIDER, FIVE EASY PIECES, CHINATOWN, LAST PICTURE SHOW, etc.(This was still a time when many homes didn’t have VCRs, and our family didn’t get one til 1985, and even then, most video rental stores had limited selections.) In my young adult mind, late 60s and early 70s were associated with truth and personality in music(Dylan, Beatles, Stones, Who, Young, etc) and movies(Altman, Peckinpah, Scorsese, Rafelson, Polanski, etc) while late 70s and early 80s were defined by slickness, packaging, and superficiality. Consider the contrast between 70s TV crime shows like COLUMBO-KOJACK-BARETTA-ROCKFORD FILES and something like MIAMI VICE, a big hit of the 80s. While I was never a regular watcher of TV crime dramas, 70s shows at least looked and felt like stories about real people in the real world. MIAMI VICE, the brainchild of Mr. Slick Michael Mann, was pure surface. I watched half an episode in the college lounge and that was enough. Whether it was MTV, MIAMI VICE, MORNING IN AMERICA, MICHAEL JACKSON, ROCKY SEQUELS, TOP GUN, TEENAGE SEX COMEDIES, or the APPLE 1984 ad, nothing seemed real in the first half of the 80s. Everything seemed part of some hype or tripe.
Maybe, this is what the nation wanted(and even needed)after the Nixon scandals, Counterculture hangover, defeat in Vietnam, Stagflation, implosion of Carter presidency(especially with the Iranian Hostage Crisis), and Disco(which, though slick and feel-good, was too tacky and niggoty — ‘niggerishly faggoty’), but they all seemed ‘bogus’. To be sure, I had my share of 80s favorites — Madonna’s first two albums, Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “Time after Time”, David Bowie’s LET’S DANCE, etc —, and I had to admit there was a mood of optimism, fun, and good feelings in the air — even the ridiculous “Dancing in the Streets” music video with Bowie and Jagger made us smile. (And from today’s perspective, the 80s could be seen as the last golden age of White America and American conservatism. Reagan had leadership skills, there were shifts toward the New Economy, US was on firm footing to win the Cold War, conservatives were winning the economic argument — winning bulk of Nobel prizes in economics —, and there was a resurgence of patriotism. Ironically however, liberals, being more intelligent in elite circles, were better able to put the New Economy into good use. Since most Jews are liberal, and Jews are smarter, they were able to better apply the laws of ‘free markets’ and ‘creative destruction’. Thus, liberal Jews and liberal Wasps, by using Reaganomics, raked in even more money than under earlier economic arrangements. With all that money, the New Liberals maintained the economic system of Reaganomics — if anything, extended through Clintonomics — while using their vast fortunes to push for liberal social/cultural/legal takeover of all institutions of American politics and life. Thus, people like Sergey Brin, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Michael Bloomberg, and Mark Zuckerberg are the economic practitioners/beneficiaries of Reaganomics but use their vast powers and resources to push cultural McGovernism and legal Elena-Kaganism.)

80s were also the decade of neo-suburbia-ism, perhaps best exemplified by Steven Spielberg’s CLOSE ENCOUNTERS(a 1977 movie that heralded the new optimism) and E.T. They celebrated suburban life without apology. Suburbs meant safe houses, loving families, good friends, clean air, few or no Negroes, and proximity to nature(where you could see some stars in the night sky). Of course, suburbia-ism had been a part of American lore for long time. Who among the ethnic populations crammed into urban tenement housing in the 1920s and 30s didn’t dream of owning their own home in the suburbs? And this dream became even more urgent with the rise of Negro numbers in cities. Negroes taking over the city meant more crime, more headache, and worse schools. Even Negroes entertained notions of moving away from crazy Negroes and being accepted in mainstream America. Take RAISIN IN THE SUN. (The problem of Negroes moving to the suburbs is that middle class whites will no longer have any place to run to. Negroes ruin cities, and so whites flee to the suburbs. But what happens when Negroes move into the suburbs as well? At least the family in RAISIN IN THE SUN made and saved their own money and stayed together as a family, but what about all those awful Negroes who act more like apes than humans? Since they cannot earn, save, and purchase things on their own, Big Government spends white tax dollars to fund black movement into white areas. Imagine that: Big Government is taking your white money and using it to send savage blacks to destroy your neighborhood. If whites cannot flee from blacks, there is only one way left to resist the Negro, and that is guns and more guns. So, the shaming of George Zimmerman — for the killing of trashy Trayvon Martin — is a means to take away even the white man’s hope of defending his home and family from disgusting Negroes. This is what the hideous Jews and disgusting Negroes are doing to white people.) Whatever one feels about Negroes, RAISIN IN THE SUN makes for compelling if didactic drama with big emotions.

After the Depression and WWII, it was the dream of many Americans to own their own homes in the suburbs, especially since they planned to have children. City streets with lots of noise, fast cars, criminals, thugs, and trash weren’t the safest places for children(though it can be a real learning experience in matters of ‘survival’). Many 50s TV shows were about happy life in the suburbs, and such shows never lost their popularity, with THE BRADY BUNCH in the early 70s and THE COSBIES and FAMILY TIES in the 80s. (Maybe it finally died with the vile filth of THE SIMPSONS and FAMILY GUY, though one could argue KING OF THE HILL carries on the pro-suburban-family tradition.) Even so, anti-suburbia-ism took hold beginning in the mid-60s. As American politics and culture became radicalized and combative, intellectuals-activists-artists came to see the suburbs as the bastion of white power, white blandness, social conformity, women-in-neo-traditional-lives-as-consumerist-stepford-wives, crass materialism, non-commitment, historical amnesia(in the bubble of stability and comfort), complacency and apathy, and/or quiet desperation(as portrayed in THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE where the Jewish hag Betty Friedan compared her own lot as mother/wife as Holocaust victim and in THE GRADUATE where Benjamin Braddock sinks into mind-numbing boredom and where Mrs. Robinson drowns her neurosis with alcohol and promiscuity). White people in the suburbs seem to have hidden(or hidden under the rug) than really escaped from the real problems of the world, not least in their own nation. By moving to some safe place in the suburbs, they could ignore the problems of urban poverty and crime among Negroes. They could just turn off the TV if they didn’t wanna be reminded of the war in Vietnam. In the quietude of the suburbs, people could focus on work, family, and personal hobbies than care about ‘real issues’. And if they were bored with the white picket fence sensibility of make-believe small-town life, the city was never too far away and there was always shopping. They could have the cake and eat it too, made possible by universal ownership of cars and cheap gas. They could go to the cities for work and night life but leave behind and ignore many of its myriad problems related to race, corruption, and poverty. Thus, suburbia wasn’t real. It was regarded as a form of white escapism.

Thus, the much of Sixties culture came to be defined by cities, college campuses, and nature, all of which were defined and set in opposition to the suburbs. Cities were where things were happening, with street protests, revolutionary crime of the have-nots taking vengeance on the haves, hot debates at café societies, the flowering of underground bookstores, avant-garde communities — some of them gay —, and film festivals. College campuses became hotbeds of ‘dissent’, rebellion, and crisis. Though(or precisely because) many students came from the suburbs — and though many college campuses were located in idyllic settings — , many students and some of the staff came to see colleges as the intellectual, cultural, and political flagships for a new radical movement for a radical transformation of America.
There was also the allure of nature. Some counterculture people didn’t go for radical politics and were burnt out by the noises and tensions of the city. With the rise of country rock in the late 60s and early 70s, there was the idea of going back to the Garden, with Woodstock being its crowning moment. Of course, talk is cheap. Many counterculture folks who settled in communes or traveled around ‘freely’ in vans(to see America and touch Indians who probably didn’t want to be touched)would, in time, crawl back to their suburban homes and borrow money from their parents to finish school to find a real job.

But as time changed, a neo-suburbia-ism took hold of American society. For one thing, most people in cities were not radicals, creative personalities, or rich. Rich people lived in safe affluent parts of the city and went to best restaurants, haute parties, operas, and cultural events. Not only was the average city-person not rich but he had little interest in ‘culture’. So, whatever the cultural Zeitgeist may have been, many normal people in the city wanted to move to the suburbs — and the government drive toward greater racial integration in the city made them move away even faster. (In time, many working class and middle class white folks moved to the suburbs, and cities became the place for gays, young professionals without kids, the very rich, the creative types, etc. Since urban elites maintained control of the brain centers of America, TV shows and books consumed by suburbanites made them more urban/liberal in their outlook. Small town conservatives don’t write books that are read by millions. Even small town people read books and watch movies by urban elites. And paradoxically, it’s the safety of the white suburbs that allowed so many white suburban kids to become liberal. In their safe world, they could afford to feel ‘generous’ and ‘liberal’, not least because their knowledge of Negroes came from PBS documentaries by Ken Burns and stuff like GREEN MILE from Hollywood. And Rap culture, from a safe distance, may seem more fun than dangerous. White kids growing up in safe white communities may think that the biggest evil in the world is some ‘popular white male jerk’ at school, and they may even imagine themselves as being soul-brothers with the ‘oppressed’ and ‘noble’ Negroes. And most parents who fled to the suburbs for racial reasons don’t tell their children the truth since it’s humiliating, especially for a white male to admit — “I ran like a chicken from bigger and stronger Negroes” — and because most white people, parents and children, have been brainwashed to think ‘racism’ is the greatest sin. So, white people run from Negroes but dare not say what they really did and why. It be too ‘racist’ in a society where we are supposed to take on faith that MLK was some great man and that most Negroes be magical. With great power amassed through the New Economy, the neo-urban elites also gained control of government to demolish housing projects in the city and drive out the Negroes to suburbs and small towns. Almost all major news organizations feed the urban-elite-centric views on all of America, which is hardly surprising since all the organizations are based in big cities. For there to be a more viable form of white interest, there has to be a way to connect white suburbs directly with white small towns and then to surround the cities. That way, the city will be seen less as the sun radiating truth/progress than as a cancerous tumor that must be isolated and resisted.)
Cities became less important with the rise of mega-mall culture. If in the early days of suburbia, suburbanites lived in the cities but had to drive to the urban core(downtown) to buy stuff and enjoy culture, the coming of the megamall allowed suburbanites to stay put and shop in their own communities. And since megamalls had giant theaters, what need to go to the city to see movies? If anything, given the unruly behavior of wild Negroes in city theaters, some city folks went to the suburbs to see movies. As time passed, more corporate headquarters and factories also relocated in the suburbs so that people didn’t have to commute to the city. In some cases, there were more city people commuting to jobs in the suburbs than vice versa. And the development of VCR made it yet more convenient for a person to enjoy culture and entertainment in one’s own home. Prior to the VCR, the only way to see an Foreign/Art Film was to go to the city. As for ‘dirty old men’ in raincoats, the porn houses were also in cities. But once video-stores popped up in just about every corner all over America, one could stay home and watch all kinds of stuff.

The back-to-nature idealism of the 60s failed. 300,000 hippies didn’t recreate Eden but a ‘nation’ of mud and feces at Woodstock. Hippies in communes discovered they had to really work to grow food. But why go through all that trouble when a loaf of bread is 50 cents in America? Besides, eking out a living on the land didn’t even produce enough profit to buy Grateful Dead albums and pot(or even toilet paper). Also, all that disco-gay stuff in the late 70s gave cities a bad rap. With gays acting wild/funky and with Negroes acting fruity, it made both groups look awful stupid. And with industrial decline and rise of service jobs at megamalls and the like, suburbs became more important. The fading of disco and the rise of Spielbergian blockbusters signaled the cultural direction of America. Some called it the New Conservatism, but it wasn’t really. It was less a victory/triumph of conservatives than of the liberal boomer generation and their children appropriating the social and economic benefits of conservatism. Thus, the fact that Steve Jobs settled into suburban life doesn’t mean he became a political conservative. And the same applies to George Lucas. If anything, more of a conservative instinct can be found in the urban cinema of Martin Scorsese because he grew up in a world where one had to be tribal and tough to survive(at least if one’s background wasn’t privileged). Scorsese grew up in a place where one couldn’t be complacent, where one had to be toughened up. Though conservatism is often identified with complacency and apathy — and not without justification, given the mind-numbing sensibility that defines Nashville — , a true conservative is something of a ‘paranoid’(which is why Jews, for all their political and cultural liberalism, are conservative-at-heart at least in their ‘paranoia’ about hostile forces and in their drive for Jewish survival/power/control). Though the complacency of the suburbs could serve as a cushion for conservative values, it could just as easily function as the springboard for liberal fantasies of do-goodiness. If Spielberg had spent time in the mean streets and seen Negroes for what they’re really worth, he wouldn’t be such a pushover for the Magic Negro B.S. Some of the most naive, well-meaning, do-goody, and dingle-berry-ish people come from the suburbs. During 2008, there were lots of affluent suburbs where white folks who don’t have to deal with real problems related to ‘race’ indulged in their fantasies of the Obama presidency as a messianic redemption of America, as if American history henceforth would unfold according to the script of the latest Ken Burns documentary. A hard-nosed white working class city person(without the benefits of social privilege)may have voted for Obama too but more for pragmatic reasons. Suburban liberals, in contrast, live in their own bubble of haute political correctness and Oprah faith. They enjoy the privilege of choosing to believe the tripe that they do; they are acting not in the spirit of survival or necessity but niceness and naivete. (And for some suburbanites, there’s the sense of inferiority complex. Though well-educated and liberal, the fact that they chose to live in the suburbs make them feel kinda ‘conservative’ and ‘lame’, and so they compensate by politically being even more liberal than urban dwellers.)
The mega-mall-ization of culture probably accounts for the trivialization of ‘progressivism’. If in the past, Progressivism meant struggling for basic rights and fundamental liberties — and protections under the law —, ‘progressivism’ today amounts to ‘gay marriage’ and ‘slut walks’. And when gay culture was being defined in urban centers, homos weren’t into stuff like ‘gay marriage’. ‘Gay marriage’, aka ‘same-sex marriage’— as if anyone other than homos would go for such a thing — , became more of an issue with the suburban-ization of gay culture. Gay culture went from ‘we stand for our right to be different’ to ‘we wanna play gay-father-knows-best.’ And the suburban-ization of Jews and Jewish culture also made Jewish power more potent and dangerous. In a way, there’s a link between Saul Alinsky and Steven Spielberg. When Jews were mostly urban, they were distrusted by whites as urban radicals and dissenters. But as Jews became suburbanized, their radicalism took on the appearance of Americana.
Alinsky came to understand that a bunch of urban radicals could not overturn American society and values. Radicals had to join the mainstream and masquerade as bonafide middle class folks. Apple pie and all that. Don’t burn the flag but wrap it around radical ideas. Where would Jewish power and Obama be if they’d burned the American flag? Jews took over the bastions of American power and wrapped the flag around the gay agenda and Obama, the symbol of interracism. Obama, though a black ideologue, channeled (the style of) Reagan than Malcolm X — indeed more JFK than MLK. If Jews say ‘Obama is the One’, he’s the one. If Jews say, ‘gays should get married’, Jews get married. If Jews say , ‘wars for Israel’, we have dead gentile soldiers in the Middle East.
Anyway, Spielberg is all the more dangerous because he’s a suburbia-Jew, therefore mistaken by many people as Apple Pie, Norman Rockwell, and all that. In fact, when it comes to social/political policy, Spielberg is an interracist who wants every white woman to have children with Negro men. Spielberg believes dumb white goy men should die in wars for the sake of Israel. Spielberg wants open borders to bring in tens of millions of non-whites into EU and US to destroy white power and so that Jews can divide-and-rule over whites. This isn’t to suggest that Spielberg plotted since childhood to pull a Saul Alinsky trick on America. I highly doubt if Spielberg even read Alinsky or showed great interest in radical politics of any kind. I believe Spielberg is sincere in his convictions and thinks he’s doing the right thing. Even so, having grown up as a Jew, he has Jewish issues and a Jewish consciousness, which says Jews must on the lookout for gentile power. Since whites constitute the biggest block of gentile power in America, Spielberg, as a Jew, naturally works with other Jews for the interest of Jewish power. Not because he’s a secret radical but because being a Jew, he thinks and acts like a Jew. The point is Spielberg, like Oprah, is far more dangerous than someone like Oliver Stone because so many Americans, conservatives included, tend to see people like Spielberg and Oprah as ‘mainstream Americans’. Oliver Stone, in contrast, is combative in movies like JFK and NATURAL BORN KILLERS. Whether one admires or despises Stone, he is what he is. He’s a man of the Left with an anti-American bent(though Stone, with certain right-wing tendencies and instincts, flirts with aspects of fascism) and makes no apologies for it. Therefore, conservative and patriotic Americans naturally feel on guard when they see a Stone film. But when one watches a Spielberg movie, one’s defenses melt because it’s supposed to so mainstream, family-oriented, and wonderful. But watch carefully, and Spielberg’s movies have an element of subconscious Alinsky-ism. Though Spielberg grew up in the heart of suburbia, his Jewish upbringing, values, agendas, neurosis, intelligence, personality, fears, resentments, and sense of superiority-in-wits-and-inferiority-in-physique makes him no less a Jewish personality than Woody Allen. Spielberg is a superb filmmaker and his movies may seem as American as apple pie, but they are infected with the Jewish strain of virus that will undermine the defenses of white Americans against the vile and virulent agenda of the hideous Jews. Given the brilliance and originality of Jews, one ignores Jewish ideas and cultures at his own peril. All people must learn from Jews. But Jewish ideas, values, and agenda must be met with a critical, skeptical, and adversarial eye. Even when Jewish stuff is pleasing, we must ask ‘what is it really doing to our defense system?’ It’s like ice cream tastes good, but all that sugar and fat aren’t doing much good for our bodies. If some Jews attack White America with the Culture of Critique, other Jews — like Spielberg — fool White America with the Culture of Mystique. Culture-of-Critique-Jews alter the way we think. Culture-of-Mystique-Jews(who have ownership of entertainment and mythmaking industries)control or change the way we feel. How did so many Americans become so pro-gay so fast? It’s because the Jewish Culture of Mystique through TV, music, and movies elevated gays into saintly figures.
TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. immediately impressed me as something special and different. William Friedkin, the great Jewish-American director of the NY scene in THE FRENCH CONNECTION — a gritty grimy rough-textured movie about cops pursuing drug dealers — made a movie about L.A. of the 80s. Geographically, culturally, and politically, the two couldn’t be more different. East Coast and West Coast. The world of skyscrapers, subways, & crammed communities as opposed to the world of sprawl, endless roads, and sunshine. The early 70s of THE FRENCH CONNECTION era was politically divided — Nixon and the Silent Majority, seemingly unending war in Vietnam, street clashes, etc — , whereas the mid-80s was a time when the vast majority of Americans felt a renewed sense of pride and stability under Reagan’s presidency. Could a director who made his name as member of New American Cinema in the early 70s pull it off again in the mid-80s when the movie business and culture as a whole had changed so drastically? When he hadn’t had a hit in over a decade? When so many of his peers from the 70s had faded or burned out? On its surface, TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA sounds like a movie Michael Mann was born to make, and indeed some critics suspected that the project got approval precisely because MIAMI HEAT was a huge success. So why not update THE FRENCH CONNECTION in the slick 80s style of MIAMI VICE?
Yet, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is special because it is, at once, an 80s and a counter-80s movie. It has the slick counterfeit packaging of the 80s look but there’s a lot more happening inside the box. This is quite evident when we compare it to another movie that was released around the same time: MANHUNTER by Michael Mann himself and also starring William Petersen. Mann’s movie is pure 80s aesthetics — slick, soulless, sterile, plastic, narcissistic. Petersen’s character struts around more like a fashion model than a character. It’s yuppie-industrial-design noir. Characters’ psychologies seem lit with halogen lamps. People sit or stand around like fashionable objects at the museum of contemporary art. It’s filmmaking as interior design. In any given scene, we are more apt to pay attention to furniture and fashion than character or action. It’s not awful but amounts to little more than an 80s cultural artifact — like FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF. But I feel now as did then that TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., though steeped in the fashions of its time, also transcends them. It immediately struck me as an instant classic and now like a timeless one. It was amazingly made for only $6 million, and though it broke even, it grossed only $17 million. But why should this be surprising? It would made a lot more if it were indeed MIAMI VICE for the big screen(and maybe Tony Scott of TOP GUN fame could have delivered such a movie). It wasn’t, and many viewers just didn’t get it, and word of mouth essentially killed it.
Also, if moviegoers in the early 70s had a knack for something different — and of course, given the new freedoms in sex and violence, things appeared and felt newer then — , most movie audiences settled for formula in the 80s. TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. had the surface appearance of formula, but the underlying complexities and contradictions confounded a lot of viewers; it also didn’t help that the lead character is killed at the end(but then the not-exactly-happy ending of THE FRENCH CONNECTION didn’t hurt its box office numbers). TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. may have suffered commercially and critically for the same reason that people underappreciated the Beach Boy’s PET SOUNDS. Fans of 70s Friedkin thought he sold out and succumbed to antiseptic 80s aesthetics while 80s moviegoers thought the movie didn’t deliver the goods — the sort of blast one got from DIRTY HARRY movies, ROCKY sequels, and TOP GUN. Of course, it had its defenders. Roger Ebert, usually an idiot, rated it 4 stars(though the fool didn’t even include it in his top 10 of the year list). Andrew Sarris of the Village Voice chose it as the third best movie of the year(while another critic at the Voice, David Edelstein chose it as one of the worst). Sadly, it may have been Friedkin’s last hurrah. His next movie THE GUARDIAN was awful, and JADE was jaded. I think it’s fair to say Friedkin has been an immensely gifted director who succeeded or failed depending on the promise of the material and the quality of the script. Some directors can make interesting movies even out of bad scripts; Friedkin doesn’t have such powers of exorcism.
What exactly constitutes 80s pop-cultural aesthetics, and how did it come about? To what extent was it an outgrowth of earlier aesthetics and to what an extent a rejection/rebellion. Was it essentially revolutionary or reactionary? Can we discern a logical evolution of culture from the 1950s to 1980s? Or were there cultural mutations along the way that led to decisive breaks? Was American culture after WWII essentially elite-driven, populist-driven, or industry-driven? And then, what about the racial, sexual, political, and spiritual aspects?
For starters, we need to be cautious about associating the 80s too closely with Reagan. We’ve all heard the term Reagan 80s, the Reagan Era, the Age of Reagan, etc. Also, Reagan, with his cheerful disposition and infectious optimism, could make people of all political convictions feel that he was a part of their lives and vice versa. Had Pat Buchanan been President in the 80s, the contrast between political conservatism and cultural liberalism/decadence would have been more stark. But because of Reagan’s easy style, one could confuse MTV, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Spielberg movies, Oprah Winfrey, and etc as all part of the Reagan 80s culture. There seemed nothing odd about Reagan being friends with the Beach Boys or inviting Michael Jackson to the White House.
To the extent that the mood of the 80s tended to be upbeat and entertainers pandered to that sensibility, one could argue that they were all partaking of the 80s as defined by Reagan. But the opposite was also true. Whatever Reagan’s personal views on culture and morality, he’d spent his life as a politician first and foremost. Even in Hollywood, he was a better organizer than actor. Reagan may not have liked the pop cultural landscape of the 80s. Having worked in Hollywood around guys like John Wayne and Errol Flynn, Reagan very possibly didn’t much care for Stallone’s excessively violent movies. And I doubt if Reagan was a fan of Rock music. As governor of California, he once remarked that hippies smell like Tarzan. But as a professional politician who learned to read the mood of the times and pander to the Zeitgeist, Reagan chose not to play the culture warrior. As long as MTV was making kids feel happy, it could happily co-exist and even be coopted by Reaganism. Reagan also made a remark about Rambo in relation to the Cold War. Reagan understood that American politics/culture allows conservatives to find and fight foreign villains but not domestic bad guys — except in the most generic way. For example, American conservatives can vilify Russkies, Vietnamese, Muslims, and others abroad, but they must not antagonistically touch on race or ethnicity IN America. Conservatives can badmouth liberals in the most generic sense but never touch Jews, blacks, or gays. In contrast, liberals can attack not only foreign enemies but domestic enemies based on race — white people/power but especially white males. Jews and blacks can say anything they want to about white people, Catholics, Christians, and conservatives. If they say white conservatives are closet-Nazis, that’s okay too. But if white conservatives dare say anything about Jewish supremacy or black savagery, they are condemned as ‘divisive’, ‘rabid’, and ‘virulent’(since liberals control the media and academia). And if conservatives associate liberals with communists, that’s ‘McCarthyite red-baiting’. How could liberal get away with such double standards? One reason was the particular history of America. Given white power and privilege through much of its history(as well as racial oppression of blacks and other groups), naturally greater moral burden was placed on the shoulders of whites, not least because white privilege and power seemed to be so deeply entrenched. Since whites were not supposed to be angry — at least not against domestic enemies and rivals — , they had to be more accommodating to different points of view. (Because conservatism is considered to be narrow-minded while liberalism is said to be open-minded, there’s greater pressure on conservatives to be tolerant of their enemies whereas liberals feel no such reciprocity toward conservatives since liberalism is thought to be tolerance itself. There is some truth to this, traditionally speaking. Liberals admit to some intolerance but they call it intolerance of intolerance in the name of tolerance. There is some validity to this view as well. After all, for there to be racial equality before the law, the nation as a whole couldn’t tolerate the system of racial segregation in the South. For there to be equal rights for women, US cannot tolerate a culture that condones systematic subjugation of women, such as denying education to girls. And indeed, conservatives themselves oppose things like Sharia and Muslim women wearing veils in Western nations in the name of supporting Western values of tolerance against Islamic Intolerance. And Ann Coulter said US should invade the Middle East and forcibly spread our Culture of Tolerance on intolerant Muslims who deny rights to Christians and women — one thing for sure, Hussein was nicer to Iraqi Christians than current ruling powers in Iraq are. No form of tolerance can be 100% tolerant for tolerance only works within a certain system of rules and values. Thus, for tolerance to prevail, certain things cannot be tolerated, at least in their manifestation as action. The problem is when liberal tolerance not only bans certain acts but certain views and ideas. If laws denying equal rights for Jews in a local community cannot be tolerated by a tolerant nation, speech explaining why Jews should be denied rights should be tolerated because it’s in the realm of ideas, and ideas exist to raise questions. To be sure, there is no clear dividing line between ideas and actions, or between theory and practice. Ideas often lead to — and are meant to lead to — action. But without freedom of ideas, there can’t be free thinking, free discourse, and free society. When liberalism went from fighting for a free society to formulating a correct society, it overstepped the bounds of combating intolerance for the sake of tolerance. It has become, in and of itself, a force of intolerance. Also, when whites were secure in their power and interests, it made sense to be protective of non-white minorities. But as whites face demographic doom in their own native lands, there’s no moral justification to deny them the right to devise and implement actions for the survival of their race on land that is sacred to their historical and biological memory.) American conservatives were restrained from attacking domestic enemies for another reason: Jewish power. Jews controlled the media and would have crushed any conservative giving off the faintest whiff of neo-McCarthyism. Remember that Joseph McCarthy’s sin was not anti-communism per se — the Kennedies opposed international communism too — but that he went after communists INSIDE America, many of whom happened to be Jewish. Jews are very tribal; even when leftist Jews come under suspicion for loyalty, almost all Jews — with a few exceptions — unite and circle the wagons. Since Jews have long controlled the media and associated conservative attacks on domestic enemies as neo-McCarthyism(or closet-anti-Jewishness), Reagan conservatives fixated on foreign enemies than on domestic ones(who proved to be far more dangerous). Also, with substantial number of Jews having voted for Reagan in 1980 — at the time, I was in 8th grade in a substantially Jewish grammar school, and something like 80% of my Jewish classmates voted for Reagan in a mock election, whereas I voted for Carter — , the hope among conservatives was that the rich, talented, and historically anointed Jews would finally come over to the GOP. Since many neocons had been leftist Jews — and were still radical by temperament if not ideology — , people like Reagan were very careful not to offend them in any way(not least because neocons, though critical of liberal Jews, joined the GOP mainly for Jewish interests and often sided with liberal Jews against gentile conservatives if it served the Jewish agenda.) And though Reagan had vehemently opposed the forces of Counterculture in the 60s and early 70s, he knew that much of the socio-cultural changes was irreversible(just as conservatives in the 1950s had to make peace with Social Security and some other New Deal programs). Reagan may have been staunchly hardline on the Cold War — though he did mellow over the yrs, especially with the arrival of Gorbachev, but I wonder if Reagan’s change of policy had something to do with the Iran-Contra Affair, whereupon the unspoken agreement between Reagan and his liberal/Democratic enemies may have been he would be spared the fate of Richard Nixon IF he made greater overtures to the Soviets and brokered an end to the Cold War — , but he was remarkably friendly, at least outwardly, to all sides in America. Reagan was no fan of the gay agenda(and was accused of not having done enough about the AIDS pandemic), but he didn’t voice anti-gay opinions. Reagan wasn’t crazy about Negroes but expressed no anti-black sentiments and pushed no anti-black policy. Reagan disliked feminists but didn’t instigate a fight with them. Instead, Reagan focused on the vague enemy called liberals and spoke of the injustice of excessive taxation, something most Americans could agree with. He won 1984 election by a landslide by lying that he would not raise taxes whereas Mondale got clobbered for having spoken the truth: taxes would have to be raised to sustain current budgets(especially given the massive military expenditures and the failure to rein in the welfare state). Reagan understood politics and thus gave the impression that he was either a friend or not-necessarily-an-enemy to all sides. This infuriated some liberals who wished Reagan would show his true reactionary face, thereby awakening Americans to the fact that they were being ruled by a stodgy old ‘fascist’. (Similarly, conservatives have a special hatred for Clinton and Obama for their political savvy in coming across as normal, non-combative, and mainstream while hiding their personal convictions that may be more radical.) But it infuriated some conservatives too. Though Pat Buchanan admired Reagan, he was frustrated by the fact that while Reaganism was winning the political/economic war, it was losing the cultural one, not least because the style of Reaganism was to like and be liked by everyone and pretend that, deep down inside, we are all good Americans. Buchanan was right to focus on the Culture War, but his own style and rhetoric were counterproductive and proved disastrous in 1992. While it’s true that his speech initially fired up a lot of people and the bad rap came only with the concerted media campaign to smear him, he should have known what would happen if he gave such a speech(and not least because he’d been working in the media for over two decades and intimately understood what happens in news rooms). The problem was not the passion, wit, and conviction — which were all admirable. The problem was in the way he vilified certain groups and peoples. He could have opposed radical gay agenda without emotionally conveying the sense that gays are somehow less than human. He could have spoken up for jobs without trashing every aspect of environmentalism, which had done much good for the preservation of natural beauty and clean air. And on the matter of the Culture War, Buchanan manhandled issues as if it was all a matter of the heart(or more like the gut); there was precious little room for thought. You were either ‘one of us’ or ‘the enemy’, thereby polarizing the election of 1992 — when Clinton and Perot were cleverly doing the opposite to win over the middle. Buchanan, knowing that he is a divisive figure and a magnet for liberal hatred dominant in the media, should have been more politically savvy than culturally vindictive, but he used the convention as a bully pulpit and fell right into the liberals’ trap — or liberals found a useful trap fallen on their lap. Buchanan didn’t understand what Reagan understood. There was no going back to the 50s. For conservatism to survive and thrive, it had to be organic: grow, change, and morph, all the while remaining true to its basic principles of freedom, liberty, morality, and responsibility. Buchanan’s speech sounded contradictory: he spoke of freedom but then indicated that America is “God’s Country”, as if people who didn’t share Judeo-Christian values don’t really belong. For secular rightists such as myself, the speech was both powerful/courageous and reckless/stupid. Had Buchanan conveyed his basic values with more political savvy ala Reagan, he could have done a great favor for George Bush. Instead, he gave the media a field day to brown-bait — ‘brown’ referring to Brown Shirts — him as a Nazi, and it must be said there was an element of Hitlerism that was both riveting(Der Fuhrer was a spellbinding orator) and repulsive(bullying, contemptuous, and hostile). There was and shall always be a need for such speeches, but Buchanan should have known it would be counterproductive as a political convention speech — no less than Goldwater’s was in 64. It was a bad year for Bush in 92, but Buchanan’s reckless antics sealed Clinton’s victory.
For hard conservatives, Buchanan may have been exciting at the 1992 convention as Farrakhan or Sharpton is to blacks, but the impression the speech gave to many Middle Americans was the GOP was the den of piggish volks with pitchforks. Passion sells in politics but not rage/anger/hostility — except in times of great social duress, which is why Hitler came to power during the very worst of times.
The advantage and weakness of Reaganism derived from its sunniness. It was positive conservatism than negative conservatism, a conservatism of affirmation than confrontation, which won over a lot of people, including independents and some liberals. And many liberals who opposed it didn’t really hate or fear it. I recall many of my peers in college liked Reagan because he made them feel good as Americans and wasn’t judgmental. Whatever Reagan’s personal mores, he wasn’t someone preaching against rock music or frat parties. Indeed, rock-and-youth culture, which developed as an anti-conservative force, had been appropriated even by conservatives as part of consumer-capitalistism. It didn’t have to be confrontational or rebellious; it could make one feel comfortably numb. Thus, Reagan could claim to be a friend of the Beach Boys and even admonish James Watt for associating the band with drugs. For many young people, Reagan was like a doting and understanding grandfather who, while having grown up in different times and with different values, had great affection for grandkids. He was like a mellowed John Wayne who shook your hand and kissed babies than a red meat Duke that got into saloon brawls or gunfights — Reagan reserved such hostility only to foreign enemies, like Soviet commies and Gaddafi. There was the sunny Wayne and dark Wayne, and Reagan embodied the Wayne that won the Oscar for TRUE GRIT, a movie where he becomes chummy with some young girl. Buchanan channeled the dark Wayne of movies like RED RIVER and especially THE SEARCHERS. Buchanan may have been truer, but he played rash and stupid politics at the convention in 1992.
Reagan’s sunshine conservatism lasted as long as the economy was humming and the Cold War was coming to an end. But the vulnerability of sunshine conservatism was it lacked core convictions and sufficient passion to carry it through new battles to follow the end of the Cold War. And so, Reagan’s sunshine conservatism was soon overshadowed by neoconservatism that, as essentially a variant of Zionism and neo-liberalism, sought new global enemies in the creation of the NWO, and by populist & traditional conservatism as reflected by Ross Perot and Patrick Buchanan. Perotism essentially revolved around an eccentric personality that proved unstable, and Buchananism proved too simple-minded, thick-skulled, and angry to form a coherent/appealing movement. Though Buchanan was right to reach out to ‘conservatives of the heart’, he should have known that the heads control the hearts than vice versa. Buchanan may have won the respect of working class white people, but they were not going to control the think tanks, media, finance, technology, entertainment, and new economy. Populism appeals to the unwashed, but they don’t lead or control politics; it were born to follow. Buchanan may have been willing to lead, but there weren’t many top-notch people in his movement. Though Buchanan himself is intelligent and knowledgeable, his personality and narrow outlook rendered many of his views rigid and dogmatic(and tribally opportunistic in the worst way, as evinced by the dreadful UNNECESSARY WAR that blames Poles more than Germans for WWII). Thus, one could either be with him or against him; there was no middle ground with Buchanan. (Though Buchanan’s opposition to NAFTA, ‘free trade’, and foreign interventionism did win him some uneasy allies among independents and the left, his firm cultural conservatism rooted in Christian Right/Conservative Catholic cult-of-willful-ignorance-as-higher-virtue made it difficult even for modern conservatives to agree with many of his views. Blogger Named Ernest calls Buchanan the ‘last reasonable man’, but how reasonable is Creationism? How reasonable is defending universalist Catholicism while also braying as a racial warrior?) Also, many were attracted to Buchananism for its negativism than its positivism. Though Buchanan is an anti-Darwinian Catholic, many white nationalist types(who reject God and have biological explanations for everything)have gravitated to Buchanan for his anti-Jewish, anti-black, and anti-gay rhetoric. Negativism is only half of a culture war. The other half has to be for something, but what Buchanan is for — return to 1950s social/cultural orthodoxy — is unacceptable to most modern conservatives. And Buchanan seems never to have understood that his personal moral/spiritual convictions as a traditional Catholic should be kept apart from American democratic politics, which was designed to be secular and legalistic. And as an opponent of free speech/expression who has supported censorship of sacrilegious expression — such as Rushdie’s SATANIC VERSES — and the blacklisting of radical leftists in the 1950s, it’s rather ironic that Buchanan gripes about MSNBC’s ‘blacklisting’ of him. If a news organization had fired someone because he’s gay in the 1960s, would Buchanan have supported the gay guy’s rights? The reason why Ron Paul appeals to many more young people is because there is a core of principles with Paul that have remained consistent over the years. Agree or disagree with Paul, you know he’s a man of principles. Buchanan has convictions but no principles. Not only was his book UNNECESSARY WAR an exercise in bad faith and twisted logic(as an apologia for Hitler), Buchanan’s concept of freedom makes no sense. He gripes about how Christians are denied rights but has invoked ‘community standards’ and ‘tradition’ to silence or deny rights to people he doesn’t like. He’s valuable as a critic of the overwhelming power of the liberal/Jewish establishment — for what he’s against than what he is for — , but his vision of America’s future is hampered by a shortsightedness that essentially says “the future is scary, so let’s just walk backwards.” Even so, in terms of power and influence, Buchanan’s been a marginal player at best in the American conservative movement. The main failures of the movement has to be blamed on Reagan, Bush, Wasp elites, Neoconservatives, neo-liberal libertarians, Christian Right dummies, white nationalist morons(who tend to be stuck in white supremacist mode than ‘race realist’ mode; though they are quick to say whites are smarter than blacks, they don’t have the guts to admit blacks are physically tougher/stronger than whites and THAT fact is the biggest danger to the white race), and etc. A movement that elects George W. Bush to be President, worships Jews when Jews piss on conservatives, and embraces Mel Gibson’s PASSION OF THE CHRIST as the greatest conservative work of art in the last 50 yrs doesn’t have much of a future. It doesn’t rely on intelligence, creativity, and thought but docility, complacency, and knee-jerk prejudices. Of course, there’s a lot of docility, complacency, and prejudice among liberals too, but there’s also space for other things. Why is that 99% of top musical talents are liberal? 99% of moviemakers are liberal? 99% of writers and critics are liberal? Well, perhaps not 99% but then thinking conservatives tend to be neoconservatives than traditional conservatives. The Right lost the culture war because it produced no new culture, high or low.
So, what were the hallmarks of the 80s aesthetic? One could argue that the decade finally gelled the preceding cultural conventions and trends into the Perfect Formula. Pop culture prior to the 60s and early 70s tended to be formulaic and industry-ordered-and-designed. Pop culture is a business where people wanna make as much money as possible. Formula is more profitable than art — not only because most people prefer mass entertainment to serious art but because formula can be repeated endlessly; there’s maybe one Ingmar Bergman every 20 yrs, but an industry can train any number of hacks to write and direct drivel like L.A. LAW or MADMEN. For younger audiences of the 60s and 70s, the problem with formula was its association with old censorship and conventions. So, there was a natural shift among younger people toward personal expression in music and movies. Even non-intellectuals and non-sophisticates were going for ‘artistic’ or ‘personal’ expression because it offered more experimentation(as well as sexuality and violence) in the name of greater truth. Therefore, many people entertained the notion of a birth of new film sensibility in the early 70s: the rise of American auteurs who would remake movie culture by connecting cinema to art and truth. Hollywood would go from making mindless entertainment to favoring personal expression. But once the new sexuality and violence became standard, personal expression got boring or in-the-way-of-fun for most people. The 1970s began with M*A*S*H, a work of satire with lots of sex and violence. It was greeted as something fresh, daring, and different. But people soon tired of such movies, and the decade ended with ANIMAL HOUSE, more lampoon than satire. It didn’t have a point, the sole purpose being to offer large servings of sex and violence as fun in and of themselves. The ideal of Personal Expression paved the way for greater freedom in sex and violence, but once sex and violence got the green light, people preferred sex and violence in the context of entertainment than of art. PORKY’S made a lot more money than LAST TANGO IN PARIS.
So, eighties was a time of the return to formula but with new freedoms. Personal expression-ism had shaken and toppled the pillars of the old formula in the 60s and 70s, but once the new freedoms had been won, there was no more need for personal expression-ism(as a battering ram) since the new formula could offer lots of sex and violence. There was no need for THE WILD BUNCH, STRAW DOGS, DELIVERANCE, and A CLOCKWORK ORANGE when you could have THE TERMINATOR and RAMBO. There was no need for BLOW-UP and ZABRISKIE POINT when you could have FATAL ATTRACTION and BASIC INSTINCT.
A similar dynamic could be seen in American politics itself. Reagan offered the people a comforting sense of formula — he was an actor after all — , all the while embodying the spirit of newness(and making peace with the positive contributions of the 60s and 70s). Reagan was also like the fulfilment of two major presidencies of the 60s that ended in failure: Kennedy’s promising New Frontier Presidency was shot down by a lone assassin. It was liberalus interruptus. Then Nixon won a huge victory in 1972, even earned plaudits from liberals for opening up to China, and was on the verge of ending the war in Vietnam; but then there was Watergate. It was conservatus interruptus. It was as if the great promises of both liberalism and conservatism came to abrupt ends without fulfilling their destinies. Carter tried to unite and fulfill the two great narratives of American politics as a conservative-liberal, but he was destroyed by the economy, Iranian Hostage Crisis, and Soviet aggression in 1979. Though the Reagan Era is remembered as conservative, the Gipper actually did little to reverse the social policies of the Kennedy/Johnson era — and Nixon era too as Tricky Dick actually expanded liberal policies both domestically and in foreign affairs, not least in his trip to Red China and brokering for peace with the Soviets. Though many people during the 80s tended to associate RAMBO movies, yuppie affluence, and Bruce Springsteen with Reaganism, RAMBO movies were rock-n-roll patriotism, yuppies were socially liberal(and would turn to Clinton in 1992), and Bruce Springsteen was no Republican. (Springsteen makes for an interesting case study as an 80s icon. He was and wasn’t a Reaganesque figure. As a champion of blue-collar working class folks, he exemplified Democrats and Union cards. But many blue-collar working class whites voted for Reagan in 1980 and 1984. If anti-communist patriotism was especially popular among white working class folks, Reagan as the arch unapologetic Cold Warrior was their man. Though the song “Born in the U.S.A” was meant to be ironic, the emotions overwhelmed the lyrics. In concert, it sounded triumphant than bitter, what with musicians cranking out the tune at high decibel. Irony doesn’t much work at rock concerts; when Simon & Garfunkel at Central Park concert sang of ‘thousands of people’ in their performance of “Sounds of Silence”, the crowd erupted in cheers though the imagery signified the zombification of alienated masses; and when Pete Townshend bewailed the ‘teenage wasteland’, concert-goers loved that too.
Also, “Born in the U.S.A”, even when taken at face value — bittersweet anti-war anthem, a hammier version of “Fortunate Son” by CCR — , wasn’t anti-American or anti-patriotic. Rather, it was about the betrayal of true patriotism of an American son sent overseas to fight a meaningless war while the economic basis for the livelihood of his people was being undermined in America itself. Its message wasn’t really all that different from RAMBO, which also wallows in the Cult of Betrayed Patriotism. The difference is “Born in the USA” says US should never have fought in Vietnam whereas RAMBO says US could have won if the soldiers hadn’t been stabbed in the back by politicians. As years wore on, the Springsteen phenomenon became even more ironic. A multi-gazillionaire flying around in private jets, Springsteen lost touch with white working class. His expensive concerts mostly drew upper-middle class people, many of whom were the sort of yuppies who supported Reaganism/Clintonism and economic globalism that did wonders for the ‘creative class’ but hurt the working class. And though Springsteen promoted himself as the icon of ‘racial justice’, blacks laughed at his slow clumsy honkey ass, and his concerts are whiter than GOP conventions.
Anyway, the contrasts between Springsteen of mid-70s and of the mid-80s clarifies the nature of 80s aesthetics. The contrasts are similar to Stallone of the first ROCKY movie(1976) and his 80s blockbusters like ROCKY III, RAMBO, and ROCKY IV. The first ROCKY movie was a fairytale but steeped in realism. It was about tough people in a rough world. ROCKY III, in contrast, was pure soap. More violent but in a clean cartoonish way. Balboa was no longer an endearing palooka with a powerful punch but Superslick Man. And if the racial tensions in the first ROCKY had some genuine intensity and relevance, MR. T was just a Looney Tunes character and then there was the Ebony & Ivory reprise with Stallone and Carl Weathers — a gayish sort of interracist male-bonding; it’s like before black guys could hump white chicks, they had to jump white dicks. It was like ‘Morning in America’ of race relations, i.e. good whitey and good blacky running together to do away bad blacky. It was laughable, but people ate it up. (But then, don’t laugh too hard because the dynamic of Obama-ism isn’t all that different. By embracing the Good Negro Obama, white folks hope to have a useful ally against Bad ‘Niggers’ who be making most of the trouble. Rocky had Creed on his side against Clubber Lang. White folks hope to use Obama as insurance policy against the likes of Al Sharpton and ‘youth’ mobs, though I must say, it’s not really working.)
Similarly, Springsteen’s BORN TO RUN album from the mid-70s has some rough edges like the first ROCKY movie, but that was part of its charm. You can almost smell the grease on the leather jacket, the sweat on the soiled pants. The emotions aren’t always clear, some of the songs seem to meander and go on for too long. But it sounds and feels real. “Thunder Road” is all the more remarkable because Springsteen holds and sews together an emotional fabric coming apart at the seams. Humiliation, desperation, impatience, resignation, affection, frustration; they’re all there, thundering and rumbling along. It sounds like an under-educated guy trying to express himself the best he can, making a fool of himself but shining like a junkyard prince. It’s a work of genius, up there with Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”, a diamond cut rough but artfully.
BORN IN THE USA may be even better than BORN TO RUN, but there’s something hokey about it. (Though never a Springsteen fan, I was once an avid listener of side two of BORN IN THE U.S.A. and first half of THE RIVER). The worn blue jeans on the album(veiling Bruce’s holy ass) mugs or moons less as potent political/cultural symbol than as agitprop of prole-sexual narcissism. Consciously or not, Springsteen was channeling Rambo-ism. Springsteen’s prole image, which had been half-genuine in the 70s, had become aestheticized; his sweat was ready to be patented and marketed as men’s cologne. (In the music video of “Dancing in the Dark”, Springsteen’s sweat looks like moisture on the skin right after a shower.) Notice that in RAMBO, Stallone never looks filthy even after he’s been dipped in swine poo. The Passion of Rambo is a never-ending exercise in narcissism, as if Stallone is saying, “Don’t I look really tough, macho, and invincible with my bulging muscles covered in pig poo.” Thus, pig poo becomes male cosmetics. If conservatives rejected Piss Christ, they loved Poo Rambo because it looked cool. RAMBO and ROCKY III, for all their violence, were neatly packaged servings of machismo where even the sweat was polished and glossy(and blood splashy and soda-poppy). It was fashion magazine statement for working class guys.
Most of the songs on BORN IN THE USA are top-notch, the composition and performances flawless in their form, delivery, and impact. But, the emotions have been trimmed and tailored, leaving no loose ends. It’s perfect but maybe too perfect given its ‘authentic’ working class emotions. It’s the prole as product. Even the wild wailing in the title song sounds calculated, over-rehearsed. It’s one of Springsteen’s best albums — and maybe one of the greatest in Rock history — , but it’s so 80s. The Reagan Era optimism being what it was — and Springsteen being a egomaniacal showman — , he too pandered to the new national mood.
We can survey the changes in aesthetics in music and movies between decades by tracking the careers of individual artists or bands. Take Walter Hill who, in the 1970s, made films like THE DRIVER and HARD TIMES. Though genre movies, they had the look and sound of hard-nosed reality of the streets. Consider his 1980s movie STREETS OF FIRE, which runs like a music video and takes place in some retro-bubble. THE WARRIORS, released in 1979, maneuvers somewhere between 70s naturalism and 80s artificialism. Or, compare Jefferson Airplane of SURREALISTIC PILLOW in the 60s with Jefferson Starship of “Miracles” fame in the 70s and then with the newer incarnation in the 80s with the hit “We Built This City”. Grace Slick really got slick. Even as America became more ‘diverse’ and thus less ‘lily-white’, the cultural formula increasingly became distilled of texture, pungency, and eccentricity. (With the likes of 50 Cents and Lady Gaga, even transgression and oddity are just brands.) You can see this with Bob Dylan too. Though his 70s album BLOOD ON THE TRACKS is one of his best albums, it lacked the rambunctious denseness of the sound he became famous for in the 1960s. And INFIDELS and EMPIRE BURLESQUE, though very good albums, tingle with crisp crystalline sound; a certain candy-wrapper hollowness pervades the music. Though profound changes had been underway in the 1970s, it came to full fruition in the 80s. (To be sure, it’d be misleading to contrast an ‘authentic’ 60s with a ‘manufactured’ 80s. The Beatles were carefully ‘cleaned up’ by Brian Epstein before hitting in it big. And Lennon & McCartney, no less than Brian Wilson, succeeded by crafting a new formula for hit songs. They were original but not necessarily full-fledged personal artists. And despite Lennon’s artistic bent, the real soul of the Beatles was McCartney with songs like “Penny Lane” and “Hey Jude” — pop formula at its best. We should never knock formula if it’s good or wonderfully done. Though nothing may be more difficult than creating Great Art, the next most difficult thing is making Great Entertainment. Very few individuals may have the talent or vision to compose something like Beethoven’s symphonies, write CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, or conceive/direct something like 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, but not many people can hope to compose, write, or create something as delightful as “Daydream Believer”, THE SICILIAN, or MIDNIGHT RUN either. If anything, many untalented people who cannot come up with a decent pop song, engaging pulp novel, or a fun movie will often use ART or AVANT-GARDE as a crutch to mask their lack of talent. Thus, they’ll compose an awful piece of pompous drivel and call it ‘serious music’; and if you say you don’t like it, they’ll say it’s because you’re too dumb or ignorant to appreciate something so ‘intellectual’, ‘radical’, ‘uncompromising’, or ‘ahead of its time’. The art world is full of such creeps.) And the 60s gave us THE MONKEES and other imitation acts. And Motown engineered a kind of soul music with great cross-over appeal. And if the War in Vietnam and Race issues hadn’t forced themselves onto the national scene/consciousness, the 60s might have been just as ‘artificial’ as the 80s. After all, it began with the optimism of JFK’s New Frontier. Lucas’s AMERICAN GRAFFITI, which captures the 60s before the advent of massive upheavals, shows a time and place which wouldn’t have been so alien to the generation growing up in the 80s.
One big difference between 60s and 80s was the element of innocence. Even the ‘loss of innocence’ in the 60s had an element of innocence; consider the song “America” by Simon & Garfunkel. Or the ending of EASY RIDER where Peter Fonda says, “We blew it.” Innocence may have been lost, but the loss was felt poetically and as such could be mythologized. But after the first American defeat in the Vietnam War, Watergate, Ali’s going from ‘bad nigger’ to ‘American hero’, sex and drugs, and etc, what else was new by the mid-70s? What happened was the loss of loss of innocence. Losing innocence was no longer a big deal, no longer anything to mope or be poetic about. Watergate really scarred the national psyche in the 70s. Iran-Contra fizzled in the 80s, and Clinton remained popular, indeed shamelessly so, in the 90s. (Indeed, after Bob Dole, of the Greatest Generation, became the posterboy for Viagra and went around spreading the message, ‘I lost the election, but hey, I got an erection’, what was so embarrassing about Clinton’s dalliance with Monica?) And with children growing up with SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE — and then with THE SIMPSONS, MARRIED WITH CHILDREN, FAMILY GUY, and Disney’s cultural program of encouraging girls to dress like prostitutes — , children often learned to be cynical before innocent. (Some parents even wear those shirts showing many different sexual positions around their children.) And with interracist porn on the internet accessible to kids at home — and even at libraries — , ‘innocence’ is an extinct word. But the death of innocence doesn’t mean the death of hankering for innocence — just like death of God doesn’t mean the death of faith in God, which is why even communist nations had their religious icons based on Lenin, Mao, Castro, Che, etc. And so, in a world without innocence, there was Morning in America Reaganism, “E.T. go home” — later revamped to “I want free” by some Negro in AMISTAD — , Oprah the neo-mammy billionaire with fat choco-mammary-titties for lonely girls who were raised by working mothers who didn’t spend enough time with their kids(and if they did, were reviled by feminist-dominated media as slaves-at-home), FORREST GUMP, and PIXAR movies which have become a substitute for ‘Family Values’. And of course, Hope and Change peddled to dopes and chumps by Jews who control the Obama the trickster money-monkey machine. Both innocence and loss of innocence are passe and irrelevant when they’ve been patented into media drugs. We don’t need to be innocent to feel innocent, which is now like a drug or a switch we can turn on and off at whim. So, be a dirty skank shaking your booty to hip hop one minute and then feel oh-so-goshy-woshy by watching Oprah. Instant Innocence. And if you want the drug of Perpetual Loss of Innocence, there’s Alex Jones who will have you believe a bag of potato chips is part of some globalist conspiracy to make you dumb, lazy, and braindead. You see, by listening to Alex Jones, you’re one of the people who’ve been awakened and now know what’s REALLY happening. Both Instant Innocence and Perpetual Loss of Innocence serve the elites. Manufactured Instant Innocence can easily control a debased population by drugging them with Hope. Thus, even though our social morality is going to pot with shit like ‘gay marriage’, we feel oh-so-innocent because of the sanitization of homos as the Saints of Our Age. Thus, you feel virtuous and clean by supporting ‘gay marriage’. Oh, it’s all about ‘equality’; never mind that fecal penetration between two fruity man cannot be the biological or moral equal of real sex and real families. And though Obama is the product of some disgusting Afro-jiver humping a self-loathing white bitch traitor — and the political product of liberal Jews whose agenda is to destroy the white race — , supporting Obama makes so many white people feel innocent and clean; it’s like psyculturally turning back the clock to the 1960s and redoing Camelot with Obama as a gay fusion of JFK and MLK. And never mind the horrors of black crime and violence all across America. Just watch GREEN MILE and weep over some mountain-sized Negro with a little white mouse. And never mind the end of innocence in South Africa, what with ugabuga Jafros running around raping, robbing, and murdering white folks — when they aren’t raping and murdering one another. Just hang a Nelson Mandela poster on your bedroom wall and enjoy your Instant Innocence of South Africa as a Rainbow Nation of wonderful diversity.
But Perpetual Loss of Innocence peddled by Alex Jones and his ilk is also useful to the elites because the anti-elite energies, instead of focused on the real enemy, are dispersed and diluted by being paranoid of just about everything. If we are to have real change, we need to focus on three central issues: Jewish power, Negro violence, and liberal wasp treason, but Alex Jones wants you to worry about snack chips, soda pop, sugarless gum, genetically modified foods, and blah blah blah. Do you think the Soviets would have won WWII if they worried as much about what goes into their bread, water, and other food items — I mean maybe the American government was putting weird chemicals into cans of Spam to turn Russians into capitalists! — as about German invaders?)
The cultural shifts can also be discerned from trends in drug use. In the 60s, the drug issue had grater cultural significance. For some, the marijuana and psychedelics — especially LSD — were danger to civilization itself: Drugs made kids lazy and apathetic; drugs turned children against parents and authority; drugs made kids anti-social and violent, or led them to solipsism or burnt-out zombitis. In a modern technological society that required the Organization Man, drugs were seen as making young people — even the best and brightest — drop out of society. Maybe drugs could make people downright crazy. Older people and ‘square’ young folks just didn’t get stuff like psychedelia, a threat to traditional community values where pot was for making stew, not smoking; it seemed alien, and the Eastern Mysticist angle of drug culture was an affront to Western values of individualism, rationalism, empiricism, and skepticism. But the proponents of new drugs didn’t just see the recreational value but promoted them as keys to doors of spirituality, creativity, higher consciousness, cosmic consciousness, higher truth, psychological analysis, and etc. For them, it wasn’t enough to say pot and LSD were no more dangerous than alcohol or cigarettes; they were true believers of the idea that certain drugs could accelerate the evolution of man. For conservatives and traditional liberals, drugs signified the Loss of Innocence. To the psychedelic community, drugs restored the Sacred Innocence by reconnecting man’s awareness to the source of dreams, inspiration, and faith, i.e. true innocence had been lost long ago with the coming of materialist-rationalist-technological society that tore man away from nature, both physical and psychic, but the innocence could be restored with the magic of soma. In a way, this belief in Instant Karma was a form of Instant Innocence, but the faith or naivete within the psychedelic culture was genuine for many adherents(though, to be sure, I’m sure lots of ugly guys joined the movement thinking they could get laid more easily if women were stoned out of their minds). For a time, drugs weren’t just something you popped now and then; entire communities sprouted to live by the new creed and vision. (Though it had faded by the mid-70s, as a child I remember seeing remnants of it in certain places. A bunch of Hare Krishnas even moved through town, dancing in the park and passing out awful-tasting vegetarian food.) But it was bound to fail because consciousness, no matter how ‘profound’ or ‘revolutionary’ cannot change, redeem, or reorder the world by thoughts, hopes, and/or quaint deeds alone; what wouldSteve Jobs have accomplished if he’d joined a hippie commune for life? Already by the early 70s, few people really believed that drugs would change the world or save mankind. Indeed, even during the Summer of Love itself in 1967, the true believers in the Haight-Ashbury scene thought things were going sour and rotting from self-indulgence and vulgar hype. And it wasn’t long before drug culture favored harder and more dangerous drugs of addictive nature, and many more lives were getting messed up. (If Aldous Huxley in the 50s
hoped that the use of psychedelic drugs would be accompanied by and facilitate greater thought, knowledge, and self-examination, just the opposite happened with lots of young people in the 60s. They found it so ‘far out’, especially under the influence of loud rock music, that using drugs became a substitute for searching for higher meaning. Why bother when a drop of acid and loud music could take you to nirvana in no time? Though claiming to seek higher knowledge, what really hooked was the promise of orgasmic rapture or groovy relaxation. Thus, drug culture, whatever its early claims, encouraged the rise of hyper-hedonism. The attitude, in its populist form, paved the way for the Rave scene and CGI blockbuster movies which are less narratives than a series of psychorgasmic spaced out effects, which may explain why even people who disparage most blockbuster movies sometimes feel a craving for them; sometimes I need something like NATIONAL TREASURE, not because the story is any good but because its series of non-stop effects is like a buzz or high.) By the 70s, drug culture was centered around cocaine, and there were few pretenses about it; people didn’t snort coke for ‘meaning’ — already a naively innocent relic consigned to the 60s — but to get a kick and feel charged. It was about thrill than meaning — this was dispiriting yet also refreshing for the lack of pretension because, after all, many 60s druggies, despite their ‘spiritual’ claims, were really into the thrill side of it. Cocaine and then crack continued to be a major problems/issues in the 80s, and there was the War on Drugs, which, to this day, carries on.
But the more remarkable thing in the 80s was that drug culture was becoming more formulaic, safer — and this would come in full bloom in the 90s with Rave culture centered around Ecstasy. If people took drugs in the 60s for higher meaning and took drugs in the 70s for the rush — in both cases as acts of resistance to the status quo — , drug culture in the 80s was no longer rebellious, either in meaning or feeling. Yuppies, remaining perfectly functional in their professions, used cocaine as recreational drugs. It was no longer the drugs of artists, musicians, hipsters, and rebels who could afford it. It was also a part of Wall Street culture, and indeed some financiers needed the extra ‘boost’ to roll the financial dice with greater energy/inspiration. And pot had become a staple across all sections of society. The main audience of THE GRATEFUL DEAD revival in the 80s were white kids from solid middle class backgrounds; they weren’t dropouts but hop-ins. In the more working class part of the suburb where I lived, almost no one my age knew or cared about the Grateful Dead, but in a very affluent lily-white suburb about 4 miles away, there were lots of neo-Deadheads whose main ritual during the summer was to attend Dead concerts. Ann Coulter says she was a Deadhead too, which is hardly surprising. Thus, even though there was the War on Drugs, ‘Just Say No’, ‘This Is Your Brains, This Is Your Brains on Drugs’, and the ad about the cocaine monkey, America had made peace with drugs by the 80s. If anything, 80s optimism was like a cocaine high, with Reagan as something of a peddler of ‘Morning in America’ pills. He made you feel good even when you didn’t know why you felt good. Reaganomics didn’t add up, but since the stock market kept climbing and there were more jobs at fast food joints — and with Rambo saving imaginary POWs from Vietnam and Rocky beating Ivan Drago in Russia — , maybe the whole world was there for us to toke or snort. Already, a whole bunch of people were taking Ecstasy, very emblematic of what had become of drug culture. Few took Ecstasy to search for meaning(the 60s ideal) or to live on the edge(the 70s ideals) but just to dance and feel like neon-goddesses. True, some kids might sit in a circle, hold hands, and share each other’s emotions under its influence, but the whole point was to take off the edge, to smooth out the curves, to feel the glow. It wasn’t ‘radical’ or ‘profound’ like LSD, smelly and stomach-twisting like marijuana, or ‘too much’ like heroin. It was mellow, and with rave music the world spun like a disco globe spinning inside your head.
To be sure, Ecstasy really took off in the Clinton 90s, which makes perfect cultural sense. The 80s worked at a new unity and harmony, but it was also a time of neo-Ayn-Randian certitude in the Free Market and the righteousness in the Cold War. There was a sense of rush during the decade, a sense of excess; the mainstream-ization of cocaine symbolized the decade. (And for poor blacks, cocaine was formulated into subprime candy form called ‘crack’. And ‘meth’ that appeared in the 90s was super cough syrup for white trash.) In contrast, the feeling during the Clinton Era was that a fusion-harmony had been synthesized of business interests and government interests, between financial daring and social caring. Clinton seemingly arrived at the perfect balance between pro-business ideology of free markets and pro-government ideology of the welfare state. So, there was a fuzzy-wuzzier sense of well-being in the 90s — especially since the Cold War was fast receding into history. But that all proved to be an illusion because the Clinton 90s turned out to be, if anything, more excessive than anything during the Reagan 80s. The stock market crash in 1987 was nothing compared to the bubble crash that would mark the end of the Clinton era, which also paved the way for he housing bubble boom and bust.

