Pass me the popcorn, please. I feel like I’m sitting in a movie house watching an Orson Wells scripted and directed film. With the Academy Awards settled for this year, I keep falling into confusion about what is on the big screen in front of me.
Among the stacked boxes of bylined and unpublished stories I’ve written and saved over the years, I could never have imagined and composed the stories I’m watching now.
Besides the toil and turmoil in the Arab world, and the completely whacked out weather, when I woke up to Tuesday’s “Today Show” live interview with an actor spieling wild fantasies of glory and might, I took the newspaper spouse placed on the breakfast bar and read it in the office (AKA the bathroom).
Maybe because the magnetic North Pole has shifted closer to Siberia than where my world atlas indicates, we’re shifting into Mr. Well’s likely interpretation of “ Inception.” It’s an insidious video loop where teachers, firemen, police and nurses are the bad guys. The heroes in white cowboy hats are billionaires who know all and see all. It is through them that all good manifests.
Okay, now pass me the Maalox.
I am so confused. What is going on? Poor people: Really, really bad. Middle class people: Public fund sucking vampires. Royalty: All that. It’s a chiaroscuro world—which is why I’m pretty sure I’m sitting in a 21-screen multiplex theater, and Tim Burton joined forces with Wells.
Compassion is so yesterday. Don’t” Kill Bill,” kill Social Security. And BTW, you get nothing until you are 70. (Seventy is the new 60, right?) “Grapes of Wrath” lives on, except it’s mostly old folks picking the prune plums.
On another screen, nearly half of the actors portraying members of the U.S. Congress are millionaires. Busy decrying public sector 5-figure salaries, their pensions and their benefits, the millionaire politicos pocket an approximate $174,000 a year, plus an average $45,000 in annual benefits. And their pensions? It’s called the Rolls Royce of pension plans where retired lawmakers, “ stand to pick up more than $1.1 million in lifetime pension benefits…,” orates a character actor.
The movie scene’s second camera scans a barefooted woman, toting a child on her hips, standing in line for a loaf of bread. She holds a graduate degree in teaching from a now-defunct state university, but with public schools closed and only private schools managed by religious operations, she’s been unemployed for the past 18 months, lost her home and lives out of her car. She asked to meet with her congressional representative who speeds past her in his federal licensed black Denali. He declined her request because he had a lunch meeting with Brian Moniyhan, who’s buying, because he just earned a $9 million all-stock bonus after a 1-year CEO stint with Bank of America. The camera on the homeless woman fades to black.
In the foreign film room an Arab monarch hordes a portion of a $1.3 billion annual dollars-for-peace payment from the U.S. What’s not to love about Israel? With a mouthful of Raisenets, I whisper, to my friend, “For half of that money, I’d invite the 10 people I dislike the most over for nightly supper.”
Fortunately comic relief comes from the cartoon. In this one a resonant-voiced man depicts a reporter who discusses the protests in Wisconsin. He hints at bussed –in “professional left-wing “ infiltrators, all while the news clip has palm trees in the background. Palm trees in Wisconsin? In February? Now that’s funny stuff, right there.
“Cornball” is what my godfather would have called these films. I hope a good old movie like “Casablanca” plays on TCM tonight. That way I can gorge myself on popcorn and not get indigestion.