- We Won’t Frighten the Shit Out of You
- A Slightly Less Abrupt Dystopian Future
- Mailbox Full
It’s understandable, perhaps even inevitable, how Thursday night’s events have been framed, and how the consequences are playing out. We have to think back to our early childhood in the Sixties to find such a perfect storm of racial and police tension.
Except it’s not that.
I watched Heaven’s Gate a few years back to see for myself. No amount of re-editing, re-imagining, or explaining can save it from being the trainwreck that it is. It is a Western with a five minute roller-skating sequence in it. It is 325 minutes long (and I mean long). Joe Queenan writes about it here, in what is the funniest movie review I’ve ever read. It bankrupted a studio and ruined several careers, including Cimino’s.
Cimino was, by all accounts, an autocratic, difficult, Ayn-Rand-loving director and human being. And now he’s dead. RIP.
In the week since the Brexit vote, we’ve read a number of analyses about why the Brits — or Little Englanders, to be more specific — chose to secede from the European Union, and what that portends for the world’s current English-speaking empire.
Not to put too fine a point on it: They’re White. And they’re angry.
From there, comparisons with current United States politics are straightforward. We’ll even grant that they’re true. But we find them insufficient.
The broader picture is more historical, and more complicated. Two forces are at play here, one inevitable, the other deliberate: Globalization and Thatcherism — or, as we know the latter, Reaganism.
There’s a certain frustration that sets in after every mass shooting. We’re all too familiar by now with the dance that follows: Thoughts & Prayers, consoling words from the President, recitations of the history of gun violence in America, condemnation of the NRA for perverting the Second Amendment like extremists pervert Islam.
And then, always, nothing.
Really: If shooting up a grade school or a church doesn’t lead to reform, why should anything else?
The Senate filibuster to force an inevitably losing vote on a couple of weak measures was a fine gesture — truly — but destined to be forgotten, filed away even as it happened with Ted Cruz’s earlier Green Eggs and Ham marathon. The moment had passed, and we were back to our general dread of a Clinton-Trump race.
And then John Lewis stepped up.
Or, rather, sat down.