Sunday, October 19, 2008


The Cinema of Politics and the decline of American culture

Rarely do I make political commentaries unless in conversation with intelligible people. I don’t feel the need to beat anyone over the head with what I believe, but I will be happy to share if provoked.

And lately, I’m feeling pretty damn provoked.

The catalyst for this little rant is none other than Oliver Stone’s latest cinematic decline; W. From the trailers I thought that W might be a humorous and over-the-top satire from the left, something along the lines of Dr. Strangelove or even Dave.

Instead, what we have is a deranged director’s vision played out on screen, as if supplanting his living room rants about how much he hates Bush and what he has “done” to the Country by creating a movie out of them.

First off, this movie has no idea what it’s about. While trying to appear at first humorous, then satirical, then deeply serious, then suddenly surreal, this movie has no direction, no purpose. Perhaps, Stone felt that this was his perfect homage to the subject himself. Unfortunately, he forgot that the average moviegoer would be watching this drivel…and that likely all the real players involved would be avoiding it like the plague.

And so, like Alexander before it, I suffered heartily through W. Anyone that enjoys this movie and sees it to be brilliant is a complete and utter moron. It doesn’t matter what your politics are; there is nothing of value in this film. Everyone raves about Josh Brolin’s portrayal and he is a phenomenal actor, especially of late, and bears an uncanny resemblance to Bush in many scenes to be sure. However, all he really does in the movie is eat.

Apparently, that’s what President Bush does. He just eats and talks and swigs beer and puts his boots up on the desk, all while sending us to war because God told him to.

Every actor in this film plays it so obvious that they absolutely hate the person they are portraying that the whole thing seems like an SNL skit. Whereas most “historical” films inspire the actor, whether he’s playing Hitler or Jesus, to delve into the character and become that person both good, bad, etc., this is a one trick pony. (Don’t tell me it can’t be done…HBO’s “John Adams” and “Generation Kill” are excellent examples of well researched historical dramas from very different eras.)

It is a true shame as most of the actors in the film are some of the best. Unfortunately, they all let Stone talk them into what amounts to an underdeveloped and unfocused hack job, which comes off more as a failed Broadway play than a film “based on a true story.” And really, where’s the “true” come from, Mr. Stone?

Nearly every scene in the film is completely fabricated. With the exception of recreating some speeches, this film is a complete fairy tale. There were no journalists in the room, no flies on the wall, and no documented accounts of the “narrative” that takes place from scene to scene.

I’m sure there are plenty of people who think there should be. That the everyday American public should have a live feed into the war room, just like Big Brother, where they can vote online as to what the President and his cabinet should do in every instance. (See the film “Idiocracy” to see your future if you agree with this sentiment.)

Stone didn’t contact a single person, a single individual, involved in this story. But, don’t take my word for it. And if that’s not enough to convince you, then by all means, dig further. That’s something most Americans are failing to do every day; fact check. Too lazy to go beyond the headlines on MSNBC. Stone has been documented saying that he was going to have a website up by the time of the release, which would back up his “claims.” I have yet to find one, not that it would matter, seeing as the fact remains that he didn’t consult with ANY of the people he’s portraying.

The truth is that this movie is nearly all fiction. Based on anecdotes, tall tales, and every unconfirmed piece of “history” he could find; it’s a bloated mess. Oliver Stone has fallen from grace completely. His politics as a liberal Democrat, anti-war buffoon, and peyote smoking hippy have served him well. Sadly, I admired Stone’s career early on; Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, Natural Born Killers, Any Given Sunday; all powerful and strong films. And yes, nearly all of those had a political message. But, at least they had some kind of direction, whether I agreed with it or not. W has none of that. Muted and distorted “history,” conversations and events made up out of thin air, and a cast that is merely venting instead of acting.

If Brolin’s portrayal isn’t enough to convince you, watch Thandie Newton as Condeleeza Rice. I have no doubt that every time Stone called cut for her scenes, the entire cast and crew burst into laughter as if just watching Jim Carrey nail a comedic scene.

The portrayal of Bush’s acceptance of Christ is handled in a very condescending and stereotypical way as well, again with no basis on fact (and yes, I am a Christian.). The very concept of prayer is handled in a way to associate it with every bad thing that came from the Bush administration. I’m surprised that such a liberal would be so quick to bash Christianity when people of his stock are usually so quick to defend any and all other religions.

Stone has the skills to pull off a film that could have been meditative, focused, smart, and maybe, just maybe, accurate. Well, actually, I take that back. He doesn’t. Like Spike Lee, Stone is an old dog, focused on one thing; his own personal conspiracy theories. If Stone really felt that this was going to be a smart way to contribute to Obama’s campaign then he should have just sent him the money (which he has done anyways). And, in all actuality, he waited too long. Did he forget that the election is in less than a month from the opening?

