Archives for posts with tag: Iraq

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Obama poses with Drowning Pool.

As technology has advanced the delivery of music from live performance to radio, tape, disc, and mp3, pop product has played an increasingly personal part for the typical soldier fighting America’s imperial wars. “Music has become a significant source of combat inspiration for American soldiers in Iraq,” argues composer Jonathan Pieslak, who cites interviews with military personnel in an essay he published in 2010, before the U.S. announced an ostensible end to that country’s occupation. “The relationship between music and soldier life seems more intimate in this war since new technology allows music to be a part of soldiers’ lives on and off the battlefield in unprecedented ways.”1

Unsurprisingly, the metal genre – with a tradition of war-themed lyrics dating from tracks like Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” and Iron Maiden’s “Aces High” – has proven to be a favorite among troops preparing themselves psychologically for the task of committing officially sanctioned mass murder. Pieslak points out that in the documentary Soundtrack to War, “multiple soldiers make the analogy that ‘war itself is heavy metal,’ and, in fact, the original version of Gittoes’ documentary was titled, War Is Heavy Metal.”2 Pieslak offers further gleanings from his series of interviews:

Almost all of the metal songs selected by soldiers as an inspiration for combat involve themes of chaos. A favorite album among soldiers is Slayer’s Reign in Blood (1986), which is often credited as being the seminal album of the death metal subgenre. Another popular band is Metallica; their song “One”, about a WWI soldier who survives a land mine explosion in which he loses his limbs, sight, hearing, and speech, was played frequently by [interviewee] Grisham during the initial invasion of Iraq. Drowning Pool’s “Bodies” is another popular song with its repeated refrain, “Let the bodies hit the floor.” In this case, however, the meaning of the lyrics has taken a different form from the original intent. Drowning Pool claim that the refrain refers to the audience “hitting the floor” of the “mosh pit” at a concert, not bodies falling to the ground from acts of violence. When these themes of chaos are combined with the notions of power inscribed in the metal sound, they provide a highly influential tool for soldiers as they prepare for combat.3

“While the power element of metal is manifest in a variety of ways within the music,” Pieslak explains, “it operates, not as a dominating force over the fan, but as an empowering agent.”4 “Music is a means of establishing the identity of the group,” he adds, “and supports the feeling of togetherness through a ritualized musical experience”5 – which is intriguing in view of the fact that more than one of the soldiers interviewed used “predator” as an adjective to describe their comrades’ musical preference6.

Interviewees describe rituals in which soldiers would gather prior to combat to listen to metal or rap together and chant or shout out the lines of a song as a group. “The tendency of soldiers to come together around music, and to sing or yell the lyrics together,” Pieslak suggests, “seems to have precedence in aspects of BCT [i.e., basic combat training].”7 Training regimes which require the men to collectively sing a set of responses to the prompts of a drill instructor develop camaraderie in the unit but also condition in them a repertoire of programmed behaviors and teach obedience to a superior’s will.

An abdication of the self and of humanity is acknowledged by more than one of the soldiers who spoke to Pieslak:

Grisham highlights the music’s power to […] make them capable of “inhuman” acts. In these instances, the music could be said to have a transformative power that removes the humanity element from human identity. Other soldiers said that metal and rap music had similar effects, to varying degrees, on their experiences as an inspiration for combat. Saunders believes that “War is people having to step outside of themselves. It is you having to become what I consider to be a monster.”8

It is also a possibility that metal, owing to the abrasive sonic palette reflected in the genre’s moniker, has contributed to a readiness on the part of men to find aesthetically pleasing elements in the bombastic cacophony of combat itself. A machine gunner, Specialist Colby Buzzell, told Pieslak that “the explosions and the machine guns, and the shooting that’s going on, that’s the music. It’s kind of like listening to Slayer, like that sort of shit. Listening to a two-forty fire off rounds, or a TOW [i.e., tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided] missile hit something, that’s music to your ears, kind of.”9 It comes to constitute, if readers will forgive the reference, a veritable “Symphony of Destruction”. Megadeth, however, it is worthwhile to remember, warned that “Just like the Pied Piper / led rats through the streets / We dance like marionettes” while “Acting like a robot” whose “metal brain corrodes”. Indeed, Drowning Pool’s album Sinner, from which the Iraq occupation forces’ favorite “Bodies” was lifted, was released by a record label called “Wind-Up” – referring, one assumes, to mechanical toys.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Endnotes

  1. Pieslak, Jonathan. “Music as an Inspiration for Combat among American Soldiers in Iraq”, in George Kassimeris and John Buckley, Eds. The Ashgate Research Companion to Modern Warfare. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2010, p. 386.
  2. Ibid., p. 390.
  3. Ibid., p. 395.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid., p. 392.
  6. Ibid., pp. 389-390.
  7. Ibid., p. 393.
  8. Ibid., p. 396.
  9. Ibid., p. 394.