On one level, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is steeped in 80s aesthetics. Its setting in Los Angeles, pop capital of the world, makes it all the more so. The 80s were a time of pop cultural renewal and dominance, when power and wealth in Hollywood rose to unprecedented heights. The old movie industry, long on life support, had died and made way for a new class of moguls who understood the dynamics of the new marketplace, making a series of blockbusters that broke all records. And rock industry, which seemed lost and tired in the late 70s and early 80s, came to life again with new or revamped acts — and with new modes of hype, especially through the mini-musical format of the Music Video.
It was fitting that THE FRENCH CONNECTION was shot in the streets of NY. With the demise of big studios and falling box-office receipts, the new approach called for location shooting and realism. A new kind of star rose to prominence. Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider looked like ordinary cops. They were neither particularly handsome nor dashing. Dustin Hoffman was the great star of the period, along with Al Pacino and others. It was as if the dark-haired ethnics were replacing the fair-haired wasps or wasp-look-alikes. (On the other hand, we shouldn’t make too much of this. Even during the Classic era, not every Hollywood star was tall and handsome in the Anglo-Wasp way. Think of Bogart who, though Wasp, looked ethnic. And James Cagney was a runt of a man, the Joe Pesci of his day. And there was Edward G. Robinson and Paul Muni. John Wayne wasn’t classically handsome, and long before New American Cinema of the 70s, Ernest Borgnine won Best Actor Oscar for his humdrum role in MARTY. And there continued to be glamorous stars through the 60s and 70s with actors like Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Warren Beatty, James Coburn, Clint Eastwood, Sean Connery, Burt Reynolds, etc. The real difference between Classic Hollywood and New American Cinema was the latter burst out of studio walls and captured the spontaneity and immediacy of the streets. Instead of imposing the Hollywood vision onto America, it gave the impression of drawing raw truth from the real America.) America had changed since the era of Classic Hollywood, and so the new attitude called for the movie industry to catch up with the times, connect with/reflect reality, and make allowances for personal statement/vision/eccentricities — that is if the industry hoped to survive. THE FRENCH CONNECTION may have been as crowd-pleasing as traditional Hollywood action thrillers, but it had the look and hook of a documentary. (Another change in cultural sensibilities from 70s to 80s is evident when we compare the first SHAFT, seedy and lurid and set in NY, with BEVERLY HILLS COP, slick and shiny and set in L.A. But then, even Randy Newman, the sardonic singer-songwriter of the 70s was singing, without the slightest hint of irony, “I Love L.A” in the 80s.) And the favored visual tone of many 70s American movies had an amber-autumnal quality, as if saturated with the very stuff of life. Take the hickory-smoked somberness pervading PAT GARRET AND BILLY THE KID. And though 70s American movies can be spotted immediately for their visual texture, each film tended to have a signature look. Sunshine and blue skies in HAROLD AND MAUDE have a uniqueness all their own. MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER, misty and rusty, looks like no other Western. Instead of the Technicolor or whatever other kind of standard industrial look, directors and cinematographers worked like painters, making their films as visually distinct as possible.
Perhaps some of this owed to the film stock and camera then in use, but I suspect it owed more to the greater possibility for experimentalism and personal expression. But the 80s, studios had arrived at THE Look and Sound, which became the Formula, and this may account as to why so many movies of the 80s look and sound so much alike. Some filmmakers continued to ignore the new Zeitgeist and work in the their own manner. I haven’t seen John Cassavetes LOVE STREAMS, but Dave Kehr held it up as an example of the kind of personal filmmaking that thrived before the ‘counter-revolution’ of Lucas-Spielberg. (Kehr also praised Eastwood-the-director for working in the tradition of Classic Hollywood, but wouldn’t that have constituted a form of counter-revolution as well? After all, while early 70s cinema worked in opposition to Classic Hollywood, the rise of New Hollywood in the late 70s and 80s signaled, to an extent, a return to the formula-ism of Classic Hollywood. If it’s laudable with Eastwood, why not with Lucas and Spielberg?) If some directors resisted the 80s Zeitgeist by working in Independent Cinema and sticking to principles — albeit with shrinking budgets and audiences — , two other sets of directors found more effective ways to work ‘outside the system’. Coen Brothers and Jim Jarmusch, products of film school, in equal measure of ingenuity and glibness, adopted the post-modern route of using all of movie history as material for their clever shticks. For them, 80s — indeed history and society — might not even exist since the ONLY thing they knew was movies and more movies. 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and etc... what did it matter when the prevailing styles of each period could be shuffled into ‘new’ decks? So, a movie set in the 80s could follow the old noir narrative mold; or a gangster movie set during the Prohibition could look both old-fashioned and sound raw and contemporary. And it was as if Jarmusch made STRANGER THAN PARADISE — in some ways, still his best film — as if he was inventing cinema on the spot with an odd gadget he found in a dumpster.
Yet, another way of ‘resistance’ was to partake of the Formula all the while circumventing, questioning, or subverting it from within. RISKY BUSINESS was a prime example. On the surface, it very much conformed to the Teenage Sex Comedy of the 80s, yet it was something more insightful and devious. It goes from young male fantasy to nightmare, from anticipation to anxiety to angst to annihilation. It’s not ANIMAL HOUSE. Joel(Tom Cruise) finds new freedom as a student finishing his senior year in highschool but also comes face to face with the price of freedom — emotional, social, and financial. Though utterly and shamelessly materialistic and vapid on the surface, it is really about the temptations and costs of sin. Too cynical to peddle sin as guilt, it nevertheless reminds us of the perils of juggling meaning and money, rules and ambition, self-love and love of another(which too can be a kind of self-love). If Joel resists shameless materialism, he may miss out on the fabulous wealth that is about to define New America of Wall Street, Washington lobbies, Casinos, New Hollywood, MTV, etc. But if he takes a bite of the fruit, he will surrender to the cult worship of money for money’s sake. The question is no longer How but How Much. It’s unsure to what extent RISKY BUSINESS is a libertarian tract or satire, but it foreshadowed the world we’d come to know in the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. Up til the 80s, despite all the corruption and materialism of American capitalism, there had been the moral issue of how money should be made. Gambling, prostitution, pornography, illicit drugs, primacy of finance, and etc. were not good. The cultural and social tumult/rebellion of the 60s espoused a certain anti-materialist idealism, but its long-term impact may have been the normalization of shamelessness and the loss of guilt. Thus, pornography became accepted(into the living room of every home), drugs became cool, GODFATHER movies told us that gangsters are really no worse than politicians and big business, youth laziness and rowdiness were ‘authentic’, and etc. By the 80s, the freedoms won in the 60s remained but minus even the modicum of their principles and ideals, however naive and misguided they may have been. They were now just freedoms to be enjoyed and profited from for the mere sake of hedonism and materialism. With the VCR, each home had access to porn, gambling spread out all across America, Big Pharma cranked out ever new drugs(whose benefits and safety were often as dubious as with illegal drugs), violence in cinema became not an expression of or statement about human nature or society but mindless exercise in wanton stupidity and gore(especially with hideous Slasher Horror of the 80s), women were more brazen in looking for ‘good fuc*s’ based on money, and Wall Street became a shameless den of thieves; finance, instead of serving capitalism, took over capitalism. In time, even feminists embraced porn and skanks like Madonna, not least because porn and sleazy pop music became more interracist, i.e. mass propaganda for white women to reject ‘faggoty ass white boys’ and put out to Negroes.
But then, conscience abhors a vacuum. People need to feel righteous about something. In the 80s, it was the Cold War and New Patriotism that defined the conscience of America. But the Cold War fizzled to an end by 1987, and the New Patriotism, as defined by RAMBO movies and TOP GUN, got tiresome and empty. In all this glut of hedonism, excess, trash culture, and vapidity, what could supply the people with a sense of moral compass? Conservatives called for Family Values and Religious Revival, but the great social changes from 1950s Rock n Roll to 1980s yuppie libertine-ism couldn’t accept something so fuddy duddy, fogey-bogey, and simple-dimple, especially when preached by fatheads like Pat Robertson, dimwits like Dan Quayle, Neanderthals like Pat Buchanan, and cynical operatives of the GOP desperate for the next compelling theme. (William Bennett wrote THE BOOK OF VIRTUE but then gambled away his wealth in Las Vegas. That pretty much summed up the essence and worth of Republicans.) Liberals and leftists were hard-pressed to find something to be conscientious about, not least since Reagan and conservatives had proved to be right about the evils of communism — and how it had to be defeated. (Yet, American victory in the Cold War was also anti-climactic and undermining of conservative claims. Though conservatives like to claim it was Reagan’s toughness that brought the Soviet Union to its knees, it’s possible that something similar might have happened with Democratic presidents in the 80s. The decisive figure in the fall of the USSR was Gorbachev, who unleashed the forces that finally unraveled the system from within. Also, if Hitler and Nazis had to be destroyed in a horrible war, the so-called Evil Empire didn’t turn out to be so evil after all, at least in its latter years. If Soviet Union was so utterly evil, how could it produce reformers like Andropov and Gorbachev? And if it was so ruthless and mighty, how could its empire come apart so fast? Though the USSR was indeed evil at one time, especially under Stalin, much conservative hype about the Soviet Union turned out to be false. The empire collapsed from within and without Americans having to fire a single shot — at least not directly at the Soviets. Because the Evil Empire went with a whimper than a bang, conservative victory in the Cold War seemed rather hollow. Conservatives had hyped the Cold War as the second biggest struggle in mankind — after WWII — , but the Soviets just threw in the towel. American conservatives gloated and flexed their muscle but looked rather silly doing it alone without a fight from the Soviets.) Also, with the rise of the New Economy that was so good for the top 1/3 of Americans — many of them social liberals — , the old paradigms were fading fast. Democratic Party could no longer rely on old formula of the masses of workers against business interests. Globalism undermined the American working class, and Democrats pandered to the new yuppie class — or rather, the yuppie class, having tired of the cultural stupidity of the GOP, was looking for a new political affiliation which would embrace the rules of the New Economy but in the spirit of Social Libertine-ism. And that was the genius of Clinton, who continued Reagonomics but rejected the family values mumbo-jumbo stuff that the educated middle classes found so square, old-fashioned, and reactionary. But even this wasn’t enough to satisfy the craving for Conscience among Americans. Liberals were especially hungry for something to be conscientious about since they themselves came to embrace ‘greedy’ free-market capitalism, pornography-as-part-of-feminist-liberation, gambling, pharmocentrism with a drug for every ‘illness’ and then some, and etc. Liberalism was no longer about Unions and organized labor. There was less agreement on things that were once considered taboo or as vices(by conservatives and liberals alike). And since Negroes won Civil Rights and even had ‘affirmative action’, black issues were less compelling. Then, what could fill the void of modern Conscience? It was Political Correctness. By embracing PC, the modern liberal could be vapid, hedonistic, trashy, insipid, mindless, shameless, greedy, materialistic, and cynical but then say “I’M FOR ‘GAY MARRIAGE’, SO THAT MEANS I’M ON THE SIDE OF ANGELS.” PC has led to the TRIVIALIZATION of morality and ethics. Instead of a big tent upholding the basic rights of individuals, it has become a mall of speciality boutiques catering to ‘intellectual’ fashions of every group that claims ‘victimhood’. For most liberals, Jesus is invoked as the champion of ‘gay rights’ and the foremost meaning of Christianity is condoning ‘gay marriage’ among icky fruiters who practice fecal penetration.
TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., like RISKY BUSINESS, is waxed in 80s aesthetics, but if one scratches the surface and one finds something much darker. Though coked up with 80s rush, a powerful undertow of bruising realism harkens it back to New Cinema of the early 70s. Perhaps, ‘truthism’ is more apt than ‘realism’, which isn’t to suggest that TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is grounded in social truth; it is, after all, a very sensationalistic movie, not unlike De Palma’s remake of SCARFACE. By ‘truthism’, I don’t mean the details of law enforcement but in the hard-nosed depiction of the game. More than anything, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is about playing the game, life as one big gamble. On a psychological and metaphorical level, there is a lot of truth in this movie. (Similarly, though the Russian Roulette scenes in THE DEER HUNTER are historically ridiculous — and almost certainly false — , they do serve as powerful metaphorical reminders of the absurd luck deciding who lives and dies in war.)
TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., despite its restless style and wild narrative, maintains focus and hits the bull’s eye, a great improvement over Friedkin’s THE SORCERER where, despite some awesome set pieces, the characters remained sketchy and opaque. The main weakness of CRUISING also was the lack of focus, raising too many questions that ultimately lead nowhere, rendering the story as cold and incomplete like the dead body parts fished out of the water in the opening scene. The strengths of TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. become clearer alongside YEAR OF THE DRAGON, another exercise in 80s aesthetics. Though fairly entertaining, Cimino’s movie is too hammy and moralistic to carry the vision through. It lacks the courage of its convictions and finally settles down to good vs evil, redemption, and more-or-less happy ending. TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. begins and ends as it should, rarely hitting a false note.
Released in 1985, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A was a perfect summary of the first half of the decade and a portent of what lay ahead in the second half. As if anticipating the Iran-Contra scandal involving rogue elements in government the following year, the movie captured the exercise of power as a game of thrill-seeking. The shocking fate of Richard Chance — ironically similar to that of his first partner, whose death Chance was trying to avenge — served as a warning that the streak eventually runs out. (Friedkin himself knew the lesson since after the mega-successes of THE FRENCH CONNECTION and THE EXORCIST, it was thought he could do no wrong, but he suffered one major failure after another.)
The psychological truth of TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. was especially apparent in my first viewing, perhaps due to my being at an age and of an age most inclined to be receptive to its vision and ‘message’; it just felt relevant to the world around me(even if I was thousands of miles away from L.A. — given the city’s role in popular culture, one could argue all of America is L.A.). The transition from highschool to college, the first true experience(or semblance)of independence, expands psychological possibilities. Even within the bounds of law, the sense of freedom is intoxicating(which explains why so many students mess up the first year). You feel like anything is possible, the world is there for your taking. And with your own car or your friends theirs, the world becomes your playground(not least because gas prices in the mid 80s were so low). What my friends and I felt as ‘adults’ was something I recognized in the movie. We certainly didn’t live the life of the movie’s characters in the no man’s land between law and criminality, but the devil-may-care-and-the-world-is-yours-for-the-taking high of the movie, plus the grim reminder of the hazards of the game, was something we could identify with.>
TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. captured what it was like to be young and free(for the first time) in America in the mid 80s(not least because Chance is ‘liberated’ by the death older partner who’s like a father-figure). Like Chance, we all wanted to take big chances and win; and win or lose, the thrill of the game was supposed to make it all worthwhile. Yet, as the movie hurtles toward its grim ending, convictions are laid bare of their conceits, adult posturing exposed of adolescent fantasies — like a splash of cold water after a night of partying and hangover.
Tony Montana of SCARFACE falls too, but compare his demise with Chance’s. Montana dies gloriously, Chance just dies. His luck runs out, and he doesn’t even see it coming. He was pushing himself for the Moment of Truth, triumphant or tragic, but the only truth of his final moment, one of the most disturbing codas in crime thriller genre, is ‘this is your face, this is your face after shotgun blast.’ His partners yells, ‘Speak to me, man!’ but there’s only blood and silence. (In the DVD bonus section, there’s an alternative ending where Chance isn’t shot in the head but in the body and lives. Friedkin explains it was the ending that the producers tried to force on him since moviegoers don’t like unhappy endings, but Friedkin stood by his guns.) In a way, the tormented resolution(or lack thereof) of TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. was carried over from the ending of THE FRENCH CONNECTION where Popeye Doyle accidentally shoots another cop and the arch villain slips through his fingers. Both movies deliver the goods throughout but, in their final moments, withhold the Moment of Truth as if to remind us of reality apart from the fantasy of movies. But if such ending was par for the course in the early 70s when Hollywood was striving for something new(and movie audiences were receptive in turn), the audience of the 80s, the decade of Formula, were less willing to give it a chance, which explains why TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. was a box office disappointment.
The Zeitgeist matters, and part of the reason for the success of movies like THE GODFATHER and THE FRENCH CONNECTION was the conviction in cultural and media circles that it was fashionable, intelligent, and/or sophisticated to open one’s minds to different things, especially those that overturned conventions. So, even people who preferred the conventional felt some measure of cultural/intellectual pressure to try something new in the early 70s. From the mid 70s to mid 80s, such cultural emphasis(or pretension/conceit depending on one’s view)had receded, and a whole generation grew up thinking movies and music existed only to dole out what one expected; they felt little or no moral/cultural/intellectual pressure to open up to alternatives. If you order a hamburger, you expect a hamburger and have the right to complain if you get a hotdog instead. The generation weaned on JAWS, Disco, MTV, and 80s cinema approached culture in junk food terms. They didn’t understand why an action thriller that was SUPPOSED to make them feel good made them feel bad. They felt cheated than challenged. Movies were to consume, not to contemplate. (BLADE RUNNER, too dark and ‘slow’ for its time, failed even with the added ‘happy ending’.)
The first act serving to introduce the central thrust/themes of the movie, an analysis of the opening scenes of TO LIVE AND DIE L.A. follows to explain why Friedkin’s movie is one of the greatest movies of the 80s(and perhaps all of film history). The first act runs around 25 minutes and ends with the discovery of Chance’s dead partner at an abandoned warehouse, following which the story shifts gear. We first think Chance has become unhinged by his partner’s death, but darker aspects of Chance’s character gradually show themselves — part of the pervasive sense throughout that nothing is as it seems. The deceptive way of the world is nothing new, of course, especially in crime thrillers filled with killers, cheats, and sharks. But more often than not, it’s a formulaic convention in the thriller genre sense(and especially in the noir), amounting to what might be called the ‘expected-unexpected’. It’s like horror movies are full of shocks that we expect(and demand). It is the rare crime thriller genre(like CHINATOWN and TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A.)where, despite the routine reliance on genre elements, a powerful weight of reality intrudes to the point where surprises transcend or violate the genre itself. The crime thriller genre is supposed to surprise us, and most do so within the confines of their conventions; the surprises operate within the box. The notable aspect of CHINATOWN and TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is their surprises burst through the box and impact our sense of reality. Generally, genre functions within an artificial world of fixed rules/conventions whereas art(in the modern narrative form)deals with the unstable/unexpected complexities of reality. (Of course, even art coming to grip with reality cannot simply mimic or represent reality since reality in all its form is infinite. So, even narrative works of art must unfold using the time-worn tools of characterization, thematic development, plot, moral conflict, good vs evil, and the like, which are all part of storytelling convention. In this loose sense of the term, ‘genre’ then applies to all works of art.) Most people prefer genre to art for the simple fact that we are more apt to know what we are getting with genre, we don’t like surprises(unless they are ‘expected surprises’, as in horror or mystery), our perceptions and references easily conform to established patterns with genre, and we get a sense of shape and purpose from genre. And so, even when we watch movies ‘based on a true story’, we want them to be genre-ized into something we can digest easily. Thus, Spielberg’s SCHINDLER’S LIST is the most successful Holocaust story; despite all the horror, it feels like a Frank Capra movie. Biopics of MLK are content to turn him into the Mother of All Magic Negroes. BEAUTIFUL MIND has precious little to do with the real story. Godard’s ALPHAVILLE begins with the words, “Sometimes reality is too complex for oral communication. But legend embodies it in a form which enables it to spread all over the world.” Similarly, the character in LA JETEE, in his return to the past through time travel, begins to notice more and more pieces of lost reality(and, of course, there is no end to the artifacts of the past), but his journey begins to take shape only when he begins to thread a mythic narrative, a kind of personal genre, about his love for a woman. In a way, there is a genre aspect to all of our lives in the sense that we are identified with a particular profession. So, a man is said to be a ‘cook’, ‘doctor’, ‘writer’, ‘bureaucrat’, etc. In actuality, a person is the sum of all that he is, but we tend to simplify his or her entire being as one thing or another. Sometimes, this causes problems. Consider all the waiters in NY who think of themselves as photographers, painters, writers, actors, dancers, filmmakers, intellectuals, etc. Are they what they do for a living, what they wish to be, or how they wanna see themselves? One’s main identity can be also national, racial, or sexual. Thus, all identities, though not necessarily false, are genre-istic or mythic in the sense that they favor one formulation of self over all others. Thus a ‘gay person’ may not only see himself as ‘gay among other things’ but take on a homo-centric view of everything, as if there is a correct GAY view of the world. (In some ways, gay identity is ridiculous. Why establish some deviant sexual drive, orientation, or lifestyle as the center of one’s identity? And what is the meaning of ‘gay pride’? Some gays might say that they are proud of all the gay artists, gay writers, gay thinkers, gay this or that. But then, why not identify with artists, thinkers, and etc, straight or gay? Why emphasize the ‘gay’? Why not an Artist Pride identity? Or Thinker Pride identity? If a gay guy is proud to be an artist, why should he identify more with gays who are not artists than with artists who aren’t gay? After all, there are bald people, but we don’t have Bald Identity or the cult of Bald Pride. If a bald guy is a writer or dancer, he identifies with other writers or dancers, not with other bald people. Or if someone has a fat ass, he or she doesn’t go for Buffalo Butt Identity or Bubble Butt Pride. While some people may indeed be proud of their big butts, it’s not the center of any kind of pride or identity — with the possible exception of Brazil. So, why all this craze about Gay Identity or Gay Pride? Maybe it has to do with the fact that sexuality is a powerful drive among people. Indeed, even more so than food. Many people love pizza, but we don’t have Pizza Lovers Identity. Food is pleasing but it’s about man eating food, not person connecting with another person. It’s like dogs like to eat but really LOVE their masters. Given that lust, affection, and love may well be the most powerful emotions, it may not be surprising why Gay Identity has become so central to the homo community. They have weird sexual orientations, but they find great pleasure, happiness, and love through their gay attachments. This may explain why, though women outnumber gays by a huge margin, feminism is actually weaker than homosexualism as a socio-political force. Despite what feminists say, most women find their greatest happiness looking for Mr. Right or Prince Charming. So, despite all the anti-male shtick of feminism, most women are looking for men and expect to find their greatest happiness through love with men. Feminism often stands in the way of this desire, and even when feminism is accepting of relations with men, the Big Sisters squeeze themselves between boys and girls to lay down the do’s and don’ts of the relationship; they like to play ideological chaperones, as if to say to all the little sisters, “you can settle with a guy but must check in with us periodically with us to win our approval and receive new orders.”
In contrast, gay community is whole in and of itself. Though homosexuality cannot create life — and indeed all gays are created by union of man and woman — , a gay guy and a gay guy feel complete in their feelings for one another. The identity of race is both strengthened and weakened by sexuality. A race exists because of the long-practiced sexual habits of a particular people. Whites exist because white males and white females had white kids over tens of thousands of years. Same goes for all other races. As such, racial identity is a form of sexual identity, i.e. “our race is the product of our men and our men having children.” White Identity is premised on this view. But sexual attraction can undermine race-ism when the males or females of a particular race turn interracist and favor the opposite sex of another race. Black males clearly favor white women and are eager to have sex/children with as many white women as possible. In many integrated communities, black males will openly intimidate and bully weaker white males in public to humiliate them, thereby sending the message to white girls that they should put out to macho Negro studs than hang around wussy faggoty-ass white boys. And with each passing year, largely due to rap and black dominance in sports — and bigger whankers of Negroes — , more and more white women are becoming mudshark race traitors and running off to have sex with Negroes. White women are becoming as hungry for black male meat as yellow women are for white male meat.)
Movies like VERTIGO, BLADE RUNNER, LA JETEE, ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA, and even TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. have the strangest effect on us because, as works of genre that intrude into real space(psychological and/or physical), they reveal the ‘mythic’ or delusional aspects of our lives. Whatever reality may be in the objective sense, our understanding and experience of reality is the subjective movie that runs inside our heads. (In that sense, it is significant that both CHINATOWN and TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. have their characters killed by a gunshot to the head. Their mental-projector are shut down. And in MULHOLLAND DR., Diane Selwyn ends the movie-inside-her-mind-that-has-taken-over-her-life by shooting herself in the head. The interesting thing about Chance is he lives like he’s playing a role in a movie — apart from the fact that he IS a character in a movie. His flying high on his own myth like a degenerate gambler who thinks some magical luck is on his side. Incidentally, one of the first major biographies of Reagan was called A ROLE OF A LIFETIME. Buchanan, in an interview conference with journalists, once said Reagan sometimes really thought he was the Gipper.)
The ending of CHINATOWN doesn’t merely feel like the pieces of noir have fallen into place(though indeed they have); it feels as if the sinister forces aren’t merely confined to the genre but are contaminants of actual reality — not just social or political but psychological and spiritual, as if we too are part of the rot. (Though Noah Cross, played by John Huston, is the Big Bad Wolf, little folks Burt Young and his wife are pretty cruddy too, full of their own betrayals and brutalities. It’s like the Noah Crosses of the world can get away with the shit they do because we are all shit ourselves, because we aid and abet corruption everywhere, whereby all the little shit pile up into big shit; or it’s like big fish eat smaller fish but smaller fish eat smallerer fish that eat smallererer fish and so on; all fish are sharks, from the great white to minnows. Nicholson’s character, Jake, seems especially bitter at the end, not only because he failed to save the woman and the system is so rotten but because he senses he too has been part of the rot, deceit, and betrayals. Though he did try to save the woman, he didn’t mind snooping for the Burt Young character, which led to Young beating his wife, whose face is covered with bruises. And would Jake have cared if Faye Dunaway’s character was ugly and fat? Also, it’s embarrassing for him that in his effort to save the woman, he, the ultimate cynic, fell for the notion that there are good cops acting independently of the system. He betrayed his own instincts. He tries to tell the cops that Noah Cross is the baddie when, in fact, Cross owns the police. Worst of all perhaps, when threatened by Cross and his goon, he led them to the woman. Jake loses as both a cynic and good Samaritan. In his eagerness to do good, he forgot L.A. Police is not to be trusted. In the death of the woman and the disappearance of her daughter in the clutches of Noah Cross, he failed as hero too. The gaping Chinese mob at the end of the movie probably have double meaning: [1] Of another culture and reality, they have even less idea or care what just happened, underscoring the point that what we just witnessed will be forgotten. [2] Chinese are known for their distrust of law, secrecy, corruption, and inscrutableness; though we Americans like to take pride in our freedom and openness, the REAL practice of power even in democracies is Chinesey or Four-Fingered-Wu-ish. Btw, I wonder if Ridley Scott populated BLADE RUNNER with Asians for similar reasons.) Though TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. doesn’t deviate much from the genre formula, the immediacy of the performances, intensity of the filmmaking, and overpowering rush of emotions leave us feeling dragged and torn than assembly-lined. Michael Mann’s MANHUNTER, in contrast, doesn’t transcend its sleek stylish thriller material where the conflict boils down cool good guys and cool bad guys competing for front cover of Esquire Magazine.
The first image of the movie is the red sun breaking over the horizon of L.A. Next, it looks like the middle of day under a hot sun. Wang Chung’s title song is heard on the track, and we see the presidential motorcade led by cops on motorbikes. On the limo is the American flag and the flag with the Presidential seal. Things look upbeat and sunny in New America. Reagan, the President, is visiting the state that made him a movie star and then political heavyweight as governor. Yet, something doesn’t feel quite right. In the context of the movie’s theme of counterfeiting, the American flag and Presidential seal suggest double-meaning. In one sense, they stand for law and order, due process, and justice. But what if American politics is also fake? What if the flag and political emblems are counterfeit symbols to fool us? Could Reagan be a puppet of moneyed interests, a fake president? He was, after all, an actor before he was a politician. Is he really President or a man who learned how to act the President? Great Communicator or Great Pretender? Though the Wang Chung song sounds upbeat and impassioned, the lyrics are full of doubt and angst:

In the heat of the day
Every time you go away
I have to piece my life together
Every time you're away
In the heat of the day
In the dark of the night
Every time I turn the light
I feel that God is not in heaven
In the dark of the night
The dark of the night

The singing then turns reflective, yearning for peace and resolution — just when the motorcade makes a turn at an intersection:

I wonder why I live alone here
I wonder why we spend these nights together
Is this the room I'll live my life forever
I wonder why in LA
To live and die in LA
I wonder why we waste our lives here
When we could run away to paradise
But I am held in some invisible vice
And I can't get away
To live and die in LA

The mood shifts from sunny to somber. The motorcade looks more like a funeral procession signifying the death of truth in America. The very first scene blends motifs of life and death: sunlight and power, anguish and fear. The blackness of the limo and the brightness of sunshine highlight the contrasts within the mythology of American power. Reagan was one of the most appealing and seemingly accessible Presidents in modern memory. Even in his old age, TV cameras adored him. Yet, he is protected and hidden inside a dark limo as if America is a dangerous place where anyone might be plotting to kill the President. In his speeches, Reagan is for the people but has to be hidden from the people — and with especial care after the attempt on his life in 1981.
The theme song, like “Everybody’s Talkin” was for MIDNIGHT COWBOY and “Sound of Silence” or “Mrs. Robinson” for THE GRADUATE, is one of the most perfect movie songs(and the only Wang Chung song I like). The lyrics convey the fantasy of escape integral to so many crime thrillers and noirs: the dream of exile from exile, a ‘run away to paradise’: the sinner, cop or robber, has seen and done enough, and he should make one big score and run away to a tropical isle, retire, and find love. It’s there in CARLITO’S WAY, THE GETAWAY, TRUE ROMANCE, MIDNIGHT RUN, etc. In many cases, the genre dictates the hero doesn’t make it. You can either leave with nothing or get it but don’t make the getaway. The temptation is to both get the prize and make it out alive, but each play is another round of Russian roulette. Carlito gets the money and the girl but not paradise. (CARLITO’S WAY probably got away with a unhappy ending because it begins with Carlito getting shot, thereby preparing the audience for the bummer ending. Also, part of the movie’s appeal is the rainy day apprehension of the inescapableness of one’s nature and fate.)
The irony of TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is Chance, restless as he is, isn’t really looking for an escape route, at least not consciously. He has a place by the beach and looks out over the waves. He doesn’t seem particularly happy in L.A.,and maybe some vacation or another line of work would be better for him. But he’s not a romantic. He keeps a girl but without love or affection, something he might not even be capable of. He lives for the game, for the action, and if there’s more action in big cities, that’s where he belongs, no matter how much he despises almost everything about them. So, the Wang Chung song is less about him than what he lacks. He’s not a tragic hero who tempts fate for a higher truth or love but a Hero who tempts fate for the sake of tempting fate. Tempting fate is his drug. (Speaking of ‘paradise’, L.A. is supposed to be it, what with Hollywood, Disneyland, beaches, etc., but built on desert sand with movie sets, it’s a counterfeit world all its own.)

