Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
June 23, 2012 - June 16, 2012

Monday, April 04, 2011

"Obama is Awesome"

Touching, ain't it?

CALLING ALL AUTOMATONS.... Can you believe he would launch his reelection campaign NOW?

Pardon me while I free-associate a bit.

There was no federal budget in 2010 when Obama owned commanding majorities in both houses of congress. There is no budget in 2011, although even his own congressional leaders are asking for his help on a budget.

The U.S. is suddenly involved in a military quagmire that didn't take years to develop, but weeks, with no exit strategy and no conceivable outcome that doesn't make the U.S. look weak and indecisive.

The delicate stability of the mideast is completely gone, with riots in the "Arab Street" threatening total chaos in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, and even Saudi Arabia, while only the ruling theocracy in Iran appears to be consolidating power with its nuclear ambitions unchecked.

A year after its passage, ObamaCare is hated more than it was when it got rammed through the Reid/Pelosi congress on a strictly partisan vote.

Economists in the private sector are sending out warning signals of "hyper-inflation" due to exponentially increasing deficits, financed by printed money, which could destroy the U.S. currency as the basis of international finance and global economic stability.

Gas prices are twice what they were when Obama got elected, and his policies on energy have reduced domestic energy production rather than increased it.

Unemployment is decreasing nominally below 9 percent because people who have ceased looking for work in favor of life on the dole are steadily increasing.

Lefties to the right of the Obama hard left are demanding a Hillary candidacy against Obama in 2012.

Which must, of course, be the exact right time to launch a reelection campaign. With this particular ad. Which cites no accomplishments whatever and speaks only of trust in the One. Meaning there's no point in addressing any specific criticism, because the Obama presidency is purely a matter of faith. It's a religion of sorts. The faithful are not waiting for Obama to grow up and become president in the way even his liberal political cheerleaders are. He's still the One. And given what the faithful really want from him, that's true.

All the calls for leadership from both sides of the aisle are feckless and disingenuous. Obama is exercising leadership as he understands it. We decided to elect as president a community organizer. That's what we got. To a community organizer, leadership is simply a matter of firing up the masses, declaiming incendiary talking points, fanning the flames, and then sitting back to watch the ensuing conflagration with speechwriters on hand to craft oratorical platforms that present the organizer as superior to the feeble actions of those whom he compels to respond to his provocations. He's never accountable for results, only for judgments on the failures of those whom he chooses to hold responsible.

Into this fetid mix I'll toss only one idea.

It's not that Obama has been slow to clarify and focus his leadership. It's that we have failed to understand that his notions of leadership are exactly what we have been experiencing. He's a slicker version of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, content to be superior to -- and ultimately blameless for -- the firestorms he deliberately incites.

A great way to melt down the world. He apologizes to Arab muslims, tells them he understands their hatred of America, and declares his reluctance to impede their cultural traditions and impulses. Result? They go nuts. Jimmy Carter had one mideast catastrophe -- Iran -- but Obama is working toward a dozen.

Obama systematically demonizes every variety of private provider in the American healthcare system -- hospitals, insurance companies, doctors, corporate health plans, and pharmaceutical companies -- then stands back and lets his Democrat congress run roughshod over everyone without even glimpsing his own presidential responsibility to craft a cost-effective and fair solution. Let it happen. He can be "shocked, shocked" later on and get credit for granting waivers and bribes to injured constituencies he still wants as allies for his next round of provocations.

He spends us into utter bankruptcy by turning Congress loose to lard up a "stimulus" bill with every spending program the Democrats have ever wanted. He proceeds to take personal credit for made-up benefits (e.g., jobs saved) while retaining the right to sacrifice those of his pawns whose more venal political motives got them defeated in the last election. It was never his fault what particular cuts of pork they packed into a bill he never looked at. His intentions were always pure, and he was never there that day anyway, because he was so busy carrying the "Yes we can" message to the media and the good folks who love you if you drop your "g"s in benighted Middle America.

Don't be waiting around for Obama to learn the trick of presidential leadership. We've already seen his conjuring in this regard and are dying of it.

