:: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 ::
Benghazi: Obama's "Wag the Dog" in Reverse
Posted by Edward Cline at 4:12 PM
Some time ago speculation ran
through the Mainstream Media and the Internet about which "playbook"
the Obama administration has been following in terms of its domestic and international
policies. Was it George Orwell's Nineteen
Eighty-Four, or Ayn Rand's Atlas
The consensus came down for Atlas Shrugged, a novel whose villains
seemed to have enjoyed a kind of ethereal, literary karma and wound up in
President Barack Obama's administration. The premise behind the consensus was
that before you can depict a country in ruins governed by an all-knowing,
all-controlling totalitarian régime, it must first be ruined.
I agreed with that consensus.
But, here's a new twist on that hypothesis.
In 1997, Hollywood released a
cinematic spitball aimed at President George H.W. Bush, Wag the Dog,
about a phony war concocted by – don't be too surprised – a Hollywood producer
to distract attention away from a fictive president's sex scandal just before
an election. The ruse succeeds, and the (presumably Republican)
president is reelected. The ruse is so successful that its creator is bursting
with frustrated pride and wants to tell the world about it. He is warned not
to. He insists. Consequently, he has a heart attack at poolside and dies, an
unfortunate "tragedy" arranged for him by a fellow spin-doctor
working for the government.
reality has had a habit of emulating fiction, even Hollywood's leftist digital
and celluloid fiction. Today we have, in the geyser of revelations about what
happened in Benghazi on September 11th, 2012, just the reverse of
what transpired in the movie. There is a real war, a president and former Secretary
of State are embroiled in a scandal, and there have been real deaths, and not
so much a covered-up sex scandal as a set of lies and fabrications intended to
distract Americans' attention from the criminal behavior and statements of the
administration just before an election, in this instance, the 2012 election.
Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and advisor and
fiction writer Ben
Rhodes apparently failed to wag this particular dog convincingly enough to
stop the truth from coming out, although it wasn't for lack of trying by the
stooges and cheerleaders in the MSM and by Obama's geekish press secretary, Jay
Carney. In fact, a whole kennel of dogs is barking outloud about how their owners
mangled their tails in multiple attempts to wag them. These are dogs that date
back to Obama's first term in office.
is the IRS
scandal over Associated Press phone records being seized by the Department of
Justice to see who was saying, writing, and doing what, and when, and the IRS
scandal over that beloved "service" targeting the Tea Party and
other organizations for special attention, all with the implied sanction of an
to weaken their opposition
to Obama's reelection.
is "Fast and Furious," Attorney General Eric Holder's pack of rabid
pit bulls concocted to implicate private gun owners and sellers in the Mexican
drug cartel's depredations with the aim of imposing gun controls on the country to reduce
are the Solyndra-class, fascist subsidies to companies that ultimately failed
and continue to cost taxpayers.
was TARP and the whole subprime mortgage meltdown that cost billions and
billions of taxpayer dollars. There were the car industry bailouts that
continue to cost billions. There is Obama's opposition to any energy plan that
would make the country independent of the whims and political influence of OPEC
and especially of Mideast oil potentates.
is Obama's endorsement of the so-called "Arab Spring," which was heralded
as a chance to bring "democracy" to Egypt and Tunisia and Libya, but
which has resulted in the establishment of one of this country's most determined
and deadly enemies, the Muslim Brotherhood, not to mention the murderous
turmoil in Syria.
is the astronomical debt rung up by the Obama administration for which we might
need to coin a new term that would describe it.
is Obamacare, a dictatorial "health insurance" scam that forces all Americans
to participate in, and whose true costs are now beginning to reveal themselves.
is terrorism itself, and Obama ordering the destruction or redacting of all government
training materials that would identify our enemy, Islam, reducing our law
enforcement agencies to a blinded, bumbling Mr. Magoo.
it's Ben Rhodes who is the focus of attention here. I focus on him because, as
a novelist, I wish to redeem the good name of novelists who produce fiction. I cannot
speak for other novelists, but I can distinguish between writing fiction for a
reading public and concocting lies to be consumed by the same public. Rhodes is billed
as Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic
Communications and Speechwriting, overseeing President Obama’s national
security communications, speechwriting, and global engagement. And, before being
appointed to that post, was Deputy Director of White House Speechwriting, and
as a Senior Speechwriter for the Obama campaign.
