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Sunday, May 23, 2010

SERIOUS WAR BUSINESS

equus



Friday I found at Walmart a 4cd set of Vietnam film footage, Over 23 hours, for $5. My figuring was it wouldn't be much, but still, it's interesting Vietnam footage. It starts off with Lyndon Johnson's lies that justified for the public the the war the DOD was going to do anyway. The Bush-Cheney way of starting a war was not new. It was difficult for me to look at Johnson. I was glad to see him go out in infamy for his lies and for turning our government over to the Texas Oil Cartel. History has born out what Barbara Garson alleged in her play of the Kennedy assassination, McBird. Everything Ike warned against in his retirement speech, Johnson gave us. Long Johnson profiles at the mic. I'd forgotten how big his ears were. Turns out it's a DOD film, much worry about Communists in the beginning. I had to laugh when they called the bombing of the American Embassy a terrorist act. Next they show jets firebombing villages and cities. Hooray for us! Death from the sky. It's only when the bomb maker can't afford a plane to deliver it they're called terrorists. Drop multiple firebombs on as many people as possible and that's the right thing to do.



There is a very long period of time watching fighter jets take off to go on a bombing run, all of them, a long time. Then see through cameras in the planes the villages erupting in big balls of flame and black smoke, a section of a city with one explosion after another in a straight line for probably a half mile or a mile on the ground. Of course, the point is, isn't this exciting--look what our boys are doing over there--putting our tax dollars to work. That's what I was supposed to see. What I saw was hundreds and thousands of people snuffed out by fire, buildings falling on them, the roar of American jets, crying orphans. They show lots of footage of what terrorists do with a planted bomb at the embassy in Saigon, but we don't get to see what happens on the ground when death rains from the sky. That part's ok. It's patriotic. It's freedom in action. It's what we do.



This is film footage like in action movies where machine guns are going all over the place and nobody is getting hit. You never see a GI with anything but a smile on his face. DOD footage, and that's great. This is the part we were given for the news, approved by DOD censors. The soundtrack music is 3 or 4 white guys singing Red River Valley with a guitar. Somebody liked that song an awful lot. Again, this is the stuff that makes it fun. I like to watch jets take off and land. I can have my fill of that. When one takes off, I get to see all of them take off. It definitely was not edited for boxoffice. After they've killed as many people and their pets and livestock as they could get done, considering their limitations, I get to watch all the jets land, one by one.



I'm not looking for information. This is not a source for any of that. But it is a good source for visuals of our bases, pilots talking, which I enjoy hearing, day to day type events. Back at the base everybody is busy at work while the planes go out and shoot balls of fire to the ground. The pilots are heroic in that if they get shot down, it's the next several years in the Hanoi Hilton and they all know it. It's fun seeing how the propaganda that worked in the past continues to work today. I'm reminded that our collective national identity is created by propaganda, as with all the other countries in the world. Best for me to stay out of it. War is what the species does. We came out of the trees chucking spears at one another. War is serious business. It's what men do and little boys want to grow up to do. It keeps the young guys off the streets and the sales of GI Joe dolls up.



Back to the mountain, I cut an apple into about 10 slices and took them to the horse, gave them to her, one by one. She never bit my fingers or even came close. I stepped over the fence and she came walking toward me. Holding the apple slices in 2 hands, I held them down away from her nose and leaned forward for her to sniff my arm. She caught my scent and rubbed the side of her face against me, a kind of horse hug. I loved it. She recognized me as the tailless monkey that talked to her one day. I noticed piles of her droppings and thought what good fertilizer for rhododendron and other greenery. What do you suppose would be the odds of getting fined by USGov for using a fertilizer that does not have an oil base? Unpatriotic. Surely the oil lobby has seen to such a law by now.



Before watching about 20 minutes of the VietNam footage, I'd watched an American film from 1957, Twelve Angry Men. A jury room drama. It's a play with 12 actors. All of them were faces I recognize from later years when they were old. Henry Fonda looked dapper and carried himself well. Hard to believe an actor with pretty fair talent spawned Peter and Jane who exhibit little to no talent for acting. Peter Fonda is an actor I never could develop a taste for. Jane has the emotional range of a straight line. Yes, Jane has a body, as does everyone else. I suspect this film is the best as an acting tour de force I think I've seen of Henry Fonda. He carried Twelve Angry Men well, even performed some subtleties. I felt for Henry back in the days when his kids were among the hip children of the stars taking designer drugs, exhibiting more ambition than talent, telling on talk shows about Henry the dysfunctional dad. Like he's to blame because they can't act.



It was a well conceived and written story of 12 people entirely different from each other in the way it is when you get that many people together picked more or less randomly. There were a couple of tough guys, a very well off, well educated guy, EG Marshall in his youth, an educated immigrant, a big-mouth blustery fellow, Ed Begley, a guy who was a bit nerdy, a Madison Ave guy who couldn't think for himself, a sports fan who couldn't get interested in the trial. The writers of the script understood American men. Every one was an individual, and every one American. It's a story in which intelligence wins over ignorance. Not necessarily realism, but it deals with the importance of the jury as a legal method. The angry in the title had to do with the men angry with each other. They got into some loud moments when it looked like a couple of the oldest ones were about to light each other up. I felt like the writer of the story set out to lock 12 men in a room and see what happens. I was in the 10th grade when it made its theater run. It wasn't the sort of movie my parents would see. We went to drive-ins and saw westerns.

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