Let me put it more directly. The community organizer is the affirmative action version of political leadership. It's always about what's owed to me and mine, just because, not about taking any responsibility for the consequences of rhetoric, action, inaction, or just going to dinner with the powerful after the powerless dopes have been stirred into a frenzy.

Or even more directly. We have an affirmative action president. He's absolutely not responsible for what happens to us. Nothing will or can ever make him see it that way. All he knows is that he's owed this office, any mistakes or misjudgments are not his fault, and we should all just trust him because... well, we owe him that for all our sins of the past.

If you agree with his bizarre notions of social justice, you have to support him whatever he does. The message is simple: "Nothing I do has to make any damn sense or even make your lives any better; it just has to reassure you that your own irrational prejudices are beyond reproach."

I propose that it's time to admit we made a catastrophic mistake. We didn't elect a healing post-racial president. We elected Nemesis. Wise up or be accountable for the mounting cataclysmic consequences.

Yeah, I'd even vote for Romney if it came to that. Obama must go.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Your Mission. Should you
choose to accept it...

How will it play out this year?

BUT NO, SERIOUSLY. So it's spring. You've got stuff to do: yard work, firing up the grill, planning that summer vacation, hitting up the local swimming pool, and whatever else your average American does during this time of year. But there's one thing that has more than likely been missing from your repertoire of spring activities. Something that is an incredibly awesome, epic experience. I speak of the NHL playoffs. Obviously, I don't expect you to watch all of the NHL playoffs. Instead, I have a simple challenge for you: watch one hockey playoff game.

There are a few guidelines going in:
  • Most important: pick a team to root for. You can look at the list of playoff contenders and choose or you can just look to see when a game is on that you can watch and simply pick one of the teams playing and root for them in that game. If you don't follow hockey, that means you probably don't have any emotion tied up in any particular team, even if you follow football or baseball. So pretend like you do. When you watch this one game, pretend like you really, really want one of the teams to win. And you may choose any team for any reason, whether they are your regional team, they happen to have one of the few hockey players you've actually heard of, or just because you like their uniforms. Doesn't matter. Just pick one.
  • Try to watch a Versus channel broadcast. If you don't get Versus, then you probably don't get any of those FSN sports channels, either, and you won't get any of the Canadian broadcast games without a subscription to NHL Center Ice. So that means you will have to watch the NBC broadcast. Not ideal, but not a deal-breaker, either. 
  • Don't watch game one of a series. Try to watch a pivotal game three, which should be easy since all game threes are pivotal. It's when a team breaks a 1-1 tie, starts the comeback from a 2-0 deficit, or starts to check out of the playoffs as they fall to 3-0. No matter the outcome, both teams will be playing hard to win game three.
  • Watch the entire game. Don't jump in during the second period or half way through the first. Don't stop watching early. Don't even skip the pregame stuff. If the game starts at 2 PM, have the TV on at 2 PM. Remember: this isn't the NFL, so there won't be twenty minutes of commercials, opening concerts by already-washed-up American Idol winners, or interviews with network sitcom stars. Instead they actually focus on what's happened so far during the series and maybe even have a few short interviews with players. Granted, many players are Slavs, Norwegians or French Canucks so you will hear a lot of, "Vell ve do dis over dar and eet no work so den ve try to do dis udder ting over dere." but they're trying, so don't hold it against them.
As you watch your game, keep an eye out for the following things:
  • The mind-numbing elation of a home-ice overtime win.
  • The eerie silence of a visiting team's overtime win (start at 1:08 in).
  • The awful knot you get in your stomach when your team is up by one late in the third and you know the other team is going to pull their goalie any second.
  • The relief you feel when your team puts the game away by scoring an empty net goal.
  • The abject terror you feel when the other team ties the game after pulling their goalie.
  • An impossible comeback.
  • The anger you get when one of your players commits a bad penalty, giving the other team a power play.
  • The happiness or heartbreak reflected on the faces of the players at the end of the game.

The two faces of hockey.

All of these things only scratch the surface. If you like sports, hockey's got it all. Do yourself a favor and tune in during the playoffs, which start very soon. After you watch that one game, see if you are able to resist finding out how the series ends. If you absolutely hate every second of the experience, I don't know what to tell you other than to have fun with the NBA playoffs:

The definition of "trying too hard".

