Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Jesus is in trouble! This is a job for Delta Force


Phone Box, round the back of the Law Courts, Chancery Lane
.
During a chat with my friend Sylviane a couple of weeks ago the subject of The Davinci Code came up. She, along with countless others, endorses the book on the basis that 'Yes. It's badly written but it is full of good ideas'. Given that NONE of the interesting ideas are Dan Brown's and the only original content is the matrix in which they are presented, the writing, I find this opinion pretty damning.
.
Anyway, along with countless others, Sylviane recommended one of Brown's other books, Angels and Demons, as being better written and also full of interesting ideas.

.
Later that evening I saw a trailer for the forthcoming film National Treasure starring Nicholas Cage. National Treasure is strikingly similar in theme to The Davinci Code or Angels and Demons in that it revolves around the idea of a lost treasure or secret protected by a secret society that has existed for hundreds of years. The location of the treasure is revealed in a series of clues hidden in famous historical artefacts.

.
What I find most interesting about this recent spate of historical detective quests is that they feed off serious material and genuine historical enigmas. Under the guise of populist entertainment, they hijack serious contemplation of the significance of these questions and confuse the issue. It's classic Black Propaganda. Devalue a serious area of investigation from within.

.
A similar process has taken place with a whole range of subjects including UFOs and ETs. I personally don’t take this field all that seriously but my eyebrow does raise when, for example, I watch a film like Independence Day that quite deliberately misrepresents the Roswell Story and I wonder why the producers went out of their way to get the facts wrong.

.
The same distortion takes place in the portrayal of historical events. Personal favourites from recent years include The Patriot and Sommersby which depict their plantation owning heroes freeing their slaves seventy years before the emancipation declaration, or U-571 which shows American sailors bravely fighting the Nazis a year before their country actually entered the war. Rambo III was on TV a few nights ago. I had a seriously good chuckle as Rambo stood side by side with the noble, deeply humane Islamic freedom fighters against the wicked, sadistic and exceptionally two dimensional Russian oppressors.

.
Hollywood is a powerful mouthpiece for American business interests and the military. Another personal favourite example is the portrayal of NASA. NASA costs billions and its only significant output in recent years has been fricasseed school teachers. So, rather than figuring out a way to do anything genuinely useful for mankind, NASA worked very hard in the 1990s at achieving a favourable portrayal in the media, particularly the movies. Hence, films like Armageddon that show NASA as being the only organisation that stands between mankind and global destruction. Who's going to cut their funding after seeing that? Can’t actually send any missions to Mars, or even back to the Moon thirty years after Apollo? No worries just spend a few million on CGI 'documentaries' that portray missions to Jupiter. Much cheaper and safer than actually carrying out such a mission.
This kind of material is the exploratory equivalent of a virtual reality hand job. I wonder if Columbus or Magellan would have made it into the history books if they'd decided that their ships weren't up to the job and made do with staying at home and presenting a series of lithographs depicting winged, albino crocodiles and cities made of gold instead.
.
All of these things are supposedly done in the name of entertainment. Lies and deceptions are applied to make the stories more thrilling. Strangely, the changes always seem to favour a fascist, corporate, revisionist agenda that, in itself, is not particularly entertaining. Far from it.

.
Anyway, I was curious to know how a film like National Treasure neutralised the serious question of the hidden agenda of the Masonic founding fathers of the United States. From the trailer it was clear that the film acknowledged some strange goings on in the establishment of the US constitution. My guess was that the film would somehow trivialise the questions and throw some disinformation into the public domain at the same time

.
After some Google searching I came across this site
.

http://www.themoviespoiler.com/index.html
.
Which promises to supply spoilers to all movies. National Treasure was there and, sure enough, it's trivial. The treasure in question is actually really treasure. The great secret of the Masonic founding fathers of America is that there's a pile of pirate style loot buried in a cave underneath Manhattan. Well done Hollywood, you never fail to disappoint.
.
Whilst I was at the spoiler site I couldn’t help noticing that they offered outlines of the endings of such mystery-packed capers as Princess Diaries II, Polar Express, Bridget Jones II and The Passion of Christ. Fantastic! I now no longer need run the risk of dying before finding out what happens at the end of The Princess Diaries. Naturally, I was drawn to the account of The Passion of Christ. I was reminded of the 2nd hand bible issued to me in the first year of secondary school. On the inside front cover some wag had written a series of reviews:
.
'A rattling good yarn. This Millennium's must-read page turner'
.
'The Greatest Story ever told'
.
'You WILL like this book or burn in hell', God
.
and
.
'This book is rubbish. He dies at the end'
.
Trembling with anticipation I read the plot summary of The Passion on the Movie Spoilers site. Did Mel Gibson replace the Romans with sadistic British Redcoats? Did Jesus speak Aramaic in a Californian accent? Was he saved at the last moment by a detachment of Navy SEALs and a grateful group of freed Negro slaves thankful for the sheer privilege of being born in the Greatest Country on Earth? Was Christ whisked up to Heaven in the only functional space shuttle ever built?
.
Nope. He died. So, even Hollywood hasn't got the balls to 'improve' that particular story. Not yet anyway.

.

No comments: