Well, well, well.
Fuck it. Today is officially Dr. Strangelove Day, in honor of the Kubrickian insanity at work in Newsworld. In that vein: George C. Scott was never, ever better than his Curtis Lemay turn as Air Force General Buck Turgidson. “Well, I hate to judge before all the facts are in,” he says to President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers, in one of three roles), just after the President says that another air force general who launched an impromptu nuclear attack on the USSR is “clearly insane.” The deadpan is what does it.
Thus: “I hate to judge before all the facts are in,” but it appears that the auteur who most influenced Operation, ahem, Swarmer was not Kubrick, but rather Eisenstein. And with that, I turn it over to the ever-interesting Pat Lang, and the always-amusing James Wolcott.
I am not, by habit, a naïf, and unlike some antiwar commentary I’ve read, I don’t propose to be shocked, shocked that the American government would stage the most expensive third-grade pageant in recent memory in order to convince Ma and Pa McHomeland that we’re winnin’ ‘gainst the turists in Ah-rack. It’s the halftime show in a game on which the hometown fans have already soured, designed to convince the folks in the bleachers that the price of admission was worth it, and that they ought to stick around for at least another quarter. Meanwhile, the suits in the skyboxes are calling their car services and planning to beat the post-game traffic.
I don’t think it’ll work, but like Wolcott I find myself nodding in weary resignation as the nations elite media once again pulls on the combat boots and awakes the postmenopausal television colonels—“military analysts” and such—from their cryogenic slumber. Wolf Blitzer, whose style of interviewing calls to mind that line from Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation, “Ouisa is a dada manifesto,” simply could not conceal his giant erection. Joking aside, it’s absolutely astonishing how quickly a man who shares a name with a Duran Duran song can blossom into a vast, seething stew of moronic priapism at the marginal possibility of an actual battle.
The actual battle never came, of course. They might as well have filmed Tonka toys in stop-motion. I’m sure that Victor Davis Hanson, the Bard in the Belfry, who’s like a polyp on the colon of the legacy of Thucydides, would be less impressed, and the opportunities for gaseous cable-news catechisms with the Geriatric Generals would be somewhat reduced. But honestly, people are already calling the whole charade a Potemkin operation, and anything that lends itself that easily to cliché is bad, bad news indeed.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Well, well, well.