Next, we see Jimmy Hart and Richard Chance, secret service men, step out of the limo and look up, followed by a cut to nighttime helicopter shot of L.A.
In a minute or two, we’ve gone from the break of dawn to noontime to nighttime. The cutting from Hart and Chance to the surging helicopter shot introduces a theme elaborated later by one of the characters who remarks “stars are gods’ eyes.” Hart and Chance are like Heroes before the altar of the gods. Their mission is to protect the King or god of politics, the American President. They carry around them the aura of invincibility, as men of special intuition, skill, and experience. (During the Reagan assassination attempt, one secret service jumped between Hinckley and Reagan, taking the bullet.) So, Hart and Chance’s looking up could signify both a supplication before gods(to win their favor) and defiance of the gods(to challenge their omnipotence). Hart, the older agent, is more loyal to and respectful of the authority he’s vowed to serve. Chance is more ambitious and defiant. It’s not enough for Chance to guard the secrets of the pantheon; he sneaks to steal and play with fire. The sudden cut to fast-moving nighttime helicopter shot suggests the fickleness of the gods, carelessly gazing down on the world of men. The lights of nighttime LA look like counterfeit stars strewn across the land.
Next, we are in the hotel corridor of the Presidential suite, and the Wang Chung song winds down and ends when a door opens to a room where secret service men are playing a game of poker. Chance walks out of the room to take up his rotation of guard duty and spots something suspicious: a hotel clerk abruptly walking past through the intersecting corridor. Chance’s intuition tells him something’s not right, and indeed a Muslim radical terrorist has infiltrated the hotel and climbed up to the roof. This introduces the theme of infiltration, subterfuge, and deception that pervades the entire movie. As with Odysseus and the Trojan Horse, the game being played isn’t merely one of will but wit. (Later, Chance and his partner infiltrate the world of Rick Masters the counterfeiter whose ‘money’ infiltrates the economy.) Meanwhile, Jimmy Hart is in the kitchen of the convention-center and is alerted to the danger through his ear piece. On the soundtrack, we hear Reagan’s speech on taxes and freedom. Though the speech is about ‘we the people’, he’s obviously talking to an audience of rich donors, not to the kind of people who work in the kitchen. And though the speech idealizes we-the-people as good law-abiding citizens, the movie draws us into a world where Americans — rich and poor, lawyer or criminal, cop or robber — don’t play by the rules. (There’s further irony in the founders of the American Republic, who were most averse to paying taxes, having been the elites of colonial America. American Revolution wasn’t about the rise of the masses but about the rich ruling elite in America wresting power from the rich ruling elites in Britain. So, when politicians invoke the Founding of this country in the name of people power, they’re reciting a legend than telling the facts. American Revolution was elitist in nature, not populist. The devious genius of the so-called Reagan Revolution was it handed more power and wealth to the Ruling Elites in the name of the people, but then the Founding Fathers were masters at this game and created a myth that the American Revolution was a mass movement resisting the tyranny of the British Crown. In truth, People Power didn’t come to America until the rise of Andrew Jackson, a man feared and loathed by elites of both parties. Anyway, pointing out the elitist nature of the Revolution and the Republic isn’t to discredit the Founders or Reagan — after all, what society doesn’t have an elite and when have the masses ever done a good job of ruling themselves? — but merely a reminder of the myths we embrace to feel good about ourselves.) Chance surveys the rooftop and sees the Muslim terrorist with a bomb-vest tying himself to a rope — apparently to hurl himself onto the floor of the building where Reagan is delivering a speech. Though the terrorist is deranged and livid while Chance does his professional best to calm the situation, they share something in common: they’re extreme players. Terrorist uses a rope, and we later see Chance base-jumping from a bridge. They are both ‘crazy’ in their own way. The difference is the Muslim terrorist believes in a power(Allah)greater than himself whereas Chance believes in himself. Both tempt fate, but the terrorist is giving his life for a cause whereas Chance flirts with and taunts death. Unlike the terrorist who is WILLING to die, Chance is thrilling to cheat death, to beat the odds. Chance is a very 80s kind of guy. (This could be one reason why radical movements like Alqaeda are doomed to failure. Their cult of holy death is ultimately self-defeating. Not only is it difficult to recruit people who are willing to die, but even the willing must ultimately pay with their lives. In contrast, though the personality type of anti-terrorism agents may be on the thrill-seeking/nihilistic side, they are playing to win by living, not win by dying.)
Chance tries to ‘talk sense’ to the terrorist, but the man won’t listen and says he’s gonna blow himself up with the others in the name of Allah. Just then, we see Jimmy Hart appearing from behind the terrorist from a low angle and dragging him down, whereupon the terrorist blows up in the open air before hitting the target. It was a close call for both Chance and Hart, especially Hart, who’s visibly shaken. He says, “I’m too old for this shit” and following the opening credit sequence, we find out he’s decided to retire. Right after the explosion, we see a long shot of L.A. traffic coursing through the night as if nothing happened. The myth of normalcy goes on — reiterated later in the movie after the car chase via radio traffic report that there’s been a ‘minor delay’ when, in fact, the highway is jammed for miles.
Hart’s frustration is understandable. Though his profession may be ‘cool’, he works undercover and there isn’t much in the way of public glory/reward for his close brushes with death. Not that Hart is after fame and glory, but he’s too old to find satisfaction in living on the edge — as younger agents might. (Friedkin’s use of the kitchen and rooftop introduces another theme in the movie: the contrasts between the surface glitter of the new gilded age and the industrial/social reality of the other side of America. Thus, though the secret service men are protecting the President who’s giving a speech in what is surely an impressive room with fancy guests, the camera focuses on the agents playing cat-and-mouse in kitchens and rooftops. Later, there’s the contrast between Rick Masters the man of wealth & sophistication and Rick Masters the man of warehouses and ghettos. We see shipyards, petroleum plants, junkyards, etc. They are parts of American whitewashed even from Bruce Springsteen’s Irish Spring brand of Proletarianism on BORN IN THE U.S.A. That said, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. doesn’t strike me as a populist tract about the haves and the have-nots; it’s not bogus like Oliver Stone’s WALL STREET. It has no easy scapegoats, no certain heroes. It shows the multi-facetedness of corruption in all walks of life, in the hearts of many different kinds of people in the crowded impersonal setting of the city, which could be Rome, ancient or modern.)
The title/credit sequence that follows Hart/Chance’s run-in with the terrorist is among the most memorable in cinema. The screen goes dark, and we hear the click of a pistol and then a freeze-frame of the gun fire, followed by the rising of the sun. It is day two in the same city. The credit sequence gives us an overview of the seedier, rougher, and run-down aspects of the city. The matching of the gunfire and the sunrise gives the impression of the sheer artifice of L.A.: the sun ignited by the gun, as if manmade neon. It also lends a sense of impermanence, as if what was created instantly can be extinguished likewise — and indeed Chance, the blazing god-hero, is snuffed out in a split second at the end.
It’s a city of affluence and glamour, but we also see the underbelly of the whole edifice. Money is counterfeited just like Hollywood counterfeits the image of America. And so many people dress like counterfeit movie/rock stars, pretending to be cool and hip even as they eke out a living, leeching off crime that leeches off the economy, whose legitimacy is also called into question. (And given how the Fed operates, even ‘real money’ is created like fake money by legalized gangsters who own and run Wall Street — mostly the cabal of Jews. And there’s also ‘creative accounting’ in Hollywood. Wall Street and Hollywood certain have a way of hiding profits and covering losses. Jews win when they win, win when they lose. Jews just dump the costs on the white middle class. Since Jews control the purse, they keep funneling money to their brethren in all industries, and if the money runs out, Jews get bailouts from the government they control through bought politicians. And since the media are Jewish-controlled, it all happens under the radar. And by addicting us to government services and/or handouts, Jews hang the noose of complicity around our necks. Jews who control the government offer us ‘freebies’ and we take it, only to discover we’ve lost the higher moral ground to fight the system. It’s come to a point where even the Opposition is a counterfeit act. Occupy Wall Street, in its sheer trivialism, might as well be orchestrated by Wall Street since it emphasizes meaningless street theater over real issues. And the Tea Party was hijacked by neocons and Wall Street sharks from day one.)
Despite L.A.’s overwhelming artificiality in the credit scene, there’s a brewing sense of nature’s revenge. Once shiny cars lie rusting in junkyards. We see poor Mexicans — probably illegal aliens — on horse and cart, as if the city is falling to Third World-ization. We see industrial waste and pollution, the noise, the hustle and bustle, the junkies and hookers. Behind the facade of paradise is a wasteland and jungle. Worse, despite Reagan’s Morning in America optimism defining the era, the American Dream seems perverted, amiss. After WWII, many Americans remained poor, but they believed in family, work, law and order, God and Country; they believed things were getting better because of sound American values. They believed hard work, shared laws and mores, and intact families were at the center of American success and revival. But things changed in the 60s with the Boomer Counterculture pissing on their parents’ generation and thinking they were wiser, cool, hip, and sexy because they listened to rock music, smoked pot, and read Herbert Marcuse. The core values of America eroded, and Jimmy Carter should really have been credited for his ‘malaise speech’. Though politically risky — as people wanna be flattered than criticized — , Carter was onto something when he said Americans lost the values/outlook that they once possessed, the strengths that empowered them to weather the storms and crises of history. Reagan cannot be faulted for his optimism and ‘Morning in America’ shtick, and he did some good things, but he paved over the fact that the American Soul, corrupted in the 60s and 70s, couldn’t be restored again without genuine soul-searching, pain and effort. Working more in the spirit of consensus than confrontation, Reagan’s strategy was to make everyone feel good, as if the mood of optimism itself could move mountains. (This isn’t to suggest that Reagan was glib. In his own way, he was a man of conviction. Though high unemployment unloosed by his policies made him very unpopular, he stuck by his ideological/economic guns and sweated the crisis out, so different from the way of Tricky Dick Nixon, who shifted policies at the drop of a hat for instant political gain. What Reagan overlooked was that the problems faced by America wasn’t merely economic but went much deeper. Though Reagan revived a kind of feel-goodness and was all too willing to play Father-Knows-Best, the bigger question of what Americans were really feeling good about in the 80s was asked neither by him or most conservatives. 80s optimism was actually defined by Michael Jackson, Madonna, dumb Hollywood blockbusters, trashy teenage comedies, drugs, and the like. As for the Christian Right, it was a poor answer and substitute for the kind of genuine spiritual and cultural reaffirmation that modern Americans needed — and in time, Evangelicals became a joke, mere lapdogs of Zionists exploiting their dumb prejudices.)
One can argue as to how much Reaganism was channeling the Zeitgeist or vice versa, but Hollywood played along to the amnesia of optimism. With RAMBO, American youths didn’t need to know the real Vietnam War when they could watch the fantasy onscreen(and watch America win; it was like the professional wrestling of history, where the loser could be made the winner by scripted orchestration, hardly surprising coming from Stallone, who gave us Rocky, the white heavyweight champion in an era when boxing had long been dominated by black champions.) And with movies like WHITE NIGHTS and worse, one could ignore the real Soviet Union and gaze at the cartoon image onscreen. This optimism infected the way Americans saw the world on both the left and the right. Thus, American liberals thought Gorbachev would humanize the USSR and Deng was a cuddly panda bear. And Russians caught the bug too, it seems, thinking they could make a painless transition from communism to capitalism by opening a lot of McDonalds and administering radical ‘privatization’. But then came the shock of the Tiananmen massacre — hardly shocking to anyone who knew the real Chinese elites and situations — and the horrors of Russia in the 90s. Though many Americans made the social climb with solid work ethic and family values in the 80s — and this was no less true with the rise of the black middle class — , nothing fundamental was done in facing up to the real troubles and challenges lying ahead with worsening social decay and divisions and cultural decadence.
So, many people were shocked by the L.A. riots of 1992. Didn’t the age of Reagan and the Cosby Show teach us that we are part of one happy America? But again, not very shocking if one knew the America beneath the surface glitter of artifice, optimism, and etc.
TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. got it right, at least psycho-culturally, as to where this nation was really headed. The racial fight between Dafoe and the fearsome Negroes foreshadowed the racial tensions that would erupt(not to mention the disgusting spectacle of the sordid O.J. murder trial and its accompanying circus). Wall Street and Washington are run by the Rick Masters and Gordon Gekkos of the world — most of them hideous Jews. It’s amazing how Clinton, Bush, and Obama came to office promising to do something new, but all they did was accede to the demands of the all-powerful Jewish cabal and lobby. With USA as the lone superpower, and with Jews as the lone super-elite(no longer restrained by wasp and other elites, who all suck up to Jews), Jewish-controlled US has the chutzpah to do anything in and outside America. Just look at Hillary Clinton, a prostitute of Jewish power, cackle like a crackwhore upon the death of Gaddafi. I’m not defending Gaddafi, who got what he deserved but merely pointing out the sheer brazenness of the arrogance(not to mention hypocrisy)of American policy. Bush II went into Iraq at the behest of his Zionist Judeo-conservative masters. When he failed, the Jews who control the media fixed all the blame on him. To bring him down, the Jew-run media gave us endless stories of chaos in Iraq. There’s a ton of mess in Afghanistan, but the Jewish-controlled media are covering that up to cover up for their puppet boy Obama. If something like Iran-Contra happened today, I’m not even sure it would be considered illegal — not after all the craziness Bush/Cheney/Obama/Clinton were able to get away with in the War on Terror. Just how is it that Israel gets to hand out awards to the Mossad thugs involved in the Lavon Affair, but US Congress stands up over 20 times to applaud Bibi Netanhayu? How is it that Israel was able to get away scot-free with the USS Liberty assault? Will George Lucas make a movie about that incident instead of something as bogus as the Flying Tigger movie? If he did, I’m sure USS Liberty will be manned by heroic Negroes and the enemy fighter jets will be manned by Nazis from Mars than by Jews. With the media, government, Wall Street, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Big Pharm, elite academia, law firm, courts, and etc, in the control of Jews, our nation is not a democracy bound by rule of law. It’s more like Rule of Jew. Though Constitution guarantees equal freedom to all, freedom doesn’t amount to much unless it has access/control of the levers of power. A homeless bum is free to say whatever, just like the editor-in-chief of Jew York Times. You or I can say anything, just like Jewish moguls in Hollywood and Jewish pundits on TV. But does a homeless bum have the power of the editor of Jew York Times? Do you or I have the power of Steven Spielberg or Bill Maher? We may all be free, but most of us have powerless freedom while Jews have powerful freedom. The Powerfully Free rule over the powerlessly free. In the end, it’s like we have no freedom at all since our freedom doesn’t amount to a plate of beans while the Powerfully Free have the means to control what we see, hear, and think. Even if we try to resent and resist the Powerfully Free, we end up debating issues in accordance to the terms and evidence laid down by the Powerfully Free since all our information and rules of discourse come from and are set by them. So, the political debate in America has come down to ‘YOU are racist’ and ‘NO, NO, I am NOT racist, and I’ll prove it by kissing your ass’; ‘YOU are a homophobe’ and ‘NO, NO, I’m not a homophobe, and I’ll prove it by licking your balls’, and ‘YOU are an anti-Semite’ and ‘NO, NO, I’m not an anti-Semite, and I’ll prove it by sucking your cock’. Liberals accuse, and conservatives profess innocence by willingness to debase themselves before blacks, gays, and Jews. Jews not only win by meritocracy with their higher IQ but through correctocracy by with their control of the terms of the debate.
Though the so-called Arab Spring led to uprisings in both Bahrain and Syria, the Jewish-controlled US media suppressed the news of the violence in Bahrain but played up the violence in Syria because Jews only care about their tribal interests. With both Democrats and Republicans sucking up to Jews, the lone elite in the lone superpower, US is essentially a Jewish gangster state. Obama has given the Jews everything — he had no choice since he was created by his Jewish masters — , but what do Republicans say? “Obama has thrown Israel under the bus.” In other words, it’s not enough that Obama kisses Jewish ass 24/7. Romney promises not only to kiss Jewish ass but give it a rimjob, and Santorum not only promises to kiss it, give it a rimjob, but suck out Jewish shit from the anus. THIS is American politics in the 21st century. Most American conservatives, though stripped of their pride and power by Jews, pledge to do everything to save Jews from the ‘stealth Muslim’ Obama.
Sometimes, I wonder how Jews are able to keep a straight face. When they retreat into private spaces, they must crack up like crazy over how stupid American conservatives are. Jews piss on conservative faces, but conservatives only wanna suck Jewish cock.
Carter was onto something with the ‘malaise speech’, i.e. the soul of a nation can’t simply be measured by its wealth or emotional highs. (Btw, this is not a defense of the Carter presidency or the man himself. Carter, as everyone should know, was a pretty sleazy, deceitful, and lousy character, all the phonier for his spiritual and moral posturing.) In the end, Reaganism — along with Clintonism — was short-lived because it was based on the fantasy of pat slogans about the ‘best days being before us than behind us’ and economic bubbles based on massive debt and over-exuberance, producing cycles of junkie highs and lows: This is your economy, this is your economy on drugs. Consider NY city where one either rakes it in as a financier or works as a waiter/waitress serving drinks to financiers. You either ride the cab or drive the cab. But the “20 million new jobs” sounded impressive, and the new economy riding high on the stock market made it seem everyone would become rich by ‘investing’ in the New Economy, a mania that came to full fruition in the 90s with the bubble/bust. Reagan and Thatcher had the choice of fighting politically or culturally. To win politically, they had to play on optimism and short-term riches. It made people feel good. It was a non-judgmental kind of conservatism that even liberals could tolerate and even support — as indeed many gay yuppies voted for Reagan in the 80s. But while it injected some juice into the economy, it didn’t get anywhere near to dealing with the cancer growing within the West — but then, modern democracies, unless faced with major crises, are not designed to handle such problem honestly. (Also, victory in the Cold War being one of the main agendas, both Reagan and Thatcher saw a need to unite — by whatever means necessary — all forces within UK and US for the final push to victory. Fixated so heavily on Russians, Thatcher ignored the dangers of immigration. And Reagan made believe that whites and blacks were getting along just fine, and Hollywood movies of the time often featured the triumphant white hero and loyal Negro sidekick. In fact, racial problems remained problematic in both UK and US, in some ways getting worse. Once the white vs white — white American vs white Russian — conflict of the Cold War had ended — as damaging to the West as the white vs white conflicts of WWI and WWII — , the main focus of Western conservatism should have been securing white power against Negro power, Jew power, and Illegal alien power, but George H.W. Bush, the liberal wasp Republican, was all mushy-gushy about the crazy Negroes who burned L.A. to the ground. And Gingrich and Cheney were Jew-ass-kissers. And George W. Bush allowed Zionist Judeo-conservatives, aka neocons, to divert white American patriotism toward fighting the Muslims. The main reason for supporting Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan’s call for End of Empire is not the cost of military expenditure, high as such may be. It’s because we should not be fighting nations and people who pose no threat to White America. The real enemies of White America are Jewish porn-hustlers, Jewish lawyers, Jewish financial sharks, Negro rapists, Negro rappers, Negro thugs, illegal aliens, radical gay freaks, and etc. We need to the bring the troops home because their overseas ventures divert our attention from the real enemies who are destroying the white race. When Buchanan says, “bring the troops home and put them along the Mexican border, he’s essentially saying, we should be fighting for our power and survival OVER HERE than being distracted by foreign wars, mostly at the behest of international Jews for Zionist interests, OVER THERE. It is in the interests of the Jewish Cabal to focus white American hostility and suspicion at FOREIGN ‘enemies’. Today, it’s the Muslims, especially Iranians and Syrians. Tomorrow, it could be the Chinese. And though India is now trumped as a valued friend, it could be the great enemy in the future. It’s a dirty Jewish game. White America shall remain asleep unless it realizes that Jewish Power is the single biggest enemy of the white race.)
The credit scene has the style of a music video, apt for an era defined by MTV. The look is music-video-like but not the mood. Music videos push complacency/compliance, whereas the title sequence splinters and disturbs our place in the world. It alternates sounds(ranging from actual noise, synthesized notes, and sci-fi-like effects) with sudden pauses of silence. Some of the images are of L.A. — telephone poles compressed through telephoto lens, graveyard of junked cars, rusty train, heavy industry, street hustle — while others are of characters yet to be introduced. The L.A. before us seems both decaying and revitalizing, of fading old industry and booming new economy. We see interiors of modern mansions, glimpses of an avant garde dance troupe, and street hustlers making deals. The various worlds are separate but interconnected by ‘greed’. Rick Masters owns a mansion because his counterfeit empire encompasses all levels of society, down to the most depressed neighborhoods. Masters got rich by feeding the vices of the poor — just like Wall Street sharks made a ton of money in the 2000s by pushing easy home loans to underclass people with lousy credit ratings — many of them Negroes, Hispanics, and White Trash. There’s real money earned through hard work and easy money made through crookedness — though, to be sure, I suppose some crooks work very hard at it while some honest people tend to be lazy and incompetent. Indeed, Masters and Wall Street sharks are formidable precisely because they work hard at making easy money. Masters isn’t just a thief, but a hard working thief. He’s obviously very smart and diligent at what he does and most certainly could have done well for himself in legal professions. Though a criminal, he’s not your lazy stick-up artist. He has discipline and rare skills. But he still cheats the system. Being a psychopath, he feels a need to transgress to get his kicks. Similarly, Wall Street sharks are not lazy bums who just sit back and rake it all in. They’ve obviously gone to good schools, gotten the grades, and show up to work everyday — and think 24/7 about how to make more money. And they also know a lot about the system with their superior smarts and commitment. But they, like Masters, are out to grab all they can. Money isn’t enough for them; they need the high of making more than conventional rules would allow; though working legally, they have the mentality of crooks pulling off a big heist; it’s like in the David Mamet movie HEIST, which reveals the workings of the Jewish mind addicted to playing for higher stakes and for keeps and for evermore, anticipating and outmaneuvering every possible move, where the game is as important as the prize. If Wasps were said to have the work ethic — belief in the nobility/worth of work even when a person doesn’t have to work — , Jews have the game ethic, the need to beat and win even when they no longer need to beat and win since they got everything — reflected in Spielberg’s CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, where some kid keeps playing the con-game, not only for money but for the narcissistic thrill of knowing he’s beating everyone at the game. It is this restless and tireless nature of the (con)game within the Jew that keeps them so edgy and ruthless in the realm of power(and why Wasps, who tend to be more earnest, were bound to lose to Jews; Wasps foolishly thought Jewish critique of Wasp power was in good faith, in fact, Jews were really attacking Wasps to grab the prize of ultimate power; and if Wasps, as the dominant group on America, came to rest on their laurels and think in terms of noblesse oblige, Jews, no matter how rich and powerful they become, will always angle for more power and more money — even if they have to create wealth out of the thin air — while pretending to be helpless Holocaust survivors; as a wise person once said, “Never trust Jews”). Wall Street sharks have special talent and work/game ethic but no scruples. They play to win and grab as much as they can and then some. Many conservatives seem to associate high intelligence and work ethic with sound business and economic rationalism. (Indeed, so do many liberals in their worship of Warren Buffett, George Soros, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Bono, etc.) This explains the worship of the CEO during the bubble yrs of the Clinton Era. We thought the titans of the new technology knew everything and were doing all the right things. Why wouldn’t they when they were so smart, educated, energetic, brilliant, visionary, industrious, etc. But what happened with Enron? What happed with all those start-ups that were supposed to turn all shareholders into millionaires? And who got special deals on I.P.O’s and made a killing with the bubble?
Why was there so much trust in Wall Street by both parties and among so many Americans? Because Wall Street was run by the Best and the Brightest — many of them Jewish — , how could they ever do wrong since we’ve all been told from cradle that Jews are the most brilliant, most wonderful, and finest people there ever were, are, and will be — and if you think different, you’re of course an anti-Semite.
In a way, one could argue this was the biggest blindspot of Reaganism and Thatcherism. The problem was not its endorsement of intelligence, hard work, and dynamism in free markets. It was the conviction that those qualities were one and the same with honesty, decency, and rightness. There’s no denying that most people on Wall Street and Las Vegas work very hard and are very bright. But what are they really motivated by? Fair play and rightful gain or using their wits to rig the system to grab as much for themselves as heavenly possible? What kind of meritocracy is it when those who rise through higher intelligence and hard work then arbitrarily subvert the rule of law? (Again, the big part of the problem is Jews have and control so much. If the top institutions were dominated by gentile whites, it’d be no problem to blow the whistle on corruption, but it’s not so easy when the top crooks are Jewish? The whistle-blower might be accused of antisemitism, or he might restrain himself because his upbringing and indoctrination taught him it’s wrong to have hostile feelings toward any Jews, indeed even to think of Jews as being crooked since such might conform to ‘antisemitic’ prejudices. Indeed, even to think of ‘crooked Jewish moneychangers’ is considered evil, which is why the Occupy Wall Street movement hasn’t mentioned the overwhelming fact that Wall Street is controlled by Jews. This unwillingness to confront Jewish power is, of course, an international problem. Europeans might complain of crooked Japanese, Italians, French, Russians, or Chinese, but they’ll never say anything about crooked Jews even though Jewish financiers and figures have been the root causes of financial and social problems there. Ironically, the ‘far right’ in Europe is especially eager to show that they love Jews and their reason for opposing Muslim immigration is to protect Jews. And even if someone were to blow the whistle on Jewish crooks, what’s the chance of Jewish-dominated media, courts, and other institutions of looking into the matter? Indeed, what has Jewish-controlled government and media really done about the transgressions of the Jewish-controlled Wall Street? We can’t even bring Roman Polanski back to the United States to face justice. Not a single American conservative politician lambasted Bernie Madoff, and the Jewish media spun his crime as mostly hurting Jews when that’s a dirty lie. And so, Jewish corruption gets worse and worse. If Jews were merely corrupt and truly incompetent, it would be a lot simpler, but the problem is Jews, though very corrupt, are also very competent and brilliant at what they do. Many Jewish lawyers may be crooks and lowlife sharks, but they’re also brilliant and know the law better than anyone else. So, the problem is that the Jewish crook is more than a crook, and the Jewish genius is more than a genius. In a way, Jewish crookedness and Jewish genius are two sides of the same coin. If, say, an Irish crook may be just a scumbag good for nothing but stealing — he steals because he can’t do anything else — , the dynamic is different with the Jewish crook, who steals because he finds stealing fulfilling and so does it brilliantly. So, Jewish crookery isn’t just a crime but an artform, in some ways a thing of beauty, like a chess game. Jewish crookery and Jewish genius share one attribute, and that is the radical Jewish love of brilliant transgression. Jews like to go beyond known/accepted/conventional/respectable/pre-ordained rules. This transgression against the status quo can lead to the brilliant theories, true or false, of Marx, Freud, Einstein, and Friedman OR the brilliant violations of Jewish gangsters, Wall Street sharks, and lawyers. Though one bunch of Jews operate in the name of goodness/truth while another operate in the spirit of greed/vileness, both side get their jollies by going BEYOND established norms. In this spirit, the Jewish ‘right’ and Jewish ‘left’ have something in common. Jewish Wall Street capitalists were impatient and restless with established rules of the free market; they were making money but not enough money, and so they had to brilliantly bend the rules and come up with New Finance, a blend of Jewish genius and Jewish crookery, but how could we tell which is which since we goy dummies don’t know shit? And what Jewish legal minds do with the US Constitution is analogous to what Jewish financiers/economists do with the rules of the free market. Jewish legal scholars play loose with the Constitution because they worship, above all, their own genius for radical creativity over any normative rules shared by goyim. Of course, Negroes are another reason for increased corruption. Since Negroes began to occupy more government jobs and higher roles in the private sector via affirmative action, things have gotten worse since so many blacks tend to be under-qualified or downright crazy, but we are not supposed to blow the whistle since it be ‘racist’. But except in music — at least before rap — , black crookery is simply crookery, or too stupid to call even that. I mean look at black-run Detroit.) Gordon Gekko of WALL STREET is an highly intelligent and hardworking guy. But he’s also a sociopathic crook. Rick Masters is no slouch either. He’s not only intelligent and ambitious but sophisticated and even charming. But he’s an arch criminal. And Mark Zuckerberg didn’t just get ahead with intelligence and vision alone but by violating trust and betraying friends — yet SOCIAL NETWORK, as written by the Jew Aaron Sorkin, is a dirty apologia of the dirty Jew Zuckerberg. People can be smart, superior, brilliant, and hardworking and still be vile, hideous, and rotten. Though George H. W. Bush attacked Bill Clinton on the issue of ‘character’, it all sounded empty and amusing given the kind of values favored during the Reagan Era — and would rise to even loonier heights in the Clinton Era. Intelligence and work ethic are fine qualities, but the nihilism of intelligence and work are not. Unfortunately, intelligence and work ethic can be used to serve immoral or even evil purposes. Consider how Clinton pardoned Marc Rich the vile Jewish crook while the guy was on the lam — and then offered his daughter as bride to the son of Rich. Clinton not only served as a gigolo to his Jewish masters but pimped his own daughter to suck Jewish cock. THIS is what has become of Wasp America.
Consider the story of Jack Abramoff, the Jewish College Republican Rambo of the 80s, who figured since he’s smarter than dumb American-Indians, he could just fleece them and get away with it — and indeed he would have gotten away with it if he weren’t TOO greedy, just like Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois, who, blinded by ambition and greed, stuffed his coffers to the point of bursting. That ‘reform’ politicians turn out to be corrupt liars is nothing new, but the sheer brazenness of some of our politicians and business leaders — and the media that too often protects or promotes them — is truly astonishing. In a way, standards of morality and conduct may have been lowered to accommodate both the high IQ wily Jews and low IQ wild Negroes. In colleges, there’s been grade inflation to pass more blacks. But if you raise black scores and pass black students who should have failed, it means you have to raise scores all around, in which case grades become inflated and bogus in most departments. And since we’ve been told ‘racism’ is evil, we must hold dear to positive impressions of blacks. But facts being what they are, how do you persuade white folks that blacks are not crazy? Turn craziness into a social norm or even virtue. That way, when blacks be acting crazy and rotten, they is just being cool and hip. So, rappers are not acting like apes, and bitchass ho skanks are classy ladies; indeed, just look at the adulation following the death of Whitney Houston, the skankass crackwhore. She was disgusting, but people spoke of her as a saint and angel. And if you disagree, you be a racis’. Over time, people begin to wonder, if blacks acting like apes is cool, then why shouldn’t whites also act like apes — and indeed a whole lot of them more than obliged in the London Riots. And if a black skankass whore acting like a no-good crack-smoking biatch is cool and sexy, then why shouldn’t white women act like Lady Gaga and Lindsey Lohan? Of course, degenerate behavior is nothing new, but now it’s so out in the open, shameless, everywhere. Without a culture of shame, how do we know what is good and what is bad? Without judgement, how do we persuade morons to stop acting like morons? But it’s not just ‘anti-racism’ and ‘affirmative action’-mentality that accounts for lowering of standards all around. (There is shame of ‘antisemitism’, racism’, ‘homophobia’, and ‘xenophobia’; and it has value when reserved for the likes of KKK, violent gaybashers, or kneejerk haters of anything foreign. But when people who speak the truth about Jewish crookery, black criminality, gay agenda degeneracy, and dangers posed by massive illegal/non-white immigration are attacked by political correctness, they are being shamed for speaking the truth necessary to save Western Civilization and the white race in both Europe and America. Political correctness is not only shaming bigots but associating sensible critics of radical trends with the bigots, i.e. someone who speaks out on Jewish dirty tricks in Wall Street, media, and foreign policy is the same as a Nazi or the disseminators of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. And if, like John Derbyshire, you speak honestly about black IQ and propensity for crime, you are hounded, fired, blacklisted, and associated with Bull Connors — and there’s almost no one on his side who’ll stick by him. When the burden of shame falls on speakers of truth while Jewish crooks on Wall Street, black rapper thugs, radical gay degenerates, and illegal aliens get to do as they please, the question Western Man must ask is “For how much longer can things go on as they are?”)
There is also the fact of white worship of black superiority in funky music, sports, soulful charisma, and animal sexuality. Since white people today are shallow and vapid and judge people and things by surface appearance — much of it gleaned from TV and pop culture — , blacks must be superior since they can gyrate their asses faster and dunk basketballs. Since blacks be so superior in things that REALLY MATTER in our society — like acting like apes while muttering nursery rhymes about what a badass ‘nigga’ they is — , everything they do must be cool.
Similar logic applies to Jews as well. There is a kind of nihilistic worship of all things Jewish(as superior and godlike), rather ironic since Jewish history/people have become so intertwined with the moral tragedy of the Holocaust. (But then, Holocaust morality itself has become nihilistic. Initially, it was about sympathy for a people who suffered a great tragedy. But then, it morphed into Jewish moral supremacism and arrogance. It’s no longer so much a remembrance of Jewish suffering during WWII than the symbol of Jewish sainthood from the beginning to the end of time. Holocaust Morality is used to make us bow down before all things Jewish. Even when Jews are wrong, they are right. Why? They are the Holocaust People, and that shields them from judgment that applies to the rest of us. No matter what Jews do, they cannot be judged. If Jews have 300 illegal nukes, no problem. But if Iran wants viable use of nuclear energy for civilian purposes, it is the new Nazi state and must be starved into submission and maybe even bombed back to the Stone Age. Holocaust Morality has thus become Holocaust Nihilism.) Jews are also admired, indeed worshiped, for their higher intelligence, brilliance, wit, insight, profundity, etc. Though it’d be foolish to deny the power of Jewish intellect, it is a form of nihilism to say Jews must be right simply because they’re brilliant. Though a smart person has more potential to arrive at the truth than a dumb person, it doesn’t follow that the smarter person will favor truth over lies(especially in relation to dumb people). The smart person, out of his own self-interest, may hide the truth and perpetuate the lie/myth. He may use his smartness to fool dumb people, like adults do all the time with children. Dumb people, so enamored of the smart person’s smarts, may think the smart person is doing the right thing on the naive assumption that meritocratic smartness can only lead to greater good in a free society. And indeed, many people seem to think, “since Jews are so smart, witty, original, and brilliant, they MUST BE doing great things and therefore they deserve most of the power, wealth, influence, and of course all of our trust for the good of all.” But are Jew using their smarts to uncover the truth? To do the right thing? Or are Jews using their smarts to hoodwink us, to rob us, to fool us, to cheat us? Just look at most powerful Jews in US media, academia, and law. Yes, they are brilliant, but in the service of what? When it suits their purposes, they invoke the Constitution as the authority on all things; but when the Constitution stands in the way of their agenda, they say the Constitution is an old document that shouldn’t be taken literally. With the Jews, it’s the Rule of Lawyers, not the Rule of Law. But because of Jewish IQ, a nihilistic worship of Jewish brilliance has come to dominate many gentile circles. As a result, it doesn’t matter whether Jews are right or wrong; we should just worship Jews because they are smart, which must mean they are right. And combined with Holocaust Morality or Holocaust Nihilism, which says Jews were the purely innocent victims who were oppressed and killed for no rational reason at all, we fear to be critical of Jews since how can Jews be wrong about anything when they’re such pure angels who never committed any wrong throughout history but were wronged by all peoples?
This goes for Chance too in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. He’s smart, able, and dedicated, but he uses his superior mental/emotional/physical qualities to violate just about every rule in the book. Intelligence and hard work are great instruments but only instruments. Without a moral compass or rudder, they steer off-course. National Socialist Germany rewarded talent, intelligence, and hard work(at least among Germans), but where were they headed? To the cliff, paving the way for the fall of the Right and the doom of the white race. This is why Whittaker Chambers had a point about Ayn Rand. Her ideology was about the trinity of intelligence, ability, and ambition worshiping itself. It’s the nihilism of ability, as if ability alone has superior claim to everything. To be sure, Ayn Rand said all talent, great and small, must play according to the rule of law because only anarchy exists outside it; even so, her worshipful cultism of intelligence, talent, and ambition fed the most radical narcissistic tendencies, as when Rand justified Howard Roark’s demolishing of an entire building for violating the purity of his vision. This dangerous kind of mindset came to infect much of American conservatism, whose main message boils down to ‘lower taxes for the superrich’, as if the superrich are god-men who will create gazillions of jobs and wealth for everyone if only allowed to do as they please. Not that the Left is any better. If anything, it’s worse for the sheer dishonesty. The Left used to stand for basic rights and protections for workers; it valued the virtue of work and personal responsibility. Today, the liberal elites are richer than conservative elites and among the biggest pigs in the world. But, money and greed aren’t enough for them, and so they hog compassion as well, but what is the nature of their ‘compassion’? To strengthen moral values among the masses so that people will embrace values of family, morality, personal responsibility, and work? Liberals during the New Deal era did stand for such values and principles, which is why they limited welfare payments to widows with children. But the new liberalism encourages and rewards rotten lazy and immoral behavior among Negroes and White Trash. Is it any wonder that Mexicans who arrive here with respect for work produce subsequent generations of kids who are as lazy and ridiculous as Negroes and white trash? Part of the reason could be the generally lower IQ among Hispanics, but that alone doesn’t explain it. It’s because what passes for modern liberalism/leftism is not about protecting the values and rights of workers but of encouraging laziness and foulness among the underclass and promoting moral decadence and nihilism among the affluent. So, what is the great morality of America in the 21st century for both the rich and poor? You are a wonderful if you support ‘gay marriage’ and evil if you don’t. How did things come to this? (The Left tends to speak of collective responsibility whereas the Right speaks of personal/individual responsibility. The Left says it’s not only important to be responsible to oneself and one’s family but to mankind. But then, if most people were responsible to themselves, they wouldn’t need others to be responsible for them. Also, there’s a big difference between a community where all decide to work hard & share for the common good AND a community where a large section of the population just wanna take from the productive members of society. There are three kinds of liberal ‘collective responsibility’, each of them childish or misguided in its own way. Among rich liberals, compassion is something they can afford. They have more money than they can ever spend, so why not ‘share’ some of their wealth with mankind — and make loud noises about how noble and generous they are? Thus, rich Jews tend to donate generously, though, to be sure, their money usually go to causes that buttress Jewish power; Jews will donate to pro-illegal-immigration groups in the name of ‘compassion’, but the real agenda is to undermine white majority power. Another kind of liberal is well-to-do or wanna-be-well-to-do but not rich and involved in ‘creative’ pursuits. These kinds majored in arts, culture, humanities, photography, or etc in college, and they wanna live for Meaning. But their highfaluting degrees in ‘creativity’ offer poor career prospects, and so they want to be subsidized or funded by rich people or the government. They want their creative endeavors/pursuits to be funded by others but justify their demand on the basis of ‘commitment’ or ‘compassion’. They believe they have something pure and positive — outside commerce and materialism — to offer to a society where ‘greed’ is king. And, so they want higher taxes levied by government or more donations from the rich so their projects or ideas can see the light of day. These people are either too untalented, too spoiled, or too idealistic to succeed in business or take up professions like plumbing, and so they wanna do things that bring them emotional fulfilment. To justify other people’s footing the bill for their pursuit of Meaning, they claim to be devoted to the higher good in art, beauty, progress, or some such. Related to this group are the statists, the bureaucrats, another group of people who probably wouldn’t succeed much in business and don’t have much stomach for real work. So, in the name of ‘serving the public’, they seek government jobs where they pretend like they’re doing important work for the sake of collective responsibility. And then, there’s the third group, those who just play the victim. If rich liberals practice ‘collective responsibility’ because they have too much money and wanna play at ‘saving the world’ and if ‘creative’/statist liberals invoke ‘collective responsibility’ since they want jobs — paid for by others — that lend them Meaning or Purpose, the ‘victim’ crowd demand ‘collective responsibility’ simply because they want the rest of society be ‘responsible’ toward them though they themselves are supremely and outrageously irresponsible. So, a whole bunch of lowlife Negroes will mess up in school, mess up their communities, have children out of wedlock, commit lots of crime, and make a mess of just about everything... but they aks, “Why ain't white folks doing more for us?” So, though rich liberals think they are doing good with their commitment to ‘collective responsibility’, they are encouraging the expansion of two dangerous sectors of society: the creative-bureaucratic class whose mostly useless existence owes to taxes/donations soaked from the productive sector and the victim class that, while having zero sense of responsibility for itself or for fellow man, demands that rest of society offer them everything for free. This, in the long run, is a recipe for disaster.)
About midpoint through the opening credit — with the passing of the $20 dollar bill — , the atonal jagged sound effects give way to pulsating rhythm as we see a series of dealers and hustlers trading counterfeit currency. L.A., a crazy quilt of diversity, is interwoven with the common thread of naked self-interest. (Maybe it’s significant that the President featured on the $20 bill is Andrew Jackson, the champion of the people with whom America became more of a genuine democracy. But the much mythologized ‘we the people’ seem petty, vain, and anything-for-a-buck in the movie. This is, no doubt, truer of certain ethnic groups than others. Mexicans are passive in their aiding and abetting of crime and corruption while Italians are aggressive. Italian-Americans, along with wily Jews and clannish Irish, made the East Coast a hotbed of crime and corruption while the rise of Mexican power is turning L.A. into an extension of Mexico. A white guy in L.A. today probably feels somewhat like Deckard in BLADE RUNNER.) Since money is the king that unites all, one sure way to get a piece of the action is by manipulating money itself. Use smarts to make fake money to make real money. Rick Masters is a lone operator, a criminal, whereas the guys who run the Fed are institutionalized gangsters with the full backing of the federal government. Given the state of our economy today, one almost gets the sense that the US government cracks down on counterfeiters because it wants to monopolize the business for itself.
But regardless of who runs what, greed is a universal trait, and we see people in all walks of life passing counterfeit money. Some do it because they don’t care about the law, and others do it because they’d rather pass on the funny money than be stuck with it. And some surely do it because they figure a little drop in the bucket can’t amount to much; what is a few counterfeit bills in a multi-trillion dollar economy? But then, it was just such logic that led to the housing boom/bust. Experts thought, “what’s a few loans here for Negroes, there for Hispanics, everywhere for speculators and on and on?” And so, the volumes kept increasing, and then Wall Street geniuses found ways to spread the risk around through derivatives and CDs. How could something devised and assured by the most brilliant people in the world ever go wrong?
Counterfeiting and the soulless/impersonal power(and laws centered around materialism) of money were examined earlier in L’ARGENT, the last film by Robert Bresson. Though Paris and L.A., like Bresson and Friedkin, couldn't be more different, the problems stemming from the ubiquitousness of money in our lives centered on economics is a global/universal reality. The situational absurdity in L’ARGENT is almost comic, but Bresson’s morbid monasticism
allows no relief. Though the end result of the incidents triggered by the passing of a counterfeit bill is gruesome, Bresson’s blank mulishness refuses to play it for tragedy either. It’s this quality that has either attracted or baffled viewers. There’s a paradoxical aspect to his works: a meditative calm of obsessive intensity, subtlety that feels like dead weight, barbed and awkward way of grace. (In Malick’s TREE OF LIFE, ‘grace’, embodied by figure of the Mother and her reveries, is absolute and pure in its manifestation; it is represented as an essence distinct from ‘nature’. A better word for it would be New Age fluffy-duff. Bresson, in contrast, sees grace not as some distilled beatific picture-book but the invisible and mysterious quality embedded in the very grime of existence.) Even the subjectivity of his films tend to be paradoxical. The world he presented is harsh and grim because his characters tend to be childlike, innocent, outcast, defenseless, misunderstood, uncommunicative, and/or, for lack of better term, neurotic. Thus, his films aren’t ‘objective’ social statements about the world but the world experienced through souls bordering on the saintly(and insanity, or the insaintly). And yet, his characters are not really individuals but archetypes, and therefore, their subjectivity is a kind of iconic objectivity(or universality) rooted in a long spiritual tradition. Bresson put his finger on perhaps the ultimate paradox of spiritual purity: the greatest universality in religion is manifested through the greatest peculiarity. Jesus, the eccentric outsider who claimed to be the Son of God, was misunderstood and rejected — and finally killed — by the people of His time yet later came to represent the aspirations of mankind. Joan of Arc was persecuted and burnt as a witch but later universally revered as a saint in France. Time and time again, the most exceptional/eccentric figure came to be the icon, hero, saint, or savior admired and worshiped by millions over the world. The abnormal becomes the universal savior of the normal. It’s as if the saint has to be misunderstood and rejected by everyone in his or her time in order achieve the purity that eventually wins the respect of everyone. Thus, Jesus had to be crucified by mankind to become the savior of all mankind.
Though some saints became famous, there is another paradox of sainthood: the saint must not vainly seek fame. He or she differs from the hero in this sense. The hero seeks glory in his time. A saint lives for purity, even or especially in obscurity. If he is to be honored and revered, it’s entirely up to those who choose to remember him, but he himself must never seek or want that attention. In a devout world where divinity defines people’s lives, the pure and saintly may suffer from persecution but feel connected to the community via the common faith in God. Even the faithful mob that mistakenly burn saints as witches are acting in the name of God and thus, inadvertently, doing the work of God, and in this way, no saint dies without meaning under such circumstances; indeed, Joan of Arc attained sainthood through the misunderstanding of those around her, i.e. her persecution, like that of Job and Jesus, was meaningful in the grand design of things; it was not in vain.
Bresson’s films are, however, set in modern times — a world where spirituality means less and less. Thus, the pure and saintly end up suffering alone, rather like the character of THE DIARY OF THE COUNTRY PRIEST. But at least he died of illness — and the donkey in AU HASARD BALTHASAR was killed. In facing death, the priest can weave some kind of meaning of his existence. And though the donkey Balthasar, as an innocent and helpless victim, has no clue, the audience can be moved by the simple purity of its suffering. But starting with MOUCHETTE, suicide becomes prominent as a feature of Bresson’s films. We have a series of characters with the saint-personalty in a world without a need or place for saints, neither in the present or in the future. The young gypsy girl finally drowns herself. The woman in UNE FEMME DOUCE jumps out the window. Though I haven’t seen DEVIL, PROBABLY, I think the young male character kills himself. And in L’ARGENT, the guy tries to commit suicide. Having failed, he turns to murder at the end, an acts both hateful and merciful. (One thing L’ARGENT and AU HASARD BALTHAZAR have in common is the dynamic of drift or being passed on. The fake bill goes from person to person; the possession of the donkey goes from one owner to the next. In both cases, some individuals are nicer than others. But of course, money, real or fake, has no feelings whereas an animal does. If some animals or people are passed around as possession, others drift from place to place because no one will have them, which is what happens to the character in L’ARGENT. Once out of prison, he’s stranger drifting from place to place, a prisoner of freedom one might say, perhaps the worst kind of ‘imprisonment’; the character in MAN ESCAPED found a way out of prison because he had a meaningful role awaiting him in the outside world, whereas the character in L’ARGENT has no place anywhere. Mouchette too has no place. The character of DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST is officially assigned to a parish, but the townsfolk quietly or unofficially reject him. The woman in UNE FEMME DOUCE is kept as a ‘possession’ by a member of the bourgeoisie, but her heart is never at home.) In one sense, the frustrating thing about L’ARGENT is the whole trouble could have been avoided or alleviated if the character wasn’t so stubborn as a mule. But then, Bresson’s main interest was less in individuality than in personality. One could say the main character in all of his movies is the same personality: the awkward and stubborn — bordering on pathological sometimes — saintly personality out of place in the modern or materializing world. Yet, given the much revered and highly influential/inspirational place that figures like Bresson and Simone Weil have held in modern French culture, one could argue that the cult of sainthood remains alive in some form(though, with the rise of Negro culture in Europe and its emphasis on instant gratification, figures like Antonioni and Bresson may become as irrelevant as classical music has become in the United States; ironically, modern Western culture represented by artists like Antonioni and Bresson may have paved the way for the rise of ape-ish Negro culture. Modern European artists have dwelled on themes of doubt, disillusion, desolation, etc. While their works may be thoughtful and contemplative, they also tend to be dispiriting and demoralizing. If modernity is so sick, vapid, and hollow, what is there to live for? And it’s not very FUN either. So, it isn’t surprising that one part of contemporary European culture is represented by Michael Haneke, who fills his mostly white audiences with self-loathing and doubt, while the other part of European culture is supplied by rapping Negroes who, though foul and disgusting, offer fans a sense of affirmation in sexuality, power, and narcissism.) The problem is sainthood outside spirituality has the danger of slipping into intellectual solipsism, as has been the case with latter day Godard, a great admirer of Bresson. To be monastic without God... is that even possible? Can one fixate on the purity of ideas and intellect alone?
Anyway, if TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is about people who play for high stakes and know what they’re getting into(and even welcome the risks with a devilish grin), L’ARGENT is about a minor thoughtless act that leads to dire consequences, a process that paradoxically seems both accidental/random and logical/fated. It’s accidental in the sense that the kids who passed the counterfeit bill didn’t act out of malice or think of the consequences but nevertheless set off a process that ruined a man’s life. On the other hand, given that everything in our world is tied to money and laws around money, it feels almost as if the whole thing was preordained and inescapable. Because the world is money-centric, the main character becomes a ‘victim’ of both the crooks who printed the false money and the legal system out to punish criminals. The man is wronged by being handed the fake money and then accused/punished for passing the fake money(though he didn’t know he was doing so). Btw, the fact that many, perhaps most of us, though we are not criminals, would rather pass a fake bill that falls into our hand to the next person that eat the loss says something about our nature. Even non-criminals without ill-will pass the buck than take the loss. The biggest passing of the buck in world history is surely what Wall Street pulled off since 2008 via so-called ‘bail-outs’, dumping its losses on the rest of us; but just as Wall Street got away with its dubious actions during the boom with legal/financial instruments, their passing the buck was masked through all sorts of legal procedures. What really happened was Wall Street Jews, with a lot of toxic assets on their hands, used ‘legal’ means to pass them on to us while our wealth passed onto them. But even things like socialized medicine are all ways of passing the buck. And even people who oppose socialized medicine in principle do things to pass the buck. Surely, plenty of conservatives have exploited government programs to get something for ‘free’, like the Palin family crossing the border to get free Canadian medicine.
Anyway, had the main character of L’ARGENT been more in tune with the way of modernity, he might have utilized available rules and tools to defend himself. Yet, he possesses the mulish will of a saint. When accused of passing a fake bill, he reacts violently instead of trying to explain himself. This opens up two more paradoxes about the character. He is both ultra-modern and ultra-anti-modern. He has the personality of a saint but not the soul. He could be an object in a modernist art, and of course he is; Bresson, though steeped in Catholic sensibility, was himself was a modernist, even if a reluctant one.
The other paradox is the animal nature of sainthood. We tend to think of spirituality as the opposite of animality, especially true in the Judeo-Christian faith where humans have souls and animals don’t, where there are three separate spheres: the world of God, world of man, and world of (fallen)nature. Man has the choice of being animal-like and brutish. Or, he can choose to be humanist and believe man is the measure of all things, a view prevalent in Hellenism. Or, he can aspire to be spiritual and enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Thus, the assumption is man must make himself least animal-like to enter the realm of angels. And yet, animal metaphors abound in the Bible. Jesus is said to be the shepherd of mankind, i.e. man should be gentle as a sheep. Though dogs can be vicious, what living creature is as angelic as dogs? Also, all animals, even predators, have a ‘purity’, ‘honesty’, and ‘innocence’ lacking in humans who tend to be deceitful(and necessarily so). We tend to think of the Christian saint as pacific, passive, and pure; and yet, a saint, even as he refuses to use violence, is ‘violent’ or passionate in his adamance to do the right thing. This determination, though spiritual, has its roots not in logic or reason but in a kind of animality. Like a cat refusing to be led along on a leash or a donkey resisting the pull of its master, a saint must unthinkingly insist on doing what he or she FEELS is right. Thus, there is a primal animality at the core of sainthood, which, in this sense, is a kind of lofty barbarism. Just as some animals have a nature that cannot easily be tamed or broken, saints have habits and convictions that cannot be shaken. Thus, saints can seem both very noble and very stupid. In a way, it’s fitting that the animal-like Zampano feels the full power of repentance in LA STRADA. He is beastly, but there is a primal sentimentality at the core of his animality. Though he can never attain sainthood himself, his raw emotionalism gains direct access to the saint he’d once known in his life and rejected. Related to this concept is the myth of the Noble Savage, something that never seems to go out of fashion, what with films like Malick’s THIN RED LINE and NEW WORLD or Cameron’s monstrous AVATAR. Though the Noble Savage isn’t exactly a saint, he represents the notion of nature and spirituality being one and the same. The problem with the Noble Savage myth, especially in the politically correct era of New Age fluffy-duff, is the sense of complacency, as if there was or is a real Eden where man can live in harmony with nature and others of his kind. Noble Savage myths of the past had some edge and grit. Tarzan represented the Noble Savage, but there was no indication that nature is easy, wonderful, and fun. It’s brutal, kill or be killed, and indeed the nobility arises from being tested and overcoming the trials, often on a daily basis. But the more recent Noble Savage myth would have us believe in some paradise where even violence within nature is part of some wondrous cycle of death and rebirth. Yes, ecological processes exist but they’re far from wonderful or painless. A saint is different from the Noble Savage in the sense that he or she expects to suffer in the struggle against the fallen world and wicked temptations of his or her own soul. There’s nothing complacent about sainthood. Though a saint is pacific — though not in all cases, but then this owes to the debasing of sainthood and inclusion of people who don’t belong, like Czar Nicholas by the ridiculous Russian Orthodox Church — , he or she lives a life of spiritual struggle and ‘violence’. In contrast, though a Noble Savage is often violent, it’s assumed that it’s all part of the spiritual harmony between man and nature. To be sure, even the notion of sainthood has been debased all around in secular America, what with every dead Negro pop star elevated to some iconic spiritual status, i.e. “Tupac Shakur died for your bads” or the ridiculous cult of MLK. Most disgusting of all is Oprah, who has perfected the art of sainthood by collective-guilt-manipulation. Though Oprah herself hasn’t done anything of worth as a human being, simply by embodying the symbols of her race’s history — from slave mammy to maidservant to welfare queen to celebrity — , she has taken on the mantle of symbolic sainthood. (Coincidentally, Friedkin made THE FRENCH CONNECTION, a movie that unites America and Europe in the crime enterprise.)
TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is not about victims of counterfeiting — if anything, it features a society where apparent ‘victims’ connive for a piece of the pie. In terms of power and complexity, OSTERMAN WEEKEND, LONG GOOD FRIDAY, THE HIT(directed by Stephen Frears), VIOLENT COP(directed by Takeshi Kitano), and few others belong in the same class among 80s thrillers. (IN THE LINE OF FIRE from the 1990s qualifies as a superior action thriller, but the older Eastwood seemed to be in perpetual atonement mode for having starred in the ‘nihilistic’ Leone Westerns and the first DIRTY HARRY movie. UNFORGIVEN, a wooden constipation of a Western had Eastwood straining from beginning to end with the presumably profound insight that real violence is unpleasant and has C-O-N-S-E-Q-U-E-N-C-E-S! Similarly, IN THE LINE OF FIRE is heavy on redemption, as if Eastwood represents the conscience of white maledom that let the world down by failing to prevent the assassination of the president who represented Hope for the world. It’s a conservative variation of Robert Redford’s white sainthood via guilt and atonement. The last thing we want from an action movie is a sermon. TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. and VIOLENT COP, as well the original DIRTY HARRY, practice than preach the lessons of violence. A real artist has no need to explain when what he shows is plainly obvious. Action films are better off with the billy club than the bully pulpit.)
The title-credit scene of TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is reminiscent of the one in THE WILD BUNCH. A sense of unease, of things being off-center, dominates both. Though modern Los Angeles is a giant metropolis whereas Starbuck in THE WILD BUNCH is small frontier town, there’s a tense feeling in both of what-you-see-isn’t-what-it-is. In THE WILD BUNCH, we see ‘innocent’ kids ‘sadistically’ playing with scorpions and ants, a preacher giving a fiery speech to a bored Temperance Union gathering, bandit-robbers masquerading as U.S. soldiers, and law enforcement using underhanded means(and half-criminal bounty hunters) to ambush the bandits. The strange thing about THE WILD BUNCH’s opening scene is the viewer wouldn’t suspect the ‘soldiers’ to be anything but soldiers in the first viewing, but in subsequent viewings, they can’t be anything but bandits. This isn’t simply a matter of knowing the truth from the initial viewing. Rather, a kind of Kuleshov Effect takes place, whereupon the movie makes us aware of our own psychological responses. Everything about the ‘soldiers’ that seemed ‘normal’ in the first viewing take on a sinister hue once we know what the men really are. THE WILD BUNCH makes us aware of how our expectations shape our perceptions. And this is underscored by Jerry Fielding’s music where military motifs trip over dissonant chords. (The theme is furthered later when the Bunch enter Angel’s village and are mistaken by the people — except a sharp-eyed elder — as heroes. If the Bunch disguised themselves as soldiers to fool and rob the town of Starbuck, their mere presence as themselves in a village that had just been ravaged by the Federales is enough to make the folks see them as possible saviors.)
Similarly, the credit scene in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. convey a sense of a fractured and distorted world. We get long shots, a montage of images that seem unrelated and discordant but are all part of one city. An image of hyper-modern L.A. Another image of Third World L.A. Then an image of trendy fashionable L.A., followed by industrial L.A. and etc. The pieces don’t seem to fit as a puzzle, yet a picture begins to emerge as we see more.
As in BLADE RUNNER, L.A is a showcase of the hyper-new and decaying old, sometimes in conflict, sometimes in mutual indifference. There’s a sense of decadence, an absence of deeply rooted or shared culture, the coming of the new Babel, yet also a sense of energetic immaturity that is too young for decadence.
As the funny money is passed back and forth among handlers and dupes, we get a montage of surveillance images of the crooks in action, which adds another layer of deception to the movie. Agents use deception and ‘dirty tricks’ to catch criminals, one of the most nagging ethical issues in law enforcement. If good guys are supposed to uphold the law, how much can the law be bent to serve the law? So, instead of pure cop vs pure robber, it becomes a game of cops bending the law versus robbers breaking the law(with lawyers plying their trade in between); but how much can the law be bent before it breaks? How far can you cheat the cheater without turning into a cheater? (In the case of the ‘Chinaman’ with $50,000, it turns into a game of cheating the cheater cheating the cheater, as he turns out to be an undercover FBI agent posing as a crook; the multi-layers of subterfuge push Chance and Vukovich to the edge of nihilism.) Rick Masters is an arch criminal with lots of money, which means he can buy the best lawyers. Richard Chance serves the law, but he cannot get near Masters by sticking to the rule-book. He must bend the law, almost to the point of breaking. And he can hide behind his badge. In a way, his control over Ruth(Darlanne Fluegel) — who’s almost like his slave — is kinda like Harrigan’s control over Deke Thorton in THE WILD BUNCH. Thorton the captured bandit, having been brutally tortured in prison, decided to cooperate with the law to capture the rest of the bandits. Similarly, Ruth uses her contacts in the criminal world to feed Chance information because, otherwise, Chance will have her parole revoked. Chance also owns her as his sexual property.
TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is relevant in the age of War on Terror when US government has been engaged in all sorts of questionable activities to bend the law to serve the law, paradoxically undermining the system in the name of protecting the system. And things haven’t changed under Obama; some say it’s gotten worse, especially since liberal critics who tend to be anti-war don’t wanna criticize a black guy. As with taxes — where people demand more services but also less taxes —, politicians know people want both their liberties and their bodies protected. But, if we protect liberties, terrorists might hurt our bodies. If we undermine liberties to protect our bodies, the Bill of Rights won’t amount to much. So, politicians speak the rhetoric about protecting freedoms while, in office, expanding the power of the government. Of course, there is a simpler explanation to all of this. Jews have the power and control just about everything. More surveillance power for the government means more power for the Jewish elite to look into all of us. Jewish-owned media control what we see and hear, and Jewish-controlled government see and hear what we say and do. Jews own all.
The credit scene/music comes to an abrupt end with Rick Masters unrolling his painting(probably a self-portrait)on the floor. Our first impression of Masters comes from his intensity, a disturbed blend of the neurotic and creative; the space around him burns with his intelligence but the gaze is cold and reptilian. The physique is oddly striking, even impressive, but also skeletal, deathly, repellent. He goes to the balcony, where he staples the painting to the wall and stares at it silently. A mirror to his soul or lack of one? Perhaps, Masters creates art to forge an identity, a deeply private(and in his mind, a true)one, separate from the sleazy and compromised mask he dons in the real world? The music in this scene is classical-modernist — unnerving, somber, lurking. Masters is no simple thief. He’s an artist and even a thinker, with no obvious boundary between his profession and his art, between the social self and creative self. In some crazy way, he could even be said to be the most principled person in the movie — though he betrays some of his ‘friends’, the motives for his actions may actually be more ‘ethical’, at least within the context of the codes established for himself.
In AFTER HOURS, Cheech Marin says, “TV’s just a TV, but art is forever.” We tend to feel the same about money and art. Money’s great, but it is a means, not the thing. And there are some things that “money can’t buy”. But with the rise of Andy Warholism, art too has become just another commodity. One may argue Rick-Masters-ism is the ultimate application of Warholism. Warhol copied Campbell soup cans and prodded the art community into an argument about ‘what is art?’. By games that he set forth, his Campbell Soup Cans are now worth millions of dollars. Masters, as a counterfeiter, could be said to be a post-modernist mastermind who copies US bills as a kind of conceptual art. Because the economy is dependent on paper currency — which in and of itself has no value — , we’ve come to equate(or mistake) paper currency as real wealth. Currency, of course, has value in terms of what it can buy, which is based on trust enforced by laws, but what if the rule of law in America is a myth manipulated by financial oligarchies? And what if too many big shots work not so much to produce or own actual things but to play the game of amassing more wealth in the form of money? Indeed, why do Wall Street guys with $100s of millions play for billions?
Free Market economics would have us believe that capitalism works according to exchange of goods and services based on the laws of supply and demand, i.e. if you need a house, you save up to buy a house, and if you need a car, you save up to buy a car, and if you need money, you run a business to make money. But why do people like Warren Buffett and George Soros wanna soak up the world’s money supply? What does it have to do with supply or demand or their needs? Law of supply and demand applies to most people, but the superrich are motivated by and operate on different set of principles. Their rule is not so much supply and demand as ego and power. They are addicted to playing the game, they wanna win, and they want the power that comes with the money. Thus, capitalism produces a kind of tyranny of money. For some, there is never ‘enough’. If some people wanna make and sell things and expect money as a reward, others, especially in finance, just want the money; being fixated on money for money’s sake, they lose sight of the true nature of the economy and the purpose of money, which is to serve as a means of exchange of goods and services; being money-centered, they create ever more abstract forms of ‘financial services’ to expand their control of money.
Capitalism is, of course, preferable to political tyranny since no single capitalist can own and control everything, which is something totalitarian states have been able to do. Not even Bill Gates or CEO of McDonalds can rule over us or force us to use Bing search engine or eat Big Macs. But, there is a super-class of top capitalists for whom the world is not enough. In fact, they are so egomaniacal and ruthless that most of us don’t even register as people to them. A guy with 100s of millions is eyeing the guy with billions and the guy with billions is eyeing the guy with many more billions and the guy with the many more billions is eyeing us as sheep, guinea pigs, or ants. To be sure, they use the laws of supply and demand, giving the masses what they want(though masses are often manipulated into wanting stuff they don’t need or are bad for them). They have to keep playing for more money and more power. And indeed, if possible, they’ll even undermine and violate the principles of true supply and demand to distort the marketplace to rake in even more for themselves. Think of the huge profits for financial firms around the world during the bubble and housing bubble. They had less to do with supply and demand than supply and delay(as the disastrous effects of those actions could be delayed by actions of international banks owned and controlled by the cabal).
After quietly pondering the painting, Masters perversely sets it on fire. Not good enough? Is he more interested in the process(the act of creation) than in the product? Is there an element of self-loathing, a hidden death wish to destroy his own image and being? Fire is an important motif associated with Masters. Later, he is seen burning a bag full of counterfeit money handled by the Fearsome Negro. And he is ultimately set ablaze and burned like his paintings. His penchant for burning stuff could also be a kind of purification rite. In a way, Masters worships himself(as sociopathic narcissists generally do), and he may feel that no image of himself — body and soul — could ever reflect his true essence. He creates idols of himself and then destroys them as false idols violating the real thing. He may also believe that the world is not worthy of the product of his creative genius. So, he creates art for himself, seen only by his own eyes(and few others on occasion) before it’s destroyed. He’s a troubled character, a cipher to himself despite or especially because of his intelligence. We later learn that he’d spent time in prison for armed robbery. Yet, he’s not an ordinary criminal but egomaniac who lives by the Nietzschean conceit that he’s above the laws of men. (But thankfully he’s not hammy like Hannibal Lecter.)
The scene cuts from the burning painting to fume trail from an airplane slicing the sky over L.A. Then, the camera looms about a massive bridge on which Richard Chance stands peering over the edge. Going from Rick Masters to Richard Chance with the sky, realm of gods, serving as barrier/mirror between the two suggest they are two of a kind. The paralleling of ‘good guy’ and ‘bad guy’ is, of course, a cliche(often a short-cut for ‘ambiguity’ and ‘complexity’) — featured even in 007 movies like LICENCE TO KILL — , but the treatment in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. fascinates because the antagonists amount to much more than stand-ins for generalities or action-thriller archetypes. William Friedkin said all of his movies are about the ‘the thin line between good and evil’, but a movie is only interesting if there’s something more than ‘good’, ‘bad’, and ‘thin line’, which are all abstract formulations. If the heroes and villains of THE FRENCH CONNECTION and TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. are memorable, it’s because they have aspects and characteristics — certain intimacies and peculiarities — outside the ‘concept’. Richard Chance is Richard Chance before anything else.
If Rick is associated with fire, Chance is often associated with water. (After the death of his partner, he’s seen looking out over the waves from his apartment. In the getaway scene, his car splashes through water.) Rick Masters, cold-blooded and reptilian, is attracted to fire. Chance, hotheaded and burning up, could use a cold shower. Chance peers at the world around him from the bridge. He sees a giant cargo ship passing through the strait, a very Homeric image: the Hero, the Ship, and the Sea. We aren’t sure why he’s standing there or what’s going through his mind and pensive gaze? Is he doing a job? Considering suicide? Suddenly he leaps, and it cuts to low angle zoom shot of Chance falling toward the sea shouting like a crazy person. We see a wire connected to one of his legs; it was a thrill jump.
Both Rick and Richard like to push things to the edge, but Rick is more of a control freak; as his last name suggest, he plays the Master. He plays for big stakes but cuts risks down to a minimum. In contrast, Richard, as his last name suggests, lives to take chances. In a way, in personality terms, the movie is about a con-man vs a gambler. Though a consummate professional(at least when he wants to be) , Chance feels most alive with the rush of adrenaline. Masters and Chance are like cat and dog. Masters is smarter and more cautious, and Chance is dogged, even rabid, in whatever he does. There’s a sense of steely control even when Masters is in action — fighting, killing, or fleeing — , whereas Chance is restless even at rest, like he wants to burst out of his skin and jump to the next action. (In cinematic terms, the contrast between Chance and Masters is also like 80s Hollywood and European Art Cinema. In terms of temperament and attitude, Chance, like young American moviegoers, is impatient and has limited attention span, whereas Masters is more analytic and cerebral, taking his time to look under every stone. Chance doesn’t care about the means as long he attains the end, whereas Masters is meticulous about the means as part of the end. It’s like Michael Bay vs Claude Chabrol. Friedkin himself was interesting as a blend of both styles of filmmaking; he drew much of his inspiration from Europeans directors like Georges Clouzot while conceiving of populist forms of expression that would have profound impact on the development of the blockbuster movie.) Masters is Mr. Psychology, creating art as the map of his soul. Chance hardly ever looks into the mirror. It’s enough that he knows he’s good-looking and has the balls to do whatever he wants to do. He has no time to reflect, not really even to feel. After his partner dies, mourning immediately gives way to vendetta. Off-duty, he’s ‘base-jumping’ from bridges, hanging around bars, having sex with Ruth, or talking about sports. He is an extreme version of the iconic 80s male. Everything, work or play, has to be 110% with him.
Chance jumps off bridges as if he has wings. Though he takes the leap, he’s saved from hitting the water by a wire, just as his wild actions(of dubious legality)are protected by his badge. But the fact that he jumps for the water but is pulled back forebodes his getting close to Masters but not quite fulfilling the vendetta. Paradoxically, Chance is more reckless and cocky than Masters because he has the law behind his back. Though people in law enforcement are supposed to uphold the law, the power/protection of the law allows agents and officials to get away with a lot of stuff. It’s like Deke Thorton says to Harrigan in THE WILD BUNCH, “How does it feel? To have the law’s arms around you?”, to which Harrigan answers, “It feels good.” Chance knows he can abuse the law because he’s on the side of the law. Masters knows he’s against the world and vice versa; he’s working against both the world of law and the world of crime(as there’s little honor among thieves). To be sure, Chance is also fighting a two-front war: against criminals and against his own bureau, where superiors find him reckless and insufferable. But working within the law offers certain protections(based on ideals, common purpose, and tribal camaraderie)unlikely to exist among criminals bound by nothing but self-interest and greed.
The difference between Popeye Doyle of THE FRENCH CONNECTION and Richard Chance of TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. owes to various factors, social and cultural. The earlier movie, though sensationalistic in its own right, was based on a real sting operation and real people. There’s also the cultural divide between early 70s and mid 80s. Though Hackman in THE FRENCH CONNECTION couldn’t have been much older than Petersen in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., he LOOKS much older. It’s like Hackman/Doyle’s generation grew up fast, eager to join the ranks of ‘men’, whereas, since the celebration of Eternal Youth in the late 60s, males of the 80s wanted to look and feel young forever. Richard Chance, though a full-grown man, still dresses and acts like he’s going to a frat party. In one scene, he goes to a bar wearing one of those sports team shirts with numbers; it’s hard to imagine Doyle or his partner doing something like that. Though the 60s generation was plenty narcissistic, the self-regard was restrained by certain considerations. The hippies, for example, weren’t so much saying ‘we wanna be young forever’ as ‘we wanna be timeless’. To an extent, they were even rebelling against the original Rock-n-Roll attitude of crass teenage exuberance.
One of the popular sci-fi stories of the era was LOGAN’S RUN where all people are young and eliminated before they grow old. In the story, a man and a woman flee into the wilderness and encounter an old man and realize the fullness of life(and man’s part in the cycle of nature). And one of the most popular books of the Counterculture was Hermann Hesse’s SIDDHARTHA, where the character gains understanding of his life as part of a ceaseless link. Similarly, the reason why some hippies wanted to ‘touch Indians’ wasn’t because Indians represented youth but timelessness, oneness with the eternal and organic way of nature. (In a way, George Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD was about the revenge of nature. Animals devour other animals but are also devoured by other animals. Nature is eat-and-be-eaten. Man was part of this nature but created civilization which shielded him from the way of nature. Man ate animals but was no longer eaten by them. Man came to believe in the invincibility of his self-enclosed order. Even man’s death was shielded him from nature. Instead of being left out in the field to be consumed by birds and animals, man enclosed the dead in coffins and buried them in gated cemeteries. In both life and death, it was as if man was separate from nature. So, how horrifying that the dead come to ‘life’ and act according to their most basic animal instincts, which is to eat; zombies may be gruesome, but they’re ‘natural’, not evil. This primal instinct to devour among the dead pushes the living to other primal instincts, such as territoriality and dominance. So, the survivors retreat into a house and defend it from waves of zombie attacks. And in this struggle, the young Negro and the middle aged white guy try to take command of the situation. The funny irony is though the Negro is made out to be nobler, the white guy actually proves to be right. They all should have hidden in the cellar.) Though the motto of the 60s generation was “don’t trust anyone over thirty”, its actual meaning was less about age than social history. Older people weren’t to be trusted not because they were old per se but because they’d been conditioned and indoctrinated by conformist/industrial society. But all this counterculture flakiness could last only so long.
In a way, the new kind of narcissism that would define the 80s was to be found in Yukio Mishima, David Bowie, and other glam-queen-types of ambiguous gender-ality. Mishima had long said he wanted to die before he got too old. He said heaven must have been beautiful in the time of the Ancient Greeks because beautiful-bodied young men died in battle, in the prime of their lives. (Never mind Greeks believed dead people ended up in Hades, but you get the point.) Mishima said heaven today must be ugly because most people live to a ripe old age. For Mishima, WWII had been the last chance for beautiful young men to die gloriously in their prime as soldiers. Mishima had a chance to fight and die ‘beautifully’ but didn’t. Officially, he was rejected due to ill health, but other accounts say he faked sickness to dodge the draft. A part of Mishima wanted to live and write. Another part of Mishima regretted the lost opportunity to die as a poet-warrior, and it filled him with self-loathing and guilt throughout his life. Like Peter O’Toole in LORD JIM — I haven’t read the book but saw the movie — , Mishima wanted to prove and redeem himself through death. Also, being an extreme narcissist, he wanted to kick the bucket when his body was still firm and healthy and in a manner that would be a spectacle not only for Japan but the entire world. Just as Chance stood atop the bridge to ‘base-jump’, Mishima stood above Japanese soldiers and gave some crazy speech about revival of Japanese spirit and invading Asia again — some people never learn. He wanted to play macho-queer-god-samurai-poet.
And then, there was the rise of glam rock in the early 70s, when the stinky hippie stuff had gotten old and tired. Bowie, Roxy Music, and the like were fashioning a new kind of Rock Culture focused not on timeless nature but on the artifice of beauty. Bowie seemed not only half-male and half-female but half-man and half-machine, earthling and extraterrestrial; he was android-inous as well as androgynous. Some of the big stars of this new cultural sensibility were gay, and gayness would define disco, which got too gay and ridiculous for the mainstream.
The new kind of narcissism based on artifice and glamour took over, and we can see aspects of ‘gay sensibility’ in Richard Chance, especially in the way he walks through the warehouse where his partner Jimmy Hart got killed. Popeye Doyle moved and acted like he didn’t care how the world saw him. Though Chance is as or even more reckless than Doyle, he always instinctively seems to be performing even if it’s not self-conscious. Doyle’s pride comes in being rugged and tough, but toughness isn’t enough for Chance. He has to be cool. As with Mishima and young Bowie, there’s an element of vanity and petulance in Richard Chance that would have been alien to Doyle’s generation. And this goes for the villain Rick Masters too. The villain in THE FRENCH CONNECTION is a well-dressed smooth operator, but he’s not a showy character. Masters, in contrast, has a Mishima-Bowie side to his character. There’s an air of flamboyance about him. Masters also works out to keep his body young.
Nevertheless, Richard Chance and Rick Masters, though exhibiting psycho-cultural symptoms of their times, are something more than mere icons. MIAMI VICE, in contrast, has poster-boys of 80s aesthetics as its characters; in MIAMI VICE, TOP GUN, and the like, the mask is the soul. The tension between the style and the substance in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. reflects the mood of the 80s without succumbing to its formulaic vices. It is OF but doesn’t necessarily BELONG to that decade but to something grander.
One of the hallmarks of the 20th century was the rise(as science & art) of mass advertising, aka the manipulation of image and sound to sell products: soap, soda pop, shampoo, toothpaste, fashion, politicians, and even ideas/attitudes(as they go down smoother when associated with certain images; Americans associate conservatism with negativism partly because media matches conservatism with images of ‘old angry white men’). In TAXI DRIVER, the Albert Brooks character and Betsy even discuss the candidate Palatine as a brand. We all heard of how the image/style/marketing of Kennedy played a key role in defeating Nixon. Kennedy was Made-for-TV. And TV also played a key role in the downfall of Joseph McCarthy. And Bill Moyer’s nuke-explosion ad irreparably damaged Barry Goldwater in 1964. After the doom and gloom following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the refreshing image of the Beatles revived American spirits — or so we’ve been told by the grand media narrative.
Just as finance overtook the larger economy, advertising overtook the product itself. Google and Facebook are all about advertising, also crucial to Network and Cable TV. The most powerful determinant in who wins elections are TV commercials.
Millions of people are willing to fork over top dollars to own their pair of Jordan shoes though the shoes won’t make them better athletes; they want a piece of the Jordan mystique created and sold through marketing.
Nixon’s problem was he was never good with the image. And Carter seemed to be mired in dreary and drab reality; he wasn’t good at offering Americans an assuring sense of alternate reality during hard times(which is why Obama is channeling Reagan, at least superficially, but then modern politics IS superficial, a mouthwash to mask the real germs — mostly Jewish power — that infest the institutions of power). In contrast, Reagan, like Kennedy, was the master of the image. He made Americans feel good even when there wasn’t much to feel good about. And Gorbachev came to prominence with a new image offensive, even winning the trust of Margaret Thatcher, who told Reagan that Gorbachev was a man they could work with. And Deng Xiaoping of the 80s understood the magic of public relations, and he won the support and even sympathy of many Western leaders and journalists. Of course, the fact that certain figures and products are sold through the power of image, advertising, or public relations doesn’t mean that they have no substance. Reagan and Thatcher were formidable politicians, as were Gorbachev and Deng. And Kennedy was no slouch either. But the danger of advertising and image manipulation/promotion is that we may eventually come to favor the image over the real thing, the surface to the substance — or in the case of Obama, we may see as real something that isn’t real at all(as Obama is completely a toyboy product of Jewish power).
No people came to master and manipulate advertising as much as the Jews have, but Jews were not always on the side of the advertisers. The new rebellious generation of Jews in the 60s and 70s often attacked the world of advertising in politics and products. They sought to replace the phony with the real. This was true even in the rise of New Cinema. Jewish directors like Bob Rafelson and Arthur Schlesinger made movies such as FIVE EASY PIECES and MIDNIGHT COWBOY. And they were joined by John Cassavetes, Martin Scorsese, and others. Even genre movies like DIRTY HARRY and THE FRENCH CONNECTION went for location shooting, natural lighting(or at least more natural-looking tonalities), and cribbed elements of documentary/journalistic filmmaking. The image, no longer sterilized of ‘randomness’, picked up and carried the germs of the street/dirt and of bodily functions. They delivered the goods in terms of action and suspense but didn’t play by the rules of modern advertising where EVERY element must contribute and conform to the concept, where all ‘inessential’ or ‘irrelevant’ grime or speck must be removed. Ideal advertising features a unified/pure expression where nothing is ‘arbitrary’ or ‘contrary’ to the purpose; it must ace the market-test, and even if shallow and empty in what it conveys, it must be psychologically total in its sensual/subliminal impact; perhaps modern advertising is where the most brains go into producing the most mindless, but this mindlessness isn’t brainlessness, as its power rests in its brilliantly conceived power to manipulate, convert, entice, overwhelm. Over time, the advertisement style came to define moviemaking itself. If Classic Hollywood cranked out movies like assembly line products and if New Cinema aimed for film-as-art or film-as-truth, 80s movies were like cinema as commercials, which is why recent trailers are like a short movie and movies are like extended trailers, made up of series of market-tested effects than any kind of storytelling. (AVATAR and LOR movies are not really movies but advertisements. Cameron and Peter Jackson are not auteurs but adverteurs.)
In a way, the Apple Macintosh ‘1984' ad finalized the triumph of image over reality. The miserable-looking drones in the commercial may be beholden to Big Brother, but their grime at least serves as a reminder of some feature of reality, which is messy and imperfect. The athlete warrioress who enters with the hammer and breaks the spell of Big Brother isn’t so much an agent of Truth as of the Image. She LOOKS bright, clean, and healthy(or perfect), and so she must be right(because we want to make-believe so; it’s interesting that it was made by Ridley Scott. The most perfect creature in BLADE RUNNER is Rachel, but she turns out to be a product — as she tells Deckard, she isn’t in the business, she IS the business. So, in BLADE RUNNER, Scott warns us not to fall for the Image. But in the 1984 ad, Image is the truth, but then, that is the nature of advertising).
Of course, there is no clear boundary between surface and substance. With Apple products, the two spheres are ingeniously integrated with one another. And generally speaking, the outer manifestation of a person speaks volumes about what’s inside. A well-groomed person with a nice demeanor is likely to be a decent sort. The SANJURO dynamic tends to be the exception than the rule. (In Kurosawa’s movie, the rough-n-gruff looking ronin, a masterless samurai, turns out to be a good guy while some well-groomed samurai turns out to be the actual villain, though one must admit Mifune, even in shaggy-man outfit, is wolfishly charismatic. A variation of this is found in the recent South Korean film POETRY, where a vulgar local policeman turns out be man of principle while many outwardly respectable members of society play a rather dastardly game of manipulation.) Even so, we need to be careful about the Primacy of Image. During the 80s, many Western reporters said how drab the Soviet Union looked. They reported how the Chinese, long having worn drab colorless Mao suits, were finally coming to life with new fashions. Now, there’s nothing with adding color to clothes and spice to food, and the social/moral failures of communist societies are incontestable. But there’s danger in judging a culture, society, and system so much on the basis of its image or style. Despite communism’s inefficiencies, there was an element of virtue in its economic philosophy that reflected some of the virtues of Christian puritans. While lack of choice under communism was mainly due to economic inefficiencies, another factor was rooted in the principle of humility, sobriety, communal spirit, and shared purpose. Communism, like Christianity and Islam, frowned upon narcissists eager to show off how much better they looked than others. In its emphasis on shared and common humanity, communism discouraged exhibitions of vanity and
‘crass’ attitudes. (Paradoxically, though we tend to associate the puritanical drabness of communism with its economic failures, a line of argument put forth by Max Weber argued that the rise of capitalism in Northern Europe owed to the Protestant Work Ethic. Catholicism was much more colorful, exhibitionistic, expressive, and even ‘narcissistic’ than Protestantism, which came to be associated with sobriety, starkness, puritanism, pessimism, and what we might today call ‘drab’. Catholicism was a technicolor movie with Dolby stereo; Protestantism was b/w silent film. Catholicism was a big coffee table book with fancy covers and lots of colorful illustrations; Protestantism was a book with black covers and nothing inside but letters — it was much more ‘drab’. Yet, it was the ‘drab’ Protestants who triggered the great shift to capitalism and presided over the rise of the modern West, whereas the more flamboyant, colorful, and look-conscious Catholics — in Italy, Spain, and even in France — fell behind. Protestant Prussia came to be far more economically productive than Catholic Austria. This is counter-intuitive, especially from the viewpoint of modern libertarianism that argues the core of capitalism is self-love and self-glory. If capitalism is fueled by narcissism, why did it come to fruition among the Protestants whose culture not only de-emphasized but generally looked down on things that felt, sounded, or looked ‘too rich’. Consider the film BABETTE’S FEAST where the ‘sensual’ and ‘seductive’ culinary skills of an exiled French Catholic woman send shivers of anxiety among the two old Lutheran ladies whose entire lives had been devoted to spartan virtues of simple faith and basic needs. Though Catholic societies were sexually ‘repressive’ — in some cases as much as or even more than Protestant ones — , people were allowed to explore and express sensuality through music, dress, food, and art. Oddly enough, Northern European Protestants, a people committed to the conceit of ‘pure poor’, became far richer than those renowned for their ‘creamy rich’ tastes. An English gentleman was less likely to be into fancy dress than a member of the Italian elite. A Prussian banker ate and dressed more modestly than a privileged Frenchman who went for all sorts of culinary pleasures, some so outlandish it was like using the taste-buds as genitalia. And even in France, the small Protestant community was disproportionately involved in the economic life and industrialization of the nation. Northern Protestants were more repressive of their individual narcissistic vanity, yet they worked much harder to accumulate greater capital, wealth, and power. Could one argue, then, that capitalism — or success in capitalism — is less about self-serving vanity than working diligently to exploit the self-serving vanity of others? Consider Jews and Negroes. Many Jews did business in black neighborhoods up until the 1960s when race riots broke out — and children of Jewish merchants soon moved onto elite professions or bigger enterprises outside the black community. Blacks, as we know, are the most narcissistic, exhibitionistic, self-aggrandizing, and self-centered people in the world. If capitalism is all about ‘greed’ and self-interest, blacks should be the richest people in the world. In contrast to blacks, many Jews have tended to be frugal, basic in their tastes, relatively ‘drab’ in what they wore, and etc. Though many Jews wanted to be rich and afford fancy things, most of them chose to work hard, live modestly, and save their money. Jews were more ‘drab’ and puritanical in behavior than the Negroes, but Jews earned a lot more. And the rise of East Asia can be seen in a similar light. Japanese and Chinese are known for their work ethic; they and their cousins in the US seem to be less flamboyant and showoff-ish than many other ethnic groups. Yet, East Asians and East-Asian-Americans earn a lot more than many other groups. Filipinos and Southeast Asians – such as Indonesians — , in contrast, are known to be more hedonistic and showoff-ish, but they tend to be poorer. We can partly explain their different levels of success by taking I.Q. into consideration, but the role of culture also seems to be crucial here. Culture certainly mattered in Europe, where Northern Europeans and Southern Europeans, more or less, have the same IQ. And Protestant-rooted Germans don’t have higher IQ than Catholic-rooted Poles, or Orthodox-rooted Russians for that matter. Yet, Germans achieved a lot more economically. It’s possible that both Northern European Protestantism and East Asian Confucianism placed great emphasis on the simple virtues of life and stressed a culture of active discipline — as opposed to mere passive taboos — that came to dominate more flamboyant cultures of Southern Europe and Southeast Asia. Catholic nations had many passive taboos, many do’s and don’ts, in terms of what a man and especially a woman can or can’t do. But rules that stress what people can’t do, while useful in maintaining social order, don’t mold people into active citizens. Also, since Catholicism emphasized ritual over spirit, its followers found it sufficient to conform to and perform certain rites to maintain their reputation as ‘respectable’ people. As long as they avoided taboos and went through the same old routines, they needn’t worry about anything. The social morality was judged by what one didn’t do than what one did. In contrast, Protestantism’s stress on the spirit made its adherents more soul-searching — and when take to extremes, it could lead to a kind of Taliban-ization of the soul and culture, and thus Protestant societies potentially faced the danger of becoming more economically backward than Catholic ones did, just as Sparta wasn’t as culturally or economically as vibrant as Athens. If man felt burdened by the weight of sin every moment of the day, his desire to be rich and own nice things — such as a golden than a wooden crucifix — could be construed as surrendering to the temptations of the Devil. Thus, Protestantism was, in and of itself, no guarantee for economic growth or progress. Rather, the key was the secularization of Protestantism that borrowed the disciplined ethos of the religion and fitted it as an engine in the materialist world; similarly, Confucianism, which looked down on merchants and business, was no guarantee for the economic rise of modern East Asia, and indeed many scholars in the past identified it as the reason for China’s backwardness, but once East Asia was liberated from old orthodoxies and embraced modernity, a form of neo-Confucianism — with its emphasis on order, education, cohesion, respect, and sobriety — played a constructive role in driving economic growth. Though East Asians of today want the good things in life, a kind of neo-Confucianism reminds them that nothing comes easily, that life is an uphill climb, that one must respect and master knowledge to attain the higher good, and freedom must function within social order/unity. Modern freedoms have turned East Asians to the ‘good’ and ‘fun’ things in life, but too much of a good thing is a bad thing, and so neo-Confucianism plays a role in reminding that work must come before play, indeed that play is the product of good hard work. We prefer to think in terms of binary oppositions than of dualities, i.e. THIS is good, THAT is bad, which is why libertarians will say individualism is the answer to everything while socialists will say the collective good is the key. But what if social truth tends to be more fascist, i.e. good society arises from the creative interaction of pluralities, even if they may seem contradictory, conflicting, and incompatible on the surface? Intellectuals have long preferred Marxism over fascism because the former, right or wrong, sought the ‘deep’ and ‘hidden’ logical truth at the core of history, i.e. the role of class struggle as the true driving force. In other words, Marxism strove for the core truth and sought to remold all of society along lessons pried from that truth. In contrast, fascism, for all its intellectualist pretensions, was said to be shallow and vapid because it dealt with surface realities than with the core substance hidden beneath the surface. Marxism went for radical surgery to pump blood into the heart and tear out the malignant tumor inside the patient, whereas fascism was said to have cosmetically made the sick patient look healthier, handsomer, and stronger. According to Marxism, the blood of history of class struggle, and the heart must be pumped harder and braced for the moment when the cancer of history — class exploitation and oppression — is to be removed. Armed with this truth, Marxists had no use for religion since it was, at best, just a superstition and, at worst, a poisonous opiate used by the elites to control the masses. So, the entire patient must be remade from within, and all false cosmetics, dress, and attitudes must be washed away. Fascists, in contrast, argued that the existence of classes and hierarchy is natural and also that not everything about human history, heritage, and society can be understood or judged rationalistically, i.e. even if God may not exist, spirituality still retains value in ways that defy material needs and logic. According to Marxism, there is one truth and all of society could and should be remolded according to that truth. According to fascists, human society cannot be reduced to a scientific formula; if anything, good society is not an ideological/social/political/economic servant of a single truth but the ‘creative’ fusion of many ‘truths’ — some scientific, some materialist, some spiritual, some irrational, some modern, some traditional, some cultural, some racial. Marxists argued that fascists were only sweeping the dirt under the rug to maintain the semblance of health and cleanliness; for real health, the dirt/filth had to be removed from under the rug and the rug must be overturned so that the long suppressed underside will be on top. Given the tragic trajectory of Italian Fascism and German Nazism — and the unimaginative path taken by Franco’s Spain — , there was some validity to the Marxist criticism of fascism, an ideology of great promise that never lived up to its name; worst of all, fascism, which was supposed to be anti-radical — resisting the temptation to point to one thing as the one truth that explains everything and must serve as the basis for remaking social order — became just that with Hitler’s mad theories about race where ‘Aryan’s were supposedly responsible for everything noble, Jews were all rotten, and Slavs were hardly human. Even so, fascism had a better chance of success and a better grasp of humanity than Marxism because it understood the multi-plurality of human life and human society. Though communism embraced all of humanity, it sought to turn all people around the world as the same New Man according to the ‘science’ of Marxism. It was as if all cultures, spiritualities, and histories were myths or superstitions whose time had come to be eradicated, just like the correct scientific discovery about germs-as-the-cause-of-diseases necessitated the total rejection of all false notion and theories. The problem for Marxism was man is not a machine or simple organism, and the emotional life of man cannot be fully explained and understood by intellectual theories, however elaborate or profound such may be, and not surprisingly, communist nations eventually reverted to becoming some of the most fiercely nationalistic ones, though to be sure, one wonders whether the failure of communism to create a one-world-order had more to do with the failure of ideology or materiality? Communism could never produce enough, and the state had to use repressive measures to control the populace; there could never be much goods to share or much freedom to enjoy, and such dire conditions generally favor the ‘conservative’ mind-set, as people are forced to look out for their own interests to survive. But what if communism had been economically successful and produced plenty of goods for everyone? Could the universalist thrust of communism have succeeded? If universalism is bound to fail, then just how did the EU come about, where democratic European nations freely chose to unite into one political entity? And even with all the current problems, many Europeans seem to enjoy going beyond their ‘narrow’ national confines and moving from nation to nation, sometimes from Europe to America to Asia to Africa to Middle East and etc. And EU is open to massive immigration, as is the US, and both are heading to a future where national borders and racial identities may become passe, what with massive inter-mixing of populations not only economically but sexually. British women are crazy about black men, and interracism is gaining speed at record pace in the US, with more children being born to bi-racial parents. A very high numbers of Anglos of both sexes are mixing with Mexicans in the SW, many white women are having children with black men, and many white men are having kids with Asian women. Though there are ‘far right’ elements in the US and EU who are resisting the tide, the vast majority still embrace the current dynamic where their nations or ‘unions’ are turning into neo-Brazils. Where communism failed, globalist capitalism seems to be succeeding. Communism failed to fill the stomachs, and so people turned anxious, ‘conservative’ — emotionally if not ideologically — , and defensive. But, when people have full stomachs and their appetites have been whetted for things outside their community — exotic foods, global pop music, sex with members of other races, and etc. — , they may indeed embrace the new kind of globalist universalism. Nearly half of all white Americans voted for Obama, the product of interracism. If there’s some degree of resistance right now, it’s due to economic troubles, which always make people more wary, suspicious, and ‘conservative’. But if current economic morass were to pass and strong growth were to return, I don’t think many white people in EU and US will much care if their nations are flooded with all sorts of people from around the world since universal-diversity is supposed to be more fun, flavorful, and fantastic. So, maybe ‘conservatism’ isn’t inherently natural but only natural under certain circumstances. It’s like dogs and cats will fight in the wild but if you provide both with plenty of food and comfort, they get along just fine. So, if globalism finds a way to provide tons of good stuff to everyone, most people around the world might not much care what happens to their traditional societies — since, as individuals in the ‘universal village’, they’ll have gained access to so much fun all around the world; you may lose your own nation but, as universal-person, gain ownership of the whole world; your nation may be flooded with ‘foreigners’ but you can go and live anywhere you want. But this isn’t likely to work in the long run because too many crazy, dumb, and muscled Negroes in EU will bring about the downfall of civilization. People will start starving again, and then people will become ‘conservative’ again. Communism may also have failed because it went for the heart than the genitals. Communist man was supposed to be full of virtue, a true comrade, a brother to his fellow man, and a fighter against those who would exploit others. Feeling moral and good is all very fine but it can get pretty dull after awhile. Also, if your life is tough — as for most people under communism — , it’s difficult for the Heart to be filled with compassion. Also, once the heart is broken, it’s difficult to fix. Once a Polish communist became disillusioned with Russian communists, it was unlikely that his heart would feel much goodwill toward Russians again. So, heart-communism was bound to fail. Consumer-globalist-capitalism, on the other hand, goes for the genitalia. Even a Pole who politically hates Russians may want to have sex with a handsome/pretty Russian, and vice versa. Communism was about being good, whereas consumer-globalist-capitalism is about feeling good, and as long as the NWO has created a worldwide system where people feel good by sharing each other’s goods, services, idols, and images, a kind of international unity is maintained despite all the political and social differences. Thus, a Pakistani may hate Indians, but he may still get a thrill watching some Hindu whore in a Bollywood movie shaking her ass. So, some white ‘racist’ may hate ‘niggers’, but he or she may be into rap culture, skankyass ho culture, interracist porn, and Negro-dominated sports. Negroes may hate white folks, but Negro men may wanna bang white chicks. White nationalists may dislike Jews but can’t get enough of Jewish humor. What the Heart failed to achieve in creating a NWO, the power of genitalia — and other organs associated with pleasure — seems to succeeding at record pace. And from this angle, we can understand why Jews insisted on the legalization of pornographic movies in the late 60s and early 70s. It wasn’t just about the freedom of expression but about gaining control over the populace. Prior to porn, a man or woman’s sexual life and fantasies were largely limited to those he or she knew in life. But with the rise of porn, all people around the world were getting off to the same images and idols. Thus, countless millions of men all over the world were whanking off to Linda Lovelace and Marilyn Chambers. And once interracism took over porn, it was like the penis of every man became indirectly race-mixed by fantasy-access to the same shared pussy holes. Suppose some porn actress is fuc*ed by white studs, black studs, and Hispanic studs. If some white guy whanks off to that porn actress, he is sharing the pussy that was used not only be fellow whites but by blacks. So, his dick is fantasy-entering a hole that’s been rendered ‘open to all’. Thus, it’s no longer white dick into white pussy, but white dick into multi-culti-cunt. Thus, the white dick becomes indirectly race-mixed, and one could say it even becomes ‘pussified’ since it feels inferior to the bigger Negro penises that rammed it many times. If a white guy whanks off while fantasy-fuc*ing a white porn pussy that’s been rammed by many Negro penises, he feels that his penis is a kind of inferior junior penis that’s getting leftovers. Given the humiliating nature of this arrangement, why don’t white males stand up and resist the NWO that’s turning them into pussy-boys? Because despite the humiliation, they find even greater thrill in their worshipful submission to the Negro. Contrary to what White Nationalists say, kin-biology doesn’t trump all, at least in the sense of ‘biology’ meaning “one naturally sides with one’s kind.” Often among dogs, even if the dog is raised by both its real canine mother and a person, it may come to prefer the human over its own mother and other dogs. If kin-biology trumps all, black males would prefer black females over white females, and white females would prefer white males over black males, but the new biological ideal that is arising is ‘black male and white female’. To be sure, this new development is yet another form of ‘biology trumping all’, in the sense that biology dictates that top males go with prettiest females, and if the new social reality in America is ‘black males kicking white boys’, then it’s only natural for white women to be turned on by black males than by white males who are getting whupped and humiliated. Moreover, electronic mass media/culture can have a kind of biological effect on people. Music and movies sound and seem so alive that people react to them less as culture than as life. So, even if some Briton is listening to music recorded thousands of miles away in Los Angeles, he or she feels as if he or she is ‘friends’ with the musician. Thus, white people may feel greater affinity, attachment, and affection for Negro musicians than for their biological parents or community. Take Eric Clapton. Though born of white parents and part of the British community, he has always felt his true spiritual and soulful parents are American blues singers. And many white kids feel greater affinity to Bob Marley than to their own parents. And many white girls may feel emotionally closer to Oprah than to their own parents. Electronic media feels so immediate that when white girls watch Oprah, it’s like they’re part of the Oprah family, and with the rise of the internet, this is becoming even truer. In the 80s, there was talk of families no longer dining together, but the problem today is even more serious. Children will go into their bedrooms and communicate with all sorts of strangers through blogs, vlogs, and social networking while ignoring their own family members. Though biologically and physically closer — in terms of actual proximity — to their actual family members, they feel emotionally and sensory-ily feel closer to ‘strangers’ all over the world. Thus, a white girl in a white family could lock herself in her bedroom and communicate with a whole of Negroes through the net, which is becoming ever more virtual-reality-like. Some deranged white girls even make nude videos of themselves and send them to their ‘boyfriends’ who could number in the hundreds or thousands all over America or the world. Anyway, because Protestants were more serious about spiritual purity and truth, they had to be more ‘actively disciplined’ than Catholics. It was never enough for Protestants to just perform certain rites and avoid certain taboos. They had to constantly and actively purge their souls of sin and vice. A Catholic could be rotten inside but felt little guilt as long he or she took crackers & wine and made some confessions to the neighborhood priest. In contrast, a Protestant believed his inner soul must be pure for his whole self to be good. And since Protestantism forsook and even forbade the ornateness of Catholicism in architecture, church music, and dress — as well as food — , there was less distractions for Protestants in their pursuit of the basic virtues of purity, humility, and cleanliness. The Catholic mind, shaped by ritualism and ornateness, wants to own colorful and fancy things. If a Catholic gets his hands on $100, he wants to go buy a necklace, ring, or dress. But a Protestant with a $100 would think it sinfully vain to spend the money so fast on himself. Since he doesn’t spend it right away, the money accumulates, and as it accumulates, he thinks of using the money in more constructive and moral ways — taking care of parents, helping fellow man, to send kids to college, to reinvest in one’s enterprise to improve production, to raise wages of workers for the common good. Thus, while Jewish immigrant merchants worked their butts off, lived modestly, and saved their money for long-term goals; crazy self-centered Negroes just had to ‘have me that stereo right away’, ‘have me that TV right away’, ‘have me that bucket of chicken right away’, ‘have me that bling bling right away’. Paradoxically, Jews are rich because their culture is rooted in the ‘virtue of poverty’ whereas many Negroes remain poor because their minds are on “I’s wanna be instantly rich!”. So, if buying a bling bling makes a poor Negro instantly feel rich, he’ll get that bling bling even if $100 is all the money he has in the whole world. The contrast can be seen within white Protestant Americans too, as not all forms of Protestantism are the same. Why was it that the more sober and puritanical-minded Wasp Brahmins in New England were much more economically productive and forward-looking than the Southern aristocracy that was into big mansions, costume balls, and all the stuff you see in GONE WITH THE WIND? Same reason that the German elites economically achieved much more than Russian elites. German elites certainly liked nice houses and fancy stuff, but they thought it gauche for a dignified man to be excessive with such things. So, if the Protestant German elites devoted 20% of their wealth to partying and showing-off and devoted 80% to sober stuff like economic investment and improving the government/military, the Russian elite spent 80% of their money on fancy partying and spent only 20% on things of long-term value. The difference is even more obvious when we compare Anglo-Americans and Latin-Americans. Spain and Portugal had a head-start in the Americas, but it was the late-coming Anglo-Americans who did so much more in developing the potential riches of the New World. Paradoxically yet again, Anglo-Americans achieved a lot more because of their cult of ‘noble poverty’ or ‘virtue of frugality’ while Latin-Americans did much less because of their cult of ‘instant prosperity’. Anglo-Americans were very mindful of their reputations, but this had more to do with action and thought than dress and looks. So, an Anglo-American didn’t have to show off his wealth to be respected whereas among the vain Latin Americans, the look was everything. So, even though it would have been wiser for Latin American elites to invest in the future, they preferred to spend lavishly ‘today’ — and even borrow lots of money if they didn’t have enough — to show off that they were just as fancy as others of their class. This is why Argentina has long been a mess. Few people in the world — at least among whites — are as image-and-fashion conscious as Argentinians. Filipinos had Imelda Marcos — who, though once reviled, has been re-embraced by Filipinos — , and Argentinians had Evita, who is almost revered as a saint though her only real claim to fame was looking pretty and acting like a movie star. Whatever one thinks of Eleanor Roosevelt, she was a serious woman who worked diligently for the good of her nation; even if one thinks her ideas and policies were wrong, one can respect her attitude, intelligent, and integrity. Though she was uglier than the ugliest Jewess, she was respected by many Americans for her character and integrity. In contrast, Evita was loved by Argentinians because simply because she was hot. There was no way Argentinians would have given her the time or day if she looked like Eleanor. Anglo-Americans were more into virtue, sobriety, and substance, whereas Argentinians were more into looks, style, and charisma. What is good for fashion magazines is not good for a nation. Latin America has been a People magazine nation whereas America has been — or at least used to be — an Saturday Evening Post nation. Of course, the Anglo-American Rich could put on a show too, especially during the Gilded Age of the so-called ‘robber barons’ — though some call them the ‘captains of industry’ — , but, even so, the ideal among the American rich was a man should work hard, make lots of money, and ONLY THEN enjoy the good life. Good life should be earned. Also, the issue wasn’t just money but how one earned it. Also, many of the super-rich of the Gilded Age later turned to spending their money for the common good. In contrast, Latin elites wanted to live rich even if they hadn’t done anything. And since wealth meant more than how-one-earned-it, Latin elites tended to be far less ethical about how their wealth was made. So,Latin nations had slavery longer than the US did. And later, Latin elites turned to massive corruption and drug trade to rake in their wealth. There was no shame as long as they had the dough and showed off their riches. This mind-set didn’t just affect the Latin elites but the Latin masses, which is why all those poor mestizo Mexican women spend many hours a day watching soap operas about the rich and famous, many of whom are tall blondes.
Sadly, America today isn’t what it used to be. Oddly enough, the closest thing to the Protestant Work Ethic is to be found in the whacko Mormon community because the original East Coast Wasps all turned flaky, decadent, or radical. To be sure, some of the Mainline Protestant sects in the North still have a kind of puritanical and moralistic mind-set, but their new religion is socialism, ‘gay marriage’, Jew-worship, multi-culturalism, and feminism. The puritanical character remains but in the service of impure things. For most of white America, the Protestant Work Ethic is a thing of shame or at least ‘lame’. And even if a variation of it is still practiced in the ‘Belmont’ — inhabited bo successful affluent whites — of Charles Murray’s COMING APART, it’s more like a hidden formula than an official doctrine. It’s almost as if successful/sober privileged whites are ashamed to admit that their success in life owes to certain Anglo-centric traditions, attitudes, and values, not least because such have been associated with ‘racism’, ‘repression’, ‘intolerance’, ‘1950s conformism’, ‘white-bread-ism’, ‘lame-and-square-ism’, and etc. So, even successful whites whose success owes a great deal to the legacy of the Protestant Work Ethic wanna promote the cultural image of themselves as fans of reggae, mambo music, Thai cooking, and etc., as if their lofty station in life was earned through adherence to ‘diversity’ than to a specific systems of values. To credit the Protestant Work Ethic would be (1) claim that Northern Europeans cultural values are superior (2) credit white industriousness than ‘white privilege’ as the reason for one’s affluence; though white liberals love being affluent, they’ve embraced the official PC ideology that explains their success as owing nothing to anything inherently unique about their race or culture and owing everything to the mere fact that they were born in a ‘racist’ country that confers more and easier opportunities to whites, especially those of Northern European background; so, many white Americans still practice a form of Protestant Work Ethic to rise up in life but give it not a shred of credit. While there’s nothing wrong with affluent whites liking good music and good food wherever they come from, it’s something of a social pathology when white Americans aren’t supposed to take pride and uphold the very values and virtues that made them rise in the world and become great. This isn’t to say that Anglo/American ways, ethos, and values produced or provided all the answers — and indeed who can deny that America as a whole has benefitted greatly from cultural contributions from different peoples from all over the world — , but to place on a higher pedestal one’s favorite Somali restaurant over the moral/cultural/spiritual/political heritage and legacy of Anglo/Americans is the height of foolishness, indeed mental retardation. But today, most Belmonters will say diversity of restaurants is of higher value than the core of Anglo/American traditions. Others will say America is unique and great for its notion of ‘proposition nation’, but this view has two fundamental problems. First, if the proposition is purely legalistic — Constitutional — , then any nation that adopts and enforces the American Constitution letter-by-letter will be as powerful and successful as America. But, laws are about what you cannot do, not what you SHOULD DO. The Constitution says you cannot take away someone’s rights to freedom of speech, but it doesn’t decide how that person will use that freedom. White Americans, Jewish Americans, black Americans, and Mexican-Americans have the same protections and limitations under the laws of this nation, but what they do with their freedom is rooted more in their cultural traditions — as well as racial natures. Also, the Constitution wasn’t created out of a vacuum or fall out of the sky but was the culmination of a certain social/cultural/economic developments over many centuries. So, if the Constitution and the Founding of this country amounts to a ‘proposition’, we need to explore the roots of that proposition, and it’s not going to be found in African culture, Arab culture, Asian culture, Hindu culture, or Aztec culture. Another problem with the so-called Proposition Nation is ‘proposition’ is a big word. Just who does the proposing and on what grounds? According to so-called ‘progressives’, even something as ridiculous as ‘gay marriage’ is the part of the ‘proposition’ and fulfilment of what America’s all about. And liberals say opening our borders to illegal aliens and giving them citizenship is also part of the ‘proposition’. With ‘propositions’ like these, America is turning into an ‘anything goes’ nation molded by the whims of the decadent and corrupt elites — since only the powerful and rich have the money and means to ‘propose’ and promote things on a massive scale. But not all of this is the product of decadence and rot or, more precisely, the manipulation of this decay is being effected by a people who are very sober, ruthless, and disciplined about what they’re doing. Of course, we mean the Jews. Just because a people push decadence and rot doesn’t mean that they themselves are decadent. While some elites decay and rot along with the masses — as happened with the Romans — , certain elites promote and manage decadence and rot on OTHER PEOPLES to demoralize and control them. The British who sold opium to the Chinese weren’t opium users themselves. British pushed opium on the Chinese to soften the Chinee so that it will be easier to gain dominance over China. If Chinese were turned into soul-slaves of a certain substance in which the British had the monopoly — like the people of BRAVE NEW WORLD were addicted to Soma — , then the British could eventually come to own their bodies as well. Similarly, Jews who promote all the cultural and social rot in this country are ruthless operators seeking mastery over the gentiles. Jewish parents don’t raise their kids to act like the fools on the Jerry Springer or Maury Povich Show. Jewish parents make sure that their children do their homework, read books than watch TV, maintain cultural pride, and do the things necessary for success in life. Jews push all the cultural rot and social decadence on non-Jews so that gentiles will be putty in their hands, just like the Chinese almost became the soul-slaves of the British — or like American Indians, addicted to ‘firewater’, became soul slaves of the Pale Face folks. Jews know that the Protestant Work Ethic is a potent instrument/weapon of white people in instilling them with sobriety, discipline, morality, and earned pride. Since the Protestant Work Ethic has roots in a specific history, culture, and even racial temperament — and since Jews associate that history, culture, and race with Northern Europeanism that led to the Holocaust — , Jews are eager to weaken and undermine it. If indeed all of white America had Mormon values, Jews would be less powerful as they would be faced with a solid white bloc united in common values and interests. I’m not praising Mormonism per se, which is a strange cult, but only addressing the reasons why it’s become a potent force despite its relatively small numbers. The problem with white Evangelicals, especially in the Soooooth is, even as they’re full of Jesus and ‘conservative values’, they tend to lack ‘work ethic’ and sense of self-control. Among Southern Baptists, it doesn’t matter if one’s a slob and has tattoos on one’s ass — and has a name like ‘Bubba’ or ‘Billy Bob’ and drinks moonshine like a fish — as long as he loves Jesus and makes a lot of noise about it at a Church; they’re more into getting worked-up than Work Ethic. Though the Jewish community and gay community are close, many elite Jews could be promoting the gay agenda less out of genuine sympathy than for its usefulness in weakening social-cultural-historical unity/cohesion and pride rooted in the great Anglo/American tradition. The gay agenda, like the Cult of the Negro, is the opposite of the moral tradition that defined Anglos and Anglo-Americans. Anglo/Americans were known for their order, discipline, restraint, and moderation. Jews not only wanna drive a wedge between white men and white women but between the white past and white present. As white America — indeed, all white Americans were profoundly affected and shaped by Anglo/Americans, i.e. to become ‘American’ for many European immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries meant adopting the attitudes, manners, and values of Anglo/Americans — comes to embrace something as foul as ‘gay marriage’, what kind of moral or cultural link can be maintained between the past and the present? It’s one thing for a people and culture to move toward healthier and higher things, but what is ‘healthier’ or ‘of-higher-value’ about ‘gay marriage’ that biologically and morally puts two men buggering one another’s on the same plane as real sexuality and its moral values? It’s one thing for a society to move from slavery to freedom, from 14 hr working days to 8 hr working days, from outhouses to modern plumbing, from foot-binding to allowing-women-to-walk-freely, from religious persecution to freedom of thought; but, what is to be gained by pretending that the gross act of two men sticking their penises into each other’s fecal hole has any biological or moral value? Homosexuality, especially among men, is something that should be, at best, tolerated. It is not healthy and it certainly isn’t beautiful. Just go to Google Images and search for ‘gay sex’ and ‘homosexual buttfuc*ing’. How anyone can look at that sort of thing and pretend it has the same biological or moral value as real sexuality boggles the mind. It’s bad enough for increasing numbers of Americans to accept such idiocy, but it’s not only being accepted but celebrated as something of even higher value than real sexuality, which is why gays have become among the most privileged groups in SWPL society; I don’t mean gays are necessarily richer — though many are — , but they’re honored, protected, and praised simply because they’re gay. To be sure, the issue of gays is complicated by the fact that many of them, just like the Mormons, are, in some ways, the last bastions of the Protestant Work Ethic. While many so-called conservative white Evangelicals are fat, lazy, and gross slobs whose main activity outside church-going is moonshine guzzling, deep-frying ice cream, ass tattoo-ing, gun-shooting — mostly at helpless animals — , and other such silliness, many gays actually study and work hard and do constructive things in life. Take Tim Cook, a white Southern boy who came to one of the biggest stars at Apple. Especially after the AIDS epidemic weeded out many reckless gays, the responsible ones gained control of the ‘gay community’, and many of them have made great advances with genuine work ethic. Though male aggressiveness is often credited for male over- achievement relative to women, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. With the rise of the culture of shamelessness, increasing number of males — especially Negroes but whites too — have gone over the deep end with excessive partying, fighting, messing up, and just plain tomfoolery. Gay men, with a bit of feminine self-restraint, have been less prone to ruin their future by acting like urban gangstas, rural meth-inhalers, or drunken frat-boys. The world is indeed full of surprises. Gays have often been associated with transgression and wild behavior, but many gays today are actually more ‘white bread’ and ‘socially straight’ than many so-called Evangelical conservatives who often act out of control in ‘white trash’ fashion. What gives gays the advantage over Mormons is while Mormons are only ‘white bread’ and ‘straight’, many gays have a combination of ‘social straightness’ and creative transgression. So, many powerful gays tend to be conservative habit-wise in their social life while deviant thought-wise in their cultural life. For white liberals, supporting the ‘gay community’ is, of course, very useful as a means of criticizing black behavior. If a white person, liberal or conservative, condemns black violence against whites, he may be counter-accused of ‘racism’ since the prevailing dogma of political correctness fixes whites as eternally privileged oppressors and blacks as eternal poor victims; and even in cases where the nature of the black-on-white violence is undeniable, the matter of ‘historical guilt’ often justifies black violence as either payback or as the product of poverty caused by white oppression. So, the only way whites can criticize black violence with any moral justification — at least within the logic of PC — is by looking for instances of black aggression against favored groups such as Jews or gays. So, while it’s not acceptable for a white person to say he moved out of an integrated neighborhood due to black-on-white violence, it’s acceptable if he claims his flight on black-on-gay violence even if he’s not gay; black-on-gay violence is ‘evil’, unlike black-on-white violence, and so white liberals can justify their action on the basis that they just couldn’t stand to see wonderful gays being robbed or attacked by blacks. If blacks attack whites and if whites move out, whites are being ‘racist’; but if blacks attack gays and if whites move out, blacks are being ‘homophobic’, which is almost becoming the equal of ‘racism’ in the litany of evils cooked up by PC. Given black male violence against women, one would think whites would more often invoke black ‘sexism’ as moral justification to criticize black violence, but this has never worked because, despite all black male abuse and vileness, black females love their men and take insults such as ‘bitchass ho’ as a kind of praise. As long as most black women are not complaining about black male behavior — at least not openly — , who are white people to put down white machismo as being dangerous to women? Besides, being naturally wild and aggressive, many black women would rather be called a skankass ho than be judged according to her intellect or integrity, which is a rare thing among black women in any case. Also, given that one of the main agendas of Jewish Supremacists is to promote interracism between Negro males and white women, the narrative of black-male-violence-on-women is counterproductive to their agenda. Though black male violence is quite common against women of all races, the liberal Jewish narrative in the media and entertainment is “white chicks should leave their stupid white men, who are either dorky or abusive — out of ‘racist’ insecurity — , and go with great Negroes who are either the True Gentlemen — like the guy in FAR FROM HEAVEN — or the True Studs.” Another reason for muted criticism of black machismo and is related violence is the notion that white ‘racists’ in the past often depicted black men as savage, beastly, lustful, violent, and aggressive to justify their oppression of black men, even leading to cruel acts of lynching where supposedly innocent black males were falsely accused and killed for raping white women. According to the liberal narrative, this ‘stereotype’ of blacks was nothing but mad white supremacist ‘racist’ fantasy with no bearing in reality, which, as depicted in TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD, would have us believe that the Negro is just the kindest soul who never done think to do no harm to a white woman. Of course, despite the foulness of white rednecks and their demented ways, they turned out to be closer to the racial truth than white liberals were, which is why we are now witnessing never-ending cases of wild demented black behavior all over America. But given that modern liberalism invested so much moral capital in the myth of the Noble Negro vs the Evil Redneck, it’s tough for white liberals to admit they were wrong and face facts. It would be like someone who devoted his entire life to religion admitting he no longer believes in God. To be sure, the image of the Wild Savage Negro seemed like some ‘racist’ myth cooked up by deranged and paranoid rednecks, and indeed, some of the blame must go to the ‘white racists’. While Negroes are indeed a crazy and difficult race, it never does much good to EXAGGERATE black craziness, especially when it doesn’t need much exaggerating. But too often, ‘white racists’ depicted blacks in such a cartoonish way that a rational and judicious person could be forgiven for thinking the image had nothing to do with reality and was just some wild fantasy cooked up by ‘racist’ lunatics — and it must also be said that a good number of people in organizations like the KKK were indeed nutty, which didn’t help matters. So, even though blacks are indeed crazy, the fact that crazy white people said that they were crazy seemed like a crazy lie, and so white liberals constructed a new image of the good decent Negro that they wanted to believe — and this was aided and abetted by clever Negroes who figured on fooling well-meaning white folks by acting ‘kind’ and ‘gentle’ in their presence, and even to this day, many blacks tend to be as two-faced as the Jews, i.e. they’ll kick ‘white trash’ ass but put on some manners when dealing with whites with money and influence; therefore, rich and privileged whites often see the bullshit ‘nice’ side of blackness and don’t see the real side that is reserved for less fortunate whites who are left to bear the brunt of black thuggery. So, some Negro, who calls white people ‘honkey’ and pushes them around, will, in the presence of the powerful and privileged whites, put on the Nice Negro act, thus leaving the impression that he’s always nice and wonderful. White liberals may have higher I.Q.s than Negroes, but Negroes have higher S.Q.s — ‘survival’ quotient — , the ability to cunningly and deviously playact to fool and manipulate people of good-will. Most Negroes don’t believe in good-will or morality. Steeped in Survival Mode written into their DNA by 100,000s of years of evolution in dangerous sub-Saharan Africa, blacks naturally feel that ideals such as ‘virtue’, ‘goodness’, ‘trust’, and ‘nobility’ are foolish notions believed only by suckers too protected and naive to see reality for what it really is. In this sense, many blacks are natural-born-Hitlers. So, blacks will use ‘goodness’, ‘decency’, and other such virtues merely as masks to get what they want but NEVER for the sake of being good for the sake of being good. Even when blacks act trustworthy, it’s not because they really appreciate the value of Trust but because they hope to gain trust to pull off some dirty stunt. Blacks put primacy on the Feel and Steal than Thought and Bought. Though some blacks may be capable of consciously understanding the value of Trust and other virtues, their emotional nature never feels comfortable with such ideas because the notion of ‘higher values’ posits that there are ideals that are above one’s fleshly ego and desires. Favoring high ideals over the desires of the flesh can be spiritual or intellectual; it can put God above man, Mankind over the individual, or Truth over self-interest. But to the Negro, the highest truth is about “what’s in it for me?” It’s no wonder no great religion came out of Africa. And even when blacks adopt higher faiths such as Christianity, God is reduced to some deity that turns on the boom-box in the sky and lets black people holler and boogie like they be at the disco. As for the ideal of Mankind, blacks simply understand it as the REST of mankind forking over their wealth to take care of Negroes who be deserving of everything for free. And Truth to the Negro is whatever that makes him feel good at any given moment. Though much has been written about Michael King’s, aka Martin L. King, speech about “I have a Dream” and “Content of Character and Color of the Skin”, the lying Negro really came to Washington D.C. not to demand equal rights but special entitlement for the Negro so he could finally sit back and live off the work of white folks. Though most white folks toiled as hard as Negroes on farms and factories to build America, MLK’s speech would have Americans believe that poor Negroes did all the work and got nothing while white folks all had it so easy and just lived off Negroes. Though it’s true that Negroes never got the pay and credit they deserved through much of American history, it’s still true that Negroes got more from whites than vice versa, i.e. though Negroes got less than whites, they still got a lot more thanks to whites than they would have on their own in Africa or anywhere else on the planet. Anyway, we shouldn’t be too quick to look down on the ‘drabness’ of communism as it wasn’t necessarily the result of economic failure but the expression of an example of the Virtue of Simplicity as espoused by Judaism and Protestantism over the centuries. Though communist economic plan failed, the ideal of simple virtues can actually be helpful to capitalism for both the poor and the rich. The poor in America who only have their eyes fixed on being rich will likely never become rich since they lack respect for simple virtues, which provide the proper mind-set, attitude, and sense of priorities that ensure sound decisions. A poor person with simple virtues will appreciate the simple things he has and he will not every penny of his hard-earned money on immediate gratification to ‘feel and look rich’ for a day. And even if he himself doesn’t become rich, as a practitioner of simple virtues, he will serve as a good role model for his children who, instilled with the simple virtues of frugality, hard work, and appreciation for the things one has— instead of bitching and whining about OTHER people having more — , will likely do the things in school and life that will help him rise up the social ladder. The problem with communism was it emphasized Simple Virtues as an end than as a means. But used as a means under a capitalist system, it can, as with Protestant Work Ethic or neo-Confucianism, help and guide poor people to make the responsible decisions paving the way for socio-economic improvement. And the ideal of Simple Virtue can also be good for the rich. Being rich is great, what with the ability to afford lots of things, and only an idiotic rich person would not take advantage of his wealth, but there’s a way to be respectably rich and a way to be trashily rich. Whatever one thinks of Warren Buffett, he doesn’t live and act like a rich pig, and that’s not only good for him but good for all of society. But just look at the likes of Donald Trump and Russian billionaires; they live it up and act like pigs; it’s not only degrading for themselves but the example they set forth has a corrosive impact on all of society. Or look at how Michelle Obama spent her money like a pig on her various vacation trips while many Americans are facing hard times. Though the liberal media have protected her, it’s downright piggish behavior of a trashy rich person. Though it’d be silly for rich people to be frugal like decent poor people, rich people should have a sense of limits; spending a million dollar for your daughter’s bah mitzvah party is on the trashy side, and things like that either encourage trashiness among rest of the population or make many people deeply cynical and resentful toward the rich. Why are so many Chinese disgusted with the new Chinese elite, especially those in government? It’s one thing for people to become rich, but when they flaunt their wealth like they are the new emperors and princelings — especially when there’s so much to be done in what is still a largely poor nation — , it can’t be much good for social unity and cohesion. And even though Putin brought down some oligarchs, what is the future of Russia when so many of the rich are such shameless trashy louts who make even the Russian aristocrats of the bad old days seem like pious serfs in comparison? It’s too bad that the US went from ‘Protestant’ producers to ‘Catholic’ consumers. Americans used to think, “produce before you consume” but now, they think “consume before you produce, that is if you bother to produce anything at all.”)
While we believe in the freedom of choice and reject the notion that government or ‘community standards’ should dictate what we should wear or make up faces, can we say with a straight face that a people addicted to the Cult of Look are necessarily better than people who espouse the Cult of Virtue? Blacks in Cuba may not have the goodies that American blacks do, but are American blacks necessarily better because they riot over Air Jordans, wear gold-studded bling bling, dress like flashy hookers, and emulate Whitney Houston the vain crackwhore diva? Is a culture that makes heroes out of ‘colorful’ Lady Gaga, Mudonna, and Kanye West necessarily better than a culture that lionized Shostakovich as a great artist? I’m not arguing for communism or censorship but merely suggesting that society isn’t necessarily better or more truthful because it’s addicted to the Image Cult of Consumerist Celebrity, which, by the way, can be manipulated by the powers-that-be to addict the masses to bread-and-circuses distractions; it can also be used and/or melded with the instruments of power to the point where people are no longer able to distinguish the real from the unreal. When so many well-educated Americans fall for a sham-celebrity politician like Obama whose real credentials are thin indeed, what does it say about our political system or culture? When dumb conservatives voted for George W. Bush, it was at least justifiable on grounds that the GOP has a lot of under-educated and misinformed morons. But white liberals take great pride in how rational, skeptical, and thoughtful they are; yet, the sheer lunacy of their spellbound dumbstruck-ness at the feet of Obama went beyond anything previous in the history of American politics, especially because well-educated people acted like ignoramus fools at a Southern Baptist church gathering — and this massive self-deception is worldwide given the cult of Obama in Europe, which awarded him with the Nobel Prize for having done nothing. It’s not enough to say Obama was sold as a product or brand. If that was the case, at least we would have a real politician in the White House. Rather, Obama IS the product. Obama is not a politician oversold by advertising but IS the advertising, closest to being a virtual candidate(or candy date)in American politics. There is no Obama apart from the marketing and selling. The “Hope” poster image and the “O” logo are not a part of what he is but what he is. This isn’t to say that Obama has no ideas or agenda. He does, of course, have his convictions. But, in essence, he’s nothing but a frontman for New Liberalism defined by Jews like Cass Sunstein. Obammercialism is the face of American politics, which, with the rise of super lobbies, is nothing but a massive advertising wing of the International Jewish Cabal.
Reagan was sold as soap. Good or bad as President, his ‘success’ owed much to the ‘selling of the presidency’. And Clinton was Slick Willy. We all knew he was sleazy, but he looked good even when he was lying. He was willing to be sold and he was sellable. And there was George W. Bush tagged with the brands of ‘beer buddy’ and ‘born again’; besides, he kissed Oprah! And there’s the ridiculous Obama cult. He is The One, you know. And Republicans were energized in 2008 by Sarah Palin, the political porn-star cherry-picked-and-popped by neocons. While there is nothing new about the selling of politicians — in the 19th century, just about every politician following Jackson claimed to have been ‘born in a log cabin’ — , it’s turned into a high concept science aimed not a rural ignoramuses but educated Americans who seem willing to be part of this web of collective deception. The art of selling counts more than what’s being sold. Just as Fed can create money out of the thin air, political advertisements — and with the full participation of the so-called ‘free press’ — create ‘greatness’ out of thin air. Obama had achieved absolutely NOTHING prior to his candidacy, but many Americans were convinced, thanks to the selling of his image, that he was the greatest American that ever lived, the culmination and fulfilment of everything this country was about. (But even for many Americans who knew of Obama’s thin resume, he was the one to lead because of his ‘coolness’. This mind-set was especially true among the young raised on ‘house party’ and/or slacker culture where the feel of a thing counts for more than the thing itself. So, in a way, Obama’s thin resume could be construed as a kind of ‘cool’ advantage, as if to suggest Obama, being so great and badass, never needed to strain in life to prove himself. It’s like we almost never see the Man with No Name in the Dollars Trilogy practicing his shooting, as if practice and lots of work are only for people without skills; if you have natural talent, you don’t have to try so hard, just like natural athletes don’t have to train as hard as less talented athletes. A black guy could train for 3 hrs a day and still beat a white guy who trained for 7 hrs a day. So, even though John McCain or Mitt Romney had more in the way of credentials, neither could impress young people the way Obama could because the young, raised on the TV/Hollywood/Pop image of the effortless natural star, embrace the myth of the hero who can save the world by a flick of the finger. And Obama, by having done little in life but to maintain his cool, conveyed the aura that he’s like Neo in Matrix, a man so brimming with natural talent that he could beat up a 100 guys without skipping a beat. Though McCain had a compelling story about being taken P.O.W. in Vietnam, it didn’t reverberate much with new generations of Americans raised on the cult of the cool, the cult of the hipster, and the cult of the slacker. And besides, the idea of a white gentile male being victimized by non-whites didn’t fit into the national narrative defined by political correctness; Passion of McCain, like Gibson’s PASSION OF THE CHRIST, was anathema to new generations of Americans for whom the only people who suffered terribly and nobly are blacks and Jews. So, blacks had the advantage of being both of and above pain/strain. They were OF PAIN because of the legacy of slavery, but they were also ABOVE PAIN because of their natural coolness. So, the sense of ease and the lack of pain/strain in Obama had a paradoxical — and therapeutic — link to the cult of black pain/strain/suffering, i.e. blacks are a naturally cool people for whom everything comes easy because they have the magic touch, but evil white ‘racists’ ruined Edenic Africa and brought about great suffering to blacks, and that’s why blacks lost the connection to their magic and fell into poverty and dysfunction, but that magic resurfaced with black success in sports — where they effortlessly whupped all those ‘racist’ white boys and put them in their place — and pop music, through which blacks demonstrated, with such brilliant ease, that they can out-compose and out-perform — even without academic training — white musicians who went to the best music schools and studied all kind of knowledge. So, the reason why white people feel good when they see Obama’s ease and coolness is there’s something soothing about the image of the Negro having being restored, after so many centuries of ‘white racism’ to his magical Edenic state of natural coolness. It’s like the scene in episode one of ROOTS where we see O. J. Simpson running fast with effortless ease out in the savannah, as if black Africans were so happy and wondrous living in harmony with nature and blessed with the power to run like a cheetah without breaking a sweat. And there was some of this in the fight between Muhammad Ali and Jerry Quarry. Quarry strained and gave it his all but looked clumsy, while Ali effortlessly danced around and whupped the white boy with ease. So, what conservatives criticize as a thin resume on Obama’s part may matter little to white liberals, especially young ones, who think it’s cool that an effortless smart and talented guy grooved his way to the White House with special Negro magic powers that are so naturally powerful it never requires one to stay up all night to do ‘homework’. Of course, this so-called Negro magic was greased with Jewish money and control of the media, but it must be said this couldn’t have been pulled off with just about anyone. John Kerry had the backing of Jews in 2004 — though, to be sure, not as much as Obama did in 2008 — , but he moved and talked like a mule. And though conservatives yammer about resumes and credentials, they too have been pulling their own variation of this shtick. We know, for instance, that women and Asians generally accumulate more credentials in college and at work through their diligence, but most conservatives would prefer a white guy with ‘natural leadership skills’ over ants and eggheads. And conservatives have oft-repeated the line about how Reagan was a better president than most other presidents with higher intelligence and knowledge because Reagan didn’t bother with niggling details but focused on the big picture and delegated the work to other men. So, according to this conservative view, the truly intelligent and knowledgeable people shouldn’t lead but serve a less intelligent and less knowledgeable man with style and charisma. Though one can argue that Reagan did have real credentials in having served as governor of California twice — and indeed it was unfair for liberals to tag him as just some failed Hollywood actor — , much of the Reagan appeal had to do with his style and image. If this worked for the GOP in the 80s, a similar logic turned disastrous with George W. Bush, who was also more image — Born Again Beer Buddy — than substance; but what’s really baffling is why conservatives thought Bush’s image was appealing in the first place? He looked like one of those flying monkeys in THE WIZARD OF OZ, couldn’t put two words together in a sentence, and was clearly not only not a genius but a serious moron.) The media in a free democracy are supposed to look behind the myths, symbols, and legends to get to the facts, but this seems to be happening less and less. In a way, the failures of the Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter presidencies were the best thing that happened to American journalism. Angry and disillusioned journalists dug deep for the truth behind the image and spin; and even if this led to more negativism among Americans, they were at least prodded to challenge the powers-that-be and their own problems. Ironically, the success of the Reagan presidency ruined American journalism. Despite their liberalism, many journalists fell in love with Reagan and began to think in terms of the ‘common good’, as if to atone or react to the overtly hostile and skeptical journalistic modes of the late 60s and 70s, which really were the Golden Age of American journalism. It led to the rise of Feel-Good journalism. Not surprisingly, it led to the media complacency in the Gulf War — where it gladly played cheerleader to the government — and near-criminal complicity in the run-up and early executions of the Iraq War. And media connection to the powers-that-be led to over-exuberance during the boom, with business journalists praising the New Economy as here to stay. And there was little media investigation into the roots of the housing boom. The media just go along when ‘times are good’ and only makes some noise AFTER THE FACT, as with the Hurricane Katrina fiasco. There is no effective media criticism of Zionist power in all sectors of American life. Media promote the gay agenda without ever casting a critical eye at its demands. Though the media were always liberal, they had the guts to say in the 60s that black crime was black crime, but now it’s called ‘teen’ or ‘youth’ crime. In a way, the media are like the character Chance in BEING THERE who thinks the entire world is a TV show that can be controlled by the remote. Of course, Jews control the remote control of the American TV show. It’s also like the TRUMAN SHOW. It’s like THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND where the manipulation of images by a rogue agent persuades the main character, a TV host himself, that his closest friends are plotting to overthrow the American system. Even the meaning of journalism seems to have changed. In the past, the image of the reporter was someone who drank hard and dug hard — hardly a saint and sometimes a dirty scoundrel but with sleeves rolled up to do the job. Now, reporters and newsmen see themselves as celebrities and personalities; they care more about how they look and sound than what they’re supposed to do. It’s gone from tough-talking tavern journalism to vain yuppie café journalism. Of course, media complicity is nothing new and was probably worse prior to the 60s. Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Kennedy got away with things later presidents wouldn’t have dreamt of getting away with, and much of the old media, mostly owned by the superrich as is today, functioned as propaganda wing of the elites. But there was also a greater spirit of opposition and ‘muck-raking’ due to absence of political correctness, problems of genuine social injustice, and the fact that most journalists weren’t factory-created automatons of institutions. Now, most reporters are products of journalism schools just like most filmmakers are products of film schools. They’re products of institutions of shared — and enforced and reinforced — attitudes, dogma, and sets of knowledge. No wonder there’s little in the way of courage, individuality, or eccentricity in the new media where most personalities have become interchangeable. In the past, two opposing modes of journalism dominated: the purists who insisted on strict adherence to journalistic ethics/procedures and the improvisors who saw journalism as the wild wild west. The purists tended to be the products of colleges ruled by East Coast wasp disciplinarians while the improvisors tended to be people who entered journalism through the backdoor or unorthodox ways. As America progressed and modernized, standardization of process came to dominate, and understandably so in all walks of life. After all, we want professionally trained doctors and scientists, not ‘mavericks’ who ‘experiment’ on their own. Even so, journalism is not a science but a view of life, an attitude. Though schools of journalism played a role in the promotion and enforcement of journalistic ethics, they began to weed out the kind of eccentric individuals who were less uptight about the minutiae of proper rules. Perhaps, liberals and leftists cling so desperately to stuff like Gay Pride/Identity since they lack individual eccentricity and oddity. Since most liberals and leftists as individuals think alike, they’re panicked by their conformism and can only demonstrate their ‘difference’ by embracing minority causes like Gay Identity. This way, a totally conformist SWPL can claim to be ‘alternative’ since he’s supportive of abnormative gays. He lacks individual eccentricity but is wrapped in the cult of shared ‘opposition’. If old restrictions in all walks of life were broken in the late 60s and 70s, and a new school/spirit of journalism dominated the Zeitgeist — New Journalism was, in a way, a counterpart to the New Hollywood or New American Cinema of the early 70s — , it all dissipated by the 80s with the rise of the New Formula, and things have turned to rot since then. Compare NOVA documentary from the 70s to ones today. Compare TIME magazine of the 70s to what we have now. Everything has the look of advertising, of packaging, of manipulation. It’s all been made ‘viewer-friendly’ in style and presentation, thus subliminally more complacent and consenting for the viewer than used to be. Anyway, the final death knell of American journalism wasn’t due to increasing professionalism. Professionalism may be dry and impersonal, but it stresses competence and adherence to principles. Though the rise of professionalism weeded out certain interesting mavericks untrained in the proper adherence to rules of the trade, it didn’t interfere with issues, topics, or viewpoints. It focused on the procedures of journalism. The real threat to American journalism was two-fold: Power-ism and Cultism. With the Long March through the Institutions, colleges were taken over by 60s generation radicals who distrusted and even denounced ‘objective’ or ‘impersonal’ professionalism as defacto support of the status quo, privilege, and elitism. In dance criticism, for example, Arlene Croce came under attack for saying she didn’t care about politics in art. In the new school of criticism, art was seen as a form of power/privilege, therefore, the enjoyment of art-for-art’s-sake was derided as the privilege of those with the money to enjoy such things. Since everything was about Power, art must be about power and criticism must be about power — of course on the correct side of the aisle. You were either with them or against them. It was all about Commitment, ‘us and them’. So, journalism schools taught students that reporting was less about digging for the truth than supporting the Correct causes, i.e. since journalists have the power to change public opinion and since there is a moral responsibility to power, they must use their power to expose and fight the oppressive ‘powers that be’. If the world is made up of the powerful and powerless, shouldn’t journalists use their power to favor the cause of the powerless against the powerful? The PC logic says it’d be immoral for a journalist not to take sides, just as it would have been wrong to be ‘objective’ during WWII. This view wasn’t entirely new as there was a long history of journalists taking up certain causes in American history, but the new development was significant for it attacked the core of journalistic ethics. In the past, even if many journalists did favor certain causes over others, they still believed in the core principles of journalistic ethics — that they must report the impersonal truth over their personal biases. But the very core principle of journalism changed with the 60s radical takeover of journalistic schools. If old journalism was balanced between the insistence on impersonal truth and temptation to push a cause, the new journalism had no use for ethics of impersonal truth at all since the motto of the 60s was ‘everything is political’. The Left, seeing the world as made up of oppressors and victims, taught entire generations of students that their main moral duty is to take sides in the great struggle for ‘social justice’. The theory of the Permanent Revolution exists now in American journalism. But the truly frustrating thing about the new journalism is that the students are blinded by the Cult of fighting-the-powers-that-be. By this, I mean that the ‘powerful’ and ‘weak’ have been turned into symbols in a massive deceptive cult, whereby the truly powerful can appear to be weak while the powerless can be made to look powerful via the manifold manipulation of slogans, sounds, and images. It’s like what the Christians pulled for over a millennia. At one time, Christians were indeed victims of Roman pagan oppressors. They were hounded, persecuted, and even killed. But eventually, Christians gained power in the Roman Empire and then came to dominate all of Europe. BUT, Christians, by upholding the Cult of Christian Victimhood through the endlessly repeated ritualization and storytelling of Jesus’s Crucifixion and the martyrdom of its Saints, kept playing the victims. So, even though Christians ruthlessly persecuted pagans, witches, and what have you, they always made out as if they were being oppressed by the agents of Satan who were supposedly everywhere. And in many cases, Christians persecuted and burned ‘witches’ in order to suppress the ‘satanic’ feelings within their own hearts. For example, according to Christianity, sex is obscene, but the fact is all Christians had sexual feelings, some of them quite ‘lewd’. Since they were unwilling to face their own demons, they projected all their pent-up lusts onto someone accused of being a witch and burnt her for being the agent of the Devil. Today, even white liberals, in some corner of their psyche, fear Negroes and have racial/territorial feelings, but PC taught them that it’s Eeeeeeevil to have such feelings, and so they project their own repressed fears/feelings onto men like John Derbyshire and burn him as witch or heretic. Anyway, when the powerful pretend to be powerless while inciting passions against the powerless who are made out to be all-powerful, it’s a form of Cultism. It’s not about the real dynamics of power in a particular society but about the cult of power created and maintained by the true powers-that-be. The great danger today is that Jews are very powerful in this country, and liberals/leftists control most institutions — and use all sorts of dirty means to not only to maintain but increase their wealth, privilege, and power. Yet, these very people pretend to be the ‘forces of dissent’, ‘champions for greater freedom’, and ‘agents of equality’ while, at the same time, making some Southern redneck hillbilly to be the all-powerful KKK-Neo-Nazi overlord of the US. Going by ADL and SPLC — both of which work very closely with media elites — , you’d think American institutions are crawling with closet Nazis everywhere and Jews/blacks/Hispanics/gays are on the verge of being enslaved or sent to the death camps. This cult is bogus and needs to be exposed as a fraud, but the power of cult is such that most journalism students fall under its spell, not least since they’ve been raised with MLK cult since kindergarten. So, powerful liberals/leftists with control of America tell journalism students that their main goal is to fight the power and that the most powerful power in America is the southern redneck hillbilly. Think about it. If journalism is about fighting the power, shouldn’t journalists be taking on Jewish power, the most powerful power in the world? But that isn’t allowed. It’s like China during the Mao yrs. During the Cultural Revolution, Mao wrote a banner that read ‘To rebel is justified’... except that the Red Guards had to ‘rebel’ only against targets approved by Mao. That way, Mao got to play both tyrant and rebel. Though the Chinese Communist Party under Mao controlled all, Red Guards were made to believe that anyone with a Dickens novel was a foreign spy posing a great threat to the survival of the People’s Republic. It was surreal there and then, it is surreal here and now.
As time passes, it’s getting ever more difficult for liberal/leftist Jews to pretend that they’re the powerless fighting the powerful or the disadvantaged/disenfranchised fighting the wealthy/privileged, just like it’s rather silly for Israel to keep insisting that it’s a small helpless nation surrounded by all-powerful Muslims; in fact, not only does Israel bully all its Muslim nations but its brethren, American Zionists, own the US like a whore. After all, liberal/leftist Jews and Wasps are the richest and most powerful people in America. Therefore, it becomes all the more necessary for rich powerful Jews to associate themselves with Negroes on welfare and illegal aliens cutting lawns; thus, they become ‘powerless by association’, or their great power becomes morally justified in the name of helping the powerless. Though liberal/leftist Jews are more powerful than middle class/working class whites, the rich powerful Jews accuse white people of oppressing blacks and illegals. Though white working/middle class is not allowed to challenge or criticize Jewish superpower, the most powerful power in America; Jewish superpower, goes out of its way to accuse the white middle class/working class of oppressing blacks and illegals — when, in actual fact, many middle and working class whites have been attacked by blacks and had their jobs taken by illegals. Imagine that: the white middle class cannot accuse the Jewish upper class, but the Jewish upper class accuses the white middle class of oppressing blacks and illegals. Because it’s getting so surreal, the contemporary Left is now devising a new kind of leftist viewpoint, which is less about who-has-the-power than what-is-your-position. The official line of THE NATION magazine used to be ‘poor vs rich’, but during the Occupy Wall Street movement, it was careful to make a distinction between the good superrich and the evil superrich. So, George Soros, though an international money-changing crook, is a good guy since he supports ‘progressive’ causes whereas the Koch brothers are bad guys because they support the Tea Party. So, the new leftism is less about rich vs poor as about ‘correct’ vs ‘wrong’. In the past, it was generally true that the superrich and the ‘bourgeoisie’ tended to be archly ‘conservative’ while the masses of the poor were receptive to calls of People Power. But what about today when 2/3 of the superrich are liberal/leftist and tend to be very Jewish? Class warfare of old no longer fits the script.
The Power of Advertising — not just the ad industry but the whole culture of favoring the image/style over substance/reality, in which case, most of American media constitute a form of advertising — means that good-and-bad is no longer a matter of right-or-wrong but looks-good vs looks-bad, or more precisely made-to-look-good vs made-to-look-bad. Those with control over the Image Machine determine what is good and what is bad. This form of manipulation isn’t new but more powerful today than ever due to the complete and shameless celebritization of America. Also, if narcissism and the idol of imagery were at least restrained in Old America by the virtue of Protestant modesty/morality — and in the 60s by the cult of nature and ‘authenticity’ — , there are no such controls today. In what is supposed to be a rational democracy, people worship frauds like Obama and Oprah as messiahs of the age. MLK has gone from important historical figure to spiritual icon we should all worship. Just about every rapper is honored as a prophet and poet. Pop music has turned into little more that hyping and marketing idols. (The decline of mainstream popular criticism is one of the most depressing features of the current culture. Take rock criticism for instance. Most traditional music critics — though there were exceptions — didn’t take rock music seriously in the 60s, and so, a new generation of writers emerged who took rock music seriously as art, culture, movement, expression. As with directors who were ‘auteurs’ in cinema, rock critics became aware of the rise of the new kind of popular music star who wasn’t just a performer but a creator, an artist in his own right. Dylan, Beatles, Stones, the Who, Hendrix, and etc weren’t trained seals but individual stylists and composers of their own music. Thus, rock critics emphasized the real vs the unreal, the authentic vs the manufactured, the personal vs the generic, in the realm of popular culture. Popular culture could be art, and it was the critic’s duty to champion the artist over the hack. This was a good attitude, but over time, critics got radicalized, especially in the 70s with the rise of punk, and ironically enough, became puritans in their own right — which was still better than the cultural commissars they would become later. They began to favor music that was unpleasant, as if anything ‘radical’ had intrinsic value as true expression, while having a knee-jerk reaction against anything ‘commercial’ and mainstream as lame, false, sold-out, and etc. Though the Carpenters and ABBA had some good songs, they were mocked mercilessly as utterly worthless while the dreary demento antics of Patti Smith was hailed as awesome stuff. This attitude got taken too far, just like the puritanical form of feminism that saw every sexy image of women as ‘misogynistic’ or ‘male chauvinist’. Critics had to lighten up, and this began to happen in the 80s, — and in time, feminists would lighten up too, represented by the arrival of figures like Paglia and Naomi Wolf who, though initially attacking the ‘Beauty Myth’, later wrote a book that said it’s even okay for women to be sexy. But, what some people welcomed as ‘lightening up’ in the 80s eventually turned into a massive flood of criticism becoming indistinguishable from hype. It’s one thing to say that the Monkees had some really good songs or that there’s no shame in liking Tom Jones — or seeing the value of songs like “Borderline” by Madonna or “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper. One can be a critical defender of higher forms of creativity while also giving credit where it’s due with feel-good pop. Instead, a demented kind of non-judgmental ‘inclusiveness’ came to dominate criticism. If criticism used to be oppositional — not always wisely, to be sure —, it became opportunistic since the 80s. If ROLLING STONE magazine in the 60s and early 70s championed the personal artist and creative eccentric over mass-manufactured malarky in general, it just became a promotional arm of the music industry since the 80s. The worshipful coverage ROLLING STONE gives to the likes of 50 cents and Britney Spears would have been unthinkable at one time. It’s one thing to say even malarky can sometimes have value but quite another to treat all ‘artists’ as if they’re in the same league or commanding of the same respect. When rock critics today would have us believe a turdy boy like Kanye West is a real ‘artist’, what is going on? The whole thing has become debased. And since rock critics no longer have the stomach for judging music, their judgement is directed at who’s pro-gay and who’s not. It’s funny how people turn out. Some people find religion, and you think maybe it’s a good thing for them... only to find them turning into mindless religious freaks. Same thing happened with PC. Being sensitive to gays made sense as gays are born the way they are and should be left alone, but then it turned into mad witch-hunting for ‘homophobes’. And when rock critics lightened up and dropped their purist radicalism in the 80s, that seemed like a good thing, but then it turned into a mindless form of ‘inclusion’ where Lady Gaga is treated like some creative genius. ROLLING STONE magazine was always into popular culture but, at one time, wasn’t afraid to stand for quality pop culture against shit pop culture. Today, it just bends with whatever wind that blows from the music industry. If the sort of people who run the magazine today had control back in the 70s, the Bay City Rollers would have been featured as ‘artists of the month’.) Though Obama’s been a cautious player, there was enough skeletons in his closet to bring down his campaign if the Image Machine had chosen to do so. But the people who control the Image Machine groomed him as their Magic Negro, and so Obama’s image or Obamage was protected. Though the media did eventually report the Jeremiah Wright controversy, the coverage of the MSM suddenly went into non-judgmental ‘objective’ mode and then swept the story under the rug because it ‘got no traction’; but, it got on ‘traction’ because the MSM ran it ‘objectively’.
In contrast, after Buchanan made the rousing speech in 1992, the media didn’t just ‘objectively’ cover what he said but fumed/editorialized night and day and compared Buchanan to McCarthy and Hitler. THAT is why the Buchanan story caught ‘traction’. So, the media created the ‘traction’ and then said they were just responding to the outcry ‘among the people’ in Buchanan’s case, but in the Obama-Wright case, the media suppressed the ‘traction’ by covering it as drily and non-judgmentally as possible, and then said they let the story go because there was no ‘traction’ among the people. If McCain had close ties with some White Nationalist figure, the media would have made sure there would have been ‘traction’ because they wouldn’t have just drily covered it but fumed about it night and day. It’s like what the media did with the Trayvon Martin story; they didn’t just cover it professionally or ‘objectively’ but hyped it as a case of a sweet innocent black kid ‘armed only with skittles’ killed by a ‘white guy’. It’s the media game of AFFIRMATIVE TRACTION.
Why did Holocaust become such a big deal while Bolshocaust — in which a whole bunch of communist Jews played a key role in the murder of millions of Christian Slavs — has been all forgotten? Because the Jewish and liberal control of the Image Machine made it so. There was no Holocaust soap but Holocaust has been sold as soap with which the ‘guilt of mankind’ must be washed forever(but of course, the stain never goes away, and so we have to pay for more and more Holocaust soap to the Jews to wash away our sins with; it’s like a obsessive-compulsive disorder, with all of us, in the manner of Lady Macbeth, constantly trying to wash away the eternal blood of the murdered Jew). How did ‘gay marriage’ become such a hot button issue? Because Americans really sat down to think about the nature of homosexuality and its relation to biology and morality? If they’d done that, they’d plainly see the ridiculousness of morally equating two men sticking their sexual organs into fecal holes with real sexuality involving proper sexual organs that create life. Since morality is rooted in biology, ‘gay marriage’ cannot be moral. If gay sex is real sex, then ‘eating’ through one’s ears should be acknowledged as a valid form of eating — because if you don’t, you must be an eat-through-ear-phobe. A whole lot of Americans were sold on ‘gay marriage’ because the Image Machine whitewashed gays and gay culture and presented homos as wholesome, decent, loving, and normal while those opposed to the homo agenda were presented as THE REAL degenerates, closeted freaks, neo-Nazis, and the like(though when one looks at Palin and her demento family, one really wonders what has become of normal America). Jews knew they could not own, control, and change society by numbers and votes since they constitute but a small minority. So, they had to control the minds, and they knew that the modern mind is the mass mind, and the mass mind is molded by the mass media. Control the mass media to advertise and promote the Image, which will in time supplant the actual Thing itself. So, despite all the problems with Negroes, many white people embrace the cult of the Magic Negro. Who knows or cares about the Knoxville Massacre but we all know that a mountain-sized Negro in GREEN MILE won’t even hurt a wittle bitty mouse, one that happens to be white to boot. (There’s an irony here. Jews, even as they came to reject Marxism, admired and praised it as a profound unified theory of great intellectual vigor seeking to understand the true facades behind the political facades of history. So, right or wrong, Marxism was supposedly deep and substantial. In contrast, many Jewish scholars — Eric Hobsbawm and Tony Judt to name just two — have said it’s not even worth trying to understand Fascism and National Socialism since they are intellectually so shallow, trashy, vapid, and superficial, i.e. Fascism and Nazism were really just cosmetic displays of glam-power to whip up mass hysteria. But my guess is Jewish intellectuals employ rabid and virulent adjectology to demean Fascism and National Socialism because, deep in their hearts, they sense genuine and even deep truths — in regard to politics of psychology, spirituality, organic community, critique of Jewish subversion — in them. Also, there’s no denying that Zionism IS a form of fascism. Just as Edward Bernays, the scientist of modern advertising, came to be more important than Freud, his uncle, the dirty secret is our world is that a form of quasi-fascism has become the predominant mode of power. Just as Christians initially rejected paganism but then adopted modes of paganism — painting, sculpture, architecture, music, pageantry, cult of power, etc. — to spread the glory of Christ all the while officially denouncing paganism, leftists who no longer believe in the Marxist prophecy employ fascist modes of imagery and manipulation to maintain control over the masses, all the while officially demeaning every aspect of fascism. Whether one looks at Hollywood blockbuster spectacles, Obama cult, the ‘will to power’ hook of rock culture, and etc, the fascist approach to psychology and society has proven to be far more effective than the trite class warfare rhetoric put forth by Marx. In order for Jews to own the mechanics of fascism for their own advantage while suppressing fascist tendencies in other peoples, Jews must officially say Fascism and National Socialism had no redeeming facet whatsoever, all the while using ‘irrational’ fascist truths to gain greater control over the mass mind.)
But the power of the Image doesn’t merely hoodwink us but makes us accept corruption AS LONG AS it carries the right image. Take Don King, total sleazebag. But he was advertized as the colorful and fun Don, and so he became a media celebrity and could get away with all manner of rottenness. When Nixon did skunkish things, he didn’t have much of an image or the protection of the Image Machine, and so Americans came to see him for the skunk he was. But Reagan got away with the far more egregious Iran-Contra scandal because he pushed the right Image button and said the right words. And Clinton got away with everything because he looked good and likable even when he was acting like a skunk. Slick Willy had this advantage over Tricky Dick. And since the economy was booming in the late 90s and everyone was feeling good, most of the country was in a forgiving mood. What with their own narcissism boosted by the bubble economy — “I’ll be a millionaire and retire in Florida” — , issues of right or wrong meant little as long as Clinton’s narcissism not only reflected their own but became indistinguishable from the ‘health’ of the economy. Just as the beauty/glamour of Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway captured the sympathies of the boomer generation that mindlessly cheered on the duo’s bloody war on ugly people, the Lewinsky scandal was framed in terms of glamorous Clinton vs fat/ugly/envious Ken Starr. Of course, Starr was a sleazebag himself who took political advantage of the situation, but many Americans were unfazed by Clinton’s scumminess because it was wrapped in a Warren-Beattyesque glam-boy charisma. Just as many boomers cheered on whatever Bonnie and Clyde did because the couple looked beautiful, many Americans unconditionally supported Clinton because they associated his glamour with the seemingly invincible high tech stock market.
That Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, a mega-rich crook on the run from justice, had little effect on people controlled by the Image Machine. As long as Clinton looked good — and was made to look good — by the Image Machine, there was no real consequences to his actions.
Much the same could be said of gambling. Gambling is pure sleaze, but it sure got one helluva Image boost in the 80s and 90s. (Albert Brooks’ LOST IN AMERICA was prophetic. In one scene, the character, a former advertising executive who lost all his money in Las Vegas, proposes an idea to a casino manager that what the gambling industry needs is to be associated with ‘heart’, i.e. give the money back in the name of compassion. Though he didn’t get his money back, the gambling industry did go for a revamping of its Image with the idea of the Indian Casino. This way, the gambling industry not only rakes it in but uses the profits to advertise the comforting notion of ‘giving back to the Indians’ who’d lost everything to the white man. Of course, Jews dominate American gambling, and so the unspoken narrative seems to be “white people stole from Indians, and so wonderful Jews are helping Indians to steal back from white people”, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Jews, who actually do much of the running of the operations, are taking a generous portion of the profits for themselves.) Today, many Americans want gambling in every city. Never mind the substance of gambling is most people losing their hard-earned money — and social security checks — to avaricious Jews. Las Vegas was Sin City but became something of a template for the rest of the nation and economy. With the change in the Image of gambling from a seedy vice to a glittering enterprise(representing the very essence of what capitalism is really about), it’s no wonder that the rules of banking changed drastically since the 1980s and especially from the late 90s. Wall Street became a mega-casino dominated and operated by Jews. Since neo-casino Wall Street Jews could always rake in more cash by making everyone play, chips were handed out so that any Negro, Hispanic, or white trash — no matter how dubious his credit rating — could play in the housing market. And when the whole thing went bust, the Jews, with the money and control of the Imagine Machine, put in Obama, the ‘socialist’ and ‘reformer’, into the White House to bail them out. If McCain had won in 2008 and bailed out Wall Street, the ‘progressive’ community would have been up in arms. But with a black guy with the Cool Image in the White House, even ‘progressives’ and ‘leftists’ mostly kept mum about the bailouts and even supported Wars for Israel since it is of course ‘racist’ to attack a black guy and maybe pave the way for GOP victory. Jews have it all worked out. We are living in the Age of Jewish Advertising. And as long as the Jewish Image Machine says that Israel is a helpless country surrounded by hostile all-powerful Muslim nations led by New Hitlers and that Iran is a monstrous nation on the verge of having nukes to wipe out Israel, such is the ‘reality’ that most Americans have in their silly little minds.
Paradoxically, the greater push and widening net of ‘open-mindedness’ may be undermining actual open-mindedness, not so much by design as by social dynamics. When America was less standardized, people from all walks of life were forced together in certain settings. The US military, for instance, used to draw people from very different communities. These individuals may have been more provincial and less open-minded, but they were forced to realize and accept that other people aren’t necessarily like them; other people are products of different traditions, habits, and values. Sometimes, the differences led to violence, but at other times, it led to tolerance and even admiration of people very different from oneself. But with rising wealth, expansion of mass communication, and standardization of education, Americans came to think, talk, and act more and more alike. Big city or small town, this state or that state, they all came under the barrage of same images and ideas in schools, TV, and radio. Thus, if open-mindedness used to mean opening one’s mind to people who thought differently and grudgingly admitting that they too had a point, the new open-mindedness became a dogma with a set of rules of what it should be for all people. It went from existential to enforcemental. Under the old system, people were urged to get along with others, but they were not told how to think and feel on a personal level. Under the new policy, it’s not enough to get along with others; you must personally eradicate all vestiges of ‘racism’ and ‘homophobia’ from your heart. It’s like how communists weren’t merely content to force you to go along with the new system on a social basis; they put you through endless indoctrination sessions until your very soul was cleansed of all evil spirits of capitalism and ‘reaction’. They had to spiritually own you, to erase your own individuality.
So, if a bunch of journalists in the old days, brought together and working in shared space, came to admit and accept both a liberal gay journalist and someone like Pat Buchanan, the climate of new journalism is to push ‘tolerance’(and even mindless celebration)of gays while purging all people like Pat Buchanan. If old open-mindedness used to mean opening one’s mind to both ‘racists’ and ‘anti-racists’, the new open-mindedness is enforcing only ‘anti-racism’ in the fight against ‘racism’. Now, liberals can argue that since ‘homophobia’ and ‘racism’ are evil, bigoted, and closed-minded, a society will be more open-minded if rid of such ‘noxious’ and ‘toxic’ ideas/attitudes. If this means mainstream journalism shouldn’t be recruiting Holocaust-mocking Neo-Nazis, Nation of Islam lunatics, or Muslim radical promoting terrorists, it has validity. But the new open-mindedness, in the name of creating a big ‘inclusive’ tent, throws a very wide net in its catch for ‘racists’ and ‘homophobes’, whereby someone who’s honest about racial reality is equated with Nazis and where people who have perfectly rational and moral objections to the gay agenda are branded as clinically insane. So, the open-mindedness, which used to mean acknowledging and dealing with people who were different from oneself, has turned into creating a community/system where everyone — at least if he’s a white male — must think, feel, and talk just like ‘you’. If old open-mindedness used to mean there should be a room for both Pat Buchanan and some fruiter, the new open-mindedness amounts to OPPONENTS OF ‘GAY MARRIAGE’ NEED NOT APPLY or NO HONEST DISCUSSION OF RACE ALLOWED.
One fundamental of advertising is the primacy of the look/hook. Don’t make people think; bypass their ability to reason; just make them Believe; bring them under the spell. It is not about ambiguity but ‘clarity’ or the illusion of clarity, as if there’s ‘no other way’ or ‘no other acceptable product’; it’s the illusion of clarity because it allows no room for thought. Advertising makes you believe that something is absolutely true without question, as if to even pose a question about the veracity is an affront to decency, sanity, and integrity. (In this sense, the Holocaust too has become a form of advertising as even people who know little about it are compelled to BELIEVE it, just like people who never saw or thought about God were compelled to Believe or be burned as a witch in the Middle Ages. And even in the ‘teaching’ of the Holocaust, one isn’t given the full story in a rational manner but overwhelmed with horrific imagery of history-as-advertisement so that the viewer is compelled to BELIEVE in the very first minute. The Holocaust cult or Holocult is thus a secular form of religion sold in the form of advertising. You must BELIEVE even before you know; even ignorance is no excuse for your not Believing. If advertising made women all over the world believe that every bride must have a diamond ring, the Jew-vangelical marketing of the Holocult says that every decent human being — man, woman, or child — , even without knowledge or questions, must BELIEVE in the Holocaust, by which I mean he or she mustn’t only know that it happened but feel with the purest conviction that it was the greatest, most unique, most horrific, and most irrational horror that ever happened, the implication of which is that all sane human beings must not only sympathize with Jews but love them, honor them, worship them, and never ever criticize or blame them.)
Though controlled mostly by liberal Jews, the dynamic behind advertising is essentially ‘conservative’ or atavistic. It works by playing on the emotions. At some point, liberals discovered that they couldn’t win over the masses through reasoned argument. To win, liberals had to appeal to the emotions of the masses, to manipulate the masses with images, sounds, sensations, and symbols. Thus, even Reason and Science became a game of the Image War. Consider the issue of Global Warming. I don’t know how true or untrue it is, but many partisan scientists and politicians promote and market it as something we must all BELIEVE in — because if you don’t, you are an evil person(like a Holocaust Denier) or mentally insane. The mass media, in cahoots with global climate ‘scientists’, tell us the debate is over, the evidence is ‘incontrovertible’, and that’s that. And they shamelessly use sensational images of Global Warming of dead polar bears and starving people in Africa to guilt-bait people in the advanced world. Even before one tries to think and ask questions about the subject, he is preemptively accused of famine-holocaust in Africa and the death of cute polar bears in the Arctic. Thus, under this barrage of advertising, one has only two options. Jump on the Global Warming bandwagon and feel spiritually baptized(and be counted as one of the morally/intellectually superior people) or remain skeptical and be labeled as an insane, irrational, and heartless murderer of Africans and polar bears. (But then, it must be said knee-jerk opponents of global warming are no less repulsive, as if they know everything just because they say ditto to whatever Rush Limbaugh has to say.) Though liberals take pride in their Reason, they manipulate the atavistic zones of fear, hope, sacredness, purity, us-vs-them, and simple good-vs-evil dynamic to sway the masses. This is what many conservatives don’t understand about the 80s, and this goes for Pat Buchanan too. Many conservatives, preferring the simple emotional view of the world as good vs bad — such as America as City on a Hill vs Evil Godless Communism — , were offended by the ‘moral relativism’ and ambiguities of liberalism. How dare the liberals call into question certain sacred truths/sentiments that all decent people just knew, without thinking, that they were right? As Pat Buchanan once said, he grew up watching SANDS OF IWO JIMA while Oliver Stone made movies like BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY. The world is seen in terms of comforting good vs irredeemable evil, and that’s that. Therefore, conservatives welcomed the Reagan 80s as the return of simple dichotomies: decent family values vs discredited counterculture values; America as God’s Country vs Soviet Union the Evil Empire, patriotic optimism vs critical liberalism; Born Again Christians vs Cynical valueless liberals; Free Markets and Liberty vs Socialism and Big Government. Now, opposing communism, promoting economic liberty, and supporting the family are good things, but the world isn’t so simple as black and white. The rise of New Simple-ism was seen as the triumph of good-hearted conservatism over confused liberalism. After the fog of cultural, moral, and political confusion/angst/disillusionment that marked so much of 70s cinema, 80s cinema was seen as the revival of good-vs-bad formula. It was the decade of the A-TEAM and RAMBO. Even cynical teenage sex comedies tended to be sunny and feel-happy(without some of the unsettling questions posed by AMERICAN GRAFFITI, BREAKING AWAY, and FOUR FRIENDS.) Some of this carried over into the 90s, with Zemeckis’s FORREST GUMP, one of Pat Buchanan’s favorite movies. The message of the movie seems to be, “no matter how dumb you are, as long as you’re good-hearted and innocent, some divine force will favor you and take care of you.” Conservatism?
But here’s the rub. It was made by liberal Hollywood. If anything, though ‘intellectual’ and ‘sophisticated’ liberals take pride in how rational, subtle, and open-minded they are, they found the New Simple-ism very useful to their cause. In a way, the reason why liberals hate fascism is that it was the fascists who first truly perfected, harnessed, and implemented the psychological forces of mass politics. Fascists drew from other sources and movements, but they understood that the essence of modern mass politics is not reason or science but emotions and atavism. Both fascism and modern advertising are rational means of studying and manipulating the atavistic forces within man. Their operational mode is rationality of irrationality, not so much to rid man of irrationality but to shape irrationality, which is permanently rooted in the psyche of man, to serve/support a certain agenda or to buy a certain product. When a woman buys a shampoo, it’s not because she understands the chemistry of what’s in the shampoo but because she sees a beautiful woman with beautiful hair in the commercial. Liberals have long condemned atavism, and many scorned the revival of atavistic moralism and nationalism during the Reagan yrs, perhaps culminating with RAMBO and A-TEAM. But liberals and leftists figured... “who is to say atavistic emotions have to be on the side of rightism or conservatism? What if they are manipulated to serve leftism or liberalism?” Of course, this isn’t something liberals figured out in the 80s. After all, Stanley Kramer began making movies in the 1950s. But, here’s the difference. Though Kramer’s works and related movies like TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT were clearly biased and liberal, they tried to lay out a case, an argument. They didn’t simply present the other side as subhuman monsters. This was also true of ADVISE AND CONSENT, a liberal political drama that, however, looked at both sides and made something of a rational case. The black protagonist of IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT may be too-good-to-be-true and some of the rednecks are pretty crude and dumb, but it’s not a movie about simple good vs simple evil. And liberal movies of the early 70s were also on the more ambiguous and thoughtful side. ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN is very partisan, but it’s not about two saints vs an evil monster. The journalists are idealized but not overly romanticized. And there are multiple moral perspectives in THE GODFATHER, DOG DAY AFTERNOON, MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER, and AMERICAN GRAFFITI. In contrast, DIRTY HARRY, the landmark rightwing fantasy of the early 70s, along with DEATH WISH, had a simpler view of society — though they now appear complex and ambiguous compared to the action movies that followed. We root for the good guy against the bad guy. Indeed, we feel that the good guy is so right that he has the right to take the law into his own hands. Even so, the element of realism prevented either film from becoming a cartoon. But, ROCKY III was lame-brained, a cartoon of a movie, followed by an even cartoonier ROCKY IV. And RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, superb as it is, gave us wonderful American hero fighting all those cartoon Nazis. In RAMBO, a patriotic American can do no wrong; in fact, even commie bullets respectfully fear and evade him. And MIAMI VICE had cops looking good and looking good fighting crime. The music also got cartoony, with acts like Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and etc. Though most of these ‘artists’ were not conservative, they all seemed part of the New Simple-ism, a kind of bubble-gum-ism. Morality turned into a simple case of ‘good vs bad’. Entertainment was a simple case of ‘feels good or feels bad’. A film like MEAN STREETS or THX 1138 presents more questions than answers. You have to work through your emotions. The expressive mode of the 80s, though the trend gathered steam in the late 70s, was to coast with your emotions, which always had to feel good or simple. There is a place for simple moral convictions or simple pleasures. Who says something has to be deep, complex, or sophisticated to be good? But when New Simple-ism became the prevailing sensibility, even a kind of ideology, it led to the dumbing down of America. And some liberals were genuinely troubled by the development. And some conservatives were off-put by the stupidism so prevalent in the 80s — and were even embarrassed by the shameless Teflon Ron act by the old Gipper. But in time, liberals and leftists discovered they could use the New Simple-ism to further their cause. Indeed, the New Simple-ism would prove to be far more effective than the Old Reason-ism. Liberalism would no longer have to be argued, as in TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, or SOUNDER — or even ROOTS, which, for all its distortions and lies, presented white folks as flawed people than evil monsters. But, in the spirit of RAMBO, liberals and leftist began to employ New Simple-ism to divide the world between Wonderful Victims and Evil White Males. On one level, PLATOON was a necessary antidote to the excessive moronosity of RAMBO. But in another way, it was a leftist version of RAMBO. It was PASSION OF THE CHRIST IN VIETNAM. The Dafoe character wasn’t just a decent sort but Jesus-Incarnate.. He didn’t just die(like real soldiers do) but was CRUCIFIED IN SLO-MOTION. And the bad sergeant played by Tom Berenger wasn’t just a villain but Hyde to Dafoe’s Jekyll. He was Multi-Scarface. Though disturbing and powerful on many levels — not least because Stone, unlike Stallone, really served in Vietnam — , the movie ended with New Simple-ist message of morality as Angel vs Devil. Dafoe was also to star in MISSISSIPPI BURNING, where Negroes are all saintly while southern ‘racist’ whites are barely human — and in order to hook white female viewers with Negroes, rednecks are also shown to abuse their women, which is ironic given that black men, MLK included, are the most notorious woman-beaters in America; you’d think only white males abuse their women, suggesting that white women should turn their back on evil white men and join up with the wonderful fellow-victim Magic Negroes. Notice that the Date Rape hysteria on campuses only dwelt on the Evil White Male, when in fact, white coeds have far more to fear from vile Negroes. And THELMA AND LOUISE gave us cartoon feminism where two gals with guns can do no wrong because they found liberation by tormenting subhuman-sexist-white-men; though a thoroughly worthless movie, it’s interesting how liberals took ‘atavistic’ conservative symbols — gun ownership, country music, western motifs — and turned them against conservatives in the name of feminism and Negro-ism(as when a Negro cyclist torments an innocent white state trooper locked in a car trunk under a blazing sun); thus, the movie wasn’t a hit only with liberals but with working class conservative women, the Sarah Palins of the world, who thought it was a ‘one of us’ movie. In FRIED GREEN TOMATOES, there is a wonderful fellowship of a lesbian, abused white wife, and noble Negroes versus the sinister brotherhood of Evil Monstrous White Men who deserved to be killed, cut up, roasted on a pit, and fed to other evil white men. (And you thought Nazi movies about Jews were pretty heinous!) These movies may be anti-conservative but they employed the modes of New Simple-ism preferred by conservatives during the Reagan 80s. And AMERICAN EXPERIENCE on PBS originated with conservatives calling for a more feel-good pro-American program highlighting the positive achievements of America, but liberals used the feel-good-ism to promote liberalism and leftism. The golden glow of nostalgia, after all, didn’t have to celebrate patriotic white males but could be made to celebrate Negroes, feminists, lesbians, and etc. Also, even as some great white males were celebrated, the bigger emphasis was on their dark side. The American Experience episode on Charles Lindbergh pretty much summed up his career as Nazi Sympathizer; can you imagine a PBS documentary on Paul Robeson where half the show is devoted to his subservience to Stalin? I don’t protest a documentary detailing the dark side of any person; my point is simply that conservative sensibility and emotionalism could just as well serve liberal and leftist heroes. Indeed, notice the TIME magazine cover that had Reagan shaking hands with Obama. And Obama had said he is channeling Reagan — though loathe to admit it, he is also, with the advice of clever Jews, channeling certain elements of fascism. And National Review has been gaga over Oprah because she too employed the New Simple-ism of the 80s. Indeed, the essence of the Oprah phenom can be seen in FORREST GUMP, where we are made to feel oh so very good when we see the black maid eventually becoming rich and having a white woman serve her.
Conservatives in the 80s tended to see liberals as people of the mind and conservatives as the people of the heart. As late as 1992, Buchanan was talking about those undereducated conservatives of the heart who didn’t read Edmund Burke. Liberalism was dry reason or egghead intellect while conservatism was feeling of community and powerful sense of rightness. But since the 80s, liberals got to own both realms. The conservative cult of anti-intellectualism, religious simpleton-ism, and success-measured-by-materialism created a movement made up mostly of morons, bigots, and crass pigs. But hey, at least they had heart!! But once liberals appropriated New Simple-ism and filled the media with stuff like GREEN MILE, SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, AMISTAD, and whatnot, people’s hearts and atavistic emotions were pulled to the Left. Buchanan rails against the irreligious and gay culture, but gays today are represented as angels deserving of worship — along with Holy Jews and Noble Negroes. And the MLK myth is no less powerful and potent than old Catholicism. Buchanan, as a child, was raised a Catholic who was NEVER EVER to question the faith. The world was a matter of light and darkness, good vs evil, black vs white. Well, liberals and leftist of PC may disagree with his views, but they are using the same ‘atavistic’ tactics used by the Catholic Church under which Buchanan grew up. PC uses New Simple-ism to raise kids with a zealous religious conviction of good vs evil, right vs wrong, black vs white. Liberals don’t want us to think about race and gay agenda. We are supposed to, on the basis of blind faith and complete devotion, go along with PC dogma. Thus, the great irony of both Buchanan and liberalism is both sides won and both sides lost. The Simple-ism of Buchanan’s youth is still alive but in the service of liberal PC. What is dead are conservative values and genuine liberal rationality. Buchananite Catholicist mentality is now used to serve the dogma of Political Correctness. Young liberals are being raised today with as fervent a devotion to MLK faith as Buchanan had been to arch-Catholic faith.
How liberals usurped New Simple-ism is most evident in the rise of Oprah. Though Phil Donahue’s show was liberal-leaning, he was a man of reason/debate than a man of emotionalism/atavism. He made a case for liberalism; he engaged people with words, to hear different views and to argue his own. Because of the focus on ideas and debate, conservatives never liked him. He was too secular. Conservatives liked things that FELT good. Oprah was a nothing but a greedy black bitch, a sistah, but she pandered to the warm and fuzzy Morning in America sensibility. Like Reagan, she made people feel good, and this made her very popular among conservatives as well. I mean her style and mode had the FEEL of conservatism; she was like a non-threatening and nurturing Negress. In fact, Oprah and her Jewish handlers used the ‘spiritual’ warmth found in conservatism to hoodwink the nation. Drawn to her warm and fuzzy-wuzzy Church of Nice Negress Who Smiled at You, millions of American failed to understand that her real agenda was black power(with her finally supporting Obama as ‘the One’), ‘gay marriage’, interracism(with black men humping white women and pussifying white men), and just plain & simple greed. She might as well have been using RULES FOR RADICALS. Even before Obama, she understood she could go very far by working with Jews who held the money and media. Liberals who once watched DONAHUE switched to OPRAH because Nice Negress Warmth felt so much more welcoming than contentious Donahue whose mode was ‘argue things out’. And liberals Jews finally came to understand and accept the true nature of the masses, minus the ideological hangover of classic leftism that argued that the masses could be educated to become rational, intelligent, and progressive. In fact, the masses were mostly stupid and dumb, and most of them could never be taught to think as free rational individuals; atavism was a fact of life. Their hearts — and guts and genitals — had primacy over their minds; and even ones with minds could be molded toward political correctness via manipulation of their hearts. Notice how even high-IQ whites capable of reasoning turn to putty when MLK is mentioned. Since childhood, they’ve been raised worshiping the man’s holy image. So, if you could access their hearts and associate their atavistic feelings with leftist symbols, American masses would become tribally loyal to icons and ‘values’ of the Left. So, the gay community has become the new ‘Father Knows Best’. (There is also even more atavistic power of the genitals. By hooking white women to jungle fever/rhythm/beat, white women now worship the Negro cock. And by hooking white men to bamboo bunnies, white guys chase after Suzie Wongs. Jews control the minds, hearts, puds, and pussies of whites. Jews control music industry that turns white kids onto Rap and the porn industry which feature black male/white female as the Ideal Mating. So, not only do white women wanna kneel before MLK, they wanna suck his cock. And in sports bars, white boys howl with joy whenever their Negro heroes in some football game makes a touchdown. It’s like beta-male dogs worshiping alpha-male wolves.)
Conservatism has also been defined by populism(as opposed to liberal elitism and radicalism), but liberals and leftists usurped that too. There’s Michael Moore as leftist counterpart to Rush Limbaugh. There’s Jon Stewart as liberal counterpart to Bill O’Reilly. All these personalties appeal less to reason than to emotions; they mix news with entertainment, ridicule the other side, crack jokes, and infuse their shows with vulgarity. Cynicism is nothing new among liberals, but the New Cynicism is far more in-your-face, more pandering to the lowest common denominator. Jon Stewart appeals not only to liberal elites but to liberal slobs. In fact, liberal elites like it because the show makes them feel ‘one with the people’. When liberals listen to NPR, they feel special as ‘intellectuals’ and ‘sophisticates’. But when they laugh along to THE DAILY SHOW, they feel ‘authentic’ as part of the masses. In the 90s, many liberals lamented that they could not compete with populist talk radio, but liberals actually perfected their own form of populist editorializing on TV, and given that the TV is a far bigger media than radio, one could argue Stewart(and even Colbert) are now more important and influential than Limbaugh.
Cynicism since the 80s also moved leftward. Though wit and skepticism were traditionally more the hallmark of liberals than conservatives, things began to change in post-war America with the institutionalization of liberalism. Liberals increasingly became earnest true believers. No wonder then that William F. Buckley took on the Liberal Establishment with barbed wit and sardonic remarks. The face of liberalism became Gregory Peck in TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD, the do-goody movies of Stanley Kramer, and the dreary folk music movement whose leader was Pete Seeger. Bob Dylan’s appeal in the folk movement owed to his comic side; he didn’t just preach sermons but made people laugh. With most folkies, there was an element of humorless puritanical obligatoriness, embodied by the likes of saint Joan Baez, as if fun(in an oppressive and unjust world)was sinful. Dylan’s early brilliance was the uncanny knack for mixing josh with justice and in a manner that didn’t seem irreverent to the Cause. He mixed business with pleasure without the guilt. But when he could no longer bear the creative prison of the Folk Movement,
he dropped the facade and angered a lot of people. It left everyone sour, not least Dylan who, in his new incarnation, was neither particularly political nor funny but bold and caustic. Though accused of ‘selling out’, his motivations were just the opposite; he neither wanted to be used as a folkie prop nor be sold as soda pop; he sought to create a form of art by inventing a new sound drawn from his vast knowledge of music and personal emotions.
Of course, there were plenty of moralistic simpletons on the Right, but given the dominance of Liberalism — and its save-the-world causes and crusades over civil rights, peace, and justice — , conservatives became the rowdy ‘bad boys’ by default. (Compare the liberal figure played by James Stewart in MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE with the ‘conservative’ archetypes played by Lee Marvin — the ‘libertarian’ anarchist — and John Wayne — the tough guy who settles matters with the gun. It’s like Mr. Rogers caught between a wolf and a bear.) And though Counterculture defined itself as rebellious and had its wild side, the core philosophy tended to be naive with All-You-Need-Is-Love crap. In this climate, it was often people on the Right who seemed rebellious, irreverent, risque, and bold. Not for nothing was PATTON a huge hit in 1970. It featured a right-wing general as the ultimate derring-do rebel who ‘did it my way’ and bucked the bureaucratic-military system. And though a political liberal all her life, Pauline Kael more often mocked social/cultural liberals who made all those do-goody movies that had little to do with reality or art. She disliked/distrusted conservatives but despised liberals who were mucking up the thing she loved most in life: the magic of movies. And so, conservatism of the 80s was marked not only by ‘Morning in American’ New Simple-ism but nihilistic cynicism that dared to laugh at defunct liberal naivete. So, the very conservatives who swooned to Reagan optimism and stuff about ‘America as City on a Hill’ could also watch David Letterman and appreciate the cynicism of the show as a form of yuppie conservatism. Letterman was no conservative, but his cynicism appealed to people who mocked do-goody pretensions. Paradoxically, some conservatives — especially the more educated ones — loved Letterman precisely because his cynicism went against the grain of Reagan optimism. To ‘sophisticated’ conservatives or moderates who voted for Reagan, it was somewhat embarrassing that they’d fallen for the hammy shtick of ‘Morning in America’ and such goo. It felt good but also gave them a hangover. So, watching Letterman and laughing at Reaganism made them regain some of their sense of skepticism and independent-mindedness. I suspect liberals today find a similar therapeutic release from cynical shows on TV after swooning before the Obama messiah. It must be embarrassing for educated and sophisticated liberals to be so wussy-ishly worshipful of some tawdry Negro-boy-toy sold as ‘The One’ by the Jews. So, after peeing in their pants after listening to an Obama speech, they need their individuality restored by watching some Jon Stewart or Sarah Silverman.
If David Letterman appealed to the better-educated conservatives in the 80s, Howard Stern appealed to white trash ‘conservatives’. Stern, like Jerry Springer, is a shameless Jew using the language and tropes of white trash populism. Springer’s TV show and Stern’s radio show may be politically incorrect — therefore mistaken as ‘conservative’ by their fans — , but they amount to little more than clever Jews usurping white trash populist-tribalism to undermine the last vestiges of underclass white morality. Springer has debased what Buchanan called the ‘conservatives of the heart’ into ‘conservatives of the fart’. (And there ain’t many ‘conservatives of the smart’ either, especially after the conservative brand has been associated with George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Christian Right, and Nascar-tire-fume-inhaling trash.) Conservatives brag that, in contrast to pointy-headed liberals who mistake idealism for reality, REAL AMERICANS — patriots of the heart — live with feelings and values. So, what have Springer and Stern done? They appeal to mass passions only to vulgarize and degrade them. Simple emotions have value in accordance to simple virtues, but Stern and Springer have debased emotions into tantrums. Archie Bunker into Archie Whanker.
‘Conservatism’ was also changed by the rise of gay culture. Paradoxically, liberals came to claim comforting aspects of retro-conservatism through gay culture. Though liberals and leftists take pride in the cult of dissent and subversion — and have staked their reputation and superiority on ‘radical will’ — , the fact is most people(even liberals and leftists)can take only so much intellectual and political tumult. They also need comfort zones, a sense of home. But since they staked their positions as anti-Eisenhower-50s, anti-patriarchal-family, anti-suburbia, anti-white-bread-ness, anti-homogeneity, anti-conformism, and anti-bourgeois, how do they ‘go home’? Where do the find the peace? Where do they rest? Thus, we see how gay culture is emotionally useful to liberals and leftists. Though one aspect of supporting the gay agenda is to attack conservatism/traditionalism and the ‘reactionary’ status quo, another aspect is to claim certain elements of conservatism for themselves. Especially after the AIDS epidemic wiped out the wild-and-crazy gays, the gay community has been taken over by safer, gentler, and more responsible gays. (Similarly, after reckless Marxists like alpha-male Che Guevara were wiped out, Latin American Marxist revolution fell into the hands of more responsible beta-male types like Daniel Ortega, who dreamt less but did more with greater caution. Marxists with conservative than radical personalities took over the movement.) Once the gay community was weeded of its reckless mavericks, it turned more ‘bourgeois’ and ‘middle class’. And since these milder gays tended to be orderly and tidy-oriented, they harked back to the 1950s. Though gays owed their ‘liberation’ to the 60s and 70s, many were turned off by hippie counterculture stinkery. Many gays were more into Classic Hollywood glamour, 1950s Douglas Sirk movies, and all that tidy white bread stuff with drapery and freshly baked buns from the ovens. These gays would rather be part of DONNA REED SHOW than GIMME SHELTER. Though the 1950s have been mocked for its whitebread conformism, gays also looked to it as a kind of golden age in terms of its aesthetics. And boomers who grew tired of the burnt out craziness of the 60s secretly longed for some of the sanity and comfort of the 1950s. But ideologically, liberals are not supposed to favor the 1950s over the 1960s. They are not supposed to support homogeneity over diversity. They are not supposed to favor family values over new lifestyles. But under the guise of supporting gay culture/community, white liberals/leftists could return to some of the warmth of conservatism. Gay culture is essentially white-bread — or white bun — white culture. Most white gays are not the biggest fans of Negroes. And in their mild-mannered gentleness, many gays are like homo versions of FATHER KNOWS BEST. By demanding marriage rights, gays are on the side of importance of family(though a debased one at that). So, while it’s wrong for a white liberal to praise FATHER KNOWS BEST, he can praise GAY FATHER KNOWS BEST. While it’s wrong for a white liberal to support white-bread homogeneity, he can guiltlessly support white-bun homosexual-homogeneity. Though most people in gay communities are white, they officially count as ‘diversity’ due to their ‘gender’ identity. Even the Western movie, the bastion of conservative values, can be enjoyed by liberals through stuff like BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. If you gay-ize any conservative value, idea, or mode, it becomes permissible for liberals to embrace and enjoy. Thus, liberals can have the cake and eat it too: enjoy comforts of conservatism but in the form of ‘progressive’ gayness.
