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Sunday, Feb 12, 2017 - 23:12 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

Plane As Day

Continuing with the movie reviews...

Citizen Kane (1941)

A classic film oft praised as The Greatest Ever, I sat through its ending with a disheartening sensation of having been, well, slightly shortchanged. The film follows the adventures of a larger-than-life New York media titan, who had parlayed his family's newly-amassed real estate fortune into fame, status, and an even more massive fortune; this leads eventually to a hugely popular run for the highest political office in the land, which however appears to hit rough waters, when the still-married tycoon's budding affair with a sweet young aspiring performer enters the public consciousness...

My furtive guilt at not taking to the movie - in a similar manner, one suspects, as a Philistine having to admit indifference towards the Mona Lisa - would melt away, once I understood the reason. Given that we are now living a better version of this story, it is little wonder that this pale and underdeveloped telling has, well, lost its magic.

Kane's fate in the original is, despite his unparalleled wealth, a sad one; his political ambitions shattered, to be - in the words of Edward VIII - with the woman he loved, his life descends into a spiral of isolation and paranoia. Xanadu, his Gothic refuge in faraway Florida, was at once palace and prison, fortress and cage. Attended to by an army of servants, he eventually loses his second wife due to his bad temper and controlling ways, and passes on a lonely, broken man, surrounded by his ancient marbles.

In our reality, however, Kane brushes off his critics, for his affairs are nobody's business but his own (and, to really rub it in, he repeats his wife-upgrading act for good measure). Instead of fleeing, disgraced, into exile, he instead bests his hapless robotic Floridian primary challenger. His media rivals continue their relentless and largely baseless vendetta against him in the press, but are - one by one - crushed underfoot. An unstoppable Kane goes on to win the election thanks to the love and support of the downtrodden, fulfils his promise to Drain The Swamp, and goes on to build a glittering legacy.

Sanders: Maybe he was watching CNN Fake News... hello? Hello?

Our Charles Foster Kane is, of course, DONALD JOHN TRUMP.

The key moral of Citizen Kane, then, is as a commentary on the dangers of irresponsibly used media. We have touched on the ongoing War of Information, and there are few signs that the establishment press are giving up with their strongarming tactics. In constructing their false narratives and pushing divisive identity politics, minority TRUMP supporters have repeatedly have had their opinions misrepresented, in an effort to marginalize and demonize TRUMP's positions. Accordingly, public confidence in the once-respected mainstream media has fallen into the single digits.

While my sympathies have often lain with the left in the past, many of their recent actions have convinced me that they are in truth scarcely less dogmatic and close-minded, than the conservatives that they assign these traits to.

Take, for example, Milo Yiannopoulos's scheduled speech at UC Berkeley in support of his Daddy. Now, free speech is one of the cornerstones of liberalism, and moreover is definitively enshrined in the Constitution - how else can ideas get a fair airing? True, Milo is kind of a (fabulous) troll, but a pretty mild one, all considered. All in all, I'd say he's just the (alt-)right's answer to talk-show provocateurs, who are certainly not in short supply on the other side. Fair play, eh?

Nah. Before Milo could take to the stage, hundreds of violent protestors descended upon Berkeley, and smashed the place up, as per usual practice. TRUMP supporters were beaten half to death and pepper-sprayed without warning (though, it was really a "Make Bitcoin Great Again" cap). It is impossible not to note the irony, of this being more or less a complete reversal of what the media had painted of TRUMP followers.

See, it's one thing when civil rights heroes of past generations marched peacefully; I totally recognize the right of Women's March participants to demonstrate, even if I personally think that they needn't have presented themselves as cunts (also, as always, GOD-EMPEROR TRUMP does it better, anyway). It's another thing altogether to riot to sabotage a talk, however, and if this becomes a habit, I see the left soon haemorrhaging support (as Berkeley has, from alumni Scott Adams). It certainly hasn't harmed Milo, whose Dangerous has been selling like hotcakes, after the lawless disruption.