I’ve never been much of a U2 fan, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the group’s song “Beautiful Day”. Upbeat and uplifting in a generic, innocuous way, the track could hardly have been more perfectly engineered for distracting the public with pleasant reflections during some of the darkest days in the history of the United States. Was this the intention?

Curiously for a single offering such a positive message, the album from which it was lifted, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, was released at the end of October 2000, with E! News announcing the album as a “Halloween offering” for the band’s fans1. In retrospect, there is a creepiness to the music video for “Beautiful Day”, which features the band cavorting and performing at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. The video, in addition to showing Bono running about and behaving like a child or a madman, contains a scene in which the group’s luggage is scanned by airport security – did anybody suspect U2 of being terrorists? – and later has them playing a gig on some Persian rugs laid out on a runway. Less than one year later, the unfortunate associations of aircraft, airport security, and the Middle East in conjunction with the stuck traffic and other details referenced in the lyrics would conjure anything but the idea of a “beautiful day” – for most audiences, anyway. The events of September 11th were, of course, highly profitable for many – perhaps even “beautiful”.

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Was All That You Can’t Leave Behind designed as a cryptographic soundtrack to 9/11? To ask such a question, of course, sounds foolish, as would any suggestion that Bono or any other members of U2 had anything to do with the terrorism experienced in New York City and Washington, D.C., that day. There are, however, several compelling precedents for an intelligent discussion of popular culture artifacts as possible evidence of cryptically indicated foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks, the Coup’s Party Music cover depicting the remotely controlled demolition of the World Trade Center being one of the most familiar of these. Are there any circumstances, apart from those listed above, that might lead a person to suspect more than a quasi-synchronicity at work between the perpetrators of 9/11 and All That You Can’t Leave Behind?

The cover of the album itself, also photographed in a terminal of Charles de Gaulle Airport, invites interpretation with its superimposition of the code “J33-3”, a reference to Jeremiah 33:3, which Bono has described as “God’s phone number”2. The biblical passage, which itself refers to mystery, reads, in the New American Standard Bible translation, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” In the King James version, it says, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not”, while the English Standard version renders it more interestingly as, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known” (italics added). The Darby Bible and the Jewish Publication Society’s Tanakh of 1917 also favor the use of the word “hidden” in this passage. Is Bono, who as a young fellow in Ireland belonged to a prayer group called Shalom3, suggesting that something or other has been “hidden” or encrypted in the album’s contents?

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The context of the quotation from Jeremiah may be instructive in view of the music’s hypothetically posited relevance to the events of September 11th, which infamously prompted Benjamin Netanyahu to observe that the destruction of the World Trade Center was “very good” for Israel4 and to concede years later, “We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq.”5 Here is what Jeremiah goes on to say after 33:3.

For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the houses in this city and the royal palaces of Judah that have been torn down to be used against the siege ramps and the sword in the fight with the Babylonians: “They will be filled with the dead bodies of the people I will slay in my anger and wrath. I will hide my face from this city because of all its wickedness.

“Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.”

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After the promised revelation of the “hidden things”, the “God of Israel” talks about demolished buildings and war against the enemies of the Jews in connection with the restoration of Israel. A few verses down, Jeremiah even mentions “burnt offerings” and “sacrifices” with reference to Israel’s ascent. For those with an interest in the occult significances of 9/11, the number 333 is also associated in Aleister Crowley’s Thelema system with a destructive force called Choronzon, a “demon of dispersion”, illusion, and hallucination which Aleister Crowley claims to have summoned. This, however, is probably straying too far afield for the purposes of the present essay, possible indications of Crowleyite mysticism at play on 9/11 and Bono’s reputed sartorial dabbling in the Jewish occult notwithstanding (“When he’s going cycling, he likes to dress up as a Hassidic Jew,” the Edge revealed of his bandmate after Bono injured himself in a bicycle accident in 20146).

Returning to “Beautiful Day”, the song informs listeners, “You’re out of luck,” and goes on to intone, “Sky falls, you feel like / It’s a beautiful day.” It goes on, “You’re lovin’ this town / Even if that doesn’t ring true / You’ve been all over / And it’s been all over you” – as, perhaps, material from the combusted skyscrapers would be “all over” the people in the streets of lower Manhattan? Niall Stokes, in his book Into the Heart, notes that Interscope Records executive Jimmy Iovine made a special visit to the Dublin studio where U2 was hard at work on “Beautiful Day” with “co-conspirators” (i.e., producers) Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. “It wasn’t finished at the time,” Stokes writes, adding that “the lyrics were only half-crafted when Iovine heard the track”7. He goes on to give this interesting account of one member of the production team’s experience of the song:

Daniel Lanois, sitting in the control room also had that [“Beautiful Day”] feeling [expressed by Bono]. “The track at that point was really pumping,” he remembers, “and the mix that we did had the power of shattered metal. You don’t know where it comes from – I think it was a lot of processing. And I had this image of Bono, singing about beauty in the midst of flying pieces of metal and mayhem.”8

bono-eyeWhat “flying pieces of metal and mayhem” have to do with a “beautiful day” is beyond me, but apparently it meant something to U2. Another song on the album is titled “New York”, referencing the target of the attacks explicitly, and name-drops Jews and, in the following line, “political fanatics” – although it’s unclear from the context whether or not the Jews are the fanatics in question. Other lines in “New York”, heard post-9/11, could easily be construed as alluding to the chaos of that day if somebody didn’t know better: “Voices on a cell phone / Voices from home / Voices of the hard sell / Voices down a stairwell / In New York […] You can’t walk around the block / Without a change of clothing / Hot as a hair dryer in your face / Hot as a handbag and a can of mace / New York.”

Other songs on the album, whether intentionally or otherwise, carry similar 9/11 resonances, with imagery evocative of air travel (“Man dreams one day to fly / A man takes a rocket ship into the skies”; “Explain all these controls”; “You’re packing a suitcase”; “you’ve got no destination”; “You make me feel like I can fly / So high, elevation”; “The only baggage you can bring / Is all that you can’t leave behind”; “Who’s to say where the wind will take you”), death and loss (“I wasn’t jumping / For me it was a fall / It’s a long way down to nothing at all”; “They left you with nothing”; “a star that’s dying in the night”; “You lose your balance, lose your wife / In the queue for the lifeboat”; “I’m not afraid to die”), and explosions (“scatter of light”; “fireworks”; “star lit up like a cigar”), and other catastrophes (“All that you wreck / All that you hate”; “I hit an iceberg in my life”). “When I Look at the World”, meanwhile, in lines that could very easily refer to the “Chosen People”, gripes, “I can’t see for the smoke / I think of you and your holy book / When the rest of us choke.” Another of All That You Can’t Leave Behind’s tracks is titled “Kite” and might be of particular interest to those familiar with accusations of esoteric significance to the children’s reading demonstration for President Bush on September 11th. “There’s a kite blowing out of control on a breeze,” the song warns, adding, “I wonder what’s gonna happen to you.”

Notwithstanding the highlighted lyrics, it must be noted that Bono and his bandmates have provided perfectly plausible explanations for the genesis of each of the songs on All That You Can’t Leave Behind – each of which is detailed in Into the Heart. Bono has claimed the death of INXS frontman Michael Hutchence as the inspiration for “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of”9, while “Elevation” purports to convey “a combination of primordial lasciviousness, ecstatic spirituality and soulful need”10 and “Walk On”, according to Bono, was inspired by Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese academic and leader of the National League for Democracy11. As for the album’s travel motif, Stokes makes the observation that Bono is “a man who has spent a substantial part of the last 25 years living in hotels.”12 On the origin of “In a Little While”, Stokes offers the following:

Around the turn of the year, Bono had been thinking Millennium thoughts, watching old clips of the Apollo moon landing on TV and experiencing again the sense of awe that he’d felt when he saw those pictures for the first time as a kid, the ecstatic realisation of how tiny and insignificant we are as individuals – and as a race – in the grand scheme of things. It was a mood that fed into “Beautiful Day” with its vision of Bedouin fires, the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon and other earthly phenomena, as seen from above, the narrator cocooned in the bosom of a space ship orbiting the globe.13

bono6In addition to the “Bedouin fires” and “oil fields” – clearly references to the Middle East – the line in “Beautiful Day” that goes, “See China right in front of you” is, perhaps, and to force a point, interesting in view of this assertion by geopolitical commentator and former U.S. Treasury official Paul Craig Roberts: “The Western peoples are so dimwitted that they have not yet understood that the ‘war on terror’ is, in fact, a war to create terror that can be exported to Muslim areas of Russia and China in order to destabilize the two countries that serve as a check on Washington’s unilateral, hegemonic power.”14 But, again, such a reading would constitute something of a stretch.