Following the ‘base-jumping’ scene, we see Richard Chance and Jimmy Hart in a tavern that seems like a favorite hangout for secret service guys. Hart, who seems to be in his mid/late-50s, talks about his retirement — to be finalized in a couple of days — , and it’s obvious he’s a veteran universally respected by his younger colleagues. Hart compliments Chance as a great guy to work with but not before ribbing him for his cocky bravado. Someone playfully remarks, “I don’t know how you can work with him.” On one level, this is just how guys talk, friendly growling among wolves. But within the camaraderie is a fierce competitiveness. Chance is tough but also touchy. Paradoxically, he may be insensitive throughout much of the movie because he is so sensitive, though the sensitivity is well-hidden, even repressed. He hates being slighted, taken for a fool, belittled, and ignored. But he’s also loathe to whine or complain, so he’s in Fight Mode all the time, as if the world is against him and he’s against the world. In some way, there’s a spoiled child inside him, just as with the sulking Achilles who’d rather sacrifice the entire war over personal angst. Chance is both on the hunt and on the run. He’s hunting the ‘bad guys’ but also running from himself. Unlike Masters, he has no use for psychology though his actions are fueled by psychological fury. And unlike Hart and Vukovich(Chance’s new partner), he has no use for moral/ethical questions or complexity. With Chance, the professional is personal and the personal is professional.
Chance is miffed by Hart’s mild putdown because Hart is the one person he admires and wants the approval of. Though strong-willed, there is a side of Chance that wants to be appreciated, at least by good/superior men. Hart is not only taller, more experienced, and more knowledgeable but a better person, something Chance senses. After Hart dies, Chance says, “Jimmy Hart was the most righteous guy I knew.” Hart’s righteousness had special value for Chance because he himself isn’t very righteous. Thus, working as a junior partner with Hart, Chance felt guided by a moral compass; he, the natural born prodigal son, felt some sense of home. And Hart wasn’t just a good guy but a tough guy — but also a tough guy without vanity, someone who didn’t have to make a spectacle of himself. Also, Hart, unlike most older guys who settled into cushy office jobs, worked in the field where the action is. (In some part of Chance, there could be a fear that without the restraining influence of Hart, he might just go crazy. It’s like Mike Tyson lost his way after Cus D’mato, the only man who could control him, died. In a way, what happens to Chance after Hart’s death is like what happened to Negroes after the Civil Rights Movement. There are two forces at work on conscious organisms: natural logic and ideal logic. All things have their natural tendencies. For example, water tends to flow in certain ways, often to our displeasure. And so, in the spirit of ideal logic, we build dams to control dangers of flood — or to harness the natural power of rivers; this could be why Japanese are so crazy about dams; they love the ideal logic of channeling, restraining, and controlling natural forces. Animal nature works the same way, though different animals have different natures. Dogs, for example, have their own nature, and we need to condition and train them to ‘behave’ and act according to our wishes. Generally, this works best if, instead of opposing their nature, we shape and direct it in ways that are acceptable to us. Channeling is more effective than repression. We know, for instance, that it’s not healthy to deny or totally repress sexual feelings; instead, we create rituals, manners, and ways by which sexual feelings can be made morally and socially acceptable. Of course, the nature itself can be fundamentally altered in some cases, and this indeed happened when wolves were turned into dogs and when dogs were turned into various breeds. Thus, though similar, wolf nature and dog nature are different, and the nature of the pitbull is different than that of a dalmatian. Even so, there is the raw dog nature — the natural logic of dogs — as opposed to dog behavior brought about by our training of them. But even among one species, breed, or race, there are different natures among individuals. Not all pitbulls are alike. Not all humans are like. Some individuals are naturally more introverted, some are more extroverted. Some are naturally more self-centered, some are naturally more self-effacing. Some are more wolfish, some are more doggish, while some people are more feline and some are more piggish. Richard Chance’s natural personality is to be aggressive, reckless, and wild. His energy can be shaped toward constructive action — by someone like Hart — , or it can run wild and follow its natural logic to self-destruction. In a way, the deaths of Hart and Chance show there’s no such thing as ‘perfect nature’. Hart, naturally cautious and methodical, felt safe when he trespassed into Masters’ warehouse because he always follows the proper procedures. But, following the rule-book isn’t sufficient to deal with a maverick mastermind like Masters. Chance, on the other hand, thinks he can beat everyone because of his big balls, but this gets him killed at the last moment. Though every individual has his own peculiar natural logic, there are general natural logics for every species or race. For example, the natural logic of all humans is different than that of baboons — though one might make an exception for Negroes. Different races too have different general natural logics. Blacks in general are different from whites and other races. Blacks tend to be wilder, more aggressive, more chaotic, more funky. Black nature is also more intense and powerful. For this reason, blackness has long fascinated white Americans. Though mighty rivers can cause lots of damage and strike fear into the hearts of man, they are also admired for their power and awesomeness. And dams are built along big rivers because they supply the most energy; no one builds a dam along a stream. Paradoxically, the more dangerous the nature, the more useful when harnessed. The most obvious example is the blazing hot Sun that incinerates anything that comes near. But life exists on Earth because the mighty power of solar heat has been harnessed. The power of the Sun is destructive, but Earth happens to be situated where just the right amount of solar power can be harnessed to create life. Imagine if we could harness the power of volcanoes and hurricanes. Among all the human races, Negroes are the most powerful forces of nature — physically and emotionally, if not intellectually. Black music is louder and more brash than other music. Black voice is more powerful than other voices. Black lust is wilder than other forms of lust. Black rage is scarier than other kinds of rage. Black muscle is more powerful than other kinds of muscle. For a time, American whites harnessed raw black power. For one thing, when manpower was crucial, black muscle could pick and load more cotton than other kinds of muscle could. Whites rightfully saw the natural logic of blacks as being wild and savage; and so, whites argued that blacks needed to be controlled and put to constructive use for the good of both whites and blacks; blacks needed to be ‘put in their place’; blacks needed to be reminded constantly to fear the white man through all sorts of mechanisms and policies. Whites feared that if the controls on blacks were lost, the natural logic of Negro-ness would kick into action and Negroes would rage and rampage around as Afro-wild jigger-jiving gorilla-like folks. When Negro power and passions were given shape, order, and values — when they were channeled fitfully by ideal logic — , whites found out that blacks could sometimes come across as even nobler, more spiritual, more dignified, more soulful, and more moral than whites. A Negro singing ‘Ole Man River’ just sounds richer than a whitey or beaner singing it. The Negro has that deep voice that, if trained and guided in a certain way, sounds like God’s favorite angel. But, this Noble Negro was the product of white man’s channeling of raw black nature, not the black nature itself. But because white Abolitionists in the North were ignorant of the reality, they didn’t know the real nature of the Negro jigger-jivers. They just imagined docile and smiling Negroes toiling hard and singing them soulful-sounding songs like “Ole Black Joe” out in the cotton fields; they saw Negroes as naturally noble/angelic and thought, ‘please save the poor helpless Negro, the noblest child of God!’ And so, in UNCLE TOM’S CABIN, we have a Negro that be so good that he don’t even fight back when an evil white man whups him upside his head. Even the vile and cynical Stephen King, whose view of humanity runs from bleak to demented, seems to believe in the holiness of the Negro. Though I haven’t read THE STAND and THE GREEN MILE, they both have some Negro as the paragon of higher wisdom. And THE SHINING has a Negro as holy man. So, while a white man tries to kill his family, the holy Negro flies all the way from Florida to Colorado to save them in the middle of winter. And though I heard the novel of THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION had some Irish guy as the old inmate, Hollywood turned him into a holy Negro. Though some real-life Negroes did become noble and dignified, this was due to coming under the power of whites. As slaves or as free men, many Negroes seemed decent and sympathetic because their raw nature had been channeled and tamed into values and expressions appealing to white folks. Thus, whites were like Hart, and Negroes were like Chance. Negroes needed to be under white control for their wild nature to be restrained and channeled to ‘nobleness’. Just as natural logic kicked into gear in Chance once Hart died, natural logic kicked into gear once blacks became freed from all restraints of white control. Of course, one could argue that white forms of control — slavery and nasty discrimination, not to mention calling black folks ‘niggers’ — were often despicable, but the fact remained that blacks were likely to act wild and crazy once they were freed from all controls. Having evolved for 100,000s of years in wild sub-Saharan Africa, the nature of the black race is different from the nature of other races. Negroes be naturally wild. But white liberals — influenced by Rousseau and stuff like UNCLE TOM’S CABIN, TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD, and the hammy holy pontificating of MLK — convinced themselves that the good, decent, and noble Negro would flourish and bloom if blacks were given total freedom. But the natural logic of the Negro soul isn’t to sing ‘Ole Man River’ or even jazz but to sing Rap, act like thugs, and behave like gorillas — though that may be unfair to gorillas. But then, this danger exists with all races. It’s not a case of gentle whites vs wild blacks. Though whites are generally gentler than blacks, there are degrees of gentleness and wildness in every people and every person. Wolves are wilder/more aggressive than dogs, but dogs can growl and bite too. When one looks at white yob violence in the UK, it’s obvious that any people, if unloosed from moral/social/political controls, can go bonkers. But there’s no denying that this danger is greater among Negroes than among other races. It is also more troubling in America and Europe because blacks are stronger than other races. If blacks were physically same as whites but only more aggressive, this would be less of a problem. If Gary Coleman acted aggressively toward you, you can just push him back. But if Mike Tyson did likewise, you’d be in deep doo doo. In our world, blacks know they can whup white ass, Hispanic ass, Asian ass, Arab ass, Jewish ass, and all other ass. Indeed, one of the unspoken Americanisms is “let’s all run from Negroes to save our asses.” So, many white people are panicked as to what to do. Jews, for the interests of their power, still fear white power more than black power, and so they suppress stories of black violence lest they fire up white rage that finally decides to fight back — and in the process takes on Jews as well. So, what do we get? We are reminded of white evil and black nobility by movies and TV shows that keep repeating the same old fairytales of holy Negroes. Liberals also push these programs in the hope that maybe blacks will emulate the Nice Negroes in pop culture — and the promotion of Obama is an extension of this deceptive popular proselytization about race. But, this is really undermined by rap culture, which is defined by black thugs. But then, liberals hope that by making black thuggery cool and hip to white people, white people will not only embrace the holy Negro but the badass Nigga, and this seems to be happening, at least culturally. Lots of white kids have grown up wanting to be nigga-like or having sex with niggaz. When Flavor Flav had his TV show, tons of white girls lined up to suck his cock. So, will there be harmony finally with white acceptance of the raw nature of blackness itself? There will be more integration, but it will only increase black-on-white violence as more whites come into contact with ‘niggaz’. It used to be whites preferred a form of blackness that was restrained by white values, expectations, and taboos. The southern form of restraint was hostile while liberal white form was beneficent, but both were restraints just the same. Southern whites told Negroes, “you better behave or else we’re gonna burn a cross outside your house, nigger” and white liberals told Negroes, “we’ll support and defend you Negroes because you are so nice, gentle, soulful, and innocent — so stay that way.” So, white liberals placed expectations on Negroes to be Negro-like, not ‘niggerish’. Gregory Peck of TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD is defending what he deems to be an Innocent Decent Negro, not a No Limit Nigga. If blacks in the 40s and 50s acted like they do today, 99% of white liberals would have sided with Southern whites than with Negroes. Even so, it must be said, whites were not only sympathetic to the noble Negro but, in some dark secret corner of their psyche, hankering for the Beastly ‘Nigger’. White boys wanted to be ‘White Negroes’, and white women wanted to be ravished by the muscular big-dicked ‘nigger’ beast, which has finally come to fruition in the West, with interracist porn and famous white female celebrities publicizing without shame — indeed with great pride — their relations with Negro studs. If some white boys try to be like badass niggaz by aping black rappers, other white men emulate white women hankering for Negro meat. Ken Burns and Chris Matthews are not gay but play the pussy-boy role in relation to blacks. Ken Burns gets all girlish as he explains black athleticism and creativity while Matthews has thrills going up his legs to his genital when he listens to Obama. But then, the pussification of the white male in relation to black males is only the natural logic of race relations. It happened because alpha males naturally dominate beta males. Because black males are bigger, stronger, and more aggressive than white males, it was only a matter a time before black males would intimidate and dominate white males. Many whites were blind to this natural logic in the past because their eyes were fixated on visible reality than on hidden mechanisms of biology and history. If we only trust our eyes, we can believe that lions and tigers are gentle and nice because they seem to take orders from circus masters. But why are circus tigers and lions well-behaved? Because their natural logic has been controlled and channeled to follow human orders and act obedient. But if those restraints are let go, the conditioning will gradually fade and the beasts will revert to their raw nature according to the dynamic of the natural logic. Similarly, it seemed like Civil Rights would be doable since blacks seemed sane and orderly in the first stage of the movement. But this was due to their having been conditioned for centuries to respect and follow the white man. But as years wore on, as blacks realized that they had total freedom and could beat up whitey with ease — and were inspired by the likes of Muhammad Ali and other thugs — , the natural logic of Negro jigger-jivishness kicked into gear, and we are now in a very bad situation. White people don’t know what to do, which is why they’ve come to rely more heavily on political correctness. Unloosening Negro nature from social/moral restraints led to all sorts of hellishness, BUT liberals cannot accept this due to their Rousseau-ism — nature is inherently good and noble — and because they’ve invested so heavily into innate holy Negro-ness, which along with Holocaustianity, is the new religion in America and even Europe. When the West has been made to believe that the two most troublesome people in the world — beastly Negroes and weasely Jews — are the inherently the noblest, most innocent, and most trustworthy people on Earth, you know some bad shit’s coming our way. Even the toxic derivatives of the Housing Bubble are the products of our willfully and self-deceptively naive investment in Innate Negro Decency. Indeed, one’s better off gambling his entire fortune in Las Vegas than investing in Negro Niceness, which is a myth. Anyway, since the unloosing of human nature, especially that of Negroes, has led to so many headaches, the only card left for liberals is political correctness. Though PC is officially directed at whites, its long-term agenda could be aimed at blacks as well. If we build a history of condemning whites for ‘hate’ and ‘intolerance’, it can be used against blacks too eventually, especially if blacks target Jews and gays. If PC can ban neo-Nazi ‘hate speech’ today, maybe it can clamp down on black ‘hate speech’ in the future. But can social-control-dams be built when/where rivers are running wild? Can a wildfire be put out when it’s fully blazing across entire states? Things look depressing for the white race.) In the opening scene and then in the bar scene, we know Hart and Chance are very close. They are like father-and-son, older-brother-and-younger-brother, leader-and-disciple, coach-and-athlete. Chance learned a lot from the older man, and the older man seems to admire the younger man’s tenacity and guts. But we also sense a tension. Hart, due to older age(wisdom) or innate personality, likes to follow guidelines and uphold rules. A consummate professional, he doesn’t seem to take things personally. Also, he’s paid his dues, taken no shortcuts, and gradually/diligently worked up the ladder. Chance, in contrast, has a rebellious streak, a sense of ‘my way or the highway’. (It’s tempting to compare Chance’s personality to that of the archetypal gangster hungry to reach the ‘top of the world’ in a single bound, but the difference is that while the likes of Tony Montana and Little Caesar are obsessed with power/position, Chance only cares about the action. Likewise, Achilles, though immensely powerful as a warrior, never hankered for worldly power. His conflict with Agamemnon wasn’t over who should be top dog but who should have the girl. And both his refusal and return to fight had everything to do his personal agenda/vendetta than ‘political’ considerations. Chance is at loggerheads with his superiors not because he wants their position but because they stand in the way of what he feels like doing.) The competitive streak in Chance both admires and resents Hart. Chance appreciates Hart but also feels like Hart has him on a leash.
That the movie opens with Hart and Chance, and then matches Masters with Chance, and then returns to Hart and Chance suggests that Chance, while on the same team with Hart, has something in common with Masters. In PATTON, Bradley(Karl Malden) says he fights wars because he has to whereas Patton(George C. Scott) does it because he loves it. Hart probably joined the force because he believes in duty. In contrast, Chance, like Masters, likes to live on the edge.
The contrast between Chance and Hart could be rooted in personality and/or generational differences. Though alpha-male tough-guy-dom is nothing new in American history, the rise of nihilistic individualism was something relatively new in the 80s. Take Pat Buchanan’s brothers and friends in the 1950s. They played it rough and got into fisticuffs, but there was also a sense of tribe and tradition, of community; and they felt a reverence for certain figures of authority. Buchanan boys wouldn’t have dared to mouth off against their father or the priest; the roughness was among the boys. In traditional America, a young male first had to be shaped into an adult(pledged to uphold community values and standards) before he could truly be a man. One had to conform and be confirmed before attaining freedom within that conformity, as Jean-Paul Sartre said of America in the 1950s. (The same was true of ‘being an American’. Immigrants had to conform to Americanism before they could truly be accepted not only as legal citizens but as full-blooded Americans. Now, the meaning of ‘American’ has become nihilistic, as if any illegal invader is an American too because he feels like it.) But a new kind of youth mentality was brewing in the 1950s and 60s with the rise of rock, drug, and sex culture. Also, the new kind of libertarianism — reflected in Ayn Rand’s works — unmoored capitalism and individualism from moral obligations and communal standards. Traditionally, American society had maintained a balance between individualism and communalism, futurism and traditionalism, secularism and spiritualism. It wasn’t radical one way or another. But Rand, in a typically modern Jewish way, radicalized capitalism and individualism as absolutes. There didn’t need to be checks and balances. Individuality was the ONLY thing that mattered.
Though major changes took place in the 50s, the decade overall still remained conservative and traditional. Though 60s were a crazy period, the new freedom was tempered by a degree of idealism(no matter how stupid they may have been). And 70s were tempered by doubt, what with all the political and economic crises.
But the 80s economic boom and optimism informed young people — many boomers were still young then, like Steve Jobs for instance — that freedom was doing whatever they wanted, and since money increases the freedom of choice, money is king. But even for people who didn’t or couldn’t make lots of money, there was a new devil-may-care craziness attitude toward everything(in the absence of 50s traditionalism and 60s idealism).
Chance wears his heart on his sleeve and so does Gordon Gekko in WALL STREET. Though a child of the 60s and politically leftist, Oliver Stone was a very 80s personality. His screenplays, though heavy on ‘progressive’ sermonizing, tend to be coked up on sensationalism. Take MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, his screenplay for Alan Parker. Or SCARFACE for Brian DePalma. The most memorable thing about SALVADOR wasn’t its politics or message but the in-your-face gonzo nihilistic sensationalism(partly cribbed from Hunter S. Thompson, it seems). And there was WALL STREET, a movie so delirious that viewers cheered for Gordon Gekko, just like they did for Tony Montana. Same goes for Stone’s THE DOORS and JFK. The former is about a 60s icon, but it’s done in slick MTV fashion — it’s more coked up than stoned or trippy. And JFK is like paranoia as a narcotic high, or paranarcosis.
Stone pushed his brand of ‘leftism’ like Wall Street-walkers push junk bonds.
Even for the ‘dropouts’ and ‘outcasts’, things got more nihilistic in the 80s and 90s. Compare hippies at WOOSTOCK with Jeff Spicoli the ‘California Teenager’ in FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH. Hippies were often crazy but still guided by a vision and ‘commitment’. Spicoli looks like a hippie, but it’s only about partying. Compare THE GRADUATE with RISKY BUSINESS. Benjamin Braddock(Dustin Hoffman) may be nutty, but he’s searching for meaning, beauty, and love. He doesn’t want his future to be ‘plastics’ or empty sex with an older woman. Joel, in contrast, seems eager for a future of plastics as long as it means Money and Hedonism. Braddock rebels against both families — Robinsons and his own — to win Elaine’s heart. Joel pulls stunt after stunt to fool his parents while dreaming of success as a financial pimp. And consider the rise of Slacker Culture. Slackers are essentially a more intellectual version of California Teenagers. They may hang out at cafes and read philosophy(and other intellectual stuff), but their only real motivation is to avoid work and live for ‘freedom’ by doing as little as possible. The young radicals in ZABRISKIE POINT were at least willing to risk life and limb for ‘the revolution’. Slackers only believe in themselves.
Though the 80s are associated with conservatism and reaction, it could be construed as a ‘radical’ decade in this sense: All habits and attitudes became unmoored from any sense of meaning or obligations. Conservatism became the mindless Rambo. Capitalism became Gekko-ism. Leftism became coked-up sensationalism. And youth rebellion was youth celebration via MTV. The individual was no longer attached to any higher or wider goal, and this may account for the rise of PC. For a people so lacking in direction or guidance, PC offers some semblance of a blueprint for a ‘good society’. (But we must be careful not to overgeneralize. After all, HUD, the early 60s movie gave the same warning as WALL STREET. What we often mistake as ‘new’ in America is a repeat. Still, there was an unapologetic and shameless nakedness to individualism in the 80s that combined Counterculture social libertine-ism with free market libertarianism. Even the Church got mega-mall-ized. This brazen form of narcissistic nakedness — physical and spiritual — so prevalent in the 80s had some parallels with Classical Culture. Ancient Greeks were utterly shameless in their celebration and exhibition of naked beauty. Not only were there paintings and sculptures of naked figures but the Olympics featured athletes competing in the nude. They kicked butt butt-naked. Nevertheless, there was a measure of dignity and poise about Greek art, and for this reason, the 1980s was more like decadent Rome with its gross proportions and excesses. Stallone and Schwarzenegger pumped up with steroids looked not so much like Greek statues as Roman ones. And in behavior, they were more like Germanic barbarians. The 60s Counterculture had also been into nakedness, but it was less about narcissism or shamelessness as about casting off puritanical shamefulness. Hippies and others weren’t taking their clothes off to say, “Look at my muscles” but “This is my body and I have no reason to be ashamed.” Counterculture was trying to be natural with the body. 80s nakedness, spiritual and physical, was not about being natural or casting off repressiveness. It was an overtly shameless effort to turn and show off the body as like a perfect machine. It was TERMINATOR time. In the first ROCKY, Stallone looked strong but human. In RAMBO, his body was all hard muscle, nearly like that of a Negro. Counterculture nudity was about walking through the fields naked. 80s nakedness was about workout gyms and healthclubs. It was about Olivia Newton John wanting to get PHYSICAL. There was an element of idealized artificiality, as in Classical Culture aesthetics. It wasn’t about accepting oneself as one is but molding oneself into the ideal being. There was a movie with Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis in the 1980s called PERFECT, which I haven’t seen, but it caught the mood of the time. And FLASHDANCE was less about the art of dance than firm buns and flat abs, a rubberball neo-classicism to the funky beat. And a whole bunch of people exercised or jogged in spandex ski-pants to show how tight and firm their bodes were — like the gay dudes in MIRACLE MILE. What went for the body went for the soul in the 1980s. Thus, if capitalists of an earlier era felt a need to temper their ‘greed’ with high-minded talk, Gordon Gekko nakedly blurted out that he was shamelessly greedy and proud of it. This went beyond something like “there’s no shame in working for your self-interests as long as you play by the rules.” It was more like, “I am better because I’m greedier and five moves ahead of you.” It wasn’t merely about serving one’s self-interest but flaunting one’s self-interest as the highest religion. It was a naked worship of the self. If anything, it went beyond Ayn Randism since for Rand, the highest good was not money but what money could achieve. Thus, the main hero of THE FOUNTAINHEAD isn’t the capitalist but the artist. Despite her supposed anti-altruism, her philosophy argued that capitalists should make lots of money to generously support great artists and visionaries who work not for money but for beauty and truth. Thus, Howard Roark is lionized for sacrificing money for the purity of his vision while the rich newspaper tycoon ultimately sacrifices himself and surrenders his wife/fortune to Roark’s glory. Gordon Gekko, in contrast, doesn’t even have the principle of the tycoon in THE FOUNTAINHEAD. He’s just for the money and playing to win; he’s like Donald Trump. And when we look at what has become of Wall Street and Las Vegas, we know most Jews are in it for power and money, though I suppose Jews supporting Jewish Supremacy is kind of a vision and sacred cause.
In a way, maybe Chance represents the logical outcome of what might be called the ‘biologicalization of professions’. We are all familiar with this in relation to IQs, whereby the dynamic of meritocracy leads to smarter men and women rising to the top, getting married, and having babies with naturally higher intelligence. Over time, higher IQs biologically become concentrated at the top. Of late, Charles Murray has written of this phenomenon in COMING APART. But, this may be happening personality-wise as well(since there’s also a biological basis for personality). Take feudal Japan. Most samurai were born samurai regardless of whether they made good warriors or not. Thus, in a Japanese village, it could well have been that a man born into the warrior caste would have made a better farmer, a man born to be a farmer would have made a better artisan, a man born to be an artisan would have made a better scholar, and a man born to be a merchant would have made a better samurai. But since your station in life was largely determined by the caste you were born into, even a weakling geek could be a samurai while a robust strong male might have to work as an artisan(since his father was an artisan). In condition such as this, each sphere/profession/field would have been made up of diverse personalities. Since samurai-ness was determined by being born a samurai, warriors could be made up of tough guys, not-so-tough-guys, weaklings/wimps, and whole bunch of people whose personalities and natural talents would have been better-suited for something else. The disadvantage of such a system was mis-allocation of talent. But, the advantage was each sphere had lots of different sorts of people. But with the rise of modern freedoms, each person has greater freedom to pursue what suits his personality.
Though America was always much freer than Japan, the fates of Americans in the past depended considerably on where and to whom they were born. There was a tradition of expectations shaped by forces other than individual talent or personality. But as America became freer, it was possible for individuals to do what they really wanted to do, surely an improvement and progress. The downside was each field or profession increasingly attracted people of narrow talent/personality. Thus Law Enforcement could end up with a lot more Richard Chances than in the past. And Wall Street could end up with more Gordon Gekkos. With the demise of family tradition in many professions and fields, individuals gravitate to where they feel most natural. And this isn’t just about talent but attitude, personality, and outlook. So, even low IQ liberals, though making shitty money, will veer to places where liberal types hang out. So, some liberals of lower IQs work as lowly paid waiters or waitresses serving liberals of higher IQs. But even low-IQ liberals with shitty pay feel more at home in the cultural community of liberalism, though their lives are, in most measures, far apart from the high IQ rich liberals. This is true of NY, the city of financiers and waiters.
Richard Chance is clearly doing what he was born to do, and he can’t imagine doing anything else. This is markedly different from Jimmy Hart, who is not a Born but a Made secret service agent. Nixon and Clinton were such extreme politicians because they were born for politics. Unlike Kennedy, Gore, or Bush, they weren’t born into political families and groomed as such. Kennedy was a fabulous politician but not an extreme one. Gore wasn’t very good at politics, and neither was Bush. Both were thrust into politics by the fact of who their fathers were. Thus, they were Made politicians. Though born into politics, they were not born politicians. Nixon and Clinton, in contrast, were not born into politics but were born politicians. It came to them naturally. It was more than a profession or calling. It was an obsession, and they had to keep playing for bigger/larger stakes. Nixon even ordered a burglary, and it was as if Clinton subconsciously wanted to see how far he could go with presidential power. There was a bit of Richard Chance in them.
It is in the tavern scene that Vukovich is first introduced. With a large forehead and slightly thinning hair, he has a somewhat baby-ish look(kinda like the young John McCain). He comes across as rookie-ish, eager to please, a beta compared to Hart and Chance. As they leave the bar, Hart tells Chance that he needs to calm down a bit. Chance gives Hart a retirement present, a fishing rod, its significance perhaps related to Chance’s ‘base-jumping’ from the bridge, i.e. Hart is the one man who could reel him in. When Chance says they should do the surveillance operation together, an upset Hart finds out Chance has been looking through his letters — Chance, liked a dog, chewed his homework. Hart finds Chance dependable but not always trustworthy. Hart says he’s gonna go on the operation alone. Maybe he sees it as a minor operation, no big deal. Or maybe on the eve of retirement, Hart needs some time for himself. Chance may be great for backup, but he’s always pushing from behind. Hart wants to do this at his own pace, on his own terms. It’s his baby and final gig. Chance, though disappointed, lets it go. And they part. (Psycho-paradoxically, one of the appealing features of law enforcement may be a kind of tribalism. Humans are wired to be tribal, and so people need to belong to Community A as opposed to Community B. Of course, some people join organized crime — from lowly street gang to large semi-legal operations — for the same reason. In THE GODFATHER and GOODFELLAS, the dream of every hood is to be part of the Clan or to be ‘made’. In principle, law enforcement is supposed to be anti-tribal. It’s about morally/legally deciding what is right and wrong; it’s not ‘my side, right or wrong.’ But the close camaraderie of men in law enforcement who regularly put themselves into situations of life-or-death bonds them together. Especially in war, even ‘white racists’ bonded with ‘savage Negroes’. Among Secret Service men, there’s also the whole culture of protecting the King. Furthermore, even the righteous commitment to the Law itself becomes a kind of tribal fetish. It becomes ‘we are the good tribe’ fighting the ‘bad tribe’. Cops-and-Robbers becomes a kind of moral tribalism, so much so that even cops who violate the law are protected as members of the tribe, which becomes police corruption, as seen in films like THE PRINCE OF THE CITY. Cops feel righteous not only as enemies of criminals but as special men who stake their lives on the battle line while prosecutors and lawyer-types sit in offices and shuffle paper and make speeches. There is some of that tension in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., especially through the character of Vukovich. So eager to win the trust and even affection of Chance, he tags along on a mad plan. On the verge of nervous breakdown, he tells a lawyer, “I can’t give up my partner.” Lawyers too seem to have a kind of tribal mentality, albeit a far more complicated and devious one. Lawyers are bound by law to working according to the law, but the law allows them to ‘tribally’ favor their clients even when they know their clients are scumbags. Also, lawyers have their own code, a ‘professional courtesy’ with which even opposing lawyers look out for one another.
Bob Grimes, the ace lawyer who advises both Masters and Vukovich, comes across as a man without loyalties except to money. Yet, one could argue he is tribally loyal to the legal community that allows men like him to thrive. And one of Masters’ business partners is a lawyer named Waxman, probably Jewish, who used to represent hippies in the 60s and 70s but has since succumbed to crime and easy money. He’s indicative of the changes that took place from the Summer of Love to Morning in America. Perhaps, Waxman started out representing counterculture people whose rights were violated by drug-busting agents but, over time, decided it’s all about money, and so he’s gonna grab as much as he can — just like Masters and the 80s Grateful Dead. As the 60s faded and its idealism grew weary, a person’s worth was determined by whether he could afford box-seats at rock concerts than by whether he’d been at Woodstock. Whatever one’s credentials in relation to the 60s, he was nothing in the 80s unless he had money, especially as the culture of amnesia forgot things faster than it could remember them. (To be sure, it’s more like museumsia than amnesia. Americans don’t so much forget what excited them in their youths as don’t care/know about what came before — or after — them. Thus, the boomer generation is trapped in its museumsia of memories related to their youth. Steve Jobs, for instance, was a 60s rock fan all his life but didn’t much know about earlier music or post-60s/70s music. So, Americans do remember, but the substance of their memory draws from their younger years and not much else; their youth experience becomes museum-ized. Amnesia is forgetting what one once knew, and so that isn’t the problem. Rather, the problem is disconnectitis, whereby each generation’s memories tend to be disconnected to those of others. The only deep cultural/historical connections uniting American history seems to be the remembrance of ‘evils of white racism’, especially against blacks and ‘the evils of antisemitism’. So, even young Americans, who know nothing about nothing, know ‘blacks were slaves’, ‘Germans murdered Jews’, ‘MLK was a saint-hero-prophet’, and etc. Young people today only know Lady Gaga and Harriet Tubman.)
Steve Jobs, though inspired by the Counterculture, made his fame and fortune through big business, not walking around barefoot and eating granola.. Comparing box office numbers became an obsession in the 80s, almost like the stock-market. The main buzz in the film community was less about whether a movie was original than the money it made, and in time, would even cloud critical acumen, which explains the obnoxious critical praise for stuff like LOR movies and AVATAR. (It’s not so much that people in the film community lost interest in art or creativity. It’s that between the choice of money/power/glamour vs integrity/creativity/poverty, most went for the former — while many of the latter just burnt out, not least to due to drugs. Given the competitive pressures of the movie industry, it wasn’t easy to go for both integrity and success. One had to choose one over the other, and most chose money, with the self-justifying caveat that some of the money eventually would be used to produce worthier projects and support worthy causes, which is why liberalism is so crucial to Hollywood. Everyone feels like a whore who went for the bucks, and so political commitment keeps them feeling ‘real’. Robert Altman’s THE PLAYER isn’t much, but it got something right about the soulless new Hollywood. The Tim Robbins character is no dummy, and he may even have an appreciation for good films. But success and power are everything to him, and so he’ll do whatever it takes to win. Imagine a meeting of movie figures where five guys are each worth a billion and have made several mega-hits while one guy’s nearly broke but made an ‘art film’ he can be proud of; someone like John Cassavetes never cared if he had a commercial hit; like many of his generation, he was a true maverick. But the ‘movie brat’ generation, though professing to be committed to personal filmmaking, was really influenced by the celebrity/glamour of 60s rock culture and me-me-me 70s/80s materialism. All said and done, they wanted to be players than artists; they had more the mindset of producers than directors. They wanted power above all else. And they sensed, correctly to be sure, that losers can’t be choosers. So, if you made something good but it wasn’t popular, you were out of the picture. But if you made something shitty that made a lot of money, you could make another shitty movie that hopefully will make a lot of money. Better to have the power to make another shitty movie than lose the chance to make any movie. And again, there was the self-justifying caveat that once a lot of money was made through shitty movies, it would be used to make something truly worthy, which sometimes turned out to be true, especially in the case with Spielberg, Walter Hill, and Brian De Palma. Their successes with pop movies gave them a chance to later make movies like SCHINDLER’S LIST, CARLITO’S WAY, and WILD BILL. But, there’s one grave danger in going for the bucks. After investing so much of one’s energy and imagination in creating popular junk, one’s entire creative soul becomes defined by junk. Can the Lucas, who once made THX 1138 and AMERICAN GRAFFITI, make anything of the same caliber now even if he tried? Ridley Scott, who made such interesting movies as THE DUELLISTS, ALIEN, and especially BLADE RUNNER, whored himself out through the latter 80s and 90s. He had great success and finally earned the privilege of choosing his personal project. So, what was it? The dreary KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, which was hardly better than THELMA AND LOUISE, GLADIATOR, and HANNIBAL. And what was the result of Lucas’s return to ‘serious’ filmmaking: RED TAILS! Another problem with going for money is the addiction. Just like formerly idealistic leaders, having gained power, simply cannot let go and their megalomania grows and grows, guys like Cameron and Lucas no longer seem able to think or work small, personal, or intimate. They have to work BIG on projects with the widest possible appeal. The end-result is something as mindlessly stupid as AVATAR. And the movie culture is such that real artists don’t receive the attention that they used to. In the 50s and 60s, Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini were household names. Even if their movies couldn’t compete commercially with American movies, mainstream media followed their careers. Their movies were cultural events, and educated people felt an obligation to keep up with what was happening in the art world. Though Woody Allen wasn’t much as a serious ‘art director’, he was the talk of the town in the 1970s, hailed for works like ANNIE HALL and MANHATTAN. Though wonderful films of great integrity are still being made, there’s no longer any buzz, no great glory outside the cloistered circle of unsavory cineaste geeks. Film artists are honored at film festivals and praised by certain critics, but they don’t stir up the kind of excitement that men like Fellini, Bergman, Antonioni, Truffaut, Kurosawa, and others once did. In the 70s, PBS regularly used to show foreign/art films; I recall seeing SEVEN BEAUTIES several times. But then, what happened? This shift in culture is what Sontag meant by the ‘death of cinephilia’. If a filmmaker doesn’t make a lot of money but at least gains recognition for one’s achievements, that would still be something, an incentive to choose art over money. But to make little money in the name of art AND get almost no recognition is just too painful for most artists, which is why most of them go for the money. Why bother with art when no one cares? Since the people with the most powerful personalities and wills go for money, ‘art film’ has been taken up mostly by beta-male dweebs like Mark Romanek, which is why most ‘serious’ movies that come out in autumn lack personality, individuality, and originality. CAPOTE, NEVER LET ME GO, and REVOLUTIONARY TOAD might have well have been directed by the same person. One could always tell a Truffaut film from a Godard film, a Kurosawa film from an Ichikawa film, a Bergman film from a Fellini film. But most ‘serious’ independent American films share the same look, sound, feel, etc.)
Anyway, tribalism centered around law or morality doesn’t exist only in the law enforcement community. There’s also the tribalism of idealism, even if the idealism in question happens to be egalitarian and universal. This might be called ‘tridealism’ and is a major determinant of whether one is ‘in’ our ‘out’ in the liberal community. Supporting ‘gay marriage’ isn’t merely about ‘are you a good person or evil person?’, but ‘are you one of us or not one of us?’ It is a scent marker. Though all ideologies and movements want to expand their power and size — to create a big tent — , there’s always the anxiety about the tent becoming Too Big. And thus there is a need for tribal or trideal litmus tests. SWPL liberals don’t wanna hang with toothless ignorant hillbillies who may also be Democrats. They may have ‘compassionate’ views of Negroes but don’t really like wild-ass jigger-jivers. So, ‘gay marriage’ issue has a way of purifying SWPL community, of favoring ‘educated’ and properly indoctrinated whites and weeding out the wrong kind of whites. Also, it favors and encourages the Nice Negro; notice the gay-ish qualities of Obama though he’s not gay. This exists on the Right too. The Pro-Life issue isn’t simply about morality but tridealism in action. It’s a way to draw the line between ‘real conservatives’ and moderates/RINOS/neoconservatives. Since white Americans are not allowed to form along racial or nakedly tribal lines, moral-wedge-issues serve as defacto tribal markers. So, when a SWPL woman refuses to date a guy who cracks gay jokes, she isn’t simply being ‘moral’ but circling the wagons around her own trideal community. She belongs to the ‘progressive’ tribe at war with the ‘homophobic’ tribe. Thus, even anti-tribalism takes on the feel and form of tribalism.
The next scene shows Rick Masters making counterfeit money. We see him in a dark room leaning over a luminous surface. He labors like a lab technician, a scientist. A closer glimpse of his craft suggest something approaching artistic concentration. He is a painter after all. He obviously has the intelligence to master(and improve upon)skills beyond the ability of most criminals. He makes fake money but with monastic piety. We later learn that he served time for armed robbery and took up art in prison. Perhaps, it occurred to him through the creative process of art that it was smarter to create money than steal money. If one can create art, why not use creative skills to make ‘money’? A man of considerable talent, perhaps Masters could have been successful in the art world, but he keeps most of his art private. Perhaps his art is too personal, whereas counterfeit money is to be ‘shared’ with the filthy world. But even with fake money, Masters insists on a certain propriety-ship, i.e. his business partners must play by his rules. In a conversation, the Fearsome Negro — a middleman in the black community — asks why Masters insists on setting the prices and terms? And when the Fearsome Negro fails to deliver on contract to have someone bumped off, Masters demands the counterfeit money back(and is even willing to risk his life for it). And after getting it back, he burns it all out of some obscure principle than selling it to someone else. He fights to get it back only to destroy it all. It’s like the money has been violated and contaminated by the Fearsome Negro.
Though Masters is a counterfeiter and not dope dealer(like the criminals in THE FRENCH CONNECTION), he works like a distiller of chemicals, a medical scientist. He has all the special equipment and operates with intense concentration and precision. If chemists refine and sell opiates to the masses in need of fixes of Insta-heaven, Masters grafts the purest essence of money onto his own stacks of paper to be sold to people craving easy money. And of course, money is like a drug. And money, as the basis of power, is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
There are two kinds of slavery: forced and voluntary. Ruth is like a forced sexual slave of Chance. A criminal on parole, she has to let Chance have his way or end up back in prison — though, to be sure, she is partly turned on by him because he has the power over her(and women have a thing for power), and besides, he’s a good-looking guy. Bianca(Debra Feuer), in contrast, is like a voluntary slave of Masters. He has the cash and connections, and she wants a piece of it. She’s like so many women who surrender to men of wealth and/or fame. (The behavior of some characters in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. gives us a glimpse into the psychology of slavery. For most of us moderns, slavery is simply a moral issue of good and evil, with freedom being good and slavery being bad. Of course, no one wants to be forced into slavery, but the psychology of slavery has always been with us and is widespread today even in the most advanced democracies. Though freedom is appealing in principle, it’s not always pleasant in reality. Not for nothing do some Zimbabweans say things were better under the ‘racist’ British rule of Ian Smith. Not for nothing do leftists praise Castro’s totalitarian rule over Cuba. Castro may not allow democratic rights and liberties, but he offers ‘security’ and ‘equality’. And some people who are let out of prison miss the community & culture they enjoyed inside. Freedom can be lonely and alienating. Graduation is both a time of happiness and sadness. It’s a time of freedom, to be liberated from institutional rules, but it also means having to make one’s way in the wide world. The reason why so many liberals and leftists prefer to remain in educational institutions is for want of security. Of course, college professors are neither slaves nor powerless, and many of them — at least if they are politically correct — enjoy ‘academic freedom’. But there are community codes, and many choose to stay within the walls of academe because they fear real freedom out in the big world. This is even truer of highschool. On one level, everyone hates highschool, but for many, it’s the last real community they will know, that is unless they attend college or join the military. In highschool, you have to obey rules and follow instructions. It’s like an educational prison, and all students are forced to be, more or less, equal. There may be advanced courses and remedial courses, but everyone eats in the same cafeteria, which is filled with smart kids, middling kids, and dumb kids; with cool kids and uncool kids, jocks and geeks, etc. And everyone has to take gym. Kids may not like one another, but they are part of a ‘young people community’; and students are taken care of, led, coached, instructed, and guided. Of course, it’s not slavery to keep people down but devised to raise students up. Even so, freedom and individuality are sacrificed to force students to graduate to a higher freedom — and lately to political correctness. And to the extent that most parents and kids submit to this system of forced/compulsory education, there’s the communal agreement that total freedom is never a good thing. All children start out as possessions of their parents. Parents own them, feed them, lead them, train them, discipline them, order them, shape them. Kids resent this, and adolescence is something like the start of a ‘slave rebellion’, but kids also wanna cling to the security that comes with being children in the family. In Italy, some kids never wanna leave home. They wanna be mama’s-boy-slaves forever. When Soviet Union fell and the new freedom in Russia brought about much misery, many Russians longed for the old order, even Stalinism. Putin’s popularity owed not to further democratization but restoration of some degree of authoritarianism. He’s ruled essentially as a neo-fascist. Huge numbers of Germans, after the economic crises of the democratic Weimar years, supported either the communists or the Nazis in the 1933 election. They voted for voluntary political slavery as they grew tired and afraid of chaotic freedom. Slavery was okay as long as the slave-master promised to bring about collective security and pride. Germans would lose freedoms and liberties as individuals but they would gain greater power as united slave force. Indeed, the appeal of the military has something to do with psychological slavery. While some people join the military out of patriotic ideals, many join because the military offers them food, clothing, shelter, allowances, benefits, meaning, direction, purpose, and identity. To become a soldier means having to abandon many or most individual freedoms and liberties; one has to go kill and maybe even die if ordered into battle by superiors. For most soldiers, their duty is to be attack dogs of the state, like the Janissaries in the Ottoman Empire. Military men are essentially armed voluntary slaves. But this is appealing to a lot of people who feel lost in the free civilian world in which they don’t have special talents to succeed. Thus, they freely give up their freedom and join the military. They are told what to do, and following orders and being provided with stuff are easier than making one’s own decisions. This is why Ron Paul is not appealing to most Americans. Freedom is burdensome; it means personal and individual responsibility. Though Ron Paul is very popular among military men, it may have a lot to do with the likelihood that many people joined the military for security than to fight foreign wars and return in body bags. Most Americans want to be taken care of to some extent. Military men almost never realize their psychological will-to-slavery because they are armed with all sorts of weapons. Holding heavy guns or flying in helicopters, they feel empowered than enslaved. They feel badass, but in fact, they must follow orders at all times. They have no freedom to decide what wars to fight, what enemy to kill. The study of how pack animals developed may tell us something about the psychology of slavery. Among pack animals, there is hierarchy, and some members must be submissive to others. So, why do submissive members put up with it? Because there’s strength in numbers, greater security, and greater likelihood for survival. And this dynamic made wolves eventually into dogs. Primitive man could not have treated dogs very well. So, why did early dogs stick around humans? Partly, it must have been their social instincts inherited from their ancestors, the wolves. But early dogs — which were much like wolves — might have felt even slavery under humans offered better chance of survival than freedom out in the wild. Also, complex animals are not just about food but emotional attachment. Many animals, like humans, will sacrifice freedom to emotionally belong to a community. This is even seen with cats, generally thought to be solitary and independent. A cat will beg to let outside and run around freely but after awhile, it wants to come back inside even if it means living under the rule of its master. You don’t have to be a slave to have the slave psychology, and the slave psychology isn’t necessarily a bad thing; indeed, it may have been necessary for the development of social animals and then finally humans and then human civilization. We often forget that slavery was often voluntary throughout history. When times were bad and there was no food, a people might voluntarily offer themselves as slaves to another community in exchange for food, survival, and security. We see this in war as well. Some soldiers, instead of continuing to fight, prefer to surrender and be captives in a POW camp; better to be a living slave than a dead soldier. If being a slave means less freedom but higher chance of survival while being free means more individual choice but higher chance of death, many will choose the former. Indeed, the reason why PC has come to be so powerful is that many people prefer to be slaves holding onto their jobs, reputations, and wealth than free men who end up being blacklisted and ruined the Jewish masters who own/control this country. Also, PC gives people a sense of communal rules and codes; they may lose the freedom of speech but may feel they’re gaining more social peace — which is unlikely since clamping down on ‘white supremacism’ isn’t likely to control black savagery and Jewish hideousness, which are the real long-term threats to social order. But even outside PC, many conservatives prefer the comfort of community — even if it’s repressive — to the freedom of individual choice and conscience; conservative slave psychology is seen in their worship of Jews. No longer allowed to unite and fight in the name of white interests, white conservatives feel empty since the conservative mind feels real only when it is serving something: God, country, tradition, race, etc. Since so much of white conservatism has been rendered morally impermissible, we have many conservatives worshiping Jews and pledging to be serve as the running dogs of Israel. Just look at Gingrich, Santorum, Bachmann, Palin, and Romney sucking up to Jews and Zionism. Some women don’t want more freedom because it means more problems and challenges to deal with as individuals. And some liberals want more socialism because they don’t have the talent, will, or skills to make it in the real world. But then, the ‘real world’ isn’t exactly free either. Even among competitors, there are winners and losers, and losers must submit to winners. If you don’t make it as starting quarterback or running back, you must accept your position as bench-warmer, assistant coach, or waterboy. We tend to divide political morality into freedom vs slavery, but it could be that civilizational progress is not so much about going from slavery to freedom but creating a system of mutual slavery to replace one of absolute slavery. Under absolute slavery, one group hogs all the power over other groups. Power could be divided along lines of race, nationality, ethnicity, or religion. So, in the Ottoman Empire, Muslims enslaved non-Muslims, and in Christian Europe, Slavic pagans were enslaved and sold by Christians; and in America, some whites in the South owned black slaves. And in the Nazi Germany, the elites had power over the masses, and Germans had power over non-Germans. And though communism was about a classless society, those claiming to represent the Proletariat were slave-masters over everyone else. But the triumph of ‘freedom’ didn’t mean the end of all aspects of slavery but only the end of absolute slavery. What we call a free society really operates along the principles of mutual slavery. Though all of us have individual freedoms to some degree, we all agree to have our absolute freedoms curtailed by bondage to agreed-upon principles. Rule of Law is a kind of slavery under the law. And as the range of ‘rights’ is expanded, we lose more of our freedoms. Thus, if healthcare is a ‘right’, we cannot say NO to government mandates. Even if you, as an individual, don’t wanna partake in socialist healthcare system — pay into it or be served by it — , you no longer have a choice. Even if you don’t wanna pay property taxes, you have no choice since the representatives of the community have decided that all people must give up some of their economic freedoms for the common good. So, what we call progress isn’t a leap from absolute slavery to absolute freedom but to mutual slavery. Under mutual slavery, we are all free to some extent but also enslaved to some extent in the name of common good. But since it’s a form of ‘equal opportunity slavery’ that applies to all, it may not appear as slavery. There is some of that in the political system in China. Since the failure of the Tiananmen protest movement and the great rise in Chinese economy, many Chinese now support the Communist Party and don’t want free elections. This isn’t because Chinese are opposed to freedom per se but because many feel that free elections will only lead to socio-political chaos, which will then bring about economic turmoil. So, for the good of the larger community/nation, most Chinese have decided to accept the lack of free elections. Since NO ONE can vote in China, it’s equal opportunity mutual slavery, and thereby acceptable to most Chinese. The erosion of free speech in the West is also the result of mutual slave psychology. The elite forces of PC have brainwashed young people that it’s necessary for society as a whole to curtail certain kinds of free speech. Free expression may be compromised but the community gains as a whole by the stamping out ‘hate’ in the name of love and Tolerance. Under mutual slavery, no one specifically owns another person, but everyone both owns and is owned by everyone else. When the slavery is spread around evenly and everyone is made to feel he’s in the same boat, it becomes bearable. And there’s the blessing of security and shared purpose. To be sure, the rise of the Jewish elite has undermined the mutuality of our evenly-shared-slavery. After all, the Jews own us, but Jews are not owned by us in turn. Jews get to do everything they want; there is no give and take. Jews just take and take. Our politicians act before their Jewish masters as black slaves did to their massuhs in the South. We bear all the pain and sacrifice during the Great Recession while Jews get richer. Jews can gamble on Wall Street and sink the economy, but they put in their houseboy in the White House. “House Nigger” Obama worked with whores in Congress to ‘bail out’ Jewish Wall Street. As a result, Jews got richer while most goyim suffered. Jews push US into Wars for Israel, but all of the dying was by goy soldiers, who are little more than armed-slave-attack-dogs for global Zionism. So, while most of us have agreed to a form of mutual slavery, sacrificing absolute freedom/liberty in exchange for a measure of security and community, Jews play by their own rules. With control of government, academia, media, law, finance, and etc, Jews can literally get away with mass murder. And though Jewishness is seen as a culture, it’s really a biological reality. Madeline Albright was raised as a Catholic by her Jewish parents who concealed their Jewish identity, but Albright has functioned as nothing but a Zionist agent. She even said starving 100,000s of Iraqi women and children to death was ‘worth it’, echoing the sentiments of Bolshevik Jews like Kaganovich who believed the Great Famine in Ukraine was worth it. To communist Jews, killing millions of Christian Slavs was justified by the Revolution; Albright thought likewise about Arabs — and most American Jews feel the same way about white Americans and Europeans. People like Abe Foxman obsessively work for Jewish power in the US and Israel but throw antsy fits about Buchanan’s white identity consciousness. According to the NWO—New/Jew World Order—, only Jews can show any kind of tribal consciousness, loyalty, and bond. Jews don’t care if all white people in South Africa are raped or murdered. They don’t care if tens of millions of black Africans arrive in the US and gorillize the entire white race out of existence — though a supply of blonde shikse bimbos will be kept alive through selective breeding or cloning to satisfy the rapacious Portnoic lust of Jewish men.)
In canine terms, Chance is a wild dog in at an obedience school. Chance knows that being a Secret Service agent puts him where the action is. He loves the feel of power even if he’s not after power itself. As with soldiers, Chance’s power is proscribed by the organization whose orders he follows. He’s valuable for his initiative and drive but also dangerous for tendency to go solo. (There’s a telling scene when Chance goes to his boss with a request to make Vukovich his new partner. Even before Chance speaks, the boss says Vukovich has been assigned as his partner. Chance should be satisfied as that’s exactly what he wanted, but he feels slighted because he feels Vukovich has been Imposed on him. Even when he gets what he wants, he wants it on his own terms, not forced on him.) Chance made a pledge to the agency, to serve as a slave-soldier of the Law, but the wolf or alpha-dog inside him pulls on the leash, as if to break away and run free. Vukovich, Chance’s new partner, is more like a beta-dog who wants to belong. He is impressed, even awed, by Richard Chance and is eager to be his partner. It’s not as equals. Chance sets the agenda, Chance calls the shots, Chance forces events. Vukovich, even when disturbed by where it’s all heading, goes along because Chance’s force of will as the alpha dog is just too strong. Vukovich protests a few times by invoking the law, but Chance makes him feel like a coward for using the law as a crutch for lack of balls. Thus, he becomes Chance’s emotional slave. Though one side of Vukovich is repulsed and terrified by what he’s becoming, another side is turned on by going along on Chance’s thrill-ride. Chance does things Vukovich would never do on his own; Chance brings out the latent wolf inside Vukovich, who was trained to be a good dog. It’s almost like Chance mentally anal-fuc*s him. Vukovich feels oppressed and violated by Chance, but paradoxically, this enslavement is also liberating — because if he can take all the abuse and go to hell and back with Chance, it means he’s a cowboy too; not just a partner but an equal. Thus, slavery can also be a process of liberation. It’s a way for a man to be toughened and tested for his mettle. Genghis Khan and Conan the Barbarian have something in common in their going from wretched slave to great warrior. Indeed, their freedom/power as great men is inconceivable without their trial through hellfire as slaves, for it was tyranny that forced them to prove their worth as either equal or even superior to their oppressors. There’s some of this in BEN HUR as well, where the hero proves his superiority through suffering both betrayal and slavery, through which he proves that he’s as good or better than any Roman. BEN HUR also illustrates the moral advantage of Christianity over paganism; the pagan hero, such as Conan or Genghis Khan, might succumb to god-like hubris in his obsession with worldly power; in contrast, Ben Hur, the Jew who becomes a mighty Roman citizen/warrior, is tempered of his potential hubris by the figure of Jesus whose sacrifice reminds him of the ultimate failure of the mortal flesh and the eternal glory of the everlasting spirit.
There’s also an echo of James Dickey & John Boorman’s DELIVERANCE in the power dynamics of TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. Just as Vukovich, unnerved by Chance’s tough guy antics, invokes the Law to restore some order and sanity, Drew(Ronnie Cox) tells Lewis(Burt Reynolds) that they should let the authorities handle the matter — Bobby(Ned Beatty), their friend, was raped by a hillbilly who, in turn, was killed by Lewis. Lewis, the biggest/toughest/most charismatic of the bunch, implies that Drew is really chicken and is afraid to act like a man. In Nature, there is no moral or legal ‘law’. Law of nature is the will of man to fight and survive, kill or be killed. Society and law are for beta-males who’ve accepted their lot as mutual-slaves in a herd-mentality beehive. It offers security and comfort, but ‘civilized’ man is not a ‘real man’. A ‘real man’ embraces the embattlement of freedom; a slave-man snuggles in the order of shared-slavery. The Constitution, Flag, Apple Pie, and etc really constitute an arrangement by and for men who fear being ‘real men’ — warriors, hunters, killers. Lewis says he doesn’t believe in insurance; there’s no risk in it. Though Drew is morally and legally correct, he feels weak and wimpy before Lewis. He feels like a loser either way. If he insists on the Law, it means he’s a beta-male slave who goes running to the nanny-massuh of state power because he lacks the balls to call his own shots. But if he gives into Lewis, it means he’s a beta-male dog bowing to the alpha male dog. His only choices are the mutual slavery(before the Law) of social order or the primal slavery(before Lewis) of the natural order. Law or Claw, he cannot win in the eyes of the other men. While Lewis barks his position, Cox yelps like a puppy. It comes to a vote among the four men, and the tie-breaker comes when Ed(Jon Voight) sides with Lewis. Though Ed appears to think things through, the main ‘reason’ for his decision is he admires Lewis as the alpha dog character, the natural leader, of the outfit. And besides, the ‘law’ in this part of town is different than what they have in the city. It’s the Law of the inbred sister-humping hillbillies. The much traumatized Drew loses his concentration during the wild canoe ride down the rapids, rather like Vukovich nearly freaking out and losing it in the ‘reverse traffic car chase’ down the highway. Vukovich is like both Drew and Ed’s character. From a family of cops, he’s dedicated to the Law and troubled by Chance’s increasingly unorthodox methods. But as in the camaraderie between Ed and Lewis, Vukovich is fascinated with Chance and wants his approval/admiration. Ed and Vukovich are beta-males who harbor secret desires to be alphas. At one point, Lewis asks Ed why he keeps coming along on these nature trips, whereupon Ed answers, “Sometimes I wonder myself.”
DELIVERANCE and TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. are also similar in the way they use music and sound, intimating hidden psycho-social forces seeping up like ghosts from the past. DELIVERANCE begins with images of building of a dam; we learn the whole territory will be underwater, i.e. all that had been will soon be placidly hidden from view. TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is likewise keen on the psycho-geography of L.A. On the one hand, L.A. is modern America, where dreams come true and fortunes are made. But as with DELIVERANCE and CHINATOWN, there’s a sense of buried truth, whose scent, like that of hastily buried corpses, fill the air while its source remain hidden from view — also the theme of THE CHANGELING. There are also similarities in the narrative arch. In DELIVERANCE, the alpha dog Lewis gets his leg smashed and is rendered useless. He howls like a baby, proving that pain is the god that beats all. With his leg broken, Lewis is no longer the Nietzschean Overman or Natural Philosopher but a helpless whimpering child. The man who ridiculed insurance(as removing the thrill of risk) is suddenly desperate to be saved by others and treated in a hospital with anesthetics and all. The man who mocked the mutual-slavery of the herd now wants to be saved by the herd society. Meanwhile, it is Ed who must now ‘play the game’, as Lewis puts it. He needs to pool every last ounce of his will and skill to climb a jagged cliff and kill the Ugly-Hillbilly-with-Missing-Teeth-but-Loaded-Gun. Though the generally mild-mannered Ed is nervous by the task before him, he pulls it off and leads the survivors to safety. He, in essence, becomes The Man. Similarly, though Vukovich works in a state of near-panic and shell-shock in the final act, it is Chance who dies while Vukovich not only lives but tracks down Masters and kills him. Vukovich is transformed even more than is Ed who, though discovering the outdoor Nietzschean inside him, is deeply troubled by what happened. Vukovich, in contrast, becomes like the new Chance. He even goes to Ruth and tell her that she’s “working” for him now. He has become the slave-master. In Friedkin’s THE EXORCIST, the priest is seduced by the Devil and even takes the Devil into himself but spiritually triumphs over Evil. But it’s like Chance’s soul has transmigrated into Vukovich. Ruth must now work for Vukovich, but it’s like Vukovich is now working for Chance(who had possession of his soul; in this sense, one argue that while Chance dies physically, he lives on spiritually, whereas while Vukovich lives physically, he died spiritually). In a way, Vukovich even becomes like Rick Masters — the combination of Chance’s fire and Masters’ ice. And Vukovich seems to have accepted the nature of existence as a struggle without end — not just against evil but against the law if one is to get what he wants. It is Ruth’s numb sunken stare that resembles Ed’s final moment in DELIVERANCE — nightmare of a hand(of the man he killed) rising from a lake. Ruth essentially has a waking-nightmare of Chance, whose doom she may have orchestrated, resurfacing through a much transformed Vukovich. The final image of the movie before credits is Chance’s jeep arriving on her lawn, signaling L.A. carrying on as before and nothing really changing. At least, Chance was dashing and good-looking. Vukovich, though not ugly, is somewhat funny-looking. Though Ruth was Chance’s slave, the relation wasn’t entirely coercive, at least on the sensual level. She wasn’t ‘making love’ to someone she found physically repellent or beneath her. Even if she may have set up the Chinaman to bring Chance down, it may have been a desperate measure on her part due to his indifference bordering on contempt. Chance has every reason not to trust her(given her background and nature), but whenever she sought a bit of sympathy or concern — or few extra bucks — on his part, he stepped all over her like a rug; and his way of saying ‘no’ was, more often than not, insulting. (Ironically, Chance is finally willing to let her go free if the heist of the ‘Chinaman’ works out.) After the sex scene, for example, Chance treats her like left-over food after having his fill. (Some miscellaneous notes on THE EXORCIST: In a way, it’s one of the key movies of the decade, prefiguring and maybe even inspiring certain aspects of TAXI DRIVER, CARRIE, and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. Both THE EXORCIST and TAXI DRIVER involve adult male characters trying to save a twelve year old girl from forces of evil, but whereas the dichotomy between good and evil has archetypal clarity in THE EXORCIST, the moral dynamic itself is murky and has the smell of sewage in TAXI DRIVER, which maybe could be called the ‘Taxorcist’. The whole of New York is possessed by moral rot, leaving no moral ground to stand firmly on. Demonic has become mundane; you wouldn’t even notice if it stared at you right in the face. Morality is a mere abstraction in NY, like the concept of dryness underwater. Bickle’s car is akin to an underwater sub, in which he, the last moral man, watches grotesque creatures all around him, but maybe he himself is drowning in the same muck. Though Father Damien Karras is plagued by doubt, we know that he’s a good man, and even his spiritual crisis is the product of moral conscience. And we know that an evil spirit has taken over the body of an innocent girl. Karras is also part of a cultural tradition, and indeed, THE EXORCIST tries to revive a Medievalist morality of good vs evil in the modern setting filled with rational hubris and political doubt. To the extent that the movie focuses on the conflict between Father Karras/Father Merrin and Regan-possessed-by-demons, it indicates an unequivocal dividing line between Good and Evil. In TAXI DRIVER, Travis Bickle is not without moral conscience — he seems appalled by urban decay and decadence of NY city — , yet, he’s a loner, not a part of any tradition/institution. A man of limited knowledge and intelligence, he’s compelled, under an existential burden, to forge his own moral conscience and mission. He becomes the alternative messiah of his own making — not so much an avenging angel as angel and devil merging into one, a demon fighting for holiness. And Iris, played by Jodie Foster, doesn’t strike us as an innocent girl corrupted/possessed by monstrous alien forces but someone merely doing her job like a girl scout. She takes to sucking cock as if it’s nothing more than selling cookies. She’s been corrupted but maintains the look of ‘innocence’. In THE EXORCIST, Evil looks evil and Good looks good. In TAXI DRIVER, Evil looks normal, to the point where we don’t know which is which anymore. Indeed, the most disturbing scene is when a jilted husband, played by Martin Scorsese himself, says he’s gonna murder his wife and her ‘nigger lover’; and he’s gonna kill her by dirty-harrying her ‘pussy’ with a magnum 44; since the white man cannot compete with the sexual prowess and Mandingo cock of the Negro, he fantasizes using the surrogate penis of the biggest and most powerful handgun in the world to fuc* his wife to show who’s the real man. While a law-abiding man who’s angered by his wife’s adultery comes across as utterly deranged, Sport the lousy pimp has a scene where he’s gentle with Iris. Bickle’s mission is infinitely more difficult than the one in THE EXORCIST where, as horrible as Evil is, you know it when you see it. Also, THE EXORCIST takes place in the Georgetown community in the early 1970s when some spiritual semblance of the Catholic order still existed; now, of course, Georgetown community is as decrepit as any part of NY or San Francisco. TAXI DRIVER takes place in NY of the mid 70s when the whole city had been pornified in an open cultural sewer mostly due to the influence of Jews and Negroes in their common war against the white race. There’s no innocence to lose, though corruption can be ‘innocent’ in its own twisted way; consider all the porn actresses and pornified pop idols who think there’s real dignity, meaning, and morality to what they are doing; some even think they are ‘empowered’ through ‘sexual liberation’; it is corruption corrupted into a new kind of ‘innocence’ — just like lots of dopeheads in the 60s ‘innocently’ fooled themselves into believing that they were pursuing transcendence and spirituality through the use of somatic substances when, in fact, most of them were using drugs for mental orgasms — and very useful to Jewish weasels who control the porn/pop industry; thus, Jews can exploit white girls, but the girls think what they’re being liberated and gaining dignity — Iris probably thinks she’s a ‘free independent woman’ liberated from ‘square’ sexual repression —; if innocence has parallels with ignorance/naivete, then the perversion peddled by Jewish weasels is a demented form of ‘innocence’ used to fool and control people; it’s where the innocent is corrupted and perverted but kept ignorant/naive of what has really happened; one loses the Innocence but not the mind-set of innocence, which why young people are mindlessly susceptible to stuff like ‘gay marriage’ and rap-thug-ho-culture — indeed, many liberals think the main message of Jesus was ‘suck black cock’ and ‘support gay sex’ — ; such give the young ones an illusion of power and freedom, but they are just dupes sold on the false promise of liberation, rather like the young children taken to the fun-house in PINOCCHIO only to be turned into donkeys. When twelve yr olds today use drugs, have sex with older men, drink alcohol, and mess up their lives in the name of rebellion and freedom, they aren’t being adult or free but turning into victims of ‘corrupted innocence’ of our foul entertainment industry owned and controlled by Jewish weasels. If our nation is possessed by any demonic force, it’s that of the Jewish-Negro — aka Jewgro — Alliance. Though completely manipulated and owned by scum like David Geffen and Jerry Springer, young people think they are independent, cool, hip, and free because they use a lot of cuss words, dress like skanks or pimps, and act foul. But only the innocent can be corrupted this way, and therefore, their ‘loss of innocence’ doesn’t necessarily mean the loss of the innocent mind-set. It’s like a nice obedient dog can be turned into an obedient attack dog; though its ‘personality’ and attitude are changed, its obedient mentality remains intact because it’s merely following a new set of orders. Today, liberals are confronted with the fact they unleashed horrible cultural influences on society, but their hatred of conservatives prevents them from taking the full measure of responsibility. And because the two main groups associated with cultural rot are Jews and Negroes, who also happen to the two most haloed groups according to our collective mythology, liberals don’t know what to do to reverse the ugly tide of cultural rot and social violence. Thus, they’ve concocted Political Correctness, whereby the last hope of controlling outrageous Negro behavior is using the gay agenda to browbeat them with charges of ‘homophobia’. Though liberals pretend that they’re rational — and at war with superstitious conservatives — , PC relies on the mechanisms of religion, i.e. it’s studded with sacred symbols, taboos, rituals, celebrations, memorials, purges, purification rites, exorcism of ‘hateful’ spirits, witch-hunts, etc. Thus, a person suspected of ‘racism’ is associated with demonic images of the KKK lighting crosses, all gay people are associated with Fathers-Knows-Best-like images of clean-cut normality, Holocaust imagery of barbed wire fences are used like the Crown of Thorns in Christian imagery to sanctify Jews as the New-Jesus, Catholic Church is associated mostly with child molestation, and just about any Middle Eastern ruler hated by Israel is depicted as the New Hitler or new emissary of the Devil. Anyway, both THE EXORCIST and TAXI DRIVER convey the sense of cultural crisis in the early to mid 70s when everything seemed in flux. The great transformation began in the 60s, but even with the sex, drugs, and war protests, there was a sense of utopian optimism that the world could be saved with Love, LSD, and Revolution. When the 60s soured into the early 70s — when even patriotic conservatives began to lose faith in government as a result of the Watergate scandal — , we can well understand how movies like THE GODFATHER, THE EXORCIST, and TAXI DRIVER had a certain relevance. Many critics opined that the Cult of the Family was appealing at a time when the American family was falling apart, with women demanding their ‘rights’ and divorce rates skyrocketing; there was also the sense of ethnic community steeped in tradition; Michael Corleone, though born and raised in America, returns to Sicily and regains an organic sense of Italian-ness. THE EXORCIST came along just when many people were feeling doubts about old truths yet also anxiety with new realities; we have a divorced single mother raising a child on her own, and message of the movie could be ‘loss of family values invites the Devil into your home’, which could explain why Pauline Kael, a single woman raising a daughter on her own, hated the movie. As with THE GODFATHER, its massive appeal owed to playing it both ways. On the one hand, it was about the power of faith to overcome demonism and filth, yet what really sold the movie was its obscenely shameless sensationalism. Similarly, THE GODFATHER seems like a sober movie about the family, tradition, and organized crime but also wallows in violence, vanity, and nihilism. Though among the best of their kinds, neither is really an art film because they deliver what the audience want than reflect the unsettling and unresolvable facets of reality. They don’t force the audience to look straight at real problems but romanticize/opera-tize our fears into mythic fascinations. Thus, organized crime and family problems are turned into Grand Evil, which turns out to be more awesomely fun than grimly sobering. On that level, both THE EXORCIST and THE GODFATHER have more in common with JAWS than with any honest art film. TAXI DRIVER is a genuine art film in forcing our gaze to things we don’t want to see: the sleaze of modern America and the lies we live with and the fact that morality is not a easy game of good vs evil. Also, there is an element of escapism in THE GODFATHER and THE EXORCIST. THE GODFATHER has little to do with how the real mafia did business. And most people in the Washington D.C. area weren’t losing sleep over demonic possession but over marauding Negro thugs; even the Devil wouldn’t dare possessing a Negro since what would be the point?. Since Americans didn’t want to face the Negro problem — so widespread, intractable, and related to paralyzing ‘white guilt’ — , it was more convenient for Americans to project their worries onto big screen fantasies about warring mafia families and some demon that has nothing better to do than possess a twelve yr old girl and make her shit through her mouth. Though the possessed Regan makes a mess of her own room, she is no threat to the people of Georgetown, whose real worries concern Negro thugs running around like rabid apes — and it seems even Jesus can’t save the Negroes, whose idea of churchgoing is to holler and dance like they’re at a disco; if anything, thanks to the Jewish control of mass media, it seems like countless white boys and girls too have become possessed by jigger-jiver hip-hop pimp-thug-ho-biatch foulness. But then, Americans have also been sold on the myth of MLK, the black messiah who is supposed to cleanse our sinful souls of ‘racism’. But it’s not ‘racism’ of white folks that is wreaking havoc on city streets, raping countless women, robbing and looting all over, and turning cities like Detroit into an open zoo. And in truth, the real MLK was no saint but a demonic Negro whose main passion was boozing, banging prostitutes, and then banging them around the room with his savage fists; and his vocabulary behind closed doors was no less ripe than that of Nixon or the demon-possessed Regan. TAXI DRIVER is a real art film because it turns its gaze on the reality that we recognize all around us. We see the real NY of hustlers, whores, pimps, Negro thugs, illegal gun-dealers and drug pushers, cynical politicians and their operatives, sniveling Jews — the Albert Brooks character — , the stresses, and psychological breakdowns. The only part of TAXI DRIVER that rings false is the ending where Bickle incredibly mows down everyone though he’s shot in the neck and then in the arm, which itself is suspect since why didn’t the guy just shoot him in the head or more crucial part of the anatomy, especially at point blank range? And then, Bickle’s survival and Betsy’s fawning admiration in the closing scene are pure ludicrousness — unless they’re meant as a dying man’s fantasy, but there’s little indication of such. THE EXORCIST may have influenced De Palma’s CARRIE, which, though adapted from a Stephen King novel, uses some of the visual pyrotechnics perfected by Friedkin, an apt student of Georges Clouzot of DIABOLIQUE and WAGES OF FEAR, remade into THE SORCERER. CARRIE is like a reverse EXORCIST. The young woman seems to possess or be possessed by demonic forces that give her telepathic powers. But, she is a very nice and sweet girl, and if anything, the ‘normal’ affluent girls from respectable families are the hateful and sadistic ones. When Carrie is pushed too far, it is through her demonic powers that she take righteous revenge on the nasty kids; thus, the demonic spirits are on the side of good while ‘normal’ kids are presented as callous at best and vile-and-deserving-of-death at worst. Meanwhile, Carrie’s mother, a devout Christian — indeed more so than the two good priests in THE EXORCIST — is a demented woman who will even kill her own daughter in the name of Jesus. CARRIE extended the visual boldness of THE EXORCIST but reversed the moral/spiritual dynamic. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, perhaps the movie most influenced by THE EXORCIST, is also about possession, but the alien beings that ‘spiritually possess’ earthlings turn out to be good. Its main character Roy is struck with a beam of alien light from a space ship, and he undergoes a profound change, just like Regan in THE EXORCIST. But if the forces that invade Regan makes her evil, the passion that possesses Roy makes him inspired and brings him to closer to the secular god of UFO fantasy. Another matter of interest is the Jewish element in both movies. To an extent, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS is a retelling of Biblical myths with the Burning Bush, Moses’ ascent to Mt. Sinai, and meeting with God. There is also Holocaust imagery in people being rounded up in trains and government-spread rumors of a lethal gas leak over a vast area. It was as if Spielberg was saying that even in the good ole USA, the Jewish mind remains paranoid about government authority; but happily, it turns out that the US government spread lies about poison gas and transported people on trains not for the sake of evil but to serve a higher good, politically implying that as long as the government is run by liberal Jewish types, lies and deceptions are permissible because, unlike evil goy Nazis, Jews and liberals are really and ultimately on the side of virtue and truth. CONTACT by Carl Sagan also said that if mankind were to make contact with alien forces, it ought to be left up to the government controlled by Jewish liberals and their goy allies since the masses are too vulgar and stupid — the face of evil in CONTACT is a blonde Aryan-Nazi-Christ-Freak. Though THE EXORCIST is about two Catholic priests battling the Devil, it was directed by the Jewish Friedkin, and so there are Jew-centric elements and hints in the movie. The story begins in Iraq at an archaeological site where a demonic figurine is unearthed; something evil has been released from the bowels of the Earth, and it happens to be associated with swarthy Arabs, then as now, the enemies of Zionists. Notice it wasn’t dug up in Tel Aviv from an ancient Jewish site. Why did the demonic spirit settle all the way over in Georgetown? It just so happens that the mother of the possessed girl has an old German/Swiss couple as her servants, indicating that they maybe Nazi criminals living in America under new guise — like the Laurence Olivier character in MARATHON MAN. And when the mother hears sounds in the attic, she tells Karl, the German/Swiss servant, to check for rats. Rats are of course associated with Jews in the Nazi worldview, and Anne Frank’s family hid in the attic. Though nothing is really spelled out and though Karl is presented throughout the movie as a loyal servant, there is a wink-wink indication that the demon spirit infected Regan through the Arab-Nazi connection. Indeed, both neocons and liberal Zionists have repeated over and over that Nazism, which was defeated in Europe, found a second life in the Middle East among Arabs — though to be sure, Arabs say Zionists are the new Nazis committing genocide against the Palestinians. So, the demon figurine was unleashed in the Arab world full of evil anti-Semites, and this evil genie looked around the world and settled into a house in Georgetown because its servants are probably former Nazi criminals. Finally, after the battle has been won at the end, we see Regan and his mother driven away in a Volkswagen — Hitler’s car — by Carl and his wife, as if to suggest that though the evil infection has been warded off this time, the battle is far from over because there are still Nazi criminals living free under false identities all over the world. And notice that there’s a very decent Jewish detective in the movie as well. It’s as if wonderfully wise and conscientious Jews are always probing to unearth Evil in the world. To be sure, THE EXORCIST was based on the work of William Blatty, a Lebanese Christian and not a Jew, but Friedkin could still have added or emphasized certain details to render the movie somewhat Judeo-centric. Incidentally, the opening scenes in Iraq with montages of the red sun, alien faces, odd sounds, and striking architecture/landscape are remarkably like the opening credit scene in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. There’s an element of exoticism in both. Iraq is presented as a strange foreign country, and the scenes also take place on a excavation site buried with ancient artifacts. L.A., though part of America, also seems like another world. If Iraq is treasure trove of the ancient past, it’s like L.A. is the junk-heap of the disposable present. L.A., the center of American/global popular culture, has no center, no permanence. It’s like everything in L.A. is both instantly futuristic and instantly ancient. Oddly enough, the cultural life of L.A. is like endless archaeology since the ‘new’ is constantly mined/recycled from the old. Thus, there’s the retro, the neo, the pomo. The ‘new’ soon become ‘old’, to be replaced by something “‘new’”, which too grows “‘old’”, and so the old is repackaged as the new, to be sold to older people as ‘retro’ and marketed to younger people as ‘neo’. More recently, with the massive Third World invasion, especially from poor Mexico, L.A. is looking more and more like the future and the past. It’s still the entertainment capital of the world with all sorts of rich fashionable people, but it’s also looking increasingly like parts of the Third World mired in stagnation. Like many mega-cities in the world, L.A. represents the extremes of both modernity and backwardness.)
The counterfeit-making scene is Friedkin at his best, especially in the way it capsulizes an aspect of the modern economy. Like any brilliant inventor, artist, or scientist, Masters painstakingly works on the creation, model, or template. It requires not only the proper tools and technical knowhow but special talent possessed by only a few. Masters has it, possessing both creative/expressive intuition and rational/methodological skills. The process of creating money(real or counterfeit) is contradictory due to the nature of money itself. What is more prevalent in society than paper currency? Rich or poor, white or black, man or woman, everyone has money. Money, as shown in L’ARGENT, passes from one person to another across all social lines. Money is made of paper, and nothing is more common than paper. Yet, money, in order to carry special value, is designed to be nearly impossible to duplicate. The images — colors, shapes, numbers — on dollar bills are simple enough, and bills feel like pieces of paper. Yet, we can readily tell apart real money from fake money. Anyone can roughly duplicate money — just run it through a color printer — , but even a child wouldn’t fall for it. This says something about the nature of capitalism(or anything of great success for that matter). The secret is not the basic content or knowledge but that special elusive detail or quality that turns the basic material into something unique; and though the formula remains hidden/secret within the material, it is made available to all people as a product. The secret isn’t hidden in a vault away from the masses but hidden in the very thing made available to the masses. We all use Google but the algorithms powering it remain invisible to us. Thus, the secret of capitalism is to democratize the product but hide the secret of the product within the product. Take the cola beverage, which comes in many brands. Though generic brands taste 95% like Coca-Cola, we can readily tell it’s not the real thing. This is true of all brands of products.
Similarly, though all of us have been fooled by counterfeit money at some point, we know what real money looks and feels like. The counterfeit could be 95% or even 99% like the real thing, but there is always some tell-tale sign that gives it away. This is why Masters, like master forgers of artistic masterpieces, must be an ‘artist’ in his own right. In some ways, being a master-forger may be even more challenging than being a real artist. The real or original master can at least go where his inspiration takes him, or ‘follow his bliss’. The master-forger has no such leeway. Instead, he must make the most exacting copy of the original as possible, down to the tiniest speck, to the point where it looks even more real than the original. And given that works of art age with time, he must replicate not just the image but the effect of time on the image. Counterfeit money too must be ‘aged’ so that it will co-mingle with rest of faded real currency. It’s easier to create new life than to create an exact copy of real life. A man and a woman can have children. It’s far more difficult to clone an human being, or to create a robot that looks and sounds totally human. CGI has gone a long way in replicating the look of reality, but we can still tell it apart from the real thing. Fake or counterfeit items are fraudulent, but the sheer ingenuity of the best of their kind can be amazing. Anyone can make cheap imitations of Gucci bags, Rolex watches, and expensive cognac, but few are able to make imitations that fool even the experts. And only a handful of master forgers can recreate paintings so brilliantly that even scholars are perplexed. Same goes for signature. Nothing is easier or simpler than writing one’s name. The real difficulty comes in copying someone else’s signature. For Masters, creating original paintings is probably easier(and helluva lot more enjoyable)than making fake money, especially since there’s no rule in modern art. To make counterfeit money, however, Masters must concentrate on the tiniest details; he must master the rule-book to break the rules. He must obey the system of signs to upend it. In a way, counterfeiting is like Alinsky-ism. Alinsky called for radicalism via forgery, i.e. revolutionaries must remake and pass themselves as ‘mainstream’ Americans in order to pass the radical buck as patriotic currency. Alinsky was, of course, Jewish, and Jews have been a devious people who’ve mastered the art of counterfeiting identity, culture, wealth, and values. Though tribally committed to Jewish power, they pass themselves off as good Russians, good Germans, good Frenchmen, good Americans, etc. In the past, most people knew Jewish counterfeit subversion when they saw it(because there was no taboo against criticism of Jewish power/agenda), but Jews have taken over the all the media, all the printing presses, all of government, all of finance. It’s come to the point where many Americans now think gambling is what American capitalism is all about. What was once a vice is nice. Jewish counterfeiters(in various sectors)rule America. So, Jews fool us that illegal aliens are not illegal but ‘undocumented immigrants’. Thus, the moral burden is no longer on illegal invaders(who have no right to be here)but on American citizens who refuse to support ‘amnesty’. Ideas like Amnesty and ‘Dream Act’ are attempts at counterfeit citizenship. Jews also counterfeit and push ‘gay marriage’ as real marriage. And with gays now presented as neo-50s Father-Knows-Best archetypes, many Americans now think gayness is more normal than true normality. So, two fruiters porking each other’s fecal tunnel are healthy, sane, and decent while people who look down on such behavior are either evil or suffering from some kind of clinical phobia, or both. And Holocaust has become a kind of counterfeit morality. A great historical crime has been turned into moral currency for Jews to use in any context and circumstance. It buys Jews insurance and protection from just about anything. So, if there’s any legitimate grievance against Jewish power around the world, the critic or accuser is a denounced and blacklisted as a ‘rabid and virulent anti-Semite’, a neo-Nazi. And if Palestinians resist Zionist oppression, Jews pull out and wave the Holocaust buck. (What’s really foul is Jews were at the forefront of ending Apartheid in South Africa, thereby laying the ground for mass genocide of Afrikaner whites, but these same venomous Jews pass around Holocaust moral currency — Holocash — to buy our souls and sympathies.) And Jews in the media, using Alinsky-tactics, would have Americans believe that Obama is not only the new Kennedy and MLK but the new Reagan. MLK and Obama are counterfeit messiahs created by Jews to own the souls of white people. It’s a neo-form of Shylockery. Jews no longer need to remove your heart literally when they own it ‘spiritually’ and ‘morally’. In this climate, even patriotism has become counterfeited. Most Republicans display their patriotism by supporting Jews and Israel, which is amusing since most Jews are liberal Democrats whose grand design is to subvert white identity/power, to pussify white males, and jungle-feverize white women. It’s no wonder America faces the problems it does. Vile Jews have fooled us too many times. And of course, Hollywood gives us a totally counterfeit vision of America, and political correctness is counterfeit ethics/law for people who are either too stupid or too afraid to think about real ethical/legal issues. Thus, one can be a total skank or lout, but if you support ‘gay marriage’, you are a good person. (To be sure, such moral shortcuts exist on the ‘Right’ too. Thus, some white trash thinks he’s God’s favorite son because he goes around with a “God Hates Fags” placard or because he opposes stem-cell research. If morality were really that simple. So many people gravitate to certain hot-topic issues because it instantly makes them feel part of a superior moral community in touch with God or Progress.) So, you can abandon your kids, use dangerous drugs, commit crime, talk shit, act like a thug, cheat and steal, but if you’re with the ‘gay agenda’, you are on the side of the angels and opposed to ‘evil’. The use of counterfeit or symbolic morality on the Left is to be expected since PC is a form of secular counterfeit religion. The lord of PC is surely MLK, who has become such an icon of virtue that even conservatives get down on their knees and kiss big fat black ass. Though spirituality/religion can serve as a source of morality, it can also be manipulated to sanctify or legitimize a form of symbolic/counterfeit morality. Thus, among many pagan peoples throughout history, morality became less a matter of right and wrong than of performing the correct rituals to the deities. This was true of Egyptians, Greeks, and Hindus. And Chinese morality oftentimes amounted to little more than burning incense and money — often fake — to the gods. Imagine that: offering counterfeit money to counterfeit gods practicing counterfeit morality. Symbolic morality has also misled and corrupted Christians and Muslims. The message of Jesus was all too often corrupted into, “you are forgiven your trespasses IF you surrender to the Church of Christ.” So, what Jesus preached became secondary to the worship of His symbol. Following rituals and Church dogma became more important than living one’s life according to the true spirit of what Jesus stood for and preached. How else does one explain moral contradictions of ‘God and guns’ among the Christian Right? Many Christian conservatives think they are morally superior simply because they worship the Crucifix or support the correct Holy People; if Israel were to nuke Iran tomorrow, I fear most Christian conservatives will find excuses to justify it — never mind what Jews do; as long as you, a good Christian, worship Jews as the Chosen Holy Holocaust People, you are blessed.
Consider the Corleones in THE GODFATHER. They are thieves and murderers but also members of the Catholic Church, and that makes them ‘moral’ and respectable. Pat Buchanan hasn’t been much of a Christian if we judge him by his political/social leanings, but his membership in the Catholic Church and his devotion to Jesus-as-symbol makes him feel morally superior. Among Muslims, morality often amounts to rioting over desecration of the Koran. Somehow, that is a bigger moral offense than raping and murdering, which is all too common among Muslims. (Though morality is ideally meant to rise above the primitive dynamic of ‘us versus them’ tribal mentality — ‘my country right or wrong’ — , the moral dynamic works as much to quasi-tribally divide people as to universally bring them together. It’s as if the deep-rooted human nature of tribalism doesn’t so much abandon itself to morality as infect morality with the ancient/primitive/atavistic impulse. Thus, many people take up moral positions not so much to unite and agree with other peoples as to draw a line on the sand and say, ‘this is our side, that is your side’. And radicalism also could be part of the tribal mind-set in the sense that it instigates the growth of a ‘new moral tribe’ within a united moral tribe of shared values. Thus, even in a community where everyone’s a Christian, radical Christianity allows the formation of a separate Christian identity that insists IT is the true follower of Christ. And even among communists, there were ‘radical’ communists for whom regular communists were not ‘pure’ enough. Where tribalism isn’t permitted along blood or territorial lines, it manifests itself along moral lines. If Ancient Hebrews splintered along clan-tribal lines, many modern Jewish radicals often splintered along factional lines, especially among Marxist Jews. Though theoretically universalist and opposed to ‘reactionary’ tribalism, the psychological dynamic among modern radical Jews may have been similar to that of Ancient Jews. And we see this working in modern America too. One reason why white liberals like stuff like ‘gay agenda’ and NPR is such allow moral/intellectual means to create a world of their own. Though there is no open racial agenda, the white liberal preference for gay sensibility, art cinema, and classical music will tend to keep away most Negroes. A neighborhood with lots of cafes, bookstores, and art houses is less likely to attract urban ‘youths’ and ‘teens’. And white conservatives employ moral/intellectual issues like anti-affirmative-action, individualism, and Constitutionalism as wedges to separate themselves from blacks. If whites have naturally higher IQ than blacks, opposing affirmative action will create whiter communities in colleges and choice workplaces. Oddly enough, the main beneficiaries of meritocracy are white/Jewish liberals since they tend to be the most intelligent people in America, but as urban dwellers, they are clever in at least nominally supporting integrative agendas; thus, though they are far more ‘privileged’ than the blacks they work with, the latter will tend to be less hostile to white liberals because white liberals send a the message loud and clear, “We care about Negroes, so Negroes should support us because if they don’t, white ‘racist’ conservatives will come to power and then the Negro won’t get anything at all.”) But the issue of ‘human rights’ is also used as counterfeit morality. Notice how the West selectively invokes moral outrage about ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’ to attack and invade certain nations. And there’s a foul conceit that a democracy, even when it attacks other nations, can’t be in the wrong because democracy = human rights. But didn’t democratic France and UK have vast imperial possessions all over the world? Since ‘democracy’ is equated with ‘human rights’, whatever democracies do must be in the name of ‘human rights’. So, if you oppose wars initiated by democracies, you must be against ‘human rights’. Israel’s many abuses are excused on grounds that Israel is a democracy, and therefore whatever it does is in the ‘defense of democracy and Western values’. Much of so-called War on Terror is just a counterfeit buck for Wars for Israel. So, the West continues to pass the buck of ‘human rights’ to further its interests in the NWO. But counterfeit morality can also be found in the psychology of democratic practice, especially in elections. As long as affluent whites/Jews vote for Obama, what does it matter what they REALLY do economically and socially to serve their own interests? And never mind Obama bailed out Wall Street sharks and continued much of Bush II’s policy. What matters to liberals is “we voted for a clean-cut black guy, so we are not ‘racist’, and that makes us so moral.” And ‘diversity’ and ‘equality’ are counterfeit currency for black power and illegal alien agenda. And as long as conservatives put Republicans in office, they seem to be blind to the fact that ‘conservative’ politicians, once in office, act remarkably like liberals when it comes to ‘big government’.
Of course, even real currency is fake wealth in some measure. Whether in the form of clams or legal tender, money has value only because everyone abides — or is forced to abide — with strict rules in regards to how it’s created and used. Thus, something inherently worthless is made worthy. Or so we like to think. But what happens when authorities themselves don’t play by the rules — or are ‘forced’ by circumstances to violate those rules(in the name of common necessity or for the purpose of oligarchic self-interest)? Consider Weimar Germany’s printing of currency to pay war reparations. Or the demise of Chinese currency during the Nanking Decade. Or what has become of money in Zimbabwe. If banking in the US were controlled by wasps, the Jewish-controlled-media would surely be more critical of Wall Street malfeasance — if only to help Jewish financiers take over as top dogs. (Of course, Hollywood movies like MARGIN CALL lend the impression that the real masters of the financial world are waspy types like the character named Tuld — combination of ‘turd’ and ‘world’ — played by Jeremy Irons. Even so, given the heavy concentration of Jews on Wall Street, the movie treats the theme of corporate corruption rather gingerly and with heavy doses of ‘liberal empathy’. So, there you go, Jewish-run Hollywood has more sympathy for Wall Street swindlers who steal billions of dollars from the world economy than for poor southern ‘white trash’ who are still depicted as KKK Neo-Nazis when, in fact, white people in the South are constantly under the threat of black crime and violence). But what if Wall Street guys, federal government guys, and big media guys were all of the same tribe? What if they share the same agendas, interests, prejudices, fears, and anxieties? If Jewish-controlled media allow real criticism of Wall Street power, it might lead to rise in ‘antisemitism’, aka real examination of the breadth and extent of Jewish power and its abuses. If Jews lose control of Wall Street, they’ll lose grip of the nation’s purse, which favors Jewish enterprises and decides whom will be funded and whom won’t. It is a great — maybe the greatest — form of power. Control the purse, control the pulse. So, elite institutions are now more closely guarded than ever before. Even with internet news and information, most people remain mum about the Jewish nature of American power because of Holocaustianity’s religious power over the masses. Even Julian Assange of Wikileaks notoriety chose not to release most documents pertaining to Israel and globalist Jews. So, even the famous worldwide maverick dares not to take on Jewish power, which is the most fearsome power in the world. Since Jews control US and EU — and their satellite nations — , Assange could be destroyed overnight if he blew the whistle on Zionist/Jewish foulness. (Among the major powers of the world, only Russia and China remain outside direct Jewish influence. Japan and Germany, though major economies, are political whores of Jewish-controlled US and EU. But then, China’s reliance on global world trade means that it too is in the pocket of Jews who, with a few phone calls between Washington and NY, can sink its economy almost overnight. Russia, with its vast natural resources is thus the only major power that has the potential of being outside Jewish power, which is why Jews are so bitter about Putin’s Great Russian nationalism. But then, the tragedy of Russia is that Russians are too often their own worst enemies.)
The genius of economics is man found a way to invent and use fake or symbolic wealth in the form of currency — based on rules and regulations — to carry out transactions of real value. And the genius of politics is man found a way to spread the burdens of slavery all around, whereby a system of mutual slavery allowed everyone to enjoy limited freedom within a system of shared burdens. But the rise of Jews has undermined both. With Jews in elite positions counterfeiting the entire economy from within for their own self-aggrandizement, even the rules and regulations that bestowed real value to symbolic currency are being undermined. And with Jews worshiped as the People of Superior Holiness, they’ve essentially become our slave-masters. In some ways, Jews can be conscientious, serious, sober, hardworking. Their success owes not only to high intelligence and tribal networking but to many positive qualities lacking in too many groups. But Jews don’t accumulate power and money to be like the rest of us but to have power over us. And they keep changing the rules to expand the goals of Jewish Supremacism. Thus, Jews possess and use many of their genuinely positive qualities to pursue negative goals — at least negative to non-Jews. This quality can be seen in Rick Masters himself. He obviously has many positive qualities. He’s smart, diligent, creative, and committed to his work; and under most circumstances, he’s trustworthy with his partners. At one point, he says he never stiffed a client, and we believe him. But, he’s still a crook and killer. He uses positive qualities for negative goals. There’s no lack of such Jews in high positions. We cannot deny their intelligence or talent, but they operate in bad faith. Their agenda is to morally corrupt the masses not only because it’s profitable but because a goy population that has been infantilized will never unite to challenge Jewish power; infantile morons get angry sometimes, but their rage can be manipulated as on the Jerry Springer or Maury Povich show. But when increasingly numbers of people act like children and cause all kinds of social problems, Jews step in with more social programs, not really to help the people but to addict people on government controlled by Jewish social engineers: Turn the people into stupid children via corrupt entertainment media and then subjugate them to big government; use consumerism to rot their souls and use socialism to keep their bodies dependent on the state. (One reason why Jews eagerly pushed socialized medicine through Obamacare is that masses of white people will think ‘a black guy saved my life’, thereby becoming spiritually indebted to Obama — just like the sick healed by Jesus were forever grateful to Him. So, Jews are using Obama not only to promote interracism among white women but also to make white people feel that Obama is their messiah with the miraculous cure. This is why even if a form of socialized medicine is inevitable in the US, white people must not take it from Obama. WHOM you take from matters as much as WHAT you take, especially since Obama isn’t really giving you anything but merely taking from you to give back to you while hogging all the credit for himself.) In the name of keeping people happy, Jews who control the Fed pump a lot of money into all communities through welfare or easy home loans, as happened under Bush II. Never mind the legal and financial dubiousness of it all; if Jews want it, it will happen. And if the bubble pops and economy sinks, Jews will just place the blame on people like Bush while conservatives will be too afraid to mention the J-word in the equation. Even alternative-conservative bloggers would rather blame Hispanics or blacks than Jews on Wall Street and Washington who really engineered the mess. Of course, Jews on Wall Street got bailouts through Obama, who was promoted by the Jewish media as an anti-Wall Street crusader though two-thirds of Wall Street cash went to him. Nothing of any social or political consequence will be accomplished in America unless people start mentioning the J-factor in corruption and abuse of power. To be sure, fish doesn’t just rot from the head but also from the gut, and there’s a lot of rottenness in the souls of goyim. But Jews seem to be encouraging such rot and then stepping in as ‘saviors’, only to hasten more rot. It’s like a nutritionist who encourages you to eat all the junk food you want and making you sick, and then sending you to a doctor, who happens to be his brother, who tells you that you need to be monitored 24/7 for your own good. Jews also know that the fish rots from its genitalia, which is why Jews seek to undermine white power by corrupting white genitalia with jungle fever. Thus, white women are turned into hip-hop-addicted skanks whose idea of dancing is shaking their asses before Negroes; and white boys masturbate to interracist porn and imagine themselves to be huge Negro studs porking white pussy that they’re losing to Negroes. When millions of white males have been reduced to imagining that they’re giant Negroes humping white skanks in porn, then white male identity has almost no meaning. No wonder then that this is the Age of the Tingles-Up-Chris-Matthews-Leg. And this is why Jewish feminists no longer denounce porn. It has turned into a massive vehicle for the mulatto-ization of America. When white women wanna screw Negroes and when white boys fantasy-identify with Negro studs porking white women, the white race is pretty much over. Though Obama and Palin were in the opposite camps in the 2008 election, on a subliminal level they were the new interracist pair. He was the Negro alpha male who whupped McCain like Muhammad Ali whupped Jerry Quarry. And though Palin stood by her man — old, white, and fading — , the social and political implication was she oughta put out to the Negro Obama. And indeed, it turns out Sarah Palin was a major mudshark in college and slept with tons of Negro basketball players. Obama and Palin, both political porn-star puppets of all-powerful Jews.
Friedkin’s use of sound in the counterfeit-making scene is especially memorable. We see Masters alone in a dark room, and his workmanship is selectively amplified to striking effect. The first stage of the operation calls for quiet calculation as the slightest error can ruin the whole thing. Every stroke, every touch, every move has to be perfect. Masters turns over a thin metal plate with special care as if he’s handling a big razor blade. He blows his breath on the plate, giving life to the image of $20 dollar bills that appear and fade. Once the most difficult and delicate process has been surmounted, Masters works more freely with gobs of paint. Then the music changes to a steady beat, and rest of the work is left to machines that do the printing. Masters oversees the entire operation, from the most creative and specialized to the mechanical and elementary. It’s like he’s condensed the entire capitalist process into a formula. He is the innovator, designer, engineer, manufacturer, salesman, and retailer — and the enforcer when things go wrong. He’s the true auteur of the criminal world.
Masters knows the key difference between business and art. Business is about compromise, about giving people what they want. Art is un-compromised personal expression. Even so, business can be an ‘art’ in its demand for creative talent; Masters take great pride in his special ‘recipe’ and ‘ingredients’ for making counterfeit money. As Tyrell in BLADE RUNNER tries to make the ‘more human than human’, Masters tries to make the ‘more money-like than money.’ One might even say Masters have a ‘gift’ for such things. Masters isn’t just a businessman trading in goods but a creator of goods. If business at the high end can be like an art, then art can be like a business, which was especially true with the art bubble of the 80s, a time when the meaning/criteria of art became as devalued as money, marriage, and citizenship are being now.
Of course, the real rot in the art world began in the 60s: If Andy Warhol’s works are art, then an illegal alien might as well be a legal citizen, ‘gay marriage’ real marriage, and counterfeit money real money. What had been at least scandalous and ‘exciting’ in the 60s had become the norm in the 80s. If Warhol and his ilk at least stirred up some pointed debate in the 60s, the non-art-as-art became the consensus in the 80s. If Warhol at least pulled his shtick as a dare and mischief, it eventually became institutionalized and imitated, where such ‘old-fashioned’ criteria such as quality, talent, originality, or meaning became irrelevant; the only thing that mattered was the process whereby the interplay of ‘artist’, ‘critic’, curator, gallery owners, rich bidders, and generated hype bestowed ‘value’ on certain works of art. (It was corruption but played as naked corruption and therefore everyone involved could have the cake and eat it too. They were crassly doing it for fame and money, but they could also say they were taking part in the open corruption as a kind of radical intellectual parlor game to expose by naked practice the sheer greed, narcissism, and nonsensicality of the ‘art world’. So, the artist would knowingly and openly make worthless art to watch it gain value in a corrupt world. And the rich guy would knowingly buy worthless art just to increase its value. And the critic would comment on the social and economic context in which art was created and traded. It became like an illustrated form of Das Kapital but in a manner too hip to be bothered with revolution. All sides would have their fun and make their money but then hold up their ill-gotten fortune as part of the game, thus also exonerating themselves as having knowingly taken part in the rot to prove a point.) Perhaps, Masters is keenly aware of the bogus artificiality of the art scene of the 80s. Though a cynical operator in business, he may have a genuinely artistic soul. The way he stares at his painting before setting it on fire suggests a disturbed psychological longing for meaning. Nevertheless, he can afford his pure devotion to art because of his impure commitment to crime/greed, an arrangement that goes back to the beginning of civilization. From ancient Egyptians to the modern world, big money paid for ‘priceless’ art. Perhaps, Masters’s mind would be less unstable if his life was fully devoted to money or art — one or the other but not both. Instead, he’s like a unified theory of art and commerce. He’s Van Gogh and Donald Trump. Similarly, Steve Jobs fascinated a lot of people because he had passion for both business and art. Van Gogh lived and died unhappily, but at the end of his life he must have known he lived purely for art, which is a kind of consolation. There can be no consolation for Masters because he’s two very different persons within the same being. He has a dark irrational core(of which he’s aware and explores through creativity) but also a cold rational cunning(which makes him an ideal criminal mastermind and businessman). He’s also a very physical person, working at the gym three or four times a week; he even survives an assault by the Fearsome Negro. And though he has a bodyguard, he also acts as executioner, as when he manhandles and kills Waxman. Looking a bit weird like Mick Jagger or Klaus Kinski, there’s even a rock/movie star glamour about him; and as with Jagger(and Bowie), there’s an hint of androgyny as well. Though his sexual interests are with women, he likes them tall and imposing, almost as if the roles are reversed. In one of his home videos, he slithers like a lizard or frightened child in the act of sex — or a male spider afraid of being devoured by the larger female spider; it’s almost as if he’s devolving into primitive life-forms or re-experiencing unresolved childhood traumas. In terms of what they imply, the short snippets of Masters’ home video are worth more than all of ALTERED STATES, BLUE VELVET, or THE ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND.
After Masters finishes the operation, we see a long shot of him leaving the premise — a warehouse seemingly in the middle of nowhere — in his sports car; strangely enough, the sliding door of the warehouse eerily appears to close by itself, either due to the way it was rigged or the presence of someone else inside the structure. If the latter, he was probably not shown to heighten the suspense, shockingly paying off when Jimmy Hart is ambushed by Masters’ bodyguard(who was surely the Other Man in the warehouse). Had Friedkin introduced the bodyguard earlier, the element of surprise would have been less potent in the instant he enters the frame and shoots Hart. The guy looks like a bulky muscled-up Bill Laimbeer. Though a bear of a man, he remains a shadowy figure. And though he could be mistaken for a big dolt, he’s a ruthless professional with keen instincts. He may lack the brilliance of Masters but knows his trade. He lurks in the background, often with disarming demeanor of a regular Joe, only to pounce when least expected and go for the sack. (He may have been a college athlete who didn’t make it to the pros and so plays the underworld game where the stakes are real; losers don’t walk away alive in this battlefield. If Masters is the quarterback, his bodyguard is like the offensive blocker or linebacker.) He appears out of the dark at the house where Masters gets into an altercation with the Fearsome Negro and his two henchmen. In the final showdown with Chance and Vukovich, he suddenly pulls a shotgun from the locker and blows away Chance. Utterly without sentiment or conscience, he’s a more effective backup for Masters than Vukovich is for Chance. Though law enforcement guys are tough, many join the force out of family tradition or idealism — higher or gentler reasons — , and there is some of this ‘softness’ in Vukovich. But Masters’ bodyguard has no qualms about what he must do and why; the world is one of cops, robbers, and schmucks, and he’s chosen to be a robber and that’s that. He’s frightening despite or precisely because of his ‘ordinary’ appearance. In a bar, he could melt into a crowd of beefy blue-collar workers drinking beer and talking the talk. On appearance alone there’s little to suggest a sociopath or murderer; he could be underestimated as a mere lunkhead flunky of Masters but only at one’s peril — never mistake a bear up close for what it seems at a distance. That Masters can command the loyalty of such a big, powerful, seasoned professional says something about his brilliance and talent — and the respect he commands from other men. It’s like Negroes know they must stick close with brilliant Jews to earn a bigger share of the spoils. (A question worth asking is, “Is Masters’ bodyguard a sociopath?” We would like to think he is because he’s a criminal who kills people remorselessly. But perhaps many, if not most, men are like him. He’s not a sociopath or psychopath in the way that serial killers, sadistic kidnap-torturers, and such persons are. He’s not Hannibal Lecter or Norman Bates — or even Travis Bickle. Though he’s clearly working on the side of evil, his psychology could be one of basic male virility. Relatively few men think about morality. Basic Male Psychology boils down to do-it-for-the-team, one-of-the-guys, our-side-versus-their-side, ya-gotta-do-what-ya-gotta-do, win-or-lose. So, even though the bodyguard is a thug, his motivations could be normal. He does what he does because it’s ‘business’ and guys are supposed to play to win. It’s like the ‘Turk’ in THE GODFATHER made a move on Don Corleone because it was ‘business’. And Al Neri, Michael Corleone’s right-hand man, does what a team-player is supposed to do. It would be nice if every man morally thought about what he’s doing and why, but evolutionary psychology made most men think in terms of ya-gotta-do-what-ya-gotta-do, as if thinking too much about stuff is not only unmanly but dangerous because the other side may be more into action and waste less time about ‘right vs wrong’. WWII showed the downside of both the moral psychology and the Basic Male Psychology. As Hitler got bolder, Chamberlain and his fellow British thought too much about ‘doing the right thing’ for the sake of peace and being empathetic/fair with Germans. It only emboldened Hitler to act more reckless, and early Nazi victories seemed to validate Basic Male Psychology over the ‘wimpy’ moral psychology of democratic nations. German males were united and willing to do anything without hesitation for the national team while UK and France seemed divided and morally argumentative of what should be done. But in the end, German Basic Male Psychology led to the attack on the USSR and eventually brought ruin on Germany. Yet, the power that did most to smash Nazi Germany was the Soviet Union, where Basic Male Psychology was even more extreme than in Nazi Germany. Though we like to think of America as a moral nation, the fact remains that most American males think, feel, and act according to ya-gotta-do-what-ya-gotta-do. They leave the thinking/moralizing for others to sort out. So, American soldiers will shout and go fight wars in the name of good-triumphing-over-evil, but they never give much thought to why something is ‘good’ and why something is ‘evil’. They leave it up to academics, journalists, pundits, politicians, and etc. So, neocon and liberal Zionist intellectuals decide what is ‘moral’, and most American soldiers just go along in the spirit of ya-gotta-do-what-ya-gotta-do. So, the psychology of Masters’ bodyguard may be a lot more prevalent than we like to think. The paradox of malehood is its physical power is often inseparable from its moral powerlessness. To think and feel morally, one has to ask a lot of questions, which means being less macho and rah-rah. Thus, moral power has a way of undermining male power. For men to feel powerful as macho men, they must shut off morality and go with the team. But is the Basic Male Psychology empowering for the Individual Man? Consider Nazi soldiers, among the toughest and most impressive the world had ever seen. But they could only be such an effective and deadly force by being utterly powerless as moral individuals; their ‘morality’ was simply what Hitler told them to believe. There are rules in sports but no morality; sports is not about ‘right vs wrong’ but ‘our team beating your team’, and it’s what most men feel most comfortable with. If this is a form of psychosis or sociopathic personality, then it sure is widespread. Just as Masters’ bodyguard never morally questions what he must do, American soldiers do as they’re told. Ya-gotta-do-what-ya-gotta-do. If their superiors tell them to drop bombs on cities, they do it. If soldiers are told to demolish a village and, in the process, kill a lot of women and children, they do it. Israeli soldiers rained down bombs on Gaza; they too just followed orders. We like to think of ‘toughness’ as being synonymous with being ‘independent’ and ‘free’, but people who think a lot about morality become like Buddha, Socrates, Jesus, and Confucius. They find there more questions than answers — or lots of questions before answers — , and there is no easy course of action. Consider the Monty Python skit where philosophers play soccer. Oftentimes, to be morally empowered means to be paralyzed in action, and to be empowered in action means to be paralyzed in morality.
Most men cannot feel ‘tough’ via the mode of morality. They feel tough by acting without thinking, by fighting for the team, by knee-jerk notions of us-versus-them. So, even though Americans like to think of themselves as ‘free-thinking’ as opposed to communists and Nazis, most Americans ‘think’ the way they do because they just go along with ideas crammed into them from above. The difference between tyrannies and democracies is the former is honest about elite control over the populace, whereas democracies fool the masses that they’re free and arrived at their ‘moral’ conclusions out of free will when, in fact, they’ve been manipulated and ‘morally’ bullied/intimidated by the predominant institutions of education and media toward supporting certain agendas and values. So, even though liberals say ‘gay marriage’ is going to happen because young people are freely gravitating toward supporting it, the fact is most young people have been morally manipulated to suck up to the gay agenda through the mass media. Thus, the actual dynamic behind the promotions of Nazi antisemitism, communist anti-bourgeois-ism, and liberal pro-gay-ism is essentially similar. It doesn’t encourage people to think but to agree with the OBVIOUS TRUTH and just go along. Vukovich does tackle with moral issues as things heat up, but as laudable it may be, he becomes more confused and less tough. Many men are not psychologically suited to deal with such crises, and so they don’t give much thought to moral issues — or settle for ready-made moral issues where all one has to do is join THIS side or THAT side and make a lot of noise for the sake of the team. So, Masters’ bodyguard could be more of a thugopath than a sociopath. Thugopathology seems to be quite common among men. Some might argue that morality can serve as a force of unity and strength, which is why the Free World won WWII. True, but the ‘Free World’ employed conformist moral tribalism than critical moral individualism. For starters, American entry into the war really owed to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, a case of ‘Japs’ killing our boys, which filled all Americans with tribal rage. Also, the idea of the ‘Free World fighting Tyranny’ was morally shaky since Soviet Union was a totalitarian state ruled by a tyrant as monstrous as Hitler. Also, UK and France, though democracies, ruled over vast empires and hardly allowed equality or freedom to the natives. And America was created through conquest, ‘genocide’, slavery, and social oppression based on race. Did Americans have a right to be outraged by Nazi racial theories? And how innocent were the Jews when so many of them were involved in murderous communism and exploitative finance capitalism? And weren’t some of things done by the Allies — carpet-bombing of civilian targets — a form of war crime? So, even though we can be grateful that the Allies defeated the Axis powers — who were worse when we look at the big picture — , the conflict wasn’t a simple case of black vs white. It’d be more accurate to call it the ‘War of Necessary Evil’ than the ‘Good War’. And it just so happened that most Americans supported the war less out of critical moral examination than the fact that “Japs attacked us and them Krauts are allied with Japs.” Much the same mentality prevailed in 2003 when 80% of Americans supported the invasion of Iraq, a nation that didn’t attack us. Again, it was moral tribalism. It was couched in terms of ‘human rights’ and toppling a Muslim-Hitler, but most Americans saw it as getting even with ‘sand niggers’ for what happened on 9/11. It didn’t matter that Hussein had nothing to do with the attack — if anything, Saudi Arabia was more culpable. What mattered was the thrill of our team beating the shit of out of ‘Islamofascist’ barbarians. In both WWII and the Gulf War/Iraq War, Jews also acted tribally — while cleverly disguising their tribalism with paeans to universal moralism. Though Jews say Americans had the moral responsibility to fight and defeat Hitler for the sake of ‘humanity’ and ‘Western Civilization’ — ironic since the current Jewish agenda is more damaging to Western Civilization than anything the Nazis did — , Jews really wanted war with Germany because Hitler was the enemy of Jews. And Jews pushed US into war in the Middle East in 1991 and in 2003 to get rid of what they deemed as an ‘enemy of Israel’. If Hitler had been good to Jews and only killed millions of Poles, does anyone think the World Jewry would have pressured the ‘Free World’ to fight Hitler? Not a chance. Do you think Jews would ever volunteer to fight and die for non-Jews? Did Jews ever say US must save Ukranians from murderous Stalin or save Cambodians from the radical Khmer Rouge? When communists murdered millions, Jews said it was none of our business and we have no business to meddle. Anyway, to say that Basic Male Psychology is at odds with critical morality isn’t to suggest that women are better at moral thinking. In their own way, women are no less conformist than men. If men like to conform to a competitive team that fights other teams, women like to conform to a comforting team where everyone’s huggy-wuggy, as on the stupid Oprah show. Men like to fight and win without thinking, and women like to huggy-wuggy and kissy-wissy without thinking. It could be that many serious thinkers were bi-sexual or homosexual because such people feel alienated from both maledom and femaledom. Caught between a cock and a pretty face, they feel compelled to think and sort things out. But this aspect of ‘gay sensibility’ could be fading away as gays now do have a place in our society. Since most gays can comfortably belong to the gay or LGBT — pronounced ‘legbit’? — community, they no longer feel compelled to think as alienated individuals. They too have a home team to join and root for with a Basic Gay Psychology.)
Next scene shows a car cruising through the desert as dusk bruises into night. The crimson horizon has the quality of elegy, as if prefiguring the bloody sunset of Hart’s life. Why did Hart insist on going solo? Perhaps, especially because he’s on the verge of retirement, he needs time alone and finds solace on the empty highway. The nighttime scene on the road — there are several like it in the movie — conveys the centrality of the car in the American psyche, as important as the horse was to the cowboy. This is likely even more recognizable to those gaining road freedom for the first time. The car alters not only the sense of place but the sense of self. Paradoxically, few things make us as empowered and independent as the car, but then few things make us as ‘infantile-ized’ and dependent as well. Cars can take us anywhere but the inside of a car is like a womb, shielded from the world outside — rain, wind, noise, etc. Also, you could know nothing about a car — many people don’t even know how to replace a flat tire — yet drive it around for thousands of miles, which is why many people become utterly helpless when their car breaks down. Riding a horse, one senses the elements all around, and the bump journey makes one aware of the terrain. And in a train or on a bus, we must be mindful of other people and become part of the crowd. But within the oasis of the car, the subjective/personal merges with the objective/public. We can go anywhere but feel ‘at home’ as the car functions as an extension of ‘my space’. (Due to rising gas prices, the joy ride may be a thing of the past for future generations — unless new fuel sources are discovered or invented — , but then the rise of virtual reality via the computer may keep young people at home as they travel across five continents and through the stars inside their cyber-pods or cyber-capsules. Even in its nascent form, the internet keeps many people discovering the world within the comfort of home or the local cafe; they can’t even be bothered to go to the local library.) Especially with the music playing, the world outside becomes like a 3D music video. A friend told me she doesn’t mind commuting because it’s the only time of the day she has to herself. At work, she’s with workers. At home, it’s with the family. But during rush hour traffic, she feels alone with her music, radio, or thoughts in personal dream-space of her car. Cars, in creating larger and more interconnected communities, undermined solitude, which, however, can be rediscovered within the car. Solitude via the car or virtual reality is especially appealing because of the element of voyeurism and adventure. From inside the car you see the world but remain an anonymous blur to it.
There is something of the lone cowboy in Jimmy Hart, and he represents the last of the old breed. Not only is he ‘too old for this shit’ but the world he once knew is no more — it’s fitting that he serves Reagan, oldest elected President in US history and the last of the breed himself. As with Reagan, there’s an easy and disarming way about Hart that makes him popular among younger men; even so, Hart is like a fish out of water, a veteran amongst up-and-coming virile wolves.
Hart is someone who’s lived through the 50s and 60s, seen America go through great socio-political turmoil in the 60s and 70s. Perhaps, it’s something of a triumph for him that he’s finally working for a successful conservative President in an America of renewed vigor. He can retire with the assurance that the Republic has survived and the future is secure. Nevertheless, especially after foiling the terrorist plot, Hart feels like a boxer who’s stayed in the ring for too long. He wants to reserve his remaining vigor for his sunset years.
The shift in generational culture was also illustrated in THE RIGHT STUFF, with the lone cowboy pilot Chuck Yeager being replaced by a new crop of men trained to work as a professional team. It’s the rise of Organization Man, the coming of the world of technocrats and pilots/astronauts with college degrees. Jimmy Hart may have been a member of that new crew. With the passage of time, HE’s become the elder cowboy who must ride off into the sunset. Chance is something of an outlier as a professional trained by the technocratic system yet so in tune with the law of the jungle. He’s both state-of-the-art and wild animal, centurion and barbarian, a spiritual child of the John Wayne character in THE SEARCHERS whose ‘home’ is the nowhere land between the two realms: civilized vs savage; white vs Indian; Christian vs pagan.
The scene cuts to Hart’s coursing down the road in broad daylight, perhaps indicating he’s been driving all night. He arrives at the warehouse that may be rented out to Masters under a false name. Moving among rock formations and surveying the area with binoculars, he decides the premises are empty. The visuals of the scene are reminiscent of Budd Boetticher’s geologic deformations in Westerns to perhaps undergird elementary narratives with protean tremors, an intimation of fault lines of psychology and history to which the hero remains oblivious in his fixation, be it professional or vengeful, rationalized along lines of simple morality.
Hart climbs over the fence and looks around the apparently empty lot, feeling more at ease and then rummaging through a trash bin for clues. Then, Masters’ bodyguard appears from behind and shoots Hart. Masters then appears and blasts Hart’s forehead with a shotgun. Friedkin’s use of violence was all the more remarkable in the mid 80s, a time when extreme bloodletting and gore had become commonplace — just another staple of movie-making like ketchup that comes with the fries. If the New Violence in the 60s and early 70s stirred up controversy and was integral to the filmmaker’s vision, it soon became just a basic ingredient of what the audience expected from action/horror movies. While movie violence still retained the power to gross people out and make them scream(mostly as gimmick or thrill), it rarely shocked people anymore — just as sexuality, having become porn-ized, still aroused people but failed to seduce them; it all became very primitively mechanical.
Violence in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. was different from what people had come to expect from the likes of DEATH WISH SEQUELS, DIRTY HARRY SEQUELS, RAMBO, RED DAWN, ALIENS 2, TERMINATOR, SCARFACE, and even the artful BLADE RUNNER. Superbly skillful as he was, Friedkin eschewed both overt stylistics and conventionalism(the prevailing norm in any given period) in THE FRENCH CONNECTION and TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A.; what he could do, no one else could, but Friedkin didn’t commit the sin of ‘showing off’ in those two movies as he did with THE EXORCIST and THE SORCERER; he used his talent to serve the material than vice versa. Thus, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is that rare movie that has both the hallmarks of masterly control and the anarchy of raw reality. Like Spielberg at his best, Friedkin combined elements of the master and the hustler — Kubrick and Cassavetes. TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is like a domesticated animal retaining its wild nature, the capacity to surprise when least expected.
The violence in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is sudden, coming like sucker punches. Even when we anticipate the worst to happen, we’re never sure when or how. Friedkin understood the importance of timing in violence, no less than an expert comedian in humor.
Notice how Friedkin turns up the heat in the scene leading up to Hart’s murder. We first see him spying on the lot from a safe distance. Once he’s over the fence, Friedkin releases the tension, and we are allowed to share Hart’s sense of safety. Then, we see Masters’ face peering through a slot of a horse wagon. We think it’ll come down to Masters vs Hart, but then we hear footsteps and loading of a shotgun. As Hart grabs his pistol and turns, Masters’ bodyguard(whom we see for the first time) unloads his gun into Hart’s guts. Hart lies mortally wounded on the ground, helpless like a KO’d boxer. And so, we don’t expect what happens next. Masters, standing over Hart, says, “Mister, you’re at the wrong place at the wrong time”, and goes for possibly the most perversely shocking coup-de-grace in history. Masters doesn’t merely finish the job by putting Hart out of his misery but essentially ‘mutilates’ him with a shot to the forehead. The horrific impact owes to Friedkin’s refusal to dwell on the moment, which, though captured in a spurt of slow-motion, goes off like a bomb. **Upon closer inspection, it turns out Friedkin did NOT use slow-motion for that moment, but its ghastly impact threw my senses into such a state of suspension that I'd always mistook it for slow-motion-like.** (Though much has been said of Peckinpah’s psychological use of slo-motion violence — as opposed to the merely pictorial — , it is Friedkin who truly mastered the psychological essence of violence. Peckinpah once recalled his own experience of having watched a man being shot during WWII — he said the moment seemed to last forever, as if the shock suspended the gravity of time. Peckinpah’s admirers expounded on his use of violence within this context, i.e. Peckinpah aimed for the psychology as well as the physicality of violence. While valid to some extent, most of the violence in his movies — with the possible exception of MAJOR DUNDEE and STRAW DOGS — function as grand spectacle; the violence is more mythological than psychological, let alone psycho-physical. There is an element of rapturous choreography, a redemptive promise in violence as the ticket to beauty even for the ugliest of men. It is like entering a Western Valhalla. The moment becomes stretched into a monument. In the final scene of THE WILD BUNCH, even the bullets feel like sweet pills of macho ecstasy. This is a trap Friedkin avoided in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. — though I’m glad Peckinpah took the bait since his movies are great in their own crazy way. Even as the warping psychological effect of violence is recognized, a sobering reminder of reality yanks us from the nihilistic abyss. In a Peckinpah movie, once the hero enters the sacred zone of all-out-violence, it’s Alice-in-Macho-land, and it doesn’t matter if he lives or dies; even pain is orgasmic and death is spectacular; it’s like a barbaric Eden, and Peckinpah goes along with the conceit of his characters; if they feel like ‘fighting or dying like a man’, Peckinpah obliges by showing them fighting or dying like a man. In TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., Chance and Masters boldly playact their extreme psychodramas, but even as Friedkin gets in tune with their mental ‘logic’, he maintains, as did Boorman with THE DELIVERANCE, the ruthless primacy of reality that is ever impervious to the conceits of men — even the greatest of heroes. Friedkin maintained a wariness of violence even while wallowing in it. Violence may produce a high, with moments of dreamlike intensity, but reality, in its omnipresence, pricks fantasy bubbles with a thousand needles. In the end — or at the end of every moment — , violence is gory than glory, and pain just plain hurts, and defeat is fraught with humiliation.) When Masters shoots Hart, Friedkin captures not so much the act but the shock of the act; and we aren’t afforded time enough to absorb the horror — for it to wear off — , and so the moment lingers in our psyche like instant infinity. The violence in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. generally lacks the orgasmic catharsis of DIRTY HARRY movies or the heightened swings of Peckinpah’s movies. Harry Callahan’s gunfire is like ejaculation, providing the long-awaited climax for the viewer. And Peckinpah’s action is often intoxicating, providing punch-drunk ecstacy of glorified mayhem. Friedkin’s violence in THE FRENCH CONNECTION and TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. usually comes and goes very fast — it’s neither operatic or balletic but more like zen jazz.
Even in extended action scenes, the moments and effects flare and vanish at dazzling pace, like a flurry of jabs in a boxing match. (Friedkin’s experience as a basketball player may partly account for his mind-set and style.) It feels less like an elaborate set piece(even though it is) than
a wild event hurtling through a maelstrom of obstacles of a jagged/ragged reality. Compare how Eisenstein and Friedkin used the baby carriage in their movies. BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN’s action scene is tour-de-force, but everything about it feels orchestrated like a symphony; everything is a part of the design. In THE FRENCH CONNECTION, the woman & baby carriage appear and vanish in a split second, just barely missed by Doyle by a hairbreadth; they are merely one of the many out-of-the-blue obstacles veering into Popeye Doyle’s path. Friedkin dispensed with Design as the thrill derived from the adrenaline high of beating reality than escaping from it. When the shooting starts in THE GETAWAY or THE LONG RIDERS, reality warps into fantasy and plays by a different logic. In contrast, even when Friedkin served up something so outlandish as the car chase in THE FRENCH CONNECTION and especially the reverse-car-chase-down-the-highway in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., he kept us in a state of panic because the perpetual-torrent-of-moments had precedence over the Design. Coppola’s violence is operatic, and Peckinpah’s has been called balletic. There’s a feel of Performance about them. In contrast, watching Friedkin’s violence is like watching sports where the end result can only be decided by the accumulation of infinite moments.
We sensed Masters as a dangerous criminal from the start, but his ghastly ‘mutilation’ of Hart fills us with terror. There is no limit to what he’ll do to win. And the sheer ugliness of his deed suggests it’s not just about ‘business’. It’s personal; anyone who messes with his turf must be punished in no uncertain terms. We sense not only ruthlessness but hate and contempt.
Then, as if to rub salt on the wound — or maybe to salt a carcass — , the bodyguard pumps another around into Hart, and we flinch, expecting another grisly splash of blood, but Friedkin keeps the impact off camera, having already made his point.
The full effect of this scene owes to the nimble sequencing of movement and shots. Just as a joke isn’t merely a story and requires proper rhythm and structure leading up to the punch line, screen violence needs proper setup to deliver the KO. Most 80s action movies just piled on the violence, and the crude editing amounted to little more than assembling the mounting wreckage. Even the ‘surprises’ tended to be mechanical and laborious, as in most Stallone and Schwarzenegger movies. Friedklin, like Spielberg, mastered not only the grammar of visual storytelling but the hooks, rhymes, and meter. He knew how to ‘write’ with images — all the more remarkably his brilliantly composed scenes vibrate with existential tumult. The violence in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is economical but also striking because of Friedkin’s wizardry. He knew exactly where to plant the explosives and when to the push the buttons — such knack may explain his great interest in Clouzot’s WAGES OF FEAR, the bulk of which involves two trucks loaded with nitroglycerine traveling across rough terrain; in a way, the entire movie could be seen as one extended suspense scene wired to a single idea.
Friedkin also had a keen understanding of sound. Instead of just pumping up the volume and flooding the movie with wall-to-wall bombast(as in rock-concert-movies such as RAMBO or ALIENS), Friedkin utilized every element of sound — silence, amplification, music, bodily functions, industrial noise, effects — as a painter uses colors. Thus, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. feels like a world of multiple fractured, jagged, and irreconcilable realities than a single unified one. DIRTY HARRY, for example, maintains a single buzz from beginning to end; we know we are in Callahan Country. This is also true of BLADE RUNNER, with its ominous non-stop sci-fi noir atmosphere; we feel ‘at home’ in the director’s grand vision. Though Friedkin was a visionary of sorts, his formative years as a New York rebel schooled in documentary filmmaking checked the temptation to create self-enclosed cinematic biospheres(or cinespheres); Ridley Scott, trained in TV advertising where every element must be part of the Perfection, developed a very different approach — and vive la difference. And so, there is no overarching aural ambiance in TO LIVE IN DIE IN L.A.; instead, the mood shifts constantly from character to character, locale to locale. Thus, we never feel ‘at home’ in the L.A. It is too alive, too much, too elusive. It feels like a 70s movie wrapped in 80s garb. (Though Scott of THE BLADE RUNNER was an artist, he later succumbed to the prevailing formula that came to define the 80s movie scene. Paul Verhoeven, who once directed the interesting SOLDIER OF ORANGE, went the same way, churning out trash like ROBOCOP, TOTAL RECALL, and BASIC INSTINCT. In the 80s, popular culture favored the unified formula over the multiplicity-of-expression that defined many of the noteworthy films of late 60s and 70s. This is reflected in pop music as well. Formula demands not only a certain manual and look but a certain unified aura; it’s like fashion magazines smell like perfume, bakeries smell like pastry, and cafes smell like coffee — even if you don’t order coffee, coffee-ness is all around. Every work of art/entertainment has its aura, but compare 60s rock with 80s rock. Stones songs are dominated by the vocals of Mick Jagger, but we sense a multiplicity of personalities: Mick, Keith, Brian, Bill, and Charlie are playing together but stubbornly guarding their individual eccentricities. Same lively tension existed between Lennon and McCartney, Morrison and Manzarek, among Townshend, Daltrey, Moon, and Entwistle, and among Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and rest of the group. There is an aura but as a patchwork of different individualities, each with a uniqueness all his own. But when we think of U2, Cars, and Bon Jovi, there’s really only one unified sound. This doesn’t necessarily mean their music is bad — U2, though never a favorite, is one of the all-time great bands, and the Cars had some killer hits, especially “Drive”, surely one of the greatest pop ballads ever — , but something about the music/sound has been ground into pink goo; a perfect example of this is the movie TOP GUN and its hit “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin, which is awash from start to finish in syntho-romantic mush — though I still like the song. The contrast could be seen in the same performer, Bruce Springsteen for instance. BORN TO RUN is wild and mean, BORN IN THE USA is tame and clean. But, if the prevailing aura of BORN IN THE U.S.A. still conveys a personal vision, most of the 80s aura was not about the domineering ego but the domination of commerce. Eventually, even the movies of Coppola, Bogdanovich, Altman, and Rafelson began to conform to industry standards. What was billed as ‘state of the art’ was a kind of a ‘creative’ technocratism done more in the spirit of advertising or propaganda than storytelling. Thus, BLADE RUNNER is both typical and atypical of 80s cinema: typical in its unified aura but atypical in being conceptually held together by artistic vision than the ‘science’ of commerce. Scott was like a chef working on his own grand recipe than part of a committee experimenting and test-marketing a product with the greatest universal appeal. Most 80s movies were the cinematic equivalent of Bon Jovi concerts. There’s little indication of personality or individuality in Bon Jovi songs. Instead, the entire band is one pink goo blasting out one pink goo sound; not all of it’s bad but all of it’s generic, part of the ‘state of the art’ formulation of ‘what people want’. Of course, this was the winning formula of John Hughes teen movies; though marketed as a welcome alternative to mindless teenage sex comedies, they were no less carefully tested products — essentially longer TV sitcoms for the big screen. They were not meant to push the viewer out of the bubble of ‘teenage angst’, not least because Hughes did the homework for them. Hughes didn’t so much reflect what kids felt as told them what they felt, and many bought it for the same reason that grownups later bought Clinton — “I feel your pain” — and Oprah. There are two ways of dodging reality: Honest escapism of shutting out reality and dishonest escapism of ‘dealing’ with reality by turning to ‘self-help’ mush and snake-oil. This is true of Obama-ism, Hope-and-Change that’s supposed to solve real problems but only glazes our eyes with yet another opiate. Indeed, the sheer lack of irony among those who ‘wait for superman’ to fix American education tells us where we’re at, the only consolation being people around the world are just as self-deceiving as we are.) Friedkin’s intuitive grasp of the power of sound is evident throughout the movie. The killing of Hart is but one example, with the shotgun blast reverberating throughout the movie and beyond. There’s also the cold pitiless sound of the bullet(through a silencer)hitting Waxman’s groin. And the chilly sound of the metal plate in Masters’ gloved hands turned around for inspection. Also, Chance screaming as he falls from the bridge. The ricocheting gunshot in the airport washroom as Chance nabs Masters’ bagman. There’s also footsteps rumbling across a wooden bridge, matched perfectly with the shaky camera, as Chance runs down a suspect. Though Friedkin, like De Palma, owes a lot to Hitchcock, the difference is Hitchcock’s visual style was more along the line of classical symphonic construction whereas Friedkin’s style has more the element of vaudeville, jazz, and rock. Hitchcock movies are full of action but follow a clear linear logic from point A to point Z.
This is why the airplane scene in NORTH BY NORTHWEST, masterly as it is, may seem old-fashioned to current movie viewers — whereas the scene in THE FRENCH CONNECTION seems as fresh today as when first premiered. Friedkin, though no less a master of film grammar, played loose with the rules, allowing for greater leeway and possibilities on the set. Hitchcock, like many of the old masters, thoroughly finished the movie in his head and on paper before filming, and indeed the filming itself was the completion of what had been conceived and prepared down to the smallest detail. Classic musical works this way, i.e. a sonata and symphony are fully completed works waiting only to be performed as composed. Similarly, one could say Hitchcock’s creative-function really took place during the planning stages. Thus, the final act of directing was ‘performing’ the completed idea. In contrast, the jazz musician uses a given as a base for his own inspiration and discovery; he unravels a ‘finished work’ and re-finishes on his own terms via the performance. The high intensity chase scenes of THE FRENCH CONNECTION and TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. are something Hitchcock could never have pulled off. Though Hitchcockian action could rise to a fever-pitch, the style was methodical than maniacal; even a movie as frenzied as THE BIRDS is part of the spider’s stratagem. Consider Hitchcock’s chase seen in TORN CURTAIN; linear-ity and a sense of the game plan within fixed space are the hallmarks of his movies, not least because Hitchcock, being a control-freak, preferred the creative laboratory of the studio and abhorred the contaminants of location shooting. Despite the multi-faceted-ness of his talent, Hitchcock’s approach was to minimize what he deemed as distractions and irrelevancies and focus on the pure elements of the story. Friedkin, who was partly influenced the the French New Wave, could never be content with methodology alone. But, the contrasts between Hitchcock’s method and Friedkin’s mania are partly the product of generational and cultural differences; the world Hitchcock grew up in was culturally tidier and more formal; thus, Hitchcock’s perversity often happens under the radar, slowly creeping into what seems like a respectable bourgeois order. In this world, some things are just not said, let alone done, and so violations accumulate through hints, suggestions, deceptions; it’s like Murder of Manners. In contrast, Friedkin’s generation defined uninhibitedness and free expression. The posterboys of new social violence in the late 60s were wild Negroes and Charles Manson. And in terms of male archetypes, Cary Grant(or even John Wayne) and William Petersen can’t be any more different. Anyway, the difference between Hitchcock and Friedkin doesn’t only lie in their approach to action and suspense. Even in relatively calmer moments, Friedkin was more apt to throw something out of the left field.
The staging of Hart’s murder is pure Friedkin; we know something bad’s going to happen and brace for the worst, but the horror derives from Friedkin’s deft shuffling of the deck as he readies to spring the killer ace. Even after several viewings, Hart’s murder still frays the nerves. Though surely the product of careful planning, the scene has a tense immediacy stripped of all trappings of familiarity. (The graphic nature of the violence isn’t the issue. Many movies prior to TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. doled out far heavier doses of gore with far less impact — consider Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD. The real difference lies in Friedkin’s sense of film timing, his assemblage of moments to strike at the most opportune — and for us, the least expected — moment. Hart’s death scene is reminiscent of the sudden burst of vomit that hits Father Karras’s face. Few directors undermined ‘familiarity’ as effectively as Friedkin did, especially because his movies tend to wander in a kind of nowhere land between genres. Romero’s zombie movies are full of gore and violence — some of it, quite horrible — , but we know we’re in horrorville, and so the bloodbath is to be expected. What makes THE EXORCIST so effective is the story of Regan and her mother begins so matter-of-fact, like a family drama, and only gradually moves into horror territory as things get worse and worse; even so, Regan’s early symptoms seem within the realm of clinical psychology, and so for a long stretch we’re not sure when the threshold will be crossed into full horror; Friedkin, well aware of this, holds back the full shock until just the right moment and then rams it in our face. Similarly, we first see Masters as an artist and then as a counterfeiter. He seems to belong to a higher class of criminals, and so we don’t quite expect the gruesome/beastly ‘mutilation’ he carries out on Hart. Friedkin isn’t just toying with scene construction but messing with our minds with ruthless brilliance. Also, because TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is a genre movie, many viewers probably didn’t expect Friedkin’s level of realism, making it all the more nerve-wracking.) This ability to command control without bleeding out spontaneity made Friedkin one of the most exciting directors at the top of his game. Consider the THE FRENCH CONNECTION, whose impact crater was one of the biggest in cinema(though many film scholars today don’t give it the recognition it deserves); not since Rossellini’s OPEN CITY — with the possible exception of BATTLE OF ALGIERS — was a movie so intelligently constructed yet so explosively real. Friedkin hit the bull’s eyes of targets in motion. It was like playing chess to the rhythm of jazz. In his best movies, he could see many moves ahead, which is why, even in a single scene, he pulled off one surprise after another — many of them small but no less jarring. Friedkin saw what others — his peers and the audience — couldn’t, which is why the moment when Masters shoots Hart is like losing the queen in chess. When you play with a master, you both see the same board, but the master sees so much more in terms of possibilities and interconnections of moves. This is the edge that Jews have over us. Whether it’s law, politics, science, medicine, technology, or whatever, Jews see many more angles and possibilities than we do. Jews and Palestinians eye the same piece of territory in the Middle East, but Jews hold many more cards and tricks — intellectual, moral, economic, technological, political, cultural, etc. — on how to keep the power. Any hack director could have shot a scene of Masters killing Hart, but few could have arranged the moves to position for the kill of ‘taking the queen’.
Friedkin’s career demonstrates the rule that style and talent aren’t sufficient for cinematic greatness, making him both a darling and disappointment to the ‘auteurists’. When he was on fire — THE FRENCH CONNECTION, THE EXORCIST, and TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A — , the Friedkin touch seemed to possess the spellbinding power to turn even dross into gold. But some of his movies have been such disasters that even his biggest fans were shocked that they were directed by the same man. According to ‘auteurism’, even the lesser films of great directors are of interest because, success or failure, they too are stamped with the uniquely fascinating personality of the director. Even the lesser works of Peckinpah, Welles, or Lang have something to offer. And even if one detests some of Coppola’s follies — especially ONE FROM THE HEART and RUMBLE FISH — , they can still be approached as part of the larger vision called Coppola-ism. But the careers of some directors don’t fit this mold. Consider Mike Nichols, the ‘art director’ of WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOLF, THE GRADUATE, CATCH-22, and CARNAL KNOWLEDGE(and possibly THE DAY OF THE DOLPHIN). Like them or not, they are of a piece, works of an American filmmaker striving to be the equal of European masters; they are stamped with Nichols-ism. But consider his subsequent movies that might as well have directed by journeyman hacks. Or take Ridley Scott whose auteur-ship was recognizable from DUELISTS to BLADE RUNNER(though if we wanna be generous, we could include the dreadful LEGEND and the acceptable BLACK RAIN), but what are we to make of junk like THELMA AND LOUISE, G.I. JANE, GLADIATOR, HANNIBAL, and KINGDOM OF HEAVEN? They aren’t merely awful but have nothing to indicate ‘a film by Ridley Scott’; they might as well have been directed by Tony Scott, but then maybe this was on purpose as Ridley couldn’t have been very proud whore-ing himself out to remain bankable in the industry. Artists have faces, whores have pussies, and so if you’re gonna be a whore, better to hide your face.
Similarly, in my younger ‘auteurist’ days, I found it utterly baffling that a director of TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. could then make something as dreary and worthless as THE GUARDIAN. This wasn’t just a case of a great director making an interesting failure but making total shit. Auteurism doesn’t say a great director only makes great movies; however, it maintains that a great director imbues even his lesser works with a uniquely compelling personality. Even if the hands failed to mold a masterpiece, the fingerprints are all over the work; we can see the ingenuity even if the inspiration was finally missing. But THE GUARDIAN is less a failure than simply a bad movie — an abortion from its inception — , and a few noticeable Friedkin touches only remind us how a great filmmaker utterly wasted his time and ours. It’s not a case of a great director getting it wrong but not getting it at all.
There’s the rare director with the Midas Touch — truer of Orson Welles than anyone else — , capable of turning almost anything into gold. Welles’ astounding combined genius as actor, writer, visionary, and director could transform pulp into art, e.g. LADY FROM SHANGHAI and TOUCH OF EVIL. Even when faced with budget problems, he managed to finish audacious projects such as MACBETH, OTHELLO, MR. ARKADIN, THE TRIAL, and CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT, surely the greatest Shakespearean film, all of which make most current directors seem visually crude and illiterate by comparison even with their access to advanced technologies unimaginable in Welles’ day. Even when working on a shoestring, Welles had the magician’s power to conjure illusions through play of light and shadows, tricks of cuts and angles, and shifts between equilibrium and disorientation: a kind of Chinese box where logic and illogic are alternated in encasement.
This was also true of Kubrick, declared a ‘giant’ by Welles upon watching THE KILLING. Though a small movie, Welles recognized not only Kubrick’s mastery of visual language but his ability to ‘play’ with the material. Directors like John Ford were master craftsmen who almost never deviated from their manuals. While Ford certainly added to the grammar of film(especially in the 1930s), he pared it down to suit his purposes and then stuck with it. Thus, even as we can appreciate Ford’s command of the screen, we watch his movies for the story because nearly every facet of the ‘style’(more like a ‘standard’) remained constant throughout his career — like the canyons of Monument Valley. Ford worked like a carpenter who arrived at the best way to make a table, and so most of his movies are tables — wonderfully solid, sturdy, and useful. Moviegoers expected familiarity, not surprise, from Ford. Kubrick and Welles, in contrast, were nothing without the element of surprise, each of their movies tackling the challenge of conceiving something unprecedented. Ford was a great cook; Welles and Kubrick were great chefs.
Kubrick worked on such a high level that the story material become sometimes/somewhat secondary to the sheer stimulation of filmmaking. What distinguished Kubrick from other grandly expressive filmmakers — Ken Russell, Alan Parker, the later Fellini, Bertolucci, Nicholas Roeg, Ridley Scott(with the exception of BLADE RUNNER), etc. — wasn’t only his superior eye and technical expertise but ruthlessly probing intelligence; only Eisenstein is his equal in this regard. Watching a Kubrick film is like entering the labyrinth of his mind, but the strangeness doesn’t end there. In 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, not only is the power/presence of Hal computer felt throughout the spaceship but Hal probes into the minds of all the astronauts. So, the men are in Hal’s world, but Hal also penetrates their inner-worlds. And when David Bowman goes through the Stargate, not only does he enter the realm of the extraterrestrials but the latter enter into his mind, soul, and DNA. This dynamic also exists between Kubrick and the audience. We enter his mind-world when we watch his films, but it also feels like he’s crept into our minds and souls through some kind of Ludovico effect. We enter his outer-mansion, and he enters our inner-castle. It’s like the scene in EYES WIDE SHUT where Tom Cruise’s character flatters himself for having outwitted everyone to gain entry into the forbidden zone(of the superrich’s mansion) when, in fact, all the eyes are fixed on him. There’s a similar dynamic in PATHS OF GLORY, LOLITA, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, BARRY LYNDON, and THE SHINING. In PATHS OF GLORY, the Kirk Douglas character thinks he’s been recruited — allowed entry into the ‘castle’ — to play a role in military justice, but he’s being unwittingly manipulated to serve an ulterior agenda. In LOLITA, an English author thinks he’s outsmarted a stupid American woman and gained entry into the henhouse as a sly fox to get the girl, but later we find out that Lolita and her brilliant ‘friend/lover’ Quilty get inside his head even worse. In A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, Alex thinks he can beat the system by entering into an experiment that may hasten his release from prison, but the scientists and social engineers enter and rework his mind and entire nervous system. Barry Lyndon pulls all sorts of tricks to enter the walls of the privileged, only to find new walls being built around him within the walls. The Nicholson character in THE SHINING gains the key to the Overlook Hotel, but the spirits of the hotel have the key to his psyche. It is this level of intellectual curiosity and gamesmanship(rising almost to unified theory of power)that sets many great Jewish filmmakers apart from their gentile counterparts — though among the goyim, comparable directors are Alain Resnais, Chris Marker, Peter Greenaway(at least with THE DRAUGHTMAN’S CONTRACT, maybe his only great movie), Hiroshi Teshigahara(at least in collaboration with Kobo Abe), and Atom Egoyan. Directors like Visconti, Coppola, and Bertolucci had a great eye for spectacle, and their main approach was as aesthetes, designers, romantics, or moralists; in contrast, directors such as Eisenstein, Lang(especially in M and TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE), Kubrick, Frankenheimer(especially with THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE), Cronenberg, and Mamet have an almost psychoanalytic fascination with cinema — not just with the subject of psychology but with cinema itself as a kind of mind-machine. Thus, Kubrick’s visuals are not only striking and impressive to the eye but fascinate on the level of theoretic building blocks of mind, universe, and power. It’s speculative as well as spectacular, at once overwhelmingly visceral and coldly analytical. There is something of Henry Kissinger in the mind-set of Jewish artists. Though not an ‘intellectual’ director, this partly applies to Friedkin(and Spielberg) as well, at least on the level of understanding the gameplay of filmmaking. One might make an argument for Hitchcock as an ‘intellectual director’, but his main theoretical interest tended to be mechanical than psychological, i.e. how to set up situations and push the button for the desired effect. It is true Hitchcock moved toward deeper meaning later in his career with VERTIGO, BIRDS, and MARNIE, but something all too British and bourgeois restrained him from prying all the way. Incidentally, Brits seem comfortable with either propriety or perversity but not both(whereas Jews, such as Freud and Sontag, were willing to grapple with both); indeed, when a Briton feels caught between the two modes, he panics and turns to the clarity of irony as a wedge. Irony may be a sign of sophistication, but it is often a barrier to deeper truth; by noting the irony of a situation or an idea, one can feel superior, as if perched on higher ground, and is apt to dismiss reality as one big hypocrisy. This is why, as brilliantly funny as DR. STRANGELOVE is, its ‘satire’ is its biggest weakness. It’s not very hard to ‘get’ lines like, “That’s not war, general. It’s mass murder.” The ironic sensibility, once an intellectual demeanor — often of aristocratic nature though often mocking of aristocratic conceit(indeed, it was more fun for an aristocratic to poke fun another aristocrat than bother with the unwashed masses he knew or cared nothing about) — employed to distinguish oneself from the all too earnest or all too crude masses, has become popularized through stuff like TV sitcoms, standup comedy, Saturday Night Live, and yes, even DR. STRANGELOVE, whose lines and names(of characters), funny as they are, are not far above Mad Magazine humor, i.e. brilliant as gags but telling us very little about the world. It was a movie that made ‘sophistication’ easily accessible to the masses, who thought that by ‘getting’ the jokes about General Jack D. Ripper, they were privy to ‘higher truth’. Yet, the smug laughter that often accompanied the screening tended to be rather pathetic, as if the audience desperately wanted to think(and wanted others who heard their laughter — tribal in nature as it was shared by all — to think), “I’m so smart and progressive because I ‘get’ the brilliant satire.” I’m not sure DR. STRANGELOVE amounts to much of a satire since great satire isn’t supposed to be this easy and flattering. If anything, the real joke seems to be on the liberals since they so mindlessly and sheepishly fell for the cartoon-scenario-unfolding-on-the-screen. I suspect Kubrick wasn’t all that interested in the story or screenplay and was, instead, far more interested in using the satire as merely the base for exploring to game of power and the structures and patterns through which it is played out. Thus, the ‘architecture’ and design of the film is far more interesting than the lines, which, while funny, tend to be TOO funny(in the Neil Simon or Sitcom manner); the easy laughter puts us at ease, turning us into ‘couch-potato sophisticates’ shaking our heads but also patting our backs for seeing humanity, especially the rightwing kind, for what it is.
Jews can use their high intelligence for wit/irony or depth/meaning, and many Jews who started with wit/irony later turned to depth/meaning(as something of greater challenge). Dylan, for instance, made his name as a folkie satirist but got tired of reducing reality into slogans, sound-bites, comic strips, and etc. Though the folkie movement was supposed to shake up the apathy and smugness of conservative America, Dylan found liberal/leftist wisecracking a kind of self-justifying and self-righteous form of smugness in its own way. The mentality of the righteous liberal and the righteous conservative isn’t all that different; they both tug at their ideological/moral security blankets not only to feel good about themselves but to feel superior to others. Dylan knew he had the smarts to play the self-righteous jerk as long as he wanted, but there was scant depth or meaning to be found in the role. And so, his greatest work BLONDE ON BLONDE is generally not a work of irony but of thorns. Instead of using his wit to set himself as a superior observer apart from the rest of humanity, Dylan delves into the abyss of his own demons and desires to confront the closet-Mr. Jones(of “The Ballad of a Thin Man”) within himself. In a way, the once-accusatory Dylan was admitting that he too didn’t know what was happening — yet, in admitting this and delving into the crisis of his heart and mind with curious/perverse fascination, he was beginning to see shapes forming from a darker mystery. Similarly, Kubrick went from the ‘satirist’ of DR. STRANGELOVE to the visionary-prophet of 2001. Satire isn’t easy to do, but it’s easy to appreciate — especially if aimed at the mass audience — , and even when it appeals to our intelligence, it engages only a small area of the brain, one that prefers simple formulations. Thus, as great as Orwell’s 1984 is, the satirical aspect of slogans such as ‘War Is Peace’ is too easy. In political terms, the irony exposes the deception of governments through the modern apparatus of propaganda. But, on a psychological level, what if ‘war is peace’ is not without meaning? What if war and peace are indeed two sides of the same coin rooted in the human-animal-god psyche? In FULL METAL JACKET, the character nicknamed ‘Joker’ jokes, but the jokes are not really a joke, or they are more than mere jokes — and even if they are more than jokes, they may still be part of a cosmic joke. In DR. STRANGELOVE, we ‘get’ every joke, but what are we to make of Joker’s reply on why he has both ‘Born To Kill’ and a Peace sign on his helmet? FULL METAL JACKET is less satisfying than DR. STRANGELOVE(which, like THE KILLING, is almost a perfect movie) but more thought-provoking because despite the preponderance of jokes, the world is not reduced to a joke, and even if the universe is a cosmic joke, we have no way of ‘getting’ it.
Hitchcock, having made many more movies than Welles and Kubrick combined, surely made his number of clunkers, but even his lesser movies are part of the larger Hitchcockian web. Though an inspiring battle cry for a young generation of film lovers committed to pursuing cinema as personal art(either as critic, scholar, writer, or director), the influence of the so-called Auteur Theory wasn’t necessarily, let alone always, for the good. The emphasis on directorial ‘authorship’ not only gave short shrift to many other contributors — producer, screenwriter, composer, art designer, cinematographer, actors, etc. — but encouraged the misguided notion that the original/source material wasn’t as important as what the director did with it; it was as if most elements of filmmaking were mere clay for the director to shape into art. (Also, the emphasis on ‘personality’ came to favor style/eccentricity-for-style/eccentricity’s-sake, thereby
favoring even bad movies with ‘personality’ over good movies without. This was rather odd considering many Auteurists actually favored Hollywood directors like John Ford and Howard Hawks over European masters. John Ford’s style was basically not to have a style, but this aspect of Ford could have appealed to cineastes as an emblem of down-to-earth Americanism putting a premium on ‘honest’ expression than elaborate obfuscation or ornamentation. To the extent that Ford was understood to have painstakingly perfected his signature ‘style’ — almost as obsessively as Ozu and Bresson — , his works could be appreciated intellectually as well as non-intellectually. They were, at once, plain-as-apple-pie and the perfect apple pie baked after an arduous processes of experimentation and thought. Thus, the simplicity of STAGECOACH and MY DARLING CLEMENTINE could be said to be deceptive in the way Hemingway’s prose was. On the surface, it looks plain and simple but is, in many respects, the end result of paring away, with unassuming efficiency bordering on poetry, non-essentials to arrive at a kind of ‘pure expression’; the gunfight in MY DARLING CLEMENTINE may be Ford’s highpoint, a scene of brutal simplicity and tragic beauty.)
If the director is indeed the ‘true author’ of the movie, then the script is to the director what a piece of composition is to a Jazz musician(who is perceived to create something entirely new via his own uniquely inspired and powerful interpretation and/or desecration of the material; given that the core essence of Jazz is irreverence, the performer doesn’t so much honor and pay tribute to the composition as wage his personal war against it in terms that could be said to be athletic or sexual; the Jazz musician out-boxes the composition or sexually seduces/harasses it; especially if the composition happens to be that of a ‘white boy’, the musician will do it what Muhammad Ali did to Jerry Quarry, as if to say, “you slow white boys may have invented boxing but I’m gonna show you what it’s REALLY about”; on the sexual level, the Negro male attitude to white sexuality is, “you white boys may be the fathers of white girls, but we Negroes are gonna show your daughter what real sexual fun is about”; this ‘toying around’ or ‘game-playing’ quality of the Negro may explain why, as different as they are, Jews and Negroes share a same kind of subversive/confrontational sensibility when it comes to whites; and keep in mind that prior to the rise of Negroes in basketball, it was often considered a Jewish game; it seems like many white gentiles feel more comfortable with ‘lame’ games like baseball or golf where events proceed along rules and spreadsheets, or with football, where brute power is often more important than the thrill of playing the game; basketball and boxing are sports where one has to be attuned to the ‘game’ at all times; a batter in baseball takes a breather between the pitches whereas a boxer can be hit at just about anytime; baseball and golf are generally mono-procedural, with one thing following another; there’s an element of this in football too, with its rituals of downs, punts, and place kicks; in contrast, while there are rules in boxing and basketball, the play is constant, and there is no fixed linear procession as anything can happen at any split second. While Anglos and Anglo-Americans have been a very competitive people, Brits came to rely heavily on manners, etiquette, and protocol as kind of a crutch; in a way, one could say British irony is a form of verbal etiquette, i.e. you put your opponent down but in an air of civility and expect the same modicum of ‘respect’; while irony could be devastating, the facade of order and respect is maintained; thus, Anglos could be ruthless in wit, but they were not used to emotional ferocity; in Firing Line debates between William Buckley and Alan Dershowitz, Buckley was helpless because, sardonic as he was, he played like a gentleman maintaining an air of superiority while the mental mixed-martial-arts fighter Dershowitz battered him from all sides; Buckley, like Jared Taylor in his debates with the feisty Tim Wise, pretended to be above the fray, but he was in effect getting flayed alive; it was like watching a white boxer get his ass whupped by a black boxer but pretending to be ‘above it all’; Anglo-Americans, unlike their British cousins, were more direct, they tended to attack head-on, and while this was effective against the bull-headed American Indians and later the knucklehead Japanese, it was ineffective against Jewish matadors and Negro counter-punchers. The Great White American Man could easily push around the primitive Red Man or the fanatical Yellow Man, but Jews and Negroes could outwit intellectually or outplay physically the thrust of the white man.) Thus, a Cole Porter tune wasn’t as important per se in Jazz as how it could be altered, enriched, subverted, and expanded through improvisation. If in Classical music, the general rule is to stick to the original intent of the great master’s revered composition, the emphasis in Jazz is in the creative discovery through the performance. The classical conductor serves the master composer; the Jazz musician, in contrast, gains mastery over the original composition. In Theatre, the playwright is seen as the main author, and the director plays the role of adapter and choreographer.
In film, the auteur theory posited that the director is the primary author given that the movie isn’t merely an adaptation of a script but a profound/radical re-imagining of it. A theatre director, limited to the stage, has mainly actors to work with. Though there’s the costume and art design departments, theatre essentially boils down to script and acting — and rules of the theatre community don’t allow directors to fiddle with the play without the playwright’s permission. Even though no two theatre productions are alike, they can still be said to be essentially alike since the expressive perimeters of stagecraft are limited. Expression in film, in contrast, has an infinitely broader range of possibilities: a scene can be far more realistic, intimate, dreamlike, spectacular, or subjective than a theatre production. Theatre also offers a single perspective determined by where a particular member of the audience happens to be sitting. In film, variations in framing, perspective, and editing are virtually limitless; the constantly shifting angles of the camera turn-style the perspective. Money is also a bigger factor in cinema than in theatre. Though lavish theatre productions can do a lot more than inexpensive ones, all plays are limited to the small area of the stage. In contrast, a million dollar movie and a $100 million movie can look as different as night and day, though to be sure, the expensive movie isn’t necessarily better. Given these considerations, auteurists do have a point.
Even so, the importance of the screenplay shouldn’t be underestimated, but the lesson tends to get lost among auteurists who fixate on the director. Thus, a particular movie could be overpraised simply on the basis that it was part of the canon of a certain ‘auteur’. Auteur-itis can even make fools of intelligent critics. Take Dave Kehr who almost always had something good to say about Clint Eastwood or George Romero. No matter how dull, ridiculous, or lame the movie
Needless to say, certain film directors have been no less infected with auteur-itis — some even got their start as auteurist critics — , and as such, carried around the misconceived notion that they could turn anything into gold simply by the virtue of their authorial style or brilliance. Brian De Palma seems to be one such true believer, which may explain his penchant for trashy material, as if anything could be redeemed by his supposedly astounding mastery of technique(which, to be sure, can be awesome at times). And though I haven’t seen BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES — movie based on respectable material — , I have the impression that its main problem was De Palma’s obsession with cinematic style than real interest with the book. And given his penchant for style-uber-alles, he sometimes wastes his actors. But when De Palma works on promising material and respects his actors, he can make something as great as CARLITO’S WAY, maybe his best movie, a work in some ways comparable to TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A.
Though THE SORCERER, Friedkin’s first disaster, is not without merit, it suffered from directorial hubris, which also came to plague Werner Herzog’s FITZCARRALDO and Coppola’s APOCALYPSE NOW. Friedkin has been a high voltage director noted for some of the most electrifying moments in cinema. Whatever one thinks of THE EXORCIST, it was to horror what 2001 was to science fiction: a landmark leap in technology and imagination that changed the entire concept of what the genre is about and capable of. But as with Spielberg with JAWS and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, Friedkin didn’t merely pull on the electric lever but brilliantly circuited the wires of emotional response. Friedkin, Spielberg, and De Palma(at their best)knew better than to pile it on thick — in the manner of Michael Bay, whose PEARL HARBOR and TRANSFORMERS might as well be remakes of THE BLOB, what with the action, effects, and feelings stacked like giant hotcakes poured over with buckets of butter and syrup.
The trick is to jolt and shock the audience, not to fry them. And if the climax calls for maximum voltage, the art of preparation and timing is everything. The sensationalistic style of THE EXORCIST — plus its sleazy pseudo-spiritual conceit — blinded some critics to Friedkin’s virtues as a filmmaker. They said Friedkin scared people with putrid gore and cheap tricks, but one need only compare THE EXORCIST with its many imitations — such as BEYOND THE DOOR — to understand that its real strength lies in Friedkin’s total command of film form than in the preponderance of graphic gore. In the eye of the hurricane was Friedkin, orchestrating the chaotic forces like an undaunted master conductor. (But somewhere along the line, he lost control of THE SORCERER and ended up like Mickey Mouse in THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE. One movie that might make an interesting contrast with THE EXORCIST is THE WIZARD OF OZ, where a sweet young girl bumps her head during a tornado and hallucinates of a wonderland filled with all sorts of grotesque creatures.) Similarly, in the hands of a lesser director, JAWS might have been just another stupid attack-of-the-animals movie that flooded the early 70s.
The first act of TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. ends with Secret Service agents arriving at the warehouse. Chance is especially fired up as his partner has gone missing for several days. The place is deserted, and the counterfeiting machinery has been removed. Inside the warehouse, Chance finds nothing of note except poker chips around a laundry dryer(earlier seen as an apparatus in the counterfeit operation). Then, we see Chance outside, staring into open spaces without a clue. This momentary calm after the intensive inspection effectively focuses our attention on the personal meaning that the eventual discovery of Hart’s body has on Chance. We know Hart was a seasoned veteran, a man deeply admired and respected by Chance. Yet, he was no match for Masters, who destroyed him like a cat killing a rat, or maybe the shocker is the rat Masters so easily killed the cat Hart. There wasn’t even a struggle; Hart had no chance whatsoever against Masters; it was like Jim Jeffries stepping into the ring against Jack Johnson and losing not man-to-man but almost like a woman-raped-by-man. Masters got rid of Hart almost as a bad afterthought, as someone not even worthy to be his adversary. And so, the manner in which Hart’s body is discovered — almost as an afterthought in a trash bin — underscores the silent rage that runs through Chance’s blood. The hero he admired wasn’t only beaten but totally humiliated and pussy-whipped. Chance wants to exact revenge and do to Masters what Achilles did to Hector.
There’s also metaphorical significance to Hart’s body being found where no one expected(though, in afterthought, it should have been the first place to look, but then maybe the agents, in their eagerness to find him alive, blocked out the possibility that Hart’s corpse would be rotting in a trash bin)as the movie builds on the theme of deception and self-deception, of the inability, due to mental oversight or emotional blindness, to see the very thing that’s right in front of one’s face. Various characters not only fool others but themselves out of vanity, over-eagerness, greed, fear, and anxiety. Chance, focused so narrowly on Masters, becomes blind to the psychotic game he’s playing. Vukovich, eager to win Chance’s respect as a partner, forces himself to do things he shouldn’t. Masters, so sure of his cold-blooded invincibility, falls into Chance’s trap. But when Chance has Masters ensnared, he thinks it’s game-over and he won, when, in fact, Masters’ bodyguard has yet a trick up his sleeve. (Chance’s death is reminiscent of the death of the master samurai in the final battle in SEVEN SAMURAI; just when we think all the bandits have been killed, one hiding in a shack shoots our hero dead.) The world of TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is nerve-wracking, with almost no moment of respite for those playing the game. The cat-and-mouse dynamic here is situational and relative than fixed. Hart the cat goes after the mouse Masters, but Masters plays the cat on Hart. Chances plays the spider weaving a web to capture Masters, but one of his prey, Ruth, weaves her own phantom web, playing black widow against Chance. Chance the cat uses Cody the rat, but Cody turns cat and pounces on Chance, who’s made the rat. Chance and Vukovich, focusing so heavily on Masters as the formidable mastermind, underestimate Masters’ bodyguard as a clumsy bear(and find out the hard way that a bear can charge like lightning). Likewise, Ruth, in fixating on Chance as her nemesis, underestimates Vukovich, who turns into neo-Chance. Rather than cat-and-mouse, it’s cat-is-mouse and mouse-is-cat depending on level and luck of the game.
One of the most famous scenes in THE FRENCH CONNECTION is when the French druglord(Fernando Rey) plays cat-and-mouse with Popeye Doyle on the subway platform. It’s great fun(and perversely funny) because Friedkin not only shows but ‘participates’ in the game of will and wits, as if the camera itself is a tool of deception. Instead of a two-way game, it’s like a three way game, with Friedkin as an active participant slipping in and out of the crevices, psychological as well as physical, cracked open by the movements of his antagonists. Popeye Doyle, whom we saw chasing down and roughing up big tough Negroes, is ‘victimized’ by a middle aged French dandy. The mouse not only gets away but psychologically eats the cat, which becomes the mouse.
Though there is the basic good guy/bad guy dynamic in THE FRENCH CONNECTION and TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., what stands out is Friedkin’s ‘nihilistic’ involvement in the game as a dealer than judge, further ramping up the tension since the ‘good guys’ don’t have the advantage of a loaded deck, moral or dramatic. No special chips or cards for Chance and Vukovich; they gotta play like everyone else; if one must go outside the law to play to win, that’s the pot they gotta wager.
THE FRENCH CONNECTION and TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A are memorable not only for great villains but Friedkin’s ‘respect’ for them(their ability and will if not their character): they’re bad but great at being or, or more accurately, ‘playing’ bad, which is perversely pleasurable to observe despite our moral disgust. When Hackman and Rey slip in-and-out of subway doors in THE FRENCH CONNECTION, we lose the sense of good guy vs bad guy and instead marvel at the game. Though we are Hackman’s side, we can’t help admiring the superior wit and skill of Rey. (Popeye Doyle, for all his courage and toughness, is very American, like John Wayne or Pat Buchanan. Rey, in contrast, is very European. Not brash and ballsy but craftier, more patient. There is a similar dichotomy between Chance and Masters. Though both are Americans, Chance is all-American, like Captain Kirk, whereas there is something of the cold rational European Dr. Spock in Masters. This is true even in their tastes. Chance loves sports and hanging around bars; he goes for raw sex. Masters is into modern art, modern dance; he’s fastidious and well-mannered when he needs to be; and his sex life is more about eroticism than fuc*ing. Masters is cerebral and calculating whereas Chance is instinctive and spontaneous. Masters is a natural aristocrat, and Chance is a born barbarian. In one scene, Chance and Vukovich set up a stakeout inside a monastery, and a priest/monk with a European accent serve them tea. There’s an inkling that Masters could have been a priest in the Middle Ages; despite his evil ways — or even evil nature — he’s methodical and ritualistic in everything he does. And as cold and ruthless as he can be, he does seem to be aware of and troubled by his own demons. Even if evil by nature and a heartless master of his own destiny, he seems at times to be afraid of himself, spooked by the dark psychological, biochemical, and social forces that made him what he is, and it is this capacity for introspection that holds out the possibility of redemption though he never seeks it. He’s an evil man who, in different circumstances, might have pledged himself to God in order for the evil in his heart to be purged. There is an element of Father Karras about him, and this capacity to be troubled by his own darkness makes him, in some ways, more moral than Chance, who never questions the rightness of whatever he does. Chance, for all his courage and toughness, is shallow whereas Masters is a man of some depth. Perhaps, Dafoe’s role in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. led to being recruited to play Jesus-figures in PLATOON and LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. Dafoe’s intensity seems poised between the lust for evil and the passion for good. What stands out about Scorsese’s film is the sense that Jesus, far from being the Perfect Man, was a man filled with capacity for both boundless good and boundless evil. Furthermore, it suggests that the hunger for boundless evil, far from being the opposite of boundless good, is actually its black twin. Good or bad, spiritual or physical, it all comes down to power, and often, the flipside of power-for-good is the power-for-bad, which is why so many idealists became tyrants once they gained power. Some might say good people turn bad due to addiction to power, but what if the very thirst for power-for-good carries the germs of power-for-evil? Power may corrupt idealism, but idealism may be the corruption of morality into the formula for power. Thus, the Jesus of LAST TEMPTATION wants the power to do good but is also afraid of his hunger for the power; he agonizes as to whether his devotion to God conceals the desire to be God, to be yet another Lucifer. So, in a way, Jesus’s decision to be crucified seems not only to die for the sins of man but to purge himself of his dark will to power. Even piousness carries within it the germs of evil. Though a pious man may reject materialism, vanity, and narcissism in his search for God and truth, it can just as well lead to spiritual vanity and narcissism, a holier-than-thou arrogance of feeling superior to mankind. Thus, Jesus of LAST TEMPTATION is at war with his own soul wherever he goes. Jesus wants to be closer to God, but he fears his own spiritual vanity, his hunger to taste the fruit of God’s knowledge. So, he goes among the stinking masses to be ‘real’, but his moral concern about poverty and injustice fills him with righteous rage that lurches into worldly will to power to save the people and take out the bad guys. Dafoe’s Masters goes with the Devil and Dafoe’s Christ goes with God, but what they have in common is a sense of belonging to a ‘sacred’ order, even if this may only be psychological in Masters’ case. ‘Sacred’ here means the desire for something other than the merely worldly or material. The mafia family of THE GODFATHER are members of a ‘sacred’ criminal order with its vows, codes, and rituals. They’re different from the thugs and punks who just want more money in THE GOODFELLAS. In CASINO, there is a longing for the ‘sacred’ in Ace Rothstein for whom Las Vegas isn’t just a cashbox but a kind of promised land where people like him can be ‘redeemed’; and he falls in love with a hustler with the crazy notion of turning her into a respectable woman; in contrast, the Joe Pesci character is only out for more fun and money. Though Masters is too solitary, perverse, and willful to belong to any organization, he carries within his skull a dark cathedral of private ‘sacraments’ that gives him a sense of his place in the universe. He feels contempt for humanity, acts contemptuously toward it, and is well aware of his own contemptible nature in relation to the contemptuous world, but hidden in some part of his soul is a ‘sacred’ place, even if the ‘purity’ within is one of darkness than light. In contrast, it’s impossible to see Chance as part of any ‘sacred’ order. Anyway, Jews are formidable because they have the chameleonic ability to be both European and American, both cerebral and ballsy, both intellectual and instinctive, both sophisticated and vulgar, both sacred and profane, both nerdy and bullying. A Jew is like a combination of Hackman and Rey, of Chance and Masters. And indeed Friedkin the Jew was just that kind of director, hardhitting and nimble, straight and devious, popular and arty. More than any other people, Jews have the multi-faceted instinct to switch back and forth among various gears: moral and immoral, honest and deceitful, legal and illegal, etc. This could be one reason why modern Jews identify with ‘transgenderism’ where a man can be a woman and vice versa. Jews are a difficult people to handle because they aren’t easy to pigeonhole as one thing or another. Just when you wanna believe Jews are never to be trusted, Jews act very trustworthy; but just when you decide to trust them, they’re pulling some shit. Negroes are easier to figure out since most of them are just plain thieves and louts; though blacks can be slick and fool gullible people for awhile, it doesn’t take too much brains to figure out that most of them are punkass jigger-jivers; the fact that so many white liberals voted for Obama suggests they know very little about the real Negro, not least because most of them grew up in affluent white communities with relatively few blacks — and the ones they happened to come across tended to be the nicer middle class ones. Asians, though called ‘inscrutable’ in the past, are easy to figure out too; most of them are just ‘lame’. And ‘white trash’ are pretty easy to sum up to. But Jews are always more or less than what they seem, and they’re morphing all the time. Incidentally, the Jewish insistence on Jewish identity — or survival of Jewish identity — in the aftermath of and in response to the Holocaust is rather confused. If the great evil of Nazism was insisting that Jews were Jews — and to be targeted as such — even if Jews abandoned Jewish Identity, why are Jews today so adamant about maintaining their identity? To put it in another way, if the Jewish narrative of the Holocaust is, “Though Jews in Germany were loyal Germans and sought assimilation, Nazis insisted that Jews could never be German and had to be persecuted and even killed as Jews,” then the politics of Jewish Identity plays on the same assumption as that of the Nazis. If indeed Jews really wanna join with and become part of the larger humanity, why is there a need for Jewish Identity, especially when Americans and Europeans today feel absolutely no hostility toward Jews? Indeed, sometimes, it seems as though what the ADL is really afraid of is not antisemitism but its absence as such would mean no more need for Jewish Identity as a defensive reflex; if the world says, “You are a dirty Jew and will always be a dirty Jew”, then you must seek ways to survive as a Jew; but if the world is fully willing to accept you as a fellow human being on an equal basis, why the need for Jewish identity? And so, ADL has to create phantom anti-Semites, just like the Jewish-controlled Fed creates phantom wealth to maintain the supremacy of Jewish economic power. If religious, cultural, national, and/or tribal identities and loyalties are all reactionary, superstitious, xenophobic, irrational, and atavistic — especially since Jews insist that white people, Europeans, and European-Americans must abandon all vestiges of white identity and interests — , why is it necessary for Jews to cling to Jewishness? If the evil of Nazism was that it forced Jews to be Jews even when Jews wanted to stop being Jewish and become ‘good Germans’, then isn’t the current Jewish insistence on Jewish Identity founded on the same principle as Nazism? Both Nazism and Zionism insist that Jews must be Jewish. And both are based on biology since Zionism acknowledges as Jews even irreligious individuals born of Jewish parents. Zionism and Jewish Identity would be morally justifiable if indeed the world was filled with biological anti-Semites such as the Nazis. Forced to be nothing but Jews, Jews would have to abandon dreams of a common humanity and try to survive as Jews. But people in Europe, America, Latin America, and even the Middle East would never stop a Jew from assimilating into the larger humanity. If a Jew wants to be just another Frenchman or German, who’s going to say No? If a Middle East Jew wants to convert to Islam, what Muslim would say No? So, Jewish insistence on Jewish identity, interests, and power is self-imposed; it is also exclusive of rest of humanity that is not Jewish. If the ideal of Jewish Identity says Jews should work in the interests of Jews, it means they should use their wealth, clout, and influence to favor fellow Jews and Israel over non-Jews and gentile nations. So much for Jewish ‘fairness’ and support of universalism. While Zionism or Jewish Identity Politics isn’t as nakedly murderous and repulsive as Nazism, at its ideological core is a kind of reverse-Nazism; it says because Jews are biologically Jews and will always be Jews, Jews must work to maximize their own power to gain advantage over rest of humanity. It is Chutzland Uber Gentilles. Another way for Zionism to be morally justifiable is if Jews were to recognize the rights of all peoples to protect their racial/national/cultural identities, but Jews constantly tell Europeans and white Americans that they must abandon all racial, national, cultural, and religious loyalties and surrender to universal common humanity of the new globalist order. It’s okay for Jews, blacks, browns, and yellows to think racially but not whites — indeed, not even in their native homelands, not least because Jews have a lot of controlling stakes in EU and US and don’t wanna be challenged by nativist power. Thus, Zionism is not only supremacist and exclusionary but hypocritical, and if its influence shapes the future of the West, it will even have proven to be democidal against the white race. Now, some Jews may argue that Jews need special protection of Identity Politics because they are so few in numbers and were persecuted for so long throughout history. But if Jews believe in common humanity, and if Jewish individuals can melt into common humanity and thrive as individual humans, what does it matter whether Jewish identity is preserved or not? And if the history of the Jews is that of persecution because gentiles would not accept Jews as equals and if that history forced Jews to maintain their identity as Jews, then no such identity would be necessary in a world where gentiles are more than happy to accept and welcome Jews as fellow humans. The entire nightmare of Jewish history can be erased in a single lifetime. But then, I suppose memory of persecution imbues a people with a sense of nobility, moral pride, and righteousness, and these things are psychologically and culturally as well as politically and morally too valuable to let go; it’s like Oliver clings to the memory of Jenny’s death in LOVE STORY as a kind of private holocaust, or holovecaust; it’s filled with pain and sadness but also beauty and tragedy, and he wouldn’t give it up for the world even if a pill were to come on the market that could wipe away all painful memories. Where Jews are welcomed with open arms by gentile communities, it is Zionism, not antisemitism, that is maintaining the wall between Jews and gentiles. For Jews to insist on their uniqueness and separateness and then to accuse gentiles of seeing them as a separate/different people is downright exasperating. If a Jew says, “I will do everything to maintain my separate Jewish Identity and work for Jewish interests”, and if a gentile says, “okay, so you are uniquely Jewish and will do everything to further Jewish interests,” the Jew will say, “Dirty rabid virulent anti-Semite!” No wonder Jews drive so many people crazy.)
The power of THE EXORCIST owes as much to its mood as to violence. It would have grown tiresome with non-stop gore/violence(which is why EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING by Renny Harlan is just dreary). What sustains the horror is its sheer unpredictability of events. As the girl’s condition worsens with the incubation of the demon seed inside her, we are never exactly sure how and when it’s going to fully manifest itself. When she bounces on the bed, we hear a scared girl crying for help — and we want to help — , but suddenly she’s a hideous monster looming over her mother — and we just wanna run. (Carpenter pulled much the same effect in THE THING, especially with the dog that suddenly breaks out into ‘the thing’ and the fat guy whose stomach splits open.) But even after the Devil has completely taken total possession of Regan’s body, the fright comes and goes like malarial fever or a nightmare where bouts of terror alternate with relative calm(whose respite only lends false hope). There are moments when the priests seem to be gaining over the Devil who, however, only comes back stronger in the next round. (It’s like Jake LaMotta throwing everything he had at Sugar Ray Robinson in their final fight, only to have Robinson come back in the next rounds meaner and stronger; or it’s like Donny Lalonde pummeling Sugar Ray Leonard against the ropes, only to have the nifty Negro come back in the next round to knock him out; or it’s like Tommy Morrison blasting away at Ray Mercer in the early rounds, only to have Mercer return to knock him out senseless in the 6th.)
The battle becomes psychological, with the Devil sometimes playing possum so that the priests will exhaust their energies against him. (Negro fighters are not only tougher than whites but experts at psyching out the ‘white boy’ whose fighting mind-set tends to be more limited.
Though we tend to think of mind and body — as two different entities — , the mind is of course part of the body. Thus, the different bodies of whites and blacks will mean their minds also work differently. It’s like a bear’s mind is wired to serve a bear’s body and a cat’s body is wired to serve a cat’s body. Bears can be powerful and fast — for their size — , but they are not graceful animals. They rely mostly on brute strength, on forward/backward motion. In contrast, a cat is far more flexible, graceful, and multi-faceted creature capable of moving in all directions — forward/backward, sideways, up and down. Thus, on a pound-for-pound basis, a bear/wolf/dog is no match for a cat. A big dog can beat a small cat, but a cat and dog of same size would be no contest. This is why a cougar that weighs one third that of a black bear can still win. This is why a tiger can kill a brown bear twice its size. This is why a small Negro can sometimes whup a white guy who’s much bigger — like when Leonard beat Lalonde or when Roy Jones beat John Ruiz. This is why Anderson Silva the MMA fighter beat a whole bunch of white guys who are bigger than him. It’s not just a matter of size and strength but flexibility, laterality, and instinctive rhythm. Blacks have more of it, and it’s not just a matter of black physique but how the black mind is wired/tuned to its physique. The best proof of the connection between the black mind and black physique can be found in Jazz and the way black folks talk. White people tend to create and enjoy music that follows set patterns whereas Negroes often prefer music with leeway for the performer to suddenly break out freely to express his own thing and show off how slickity, flippity, and/or jive-ity he be. Though non-blacks can master Jazz, it’s something they must learn and absorb through great deal of practice, whereas Jazziness comes natural to the Negro. White music — classical, folk, pop, and rock — conforms to white physicality that developed in the frozen North. It can be deep, beautiful, fun, fast, or slow, but the geometry of its expression tends to be fixed, rigid, narrow, constricted, to-and-fro. Even white jam rock music generally lacks the flair and wild versatility of black improvisational music. However loud or intense, white jam rock tends to thrust forward like a locomotive — especially true with the dreary Phish. In contrast, Jimmi Hendrix played his guitar like a psychedelic Aladdin’s lamp from which leapt fire dragons spinning and winding around in every size, color, and shape. In terms of mental ability, Jews have an advantage over whites not only due their higher intelligence but the fluidity/flexibility of their intelligence. Even high intelligence among Northern Europeans and East Asians tend to be less multi-dimensional than Jewish intelligence. A very smart Chinese or Japanese guy will approach a problem straight on, as if peering through a microscope, and even if Northern Europeans are somewhat more ‘creative’ and ‘playful’ than East Asians, they too tend to be limited in their intellectual bandwidth, even among those with high IQ. Jewish intelligence evolved not only in accordance to problem-solving but in relation to multi-problem solving. For example, a very smart Northern European guy would spend long hours on how to make a better plow or pump. The relation between him and the object would be one-on-one. In contrast, because Jews were nomadic- and middleman-oriented, their style of problem-solving turned into a game of simultaneously profiting, deceiving, surviving, innovating, hoodwinking, etc. In Marx Brothers movies, even smart goyim think in terms of me-and-you-and-the-problem-between-us whereas the Groucho, Chico, and Harpo think in terms of me-and-you-and-the-problem-between-us-and-behind-you-and-above-you-and-below-you and so on. The white goy wants to face the Jew one-on-one, but the Jew ducks, weaves, and runs around in circles. Jews love to fuc* with the white man’s mind like they love to fuc* the white woman’s pussy. Of course, there was much more to Jewish intellectualism than how-best-to-beat-goyim-at-business as the other side of Jewish culture was deeply spiritual and moralistic. However, even the spiritual/moral side of Jewishness tended to be multi-faceted since their God was hard to pin down. If pagan gods generally had certain shapes and stood for one thing or another — like Poseidon for the ocean and Hera for motherhood — , the Jewish God could be just about anything and nothing; He could not be seen, His name couldn’t even be uttered, BUT He was said to be the most powerful and ONLY deity in the universe. Faced with such a God, Jews felt compelled to be intellectually imaginative, which was less the case with Christians who made God visible, touchable, and comprehensible through Jesus, the Son of God, who arrived not only in human form but to spread the message that spiritual thinking was no longer necessary since He figured and laid it all out for all mankind; thus, faith alone is enough for Christians. But something funny happened over time. If spiritual Jews only had children with spiritual Jews and if business Jews only had children with business Jews, there might have developed two kinds of Jewish intelligence. But spiritual Jews had children with business Jews, e.g. the son of rich business Jew might marry the daughter of respected spiritual Jew, and so the business-Jew-intelligence got mixed with spiritual-Jew-intelligence, and this may account for why so many Jews are weird. Within the same Jew is the desire to ‘play the game’ and become superrich AND the desire to search for truth and lead his flock to the promised land. Take Howard Stern, a hideously crass Jew, who, in some crazy way, has a kind of messiah complex. Or take Noam Chomsky and Jared Diamond, intellectual-prophetic Jews, who, while reaching for the truth, are full of cunning and won’t hesitate to employ used-car-salesman tactics to get what they want. Anyway, the character of white creative expression evident in Western music can also be seen in Western pictorial art, especially the classical kind. Black African sculpture and Negro music, in contrast, tend to grow, flow, leer, twist, protrude, curve, turn, bend, bounce, and spin in unusual ways. It’s no wonder that Jazz became THE modern music for most sophisticated people in the 20th century; it explored forms, shapes, and colors beyond the entire range of European/white schools of music. It’s like in BLAZING SADDLES where two Negroes feel nothing but contempt, mixed with some pity, for the lame white boys who are all clumsily moving their bodies to some square dance music. Jazz also had the advantage over modernist avant-garde music in being fun and pleasurable than excruciating with what seemed like pointless ‘experiments’ in atonality and dissonance; even when Jazz broke conventional rules, there was a sense of play than a morbid commitment to make music no one could possibly enjoy. And when black people argue, they sometimes win the debate through speed, style, color, and expressiveness even if the substance of their ideas or views fall short in the area of logic or sense. If white people tend to narrowly focus on the subject and argue in terms of whether it’s true or false, blacks tend to be more lateral and motional in their argument. So, if one were to press Al Sharpton on a particular point, the damn Negro may ignore the central issue and slap the argument from multiple angles, which, though not directly related, may be contextually related.)
The conflict between the Devil-in-Little-Bo-Peep and the two eccentric priests becomes a game of will and wit, of stamina and conviction, as well as of holy water versus pea soup. Like a cancer victim suffers physically but also psychologically from cycles of remissions and relapses, THE EXORCIST terrifies — at least for first-time viewers — because the nature of the demonic possession is so unstable. It’s like the Devil is momentarily calmed when submerged under the power of Jesus, but the Holy Water soon subsides, and the demonic radioactivity threatens another meltdown. (In a way, THE CHINA SYNDROME was like a technological EXORCIST.)
JAWS is likewise frightening because the sea looks so peaceful on the surface but hides a mega-shark that plays by its own rules; we not only hardly know when the shark will attack but whether the shark is nearby or not. (Incidentally, there is a European/American dichotomy in THE EXORCIST too, with Max Von Sydow playing the European-like expert and Father Damien playing the American priest. In a way, Father Damien’s guilt about his mother could be an expression of anxiety of becoming American. To become American is to abandon Old World loyalties, sanctities, and traditions and embrace New World individualism, materialism, and populism. Notice that Damien not only studied to be a priest but mastered in psychology — and also trained as a boxer. There’s an element of MEAN STREETS about him; he might even have been the inspiration of the Travolta’s brother-studying-to-be-a-priest-but-losing-the-faith in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER. And maybe Rocky Balboa’s angel/brute inner-conflict lifted some ideas from THE EXORCIST too. Though THE EXORCIST is about crazy Catholics battling some Satan who has nothing better to do than make a girl shit through her mouth — though in this decadent age when fecal penetrative sex is placed on par with real sex, maybe the perversity of using improper bodily organs has some relevance — , it might also have meaning to American Jews, not least because Jews are both the most ancient and most modern of all peoples. No people are as impatient for innovation as Jews are, but no people worry as much about the loss of their ancient cultural identity. Incidentally, though the late 60s and early 70s have been defined by youth identity/culture/rebellion, it’s rather interesting that many important movies from the era actually dwelt on relations between young and old. THE EXORCIST features an older priest and younger priest taking on the Devil. HAROLD AND MAUDE has a 20 yr old befriending a ‘wise’ 79 yr old Jewish woman. PAPER CHASE is about a young law student who reveres an elderly law professor. In LOVE STORY, the rich Wasp father actually turns out to be a rather decent sort at the end, and the girl happens to be very close to her Italian-American father whom she calls ‘Phil’. FLIM-FLAM MAN featured George C. Scott as an old con-man who bonds with a young guy played by Michael Sarrazin. THE GODFATHER was a very affectionate movie about a father passing down his power and wisdom to his son. LAST TANGO IN PARIS was about an aging American male in a relationship with a young French woman. SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION was about an old father and his sons. PATTON was about a heroic general popular with his young soldiers. PAT GARRET AND BILLY THE KID was about an aging gunman who is obligated to kill his younger friend and agonizes over it. FIVE EASY PIECES emotionally climaxes with Nicholson’s character trying to explain himself to his invalid father. The most moving scene in THE LAST PICTURE SHOW is when Ben Johnson’s aging character imparts his view of life to a couple of boys on the verge of manhood. There’s William Holden going off to save the young Mexican in THE WILD BUNCH. The warmest emotional bond in LITTLE BIG MAN is between Dustin Hoffman and old Chief Dan George. MY NAME IS NOBODY is about a young gunslinger who helps the aging Henry Fonda retire gracefully. THE NEW CENTURIONS features the young Stacy Keach learning the ropes from veteran cop played by George C. Scott, who also had a key role in THE DAY OF THE DOLPHIN. Many of the movies were full of trust of people over 30. And there are many more. Maybe this was because the people who made most of these movies were middle-aged or old themselves and not really part of the Counterculture. Or maybe young movie audiences, though seeking youthful exuberance in music, wanted to feel part of something richer, older, and more meaningful in the narrative world of movies. On television, one of the most popular shows was ALL IN THE FAMILY, where older Bunker eventually developed a certain affection for Meathead and vice versa. And SANFORD AND SON was about a old junk dealer and his son living in the same house.)
When Chance opens the trash-bin lid, we are shown his blank stare but not what he’s staring at. It’s as if Chance, in that stunned moment, claims the tragedy as his own, for his eyes only.
Paradoxically, Chance wants the entire world to be on his side to avenge his partner but goes virtually solo(with Vukovich as a pliable sidekick)as if arresting Masters is his personal(or private)mission. Later, when pressing a superior with a difficult request, Chance emphasizes that Masters killed his partner(i.e. the entire agency should be as fired up and motivated as he is), but he continues to step all over agency’s regulations to do it his way. He wants the agency to sign him a blank check but close its eyes to the sum he’s about to fill in.

