Signs and Portents

Horror movies are, of course, more than escapism. Although it’s taken many years academics are starting to pay some attention to them. Because of a conversation with a colleague this past week I felt compelled to watch The Omen again. The current political situation merits such viewing, in any case. Interestingly, the first time I saw The Omen—which was during a spate of unemployment—it didn’t scare me much. Like most classic horror, the scenes that had everybody talking in the mid-‘70s had been described so often that they failed to shock. All that was left was a dispensationalist tale of the end of the world—non-biblical, and the fright only came from belief. This time, however, I could see it as nothing but a film about a political takeover.

Omen_ver4

With the open admission on the part of Steve Bannon that his administration—let’s not kid ourselves here—intends to dismantle the government we’ve had in this country since around 1776, we can see that this election was only an excuse. Knowing that this dark side of human nature (some call it the Devil) won’t be given a chance again—they didn’t win the popular vote this time around and unless they silence the media they won’t win the next one—Bannon’s crew, like Damien, has to deconstruct quickly. The Republican establishment, unless it opens its eyes soon, will find itself locked outside as well. Ironically, it’s the public that can see this, not the elites. It’s as if George III were back from the grave. Power, as The Omen intimates, is incredibly seductive. The GOP, wrongly supposing it will share it, goes along with nominations that have now been openly declared agents of destruction. Where is Revelation when you need it?

The Omen is all about Satan getting a back-door entry to the White House. The politicians are all easily duped. Evangelical Christians have been brainwashed into thinking that only by voting Republican can they prevent abortion and gay marriage—two decidedly non-biblical issues. You see, the Devil works that way. Scripture says he can disguise himself as an angel of light. People who don’t educate themselves are very easily fooled. We’ve followed the script rather precisely. Satan’s greatest tool, it’s said, is that people don’t believe in him. So after you finish reading 1984—which we all should—watch The Omen. Ponder what inviting evil to take over the one remaining superpower might really mean.

5 responses to “Signs and Portents

  1. From Menken:
    “The American of today, in fact, probably enjoys less personal liberty than any other man of Christendom, and even his political liberty is fast succumbing to the new dogma that certain theories of government are virtuous and lawful, and others abhorrent and felonious. Laws limiting the radius of his free activity multiply year by year: It is now practically impossible for him to exhibit anything describable as genuine individuality, either in action or in thought, without running afoul of some harsh and unintelligible penalty. It would surprise no impartial observer if the motto “In God we trust” were one day expunged from the coins of the republic by the Junkers at Washington, and the far more appropriate word, “verboten,” substituted. Nor would it astound any save the most romantic if, at the same time, the goddess of liberty were taken off the silver dollars to make room for a bas-relief of a policeman in a spiked helmet. Moreover, this gradual (and, of late, rapidly progressive) decay of freedom goes almost without challenge; the American has grown so accustomed to the denial of his constitutional rights and to the minute regulation of his conduct by swarms of spies, letter-openers, informers and agents provocateurs that he no longer makes any serious protest.”

    We have seen this before historically. We have a brash idiotic bully as our appointed leader who exemplifies the description of “monster”. Typically the genre of Horror has this “evil” antagonist attempting to annihilate the “good” protagonist. How else can we learn but by acting out our deepest fears and
    finally facing them down, relying upon our human spirit to take the day.

    Unfortunately, “We get what we deserve”, a quote I remember from a friend seems to be appropriate. Fear beings out the worst (and best) in all animals, All sense of dignity and caring gets thrown to the wind when you are scrambling up the ladder using the heads and hands of those below you as rungs. The mantra during these uncertain times seems to be “I got mine, to hell with you and yours”, a scene played out countless times in the Horror genre where a character befalls consumption by some terrifying beast at the hands of another less noble character.

    Enough for now. Trying to find another Menken quote on American Democracy, the gist of which is our leaders reflect the innermost core of our society.

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    • I think I know the quote you mean: “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

      Interestingly someone just yesterday was making the point that you shared about being afraid and wanting to care for “me and my own” while letting the rest of society go to Hell. Unfortunately this isn’t new in American society. I’d just kind of (naively) thought we’d moved beyond some of that.

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      • Thank you for reminding me of the quote – it seems as appropriate now as when it was written.
        We do have the capacity for caring and uplifting those in lower social strata, it has been shown countless times throughout our country’s existence. Opposed to that is our penchant for self-centeredness, greed, and the rest of the seven vices. When we are good we are very, very good; but when we are bad we are horrid, an old ditty comes to mind.
        I think that right now, Americans are retreating into a hole created by fear and uncertainty, as well as a coming sense of how capitalism, industrialism, militarianism and the blending of a democratic state with a corporate state (read “Fascist”); which generates this fear.

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        • Well said! I’m always struck by how capitalism and democracy are often at loggerheads with each other. Add in the insecurity of having the most highly developed military in the world and anything can happen.

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