The song “Peace on Earth”, meanwhile, is acknowledged to have been inspired by a terrorist event – but one that took place in Ireland, not New York. Stokes explains:

[…] a bomb went off at 2:30 in the afternoon, on 15 August 1998, in the town of Omagh in County Tyrone. There had been an advance warning. But it was inaccurate, and instead of clearing the area around the car containing the bomb, it drove the crowds of people milling around the town on a busy Saturday afternoon towards the danger zone. When the bomb exploded, the resulting carnage was the worst in the bloody history of the Northern troubles with twenty-nine killed and dozens more scarred, maimed and wounded.15

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Finally, “New York”, according to Stokes, consists of “the cool pulsing groove acting as a backdrop as the narrator confesses quietly to the terms of the mid-life crisis afflicting him” until “halfway through it explodes in a grungy mess that’s impressively appropriate to the theme of the song.”16

In spite of the flimsiness of the case to be made for All That You Can’t Leave Behind as a cryptographic foreshadowing of the World Trade Center attacks and the coming of the War on Terror, there is an undeniable and consciously cultivated connection between U2 and these events. As The Daily Dot’s Nico Lang recounts:

Their 2000 record, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, not only sold a staggering 12 million copies, but it gave the band a renewed relevance in the wake of 9/11, when songs like “Walk On” came to symbolize an America figuring out how to pick up the pieces. Songs like the anthemic “One” had always found a universal relevance, but this was a reminder of exactly why U2 was so popular: It united the types of people who would normally never agree on liking anything.17

Whatever the group’s intentions in crafting each of the particular songs, fans have made connections between the group, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, and contemporary events in history. One uploader to YouTube has even dubbed “Stuck in a Moment” a “9/11 Song” despite the fact that it was released almost a year before that date.

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More intriguing than fans’ perceptions of the band’s intentions, however, are Bono’s unexpected involvements with the neoconservative Blair and Bush administrations. “Among liberals there was, it is true, some grumbling when, from 2001, Bono’s friendly persuasion started to provide ‘caring’ cover for a Republican White House rather than a Democratic one,” writes Harry Browne, author of the scathing study The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power). “But such grumbling is a mere artefact of the partisan divide in the US, where the distinction between the two parties hides the fact that they have few substantial differences.”18 He continues:

bono-flag-3It was reported that he would hop on a plane immediately after a gig and dash to Washington for meetings first thing in the morning. The Bush White House increasingly liked the cut of his jib. […]

The White House was pleased that Bono was on board with the sort of “conditionalities” on aid that First World governments and institutions had been demanding from developing countries for decades.

After 9/11, it perhaps became a little harder to sell development assistance in Washington. However, [Condoleezza] Rice and secretary of state Colin Powell were keen to ensure that US foreign policy was seen to have a non-military dimension, and Bono and others were frequently heard to conjoin the “war on terror” with a “war on poverty”: as the New York Times put it, paraphrasing Bono’s argument, “fragile states could not be allowed to become failed states, as Afghanistan had been.”19

bono-flagBono does not seem to have had much of a problem with Bush’s interventionist foreign policy, and the singer was disgustingly reported to have “clicked” with Paul Wolfowitz when the pair met20. At the very outset of the War on Terror, he gave his implicit blessing to the American invasion of Afghanistan. “Bono would not always be so sensitive about the dangers of associating ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ with nationalism, even violent nationalism,” Browne recalls. “On stage in Madison Square Garden in October 2001, as the US dropped bombs on Afghan cities, during that song he ‘embraced the Stars and Stripes’ and otherwise ‘reverently’ handled the US flag,” he continues. “He didn’t tear it apart.”21 A few months later, at E-Trade Finanacial’s Super Bowl Halftime Show of 2002, U2 performed “Where the Streets Have No Name” as, ironically, the names of the 9/11 dead were projected behind the band. At the close of the show, Bono opened his jacket to reveal the American flag in its lining, appearing to give the crowd a demonstration of his solidarity with America’s warlike response to the terror attacks.

“Such is Bono’s special status among the elite globalist sets of Bilderbergers and Trilateralists that he has, inevitably, come to the attention of American conspiracy theorists, who incoherently (even by their own standards) paint him as a knowing ‘frontman for genocide’ through his connection to an obscure but deadly eugenics agenda that appears to be run by Bill Gates,” Browne observes. “As usual,” however, “such ravings distract from serious consideration of Bono’s place in the world and the service he provides to the powerful by dressing their work, individually and collectively, in humanitarian garb – a relationship that is right out in the open and can be viewed clearly without resort to conspiracy.”22

Inevitably, not every questioner will be satisfied by Browne’s dismissive sarcasm – particularly when Bono conveniently pops up at the recent ISIS Nice truck attack (!).

Thoughts?