In short, Rhodes is the Dustin Hoffman character in Wag the Dog, Stanley Motss. It is too
early to project whether or not he will meet Stanley Motss's fate. Probably not.
More likely he will be thrown under another of Obama's buses, figuratively
speaking, in the guise of a tearful resignation. He is, after all, an important
"advisor," and he advised Obama, not too well, and wrongly, at that. His
hand was in the talking points cookie jar, and the jar was fabricated by his
fellow staff spin-doctors.
Rhodes apparently is implicated in the
"talking points" issue over what to say and what not to say about what
happened in Benghazi, why the consulate was attacked, by whom, and who knew it
and when. By "who knew it," I mean anyone in the government outside
of Al Qada and the Muslim Brotherhood, two organizations which seem to be formulating
our foreign policy.
Obama has more or less laughed
off the Benghazi investigation. As the Washington Post reported:
“We don’t have time to
keep playing these political games in Washington,” Obama said, arguing that the
more important work is ensuring that U.S. diplomats are adequately protected.
“We dishonor them when we turn things like this into a political circus.”
Rhodes was apparently aided in the deceit by Samantha Power, consort
of former would-be speech censor and Obama staffer Cass Sunstein. Having resigned
from the first Obama term because of an "off-the-record" remark she
made about Hillary Clinton, she is back in the administration and heads the
Office of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights as Senior Director of
Multilateral Affairs on the Staff of the National Security Council. She is a
Pulitzer Prize winning author and is closely entrenched in Harvard University's
What did she say about Hillary "It doesn't
matter" Clinton that forced her to resign? It is precious, and it is correct.
" 'She is a monster, too -- that is off the
record -- she is stooping to anything,' Ms. Power said, hastily trying to
withdraw her remark."
… Power was quoted as taking other swipes at Obama's Democratic
presidential nomination rival, which Gilson says came after the
"monster" comment and which Power did not attempt to place off the
record. Power said of Clinton, "You just look at her and think, 'Ergh' . .
. The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive."
Rhodes, however, got a master's degree in fiction-writing at New York
University. The only fiction he is known to have written is some of Obama's
speeches. A puff-piece in the Collegiate
School's blogsite quotes him:
“For a long time, my focus was on being a writer,”
Rhodes said. “But I was definitely politically engaged [in school], and I don’t
think it would surprise anyone I went to high school with that I ended up doing
something in politics.” [Syntax, sic]
writing fiction for the President ever since 2007, and for former Virginia governor
and now Senator Mark Warner, and for Representative Lee Hamilton of Indiana.
the "talking points" new and old, and how the administration was
concerned about their credibility, The Weekly
Standard, in Stephen Hayes' May 13th article, "The
Benghazi Talking Points: And how they were changed to obscure the truth," reported
In an attempt to address
those concerns, CIA officials cut all references to Ansar al Sharia and made
minor tweaks. But in a follow-up email at 9:24 p.m., [State Department spokesman
Victoria] Nuland wrote that the problem remained and that her superiors—she did
not say which ones—were unhappy. The changes, she wrote, did not “resolve all
my issues or those of my building leadership,” and State Department leadership
was contacting National Security Council officials directly. Moments later,
according to the House report, “White House officials responded by stating that
the State Department’s concerns would have to be taken into account.” One
official—Ben Rhodes, The Weekly Standard is told, a top adviser to
President Obama on national security and foreign policy—further advised the
group that the issues would be resolved in a meeting of top administration officials
the following morning at the White House.