The politics behind the making of this film, let alone the fact that it was even made, is what truly depresses me. And it should depress you too. Some say it is a tribute to the Country itself that an inaccurate mess like this can be made about a nation’s leader while he still holds office. But, that’s the tricky thing; by celebrating the fact that you can make this farce isn’t a celebration of America, it’s a celebration of the decline of our ideology. And good filmmaking.

I noted earlier about being provoked. Take a look at this little video if you haven’t already been subjected to it.

So, did you feel inspired or insulted by that video? Did you get the warm tinglies because one of your favorite actors “spoke” to you? If you felt inspired then you should just stop reading this and go put your head in a blender and hit puree. It’s over for you.

If you felt insulted then you are in the clear. Because, and you don’t need me to tell you this, they are insulting you. Apparently, the American public is too God-damned stupid to figure out that they should vote, or how to vote, or why to vote. Apparently, because we are working class people that pay our hard-earned money to make these bloated actors become rich and “famous,” we need them to take us by the hand, to lead us, and show us the way.

Certainly, with Hayden Panettiere paddling out on her surfboard to save dolphins (great acting by the way) or Madonna and Angelina Jolie adopting Africans, they have the background and education to tell us what is good for us. And, while they’re at it, while they’re putting out this “bipartisan” message, we flip the channel to see these very same actors, ALL OF THEM in fact, are supporters of Barrack Obama.

Go to P.Diddy’s website, the Vote or Die (what the fuck does this mean, anyway, I still don’t get it) poster child and you will be inundated with his video blogs in support of Obama as he TIVO’s speeches by McCain and Palin and plays it back to you while pretending he is in a horror movie.

Bipartisan my fucking ass.

Do you honestly, truly believe that P. Diddy wants you to simply vote? Are you fucking kidding me? P. Diddy wants you to vote for HIS CANDIDATE. He does NOT want you to vote for the other guy. Is that basis enough for you? Is P. Diddy, and his ridiculous webisodes enough to convince you of who you should check off on that ballot?

South Park, my favorite of all social commentator’s, seems to be the only ones that can transcribe P. Diddy's stance on voting.

There is no doubt that this is an important election. Guess what? THEY ALL ARE! There is no election that’s just ho-hum. The election of a President is HUGE, no matter what state the Country is in. There is ZERO difference here.

The fact that I am being inundated with ACTORS, people that make a living PRETENDING to be someone else, telling me how, when, and why I should vote is a slap in the face. I want to look all of them in the face and say one thing: “Don’t I pay your salary? Now, shut the fuck up and go make a movie.”

The POP CULTURIZATION of America is the saddest and most lethal thing that has swept this Nation in a long time. Instead of wanting to be good Americans, seeking out being a vital part of this Country, contributing to the economy, working to make things better through service and support, the new generation has become a generation of selfish crybabies who would rather be plastered on a magazine cover or featured in a reality TV show than be a part of the Country they live in.

They are starting to become the very things they preach that they aren’t: robots.

Sadly, many Americans are looking to celebrities for their own voice. What happened? Did we forget to pick up a book? To research? To learn? To decide for ourselves? That is what our Country is founded on!

I attended a small business seminar last month and we were discussing how truly difficult it can be to run a small business and how hiring employees today from the most current generation has hurt these businesses. The reason is because this next generation, the Y generation, has become more like the Y-me? Generation. They are selfish, self-involved, lazy, and completely without any hard work ethic. They are part of an instant gratification generation, with point and click temporary solutions to permanent problems.

And before I pigeonhole an entire generation, let me say that I am deeply proud of those that fall in the category of those who do NOT act or conduct their lives in this manner. Fortunately, not all hope is lost and I am thankful to those who still believe in working hard and earning the things they want out of life rather than impatiently waiting for it to be downloaded into their lap.

Unfortunately, too many parents and teachers have neglected to teach this to their children. Someone has stopped paying attention, so the kids have turned to who does give them attention; such as Paris Hilton. Ah, yes, here we go again with her. I’m sure you’re so sick of her being compared to what’s wrong with America. Why, because you like making excuses for her? Is she really someone you want your child to look up to? Give me a fucking break. She should be banned from planet Earth.

And she is to blame. Along with all the rest of the “Hollywood elite,” the privileged few who make ten to twenty million dollars a movie and feel that that gives them the right to dictate your own thoughts and feelings to you.

Now, let’s be clear. I am a Republican. Plain and Simple. And I KNOW why I’m a Republican. I don’t simply say it to stir your blood or get attention. I am a member of that party because it is closer to my views on this Nation, on education, healthcare, economy, and foreign policy, etc., than any other party. Not to mention the fact that the majority of liberals can never seem to come up with a realistic solution. It’s always very broad and dramatic, like that little kid you humor in class who says ridiculous off the wall shit. We all stop, have a laugh, and then get back to grown up talk.