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Endnotes

  1. Grossberg, Josh. “New U2 Album to Rock Halloween”. E! News (August 21, 2000): http://www.eonline.com/news/40334/new-u2-album-to-rock-halloween
  2. Rossell, Raul. “U2 All That You Can’t Leave Behind Airport Photo Location and Bible Reference”. FeelNumb (August 29, 2010): http://www.feelnumb.com/2010/08/29/u2-all-that-you-cant-leave-behind-airport-photo-location/
  3. Browne, Harry. The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power). New York, NY: Verso, 2013, p. 14.
  4. Abunimah, Ali. “‘It’s Very Good’: Recalling Benjamin Netanyahu’s Words on the Day of the 9/11 Attacks”. The Electronic Intifada (September 11, 2012): https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/its-very-good-recalling-benjamin-netanyahus-words-day-911-attacks
  5. “Report: Netanyahu Says 9/11 Terror Attacks Good for Israel” Haaretz (April 16, 2008): http://www.haaretz.com/news/report-netanyahu-says-9-11-terror-attacks-good-for-israel-1.244044
  6. “U2’s Bono Goes Hasidic”. Jewish News (December 8, 2014): http://jewishnews.com/2014/12/08/u2s-bono-goes-hasidic/
  7. Stokes, Niall. Into the Heart: U2. New York, NY: Thunder’s Mouth Press, p. 146.
  8. Ibid., p. 147.
  9. Ibid., p. 148.
  10. Ibid., p. 150.
  11. Ibid., p. 151.
  12. Ibid., p. 152.
  13. Ibid., p. 154.
  14. Roberts, Paul Craig. “The NeoCon Game”. American Free Press 15, no. 51/52 (December 21-28, 2015), p. 12.
  15. Stokes, Niall. Into the Heart: U2. New York, NY: Thunder’s Mouth Press, p. 156.
  16. Ibid., p. 160.
  17. Lang, Nico. “How U2 Became the New Nickelback”. The Daily Dot (September 16, 2014): http://www.dailydot.com/via/how-u2-became-the-new-nickelback/
  18. Browne, Harry. The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power). New York, NY: Verso, 2013, p. 72.
  19. Ibid., p. 73.
  20. Grieve, Tim. “Wolfowitz Reaches Out to Bono”. Salon (March 18, 2005): http://www.salon.com/2005/03/18/wolf_5/
  21. Browne, Harry. The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power). New York, NY: Verso, 2013, p. 24.
  22. Ibid., p. 111.

Reclaim

Two rich white liberals pay $100,000 (!) for the dubious privilege of adopting a Haitian refugee girl (Briana Roy) on the black market – only to have her cruelly stolen from them by John Cusack! – in 2014’s Reclaim, which actually develops into a pretty decent thriller if viewers can overlook the epically poor taste of its protagonists, played by Ryan Phillippe and Rachelle Lefevre. Jacki Weaver, whom cinema slummers might remember as Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother in the dully dishonest Parkland (2013), plays another psycho bitch in this film as the ringmistress of the fraudulent adoption agency. Cusack capably extends his range as the scariest of the villains, playing a killer with altogether different mannerisms and background than the man he portrays in The Frozen Ground (2013). Some grimy Puerto Rican location shooting contributes production value, as well.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Reclaim is:

5. Anti-war. Cusack is a mercenary and an Iraq war veteran whose nihilism, transposed from overseas war zones, draws attention to the unsavoriness of doing business with opaque entities like Blackwater.

4. Teetotaler. Phillippe’s drinking once led to a personal tragedy, so both he and the missus avoid the booze.

3. Pro-miscegenation. Cusack consorts with an icy Asiatic sphinx (Veronica Faye Foo), expressing a preference for Puerto Rican Chinese girls.

2. Anti-gun. A scare comes at the end of the movie when the precious little refugee girl picks up a gun and points it at her adoptive parents. Rather than cautioning Caucasians as to the perils of parenting congoids, however, this scene is intended to vilify the pistol, associating it with the dangers posed to children by private gun ownership.

1. Pro-immigration. Reclaim was made for two reasons, neither of which is the film’s stated purpose of raising awareness about the human trafficking crime wave. The first, of course, is to make some shekels. The only other reason this movie was made is to get whites accustomed to the idea of leaving their civilization in the hands of a posterity that bears zero resemblance to them. Heaven forbid that Europeans procreate! Stupid viewers are invited to find inspiration in the idea of the good-hearted Americans swooping in to rescue the precious pickaninny from Third World squalor and whisk her off to Chicago, where she will no doubt enrich the neighborhood and grow up to energize the local economy. The selection of a French-speaking Haitian girl is deliberate, bestowing upon the character a deceptive veneer of Europeanness and class to convince the audience that blacks and other genetic undesirables can become whites through environmental osmosis.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Deadpool

Marvel antihero Deadpool’s leap to the big screen manages to be highly entertaining in spite of having one of the most unnecessarily filthy and anally fixated scripts this reviewer has ever encountered. Ryan Reynolds is frivolous but funny as the frenetic special forces fighter turned mercenary – “a bad guy who gets paid to fuck up worse guys” – in what may be the most successful incarnation yet of the wisecracking hipster-as-superhero genre. Fast-paced and guaranteed diversion for devotees of the cult of hyperviolence and slow-motion bullets.

