W., House of Cards, Deadwood, and Reflections On the Illusions of Power


The other night I watched Oliver Stone’s W. for the first time since it was in theaters, his film about George W. Bush.  There is that old saying that comedy is tragedy plus time.  The farther we drift from those years the more they seem like some kind of strange absurd comedy.  (And yes I am fully aware of the real tragedies that were part of those times.)  Like when you study the horrors of medieval times they almost appear like a Monty Python comedy.  I think people will look back on that point in our history with disbelief.  How did we knowingly choose to put a man like that in charge for two terms?  Why did we invade a country that posed no threat to us?  It was baffling then to many and even more so now.

If you lived through those years the movie might seem too light for what actually went on.  However, if you view it in a detached way, as someone looking back who didn’t live through them would, I think it emotionally reflects how those times will be viewed.

I’ve also, as stated, been watching House of Cards lately.  Given some of the problems with the third season, I still think it possesses interesting ideas.  Combined with watching W. is the idea that our leaders our just people, no different from us.  They may have better luck, family ties, or ambition, but at the end of the day they are humans.  It is only ritual and stage craft that gives them their power.  We are all part of a play.  The power they possess is only in direct accordance with how much power we believe that they have.  In the show Deadwood there is the idea that history is, “a lie agreed upon.”  There are rules and traditions that create the perception of order and therefore create order itself.  It is the belief in these fictitious sets of principles that holds it all together.

To close, I quote Twin Peaks:  “We live inside a dream.”

For Everyman

Everybody I talk to is ready to leave with the light of the morning
They’ve seen the end coming down long enough to believe
That they’ve heard their last warning
Standing alone each has his own ticket in his hand
And as the evening descends I sit thinking ’bout everyman

Seems like I’ve always been looking for some other place to get it together
Where with a few of my friends I could give up the race
Maybe find something better
But all my fine dreams well though out schemes to gain the motherland
Have all eventually come down to waiting for everyman

Waiting here for everyman
Make it on your own if you think you can
If you see somewhere to go I understand
Waiting here for everyman
Don’t ask me if he’ll show baby I don’t know

Make it on your own if you think you can
Somewhere later on you’ll have to take a stand
Then you’re going to need a hand

Everybody’s just waiting to hear from the one
Who can give them the answers
Lead them back to that place in the warmth of the sun
Where sweet childhood still dances
Who’ll come along and hold out that strong and gentle father’s hand?
Long ago I heard someone say something ’bout everyman

Waiting here for everyman
Make it on your own, make it if you think you can
If you see somewhere to go I understand

I’m not trying to tell you that I’ve seen the plan
Turn and walk away if you think I am
But don’t think too badly of one who’s left holding sand
He’s just another dreamer, dreaming ’bout everyman

For Everyman by Jackson Browne.  I recently posted one post about Jackson Browne and one about hope.  I always felt that this song was, dare I say it, inspiring.  It was written after many of the 60’s generation started giving up.  I remember during the GWB administration that it felt pretty damn current.  Unfortunately it is still current.  It always will be for it is timeless.  

Correction From the Editor

While making spelling and grammar corrections this morning, I noticed a grievous error.  When writing a piece on George W. Bush the other day, called My Favorite Costumes Ever, I forgot to mention that he dropped a giant shitball when handling the Hurricane Katrina Disaster.  It has now been duly noted in the ancient logbooks of history.  – Jeff

My Favorite Costumes Ever

I was scrolling through facebook today, at a loss for sense and reason, and I stumbled upon a picture of George W. Bush holding a baby in a NASA costume for Halloween.  He was smiling, seemingly at least for the moment, forgetting that he led thousands of people to their deaths through a war that there was no cause for.  What was even more puzzling about the photo was the responses to it.  Most people were saying things like we sure miss our President Bush.  What the fuck?  This is a man who not only led us into that quagmire of a war, but also helped to destroy our economy and who also disgraced us on the world stage.  Now look, if you don’t like Obama that is your prerogative.  Even though I tend to like him, I loath his drone war and I am truly troubled by his continuation of Bush anti-terror policies when it comes to things like surveillance.  I wish he had pursued the Public Option and I wish he was stronger on the environment.  But disliking Obama does not mean that you should be wishing Bush back.  Those are two separate trains of thought.  Anyone that is pining for the days of the Bush administration has a truly diseased mind.

But maybe I am being too hard on Bush.  He did, in the spirit of the week, have the best costumes ever.  Remember when he dressed in a flight suit on that aircraft carrier?   That was a good one.  Remember when he pretended to be a compassionate conservative and then vetoed the stem-cell bill, which could have helped untold numbers of people?  Remember when he used to go around on his ranch clearing brush for photo ops, like he was some kind of rancher, even though he was a Yale dandy and a cheerleader?  He was great at playing dress up.  That dude was in costume more than Alice fucking Cooper.