Have fun with that. Really.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

In Memoriam:
Internal Combustion

WHAT'S A MOTORHEAD? Periodically, I do ask myself questions. (Surprised? Me too.) Like why do I despise the left so much? They have different views. Why does it always feel like a kick in the gut when they advocate their positions? Aren't these just political and philosophical differences intelligent people are allowed to have, even if they always assume that our positions are not intelligent?

But the answer I have to give myself is "no." The truth is that the left is anti-philosophical. Philosophy means love of knowledge. What's more and more apparent to me is that the left hates human knowledge and the human experience that informs it. They have literally fallen out of love with life. I've spoken of this before in terms of the Greek term thanatos, but today I'm going a level deeper, all the way back to the sensory experience that makes our minds and memories so instantly evocative. What life feels like to those who are actually living it.

Obviously, there's no end of ways to do this. Who is it who has made sex into reproductive politics, a battle between male desire and female resentments that is supposed to end more often than not in abortion rather than families? Who has transformed the pleasures of the table into a grim regimen of bran muffins, tofu, carob. and politically inspired veganism rather than the delights of the taste buds and the art of cuisine? Who has insisted that the glorious and multifarious differences among us need to be suppressed and squeezed flat as paste into a bureaucratic language that says nothing and takes pride in its loss of precision and poetry?

Leave all that for another day. Today I am simply a dinosaur remembering the sensory delights of an age that is being prematurely crushed out of our lives. Our president tells us he wants to reduce fossil fuel imports while refusing to drill for more in our own lands and waters. He prefers windmills and solar panels to the stink of oil. He implies that he's smarter than we are and is doing this for our own good. His energy secretary -- that dead-eyed bureaucrat of science -- wants the price of gasoline to triple so that we'll all fall into line with the new orthodoxy we're too dumb to understand.

Except that I have a mind steeped in fossil fuels, and it's a rich mine of memory, involving all the senses in a way that can't be erased from my life experience or my consciousness. I've said before that I'm a motorhead. What does than mean? It means I've driven everything powered by some kind of internal combustion engine all my life. Trucks, cars of every description from Bugattis to Cobras, tractors, outboard motorboats, diesel cabin cruisers, airboats, and motorcycles, and I've been an avid spectator at internal combustion displays I couldn't participate in myself -- fighter planes past and present, helicopters, funny-car drag racers, Formula 1 grand prix cars, and on and on.

Something odd but true. The dream world of sleep can't invent or summon such experiences. In my dreams I frequently fly, but all senses excepting the visual are muted or absent. Fear and elation are there but not smell, pain, or loud noises. Dreams are the mind unhooked from its sensory bases. They are therefore pallid, muddled, and but a weak subset of life. I think this is where the liberals and lefties live (think pot and the Sunday NYT), because they have never lived for real and never experienced the keenness of physical experience. Dreams are like books. They give the impression of sensory experience, but an impression is all it is. Why it seems to them, ultimately, to make little sense and more than a little dreary.

You have to have lived it to feel the instantaneous aliveness of an outboard motor churning up the tang of salt water on a bright blue blue day of sea and sky. The smell and the sound cannot be imagined without the underlying experience. Funny-cars roaring pain into your ears as the explosion of speed hurts your eyes. The intoxicating, eerily near-sexual smell of hot Castrol-R at the racetrack. (Only one smell on earth is better.) The perfect rhythm and thrum of a straight six motor in an XKE or TR6, under your hand via the gearshift. The ungodly stereo howl of a four-barrel Carter carburetor opening its secondaries atop a massive 440 Chrysler V-8 with dual exhausts. The deadly synchrony of a P-51 engine throttling back for a strafing run. The simultaneity of the throttle and instant leap forward of a fast motorcycle responding to the will of your hands and knees.

There are endless variations on all these sense memories, and extensions too. From the rush of high speed, more energizing than terrifying, all the way down to the satisfying but pungent putt-putt of a small diesel in a smallish wooden boat.

Who is it that wants to take this all away from us, as if it were collectively no more than an expression of human greed and selfishness? People who prize too little the sensory component of their own lives and the emotions to which such vivid memories are connected. Which is to say that there's something about life itself they don't get and never will.

I don't want such people standing in judgment of me, now or ever. Why I despise them so.

P.S. Shame on me or more serendicity? Until Apotheosis alerted me in his comment, I didn't know that David E. Davis had just died. But his passing is a milestone, as well as an echo of this post and many others. He was a force of nature, with a lifelong love affair with cars and life itself. He took over a boutique magazine about sports cars (Sports Car Graphic, Sports Car Illustrated, I don't know), renamed it Car & Driver, and set about convincing Americans that driving was not about cruising around in boaty monsters like Cadillacs but being in control of the vehicle, feeling its workings, and enjoying the adrenaline rush of being a ground-bound pilot.

Several facts about him off the top of my head. He made Car & Driver a hit when, in 1964, he dared to do a comparison test between the Ferrari GTO (megabucks) and the Pontiac GTO (a heretofore economy car called the Tempest into which some crazed GM engineer had dropped a 390 cubic inch V8). He declared the Pontiac the winner, thus beginning the age of the American muscle car. His magazine became the go-to source for what was fast, good handling, and fun to drive and own, from muscle cars to sports car to good handling sedans and trucks. It was Car & Driver that cemented a whole generation's obsession with 0-60 times. It was never about money and status. It was always about the thrill, the control in hard cornering, and the kick of speed. He was, as far as I know, the creative force behind the Cannonball Run, an illegal coast-to-coast race that was run in actuality and subsequently became a bad Burt Reynolds movie.

But he was no paper tiger. He'd been a racer himself, back in the days of the FIRST British invasion, in the 1950s, when MGs, Triumphs, Austin Healeys, Sunbeams, Bristols, Morgans, and Jaguars introduced nimble roadsters to the American public as an alternative to monster land yachts. Alfa responded to the post above with a memory of her own dream car:

Which is pretty much the same car that David E., as we knew him, nearly died in long before his writing and publishing career. He had a crash that smeared his face across the asphalt and required years of plastic surgery to (sort of) correct. But he still loved the MG.

Under his editorial control, Car & Driver fought for automobile safety by promoting improved handling, braking, seatbelts as a reinforcement of good driving position, and a tiered driver's licensing system that would enable the most skilled the greatest access and freedom on the Interstate highway system. His magazine spearheaded and documented the American media-driven fraud associated with the Audi sudden acceleration myth that nearly the sank the company decades ago. CD also was integral in fighting for European-style seatbelts which were more snug than American women liked; problem was, the "slack" that Detroit permitted to alleviate the breast-hugging properties that annoyed female drivers was also causing them far more serious injury in the event of actual collisions, which do happen. When I left the east coast for Ohio in the early 1980s, Car & Driver was fighting another war -- tooth and claw -- against airbags because they were dangerous to driver safety in crashes and deprived drivers of control of their vehicles at the precise moment when it was most needed.

I lost track during my Ohio years. Surrounded by too many station wagons and minivans, I guess. Accidents in my part of Ohio were usually one-car affairs. Somebody stopped paying attention and fell off the highway. I fell too -- behind the larger car story because I was ironically engaged as a consultant in trying to save GM as a business.

When I got back east in the 1990s, I was shocked to learn that Car & Driver had become one of the foremost advocates of airbags. Davis had moved on to a new magazine, less populist than CD, and I stopped reading car magazines altogether in disgust. You see, in my consulting life, I had actually had the chance to visit a manufacturer of airbags in Salt Lake City. I learned straight from the mouths of their engineers that they were explosive devices. Their principal interior component looks exactly like a landmine, you know, the kind that blows the legs off children in Third World nations.

What I live with every day: if my wife is an accident that causes her airbag to deploy, it will kill her. She is less than five feet tall, which means that she must sit much closer to the pedals and therefore the steering wheel than us bigger folks, and she is no longer a spring chicken. Her bones are no longer supple. When the bomb goes off to save her life, her chest will be crushed. Thank you, loving nanny state.