Years ago, before I had really developed what I felt or thought or why I leaned right or left, I simply regurgitated what I heard others say, namely my parents and friends. I was in a conversation with my Godfather and we were talking about President Reagan. I was nineteen and cocky and didn’t know jack shit about politics. I blurted out that I thought Reagan was a good president.

And I learned the most valuable lesson, not only about politics, but about knowledge, both of the facts and of oneself. My Godfather asked me the showstopper: WHY? Why did I think President Reagan was a good president? I had no answer. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I don’t know, I just think he did a good job.”

His response? Bullshit. I had no idea what I was talking about. And my Godfather called me on it. He looked me in the eyes and explained that it’s okay to have an opinion, but make sure you know what you’re talking about. Don’t just blurt shit out if you don’t know what you’re saying. It makes you look stupid and rightly so.

I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the gist of it. And he was right. God bless him, he was right.

I have never forgotten that lesson. It has stuck with me every day of my life. It is imbedded in my subconscious.

This is a lesson that all nineteen year olds should learn. Especially in this Country, where the Hollywood elite are preaching down to us like we are moronic cattle. Use your own brain, learn the facts, learn to check the facts, and formulate your own opinion.

Did Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance in Titanic sway you enough to vote for his candidate? What about Jay-Z? Did Matt Damon kick enough ass in the Bourne movies to convince you that he has the knowledge and insight to get you to vote for his choice?

Then, there’s David Letterman, who blasted McCain every night on his show because he didn’t stop by (or cancelled his appearance, I can’t remember which.) Who gives a shit? Since when did appearing on a late night TV show have anything to do with what kind of President you will be? Now all candidates have to be good sports? I, for one, was proud of McCain for not showing. He didn’t owe David Fucking Letterman shit. Then he went and did it anyway and claimed that he (McCain) screwed up!

Suffice it to say, I am hugely disappointed in McCain for saying he screwed up. Bullshit. He should have come on the show and said, “Dave, listen, I’m not trying to be a late night celebrity guest…I’m trying to become President of the United States. I have shit to do, I’m sure you understand.”

Alas, I am not McCain’s advisor.

The focus for a candidate to appear on a talk show or entertainment program is just stupid. Debates, town hall meetings, or a news-style interview is where you can learn something about the person you may choose to run for President, and more importantly, what they are going to do for you if elected.

Instead, so many Americans are getting invested in a candidate because they play the fucking saxophone or cross country ski. What the fuck do any of those things have to do with how they will run the Country?!

And while we’re all congratulating Tina Fey on her impersonation of Sarah Palin, let’s not forget that she has openly been quoted as saying that if Palin wins then she (Fey) is going to leave the planet. I wonder who she wants you to vote for? The line between farce and satire in pop culture has clearly been crossed. No longer is it about entertainment…it’s now an all out media war to see how much they can sway you to their side.

(A side note on Palin and Alaska. I live in Alaska, which doesn’t make me an automatic supporter of hers, but the fact remains that Alaska is pretty well split on those for and against her. What really pisses me off is, once again, the uneducated “lower 48” who seem to think that Alaska is an insignificant group of 500 people, mostly Eskimos, who live in Igloos and eat seal pup for breakfast. Get the facts straight before you start shit-talking. I’m so sick of the elitist attitude that judges any state that isn’t blue. It is the United States of America, not the United Blue (or Red) States of America.

Put the gavel down and read a book.

Alaska is a smaller population than most, which is why I continue to live here, where I am not suffocated by overpopulation and excess taxes. Alaska is the best kept secret in the Union.)

Surprisingly, an unlikely celebrity to really get the picture on celebrity endorsements is none other than Kid Rock (who openly supports the military rather than any political party…and yes, the military is generally Republican). In a quote from CMT Insider, Rock said, "I truly believe that people like myself, who are in a position of entertainers in the limelight, should keep their mouth shut on politics.”

"Because at the end of the day," he goes on to say, "I'm good at writing songs and singing. What I'm not educated in is the field of political science. And so for me to be sharing my views and influencing people of who I think they should be voting for ... I think would be very irresponsible on my part."

Do you really believe that all the young kids out there who are waving the Obama signs are tried and true Democrats and know why? The first thing they will throw in your face is how we “need change.” No shit. Change is coming no matter what. What change are we talking about here? Explain the change he’s bringing…I have no doubt you will mostly be met with the sound of crickets chirping. And that certainly doesn’t excuse the McCain supporters who don’t have a response either.