By "resolved," Rhodes did not mean the
resolution of conflicts and plots in a work of fiction. That skill, presumably
(but doubtfully) acquired for his master's degree in fiction-writing at NYU,
did not come into play here. He meant reaching a credible lie in the work of
fiction that is Obama's ongoing work-in-progress.
That is, concocting disingenuous statements and
postures to preserve the alleged credibility of Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Obama, Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, Victoria
Nuland, and Ben Rhodes all cried havoc, but let slip the dogs of war – on their
own houses. For once.
0 Comments ::
:: Sunday, May 12, 2013 ::
Obama's Fruits of Falsehood
Posted by Edward Cline at 4:00 PM
There is an understandable
reluctance in President Barack Obama's critics – a reluctance verging on a
fastidious decorum and civility regarding the office of the President – that
stops them from making the ultimate judgment of President Barack Hussein Obama
and his administration. It is a damnation they have avoided. Perhaps it is too
horrible for them to contemplate. They can excoriate him over the details of
his policies and actions, but never quite reach a logical conclusion. Perhaps they
believe he isn't beyond redemption.
However, I don't think I'm
putting my life at risk by stating, without apology, regret, hesitation, or
trepidation that: Obama is evil. Even if he never committed another
evil action, he is irredeemable. As irredeemable as Richard Speck or Charles
And by evil I do not mean evil by
accident, or by omission, by hypocrisy, by happenstance, by character flaw, by
insanity, or even by criminal negligence. I mean: Consciously, purposefully,
Obama is a public figure. His
policies and actions are fair game for observation, examination, and
evaluation. They're there for all to see. His private life also has been made
public, from his closeness to America-hating Reverend Jeremiah Wright to his
frequent golfing outings to his numerous lies and cover-ups. There is not a
single speech of Obama's, not a single pubic gesture of his or a piece of
legislation he has signed or vetoed, that has not telegraphed his malevolent motives
It is fruitless to take him
to task on incompetence or willful negligence or over a character flaw or even
over his ostensible "pragmatism," which tends to backfire when his
pragmatism encounters the pragmatism of seasoned veterans like Vladimir Putin. One
can understand Mark Steyn, as he wrote in "The Benghazi
Lie" on May 10th about the insouciance of Obama and Hillary
Clinton about why Benghazi happened:
in the most revealing glimpse of the administration’s depravity, the president
and secretary of state peddled the lie even in their mawkish eulogies to their
buddy “Chris” and three other dead Americans. They lied to the victims’ coffins
and then strolled over to lie to the bereaved, Hillary telling the Woods family
that “we’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the
video.” And she did. The government dispatched more firepower to arrest Nakoula
Basseley Nakoula [maker of the "Innocence of Muslims" video on
YouTube] in Los Angeles than it did to protect its mission in Benghazi. It was
such a great act of misdirection Hillary should have worn spangled tights and
sawn Stevens’s casket in half.
Steyn issues a warning to Obama's
and Clinton's defenders and apologists, that they, too, can be policy fodder:
dying Los Angeles Times reported this story on its homepage…under the
following headline: “Partisan Politics Dominates House Benghazi Hearing.” In
fact, everyone in this story is a Democrat or a career civil servant. Chris
Stevens was the poster boy for Obama’s view of the Arab Spring; he agreed with
the president on everything that mattered. The only difference is that he
wasn’t in Vegas but out there on the front line, where Obama’s delusions meet
reality. Stevens believed in those illusions enough to die for them.
cannot say the same about the hollow men and women in Washington who sent him
out there unprotected, declined to lift a finger when he came under attack, and
in the final indignity subordinated his sacrifice to their political needs by
lying over his corpse. Where’s the “partisan politics”? Obama, Clinton,
Panetta, Clapper, Rice, and the rest did this to one of their own. And fawning
court eunuchs, like the ranking Democrat at the hearings, Elijah Cummings, must
surely know that, if they needed [to], they’d do it to them, too.