Though Chance claims ownership of Hart’s tragedy, it is we who, along with Masters and his bodyguard, witnessed how Hart died, and in that sense, we own a piece of Hart that Chance can never have. ‘We’, who don’t even know Hart personally, were ‘there’ when he died, whereas Chance, his close partner, was nowhere near when Hart most needed him. Thus, there could be an element of metaphysical jealousy as well as personal guilt. (There’s a similar dynamic in the Belgian movie THE VANISHING, a kind of modern day Orpheus & Eurydice story. A woman goes missing, and the lover who searches for her surmises that she is probably dead. Yet, he keeps searching, and it has less to do with the hope of finding her alive as the possibility of ‘reuniting’ with her by ‘accessing’ the manner in which she died. Thus, he isn’t only enraged at the murderer but jealous of the fact that the latter was ‘with her’ when she died. Because the murderer was ‘there’ at the time of her death, he owns a part of her — perhaps the most crucial part of her — that the lover can never have for himself. So, even though a part of him wants to strangle the murderer-son-of-a-bitch, he chooses to have the murderer do to him what was done to the woman. A sense of guilt is clearly involved, but there’s also an element of jealousy. In a similar way, there could be an undercurrent of death wish borne of jealousy on the part of Chance, if only to be reunited with his friend/mentor in life. Thus, just as both the woman and her lover died in the same manner in THE VANISHING, there’s a certain perverse logic to Hart and Chance dying in the same manner: shotgun blast to the head.)
Chance can only imagine in his mind the final moment of Hart’s life, but we, complete strangers, got to see everything. In a way, there’s an element of hostility between Chance and the audience. Unlike most heroes, Chance almost never appeals to us morally or emotionally; he doesn’t care if we approve or disapprove. He sees Hart’s body and suffers alone and, in effect, goes hunting alone(with Vukovich as his hunting dog). With Chance, it’s a vendetta, not a crusade. This alienating aspect of Chance — a kind of indifference and contempt — may turn off some viewers who are used to the ‘good guy’ pandering for approval; in a way, Harry Callahan and John Rambo, even as rogue operators, are politician-heroes campaigning for their just causes, the sort of guys from whom you might hope to get an autograph; Chance, in contrast, is like an athlete who coldly stares at fans fawning over him and tosses back the ball without signing it. Unlike Brad Pitt’s Achilles in TROY who hogs the center stage like a drama queen, Chance needs only himself as the audience. This is something he has in common with Masters, who creates art mainly for himself than for public appreciation. They are both narcissistic but begs no approval from the outside world.
In the next scene, we see Chance at his abode, morose and drinking beer, when Vukovich comes by with an offer to be his new partner. If Hart were still alive, catching Masters would have been just another job, but now it’s personal. TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is less about good guy vs bad guy than about winners and losers in a game where the ‘rules’ are essentially amoral.
Indeed, though Chance initially ramps up his effort to get Masters out of rage, it gradually turns into a thrill-ride, no less a sport than an act of revenge. Consider Chance during and after the car chase. He cruises like a maniac on coke, as if he’s having a blast. And after he completes the getaway, he climbs atop the car and exults like he won the division championship. At that point, we wonder if avenging Hart still remains the main motivation or merely serves as an excuse for his manic contest with Masters. It’s like US entered into a war against Afghanistan after the tragedy of 9/11, but it soon turned into a kind of rock n roll — or shock and awe — when extended to Iraq. The War on Terror was supposed to the defining battle of the new century, but the Taliban was easily crushed in Afghanistan, and so it felt like premature ejaculation without the full sense of vengeful ecstasy, especially since Osama Bin Laden went hiding somewhere and couldn’t be found. US vs Terror was supposed to be US vs Hitler, but it was more like Mike Tyson vs Michael Spinks. So, the American public was eager to support a second round in the War on Terror by taking on New Hitler Saddam Hussein and his WMD. And in the first months of the Iraq War, Americans were having a grand time. We saw our bombs exploding all over Baghdad and killing all them ‘ragheads’. By the look of media coverage, it seemed less an act of revenge, let alone international justice, than a ticket for a thrill-ride, war as rock concert or Hollywood blockbuster. But after the initial excitement and euphoria, it dawned on Americans that nation-building isn’t as easy or fun as nation-busting, and the prolonged hell of occupying Iraq — and Afghanistan — wore us down. (Tom Clancy’s CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER — the movie, not the book which I haven’t read — forewarned how getting out is more difficult than getting in.)
Kathryn Bigelow’s HURT LOCKER has a character who, though seemingly normal on the surface, is addicted to war, less as a cause than personal challenge. (Come to think of it,
his calm normality in the face of danger is what’s most abnormal about him. It’s like feeling no fear standing at the edge of a cliff.) He feels most alive when closest to death. In a way, his courage and skills in the face of danger are claims of superiority over rest of humanity. (But then, can it really be called ‘courage’ in a person who is so psychotically fearless? Courage has meaning when one overcomes one’s fear to tackle something dangerous for the higher good, but what if someone volunteers to face danger because he enjoys it? Similarly, if one can’t feel pain, can he be said to be ‘tough’ for holding his hand over fire?) In a safe and stable world, the Hero of HURT LOCKER would just be one man among many, pushing the cart around at a super mart. It’s like after winning the battle, the warriors of SEVEN SAMURAI no longer have a rationale to prove their superiority over the peasants. It is in the fight, in the face of danger, that warriors not only prove their worth but their worth over other men. Without such arena for male prowess, men become almost asexual. Feminism arose in the prosperity and stability of post-war America when women no longer needed to depend on men for safety and survival. Frontier women in the 19th century needed the muscle-power of men to save them from wild animals and savage Indians. But college-educated women in a world of law and order in the late 20th century could live safely on their own. In a world of danger, women relied on ‘better men’ to protect them from ‘worse men’; according to radical feminism, even ‘good men’ were only a necessarily evil in times of danger because women needed allies against worse men, just like US needed Stalin to defeat Hitler. But once the danger is gone and society is ruled by law-and-order, women no longer need ‘better men’ to save them from ‘worse men’, just like US no longer needed the USSR after Germany and Japan were defeated. (Similarly, Jews sought the support of ‘good’ whites — Anglos and Americans — to fight the ‘bad’ whites — Germans — , but once the Nazi threat was gone, Jews no longer needed ‘good’ whites as allies, and so they began to wage a secret war against White America, which rages to this day, with Jews having almost totally enslaved the white race, which is on its knees and worship the Jews and their idols, such as the cult of MLK.) Also, white women have been indoctrinated that it’s evil for them to feel any racial solidarity with white men. In the past, white women depended o white men to protect them from wild Negroes and savage Indians. Thus, there was a social contract between white men and white women. White women submitted to white male dominance, but white males protected white women from wild animals and savage races. But once law-and-order prevailed and most white women could lead safe lives without protection from white males, the social contract eroded. (And even in poorer communities where the Negro threat remains, white men can no longer serve as protectors of their women. In the ‘racist’ past, whites went to their own schools and had their separate spaces. And if blacks attacked whites, white men could use guns and other means to kill the wild Negro and hang him from a tree; the law was on the side of white vigilantes against wild-ass Negroes. But the Civil Rights Movement took away the legal advantage of whites that had balanced out the physical advantage of the Negro. In the ‘racist’ past, if a tough wild-ass Negro attacked a white woman, a white guy could pull out a gun and kill him or call his buddies and chase the damn Negro and hang the ‘nigger’ from a tree, and the law would often side with the white man. But once that legal protection was gone, there was little the white man could do to protect himself and his woman. If anything, the law might charge him with a ‘hate crime’ if he used vigilante justice to save himself and his community from wild-ass Negroes. Thus, in dangerous integrated communities, white girls no longer feel safe with white males, who are being whupped, humiliated, intimidated, and pussified at record pace by bigger and tougher Negroes. Since white guys can’t protect white women, white girls seek out ‘better’ black guys to protect them from ‘worse’ black guys. Jews know this is happening all over America, especially thanks to their Section 8 Housing policies, but they don’t care about white plight since it’s part of the agenda of the Secret Jewish War on White America. The real WWIII is not US vs Islam or US vs China, but Whites vs Jews. Jews are waging this war, using blacks and illegals as foot-soldiers against whites, but most whites have no clue as to what’s happening; they think they should go fight wars in the Middle East and kill a lot of Muslims to save Jews from another Holocaust when Jews are carrying out a massive Anglocaust!) Also, white women were told by Jew-run media that it’s ‘racist’ for them to see non-white males as dangerous criminals or savages. If anything, Hollywood movies present non-white men as wonderful fellers or cool folks while white males are presented as wife-abusers, murderous bigots, patriarchal oppressors, etc. In THELMA AND LOUISE, white males are either rapists, stupid hubbies, petty thieves, male chauvinist pigs, corrupt cops, etc. In one scene, we are made to laugh at a state trooper trapped in a car trunk under a blazing sun. White male = evil. Just then, a black guy with dreadlock on a bicycle appears and, instead of trying to save the white trooper, he blows pot smoke into the trunk to torment the honkey. THAT is supposed to be not only funny but morally justified. White women and black males = fellow victims and noble allies. White males = scum who should be vengefully tortured by white females and Negroes. THELMA AND LOUISE was typically written by a privileged liberal woman, the product of elite colleges — the sort of woman who knows NOTHING about the reality of working class or lower-middle whites. But like Michael Moore ‘documentaries’, the movie used working-class-tropes to fool working class white women that their biggest enemies are white males. It used the style and rhetoric of white populism — guns, cars, country music, Americana, etc. — to slip in left-wing Jewish biases. It was a clear case of Saul-Alinsky-ism. Since the white working class rejects liberal intellectualism and leftist radicalism, why not slip in radical attitudes under the guise of populism? Since it’s a movie about two working-class girls driving a big retro-car and brandishing guns, it must be a movie about ‘one of us’. It looked like an All-American Chick-Flick movie, but its real agenda was to drive a wedge between white working class women and white working class men. It was also useful for educated white/feminist/lesbian audiences since they’d been accused of being ‘elitist’ and being out of touch with Real Women. Thus, by enjoying and supporting a movie that purported to highlight the travails of ordinary American gals — the types that wait tables and listen to country music — , privileged feminist women could pretend that they are indeed in tune with real American women. But in fact, the movie had nothing to do with reality and was just a fantasy cooked up by politically correct leftist assumptions. In reality, white women have far less to fear from state troopers and white cops than from disgusting Negroes. Indeed, if the message of the movie is ‘rape is terrible’, how ridiculous that it doesn’t address the fact that many poor white women have been raped by savage Negroes? The movie also proved that Ridley Scott could be a real whore. Since Jewish Hollywood made it, it’s yet another proof that Jews are a hideous bunch of scumbags and white people should NEVER trust them. Every white person should, upon waking and going to bed, remind himself, ‘JEWS ARE MY ENEMY.’ (One reason for Jewish advantage over Anglos has to do with Jews being diggity while Anglos are standity.
By ‘diggity’, I mean Jews like to dig into the other guy whereas Anglos like to maintain a certain reserved distance, or stand back. Anglos like to think in terms of ‘that is you’ and ‘this is me’ and this is the distance between us. Even as Anglo imperialism conquered much of the world, Anglos maintained a sense of ‘this is your race/culture’ and ‘this is our race/culture’. Thus, different peoples could come to terms and do business, but Anglos insisted on a certain distance from other peoples. And even amongst Anglos, their special brand of individualism made for a certain distance among individuals; indeed, this began in the home with the way Anglo kids were raised; Anglo parents were less likely to hug their children than, say, Italian parents, and the kids were pushed out of the roost when they came of working age. You are ‘that individual’ and I am ‘this individual’. For this reason, Brits favored empiricism centered on material things since matter could be broken down and categorized as different/distinct components of reality. This mind-set explains why Anglos were generally averse to the modern field of psychology — especially developed by Freud. So, even as the British were very curious about the world — consider the collection in the British Museum — , they maintained a meaningfully firm sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’. Brits, of course, even felt this way toward the continental Europeans, which is why some Europeans still don’t consider Great Britain as part of Europe. Dignity mattered a lot to the British, and there wasn’t much dignity in being ‘diggity’. Look at the orderliness of English gardens. English will touch dirt but with gloves on. English will go outside but wear a hat or carry a parasol. Of course, I’m speaking of traditional elite Britishness that no longer exists as the official face of British culture; even so, in terms of manners and habit, it can still be seen in the British upper-crust. It should also be added that vulgarity, which is so common among today’s British underclass, is not the same thing as being ‘diggity’. There can be an element of vulgarism in diggitiness, but diggitiness, unlike mere uncouthness and crudity, is probing, curious, cunning, adroit, and often intellectually oriented. A slob who pulls down his pants and moons his ass out the car window is just being dumb. In contrast, Freud was digging for certain truths when he touched on subjects that respectable society didn’t want to discuss or even acknowledge. Freud wasn’t saying ‘suck my dick and squeeze my balls’; he was saying, ‘let me understand your true nature by examining the connection between your brain and groin.’ Just as Freud sought the link between the human and the animal, between the rational and irrational, and between the conscious and the subconscious, there was Einstein digging into the hidden connection between matter and energy. Thus, even though many bourgeois Jews adopted the outward respectability of white genteel-gentile society — in terms of manners and appearance — , their style of curiosity and manner of inquiry were actually eating away at the ‘standity’ way of the white bourgeoisie from within — in termite-like fashion. The outer Jew and the outer Anglo often dressed, talked, and behaved alike — like two equally well-bred or well-groomed gentlemen — , but the inner Jew and the inner Anglo were two very different creatures. In a way, Marx Brothers movies give us a glimpse into the ‘inner’ dynamic between Jews and Anglos. Anglos stand upright and maintain their distance and dignity; in contrast, Groucho looks for all angles and for ways to dig into the Anglo. Thus, while the Jew was willing to psycho-analyze the Anglo, the Anglo wasn’t willing to do the same to the Jew. So, the Jew undressed the Anglo, but the Anglo didn’t undress the Jew. So, Jews will say that despite the facade of Anglo respectability/dignity, Anglos thoughts and behavior are really shaped by dark irrational forces; but Anglos, feeling it’d be beneath his dignity to speak of such things, will not look into the dark irrational zones of the Jewish consciousness and expose the REAL Jew. Thus, Jews cast light on the dark interiors of Anglos, but Anglos haven’t done the same to the caves of the Jewish soul. This is no less true of Jews and Anglo-Americans. Jews will sexually psycho-analyze whites and say white racial fears are rooted in some kind of repressed and ‘irrational’ sexual hangups, i.e. white males, feeling threatened by Negro virility, employed repressive patriarchy to control their women since liberated white women might run off with big Negroes. Whether such Jewish analysis is true or not, it has the effect of exposing something ‘dark’, ‘foul’, and ‘sick’ about the white soul. If Jews attack whites this way, then the most obvious thing for whites is to return the favor and explain Jewish involvement in porn and sexual issues as the manifestation and infestation of repressed self-loathing as an ugly and resentful people whose egos have been bruised because ugly Jewish men were rebuffed by blonde women and because ugly Jewish women were envious of prettier shikses. But, Anglos, full of their stand-off-ish dignity, refused to fight the Jew fire with fire, and so Jews came to dominate the intellectual discourse. If intellectualism is about digging/probing into the dark heart of the matter hidden or concealed from view by all sorts of masks, facades, and deceptions, then Jews came to gain the reputation as truth-tellers while Anglos came to be seen as frigidly living in denial. Imagine a Jew and an Anglo in the same room. If the Anglo farted, the Jew would say, ‘the Anglo cut the cheese, the Anglo cut the cheese’ and then, on the basis of the smell, try to surmise what the Anglo had for lunch. The Jew would make himself out to be the irrepressible truth-teller while the Anglo would stand there embarrassed. Now, suppose the Jew farted a few hours later. The Anglo, though smelling the hideous Jewish fart, would pretend not to notice since it would be beneath his dignity to notice such things. He would remain silent and standity, or start a conversation on a wholly different topic to pretend there’s no fart odor in the room. Thus, the Anglo would have missed the grand opportunity to get the Jew like the Jew got him. But worse, the Jew, being limitlessly and shamelessly vile and cunning, might say his own fart flooped out of the Anglo’s ass. So, the Jews not only raises fuss about the Anglo fart but even ‘projects’ his own fart on the Anglo. This is so true about things that Jews do. Jews are full of resentment but project it on others. Jews are full of tribalism but project it on others. Jews are full of elitism and exclusivity but project them on others. Jews are venal and greedy but project it on others. Jews even led US into the Iraq War by manipulating dimwit Bush, but when the war went badly, blamed the fart entirely on Bush. Jewish control of Wall Street brought upon the massive meltdown of the US economy, but Jews blamed it on ‘Anglo-style’ the free market. Some disgusting Jewess in an article in the Atlantic Monthly even tried to blame it on a brand of Christianity. Jewish control of mass media spread all kinds of racial, cultural, and national stereotypes, e.g. most Arabs are throat-slitting terrorists, yet Jews blame White America for ‘Islamophobia’. Kevin Macdonald denounces the ‘diggity’ nature of the Jews ‘the culture of critique’, but it sure is an effective weapon, and the lesson of history is not that Jews were wrong to have it but that Anglos were stupid not to adopt it, especially against the Jews; it was as if Anglos stuck to bronze age technology against a people employing iron age technology. Jews have come to so thoroughly own the ‘culture of critique’ that it’s now almost too late for Anglos to fight back in the same manner. For example, though Jews can probe and expose the dark side of the white soul/psychology, if whites tried to dig and expose the ‘irrational’ dark side of the Jewish soul, they would be accused of being ‘irrational’ and ‘paranoid’. So, if a Jewish guy looks into the white soul and finds ‘paranoia’, ‘fascism’, ‘racism’, ‘resentment’, ‘atavism’, and the like, the Jew is being a rational and moral exposer of the sickness of the white soul. But if a white guy dug into the Jew in the same manner and found all sorts of dark material, he would be condemned as ‘paranoid’, ‘racist’, ‘antisemitic’, and etc. Jews have come to own the discourse/debate so thoroughly via their control of the media and academia that it’s win-win for them and lose-lose for the Anglos. Jews also use humor to disarm ample evidence of ‘antisemitic’ stereotypes that abound in the Jewish community. I mean it’s difficult to think of a more repellent Jew than Woody Allen or Howard Stern — and indeed they go out of their way to live up to negative Jewish stereotypes, which must be true since so many famous Jews are disgusting — , but they can be funny as hell. So, even though they are foul, disgusting, and gross, they are also funny Jews making us laugh so hard that we think Jewish foulness is a wonderful thing, a national treasure really. Thus, when Anglos are foul, it’s not funny and Anglos must be condemned, as when Don Imus was raked over the coals for what he said about them ‘nappy-headed hos’, but when Jews are foul, it’s hardy har har, and boy isn’t it so funny. Even more perversely, Jews, who take great pride in their rationalism and critical thinking, actually prevent much rational thinking based on factual data through their use of ‘irrational’ manipulation through the media. For example, even responsible Holocaust revision isn’t allowed in polite society since the Holocaust is supposed to be worshiped as a religion. And though the facts are so plainly obvious, we can’t discuss racial differences but instead must get down on our knees and weep and pray before the altar of MLK. So, Jews use ‘rationalism’ when it suits their purposes and uses ‘irrationalism’ when it suits their purposes. They are allowed to use anything and get away with everything while white Americans are constantly put on the psychiatric couch for yet another bout of psycho-socio-analysis in order for their ‘racism’, ‘xenophobia’, ‘homophobia’, ‘sexism’, and etc, to be purged from within their sick souls. Jews will say how dangerous it was for Germans to have embraced the cult of irrationalism and emotionalism that eventually led to Nazism and WWII. But these same Jews will say the wild and violence emotional expressiveness of the Negro is perfectly ‘liberating’ for the white race. So, listening to Wagner and wanting to invade Poland is evil but listening to rap and wanting to burn down cities and rape ho’s is liberating. Jews will say that the cult of ‘Aryan superman’ and the debhumanization of Jews as less-than-human under the Nazis was eeeeeeeeeevil but then make an TV ad where an Afro-Aryan superman totally humiliates and dehumanizes a less-than-human ‘white boy’. Funny that the same Jews who denounce MEIN KAMPF praise Norman Mailer’s WHITE NEGRO essay. So, German thugs beating up helpless Jews is terrible, but a young Negro-worshiping punk beating a white store-owner to death is liberating. So, the racial/cultural pride and consciousness that once existed amongst South Africans was eeeeeeeeevil, but the racial/cultural nationalism of Jews in Israel is the noblest thing in the world. And pathetically enough, most white people just eat this up like stupid pigs on a farm being raised for slaughter. Because the vileness of Jews knows no bounds, any civilization that lays out the red carpet to Jews is eventually doomed not only to fall but to be trampled on Jews — and raped by blacks whom Jews use against the white race.
American conservatives lost to gays for the same reason Anglos lost to Jews. While Jews and gays have relentlessly dug into white conservative opposition to the gay agenda — psychoanalyzing ‘homophobia’ as ‘irrational’, ‘unnatural’, ‘unhealthy’, pathological, etc. — , most white conservatives have been standoff-ish on the matter, merely and mildly invoking ‘tradition’ as rationale for their resistance. In the modern world, mere traditionalism cannot win against rationalism, even when the latter is a form of faux-rationalism manipulated to hoodwink the gullible public. Since most people are too dumb to be truly rational, they fall for the cult of rationalism, which amounts to always-agreeing-with-whatever-the-smartest-progressive-elites happen-to-be-promoting-as-The-Great-Cause-or-The-Great-Truth-of-the-moment So, even though most liberals know little or nothing about the real science of global warming, they are 100% for it because to agree means they’re ‘rational’ and ‘intelligent’. Since ‘rationalism’ is a cult than a method for most people, the argument doesn’t have to be truly rational as long as it’s presented as ‘rational’ by the ‘progressive’ powers-that-be; most liberal sheeple will just go along, which is why most liberals spout the same nonsense about ‘race being a social construct’. So, even though the very concept of ‘homophobia’ is ludicrous — indeed, what can be more natural, normal, and healthy than finding fecal penetration among men to be gross, and besides, exactly what is so ‘phobic’ about finding gay behavior to be ridiculous? — , as long as it’s presented in ‘rationalist’ packaging, many Americans will think of it as ‘true’, and since it must be true, anyone opposed to the gay agenda must be some kind of mentally deranged freak. So, while Jews and gays have had the chutzpah and buttzpah to probe into the supposedly dark souls of white conservatives and expose the ‘phobic’ sickness within, all white conservatives ever did was say that ‘gay marriage’ is wrong because it’s not traditional; it’s a dumb argument, especially for a modern democracy, since traditionalism doesn’t prove anything. For example, should humanity have resisted the abolition of slavery on the basis of tradition since slavery had been with mankind from the beginning of historical memory? There are scientific, rational, biological, and moral arguments that conservatives could and should have used against ‘gay marriage’, but in order to do so, conservatives needed to be ‘diggity’ and get to the heart of the matter, discussing in detail the nature of homosexuality and fecal penetration and all that, but most conservatives, schooled in reserved Anglo standity-ness, didn’t wanna go there and just sheepishly muttered about ‘tradition’ and got totally bitch-slapped by the other side. To be sure, there are some resolute and determined opponents of the gay agenda, but most of these folks tend to be religious nuts and only aid the gay cause; they are so crazy that they make gays look sane; worse, they give the impression that ALL opposition to the gay agenda must be irrational and crazy. Of course, even sane conservatives would have been reviled if they took the ‘diggity’ approach since Jews/gays control the media. Liberals are okay with what gays do, but if an opponent of the gay agenda brought up the issue of what gays really do, they freak out as if someone cut the nastiest cheese. So, it’s wonderful for gays to ram their penises into the shit-holes of other men, but if you described what gays do, liberals get all offended like Victorians who heard the word ‘sex’. So, a conservative is condemned as a ‘homophobe’ for not accepting ‘gay sex’ as the biological/moral equal of real sex, but if a conservative explains what ‘gay sex’ really entails, liberals panic, sweat, and shut their ears in horror. So, two guys fuc*ing each other in the ass is no problem. But if you point out that ‘gay sex’ is about two guys are fuc*ing each other in the ass, that is a big problem. It’s like Jews can use Wall Street to rob us, control foreign policy for nefarious Zionist reasons, and push open borders to undermine the white race, but if you take notice of what Jews do and talk about it, that is a big problem. Gays can do, but you can’t say that they do. Jews can do, but you can’t say that they do. If a Jew kicks you in the ass, he hasn’t done anything wrong; but, if you notice what just happened and say, “A Jew just kicked my ass,” then you are an anti-Semite for having noticed and saying something negative about the Jew. The modern American white guy is someone whose ass is rammed by a gay cock and whose mouth is rammed by a Jewish cock... while his wife and daughter are humped by Negroes. This is what has become of the white race, and Jews are giddy with joy. Anglo standoff-ishness isn’t limited to Jewish and gay matters. In fact, the reason why the so-called ‘alternative right’ community — dominated by the likes of Jared Taylor, Richard Spencer, and Peter Brimelow — is so useless is because it too is afraid to go ‘diggity’. For all their conceit of speaking the truth that dare not be spoken, they barely touch on the subject of greatest importance: the Negro physical advantage over white folks, and all the social, economic, and sexual ramifications this has. They’d rather stick to dry, academic, and dignified topics like I.Q. But, the real fear and anxiety among white males is not lower black IQ. Sure, lower IQ makes blacks a socio-economic burden on all productive Americans, but if all blacks were built like Gary Coleman, would the ‘race problem’ — most often a euphemism for black problem — be much of an issue? It’s not low black IQ that’s attacking, robbing, and murdering whites. It’s not lower black IQ that is whupping white boys and taking white women, who increasingly feel racial-sexual contempt for ‘faggoty white boys’ and worship at the feet and penis of the almighty Negro stud. If anything, white males should be glad that blacks have lower IQ because it tends to keep many of them down. If black IQ were equal to white IQ, many more black males would reach the upper reaches of white society and steal many more premium white women from pussified ‘white boys’. But most of the alternative right community, rooted in a kind of Anglo dryness and standitiness, simply cannot broach this topic because it’s too dark, disturbing, and humiliating — not least because Anglos, used to centuries of dominance, cannot admit that they are no match in the ‘manhood’ department to the Negro. And since this issue goes unmentioned by both the left and right, the white race will just die a slow death.)
Like TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., Bigelow’s HURT LOCKER is a better ‘Homeric epic’ than most movies on the subject. Its psycho-mythological depiction of warriors captures the thrill and fury of human conflict with greater power and poetry than do shapeless spectacles like TROY. (Movies like TROY are also blind to the humor embedded in the original narrative, as if a Classical Tale must be told in solemnity, which, in turn, is undermined by the crass populism of the lowest common denominator in its cartoonish violence. In a way, the blend of rousing action and quirky comedy in Kevin Reynolds’ WATERWORLD is closer to the spirit of Greek epics.) Bigelow, like Friedkin, worked on the assumption that her material, being inherently epic and mythic, didn’t need to be over-inflated. A hero doesn’t have to pose and strut all the time. If he has ‘it’, he doesn’t have to flaunt it; he need only to prove himself through his labors. And there is no villain with Evil Laughter in HURT LOCKER and TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. One’s worth is demonstrated by one’s ability under duress. In battle, you can’t 911 or your lawyer. It’s you vs your enemy, and if you think you’re the ‘good guy’, you have to prove it by beating the ‘bad guy’. A war zone doesn’t negate morality, but morality cannot be a crutch but exists as a trophy you must fight to win for yourself because no ‘higher authority’ — referee, priest, judge, etc. — is there to take your side. And in battle, there is no resting on one’s laurels, not even for the mighty Achilles; even if you won a thousand fights, the next one can kill you.
The villain in THE FRENCH CONNECTION doesn’t have to tell the world he’s Eeeeeeeeeevil and laugh about it. Evil or not, his worth is decided by winning or losing, by his resolve and cunning in playing the game. Rick Masters’ laughter at Chance in one scene is playful and sardonic than brash and triumphant.
But of course, even the smartest person can fall into the trap of his own making. Precisely because Masters is smarter than Chance and Vukovich, he ends up trusting himself too much. It’s like Apollo Creed nearly loses the fight in ROCKY because, knowing that he’s the much superior fighter, he fails to take the ridiculous ‘Italian Stallion’ seriously — like in the story of the rabbit and the tortoise. At one point, Masters says of Chance and Vukovich(working undercover as would-be traders of counterfeit money), “I don’t like what I see.” To Masters, Chance and Vukovich are just two amateur operators, dogs trying to join in the game of wolves. Masters underestimates Chance and Vukovich. When his bodyguard tries to check for wires or guns on Chance(who resists), Masters tells him to let Chance pass. (To be sure, a possible interpretation is Masters knew what was up all along and was setting a trap for Chance and Vukovich who, however, just happened to make the first move. This possibility is suggested when Masters, after making the getaway, asks Vukovich why he didn’t take the deal presented by the lawyer Grimes. But Masters’ relative laxness on that crucial night doesn’t make much sense if indeed he had know what was up all along, so my interpretation is Masters called Grimes after his escape, and Grimes, scared out of his wits, spilled the beans and told him everything.)
Blogger Named Ernest once made a hilarious remark about the ‘Athena-like Bigelow’, one of those ‘fanboy’ fetishes, not least because he refers to himself as a ‘dweeb’, a term he also applies to Obama. (Maybe Obama the dweeb married the physically imposing Michelle as a kind of ‘black athena’. According to Blogger Named Ernest’s dweebology, Obama’s been appealing to white folks not only for his ‘charisma’ but for his non-threatening and even endearing nerdiness. He’s less the honcho of a black fraternity than a bleek — a black geek — wishing to join a white one. Obama is the sort of guy who adopts ‘black identity’ but practices ‘white privilege’. Blogger Named Ernest feels he has special insights into Obama the Half-Blood Princeling because they are both ‘dweebs’. It’s like a self-professed gay guy outing another guy whom he suspects to be gay. If gay men are said to have the ‘gaydar’, Blogger Named Ernest feels himself to have the dweebar, and when he sees or hears Obama, his gadget goes wee-wee-wee!) But maybe there’s something more to the remark about the ‘Athena-like Bigelow’. Athena, though a goddess, understood warriors and combat better than any other god, including Ares. Ares is the lord of physical battle and destruction, but it’s Athena who peers into the souls of warriors and understands the science of war. Ares in combat is a smasher and basher; Athena is planner and strategist, and she’s the master of the art of deception. Cameron and Bigelow are like Ares and Athena. Cameron knows machines and violence but is a zero on the psychological aspects of war. Even his screenplay for STRANGE DAYS, despite its Philip K. Dick aspects, was heavy on physicality and bereft of psychology. His best movie is still THE TERMINATOR, a lean mean movie about two soldiers, a human and a machine, smashing one another as they rampage through L.A. In contrast, Bigelow peered into the souls of warriors in K-19, which, like HURT LOCKER, is a better Homeric epic that movies on the subject. It’s rife with the clash of titanic wills and egos. And her handling of violence tends to be eccentric than merely extreme, rendering the mythology of her movies unique than merely grandiose.
The two sexual relationships in the movie involve Chance/Ruth and Masters/Bianca. Both are sexual games than loving relationships. On occasion, Ruth seems to be groping for some sympathy, even affection, but Chance maintains his emotional armor. To him, she’s trash who’s only good for information and sex. Though we don’t know the full back story, Chance arranged her parole to use her as a ‘stool pigeon’. She hangs around questionable characters and culls information to pass on to Chance. She’s also conveniently available whenever Chance wants some sex. Ruth is played by Darlanna Fluegel, as impressive a woman as Petersen a man. (She was also the girlfriend of Noodles in ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA.) It’s too bad Fluegel didn’t become a big star as her role in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. reveals a great beauty and remarkable talent. Despite her minor role, she exudes a whole range of moods: innocence, sexiness, vulnerability, sleazyness, cheapness, ruthlessness. In a way, she reflects the multi-faceted neuroses of all the characters in the movie. She is both victim and villain, powerless and powerful, cat and mouse. When Vukovich ensnares her as his own, it makes perversely perfect sense. We feel both sorry for her and vindictively vengeful. Sorry because she is now a slave of Vukovich but also vindictive because she may have plotted Chance’s death. Vukovich is both acting like a monster and avenging his partner, doing for Chance what Chance did for Hart. In a way, Ruth and her predicament are what the audience may identify with most — the inkling that all of us are compromised, guilty and innocent. Everyone in L.A. is wronged but also wrong-doing. It’s like a chicken-or-the-egg question. Why did Ruth and Chance become the way they are, and why did they do what they do? In a way, both are justified and unjustified. Both use deception to shield themselves from deception. To Chance, Ruth is a born criminal, a compulsive cheater who is never to be trusted. He believes she’s feeding him information only because she’s compelled to. If he lets her go free, she’ll just return to a life of crime. But he also seems to be attracted to her because she’s is beautiful and not unintelligent. She’s something of a fallen angel with sly femme fatale instincts. She doesn’t appear to be well-educated and probably came from the poor side of town; she seems superstitious, taking half-seriously some New Age magazine article about stars being god’s eyes. Though Chance would never choose her for a mate-for-life — no hooker with a heart of gold is she, though she might be said to be a hooker with a heart of a gold-digger, and besides, he wouldn’t believe it even if she were — , in a twisted way he may see her as a kind of soul-mate(or soulessmate, or hole-in-the-soul-mate — if Michelle Obama can help it — since neither of them really has a soul; she’s a fallen angel, he’s a fallen Hero). Chance is a lawman while Ruth is a criminal, but both dwell in the grey area between the two worlds. Chance works undercover and Ruth works in the underworld. Ruth has the look(and at times even the ways)of a woman of worth, but Chance knows she cannot be saved, any more than the Sharon Stone character in CASINO. (Remember what happened to that Sebastian guy in BLADE RUNNER when he trusted Pris played by Darryl Hannah? It never pays to trust a whore.) But a part of Chance probably feels he too cannot be saved — and probably doesn’t even wanna be saved. The game is to win, not to save or to be saved. It is to live or die, not to hug and cry. He knows himself to be too wild to be a ‘righteous guy’ like Jimmy Hart. Though it initially seems as though Chance loses his ethical bearings because of Hart’s death, we soon learn that he’d been (ab)using Ruth for some time. So, even when Hart was alive, Chance had been playing fast and loose with the rules. But if Hart had some calming influence, there’s no such after he’s gone. It’s like Sonny becomes all reckless after his father is shot in THE GODFATHER.
The other sexual relationship is between Masters and Bianca. Both Ruth and Bianca are tall women. Ruth is nearly as tall as Chance, and Bianca may be slightly taller than Masters. If Ruth is a sleazy criminal who collaborates with a lawman, Bianca is an artist — a modern dancer — who cooperates with Masters. Though not a criminal by profession, Bianca aids and abets crime more freely than Ruth aids and abets the law. Ruth works for Chance because she has to. Bianca works with Masters because she wants to; she’s drawn to Master’s charisma, intelligence, and money.
Also, if Ruth works as a cashier at some sleazy strip club, Bianca performs at some trendy dance club/theater. The world of Ruth/Chance is prole-ish compared to the glitzier one of Bianca/Masters. (There’s a similar dichotomy in THE FRENCH CONNECTION where NY cops with pizza and cheap coffee are contrasted with rich criminals dining in a fancy restaurant. It’s like crime does pay while the ‘good guys’ must live on scraps.) Conventionally, the vices of the amoral crime-lord is contrasted with the virtues of the simple moral crusader, but from the start, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., conveys an overwhelming sense of rot permeating everything and everywhere. In the opening credit scene, people of all walks of life handle counterfeit cash. And the strip club, a soulless den of sleaze, is for regular guys. It’s not a world where one can believe in the noble proletariat or even the noble Negro — ‘Fearsome Negro’ is more like it.
Given that both Masters and Bianca are ‘creative’ modern artists — painter and dancer — , their relationship tends to be more complicated. Whereas Chance is clearly the man and Ruth is clearly the woman in their relationship, the sexuality is a bit ambiguous between Masters and Bianca. Though we see snippets of Bianca in the opening credit scene, she is fully introduced after her dance performance; we see her from behind as she walks to the dressing room to be embraced and kissed by Masters... except that ‘her’ physique appears to be that of a man. Indeed, before the reverse angle shot shows ‘her’ to be a woman, we are led to think Masters is some homo freak smooching a man. In my first viewing, I thought my eyes played tricks on me when the person I assumed to be a man turned out to be a woman, but it turns out that Friedkin actually did use a man to for Bianca-seen-from-behind. Why? To imply that Masters, like Bowie and other weirdos, is something of a bi-sexual and turned on by Bianca because she’s tall and boyish? Or, was it to suggest that Bianca, though in a relationship with Masters, is really a lesbian who feels like a man(and indeed, at the end we see her driving away with a woman who appears to be her lesbian friend). Or was Friedkin suggesting that we shouldn’t always believe what we see, which fits into the movie’s theme of deception and disguise? There are layers of betrayals here: some planned, some improvised, some ‘exploited’. For example, there’s another female dancer in the dressing room, Bianca’s friend, whom Masters later recruits as his new sexual partner to the apparent displeasure of Bianca. It seems as though Masters and her friend have betrayed Bianca, but after Masters is killed, we see Bianca and the woman together. As friends? As lovers? Were they using Masters all along? If so, how much of it was it planned, how much was it improvised and exploited as events unfolded? Some betrayals you have to force, while other betrayals just fall on your lap. Masters’ death allows the two women to ‘betray’ him posthumously in a hassle-free way. Perhaps because both Masters and Bianca are artists, they play the game with greater finesse and panache than Chance and Ruth, whose mutual suspicions and hostilities(as well as attractions) are more blunt.
The plot of TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. employs the paralleling of events and situations, sometimes to draw ironic contrasts between ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’; sometimes as similes insinuating a shared nature among the adversaries; and sometimes to illustrate the nature of the game. Take the recurrence of the act of infiltration/trespassing. In the first instance, it’s the Arab terrorist who disguises himself as a hotel bellboy and gains access to the roof; then, Jimmy Hart sneaks up from behind him. Then Jimmy Hart penetrates into Masters’ counterfeit-printing compound. (The fact that Masters is prepared for Hart suggests he might have contacts within the law enforcement community. Though Masters will not tolerate anyone transgressing on his turf — consider the way he kills Hart — , he himself snakes into others’ domains.) He uses Bianca to gain access to Waxman’s house and, after a struggle, kills Waxman. Later, Masters sneaks into the den of the Fearsome Negro, who growls when he finds the whitey violating the sanctity of his crib. If Masters worked with Bianca to deal with Waxman, he has his bodyguard as backup to take on the Negroes. What ensues is like a mini-race-war, two white guys vs three Negroes. Both Masters and his henchman get their pistols knocked out of their hands, and it seems like the Negroes are gonna whup em good. But the bodyguard is a big tough guy and tosses the Negroes about, reclaims his pistol, and shoots one Negro stone cold in the face. And Masters, though initially roughed up by the big Fearsome Negro like a raggedy doll, grabs for his silencer-fitted pistol and shoots the Fearsome Negro in the shoulder. In both struggles — with Waxman and the Fearsome Negro — , Masters is knocked down but gains the upperhand. Though physically no match for the Fearsome Negro, Masters is tough enough to absorb the blows, at least until regaining control of his gun.
Later, when Chance and Vukovich, as undercover agents posing as shady businessmen, arrive at a meeting with Masters, the latter uses Bianca to inspect the car that the two men arrived in. The infiltration is mutual. Another infiltration scene is when Chance gains access into an apartment to nab Cody(John Turturro), a criminal on the run. And even when Chance isn’t breaking into some place, he often slips in without being noticed. In one scene, Ruth wakes up to find Chance in her room. It’s like he sneaks in and out whenever and wherever he likes. Chance will not only violate the turf of criminals but of law enforcement. After Waxman’s death, the LAPD has designated his house as a crime scene, but Chance enters and filches an item, a notebook with contact information, without proper procedure. Instances of physical infiltration and trespasses underline violations of the law, emotions, and morality. When Chance and Ruth are together, it’s like Chance rudely walks all over her; emotionally, she feels like a doormat. Helpless before Chance, the man with the badge who can send her back to prison, Ruth tries to sneak in through his heart, appealing to his kindness(if such might exist), and when that doesn’t work, she slips him the information about the Chinaman-carrying-cash-to-buy-diamond. Well aware of Chance’s penchant for violating rules, she may have set a trap for him. (It’s one of those things in the movie that seems plausible or likely, but Friedkin refuses to nail it down and keeps us guessing. Similarly, the ending of CRUISING is ambiguous, with the possibility that the Al Pacino’s character might have become a gay killer himself. Just as Vukovich becomes Chance — and, in a way, even Masters — , Pacino’s character could have become the very thing he was professionally hunting and emotionally resisting. And the most frightening thing about THE EXORCIST is not the demon-possession-of-the-girl but the possibility that the Devil might also gain possession of Father Damien’s soul for any number of reasons: surrender to fear, loss of faith, exhaustion, trickery — as when the Devil pretends to be his dead mother — , the temptation of power, etc. There are many ways a person can be ‘converted’ to the very thing he appears to be the very opposite of. One way is through the rush of emotions and strong passion. Thus, in pursuit of the ‘bad guy’, the ‘good guy’ can do ‘bad things’. In Kurosawa’s THE BAD SLEEP WELL, the ‘good guy’ uses counter-dirty-tricks to bring down the corrupt ‘bad guys’, but it dawns on him that he’s becoming like them. And though the kidnapper/murderer of HIGH AND LOW strikes us as the ‘bad guy’, there’s an intimation that he might have been ‘good’ once and only gradually became ‘bad’ because of his wounded sense of ‘goodness’. Poor and angry at the world — especially the ‘greedy rich’ — , he plotted to punish the haves in the name of the have-nots, but his bitterness came to poison his view of entire humanity. Of course, there’s the possibility that he was born with an evil nature, a theme Kurosawa pursued in other movies; some people can be saved, some cannot; some people went bad, but some people were rotten to begin with. In a way, BAD SLEEP WELL and HIGH AND LOW are reverse mirror reflections of one another. Both involve plots of ‘lowly’ characters taking on the ‘high’ characters, but the difference is the character in BAD SLEEP WELL comes across as a good man driven by personal anger to do dubious ‘bad’ deeds — which he comes to regret and question to some extent, especially when he realizes he’s fallen in love with the daughter of the man he’s trying to destroy — whereas the kidnapper in HIGH AND LOW, even as he tries to justify himself, strikes us as someone who could have been born evil. In THE SEARCHERS, the John Wayne character becomes a kind of savage himself in his vendetta against the red savages. In wars against the evils of Nazism and communism, democratic America did things that were just as ghastly as the ‘crimes’ of the enemy. In the heat of battle fueled by rage and hatred, the ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ meld into one — and it is only when the dust settles down that we can truly understand why one side was better than the other side. But the ‘conversion’ can happen coldly and quietly too, which was indeed the case with a lot of radical intellectuals. Why was it that some of the best educated intellectuals lent their moral and ideological support to Third World ‘liberators’, many of whom were little more than thugs, louts, and murderers? Cloistered in their own cocooned reality, the radical bookworms could use their fancy theories and imagination to ‘spiritually’ unite with people who were their exact opposite. It’s like the father in BARBARIANS INVASIONS recounting how he’d once fulsomely praised Mao in the 1970s to a Chinese exchange student — whose family was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution — , oblivious to the fact that his entire knowledge of China came through official propaganda and articles/books written by useful idiots in the West — much like himself — whose view of reality was colored by ideological conceit and intellectual narcissism than anything related to reality. In the safety of his academic community, feted with privilege and freedom, he could make of the Chinese communism whatever he pleased. In a similar vein, a lot of privileged whites and Jews, who know very little about Negroes and Third World reality, have ‘converted’ and ‘leapfrogged’ themselves into fellow brethren of the ‘people of color’. There’s almost no limit to the way people can fool themselves.) Though it’d be nice to see world in terms of cops and robbers — or ‘good guys’ vs ‘bad guys’ — , crime-fighters must mingle with the dregs, scum, and psychos on a daily basis. Though they do it in the name of protecting decent law-abiding people, the criminals are also part of the people(and thrive because sufficient numbers of ‘law-abiding’ people are willing to bend the rules; if ‘law-abiding’ people didn’t use illegal drugs, there wouldn’t be drug-lords. If ‘good’ people didn’t buy favors through lawyers, lawyers wouldn’t be so crooked. To be sure, it’s a chicken or the egg argument. Do people use illegal drugs because the drugs have been made available by drug dealers, or do people deal in drugs because people want them? What came first? Supply or the demand?) When lawmen deal with lousy scum every day all year round, there’s the danger of growing cynical and seeing all of humanity as part of the same cesspool. This is especially true in the Negro community. After dealing with so many crazy blacks, a cop must sometimes ask himself, “are all blacks like the crazy niggers I deal with everyday?” And consider the Italian-American community, where many ‘law-abiding’ greaseballs have been, directly or indirectly, associated with mafia hoodlums(like in GOODFELLAS). If you’re a lawman who has to deal with the reality of crime in the Italian-American community, you might come to see all Italian-Americans as corrupt and scummy, not least because so many Italian-Americans, even ones who aren’t professional criminals, look the other way — sometimes out of fear, sometimes out of ethnic solidarity, sometimes both — when their ethnic brethren do crooked things. And consider the problem with the Mexican-American community. We like to think that most Mexican-Americans are decent folks, but so many of them turn a blind eye or even publicly support massive illegal immigration from the South out of racial/national solidarity. Though we wanna draw a clear distinction between good decent law-abiding Mexican-Americans and illegal aliens, such isn’t possible because there is a vast grey area between legality and illegality.
In a way, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is like a Vietnam War movie set in L.A. What was the problem with US soldiers in Vietnam? Americans wanted to see Vietnam in terms of decent pro-American South Vietnamese freedom-lovers working with American soldiers to fight evil communist infiltrators and the Viet Cong. But it just so happened that many South Vietnamese who seemed to be on our side were actually working with the enemy — out of fear or national solidarity or both. Vietnam War was especially harrowing because it was a psychological as well as a physical war. In WWII, US vs Japan was simple. ‘Japs’ were the enemy, and Americans pounded Japan to smithereens until it surrendered unconditionally. But US went into Vietnam as friends and rescuers. Americans were told that South Vietnam is an ally, a nation of decent Asian folks who love and appreciate Americans. We were not conquerors or invaders but helpers and saviors. (Same moral logic was sold in relation to Iraq. We were told that we were NOT at war with Iraq itself but only against Hussein and his handful of loyaltists, whose removal would pave the way for a great love affair between Americans and Iraqis.) The problem was ‘the friend’ often turned out to be the enemy in Vietnam — and incidentally the very first image in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is like the first image of APOCALYPSE NOW — the ambiguous break of dawn in a jungle world, tropical or urban. (Socio-cultural ambiguity is a potent weapon of Jews. Jews are the Eternal Viet Cong who, by day, plant rice, and by night, slit your throat. The downfall of White America can essentially be traced to the moment when white Americans began to trust Jews as allies, friends, neighbors, partners, and etc. Jews may seem harmless and friendly, but they’re always plotting against us. Because the face of Jewish power is often so nerdy and geeky — take Timothy Noah, Peter Beinart, Steven Pinker, Cass the Ass Sunstein, and etc. — , there is a tendency to see them as just harmless brainy types committed more to theory and ideas than action and power, but DON’T YOU BELIEVE IT. Jewish intellectuals aren’t merely observers/thinkers but critical/subversive activists well-connected with their brethren in finance, media, government, entertainment, law firms, courts, etc. Jewish ideas are never just ideas but commandments to shove down your throat and up your ass. When Jewish intellectuals first began yammering about ‘gay marriage’, we thought it was just some funny thought experiment, but their Jewish allies in entertainment, government, media, and academia have made it the official policy of future America. If Jewish intellectuals start yammering about ‘evil Iran with nukes’, it may very well lead to war with Iran. Jewish talk is the leash that makes us walk. Never trust a Jew. It’s possible that Jews especially identified with Cuban and Vietnamese guerilla fighters because, being deceitful and subversive themselves, Jews felt an emotional kinship with Castro and Ho who artfully used the deceptive art of war to gain victory. Of course, Jews are far more dangerous than Cuban or Asian radicals. Jewish advantage isn’t merely intellectualism and high IQ but a kind of personality geared to struggle and win at every turn. The difference between Jews and Asians is most Jews like to dominate/control while most Asians like to obey/follow. When Asians are surrounded by whites, they wanna fit into white society — at least if white society demands that minorities assimilate. Asians, naturally being sheepish and obedient, try to absorb whiteness as much as possible. In contrast, if Jews were surrounded by white people, Jews will put on the Zelig-ish act to enter into white society while doggedly maintaining their inner Jewishness and working to change white society from within. If Asian minorities try to swallow whiteness, Jews allow themselves to be swallowed by white society but from inside the white stomach, heart, genitalia, and brains, they spread the Jewish virus all throughout the white system; Jewish poison has the same effect as a hornet’s sting on a spider; the sting paralyzes the spider but keeps it alive for it be devoured by the baby hornets to hatch from the spider’s eggs. White America has been stung by Jewish poison, and while it’s still alive, it’s in a state of paralysis while Jews lay their poison eggs all over the white body so that their future hatchlings will devour it. Both the Jewish and Asian communities have leaders and followers, but the nature of in-group arrangement developed differently among Asians and Jews. In the Asian community, the leaders exist because the masses want/need someone to follow. So, Japanese wanted a Shogun to unite the nation, Mongols wanted Genghis Khan to unite and rule, and Chinese revered the great emperor, whether he be First Emperor Ch’in or Mao Zedong. With so many people willing to follow, the powerful ruler arose among Asian communities. The dynamic was reverse in the Jewish community. Just about every Jew thought he knew best and should lead. This led to much cantankerousness among Jews. Mongols were able to get behind Genghis Khan and ride around conquering and raping. This was possible because of their total commitment to th great Khan. But take the movie TEN COMMANDMENTS. Moses is trying to lead his people out of Egypt, but feisty and argumentative Jews keep driving him crazy; they are bitching, ‘Hey Moses, who made YOU leader?’ Jews sure can be an impatient bunch, and every Jew wants to have his say and prove his spiritual, moral, and intellectual superiority over others. There is surely a positive side to this, and, if anything, we should emulate Jews to some extent and instill within us the ‘culture of critique’. Jews may be hideous, but they’re less likely to support absolute tyrants like Stalin or Hitler. Jews could never be led to worship whites in the way relatively sheepish whites have been recently led to worship Jews. I can’t imagine millions of Jews doing something so retarded and stupid as sticking their hands out and shouting ‘Heil Hitler’ at mass rallies like so many moronic Germans did. It’s amazing that Germans, such an advanced people, acted hardly differently from the followers of Jim Jones. ‘Krauts’ sure can be thick-skulled and childish. Though many Jewish communists did support and loyally serve under Stalin, Jews initially backed him not to obey him but to control him, the dimwit goy; but Stalin turned out to be no dummy but very cunning and shrewd operator. To be sure, some Jews supported Stalin because they saw him as the stabilizing influence in a Russia overly rife with bickering among intellectuals in government. Though the early Bolsheviks were utterly ruthless against their ‘class enemies’, a fair amount of dissent and discussion within the Soviet government had been possible prior to the rise of Stalin as absolute leader; needless to say, much of the noise came from intellectual Jewish radicals who thought they knew everything. The problem with such endless squabbling was that in a communist system, the state = the economy, i.e. if the state couldn’t function due to divisions, nothing could function. In capitalist nations, government can be paralyzed by ‘gridlock’ and ‘partisan bickering’, but much of the economy, run privately, continues as usual and produces goods and services. Who cares if Congress can’t pass a bill as long as Apple keeps making iPhones and Walmart keeps selling stuff? But under communism, if government failed to agree on policy, the economy ground to a halt. In a command economy, orders come from above, and if the elites are in disagreement, the entire economy doesn’t know what to do. Since much of the economy was in a state of confusion and paralysis due to dissension among the Soviet elites, even powerful Jewish Bolsheviks began to back Stalin as the man-who-might-be-able-to-get-things-done. Since Stalin was seen as a colorless and unimaginative bureaucrat, with the mentality of a manager than intellectual — a doer than a thinker — , Jews hoped that he would carry out the practical running of the state while they themselves thought things out and hammered out the True Communist plan for the long-run; Stalin was supposed to be an interim goytoy working as janitor, plumber, electrician, and shoveler of the economy, thus allowing the smarter Jews to work on the proper grand blueprint for future USSR. Paradoxically, many Jews favored Stalin over Trotsky because they themselves were like Trotsky in terms of personality and attitude. They were so filled with ideas, so argumentative, so agitated and agitating, and so wily that their Marxism was threatening to turn into Marx-Brother-ism. In a way, the Jewish support of Stalin may offer a glimpse into how the Jewish God was created. In ancient times, the argumentative, egotistical, and vain Jews could never agree on anything. There were more leader-personality-types than follower-personality-types among the Jews than among any other people — with the possible exception of Greeks. If Mongols were Jewish, Genghis Khan could never have amassed an army willing to follow him to hell and back. A whole bunch of Jews would have challenged him, “Hey Khanowicz, who made you leader?” While Genghis Khan’s rise to the top wasn’t easy, once he showed he could kick ass better than any other Mongol, all the Mongols figured, “yep, he’s the one.” But Jews, being smart and argumentative by nature, had a difficult time accepting any other Jew as top leader. Even after Moses did so much to lead his people out of Egypt, a whole bunch of Jews were driving up him batty, just like a whole bunch of Jews were driving one another crazy in the early Soviet government. So, the ONLY way the Jews could stop bickering was to construct a new kind of power that could not be argued with. Indeed, to suppress/silence argument about this great unifying power, even His name couldn’t be mentioned or fully spelled, which may be why Yahweh is spelled YHWH by Jews. Similarly, it’s possible that Bolshevik Jews decided on Stalin as supreme ruler because only such a leader might finally put an end to every Jew in Soviet government acting like the Trotsky or Zinoviev: obnoxious, difficult, abrasive, and asshole-ish. But then, just like YHWH, Stalin turned out to be very powerful. Furthermore, perhaps the Jewish injunctions against idolatry originated in Jewish criticism and hostility against one another. Remember the Jewish cavemen in Mel Brooks’ HISTORY OF THE WORLD PT I? One guys paints a picture on the wall, and some Jewish art critic pulls out his pud and pisses on it. Jews were so wily, insulting, and abrasive that whenever a Jew did something, other Jews would mock and tear him down. If a Jewish guy wrote something, other Jews poked fun at it. If a Jewish guy drew or sculpted something, other Jews dumped on it. If a Jewish guy cooked something, other Jews said, ‘eeeeeyuck!’, which may explain why Jewish cooking ain’t much. And maybe there were lots of jokes about one another bodies, especially the penises. “Hey, you’re fat!”, “Hey, you’re ugly!”, “Hey, you’re hairy!”. Maybe Jews took up circumcision because there was too much mutual mockery about each other’s dicks: size, shape, odor, etc. Thus, by associating the penis with pain — on the order of God — , there was bound to be fewer jokes. Even so, there must be more words for penis in Yiddish than in any other language. With so much mutual insulting, Jews took to hiding their bodies unlike Egyptians and Greeks who made paintings and sculptures showing off their bodies. If a Greek guy saw a nude statue, he thought, ‘how beautiful’. If a Jewish guy saw one, he’d say, ‘hey, look at that tiny dick.’ Since Jews were hurting each other’s feelings with so much mutual insult-hurling, it was necessary to create a form of Truth, Beauty, Morality, and Power that could not be knocked or made fun of. And that was the one and only God. This God could not be pictured or manifested in any idol form. As such, He could not be mocked. He was everywhere and nowhere. He couldn’t be destroyed like a statue, pissed on like a painting, or poked fun like a guy’s genital. Since His name couldn’t even be uttered, one couldn’t even crack a joke about Him. Though Jews were believed to have rejected idolatry on the basis of God’s orders, their God could actually have been the product of their witty and wily idol-smashing nature. Even before God told them ‘no idols’, they’d been so busy smashing the idols and ideas of other Jews that Jews might have finally felt the need to create something that cannot be attacked, insulted, or trashed. Jews are born hackers, and like to hack into everything. God was the one thing that ancient Jews couldn’t hack into, not when His name couldn’t even be uttered. The effect of this was profound. It finally created a united and collaborative Jewish community. While Jews could protest against Moses, Saul, or David, they could never dare protest against God. Since there was finally a power that couldn’t be pissed on, even a people as wily and argumentative as the Jews finally forged into one community and people. And since Kosher laws were based on God’s laws, Jews couldn’t be as insulting about each other’s cooking as they might have been previously. A Jew would have been less likely to say ‘eeeeeyuck’ when food served according to the rules of God. Insulting the food might be construed as an insult to God. But the downside of this was that a big part of Jewish fun was lost with the invention of God. Before there was the one and only God, Jews felt free to make and break idols. Though Jews felt hurt when their idols were mocked by other Jews, they took pleasure in mocking the idols of other Jews. You got to piss on the paintings of other Jews as they pissed on yours. You got to crack jokes about other Jews’ dicks as they cracked jokes about yours. This led to much social tensions, but it could also be a lot of fun. It’s like Negroes love to trash-rap one another all night long. Once Jews were united under the God and His Laws, they had to be more mindful and cautious of what they said, or they themselves would be smashed like idols under a barrage of stones. Since Jews were no longer permitted to freely create idols or think ideas, they were no idols and ideas to insult and mock, which took away much of the fun. In a way, the creation of God was an ancient form of political correctness. It cut down on mutual hostilities and made for greater social peace, but it also took away lot of the fun. Howard Sterns and Larry Davids of the ancient world would have had to keep mum because they could get stoned if they got out of line. This may explain why Jews, upon Emancipation, turned especially obnoxious. Their idol-creating-and-mocking nature had been suppressed for thousands of years. Modern Jews were free to think new ideas and create new idols and mock them as well. Thus, capitalist Jews mocked communist Jews, and communist Jews mocked capitalist Jews. And even within the communist camp, one bunch of radical Jews attacked another bunch of radical Jews. When Jews didn’t have much political power, they could think and say whatever since they were not responsible for much. But once the running of a vast empire, the USSR, fell onto their laps, Jews could no longer just bitch, whine, agitate, and subvert but actually had to run and manage stuff. Real things had to be done. But things got so out of hand in the early Soviet Union that Jews finally took a chance with Stalin, whom they hoped would suppress excessive dissension and enforce practical policies. And even though or especially because Stalin wasn’t Jewish, all Jews could agree to his leadership since due to ‘narcissism of small differences’, Jews tended to be most competitive and envious among themselves. Remarkably, Stalin was able to use divide-and-rule against Jews. Since then — and especially following the Holocaust — , Jews of all stripes and ideologies, left and right, have decided never to attack one another so viciously and give the goyim an opening to take power away from divided Jews. This is why, all through the Great Recession and Occupy Wall Street, we don’t see leftist Jews calling out on the foulness of finance-capitalist Jews. Though Jews make up much of the 1%, leftist Jews would have us believe it’s about the generic people vs generic rich. All said and done, Jews favor Jews over any people, ideology, or cause. It’s much better that Jews play divide-and-rule amongst goyim than bicker amongst themselves and give some shrewd goy the opportunity to play divide-and-rule among Jews. Some conservatives think they are being clever in trying to divide neocon Zionist Jews from liberal Jews, but both neocon Jews and liberal Jews are really on the same boat. If Stalin proved to be a failed god that didn’t do much for Jews, Holocaustianity is the new faith/god for the Jews that has made it possible for ALL Jews — no matter how abrasive or whatever their ideology — to stand together. Even neocons and liberal Jews are totally agreed on the importance of the Holocaust in forging a common consciousness among Jews for the present and future. Had it not been for Hitler’s madness, the Jewish community would likely be much more fragmented due to the Jewish penchant for bickering, mocking, and insulting one another.)
TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A was a strange movie to appear in the middle of the Reagan decade when, via the therapeutics of neo-nationalism and RAMBO, the world seemed clear once again. It was US vs the Evil Empire, and we were winning. Heroic white males dominated the screen and used their muscle to destroy the bad guys. If Rocky lost in the first movie and barely eked out a victory in the second movie, he was a ripped white guy who beat the shit out of Mr. T in the third installment. MTV was white dominated, and the cultural threat posed by 70s funk-soul and gay disco was just a memory. Michael Jackson was hugely popular, but he was a non-threatening Nice Negro who seemed to be gradually turning white. The COSBY SHOW was the #1 hit on TV, and it seemed like half his kids were turning white too. And Prince looked kinda white and sang ‘white rock’ than black soul. Rap music was still fringe music for the most part, at least in the white community. And it was as if US finally shook itself free of the Vietnam Syndrome. Reagan even ‘heroically’ invaded Grenada — while American ally Thatcher won the war against Argentina(and with some backing of liberal media since Argentina was then ruled by the right-wing military junta) — , and for some, it was proof that US would have won in Vietnam had it not been for the backstabbing politicians. Also, the Vietnam War Memorial filled Americans with lots of feel-good self-pity; the men who had been called ‘baby-killers’ in the late 60s were suddenly fallen angels finally embraced by Lady Liberty.
Yet, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A.’s portrait of America is a kind of Vietnam without the clarity of right and wrong, good or evil. Law is a game-toy played by lawyers, criminals have allies and partners among ‘civilians’, law enforcement is ineffectively run by bureaucrats in offices or brutally enforced by lawmen who operate like criminals. US may have pulled out of Vietnam, but what if American cities have become like Saigon, rife with corruption, prostitution, crime, violence, betrayals, etc.? Of course, there was always crime and corruption throughout American history, but what if even the American Ideal for a better society has been lost? What if the vision of the ‘City on a Hill’ had permanently degenerated into the cynical circus of City on a Pill or Thrill? What if America has officially become a nations of hustlers and hookers where anything is for sale — and without shame? What if vice is the new nice?
Though TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. begins with two heroic Secret Service agents taking down an external enemy — an Arab terrorist — , the rest of the movie seems to say the enemy is over here, and it is us. Arab terrorists didn’t produce crooked lawyers, reckless lawmen, arch criminals, a culture of rot.
Chance may be something of a jerk, but what if he has to be one to ‘survive’? He comes across as especially repugnant when he steps all over Ruth, but maybe he has reasons. Chance gets burned twice in the movie when he tries to be a nice guy. The first time, he insists on accompanying Hart to inspect Masters’ warehouse. Hart says NO, and out of respect and friendship, Chance relents and lets Hart do it his way. And Hart gets killed. Chance should have been more adamant. Later, Chance takes Cody(John Turturro) into personal custody, and Cody puts on the ‘nice guy’ willing-to-cooperate act. Chance had caught Cody at the airport after a prolonged chase and knows him to be a dirty weasel. But Cody tugs at Chance’s heartstring with a sob story about his daughter in the hospital, and Chance, against his better instincts, lets down his guard and is sucker-punched, knocked down, and kicked in the balls by Cody who then escapes. To Chance, Cody and Ruth are the same kind of people: shady, cunning, and remorseless, always putting on an act and never to be trusted. The one time Chance tried to be decent, he’s attacked, humiliated, and kicked in the nuts by scuzzo Cody.
Few things are more demoralizing than not knowing whom you can trust and whom you can’t, which accounts for the nature of the Mylai Massacre. It’s one thing to see a people as your enemy or as your friend but quite another to never know which is which. For people in the front-line, the only protection against demoralization is dehumanization, i.e. to become ruthless and see all people as potential killers out to slit your throat. (Paradoxically, once such a dark mind-set becomes the prevailing view of humanity, the soldier or the lawman at war against the ‘bad guy’ may come to respect the very object of his hatred insofar as it’s understood that both sides must be tough and fight hard to win. Furthermore, the soldier or lawman may lose respect for the very people — the civilians or law-abiding folks — he’s fighting for and trying to protect. Civilians or law-abiding folks may be ‘good’, but they don’t struggle to live-or-die in the danger zone. In the Western, the good gunman may choose to fight, kill, or die for the sake of the ‘good’ law-abiding people, but he doesn’t have much respect for them; if anything his respect is for the bad ‘gunman’ he must kill. Bad guys are scum but they sure are tough. In sports, an athlete tries to demolish the athlete of the other team, but there is a mutual respect between them whereas athletes feel no respect for the fans in the stadium cheering like silly little girls.) Lawmen are supposed to see everyone as ‘innocent before proven guilty’ and ‘serve and protect’, but what happens when many people turn out to be rotten? Some lawmen are able to maintain their equilibrium while others come to see every suspect and even entire community as rotten and deserving of abuse. Rotten as the criminal world may be, the lawmen may feel drawn to it as a kind of Darwinian game of struggle. Even if they lose self-respect as idealistic enforcers of the law, they gain self-esteem as tough hombres surviving in a world defined by the law of the jungle. It’s like Willard(Martin Sheen) in the opening scene of APOCALYPSE NOW says that every time he was back in the States, all he could think of was getting ‘back into the jungle’. It may be crazy and dangerous in the jungle, but a man proves himself a real man; he is tested in the game of ‘to live or die’. His wits, skill, and strength are tested to the max; he feels like a tough warrior and not some pampered modern man surrounded by comfort. Even if he were to lose and die, it is real death worthy of a real man than some wimpy death in a nursing home. Live like a man, fight like a man, win like a man, lose like a man. That may also be why Travis Bickle in TAXI DRIVER cannot leave the city he hates. He feels tested and pushed to the limit every moment of the day. He knows he’s in the asshole of the world, but if he can survive there, he can survive anywhere. Anyone can stay safely at home, play videogames, score points, and feel like a champion, but it’s fantasy available to anyone: man, woman, child, grampy, grannie. But even in defeat, a man feels real in actual combat. A boxer who loses in real boxing has more reason for self-respect than some dork who scored high in videogame boxing. John Turturro, who plays Cody, is Italian-American and looks Jewish — he was one in BARTON FINK — , and he’s always looking for angles, and in this respect, Jews and Italians have something in common, though the former play for bigger stakes. Jews are ultimately more effective liars because they mix their great lies with great truths, mix their great cons with great contributions. The difference between Italian-Americans and Jewish-Americans is the latter could do a lot of great stuff even without cheating. Indeed, most of Jewish success owes to meritocracy and playing by the rules, which cannot said for all those rotten ‘gumbas’ who give the Italian-American community a bad name. Because Italian-Americans try to cheat over little things, they’re less likely to gain the opportunity to play for big stakes. From the start, most people learn not to trust the rotten ‘guineas’; if you get burned by Italians over $1000, you’re not gonna trust them with something involving $1 million. In contrast, Jews will play the smaller things straight and win your trust. You’ll see them as a good, decent, trustworthy, and wonderful people. And so they rise higher and higher, gaining our trust with bigger and bigger responsibilities. But once they gain entry into the halls of power and come to own them, they turn into hideous Jews and start pulling all sorts of venal tricks on everyone. It’s like a Jewish guy will really study hard to become a great lawyer, but once he gains legal power, he will pull all sorts of stunts from inside the castle to maximize his power. Jews rise through merit and then rule through malice. Negroes are, of course, worse than even Italian-Americans. They are so impatient to grab the prize that many don’t seem capable of any long-term strategy. They’re like those chimpanzees in experiments that can’t control their impulse for instant gratification EVEN WHEN they consciously know that self-restrain will lead to greater rewards. The most notable thing about Obama is he’s been the chimp who not only learned but mastered the art of self-control to gain the top prize.
The more Chance deals with the ‘dirtbags’ of society, the less trusting he becomes of everyone and everything. And yet, there is a kind of dark respect for criminals because they too live on the edge and play the game. It’s like a Negro gangbanger may hate other gangbangers with whom he fought so many times, but he still acknowledges them as part of the ‘badass crowd’. Thus, when a Negro gangbanger is placed in a nice quiet white community where people are nice, he may feel more contempt than gratitude toward the ‘pussyass’ and ‘soft’ white folks. The white community may be nice, friendly, and welcoming, but it’s as if everyone is living in an illusory comfort bubble and knows nothing about tough reality where one must ‘fight to survive’. If a wild wolf were placed with a bunch of nice doggies, the wolf would see the tame doggies as ‘pussy’. Some white folks from lower class backgrounds feel the same way toward the ‘faggoty-ass’ SWPL community, a world of privileged white kids pampered all their lives. They may be nice and well-educated and all, but they are fundamentally naive about humanity and haven’t been tested/scarred by reality. To someone used to ‘surviving’, NICE is a four-lettered word. In GOODFELLAS, the young Henry Hill, upon watching a gunshot victim, acts nice and goes to help but only pisses off his boss who says, “I gotta toughen this kid up.”
This is a problem with ‘surviving on the edge’, especially for lawmen. They’re ‘good guys’ fighting ‘bad guys’ to make the world safer for ‘good’ decent people, but they can’t help feeling that bad guys have certain qualities that are more (darkly)admirable than those of good decent people. ‘Bad guys’ are tough; they are mavericks; they have balls. But what about ‘good decent folks’? If the ‘good guys’ — lawmen — are at least willing to put their lives on the line for the good of society, what do most ‘good decent folks’ do? They are afraid to pick up the guns themselves and so they hire other people to protect them from crooks and predators. It could be most ‘good decent folks’ support the rule of law not so much because they are principled idealists but because they’re too wimpy to survive in the jungle on their own. ‘Bad guys’ are scum but capable of fighting like lions and hyenas; they’re willing to play the game of cat-and-mouse, of fight-and-flight. And ‘good guys’, like gunmen in Western movies, are willing to face down the bad guys in the fight, like Gary Cooper in HIGH NOON. But look at the ‘good decent folks’ in that movie. When faced with the possibility of fighting and dying, they just crawl into their homes and do nothing. They are too wimpy to fight, and too wimpy even for flight. They just hide and shit. In some ways, white folks behavior is even more disgraceful today in the face of political correctness and anti-white agenda pushed by Jews. If the ‘good decent townsfolk’ of HIGH NOON at least knew they were acting disgracefully by not volunteering to help Gary Cooper’s character, most white Americans have been brainwashed by Jews into thinking that their racial cowardice is their greatest virtue. Though the Negro/Jewish/Illegal-Alien/Gay version of Frank Miller is coming to rob, rape, and kill white folks, white folks believe that their passive acceptance of defeat and submission is morally redeeming. The results of this mind-set is grimly playing out in South Africa, but there is no resistance among whites over there or over here. Indeed, Jews have brainwashed whites into thinking cowardice is courage, i.e. ‘it is courageous for whites to be noble-hearted, tolerant, and inclusive to the point of their own self-destruction as a race, culture, and nation.’ Jews have conditioned white people into thinking that resisting and fighting the threat of ‘diversity’ is cowardly since it means white people are ‘afraid’ of change: ‘xenophobia’, ‘homophobia’, etc. According to liberal psychologists, the conservative mind is ‘fearful’ and children born with ‘conservative genes’ tend to be crybabies, full of complaint, whiny, and afraid... whereas children born with ‘liberal genes’ tend to be adventurous, brave, and open to new ideas. Following this logic, it is courageous for white liberals to welcome with open arms the massive transformations wrought by out-of-control immigration, interracism, and multi-culturalism. (Jews hate the idea of melting pot, especially in the US, because it means all gentile Americans may mold into one people along the Anglo-American model, which will make it more difficult for the Jewish elites to play divide-and-rule. Suppose most Mexican-Americans became good decent Americans and accepted the Anglo-American narrative, values, and identity in terms of what-it-means-to-be-American. Then, whites and browns would be one people. To keep them apart and pit them against one another, Jews have pushed ‘multi-culturalism’; not to bring various Americans together but to set them apart and against one another as Jerry Springer does to his guests on his trashy show.) To push for the demise of White Power, White Identity, and White Interests is said to be ‘courageous’ because it is a sign of ‘adventurousness’ and ‘openness to new things’ on the part of white people. In contrast, white people who want to maintain the integrity and unity of white civilization are ‘cowardly’ because they are too afraid to embrace change. Thus, white folks who SURRENDER to the NWO(controlled by Jews) are ‘courageous’ heroes while white folks who STAND UP TO FIGHT the NWO are craven cowards since they wanna stop the arrival of a ‘progressive society’ where white women are turned into mudsharks and white men are reduced to SWPL pussyboys. COWARDICE IS COURAGE AND COURAGE IS COWARDICE is the Orwellian truth peddled by Jewish Political Correctness in the 21st century. (To be sure, there are other reasons as to why white people choose not to make their voices heard when it comes black violence and crime. The main reason is fear due to the biological fact that blacks are tougher than whites. Imagine the following two scenarios in an integrated community that’s, say, 50/50 white and black. In scenario A, suppose a gang of whites attacks and kills a black guy. If a ‘black leader’ comes forward and fans the flames to turn it into a racial issue, a whole bunch of black folks will pour into the streets, shake their fists, scream about ‘racism’, demand ‘justice’, and so on. Many of them will march angrily, say whatever they want, give loud interviews to TV news crews. We all know blacks often act this way. Some conservatives might say blacks act this way because the national media generally takes their side, and this is true. But blacks also act this way because they don’t fear white folks, and so they don’t fear the consequences of what they do and say out in the open. Next, in scenario B, suppose the opposite happened: a gang of blacks attacks and kills a white guy. Suppose a ‘white leader’ comes forward and tries to rouse and rally white people in the community to call attention to black brutality. Let’s even suppose that the media, for some odd reason, is very sympathetic to the white victim of black violence. But, almost no white person will join the ‘white leader’ to march and make a fuss. Why? Because white people know that if they publicly make their feelings known, they will be marked by blacks in the community and be beaten up and attacked one-by-one once the media circus goes out of town. And so, whites are even afraid to say what they really feel because they fear the black fist.)
Chance, as a fighter and survivor, respects power above all. He says Hart was the ‘most righteous guy I knew’, but Hart was a consummate pro and a great team leader. Righteousness alone doesn’t mean much to Chance. For example, after Chance illegally lifts an item from Waxman’s house, Vukovich RIGHTEOUSLY admonishes him for violating professional ethics, but Chance just finds it to be annoying boy scout stuff. He is the top dog and Vukovich is his backup man, and so he doesn’t care what Vukovich thinks, no matter how ‘righteous’ it may be. When Vukovich went to visit Chance to be his new partner, Chance said he’s gonna get Masters and he doesn’t care how. Vukovich probably understood this to be emotional — going after Masters with extreme hatred — , but it gradually dawns on Vukovich that Chance meant exactly what he said; he’s going to break laws and even commit an armed robbery to get Masters. Chance’s moral outrage over Hart’s death pushes him ever closer to the cliff-edge of amorality, yet his amorality is not without a kind of perverse moral logic. Chance reasons it’s okay to steal $50,000 from the ‘Chinaman’ since the latter is just another crook arriving in L.A. to purchase stolen diamonds. What’s wrong with robbing the robber, especially if the money will be used to catch a much bigger robber? Of course, we know the dangers of such moral reasoning.
Only a year later TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. was released, the Reagan administration would stumble into a major scandal as a result of such logic. US illegally sold arms to Iranians, not only to have hostages released but to funnel funds to Contras in Nicaragua. Since the money was going to be used for a noble cause — to combat Latin American Marxists — , what did it matter how it was procured? Classic argument of ends justifying means.
But there’s something more happening with Chance. His pursuit of Masters turns into a game, and he wants to keep playing because he can’t get enough of the excitement. He’s like a quarterback in the playoffs willing to do anything to make it all the way to the Superbowl. Similarly, men like Oliver North and Elliot Abrams got a kick out of playing the Cold War game. Though their ideological commitment to anti-communism was genuine, they were also addicted to the game of power and needed to find new ways to play the game. And after the Cold War, the neocons were looking for new enemies to stay in the game of power, especially in the interest of Israel. Masters is also addicted to the game. He works out at the gym, and the first time we see him visit the Fearsome Negro, it’s in a basketball court. These guys like to play, and they condition themselves, psychologically and physically, to be ready to play at any moment.
In a way, maybe Masters and Chance seek thrill in the realm of law/crime because it’s the only game left for white alpha males. Prior to the dominance of Negro athletes, white guys felt empowered through sports. But once NBA, NFL, and boxing become heavily black, white males no longer had a projection-ary outlet for their male energies. When a white guy watches white athletes, he identifies with and feels empowered through the mighty feats of the great white heroes. But what if most top athletes are blacks? No longer dominant in sports, white alpha males must prove themselves in the military, law enforcement, or the world of crime. And so, there’s a special racial charge in the scene where Masters and his bodyguard do battle with the Fearsome Negro and his dudes. And if white guys cannot win with muscle alone, USE THE GUN — like George Zimmerman did. Masters shoots the Fearsome Negro on the shoulder and then sinks the barrel into the guys’ mouth and says ‘suck on this’. It’s like a sexual/racial reversal where the white guy is making the black guy suck his dick as opposed to the prevailing dynamic where white males are pussified by black males, especially in jail where black convicts ram their black cocks into the pussy-assholes of white convicts.
There’s another racially charged scene where Cody and some white Latino guy are sitting in the prison yard and see two Negroes approaching. Cody, suspecting that Masters doesn’t trust him to keep his mouth shut, fears being ‘iced’ by a proxy in jail; and indeed, Cody, the cunning and alert weasel, proves to be right as Masters cut a deal with the Fearsome Negro to hire some inmates to have Cody killed. Cody has superb instinct for such things.
Even though Masters did betray Cody, it was as a last resort, and in that sense, one can argue that Masters is more principled than Chance. Like an European aristocrat, Masters lives by a kind of code. If he can help it, he tries to keep his end of the bargain if the other side keeps it too. In contrast, Chance often makes things up as he goes along and acts on impulse. Chance is smart in his own way, as when he grills Ruth on how she found out about the Chinaman carrying $50,000 to buy stolen diamonds. But when his instincts tell him he’s right, he doesn’t think twice about rules and just lunges ahead like a bull. He doesn’t know the meaning of introspection or principles. He reminds us of what Walter Hill once said in his interview with FILM COMMENT in 1980 or 1981. Hill said his characters have no use of psychology. They are tough, ruthless, and play to win, but they’ve no time to think about why they’re doing what they’re doing. Interestingly enough, THE WARRIORS, THE LONG RIDERS, and SOUTHERN COMFORT are all about Americans as outsiders in their own country. The gang in THE WARRIORS are no longer even a part of mainstream America, with which they are at war as well as against other gangs. But there’s pride in being a Warrior. Near the end, the gang members enter a subway, and they’re contrasted with fresh middle class white kids coming from a prom. The white kids may be privileged and all, but the Warriors are survivors; they’ve proven their worth as real men. In THE LONG RIDERS, southern men are at war with Yankee-ruled America. Admired and protected by fellow Southerners, the Jesse James gang are both respectable members of society and outlaws on the run. In SOUTHERN COMFORT, the dynamic has been reversed, with ‘Yankee’ soldiers in the Louisiana Bayou stumbling into a meaningless war of mutual misunderstanding with Cajun hillbilly folks. Likewise, there is no real sense of home for anyone in TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. It’s a diverse morass of corruption, sleaziness, and vapidity. Yet, a certain glamour cannot be denied in the sheer emptiness and shallowness of L.A. Since no one is a part of anything real, he or she is a spiritual nomad, free to choose or make up one’s own ‘values’. You can be whatever you want — if only in fantasy, as with Diane Selwyn in MULHOLLAND DR. It can be at once alienating and liberating, crass and creative. A city whose memory is amnesia.
TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. is not only memorable for its hero and villain but a host of colorful characters. Dean Stockwell as Grimes, Turturro as Cody, Fluegel as Ruth, Feuer as Bianca, and many others. This level of quality performance from the entire cast is rare. Though Chance and Masters command the bulk of our attention, the most interesting character may actually be Vukovich, whose role is too important to be merely secondary yet too supportive to share center stage. John Pankow who plays him is not your typical leading-man-type and, purely in physical terms, looks out of his league in the 80s, a decade that favored big-named stars known either for their pretty-boy good looks(Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson) or their big muscles(Stallone and Schwarzenegger) — on the other hand, Bruce Willis became an unlikely action superstar with the DIE HARD series, and Michael Keaton starred in the first BATMAN movie. Pankow might have done better in the late 60s and early 70s when a new crop of actors — many of them Jewish and ‘funny-looking’ like Pankow — rewrote the rules of what a leading action hero or lover should look/act like. At the time, Dustin Hoffman was one of the biggest stars in the world. And though the classic-looking Eastwood starred in DIRTY HARRY, the two protagonists of THE FRENCH CONNECTION were the Jewish actors Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider. And then, there were movies like BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID and PAPILLON where the Jewish guy — Newman or Hoffman — played the brains to the goy’s brawn(or fast draw). Newman was a special case because he was half-Jewish; he looked like a cross between Clark Gable and Bob Dylan, both classically handsome and sullenly outcast.
A long-running stereotype presented Jews as less manly, less tough, and less courageous than goy men, but this didn’t always reflect on them badly. Sometimes, Jewish reticence in action could mean more careful, less likely to risk life or limb as a slave to macho impulse(the cowboy or Italian gangster) or simple-minded code(knight or samurai). And since the pen is mightier than the sword, better to be more adventurous in thought than in action; if anything, the trick is to make others, especially those dimmer than you, carry out in practice what you conceived in theory. Patton said, “You don’t win a war by dying for your country. You win it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for HIS country.” Jews think, “You don’t win by dying for your ideas. You win by making goyim die for your ideas.” Thus, Jews devise and plan foreign policy, but all the fighting and dying are done by dumb goyim. Jewish male psychology finds the gentile cult of machismo intimidating, annoying, and useful all at once. To some Jews, gentile machismo means big dumb Polacks or Negroes picking on gangly Jewish nerds and stealing their lunch money. Many Jewish men find it really dumb, like some intellectual Jewish women find big-breasted shikse bimbos really stupid(though ugly Jewish intellectual hags also envy the sexuality of shikse whores, which is why Jewish feminists now support the predominantly porn industry as interracist propaganda to encourage all white women to go with Negroes and give birth to mulatto babies; that way, the ‘superior Aryan beauty’ of white people will be destroyed by race-mixing forever; it will be genetically mixed with mud and brillo. Just like the envious wicked queen ordered the prettier Snow White killed, vile and resentful Jewish hags want to smash and deface the idol of white beauty. Since the ‘Aryan look’ is very popular, Jews promote and market it to rake in a lot of cash, but instead of associating white beauty with white power/pride/dignity, it is turned into a commodity, packaged meat of tits and ass to fed to gorilla-like blacks. So, Jews both profit from the sale of white beauty and destroy white beauty by matchmaking it with black brawn and sexual hunger. Thus, white beauty is no longer the racial and cultural possession of white people as their unique biological heritage but a global commodity owned, marketed, sold, and degraded by Jewish cunning and filth. White culture and history used to revere and worship white female beauty, and therefore, white sexual morality insisted on rules and rituals that would preserve and show proper respect for women. Thus, white beauty was ‘spiritualized’ as something sacred. To gain sexual access to white female beauty, the man had to be of a particular type — white male — and possessed of proper manners and values — rooted in chivalry. But once modern Jews turned white women into whores and commodities, white women and white beauty were no longer a part of a unique racial heritage and memory but something to be marketed and sold as meat, especially to disgusting Negro beasts. Israel is notorious for enslaving gentile Slavic women and using them as sex slaves in brothels. If wild blacks rape white women all over South Africa, Jews enslave and exploit Slavic women all over Israel. Though modern white women have been turned into slave-whores of Jews, they foolishly think they’re ‘liberated’ because they now have the ‘freedom’ to shake their ass and stick em out at Negroes. Jews, by manipulating the most base animalistic impulses of white women, have turned them into psycho-sexual mudshark slaves of Negroes.) As far as Jewish men are concerned, something so dumb as gentile machismo is annoying and ripe for mockery, and Jewish comedians have been poking fun at big dumb strong goyim as long as we can remember. (To be sure, some of this mockery is therapeutic. Since Jewish men can’t beat goy males man-to-man, they console themselves by ripping goy manhood as something utterly ridiculous and/or phony. But white boys do this too when it comes to black athleticism. So, even though blacks are clearly superior basketball players, some guys in the Alternative Right community will say blacks are not really better players but advantaged only because of their ridiculous ability to jump higher — as if jumping ability isn’t part of the game!) But Jews also find goy machismo useful. In sports, Jews find Negro muscle a huge cash price. And in porn, Negro pud is like black gold for the hideous Jews who monopolize the industry. And in war, Jews exploit the machismo psychology of gentiles to make them go fight the enemies of Israel. In TERMINATOR 2, the big powerful robot has been reprogrammed to fight its own kind, and indeed Arnold Schwarzenegger, the archetypal ‘Aryan’ superhero type, was reprogrammed by Jewish Hollywood to fight the enemies of Jews, such as Muslim terrorists in TRUE LIES. Just as Jews used Negro muscle — Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, etc — to beat up and humiliate white/‘Aryan’ heroes, they used white machismo in the military to fight and kill tons of Muslims. On the other hand, Jews fear patriotic pride among tough white guys in the military as such might stoke the flames of ‘white nationalism’, and so Jews eagerly push stuff like open homosexuality, interracism, and globalist political correctness in the military. Thus, the American war in the Middle East has less to do with American/white nationalism than with trying to spread ‘universal human rights’ all around the world. So, the right-wing machismo of white males is employed and exploited by Jews in the war on Muslims; it’s ideologically distorted to champion not white manhood or American patriotism but ‘progressive’ globalism defined and dominated by heinously devious Jews. Jews tell white American males, “You can fight and kill like a REAL MAN in the military... but in the defense of ‘gay marriage’ as a human right.” It uses right-wing passions in the service of Jewish/leftist goals. The fact that most white conservatives have fallen for this dirty trick is proof that Jews are so much smarter than white people; the sheer idiocy of the Christian Right made it even easier for Jews to manipulate the psychology of white goyim.
Vukovich is a bundle of genuine strength and panic-stricken insecurity. He seems pretty smart and capable. He thinks about things and has a conscience; he’s outraged by Chance’s plan of robbing the ‘Chinaman’ to get the money to use as bait against Masters. Yet, conscience can cut both ways. One part of his conscience says he must turn himself in for having violated the law. But another part of his conscience says a real man doesn’t rat on his partner. His conscience is divided between loyalty to rule of law and loyalty to tribal code. Either way, his conscience both wins and loses; his predicament is similar to Treat Williams’ character in PRINCE OF THE CITY: uphold the law and betray one’s partners OR remain loyal to one’s partners and betray the law. This is the great paradox of law enforcement. The men are supposed to uphold the Law that guarantees equal justice for all, but lawmen, in putting their lives on the line and depending on their partners in life-and-death situations, are forced to think and act tribally. When your life depends on your partners and vice versa, the emotional ‘blood-bond’ trumps all; this is especially true in war, which is why even a redneck hillbilly and a jiveass Negro in war will bond very closely in battle; so many soldiers get away with atrocities because most soldiers will not ‘rat’ on their comrades. However noble the cause of war may be, soldiers on the ground are bound to think and feel in terms of ‘us guys’ versus ‘them guys’. Under such circumstances, emotions trump ideals, and for this reason, the code of silence has long been a problem in police departments. Even liberals who enter law enforcement soon discover that they must depend on their partners in life-and-death situations. Even for the most idealistically minded liberal, it must be difficult to turn on someone who risked his own life to save yours. This comes across in THE FRENCH CONNECTION. Friedkin said both he and Gene Hackman, being liberals, were appalled by the ‘racism’ and ham-fisted tactics of the actual cops on which the movie was based; but as Friedkin got to know the men and the nature of their work better — he followed them around on drug busts — , he came to understand the tribal bond that is almost inevitable and even necessary among cops working on the front-line against dangerous scum of the Earth. This also comes across in THE SORCERER, where four men from vastly different backgrounds and circumstances draw together in a mission that requires each other’s utmost commitment and loyalty. But the danger is that in fighting the devil, one can unknowingly slip over to the devil’s side. Following the real-life cops around in preparation for THE FRENCH CONNECTION, Friedkin would have noticed that NY is filled with seedy drug-dealers and all sorts of scumbags who need to be dealt with an iron fist; but in apologizing for the iron fist, what if one ends up with the devil’s fork?
Vukovich understands and sympathizes with Chance’s thirst for vengeance over Hart’s death. Also, Vukovich says he comes from a family of cops, and so he’s no stranger to the tribal loyalty. Even so, Vukovich doesn’t seem to be a natural tribalist. He might have been happier in another line of work, maybe in the D.A.’s office. By nature, he’s a man of doubts. He’s no ‘snitch’ but is also troubled by that fact he’s no snitch.
Stranger yet, Chance isn’t much of a tribalist either. Chance goes after Masters not so much because a fellow lawman has been killed but because his friend has been killed. The revenge is for himself than for the organization. Chance is also not a team-player and insists on doing everything his way. He’s a maverick. In sports, he’d be called a ‘selfish player’, and this troubles Vukovich even more. It’s one thing to maintain the code of silence for the good of the team but something else to violate even the rules of the team to serve the personal vendetta of a single agent. Though every lawman surely wants to see Masters caught, Chance wants to do it his way and on his own — with only backup from Vukovich. It’s HIS game to win or lose.
So, remaining loyal to Chance is a double violation for Vukovich; he’s not only aiding and abetting Chance’s breaking of the law but Chance’s trampling on the team spirit of the entire agency. Chance, like Popeye Doyle, is at war with the entire world; he seems as much at odds with his colleagues and bosses as with the criminals. There is something of the Ethan character(John Wayne) in THE SEARCHERS, a man who doesn’t get along well with anyone. Remember that Ethan is ostensibly on a mission to save Debbie and bring her back to civilization but, in fact, harboring plans to kill her for being defiled by red savages. Similarly, though Chance is officially pursuing a counterfeiter, he’s playing to win a game of his own design.
Vukovich isn’t just torn in terms of conscience but his manhood. If his character is meant to be Jewish, it has special cultural significance for the aforementioned reasons. Shorter and less dashing-looking than Chance — as well as less daring and bold — , he has insecurities as a beta-male trying to win the recognition of the alpha male. He is intimidated but also turned on by Chance. He rightly thinks Chance is crazy at times, but Chance’s willingness to push the envelope and his superhuman ability to maintain his cool under pressure are awesome to Vukovich, and he wants a piece of it. After the car chase, Vukovich is utterly drained and shell-shocked while Chance seems more energized than ever, exulting in his triumphant getaway. Vukovich has butterflies in his stomach, Chance has the eagle in his eye. During the chase scene, Chance flashes back to his ‘base-jumping’, as if this is all part of the game. In contrast, Vukovich, on the verge of mental breakdown in the back seat, flashes back to the image of the ‘Chinaman’ getting killed. Chance is the manic optimist and gambler while Vukovich is overcome with a portentous sense of doom. While Chance and Masters are the more exciting characters, most viewers will likely identify with Vukovich because he’s more accessible, more human. Few people are willing to go as far as Chance or Masters, yet they want to rub against the extremism for its talisman-like power, a complex that is brilliantly portrayed through Vukovich. In ALMOST FAMOUS, the young would-be rock critic hangs with crazy rock stars; though he can never be one of them, he wants to feel their vibes. Many drug dealers wanna be like Tony Montana. Many lawmen wanna be like Harry Callahan. Many Wall Street guys wanna be like Gordon Gekko. Most people have enough sense not to try, but the fantasy is always there, for in every person is a nature, even if suppressed or hidden, whose will is to ‘go all the way’. Thus, the duality of Vukovich’s attraction and repulsion to Chance is something all of us can understand. It’s like what the kid feels in relation to Paul Newman’s character in HUD; he both admires and despises Hud. Vukovich wants to be like Chance, the cool/tough/handsome guy, but he also resists the temptation, partly out of fear(as Chance might get them both booked or killed) and partly out of conscience(Vukovich doesn’t wanna become a monster). Pankow gives an excellent performance as a decent man entering into a bargain with one devil to catch another, in the process coming face to face with his own demons of power-lust and betrayal.
Sexually, Pankow doesn’t seem to have a woman, unlike Chance who owns Ruth and Masters who has Bianca. A deleted scene on the DVD shows Vukovich visiting his estranged soon-to-be-divorced wife, and it sums up his sense of frustration and insecurity. We get the impression that he tried to be a good lawman and a good husband but couldn’t juggle both. Maybe he feels if he were handsomer and taller, his wife would have stuck by him. Having lost his wife, he devotes himself fully to law enforcement, and one could say he sought out Chance almost as a marriage partner. Fittingly then, it’s no wonder that Chance sees Vukovich not so much as an equal partner but a wife doing the dishes. So, Vukovich feels he failed as a man with his wife and is failing as a man with Chance. He’s been rejected as a man by a woman and reduced to a woman-role by a man. A lot of modern white males must feel this way. At work, their manhood is trampled on by their bosses(who are sometimes female, gay, or Negro, which makes it worse) and at home, their wives or girlfriends may not show them much respect(especially since Jewish-controlled media brainwash white women to go with Negroes and look down on white males as ‘dweebs’ and ‘dorks’, which SWPL men are all too eager to embrace.)
Vukovich represents the man in the middle — between temptations, oaths, and loyalties. He tries to do the right thing, but ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ keeps changing in front of his eyes. In one scene, he says there’s no way he’s going on the heist(of the ‘Chinaman’), only to be met with Chance’s insults questioning his manhood. But few scenes later, we see Vukovich going along for the ride. (What happens at the train terminal where Chance abducts the ‘Chinaman’ parallels Chance’s pursuit of Cody at the airport earlier. Chance has gone from catching criminals to serve the law to catching criminals to break the law, but according to his twisted logic, he’s breaking the law to serve the law even better since the money taken from the ‘Chinaman’ will be the ticket to gaining full access to Masters.) Vukovich hopes for a simple in-and-out operation, but the heist sets off a chain reaction whereby mysterious men with automatic rifles seemingly materialize out of nowhere. Chance and Vukovich think they’re being tailed by organized crime figures, and the pursuit turns into what is probably the greatest car chase in movie history — at least prior to CGI — , all the more remarkable since the previous gold standard was also owned by Friedkin with THE FRENCH CONNECTION. This wild chase cannot be described and must be seen to be believed. (Incidentally, the ‘Chinaman’ is killed accidentally by stray gunfire from one of the pursuers, who actually turn out to be FBI, of which he is also a member working undercover. So, undercover agents, Chance and Vukovich, act criminally against a ‘criminal’ who also turns out to be an undercover agent. Chance and Vukovich think they are stealing from a criminal, and the ‘Chinaman’, agent Fong, thinks he’s being robbed by criminals. The situation is almost surreal. At a conference — attended by Chance and Vukovich — , the agency director passes information as to the true identity of the ‘Chinaman’ and says he was murdered by the abductors when we know this to be untrue. This false information adds another layer to the theme of nothing-is-as-it-seems. Lies are told to cover one’s back even in the innermost core of institutions of law and order.)