4.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis only recommends seeing Deadpool for free, if possible, and indicates that it is:

9. Pro-brony. The hero masturbates while amusing himself with a stuffed animal.

8. Gun-ambivalent. Deadpool owns a number of guns, but forgets to bring these to the final battle. He proceeds to demonstrate how an accomplished action hero does not need an arsenal to dispatch a heavily armed pack of henchmen.

7. Disingenuously anti-torture. Supervillain Ajax (Ed Skrein) subjects Deadpool to atrocities reminiscent of War on Terror interrogations and Abu Ghraib indignities in his efforts to activate Deadpool’s recessive mutant genes, but Deadpool himself also employs torture to get information out of opponents. “I may be super, but I am no hero,” he says by way of a disclaimer – a distinction that will be lost on all of the adolescent boys who watch Deadpool. “And, yeah, technically this is murder,” he says, flippantly dismissing his impalement of a bad guy, “but some of the best love stories start with a murder and that’s exactly what this is – a love story.”

6. War-ambivalent. War, it is suggested, is an evil enterprise, but the film makes light of wartime experiences that allowed Deadpool to travel to “exotic places – Baghdad, Mogadishu, Jacksonville – meeting new and exciting people.” The general incendiary bombast of the movie makes combat seem like a blast.

5. Anti-South. The South, as the above quotation demonstrates, is equated with the Third World.

4. Pro-drug. “God, I miss cocaine,” gripes Deadpool’s roommate Blind Al (Leslie Uggams). Learning a stash of cocaine is nearby, Deadpool’s friend Weasel (T.J. Miller) asks her, “Wanna get fucked up?”

3. Misandrist. A slap on the ass warrants vengeful crotch-clenching. Even gentlemanly behavior meets with genital abuse. Both Deadpool and Colossus must be rescued by women, and National Women’s Day occasions an unreasonable sexual favor from the protagonist.

2. Anti-family. Deadpool, a “sexy motherfucker”, exchanges dysfunctional family stories with a prostitute (Morena Baccarin). “Daddy left before I was born,” etc. Deadpool claims to have been molested by his uncle, to which she replies that more than one uncle raped her. “They took turns.” It is also suggested that Deadpool has carnal knowledge of his father when he reaches behind himself, feels Colossus’s cock, and asks, “Dad?” The film furthers the process of pedophilia normalization by trivializing child abuse.

1. Pro-gay. “Oh, hello. I know, right? Whose balls did I have to fondle to get my very own movie? I can’t tell you, but it does rhyme with ‘Polverine’. And let me tell you, he’s got a nice pair o’ smooth criminals down unda.” One of the most butt-centric movies in some time, Deadpool makes more than one reference to the hero’s anus as a sexual organ. His “on switch” is next to his prostate, he hints, and the viewer is even treated to the sight of his girlfriend (Morena Baccarin) screwing him in the posterior with a strap-on. It is also insinuated that he has been hiding her engagement ring in his rectum. Then, too, he takes a bullet right between the cheeks and threatens an adversary with a reference to his “hard spots”. “That came out wrong – or did it?” he asks, kissing him. Deadpool is “pretty sure Robin loves Batman, too.” An animated version of the protagonist sports an extensive erection when Ed Skrein’s credit comes up at the end.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

No One Lives Forever BCI

Grab it while supplies last … or not!

Included in the ten-feature action film collection No One Lives … Forever!, released in 2002 by the now-defunct BCI Eclipse DVD label, is an obscure 1999 Israeli oddity, Full Circle, directed by one Bernard McWilliams. The story concerns Boaz Golan, a Mossad agent sent to New York City in 1990 with the task of preventing a shipment of arms from reaching Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

Golan is psychically scarred by the dual traumas of seeing his mother raped when he was a child and the adult experience of gory warfare in Lebanon (which, the movie deems it necessary to note, caused the hero to soil his pants). An early scene in Full Circle has Golan fantasizing about raping his female analyst, to whom he tells the blackly comedic war anecdote of discovering the bodies of a couple who had been unceremoniously killed in the middle of a blowjob.

Once he arrives in the United States, women find it difficult to resist Golan’s Hebraic charms, and a neighbor woman enthusiastically throws herself at him, enjoying a sex session on top of a table. Hilariously, the woman grabs a handful of what appears to be tapioca pudding and smears it across the Israeli’s ass in the heat of passion. Also true to the movie’s ethnic origin is a perverted scene in which the woman’s daughter discovers the mother’s vibrator and uses it as a toy airplane.