The subtitle of Steyn's
column is, "A failure of character of this magnitude corrodes the
integrity of the state." I beg to differ. This particular failure of character
had nothing to do with the integrity of the state or of the office. A
character, if it is fundamentally malign, as Obama's is, cannot fail unless it
is opposed. And he has been opposed only haphazardly. Yes, Cummings and Rice
and Clapper can be sacrificed, if need be. In fact, by extrapolating Obama's
penchant for sacrifice, of partisans and American lives overseas alike, one can
imagine that he can and will throw Hillary to the wolves, as well, if that will
buy him time.
Daniel Greenfield, writing as
Sultan Knish in his May 11th column, "With
Blood on Their Hands," ends his column on the Lady Macbeth theme on which
it is pegged, about the morbid senselessness of Obama's and Clinton's policies:
social revolution of her 1969 thesis [Clinton's Wellesley thesis on Saul
Alinsky] is once again here, and like most revolutions, it's a bloody mess.
Once again social values are under attack by radicals while soldiers die
overseas without being allowed to fight back. And the radicals care for nothing
for the blood that they spill for their radical revolution. Not the blood of a
single man or of a thousand men.
"What is a traitor?" Lady Macduff's son asks his mother, before being
murdered by Macbeth's assassins. "Why, one that swears and lies," his
mother replies. "Who must hang them?" her son asks. "Why, the
honest men," she answers. "Then the liars and swearers are
fools," he says, "for there are liars and swearers enow to beat the
honest men and hang up them."
The liars and swearers have hung up the honest men from Benghazi to Kabul to
Capitol Hill. And the traitors walk through the night with blood on their hands
and do not even see.
Nor, as Greenfield notes, will
they wail in remorse or in fear of the consequences of being party to murder,
as Lady Macbeth did. If they see blood on their hands, well, that's life, isn't
it? What difference does it make? They are not guilt-ridden, not shaking with
fear of moral disapprobation. After all, they will think: Aren't we the epitome
of the oblige noblesse of altruism
and sacrifice? Sometimes that duty requires self-sacrifice, as well, but we won’t
go there, because if we sacrificed ourselves and not someone else, who would be
left to be, well, moral?
Clinton's aggravated but
arrogontly elitist protest on January 23rd, 2012, of "What difference, at
this point, does it make?" about the lives lost at Benghazi sums up Obama's
approach to things. Nothing matters to him at any point. Clinton is desperate
to salvage her chances for the presidency. Obama is so hollow, so malign, so
filled with the poisonous glop of hatred, he cannot feel desperation for anything.
I think the outrage expressed
by Mark Steyn and others over Obama's and his cohorts' actions and behavior is
misplaced; it is a response which resists acknowledgement that Obama is what he
is: evil. But all the details about the Benghazi cover-up and the Seal
Team killings in Afghanistan which are coming out, not to mention his de facto alliance with the omnivorous Muslim
Brotherhood, only confirm the evil. As in any portrait of any Dorian Gray,
the devil is in the details. But the brushstrokes make up the portrait. It's the
sum of those brushstrokes that matters. It's what you see when the canvas is
finished and the artist steps aside after explaining how all the brushstrokes
So, I'm going the extra mile by
saying what must be on everyone's minds: Obama is evil.
So are former Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder, and all the other policy
makers and advisors in his administration. The recurring leitmotif in all their
actions and policies from the very first day of Obama's first term in office has
been: Destroy for the sake of destruction. Out of destruction will come
construction of a world more to our liking. Sacrifice your own allies, if
necessary, such as Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, if it will
sustain the falsehood and allow us to continue to destroy without obstruction
But Clinton, Holder and all
the others have merely been enabled by Obama. They are his vindictive flying
monkeys, the stinking, badgering Harpies of Hussein.
Or, try this analogy on for
size: They are the human bagworms killing this country and abbreviating our
lives. Bagworms can strip a tree of its protective bark and foliage and leave it
to die, exposed to disease and the elements. Obama wishes to strip this country
of its defenses to leave it and us exposed to the machinations of the Muslim Brotherhood,
Vladimir Putin, and other predators.
But, what, after all, is evil?