On some level, Friedkin probably saw himself in all three characters: Chance, Masters, and Vukovich. Only a daringly creative personality could have made movies like THE FRENCH CONNECTION, THE EXORCIST, THE SORCERER, and TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. Like Chance, Friedkin loved to take chances, venturing into areas too daunting for most directors. But adrenaline alone doesn’t a great movie make. One has to be meticulous with the blueprint and weigh all options. Like Masters, Friedkin was a master of his craft. Though essentially an entertainer than a personal artist, Friedkin had a keen sense for tuning into complex signals emanating from the various conflicting elements of the story, decoding them into a vision of the world that’s always fractured and uneasy, never offering clear resolutions. Even in the final scene of THE EXORCIST, there’s something eerie about how Regan, now healed, stares at a priest’s collar. None of Friedkin’s movies has what might be called the classic happy ending. Like in the final scene of John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN or Gilliam’s TIME BANDITS, there’s the sense that evil lives on even after its manifestation in the world has been defeated. It’s like you can beat a cold but viruses remain all around, waiting to infect someone else. Regan has been saved but the Devil still lurks everywhere. The drug bust is successful in THE FRENCH CONNECTION, but not only did the top guy get away but demand for more drugs continues unabated, and so there will be more kingpins. Masters is killed and his counterfeit operation is no more, but Vukovich has ‘lost his soul’ and L.A. is the same old L.A. A society is made of antibodies(law-abiding and/or moral folks) and germs(criminal elements and people without ethics); even if we get rid of criminals, the excessive presence of germs among ‘ordinary folks’ functions as demand for a new crop of criminals to service their greed, lust, and filth. In a way, organized criminals are elected officials of our vices.