Full Circle Yuval Ovadia

Israeli superspy Boaz Golan in Full Circle (1999)

Being a spy and a Jewish one at that, Golan thinks nothing of lying to people to get whatever he wants. “I may be moving to New York to study engineering,” he gives as his reason for coming to America. He is also eager to demonize Saddam Hussein and to champion Israel as the ally of the U.S. “Saddam Hussein is crazy. He’s capable of doing anything,” Golan claims. “You know, if the Israelis hadn’t bombed his atom shell, he’d be using it right now against the United States.”

The action is stupidly pedestrian, with Golan depicted as a superhuman who is able to swing on a rope like Tarzan and have a fistfight even after being shot in the abdomen. A goofy scene of a dweeby Mossad asset being mowed down by a woman with a machine gun hidden in a baby carriage earns the movie some extra unintentional humor points, however.

The dull presence of singer-songwriter Richie Havens in a supporting role does nothing to enliven Full Circle, although his sassy girlfriend is an entertaining character, an anti-Semite who can smell an Israeli. In another scene indicative of Israeli attitudes toward American gentiles, Golan warms himself by a bum’s barrel fire, but becomes unnerved and flees when a vagrant approaches and giggles with a maniacal look on his face. This, no doubt, is intended as some sort of evocation of the eternal specter of the Shoah that hovers above all Jews.

The dialogue, typically Judaic, is filthy, with characters calling each other insulting names like “dickless piece of shit” and saying repugnant things along the lines of, “Wake up and smell my asshole.” Also quintessentially Israeli are soulless scenes of sleazy sex, meanness, and torture.

Whether or not Full Circle was designed primarily for American consumption is difficult to say. If so, the decision to leave more than one scene of this otherwise English-language film in untranslated Hebrew was poorly considered. Ludicrously, the end credits are interspersed with disingenuous anti-war messages like, “Instead of fighting one another we should fight those who make us fight.” A “special thanks” credit acknowledges the Broadcast Services of the Israeli Consulate for assistance in producing the film.

Yuval Ovadia

IDF veteran and Full Circle producer Yuval Ovadia

So far as this writer has been able to ascertain, the film has no listing at the Internet Movie Database, but the America-Israel Cultural Foundation website’s biography of one of its producers, Yuval Ovadia, gives information about a film titled Orphan of War which also seems to describe Full Circle:

Yuval Ovadia was born in Tel Aviv, Israel in October 31, 1965.

After serving 3 years in the Israeli army he flew to New York, planning to study filmmaking and acting in the best schools he could find.

In NY he studied at Lee Strasburg [sic] Institute, where he studied acting, singing and dancing. Later on he continued his studies at HB Studio, where he spent a long time under the late, famous Herbert Berghof and Bill Hickey. Then he studied all aspects of filmmaking at NYU Film School.

By the years 1996-1998 Yuval worked on a feature film called “Orphan Of War” – a 90 min, 35 mm Action/Drama, co-starring the legendary singer from Woodstock “Richie Havens” [who actually has only a tiny role]. In addition to co-producing this film, Yuval had starred in it, co-wrote the screenplay, edited, and came up with a music album called “Peaceful Circle” – based on songs from the film, which he produced together with Mr. Richie Havens.

[…] Yuval decided to go back to his roots and in 1999 he moved back from New York to Israel, were he got married and is having now 4 beautiful kids.

Full Circle, in short, seems to be as elusive as those notorious “Dancing Israelis” (creepily, Ovadia’s email address is listed as visual911911@gmail.com). The fact that the film is devoted to vilifying the Iraqi government, which would be overthrown by the Jew-puppeteered Bush administration in 2003 with September 11th utilized as the fraudulent pretext – in combination with the circumstance that the doomed Twin Towers make an appearance in the film along with a deck of tarot cards – adds up to Full Circle being a rather unsavory home theater experience. It may be worthwhile, however, for those with an interest in shitty action movies.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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Expendables 2

Those left craving another helping of the limp-fisted one-liners, geriatric jollies and follies and apeshit aviation stunts, the genocidal body counts, computer-generated gore, and wanton devastation of exotic locales served up by the first Expendables film will find more of the same in this second wholly superfluous jaunt from the old folks’ hangar. So much blood splatters with such fetishistic tedium during the too-slick opening raid sequence that soldiers appear to be erupting with so much crimson jizz on themselves. Should viewers really be surprised when the credits come up and attribute the script to somebody named Richard Wenk? The self-lover’s screenplay has Stallone’s ragtag team of mercenaries venturing into Eastern Europe to stop satanic jack-of-all-villainies Van Damme from getting a cache of old Soviet weapons-grade plutonium into the hands of “the wrong people” – Muslims, presumably – and avenging a fallen comrade in the process.