The Oxford English Dictionary has two principal definitions. The first
is "morally depraved, bad, wicked, vicious." The second is: "Doing or tending to do
harm; hurtful, mischievous, prejudicial." I would amend the second
definition to read: Doing or wanting to
do harm, to be hurtful, to be insidiously nihilistic.
It would complement the first definition.
You cannot accuse him merely
of fiddling while Rome burns, even though it becoming apparent that he ordered
the arson. After all, Obama is not blindfolded and whacking a stick at a piñata
to see what falls from it once he's smashed it. He stuffed the piñata himself,
presented it to the country as a gift, and dropped it in the country's lap. It has
broken open and what has spilled from it is offal and excrement and toxic bile.
You doubt it? Take a look at
the shape of the country. At the character of our foreign relations.
You will excuse the imagery. I
am not given to exaggeration. I have been calling this man evil for years. I have
never hesitated to identify the reality of the man and of his motives. It was
time to be frank and that cannot entail decorous language or distaste for acknowledging
the moral repulsiveness of this creature. Kid gloves don't agree with me. It is
time to divorce the office from the man who occupies it, to make a distinction between
the dignity of the office and the low character of the man who works every day
to rob it of every vestige of dignity.
What must be understood by Americans
is that, whether it's Benghazi or the Afghanistan Seal Team killings or what
he's done to this country economically and politically since taking office in
2009, is that he doesn't mind these things happening. The "perfect"
world message propagated by Obama and his stooges in the MSM
isn't possible. He knows this if his stooges don’t. His perfect
"transformed" America is a continent lying in ashes, overrun by Third
World illiterates and religious barbarians picking through the ruins and
savaging the survivors. At the present, the only thing he might be worried
about is how a full-blown Congressional investigation of Benghazi might hurt
his being able to continue doing what he's been doing. He is only afraid of
being found out.
And the only thing that might
is how it might sink her chances of running for president in 2016. But, down
deep, that hatred of existence, and of this country, and of us, is her driving
force, as well. It just isn't as obvious.
Obama is more obviously evil.
That is the long and short of it.
10 Comments ::
:: Thursday, May 09, 2013 ::
"Mad Men": The Left's Hidden Persuader
Posted by Edward Cline at 12:47 PM
Lest anyone think that I oppose
advertising, I wish to correct that assumption. I can enjoy print and TV advertising
when it's innovative and attention-getting. A 2012 Bloomberg Businessweek
book review of Jane Maas's Mad Women: The
Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the '60s and Beyond (conforming to
a consensus that it was hastily thrown together to exploit the popularity of
"Mad Men") notes that
Advertising has one aim: to pitch a product as
something desirable. There are different ways to move the merchandise—this car
or that cereal or this beer will make you feel younger, slimmer, sexier. This
may be the only thing the Pillsbury Doughboy and David Beckham have in common:
They mean to persuade you that dinner rolls and cotton briefs, respectively,
are something you need—or better yet, crave.
Well, no, not necessarily
"crave," want, or even need. Vance Packard and his thesis in The Hidden Persuaders (published in
1957) to the contrary notwithstanding, I can watch and enjoy a car or cereal or
clothing commercial without being hypnotized into "craving" the
product. I think I speak for most TV watchers. Advertising is a means of
letting you know that a product exists. The keys to good advertising are
getting your attention and persuading you of the value of the product. An ad
can be entertaining, bland, crude, or a bucket of lead. I have an envelope somewhere
at home fat with some of my favorite print ads, mostly from the 60's and 70's. I
remember the last Benson & Hedges cigarette TV ads, and also the smarmy
Northwest Airlines TV ad in which the captain announces to passengers a
plane-wide no-smoking policy, and all the actors cheer.
"Mad Men" is a
collectivist effort copasetic with the anti-individualism theme of the series.
To date, eighteen directors and counting have directed all the episodes, several
many times, including Matthew Weiner, the genius behind the series. Two
principal cast members of the series have directed episodes, Jon Hamm and John
Slattery. By the end of Season Six, there will have been 78 episodes. There
is a bewildering trainload of writers. So many hands in the pot accounts for
the rudderless direction of what I call a super-sized soap opera.