Certainly, some of them may have a righteous and justified response; good for them. That’s how it should be. However, many are suffering from the same nineteen-year-old regurgitation syndrome. Go to You Tube and watch videos of supporters for both Obama and McCain. You will find moronic and stereotypical comments which will shame both political parties. Watch some of the yourmanonthestreet interviews and you will see my point.

This is why it is so important to get educated, get off the bandwagon, and really KNOW what you are saying, what you believe and why.

Even my beloved comic book medium has gotten into the bullshit. Fuck you Erik Larson. Go draw something.

I’m not writing this to convince you to vote for anyone. I’m writing this to shine the spotlight back on the actors, singers, comedians, and every other socio-political celebrity who is trying to brainwash you into their corner. This is your wake up call. Don’t hit the snooze button.

Put down the US Weekly and step away from the celebrity. I want to explain something to you, and I’m going to do it without trying to get you to vote for any one particular candidate. My bias is already clear. Plus, I don’t make more than ten million dollars a year and am not featured regularly on TMZ.

Let’s set the record straight on one thing; a candidate does NOT need to be regarded as a celebrity. There is a distinct difference, which is the root of the whole problem to begin with. A candidate needs to be versed on the issues that face the Nation and have a clear direction for how to handle those issues and steer the nation. They don’t have to sing, dance, act, play the sax, snowboard, or watch The Hills. If you think different about that, then please plug in your blender and get to work.

You do NOT need a celebrity to tell you who to vote for. They do not have your best interests in mind. Just because they support Barrack Obama or John McCain does not mean that you have to as well. What you, as a citizen of this great Country need to do, is get informed. I say the below without being condescending. I say it because I really care about this Nation, and I want you to know, if you don’t already, the truth.

First, you need to learn how to discern between fact and fiction. You need to learn about who has a bias to one side or the other. Yes, this is going to take some reading, some research, and some involvement. Believe it or not, every newspaper, every TV network, every media outlet has one bias or another, some stronger than others. Here’s a resource to get you started. Once you learn these, then you will be able to pull the facts and discard the bullshit from everything you read and hear, rather than taking it at face value.

And let’s not forget that you should have a working knowledge of the U.S. Constitution, the history of the United States as a whole, and how we instill that system into a working democracy. In order to become a citizen of this Nation if you weren’t born here you must be tested and pass. Here is a sample. See where you fall.

Now, once you are able to do that, you need to dive a little deeper. If you can’t decide which party you fall under, Democrat or Republican or, even worse, a green party or other, then it’s time to do even MORE research and learn how the parties were created, why they were created, which politicians have held office in those groups, what they have done, and ultimately, what they stand for.

You can even see who is endorsing who!

Based on your own situations, experiences, beliefs, and education, you will most likely be able to figure out which party suits your interests.

Once you are all caught up, you should begin to research what both Obama and McCain stand for. Look at the issues. More importantly, look at the issues that affect you. You don’t need me to explain the rest. Then, listen to the candidates, watch their debates, and soak in what they have to say. At that point you will decide for yourself.

Furthermore, you need to know how the election process works. You should have a good understanding of the Electoral College and how your vote counts. Here’s a great resource, where you can even look up how each state voted with the official documents. Most people have no fucking clue. I dare you to test me and ask five people you know to explain it to you.

That all sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? It is. But, it’s the price of freedom. And that freedom is being able to decide for yourself and not having Halle Berry decide for you.

However, as the ME Generation continues to grow and the reality TV show mindset flourishes, we lose sight more and more of what it means to be an American, of what our government is built upon, and how we can go about keeping it alive and well while keeping it fair and balanced.

For once, I will agree with that most annoying of slogans: Kill your TV. Shut it off and learn to decide for yourself.

If Oliver Stone, P. Diddy, and Hayden Panetierre are the inspiration for your check in the box on November 4th, then this Country is truly doomed. And it won’t be the loud-mouth celebrity to blame. It will be your fault for listening to them.

Here’s my “don’t vote” spiel. Don’t vote because a celebrity tells you to. Don’t vote for a certain candidate because a celebrity endorses him. Don’t vote because it’s your right as an American.

Get smart and vote as an informed voter, aware of the issues, the parties, the politics, the history and because you have a genuine, knowledgeable opinion on what you feel is best for you and for the Country. Vote for the candidate whom you feel has your best interests and the Nation’s in mind. Above all else, remember this:


Your vote will always count as long as you turn in a ballot, but you’re vote will never really count if you don’t know who you’re voting for and why. If that’s the case and you’re doing it for a celebrity, then by all means, take their advice from the first minute of their bullshit PSA…

…and for the love of God, don’t vote.

As for the movie grade for “W”; let’s switch the “W” for an “F” and call it a day.