Tuesday, October 23, 2007

One More Thing...


This morning, over breakfast, I was reading this week's Newsweek, and a headline caught my eye: Cheney and "Deliverance." It was obviously a reference to the movie Deliverance, one of the most powerful, disturbing and yet paradoxically beautfully-filmed movies I've ever seen, and I bee-lined for the article.

It turns out that the article was written by Christopher Dickey, a respected journalist who happens to be the son of James Dickey, the author of the book that the movie was an adaptation of, and the scriptwriter for the movie. Christopher has worked for the New York Times and the Washington Post before working for Newsweek, and and has authored several books, including one I'd read in the early nineties, With The Contras: A Reporter In the Wilds of Nicaragua.

With The Contras was a powerful book. Dickey spent time with both Nicaraguan soldiers and contras-- "contrarevolucionarios"-- literally, counterrevolutionaries. I won't go much in this post into the 1979 victory of the leftist Sandinistas. What I will mention is that the United States, under the Reagan regime, funded, trained and supported several terrorist organizations within Nicaragua that cut a swath of murder, maiming, rape and crime across Nicaragua. Dickey, while voicing legitimate criticisms of the Sandinistas, documented the basically sociopathic nature of the contras, whom Reagan referred to as "freedom fighters."

In any event, Christopher Dickey, in his Newsweek article, alludes to the movie Deliverance, comparing Vice-President Dick Cheney to the character of Lewis Medlock, the character that was played excellently by Burt Reynolds.


Medlock is a blowhard. He's a rich boy whose money comes from inherited real estate. He runs his mouth off about how he loves to "come near death, then survive-- that intensity, well, that's something special." He is, as Dickey points out, a "country club Friedrich Nietzsche."

Our society is rife with these types. They are people who quote Sun Tzu's The Art of War at business lunches. They sit on a barstool and blather on about how linebackers need to deliver "punishing hits." And they sit in offices in Washington, D.C. and talk about the United States dominating the world. They are paper tigers

In his article, Dickey alluded to Ronny Cox's character, Drew Ballinger, who insists that they need to report what has happened to the authorities-- the law is, after all, the law. He's overruled by Medlock and the others. "The law? What law? Where's the law, Drew?," exclaims Medlock. Like Cheney, Medlock has dragged these guys into this fiasco and when it unravels, wants them to take away the thin line that separates them from the wilds he has disasterously tempted fate with. And like Lt. Commander Matthew Diaz, the fundamentally decent guy who stands up for the law and what is right, pays the price for the hubris of a cardboard warrior.

But there's one more scene from Deliverance that Christopher Dickey needed to include in his article. It comes toward the end, when the sheriff, who was actually played by Christopher's father James, the author and scriptwriter, talks to the survivors of the weekend. As he begins to get a notion of what actually happened, with a look that is a mix of disdain, amazement and anger, gives them advice that is the most unnecessary advice ever: "Don't ever do something like this again." With a loaded Supreme Court, and and emasculated Congress, it might be the next President who plays that role-- indictments, changes in laws, fixing the military that's been damaged so badly by this war. That might happen. But in the end, it'll be we the voters who need to tell them, through the various means available to us, "Don't ever do something like this again."

16 comments:

MacGuffin said...

"country club Friedrich Nietzsche."

What a great quote.

cheer34 said...

I am concerned that 51% of Americans will let this happen again, after all Bush was voted in a second time. The majority of Americans did not smell the stink that was coming from the white house the firt 4 years. Most Americans are like the majority of Germans during Hilter's reign. Willing participants. It is easier to believe our leaders to accept the "facts" than to think and question our leaders motives and decisions. We will have a Democrat for our next president. Not becasue that person will be the "right" person for the country, but because most Americans will just push the lever without thinking or particpating in the political process, they will push the Democrate lever because we don't need another republican. Even if the best person for the job is a republican.
Did I make sense here?

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Well said sir.

Splotchy said...

Nice post.

If I can add one thing, near the beginning when Medlock and his group are gassing up, getting ready for their trip, one of the hillbillies at the gas station they deride says to them, "You don't know nothin'."

Of course, they don't realize the truth of this statement until people are wounded or dead.

Skylers Dad said...

Another excellent post JY, and I like the Deliverance reference. It fits nicely.

What worries me is that the current administration has screwed things up so bad that it can't be fixed. At least not without a lot of time, and we have proven to be a very impatient people.

CDP said...

Great post. I especially liked the reference to people who "quote Sun Tzu at business lunches." I know more than one of them...they're the same people who kept referring to "getting people on the ground" during a move from one office to the other. Military argot is fun when you don't actually have to be within 1,000 miles of an actual war.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Thanks for your post and for pointing to that great article:

"Whether we listen to the Republicans or the Democrats, the woman candidate for president or the men, all the major contenders remain reluctant to challenge the ersatz standards of strength set by the Bush administration."

It's so true.

Erik Donald France said...

Excellent. Yeah man!

Unfortunately, 51% "might get fooled again" like the poor dupes of 2004.

Iran, Pakistan and . . .? We might all be squealing like pigs before it's over. Or playing dueling banjos in the back country. Cringe. . . . .

The Elk said...

It isn't gonna matter much because Rove , Cheney et al have already have the next election stolen (if there even is an election due to a "Manufactured event"); hrough voter supression, rigged Diebold machines and other manipulations too evil and twisted to mention.
Don't look for any help from the already co-opted "News" Media....
The Banshee is coming home to roost...Better get ready, it's gonna be a mofo. I can see it so clearly.....

Grant Miller said...

I saw that headline too. Haven't read the article yet, though.

Leonesse said...

Excellent post. Thank you.

GETkristiLOVE said...

Another great post JYen.

I ran into Ned Beatty playing tennis in 1981 when I lived in Burbank and the only thing I could think about when I saw him, is that pig squeal. How horrible to be remembered for that, yet as you point out, it's a great movie.

Natalie said...

Looks like a great article and you discussed i very well. I too fear that things won't change anytime soon. I don't know how the republicans can win in 08 but I also know anything is possible. Here's to hoping.

Monica said...

i saw deliverance with natalie (above) a few years ago for the first time and we were rattled. i would love for someone to take the new pres by the collar and tell them "don't let this happen again" but i feel like that happens every time and shit just gets worse.

SamuraiFrog said...

Wow. You're so, so right. And I am so scared that our next president is going to be another Medlock. Or have those people pulling the strings. Because I remember, in 2004, thinking "People just can't want Bush to stay there; people are smarter than that."

Oh, if only that were true.

Excellent post.

dguzman said...

WOW. Intelligent post, JY.

However, I fear the Elk is right--the fix is in, and we'll be left to squeal like a pig or just float down the river with an arrow in our collective chest.

I can only hope that we reach a critical mass and somehow, painfully or not, we pull back from the precipice we're on.