Victims, and Lies," I focused on how lies are a crucial element and
driving force of the series. They are important from a leftist and naturalist
literary perspective, because without the constant evasions, lying, and
deceptions – of each of the principal characters to each other, and internally to
themselves – there would be no story and no overall plot/theme, which is: Man
is a weak creature who must fake reality for others and for himself in pursuit
of an illusory happiness promoted by a capitalist society that worships
materialism and money.
In keeping with Marxist
dogma, the wealthy men of "Mad Men" just can't help themselves. They
are the bourgeoisie pawns of an evolving dialectical materialism, and so their arrogance
and duplicity, which cannot be forgiven, come naturally to them. The class
these "Mad Men" hucksters represent will be overthrown because their
greed, avarice, selfishness, and corruption are internally self-destructive. Ultimately,
when the revolution comes, they will be either sent to the guillotine or to reeducation
camps to get their minds straight. Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, Pol
Pot, the Castro brothers, Hugo Chavez, Bill Ayers, Obama, oddly named North
Korean dictators, and the Clintons all said so. Also, Osama bin Laden and his
heirs in terrorism.
That's the slick but unspoken
Marxist premise, the "hidden persuader," and schedule of coming
events underlying the series. The "exploiters" will be exploited in
turn and trounced by "the people." Don Draper, Pete Campbell, and
Roger Sterling will all get their dialectical comeuppance.
In "Mad Men" this
Hegelian process eventually leads to the depiction of the "natural"
intrusion of the civil
rights movement and the invasion of the hippy-dippy, pot-smoking
"counter culture," of the rise of feminism
and lesbians coming out of their closets. Fans not entirely satisfied with
the Progressivism of the series are watching it closely to see if Don Draper and
his partners and the 60s culture dissolve into their deterministic futures. And
soon all the monarchs of mendacity will be shown the door. It's "historical
materialism," you see. Resistance is futile.
The dogma is there, ever so skillfully
worked into the characters' words, actions, and personas. A correspondent
objected to the length of my "Villains, Victims, and Lies" column,
saying that Mad Men is just a rubbishy remake of Lover Come Back, the 1961 Doris Day and Rock Hudson comedy that's
also set in the advertising world, and in which an advertising man must create
a product that's already been advertised.
One question about the
creators of "entertainment" such as "Mad Men" which I have
never seen asked by other critics is: Why are they stuck in that particular
creative rut? Why are stories that are pro-individualism, pro-happiness, and
pro-freedom impossible to them to conceive of and develop? Is the world so dark
and conspiratorial in their epistemological and moral outlook that baneful
tales of deceit and corruption are all they can produce? In the end, it is a
rut of their own choosing. But what causes them to choose a rut so often
traveled by their predecessors that it is now as deep and muddy and appealing as
a World War I frontline trench?
I offer one explanation: An
orthodoxy no one dares challenge, the orthodoxy of the Left. It is not
necessarily the only one, but it is an important one. Like the typical Islamic
terrorist or suicide bomber – and like Marx himself – Marxists and Progressives
and socialists of all the varieties of pink as a rule hale from well-to-do
families and circumstances. Their penchant for "revolution" reflects
a guilt for their "privileged" upbringing and comfort.
Weiner, for example,
attended the Park
School of Baltimore, an upper-class school modeled on John Dewey's
educational philosophy, and then the equally exclusive Harvard School
for Boys (now Harvard-Westlake, coeducational) in Los Angeles. Then he went to Wesleyan,
and finally to the University of Southern California's Film School.
