Thursday, December 22, 2011

Forget Braveheart, The Tea Party GOP Should Find Inspiration from The History of the World or Land of the Dead

I wonder if the Republicans in Congress also enjoy playing Darkon?

You can't make this stuff up. In a headline straight out of the Onion, the Republicans in Congress apparently watched the movie Braveheart in order to get the testosterone all hot and bubbling before their vote to deny the American people much needed tax cuts and unemployment insurance for next year.

When I was a kid, my friends and I would pretend to be the main characters in movies such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Rambo, Terminator, Legend, Flash Gordon, or Red Dawn. It was great fun. While we had to improvise and find roles for black and brown people like me, somehow it all worked out.

Those movies also contributed to my having some pretty deep nerd and geek "street cred" if you would.

As followers of WARN know, one of my favorite erotic memories was making love to a beautiful queen while I was dressed as a Jedi Knight; I have also ravished a goddess who was adorned as a very sexy and curvaceous Sailor Moon.

To paraphrase Conan the Barbarian, those are the things that are best in life.

But, for all of the inspiration that those movies offered me, I never, for once, believed that they were real. Cinema Paradiso: I was playing a role and enjoying a moment of dreaming and detachment.

As they stall, delay, and ruin the holidays for millions of Americans, the Tea Party GOP have not learned that lesson. In a gross misunderstanding of the actual history mirrored by Braveheart, the Republican Party, a club of millionaires, has apparently taken to watching movies in order to get the courage to deny the unemployed the means to eat.

In this postmodern moment gone wrong, the Tea Party GOP are heroes; those dastardly folks who want to help the middle classes, in a time when the plutocrats have free reign, are enemies of "democracy" and "freedom."

I am a student of the politics of popular culture. As such, I always return to a foundational concept. In these conversations, "culture" matters. Culture resonates because it helps to create a sense of community, belonging, identity, membership, and affirmation for those who channel, reproduce, and participate in it.

To point, what does their choice of Braveheart as inspirational fare (and also the second rate, Heat wannabe movie, The Town), reveal about the Tea Party GOP?

A surface reading would suggest that the Republican Party imagines itself to be a group of freedom fighters. In their machinations, drowning the government in the bathtub--and cutting off benefits necessary to stay one step ahead of homelessness--is a courageous act in the defense of "freedom."

The mental gymnastics necessary to sustain such a belief are beyond even my abilities.

I am also struck by the Tea Party GOP's borrowing of white ethnic identity in order to make their political points. Braveheart's Scots-Irish were the original White Trash in the United States who earned their "White" identity by owning black people as property. Doubling down, the Irish Southies, and Roxbury types in The Town, are a 19th and 20th century ideal-typical example of White Trash America.

In all, the Tea Party GOP's channeling of that type of Whiteness (as "authentic" American "New Ethnic" identity)--with its deep hostility to black and brown people--reveals a great deal about their mining of the politics of racial resentment in order to destroy Barack Obama's presidency.

The popular culture game is a fun one. The Tea Party GOP's love of Braveheart is misplaced because of their failure to understand what the text is offering them: ironically, Braveheart stands against the ugly politics of the The Tea Party GOP, and not in support of it.

As conservatives search for inspiration in support of their dystopian agenda, there are other more suitable film options available. What about Soylent Green, Robocop, or Rollerball? Those movies offer a Corporatist universe in keeping with the Tea Party GOP's dreams. The Road Warrior could fit neatly as well, for House Speaker John Boehner is a passable Humungous.

Wall Street would validate the Tea Party GOP's money over people ideology, and the lie that is trickle down economics. And of course, Blazing Saddles has a classic hostage taking scene that mirrors the Tea Party GOP's approach to governance.

But, if I had to suggest one film (and given my love of zombies, this allusion is an obvious one), the Tea Party GOP are right out of George Romero's Land of the Dead because they live cloistered away in the luxury of Fiddler's Green, while the rest of the world goes to hell in a hand basket.


Brotha Wolf said...

Just when you think the GOP couldn't get any more ridiculous...

Anonymous said...

It's like my ignorant neighbor put down the remote, got up off the couch and managed to get elected to office.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure this is before your time, as were those most excellent Mel Brooks movies, but another Republican is said to have ordered the illegal bombing and invasion of Cambodia in 1970 after watching "Patton." Nixon may very well have not seen he was imitating the egomaniacal self-absorbtion of the general in the film, not any great patriotism.

chaunceydevega said...

@Brotha. Anymore? You ain't seen nothing!

@Sabrina. Mass democracy in action.

@Anon. Now, I didn't know that!