Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Ace In The Hole

In this 1951 movie, directed by Billy Wilder, a small-town reporter manages to create a media circus after finding a man trapped in a mine collapse. He purposefully extends the rescue efforts, so as to make the drama...and his day in the sun, last longer. It is a dark tale, exposing, as it does, the needs of both the reporter and the greedy townspeople to extract their pound of flesh from someone else's tragedy.

When I first saw this movie as a young man, I found it disturbing. I didn't imagine there were actually people like that in the world. But, I thought, perhaps these are just a different kind of people, a low-life sort that only exists in the world of movies and novels.

Of course, I've grown up now...and I realize the truth is far more scary. Not only are these sorts of people "walking among us," (like something out of a sci-fi movie of the same era) but they are the elected representatives of this once great nation. Every day of every week, they are scouring the newspapers and wire services and TV reports, in search of the next great mine collapse, looking for the next person or situation to be expolited. I am not kidding here, or exaggerating. James Dobson's organization, the Family Research Council and dozens of others are acting as the forward guard in this spectacle, doing the legwork for the "Christian Soldiers" like DeLay and Santorum - who sweep into town or hit the talk shows at precisely the right moment.

I honestly don't know how they dare to spout their phony form of Christian morals, without constantly looking to the sky, wary of the potential lightning bolt.

So what can we learn from the the Shiavo Circus, now that the big top is going to be taken down? Just this. Like all carnivals, it will move down the road and on to the next town. The riggers will set up the tents, the midway, the rides and the food stalls. The crowds will come, and everyone will have a great time. Like the carousel, this just keeps going around and around and around.