THE SORCERER may have been appealing to Friedkin because there’s no good guy or bad guy. Rather, the fate of the men is determined by reckless courage, ultra-professionalism, and insane greed. Right or wrong matters less than are the men right or wrong for the job? This is a very male view of things where one’s worth is defined by competence than ethics. A psychological study from around thirty years ago showed that among women, the most successful tended to be those who are very mindful of moral issue. In contrast among men, the most successful tended to be those less concerned with moral issues. Among women, doing right is more important, whereas among men, having the right stuff is more important. If THE SORCERER suffered from insufficient individualization of its characters(hastily summed up by clumsy and disjointed back stories) — rendering the movie more a feat of logistics than logic — , the characters of TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. are more than the sum of their actions. A perversely keen observer that he is, Friedkin didn’t reduce the story to cops and robbers. It’s a more a ‘better guys’-and-‘worse guys’-movie than a ‘good guys’-and-‘bad guys’ movie. (This is also true of Tarantino’s one unassailable film RESERVOIR DOGS, where gangster played by Harvey Keitel bonds with the undercover cop played by Tim Roth. The cop is, of course, on the side of the law, on our side, though, to be sure, ‘our side’ is a murky notion within the experience of watching movies since cinema often functions as fantasy for our darker desires. But what if, as an undercover cop, a genuine bond formed between him and the gangster, and what if the gangster stood up for him, risked his life to save him, and fought for him all the way? Who then is the traitor? This is why friendship across racial, ideological, or legal divides is fraught with ethical minefields. Consider the conflict in DONNIE BRASCO. Or consider how the Negro’s friendship with the white Southern guy in RIDE WITH THE DEVIL tears him up inside. The Negro weeps when his friend is killed but later says he also felt liberated. He’d been fighting alongside the pro-slavery Rebels out of his loyalty to his white friend, a former master who set him free. Similarly, the problem with the modern American Right is that too many of its members feel this obligation to Jews. The bond between American conservatism and Zionism is a kind of bondage. Just as the Negro in RIDE WITH THE DEVIL fought on the side of slavery out of his personal duty to his friend, many white Americans are foolishly fighting for their own demise, oppression, and democide by trying to please and appease their Jewish ‘friends’ — who’ve become like Jewish masters. For whatever reason — Holocaust-related compassion or guilt, Jewish money and talent, Judeo-Christian heritage — , many conservatives have gone out of their way to make friends with Jews and even so far as to hand the keys to the GOP to neocon Zionists. But the fact remains that most Jews are pathologically hostile to White America, and even neocons are only using conservative goyim to serve Zionist interests and to boost Jewish power. In the end, the neocons feel greater loyalty to fellow Jews of all stripes than to conservative goyim. And if Israel didn’t exist and if some Wall Street Jews didn’t want lower taxes for themselves, something like 97% of Jews would be Democratic. For the New Right to take shape, this bond/bondage to Jews must be broken. This isn’t to say that the American Right should be hostile to Jews as policy. American Right should be welcome to all Jews, but Jews must join on the basis of uniting with and serving white/western power than vice versa. But as things stand, it’s like most of white conservative America serves Jews and Zionism than the other way around.) Like Vukovich, Friedkin had a conflicted view of L.A. of the 80s and his place in it. TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., like BLADE RUNNER, is dazzled by the very thing it dams, and the Wang Chung’s contribution to the soundtrack captured the ambivalence beautifully. It’s a city of fallen angels but not without allurement and beauty in the manner of its decay.
Masters and Chance trade compliments as they inspect bills during the deal-making: “You’re beautiful.” It’s sardonic, mocking, but also true. It’s a lurid and sleazy world but with more than its share of sensational highs. For Masters, there’s money and privilege; for Chance, there’s action and thrill; they’re united in unfettered narcissism.
Vukovich feels out of his league in this world. He knows all about laws and procedures necessary for teamwork. But caught in the no man’s land between Chance and Masters, he has to act on instinct, for which his personality and conscience are not suited. And so he panics. He also needs to think and make decisions ‘existentially’ since Chance dragged him away from the realm of proper conduct. He must write his own rule-book, and his pen shakes as he stares at the blank pages. The only reason he goes through with the plan is because of Chance’s superior will, which, crazy as it may be, serves as a kind of compass even if the needle points to hell; if you’re lost, anywhere seems better than nowhere. There’s been psychological studies showing the natural instinct to follow, a kind of herd instinct. For many people, individual decision of right or wrong is less important than being what to do, even if it may not be right. This is especially true in times of emotional duress when the person is confused, exhausted, and/or panicked. Consider the experiment where participants were told to increase electric shocks on a subject whenever he gave the wrong answer. Even though or especially because the participants felt great deal of distress over the screams of the subject, they preferred to follow orders than make up their own minds. Torn between meting out righteous punishment and guilt-ridden compassion, the participants felt paralyzed, and the easy path was just to obey orders. Similarly in war, soldiers who may individually be unwilling to use massive violence on a village may do so under orders. Good or bad, they’re just following orders; they are being led, and so there’s no need for them to think or worry. There’s a paradoxical nature to the relationship between Chance and Vukovich. It’s Chance’s dogged insistence that drags Vukovich into a situation where he can’t think straight anymore, but then, it’s because he can’t think straight anymore that he decides he has no choice but to go all the way with Chance. In a way, Chance is the person pulling a poodle on a leash, but in another way, Vukovich is the person being dragged by a wolf on a leash. (In a way, liberals have done the same to all of us. Their crazy policies, such as Great Society and libertine social values, have dragged all of us to the social mess we live in today. But we are so confused by the havoc that we just leave it up to the liberals to fix what they broke in the first place. Same is true of Wall Street. It created the bulk of recent financial troubles, but the problems are so huge and daunting that we leave it up to Wall Street to lead us out of the hole that Wall Street dug in the first place. Wall Street has the will, wit, and knowledge — even if used for greed — whereas we innocent suckers know nothing, and so our righteous rage can hiss and fume all it wants, but when the dust settles, we look to Wall Street for answers. There was a similar dynamic with Stalin in the first week of the German invasion of the USSR. He had not only completely failed to anticipate the German attack but had veryone who sounded the alarm executed. The fault was with Stalin, but the politburo decided to stick with him since none of them had the comparable will and authority to hold the power together. It’s like what Lincoln said about not changing horses in midstream — even if it was the horse’s fault that led one to the place.)
The final confrontation between Chance & Vukovich and Masters takes place in the locker room where all three previously changed into gym outfits in their first meeting. The change in the mood since the first encounter is striking: first meeting was a casual workout; now they’re suited for the game. Everything has led to this I-shot-Jesse-James-moment, the winner-takes-all match point. One false move in the final bluff can spell disaster, and Chance and Vukovich pull it off beautifully. They play it cool, Masters shows them the funny money, and the arrest is made... except Masters hid one ace up the sleeve. Just when Chance and Vukovich think they’ve won, Masters’ bodyguard pulls a shotgun out of the locker and aims it at Vukovich. Chance shoots the bodyguard, a dangerous move since the latter could have shot Vukovich. (Maybe Chance was willing to risk Vukovich’s life to get Masters at any cost.) As the bodyguard takes the bullet, he unloads his gun on Chance’s face, which turns into a bloody pulp; ironically, Chance dies much like his partner Hart. Instead of a tie-breaker deciding the winner-taking-all, it seems like yet another tie. Chance is dead, Masters’ bodyguard is dead; Masters got away, and Vukovich is alive. Even so, one could say Masters got the upper-hand. He, the criminal mastermind, got away, while Chance, the mastermind of the operation, got killed. But, it’s still not ‘game over’ since Vukovich has an ace up his own sleeve; he happens to know a certain warehouse that belongs to Masters.
There’s the break of dawn, bringing us full circle to the first image of the movie. Vukovich arrives at the warehouse, which is engulfed in flames. Inside, Vukovich finds Masters sitting on the floor. For Masters, it’s not just destruction of evidence but almost like a purification rite. Masters the narcissist likes to think of himself as perfect and flawless, and so he may feel a powerful urge to destroy anything that taints his egomanical self-regard. He killed Hart in a gruesome manner because he was offended by anyone getting close to him. He went to the Fearsome Negro’s crib to take back the funny money because the Negro let him down(in the contract to have Cody killed); and then, he burned all of it because it reminded him of the tussle with the Negro where he nearly lost and got killed. Just before Masters killed Waxman, he inspected the object Waxman hit him with — an piece of African sculpture — , and it was almost as if Waxman had to die for sacrilege than merely for betrayal. Masters’ fury is almost of that of a god or superior being; he cannot tolerate mere humans contaminating his grand design. So, there is special meaning to Masters’ burning the warehouse. The place reminds him of his having fallen into Chance’s trap. How could a genius like him have been outsmarted by some blustery lawman with a one-track mind?
The fire also has special meaning in regard to L.A. It’s as though L.A. is made of inflammable props than permanent stone. There’s even a nihilistic implication that a place as rotten as L.A. deserves to be burned to the ground. (It’s like we almost feel good that the town in ZATOICHI MEETS YOJIMBO meets in doom in blood and fire. Some things just aren’t worth saving.) Given what happened with the L.A. riots, the fiery scene in the warehouse was prophetic.
In the final exchange, Vukovich grabs and knocks Masters down but then seems paralyzed with doubt once again — like Jon Voight’s character in DELIVERANCE right before he releases the arrow atop the bluff — , whereupon Masters knocks him down with a piece of wood and tries to burn him alive, but Vukovich regains his senses and shoots Masters and then keep pulling on the trigger even after he’s out of bullets. (The violence parallels an earlier struggle where Waxman struck Masters nearly unconscious with a wooden object, whereupon Masters regained his senses just in time and shot Waxman in the crotch. It’s like Masters’ past deeds are coming to haunt him; what he did to Waxman is done to him.) As Vukovich unloads his gun into Masters, it’s as though he’s being reborn. He’s no longer the man of doubt paralyzed by conscience. It’s like he now understands that the world is you-or-I/ live-or-die. He’s like the transformed Snoopy in IT’S A NIGHTMARE, CHARLIE BROWN. He goes from fearful to fearsome. He is reborn into an alpha male, but something that was decent about him is discarded like the placenta. He’s a very different person in the final scene when he visits Ruth. There’s an air of contempt for humanity when he tells Ruth, “You’re working for me now.” It’s as if he no longer cares. His cherry has been popped, and like lost virginity, he cannot and don’t care to recover his other self. It’s like young girls who were sexually abused lose something — a basic sense of trust and self-respect — and aren’t troubled by a life of prostitution and porn. It’s like guys who’ve been ass-raped in jail lose a certain inner-dignity; they become whores and see all of humanity as either rapists and whores — if only for therapeutic value since it feels good to know that one isn’t the only one with the shame; it’s like crippled or diseased people may actually feel good to know there are others just like them; the psychology of ‘mutual aid’ groups depends not so much on feeling sorry for others as on feeling good to know others may be even worse off than you are.

