A Column Published every Monday by Kevin D. Annett
Vol. 1, No. 1
December 21, 2015
Star Wars, Justin Trudeau and the Pope: After all the hype is the same old script, but with a new delivery
“How fortunate for rulers that the people do not think.” – Adolf Hitler, 1923
Like throngs of the faithful in Vatican square, the pumped-up movie crowd gazed transfixed at its heroes with a sort of pre-orgasmic expectation of things to come. But no amount of flashy special effects could hide the truth for long. As one viewer two rows down from me exclaimed after the Death Star once again blew up just in the nick of time,
“Shit, man! It’s the same plot as the first one!”
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a let down, like any made-to-order opiate. As briefly thrilling as the promises of politicians and Popes, the film droops almost immediately because it simply has nothing to say. Even the nostalgic buzz of seeing what the decades have done to Princess Leia, or the snappy delivery of new actors mouthing the same old lines, can’t salvage a dead script.
The experience made me think of Justin Trudeau, and his role model in Rome.
In what could be accurately called “Spin Wars: The Farce Awakens”, Justin’s first performance as Prime Minister – being a Canadian production – has been a pale facsimile of other statesmen, especially big time liars like the Vatican’s Nice Guy Pope, Jorge Bergoglio, and his damage control efforts. Jorge is at least relying on a somewhat new script to mask his corporation’s own Group Crime. Contrarily, our novice Prime Minister is merely recycling the language of his predecessor Stephen Harper in an attempt to paper over Canada’s extermination of Indians, calling that genocide “abuse” and carefully avoiding any talk of mass graves of children.
Unfortunately, Justin is telling the lie with a tear in his eye, and so as in any Grade B movie, his touching delivery seems to be blinding his viewers to the fact that it’s a rotten script he’s reciting.
It’s especially sad that Justin’s facile, quick-fix stunt is denying him the chance for a really dramatic performance that would bring the house down. After all, the “abuse” of Indians to which Justin is referring involved a lot more than hurt feelings.
For over a century, armies of children were being deliberately gang raped, starved and tortured to death and tossed into ditches, according to a master plan of ethnic cleansing. Generations of them served as live guinea pig test subjects, were sterilized and were farmed out to hordes of sick rich pedocides. And the whole mess got rationalized and shoved away with a neat packaging job by church and state that would have made Spin Doctoring Founder Eddie Bernays blush. But wouldn’t such horrors, freely admitted, be the stuff of a really great tear jerking mea culpa by young Justin? But the guy is clearly tied to an unimaginative director.
It all seems a bit more than odd to me, considering how Justin’s Dad Pierre, another stand up Prime Minister, was educated by the same Jesuit weirdos who bred the present pseudo-Pope called Francis, who has play acted a sterling rendition of a humble saint from Buenos Aires. You’d think His Magnificence would at least give young Justin a few acting lessons, since even in Canada weepy sentimentality by a rich white guy can only carry the viewers just so far.
That said, official Canada seems caught nowadays in a single plot line that plays itself out ad nauseum long after the viewers have gone home in boredom. That screenplay is simple, if banal: a basically nice group of pale folks decided to help a sorry bunch of brown children, some of whom ended up “abused”. Money was paid, apologies were made, and everybody was happy. The story line should end there. But the pale folks in fact have to keep reassuring themselves that those corpses can really be laid to rest with just the right words, which they keep repeating over and over, mostly to themselves.
This plot may seem absurd and stale, but it’s more than that, for habitual apologetics are the compulsion of people who know their own guilt but can’t admit it, to the world or to themselves: people like Canadians. But in the end, none of that matters, for the show not only must go on but does so, like James Joyce’s sense of history: as a nightmare from which we are all trying to awaken, consciously or not.
As for the latest Star Wars drama: well, despite its banal predictability, the movie didn’t seem to leave the audience that dissatisfied, ending as it did in a cliff hanging scene of non-conclusion. And that, of course, is the best strategy in film making, or in politics: to leave the rest of us caught up in the perpetual hope that things will turn out for the best in the end, when inside we all know the truth.
With yuletide approaching, I was asked recently to write something about Maisie Shaw, killed by the United Church of Canada on December 24, 1946 not too far from where I am sitting. I declined.
“It’s all been said already, mostly by me” I explained.
“But people have to be reminded” replied the caller.
“Why should they have to be?” I answered.
Reverend Alfred Caldwell went to his own grave convinced that he had kicked little Maisie to her death for her own good. His church, which is still open for business and doing just fine, thank you very much, stepped around her corpse even more adeptly. Nobody missed any sleep over Maisie Shaw.
None of this ever changes because the dead don’t change.
Merv Ritchie isn’t liked very much by crooked cops, child snuffing Catholics and the Chinese government. For a few years he published their secrets in his tiny community newspaper in Terrace, British Columbia until the Knights of Columbus shut it down.
Merv is parked somewhere east of Vancouver tonight in his bus, broke, monitored and alone. The cops had just seized his telephone and records when I received his laconic email.
“I’m in a holding pattern until I can figure out what’s next. Lovely, eh?”
Bishop Bob Bennett of London, Ontario may or may not be mulling his fate tonight over a bowl of gruel behind ornate but drawn bed curtains. But three ghosts await him, nonetheless.
Christmas Past: Scrambling to hide the little Indian bones and threaten employees into silence, while giving peppy and inspirational sermons to his fickle Anglican parishioners who know that something is up;
Christmas Present: Avoiding reporters and lawyers, and fearing what other undomesticated Mohawks may show up bearing shovels and questions; and
Christmas Future: A time past possibility of putting aside his Bishop’s Miter and Official Duty to Lie, and embracing the little child who reaches out from the grave, to end and begin everything.
I suspect Bob’s curtains will remain drawn.
Next Week: The Caucasian Healing Fund – Prime Time Canadiana