David E. Davis was once an advocate for individual responsibility and cars designed for drivers, not inert passengers. I hate the new Mercedes ads which promise that their cars can save you from inattentiveness and even sleep by taking over in a pinch. No. They can't.

Farewell, David E. Thanks for having fought the good fight as long as you did.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


. Delaware is 20 minutes away from here. It's a state with three counties, only one of them inhabited and that one by one city. Which means they're nothing but levels of government; federal, state, municipal (Wilmington), "greater Wilmington" a.k.a. New Castle County, and townships, of course, all piled on top of individual citizens. Does it work? No. DelDot, the offending agency here, is a tri-state joke (NJ, PA, and DE). We all know that Delaware traffic signage is designed to get you lost and that DelDot "improvement" projects invariably involve years of main artery shutdowns with no visible signs of progress ever. On any given day, about half of the lanes of the Delaware Memorial bridges to and from New Jersey are closed for maintenance, although, oddly, there's rarely a DelDot truck or worker in sight.

Why? They're too busy with crap like this.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Caligula Redux

FOLLOWUP ON LOW GENRES. Probably the worst reviewed movie of all time. Usually listed in a high position on any list of the top ten worst movies ever made. Soft core porn. Rotten in every respect. I just watched it again. On a hunch.

Why would I do that? The cast: Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren, John Gielgud, Peter O'Toole. Porn? I don't think so.

You know what it is? An American Fellini movie, marginally better than Satyricon. I mean, yeah, it's a movie. Good editing, art design, acting, and a coherent screenplay written by Gore Vidal.

So what's it about? The dangers of absolute power in a global empire with no moral basis.

Why did it get trashed? It was made in 1979, by Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione, and it may be the best ever representation of imperial Rome ever recorded on film  -- colorful, cruel, violent, lewd, with tons of casual nudity and casual sex (a 1979 anachronism: Patrician women in Rome had no pubic hair; depilation was an expensive service).

It makes the HBO series Rome look limp-wristed. (Rome didn't have Helen Mirren screamingly giving birth in front of thousands of onlookers. Did it?) Caligula's probably more accurate. The big advantage here is that the movie used British actors but not a British writer. Face it. The Brits always see Rome as an early version of the British Empire. It wasn't. The Brits didn't have nearly as much fun or pleasure or lack of bodily inhibition as the imperial Romans did. The Romans were Italians, meaning they screwed everything in sight and kept them as naked as possible too, so you could always see every single hole you wanted to plug.

Not British. Roman.

Which is why it's a good reminder for all of us now. They were completely different from us. Let me repeat that. They were completely different from us. Yes, they had concrete and aqueducts and coliseums, but they were pagans. And they absolutely didn't care about killing people or performing their conjugal duties in front of slaves.

Progress? Yes. You better believe it. Not since the Romans has any nation had the kind of military superiority over the rest of the world the United States now owns. Do we kill everyone who harms one of our citizens? No. Do we permit our leaders to despoil every woman and boy they desire in every orifice they may penetrate? No. They get away with a lot, but not that if we can help it.

Caligula shows us that we are not Rome.That's a good thing. And in showing us that Rome was licentious, wild, sexually and otherwise obsessed, we are also asked if there are limits to our new notions of diversity. If there were a Roman Empire today, would we tolerate imperial incest, routine torture unto death, and a cult that habitually turns leaders into gods fit for either worship or assassination?

Having watched Caligula, I'm now thinking it's still too mild. Let's see Rome for what it really was. Hardcore porn acted out on the national stage while the gladiators gladiated and the Patrician women power fucked and poisoned their way to the top.

No wonder Julius Caesar was a stone cold killer. And no wonder Caligula tried to kill all his senators.

What did I forget? Oh yeah. The movie. Unless you really don't like naked women by the dozen, it's actually not a bad production. If you cn fight your way through all the breasts and butts and bushes without having a Christian heart attack, you'll find that all the reviews you've read are the unfairest since the last NYT review of a conservative book.

Caligula may have been the first punk. Unless Akhenaton was.

Arguments for another day.

Why did they hate it so? Bob Guccione. And all those tits, asses, and vaginas we good people never want to see.