And, what of our supposed tyrant, according to the left?

but... it can't be... Hitler... REEEEEEEE *smashes up neighbourhood*

War Dogs (2016)

Starring: Mark Zuckerberg and Kim Dotcom
(Source: comingsoon.net)

We've actually referenced the source material of this one back in 2014 - David Packouz, young Jewish massage therapist from Miami, was getting tired of kneading rich old men's butts for a pittance (he wasn't good at picking customers), and after discovering that no-one cared about elderly nursing home folks enough to purchase high-thread-count bedsheets for them, he's recruited by old high school pal Efraim Diveroli (a man of many vices portrayed magnificently by Jonah Hill) for a "venture".

This turns out to involve the large-scale trading of arms, which peacenik Packouz is ideologically opposed to, but as with most virtue-signalling liberals, the lure of moolah proves too much to resist. Note that Iz (Ana de Armas), Packouz's dimepiece girlfriend in the movie, was apparently a standard-romantic-interest invention, but I'm not complaining here.

It should be said here that, sociopathic personality aside, Diveroli was actually a fairly brilliant businessman. He realised the potential to thrive in the U.S. government system of arms procurement, which was designed to give "little fish" like them a bite of the humongous military-supplies cherry. Really, had he simply kept his head down and nose clean, he could well have continued to haul in very respectable figures, year on year.

Instead, outsized greed gets the better of him, and after a dramatized running of Berettas into Baghdad, the intrepid duo gain sufficient reputation to take on bigger contracts. They soon stumble upon a mammoth US$300 million deal, a third of which would be pure profit. The only question was: where in the world could they lay their hands on a hundred million 7.62x39mm rounds?

They could have smuggled half the amount of Desert Eagles instead...

Serendipitously, they would bump into a big-shot dealer, who happens to have just what they need, lying around. Sure, so there's the minor detail of the guy being on a terror watchlist, but one doesn't make it big sweating this sort of thing, right? Diveroli and Packouz would however discover that the rounds, while serviceable, were in Chinese packaging, rendering them illegal due to an ongoing embargo. Thinking quickly, Diveroli comes up with the bright idea of transferring them into unmarked cardboard boxes, disguising the source and saving on the freight fees due to reduced weight in one fell go. Told ya he was smart.

Unfortunately, in other respects, Diveroli was incredibly dumb. Instead of just allowing the deal to go through, and pocket tens of millions free and clear, he doesn't manage to suppress his inner asshole, and commits two fatal mistakes. First off, he figures that their terror-watchlist-partner's share is too big, and makes to cut him out of the picture. Bad idea. Packouz (who had been left behind in Albania to supervise the repacking) duly got a sound thrashing for his pains, because there are some men - like GOD-EMPEROR TRUMP - that you just don't cross.

What directly led to their downfall was, however, something far more banal - Diveroli decided to stiff the ammo repackers out of a paltry hundred thousand dollars - and what makes it more ridiculous was that they were saving more than that on the shipping discounts. After realising that he had been ripped off, the wronged factory owner dials up the U.S. authorities, and the FBI soon swoops in on the pair. Diveroli lands a long stay in the brig, while Packouz returns to rubbing aging bums... which, it has to be emphasized, is a honest living.

While the most relevant theme here would be the U.S. military-industrial complex, one is also reminded of TRUMP's wise rejection of the TPP, which would in all likelihood accelerate the hocking off of middle-and-working-class American jobs, to disproportionately benefit the top dogs. And, again as foreseen, TRUMP will probably steer the U.S. back towards its oldest ally - Great Britain - and revitalize the trusty Anglo-American hegemony that has brought such stability to the post-war world.

Oh, China is all of a sudden hawking the benefits of "free trade" (one-way mostly, of course), with President Xi and various ministers eagerly stating that "there are no winners in a trade war", but it's not hard to see what's behind that: now, perhaps TRUMP's America might not win all that much, but given the current economic condition of both parties, I'd gather that China is sure as hell gonna lose bigly...

[Two more to go...]

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