March 31, 2007

The Downward Spiral of Lies

Went to see a sneak preview of The Hoax, a new film about the Clifford Irving / Howard Hughes scandal of the early 1970s.

There's a peculiarly unpleasant sense of dread that I always pick up while watching movies like this, usually about a third of the way through. It's unpleasant and stressful in a way that's quite unlike experiencing a suspense film. In movies about lies and the complete loss of integrity, you realize the protagonist(s) are actually unpleasant people and seemingly beyond redemption. They're doomed, trapped in a downward spiral of lies that only gets worse as they lie their way out of one scrape only to get into a worse one. Ugh.

Shattered Glass, the film about the reporter at the New Republic who turned out to have fabricated many of his published articles, produced a exactly the same kind of feeling when I saw that in a theatre. I've never rented the DVD. Owning Mahoney is another film I'd put in this catagory -- things just keep getting worse and worse for the main character, who is clearly lost.

Thelma and Louise, not quite the same kind of film, but it's another one that I simply can't stand to watch anymore -- stupid characters making stupid mistakes one after the other, each one making their situation worse than it was, and ultimately, the car goes over the proverbial cliff. The frequent scenes in The Hoax of Richard Gere and Alfred Molina driving around in a convertible started reminding me of Thelma and Louise.

I could not help reflect on the situation this country finds itself in with the current administration in the White House, on the one hand, and the news media on the other hand. I can only contemplate the profound lack of integrity amongst the Bush/Cheney/Rove crew for so long, before feeling that same sense of dread that I pick up from movies like The Hoax. But I keep shaking my head wondering why did the media lose its integrity, too? There are still some shining lights here and there, reporters courageous enough to still seek, and tell as best they can, the truth as they see it.

Remember the Star Trek episode where Kirk and landing party accidentally get beamed onto another Enterprise in parallel universe, where Spock has a beard and the crew are treacherous villains? The Bush Administraton always reminds me of that episode -- somehow the U.S. has beamed into a parallel universe utterly opposite to the kind of White House depicted in, say, The West Wing. (It's no surprise to me that that series came to an end. Who could stomach one hour of that fantasy each week, what with the lies, scandals, hypocrisy, and depravity coming to light each day in the real world?)

I kept thinking about the Bush administration while watching The Hoax. The spectacular house of cards Bush and company have built, lies built upon lies built upon lies, any shreds of integrity burned up long ago if indeed they ever existed. One can't help but wonder how long the charade can go on: we laugh at it thanks to regular doses of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, but really, how long can it go on?

There goes that unpleasant feeling again.

Posted by brian at March 31, 2007 10:17 PM


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