Although I'm reminded of a redneck comic quip none of you will understand: "I went to a strip bar and saw a naked vagina. You know what they say. Seen one -- now I want to see them all."

We're always fighting the Romans in ourselves. What Christianity is all about. Me? I feel fortified for having seen "Caligula."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Guilty PleasuresResearch:
Blood and Death.
Is there anything cooler than being a vampire? uh, yeah.

OUR BELOVED, GLORIOUS, SUPER-TALENTED, PRECIOUS KIDS ARE DEAD. A lot of IP regulars don't think I do enough to keep up with science-fiction movies, but I try. (And Stargate Universe has gotten considerably more interesting in theological terms since I wrote that early review. Now they're looking for a structural god principle at the heart of the universe...) But I also have other fish to fry, other low genres to keep up with. Like comic strip movies. And horror movies.

For example, I even watch FearNet at Comcast On Demand, as well as the horror stuff that makes it onto the other cable channels. Not when Mrs. CP is around because she can't stand the gore, as I also frequently cannot. But she knows why I do it. So many young screenwriters and directors get their first chance to make movies by doing low-budget horror films. In that respect it's a glimpse of the future. Obviously, not all low-budget horror makers will become successful or important. Still, their vision of what horror is in the contemporary context is an indicator of what their young audience responds to.

Which is concerning. Especially when you look at the output in terms of trends and, well, obsessions. Of these, there are two. Vampires and Zombies. Kids love these themes. Which are both about death.

Yeah, I know that youngsters have always flirted with death. John Keats wrote:

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains my sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, ...

Of course, Keats was 26 when he really did die. Shakespeare lived longer, but his young Hamlet also posed the life-and-death question:

To be or not to be, that is the question....

It isn't the question that's new. It's the way it's being posed and the way it's being disposed. Which are alarming. Zombies are the simplest exemplar of the problem. The first zombie movie was George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead," made for about $10,000 in 1968. It was crude social commentary, suggesting that selfishness outweighs all other considerations when life-and-death issues are at stake, and its punchline was racial. The altruistic black hero gets gunned down in the final scene. Romero persisted, recreating his zombies into symbols of everything wrong with modern culture until it became clear he was using zombies as a symbol of everything homogeneous about modern American life. Interesting and to the point? Not really. Easy and superficial if you're a grownup. Easy and convenient if you're a kid. Everybody's dead but you. Or so it seems until you factor in the vampire obsession.

Some of you may remember that the original Bram Stoker vampire tale was about the conflict between good and evil. The implied sexual deviancy of vampire intimacy then became the basis, in the counterculture, for equating vampirism with repressed sexuality, which led indirectly, via Ann Rice's paeans to differentness, principally homoeroticism as a distinct path to eternal life, to the blatant romanticization of vampirism in movies like Underworld and Twilight, which spun the mythology 180 degrees in the opposite direction from its origin. Vampires are the living ones, possessed of supernatural and beautiful powers, and everyone else is dead.

Where does all this lead? Where it began. Death. What our pampered youth identifies with most. Death. Courtesy of FearNet, I have a couple of observations. There are disturbing trends in recent horror movies. I watched two this morning which only belatedly revealed themselves as vampire movies. They were as different from one another as could be, but they ended in the same place. The first was called The Hamiltons, about a family which had lost its mother and father in a car accident. An elder brother, a pair of brother-sister twins, and a younger son were struggling on their own. The younger son was trying to make sense of his life by recording family scenes on a camcorder. Only slowly do we realize that the Hamiltons are born vampires, their plight described several times as a "disease," which results in callous and brutal killings of innocents, accompanied by multiple other predictable human crimes -- rape, sadism, murder, incest, and psychopathy. Our camcorder hero's progression is from rebellion to acceptance of his "disease" and finally reunion with his family. "We need blood and lots of it." The movie ends with a rancid, unsmiling smile.

