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The Pentagong Show

The Pentagong Show
United State of Terror: Is Drone War Fair?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Very Bad Things.

The die is cast and the cast will die.

In the  under-rated movie, Very Bad Things, there are, as illustrated in the above picture from the picture, many analogies drawn to quite weighty subjects, and I feel that they are not simply figments of my imagination. However, having said that, I must admit that the one drawn by the scene from which this still is taken suggested a very specific current incident that couldn't've been intended by the movie's creators.

What is going on in this snapshot is that behind the door they're blocking is a black security guard who Christian Slater has stabbed in the neck repeatedly with a corkscrew. He is going through his death agony and his piteous pleas for help as he bangs on the door and thrashes about inside (wherein lies, in mute testimony to the fate awaiting him, the dead body of a hooker killed accidentally by Jeremy Piven) is what is causing the grimaces of remorse and horror on the faces of our cast.

Having already decided to forgo the formalities of calling the police after Piven has snuffed the life out of the naked prostitute, deciding amongst themselves to instead bury the dead body that JP has impaled on a hook while screwing her in the bathroom, the group was trying to explain to hotel security why there was a dead body in the bathroom, the door of which they had inadvertently left open in their hurry to answer Security's increasingly insistent knocking on their hotel room door, when CS, impatient with his co-conspirators' ineptitude, pushes them aside and brutally attacks the hotel employee with the aforementioned corkscrew.

To get the full impact of the scene, the video should be watched, but what it contained for me was a cinematic version of the countries of NATO, as represented by the grimacing cast, as they hold back the flood of refugees from the hemorrhaging MENA countries, while the cries of the victims of their bombing sorties and the release of a coiled Arab spring, for which they share responsibility, reaches their ears. They recoil in horror at what they have wrought, but like the cast in Very Bad Things, once they have turned down the path of mayhem, they have no idea how to change it's direction without bring opprobrium down on their own heads, even as the cries for help grow more desperate, the insistent banging on the doors of Europe, more thunderous.

The leading Christian among them, Mr. Slater, is the one who first decides they can forgo the Law by surreptitiously burying the body in the desert (Who'll know? Why ruin our lives? She's already dead anyway. All we have here is a one hundred pound problem we need to dispose of), and then, pushing aside their mamby-pamby concerns, plows ahead to eliminate the one obstacle to their plans, the security guard whose murder, from his perspective, was made necessary by the idiots he's been thrown in with who left the bathroom door wide open as they ushered a witness into their little chamber of horrors. His quick action and dismissal of their misgivings as he pushed them aside said, "Deal with the realities now, wrestle with how to reconcile your actions with the fact that you're Christians later" (ie, The Republican nostrum that it's better to ask for forgiveness later than permission now).

Watching the spectacle of the GOP convention this week brings that all back to mind, as they retain no memory of their fellow Republicans' crimes, assume no responsibility for the state in which we find the world today. Everything is Obama's fault. The enemy of the people is somehow Hellary Clinton. And let's face it, they all but scream, "She's a WOman, fer crissakes. A FEmale Commander-in-Chief? I don't think so".

And this brings up the other subplot in Very Bad Things. You see, the relatively recent movie, The Hangover, is a more naive, less politically suggestive, less dark, redo of Very Bad Things, although I'm sure the producers of it would deny that. But the plot is the same. The men, getting away from their wives, go off for a boys' weekend, which in Very Bad Things is a stag party, the buddies' last fling together before one of the guy's gets married. A fling that goes, you might say, horribly wrong.

When they try to return to their normal lives after burying the hooker and the security guard in the sands outside of Vegas somewhere, what went on in Vegas most emphatically does not stay in Vegas. As the groom visibly sweats beads of anguish, soon-to-be-married Cameron Diaz muses about what color the bridesmaids' dresses should be and whether they ordered enough folding chairs for the number of guests, leaving one with the distinct impression that this is a purposely drawn parallel between the horrors experienced by returning vets and the trivial pursuits of the citizenry their sacrifice is meant to enable. How can you reconcile the fact that just a month ago you watched a twelve year old's life oozing out of him from a bullet wound you inflicted, as he was about to shoot into a Hummer full of your compatriots, with the banalities agonized over by your fellow Americans who don't want to hear about the Bush wars or the drone killings when there's money to be made and ESPN is carrying the game live?

