Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dances with the Devil in the Pale Moonlight

So I flip on the tube and the beginnings of 'Dancing with Wolves' this morning. It's an okay movie. Probably the most 'mainstream' film to show Native Americans with a central focus in positive light. And as Costner 'epics' go, it's the best, though that's damning with faint praise and deserves better. I mean to say it's gobs and heaps superior to the 'Dances with Post Offices' and 'Dances with A Huge Fucking Body of Water' fiascoes that followed in its wake.

In the end, though, two things knock it from the realm of great flicks for me:
  1. Just as making a race of people look nothing but savage and evil takes their humanity away, so too does portraying them as unceasingly 'good' and 'wise'
  2. Do ya gotta always have a kindly white guy watching over/protecting the naive child-race? Cause God knows they can't do it themselves! That's just insulting: neither Bugsy Seigel nor Moe Green nor even Steve Wynn popularized casinos the way these guys did, and they didn't need some sad sack pale face to do it. Okay, they needed a whole lot of sad sack pale face gambling degenerates to wager their wallets into the casino coffers, but that's just good ol' fashioned karma doing its thing. And then there's the millennium of culture, tradition, etc.
I can forgive #1 as a balance to pretty much all other popular depictions but #2 sort of sinks it for me (though I do understand the business reasons for having gone there).

All this long winded shit got me off track from my driving point: the genius of one of the first scenes of the movie, one that speaks volumes to us today as we wander out of the opening decade of the 21st century. It has nothing to do with the rest of the movie, nothing much to do with anything.

I refer of course to the moment when Costner's Lt. Dunbar presents his orders to the frontier to his current commanding officer Major Fambrough, a batshit crazy, droolingly fat slob who mutters incoherently and with paranoid visions. After an uncomfortable and nonsensical exchange, he dismisses the Lieutenant but then he stands up, revealing a dripping wet pee stain soaking the whole of his crotch. "Sir Knight", he exclaims to Costner. "I've just pissed my pants and nobody can do anything about it!" Dunbar walks out in shock/disgust and soon thereafter, Fambrough strolls to the window and blows his brains out.

There's even a shrink online trying to diagnose this character's malady.

Whatever it is, it has parallels in the bizarre behavior of any number of today's leaders, whether in government or the private sector. From Sheena of the Yukon to Gov. 'Don't Cry for me, Appalachia' to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, we've no shortage of Major Fambroughs floating around the national stage. Further afield, ya got even more to choose from with yer Lil Kim Jong Ill-in-the-head, Momar Versace Khadafi and the Nazisque MadLoon I'm-Ahh-Jitter-Bug dotting the globe.

And those aren't even the worse of the lot. Christ, looking at that cast of characters, the crew of super villains from the 1960s Batman show seem dignified and reasonable by comparison.

And with no real Caped Crusader to be had. I thought Obama might just be Superman, but even so, it seems folks are trying to make Healthcare his Kryptonite.
They won't succeed, he's too big for that. But alas, he ain't Superman or Batman either.

To paraphrase a certain someone in the diplomatic corp who's familiar with the sucking black hole that is healthcare reform: It takes a (global) village to defeat the Major Fambroughs of the world.

It takes action and the continued spotlight and cash when you have it to help shine the light and scatter these rodents (apologies to the rats of the world, they stuck ya with a bad image).