What's extraordinary is the emphasis on blood alone. The narrator and protagonist for most of the movie is a typically disaffected teenager. He has no girlfriend, no interests other than his camcorder, no friends, no identity. He falls for one of his brothers's female victims and only comes into his own when he tries to rescue her and winds up killing her because she was already, uh, irresistibly, bleeding. He makes it clear that vampires (a word never mentioned in the movie) are not made but born. Everything we think about them is not true. They live in the daylight and they are among us, all of us, our next door neighbors, our friends in school, everyone we regard as normal. There is no happiness. They are the living dead among us. (I won't ask you to think of a chewed up human breast as a symbol of annihilated family...)

The second movie, "Grace," seems to start from an exactly opposite perspective. Rosemary's Baby as opposed to dysfunctional family. The first scene is (discreetly) an act of coitus between husband and wife. He moves while she passively accepts without pleasure and then elevates her pelvis to let the sperm do their work. And then we are slowly lowered into a horror movie metaphor centered on the lifegiving properties of the female breast. (Yes, I'd have turned it off if it were a boob movie, but it wasn't.) The conflict was bizarre, perverse, and subtly brilliant: breast versus death, milk versus blood, and the widow's imitation life of New Age vegan, tepid sexuality, and empty affectations versus the brute animal will to survive. The husband died in a car accident, the baby of his critically injured wife was pronounced dead three weeks before delivery, but the tofu-eating mother with the ex-Lesbian lover midwife carried the dead baby to term, delivered it, and then willed the stillborn child to life. Except that the infant girl really was dead. Her temperature kept dropping, flies swarmed her crib, and when the baby breastfed she invariably drew blood. Tofu mom finally tumbles to the fact that her baby is feeding not on milk but blood and starts buying meat, from which she drains the bloody juices for her baby's bottle.

Ultimately, she even kills to give her baby a blood bottle. Satire or allegory? The dead husband's mother is also obsessed with breast milk, believing she can, at the age of sixty, still save her granddaughter because her sole sexual contact with her husband over the years has been to keep her nipples stimulated and supple. (She breastfed her son till the age of three; it's her oxymoronically arid definition of motherhood.) She still has a breast pump and it still works after she blows off the dust. She sails in to the rescue when she learns the mother is critically anemic. She dies for her delusion. The only hero is a spittingly protective black cat, who delivers dead rats into the baby's crib to keep her alive. The movie ends with the mother and the midwife (and the cat) on the road in an RV seeking blood for their monster baby -- and the formerly vegan mother's discovery, now that she's on a high protein, liver-rich diet to bolster her breast milk -- that her baby is now teething. Final horror shot is of the result...

Yes. Horror movies. Cheap but not trivial. My conclusions? Vampirism isn't an obsession because it's romantic. Anymore than zombie movies are about conformist adults. They're important to our kids because there's something missing in their lives -- namely, life itself. They feel themselves a herd of the dead, born dead, advancing on the culture without anything but voracious appetites and guiltily protective parents. They know it can't be right, the way they feel, but all they can think of is what they want, with very little knowledge to vitiate their desires. They have sexual desire of a sort -- akin to the vampire's bloodlust -- but their own blood is lacking in the vitality that leads to dreams, ambition, accomplishment, greatness and honest-to-God consciousness. They sense that they are the dead ones, and however much they'd like to pretend they're possessed of extraordinary powers -- as the MSM and the public schools keep repeating, repeating, in hopes it might be true -- they know they're shallow, ignorant, only a cellphone call away from comatose, and dead on arrival.

There's one more trend I've seen in recent horror movies, led, I think, by the Brits, who used to have a feel for such things. The new standard ending of horror movies is for no one to survive. I won't recite all the examples. (Endless.) The one I will mention is an American movie called Qube, which I thought brilliant down to its last ten seconds. The heroine was Kari Matchett, whom we've loved since Nero Wolfe, and she survived a nailbiting two-hour ordeal that had us all rooting for her in a movie of truly brilliant conception. She turned out to be the heroine who solved the unsolvable problem, and then, two seconds after she delivered her solution, she got shot in the back of the head. Roll credits.

This is the new paradigm in a nutshell. How to spoil an otherwise good movie in a microsecond.

Ya know? Fuck you, youngsters. If you want to die, die. Go ahead. Just don't bother your betters with your nihilistic pretensions. I feel sorry for you. But I cannot save you if you don't have a passion for living.

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