Despite having made it out alive and won, it’s like Vukovich has been spiritually raped by events, and he’s come to accept the world as a game of ‘fuc* me in the ass’ or ‘fuc* you in the ass’. Though Ruth is creeped out, they now have something in common. They are both damaged goods who can never reclaim their inner-humanity. She’s a criminal and he’s a black lawman, and Vukovich will not be fooled by her. And in a way, it’s like both of them have been raped by Chance. It’s as if Law and Crime, both exiled from Eden, are wedded together forever in the city of sin. A grim view of humanity to be sure but also liberating in a way. Shorn of all illusions, Vukovich is now free to do as he feels. He’s gone from professional commitment to moral angst to existential doubt and finally to nihilist freedom. In losing his soul he may not have gained the world, but he gained his freedom from illusions. He also knows not to trust anyone, especially after Masters revealed that Grimes the lawyer has been playing both sides all along. (Again, this doesn’t make a lot of sense given Masters actions at the gym. If Masters had been informed earlier by Grimes that Chance and Vukovich are federal agents, why did he allow himself to be put into a situation where he could be ambushed? I still say Masters found out AFTER he made the getaway and called up Grimes, who, panic-stricken, must have spilled the beans on his dealings with Vukovich. Another thing that doesn’t make much sense is why Masters left Hart’s body in the trash bin. Why didn’t he bury the body out in the desert so that other federal agents wouldn’t find it and come after Masters for revenge? Was Masters just being perverse, almost taunting the agency that he isn’t someone to mess with and that anyone who comes after him will end up like Hart? But Masters is not a reckless criminal and unlikely to do something so brash.) The closing credit scene shows views of L.A. from inside a fast-moving car. It could be Bianca and her friend/lover driving out of the city, like Deckard and Rachel in the end of the original theatrical ending of THE BLADE RUNNER. Or it could be the view of just about anyone in the city that is always on the move. It could be the view of entering or leaving the city, or going around in circles forever. In the absence of the fountain of youth, there’s the road of youth on which to forget all the worries of the world. Movies and TV have been called the ‘windows to the world’, but maybe they are more ‘car windows to the world’. What excites is not so much the world as the relentless motion through it. What the internet and cellphone technology have done is, of course, even more ‘radical’. Even motion is passe in a world where we can feel connected to the entire world all at once.
TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. features Friedkin at his best, and for anyone interested in 80s cinema and the cultural/social mood of the decade in general, it is a must-see. But it is more than an artifact of a specific time and place. Its powerful portrayal of the human spirit in search of danger, vengeance, and validation is as timeless as the first heroic myths that captured man’s imagination. It is as much a retelling of the classic myths as a sensational modern action-thriller. It also reminds us of the most important paradox of art: that which is most enduring and permanent is the creation of something most fleeting and fickle — genius touched by muse. The ancient Greek world is gone forever but Greek myths live on as imagination and insight into the nature of man. Similarly, whatever happens to Los Angeles in the future, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. deserves to last forever because its epic tale of heroes and villains will entertain, provoke, and shock audiences as long a there are people to appreciate movies. Its locale is L.A., but its locus is the collective creativity and brilliance of all involved — Friedkin, Petrievich, Petersen, Dafoe, Pankow, Fluegel, Turturro, Wang Chung, and the indispensable members of the technical crew — in shaping a powerful modern myth that identifies the eternal in the fleeting. Greeks didn’t think much of afterlife and believed each man should live to his fullest, and if eternal glory was ever possible, it was in the personal pride in one’s triumph and in the hope that his deed would be passed down through the ages via art, music, and dance, which is why art and creativity had an almost spiritual significance to the ancient Greeks. Better to be a king for a day than a slave for a lifetime. Even if the glory itself is fleeting and life of the hero is short, artists and historians find inspirations from them(and even villains)than from the hordes of helots. Alexander died young but is still remembered and revered. A people as anthropomorphic as the Greeks understood time in human terms, which is to say historical memory across time depended on the arts and texts created by man and couldn’t be relied on the grace of gods alone. If man didn’t create art or song, there could be no memory; and since artists/performers found inspiration from the deeds of great men, there had to be new heroes to keep the torch alive, passed back and forth between the man of action and man of art.
For the Greeks, this was the true way to live, the only way to feel alive. But was it really the best way? Could it be better to swallow the pride, suppress the vanity, bow down before God, live humbly, and gain Eternal life with the Lord? If indeed there is one true God and if eternal life of harmony by His side is assured for the virtuous and humble, then there is no need for individuals to be heroes. And there would be no need for art as repository of historical/heroic memory since God Himself would own and possess everything from the beginning of time(as a kind of the cloud computing in the sky). Thus, man need not be great but only good. God is great, and so it’d be presumptuous, even sinful, for man to be great himself.
But if there are no great men, there are no great deeds to record, and then no historical memory through art and song. But what need for historical memory if one feels connected to all eternity through the glory of the Almighty God. Of course, there are stories of great men in the Bible such as Moses, David, and others, but in the end, they are judged for their goodness than greatness, i.e. what ultimately matters is they were good in the eyes of God as His obedient servants. Given the fall of Classical Greek civilization in contrast to the survival and rise of the Christian order for 2000 years, one is tempted to say the Greeks were wrong. On the other hand, while Christianity provided social and moral stability for a people, the story of the Christian West has always been thrust forward by risk-takers, the men who were unafraid to live for today and go where most men dared not go, who believed in themselves more than in any shared value and community. (The advantage of the Cult of Greatness is it drives men to extraordinary achievements in all fields — military, athletic, philosophy, arts, music, oratory, politics business, etc — , but the danger is the vulgarization of the ideal may lead the entire community down the spiral path to vanity, greed, egotism, nihilism, and excess. What passes for ‘greatness’ today is Oprah, Obama, and Lady Gaga. The advantage of the Cult of Goodness is makes for cultural unity, shared purpose, humility, mutual respect, and stability, but the danger is the dogmatization of the faith may weigh the community down in mediocrity, conformism, passivity, and stasis. The danger of the Greek way was evident in the dramatic downfall of Greek power, from which it never recovered. The danger of the Jewish/Christian way can be seen in the long history of repressive morality and strictures within the Jewish community, in the burden of pious Christian orthodoxy in the Middle Ages, and in the irreversible enervation of the Byzantine Empire. It was the Renaissance that arrived at a formula to interweave the pagan Cult of Greatness with the Judeo-Christian Cult of Goodness, whereby society as a whole could be held together by faith but allow provide space for creative individuals to pursue their visions. Sometimes, the two modes were fused into one, especially in religious paintings and sculptures displaying great individuality but ostensibly in the glory of God and Jesus. In other cases, rich patrons and powerful men with appreciation for beautiful things set aside creative zones where artists could work with unprecedented freedom. Thus, the two modes were integrated and made complementary or at least co-existent, allowing the West to maintain the advantage of social stability while also harnessing the power of individual genius. Even so, the two modes have often been at odds, and we can see it in the Culture War today between creative liberals and moral conservatives. It’s further complicated by the fact that conservatives often use morality as an instrument of tribal or atavistic interests — opposing ‘affirmative action’ to serve white interests and opposing abortion to ‘keep women in their place’ — while liberals invoke their creative/intellectual superiority to justify neo-puritanical control over society.
Until the 1960s, there was more or less an agreement/bargain between liberals and conservatives that while absolute freedom could be useful for great thinkers and artists, most people would do better with rock-solid family values. But this arrangement fell apart with 60s libertine-liberals saying it’d be great for everyone, especially young people, to drop all their inhibitions and traditional loyalties. The results were not socially happy, especially in the black community and now increasingly in the lower-class white community. Alarmed by this, liberals have desperately been trying to fix the problem they created by smashing the original contract between the Cult of Greatness and Cult of Goodness. But it is all very confusing because while liberals take pride as Great artists and Great intellectuals, they also espouse the ideology of equality and insist that the concept of the ‘canon’ is anathema to a society committed to ‘social justice’.
So, remarkable individuals like Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin, Bill Gates, and Steven Spielberg stake their greatness and superiority on the fact that they have the ability to achieve things beyond the scope of most people — a clear case of Cult of Greatness — , but then they also insist that their great success confirms the great moral truth of human equality. They seem to practice the Cult of Greatness but preach the Cult of Goodness. Maybe this isn’t so bad since because it means they are at least aware that a society cannot long survive or thrive only with one but without the other.) Yet, when they achieved something beyond and above the ordinary, their intense commitment to living-for-today changed all tomorrows. Mozart led an unwise life, an excessive one obsessed with music and indulgence — according to AMADEUS — , but he changed the history of music. Most people who led wiser lives in Mozart’s time changed nothing — though, to be sure, people like Mozart were able to do great things because of the existence of a large functional social order inhabited by stable men. If everyone lived like Mozart or Charlie Parker, there wouldn’t be any Mozart or any Charlie Parker since there wouldn’t even be enough food and clothing for anyone. Ayn Rand lionized unfettered and uncompromising individualism as the highest virtue, and TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. shows us why some men are attracted, even addicted, to that kind of life at the edge, at full blast. But as with the darker aspects of the Greek myths, it shows the dangers and nihilism of such a life, one tempting fate in the search for self-glorification. Nemesis lies waiting for hubris to fall into its trap.