Street Journal interviewed Weiner about the impact of "Mad Men" and
its cinematic antecedents. Weiner confessed several influences:
"Rod Serling's 'Patterns'  had a
deep impact on me," Mr. Weiner recalled. "So did a movie called 'Cash
McCall' , with James Garner. When I created Don Draper, in my mind I saw
Garner, whose ease I always liked. People describe Don as an antihero, but he
is not—at least not to me. Jon Hamm reminded me of Gregory Peck, who starred in
'Mirage' , about a businessman who's lost his memory. That was definitely
there when I was writing 'Mad Men.' And I shouldn't leave out 'Dear Heart
,' with Glenn Ford and Geraldine Page. Another big one for me is 'The
Bachelor Party' , with E.G. Marshall and Jack Warden."
The impact of these pictures, none of which
depicts an ad agency, can be felt in various ways on "Mad Men,"
including its ethos and mise-en-scène.
But the show's defining dichotomy originates elsewhere. "It seemed there
was this great story to tell of the battle between the creative and the
commercial," Mr. Weiner said. "That's why I picked advertising,
because it's a great way to ask this big question: Is there a job where you can
be creative and also make money?"
Yes, there are jobs in which one can be creative
and make money. So Weiner trashes advertising, where one can make money by
being creative. His seemingly eclectic cinematic influences, all of which were
produced before he was born in1965, are not so eclectic. In all those movies
deceit, evasion, and faking reality are contributing themes.
for example, is a teleplay about the cruel and heartless tactics of a business owner,
played by Everett Sloane, to force an executive colleague to resign, instead of
firing him. In the end, he causes the man, played by Ed Begley, to die of a
heart attack. In the climax, Sloane delivers a brief and nominally correct
philosophy of business. Begley's newly-hired replacement, a younger man played
by Richard Kiley, expresses disgust with Sloane's tactics, and accuses Sloane
of being inhuman and without decency. But, instead of quitting as he had originally
intended, he agrees to stay on and swears to exact vengeance on Sloane, and
become as "cruel and heartless" as his new enemy.
The politics and corporate ambiance
depicted in the one-hour show are recreated in "Mad Men."
I am supposing that creators
like Weiner see themselves as modern day moral heirs of Charles Dickens and Jacob
Riis, both champions of the poor and the "disenfranchised." The question
might be posed: Were Weiner and his co-producers and directors consciously pushing a Marxist worldview
of Madison Avenue (and by implication, of the rest of the country)?
I doubt it. Weiner and his
cohorts were simply expressing the worldview they were taught all their lives
and that it was correct and right. It's the only thing they know. They were
prepped from grade school on up through graduate school to reject anything or
any idea that conflicted with or contradicted their worldview orthodoxy. They
are not on George Orwell's intellectual level of being able to write or produce
fiction with explicit political themes (such as Nineteen Eighty Four and Animal
Farm). And they are certainly not on Ayn Rand's level. If they were, they
would not have used Rand's novel Atlas
Shrugged in so brief a throw-away instance of sly agitprop.
That was a shrewdly contrived
device, but I doubt that any of the directors, including Weiner, have ever read
the novel in its entirety. They had heard that it was about greedy, selfish
businessmen going on strike against the welfare state, and because they had
been taught that greed and selfishness were evil and certainly had no place in
a kinder, caring society where everyone looked out for one another and made
sacrifices, that novel and that philosophy had to be dismissed as the playbook
of amoral scoundrels, such as those who populate "Mad Men."
Weiner and Company are the
products of an ideology they never bothered to question or examine, an ideology
that proposes to override an individual's volition and freedom. Instead, as
congenital advertisers of statism, they have imbibed the Alinsky
tactic of targeting, isolating, and freezing a specific liberty, and escalating
a campaign for or against it. They do it without thought. Which means that
Hollywood leftists are knee-jerks. The tactic has been used by government and
advocacy groups for a very long time, sometimes crudely, often with stealth,
long before Don Draper downed his first martini and lit his first Lucky Strike.
For the morally and
intellectually defenseless and susceptible, "Mad Men" is indeed
"subliminal." For those who are intellectually alert and on guard
against the "hidden persuaders" of altruism and collectivism in all
its forms, the series is part and parcel of a culture that induces spiritual claustrophobia
and an innervating cultural alienation Marx could never have imagined but would
have approved nevertheless.
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