In the movie though, the analogy is reduced to the simpler, more familiar male/female antagonism, but the fact that the schism is between normality and bloody horror makes the war analogy unmistakable. But as we draw the parallel not just between civvies and vets, but also between male and female and the relative weightiness of their problems, the director lets us draw our own conclusions at the time, but he's not done with us yet, he's just planted the seed.

I say this because by the end of the movie, none of the males from Vegas are unscathed. Most are dead, and two are permanently disabled, while the two boys from one of their failed marriages have been bequeathed to she of the trivial pursuits; yes, the now-married Cameron Diaz.

So while the men who wreaked havoc do not exactly get away with their crimes, the takeaway, for me, was that it is the woman who gets stuck with the repercussions of their rampages. If that is not an analogy of War, I don't know what is. Yet at the end of the movie, as Cameron stumbles out of the backyard in a stupor of overwhelming despair, the camera pans on the scene from which she's fleeing where the two boys, one of whom has been permanently disabled in a car accident, are fighting, while her husband drags his torso across the grass, because now he's without legs from injuries sustained during a head-on collision with another car while riding shotgun as his buddy drove them back from burying Christian Slater, his buddy whose in the wheelchair over there that he has to operate - Hawking's-style - by blowing into a straw, it's apparent from the scene that precipitated Cameron's flight, that they haven't the slightest awareness that it was their own actions and their own decisions that led them into the nightmarish cul-de-sac in which they squirm around in the agony of existence, like a nest of vipers with no other purpose in  life than to torture each other.

As one Republican speaker after the other, started their fear-mongering speech, painting the same picture of a maddened Islam readying itself, because of Obama's fecklessness, for repeated assaults on the US and the world, there is also no memory, let alone mention, of the fact that  the CIA, blinded by its ambition to bleed the Soviet Union's economy until it swooned, wan and anemic, to its knees, funded the most virulent form of the Muslim religion because that was precisely the sect they could most easily manipulate to the glorious task of dying to destroy godless Communism in the name of Allah, since American Christian fundamentalism had failed to deliver American youth to do it, as Vietnam so drastically demonstrated. Unmentioned is that it was the Republican administration of GW Bush (Did you hear his name mentioned even once?) that declared an unwinnable War on Terror, a stance that doesn't - can't - destroy Terrorism, because it enables it; ennobles it even, by raising its perpetrators to the level of Warriors.

Because of the VERY Bad Things that the Bush administration did, not only to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the entire Mideast, but to the entire global economy, such that it is a miracle it is even running, given the level of pillaging it endured under the auspices of the Bush/Cheney junta. And yes, junta is the right term. As few people are aware, the US Constitution specifically forbids the President and Vice President from harking from the same state. Cheney however, lived in Texas, and merely changed his address to Wyoming after someone pointed out this oversight to him. But the Party that mourns the death of its "Original Intentions of the founding fathers" hero, can't pretend that merely changing an address, or even moving to said address, is in keeping with the Original Intentions of those same founding fathers they pretend to revere so much. It is the action of a scoundrel, a palace intriguer that wishes to pretend he is abiding by the law when in actuality, considers himself above the spirit of the law, otherwise known as the Original Intention of that lawwhich his legerdemain, instead of covering up his cynical plot, lays it bare. The decisions the President and Vice president would make during the Bush administration are favorable to the state of Texas, specifically the actions, or inaction, of FERC while Enron, run by Bush family friend and campaign contributor, Kenneth Lay, was, quite volubly, raping the State of California, thereby demonstrating both  that the founding fathers' original fears were justified and that the word junta is appropriate.

But the GOP  has no truck with these realities, instead blaming Obama, who was thrown into this cul-de-sac created by the war-mongering Neo-Con hawks, all still profiting nicely from the convulsions they've set into motion. leaving Obama to thrash about valiantly in an effort to keep our heads above water in this stagnant economy that was not of his making. Which is not to excuse Obama from his failings, but to expose the Republicans' two-faced, serpent-tongued, bare-faced lies. All told to sweep under the rug the Horribly Bad Things they did in eight short years. And yet Newt Gingrich can stand in front of the entire country and, without a trace of irony, say, "Keeping America safe is the first responsibility of the American president". And it was in that NUMBER ONE duty that GW Bush and the Dick Cheney failed in the most spectacular of ways. Yet the Newt has not the least bit of sense of that fact. That is why the Republicans are so visibly disappointed that no foreign attack by ISIS has occurred during the Obama administration because that means it'll be during a Republican one ... Again.

 And that's their whole offer.

 To make America grate again.

By doing Even Worse Things.

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