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Frank Rich - The Manchurian Candidate (Puke Alert-Column Sludge hyping)

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RamboLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:30 AM
Original message
Frank Rich - The Manchurian Candidate (Puke Alert-Column Sludge hyping)
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 01:30 AM by rmpalmer


The original "Manchurian Candidate" was both anti-Communist and anti-Joe McCarthy. It theorized that the Chinese and Russians could try to overthrow the American government by using covert Washington operatives disguised as Commie-hunting American demagogues. The new "Candidate," which takes the first gulf war instead of the Korean War as its historical template, finds a striking new international villain to replace the extinct evil empires of Mao and Stalin: Manchurian Global, a "supremely powerful, well-connected, private equity fund" that is in league with the Saudis and eager to scoop up the profits from privatizing the American Army. Think of it as the Carlyle Group or Halliburton on steroids, just as its primary fictional political beneficiary, the well-heeled "Prentiss family dynasty," with its three generations of Washington influence, is at most one syllable removed from the Bushes.

Perhaps to fake out the right, the villain played by Ms. Streep has been given the look, manner and senatorial rank of Hillary Clinton. (The character's invective, typified by her accusation that civil libertarians enable suicide bombers, is vintage Fox News Channel, blond auxiliary division.) She has programmed her son to be the "first privately owned and operated vice president of the United States" in other words, the left's demonized image of the current vice president. This conspiracy unfolds in a sinister present-day America where surveillance cameras track library visitors, cable news channels peddle apocalypse 24/7, and the American government launches pre-emptive military strikes in countries like Guinea to prolong a war on terror "with no end in sight." The crucial election at hand will use electronic touch screens for voting, a dark intimation of Floridian balloting mischief. It will not be an election at all, says the movie's military-man hero (Denzel Washington in Colin Powell's rimless specs), but "a coup in our own country, a regime change."


It's a fool's errand to predict the commercial success of the remake. If it's a hit always a big if the audience will be larger, more politically diverse and, given the stars, older (and therefore more likely to vote) than that of "Fahrenheit 9/11." The film carries too much show-business establishment freight to be easily marginalized as a fringe product of the "loony left," as it surely will be by the same crowd who inflated Whoopi Goldberg's tasteless sexual innuendos into a "hatefest." Dismiss the movie's plot as an over-the-top fantasy and you're still left with a foreboding mood of high anxiety that may strike audiences as recognizably up-to-the-minute.

That atmosphere is one of sheer fear; Mr. Demme was, after all, the director of "The Silence of the Lambs." "The American people are terrified," says Ms. Streep's villainous senator early on as, John Ashcroft-style, she wields a national security report promising "another cataclysm, probably nuclear." And so we watch her and the rest of the Manchurian Global cabal exploit that fear in any way possible, using the mass media as a brainwashing tool, manipulating patriotic iconography for political ends. "Compassionate vigilance" is one campaign slogan. A televised election night rally features a Mount Rushmore backdrop (as in a signature Bush photo op) and a chorus line of heroic cops and firemen (reminiscent of the early Bush-Cheney ads exploiting the carnage at ground zero).

The new "Manchurian Candidate," in other words, plays by the same nasty rules as the administration it attacks, stoking fear for partisan advantage by making the demagogues of fear almost as scary as the terrorists themselves. Though the terminally cautious Kerry campaign would never make this argument, its cultural surrogates are bringing it to an expanding variety of venues, high and low.

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LittleApple81 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 02:21 AM
Response to Original message
1. Is the NYT Right Wing? I cannot believe the poison the put in their
paper some times. I know this picture tries to point at what Bush is doing to us, and that is a GOOD thing. And the NYT knows it.
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RamboLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Giving this a kick for daytime folks
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Still_Loves_John Donating Member (688 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 03:34 PM
Response to Original message
3. I wouldn't call this right wing
The first part of the article is clearly anti Bush. If anything, this has that NYT, Maureen Dowd, "Look at me I'm sophisticated and cynical so I don't like either party" type of slant to it.
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Eric J in MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 03:35 PM
Response to Original message
4. Meryl Streep said she was doing Peggy Noonan (nt)
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