Unfortunately, with such a surfeit of 80s dynamite nostalgia – with Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and others all crammed into Expendables 2’s star-studded cast – the result is a textbook case of a whole being less than the sum of constituent parts. The saturation of superpower, with heavyweights like Schwarzenegger and Norris confined to a couple of cameos, has the effect of mutual neutralization bordering on trivialization for all of the A-list actors involved, so that each of the heroes appears diminished and relatively dimmed. New female teammate Yu Nan, meanwhile, adds nothing of worth to the Expendables formula.

In its defense, The Expendables 2 does feature a hair-raising last-minute takeoff, a passable time bomb countdown sequence, and a brutal blade-and-chain-wielding climactic confrontation between Van Damme and Stallone. Norris, more defiantly deadpan than ever, has the only genuine laugh in the movie when he tells a campy snake attack anecdote, while the gratuity of Willis and Schwarzenegger swapping famous catch phrases with each other during a firefight holds a gay but admittedly irresistible fascination for children of the 80s – as does the sight of oldster Arnie effortlessly ripping the door off a car instead of simply opening it like a regular wimp. The CGI action sequences lack the tactile macho magic of the old days, and the forced attempts at human interest are similarly artificial, but such gripes will hardly dissuade those who already know this is their kind of film.

3 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Expendables 2 is:

7. Anti-marriage. Jason Statham’s fiancée is a “half-cheat”.

6. Feminist. Unfeminine and consequently uninteresting Maggie (Yu Nan) is “combat-proficient”.

5. Pro-drug. Lundgren picturesquely drinks from a flask, while others opt for bottles of beer.

4. Pro-torture. “We’ll beat the truth out of ‘em,” Stallone says of a bar full of tough Slavic strangers, but surgical blades wielded with oriental prowess end up doing the job more efficiently.

3. Multiculturalist/pro-immigration. Stallone asks Maggie if she knows how to carve a turkey. In other words, all arrivals are welcome as long as they promise to ape the superficial rituals of Americanness.

2. Pro-miscegenation. Lundgren spends the movie slobbering over the homely Chinawoman, who, however (with an eye to Stallone), professes to “like Italian”. Even so, Lundgren would “really die for some Chinese.”

1. Neoconservative. As in Chernobyl Diaries, the Red Dawn remake, and the equally unworthy A Good Day to Die Hard, the Cold War’s weary specter is roused from its mothballs to put fear of the Russians back into American moviegoers. CIA operative Church (Bruce Willis) spooks in top-secret, mysterious ways, so better do what the gentleman tells you! Then, too, there is the omnipresent danger of weapons of mass destruction. Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) is a veteran of Afghanistan who expresses regret that his comrades (and dog) are “dead for nothin’”; but such brief dissimulation of antiwar sentiment serves as little more than a proprietary fig leaf for the Blackwater-as-Superman agenda of a movie determined to teach little American boys how cool it is to go off raising Cain in foreign countries in order to save and police the benighted regions of the world. One almost suspects that any disapproval Expendables 2 evinces toward the interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan stems not so much from the insufficient warrant to go to war in the first place, but from the fact that America’s forces failed to splatter enough intestines loudly and brashly enough.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Ready 2 Die

After robbing a Federal Reserve Bank branch and leading the LAPD on a televised freeway chase (“like O.J., Holmes”), four luckless desperadoes find themselves stranded without a car in East L.A., pursued both by the authorities and – after a “ghetto APB” and word of their loot gets out – their greedy fellow gangstas as well.

Writer-director John Azpilicueta stars as the bereaved Lucky, dismissed from a SEALs training camp for “emotional problems”; Jacob Martinez is Smiley, a chubby old thug who tried in vain to go straight, but whose financial troubles have thrust him back into a life of crime; and Pablo Hernandez is Psycho, a hitman who pretty much lives up to his name. The most interesting character, dishonorably discharged Ranger and Coolio haircut hood rat Sniper, is played by Bless May, who unfortunately receives the least screen time of the foursome.

Azpilicueta’s film, typical for an Asylum release, is shoddy and rough-hewn, with crap special effects, some substandard acting, too little coverage for action scenes, and overreliance on quick cuts and shaky-cam cinematography. A series of black-and-white flashbacks, intended to humanize the leads, only succeeds in stalling the action; but sleazebags attracted to a movie as underachievingly titled as Ready 2 Die will no doubt be entertained by its ready abundance of murder, profanity, rape, and pandemic nastiness.

3.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Ready 2 Die is:

7. Anti-Christian. More than one thug is adorned with a cross, either as a necklace or a tacky tattoo.

6. Anti-marriage. A mulatto wife is a lazy, unfaithful freeloader.

5. Miscegenation-ambivalent. The aforementioned wife is, however, depicted as quite the sexual trophy and gets the hiding heroes excited as they voyeuristically enjoy the sight of her in the act of adultery.

4. Anti-bankster. The fact that the crooks attack a Federal Reserve bank makes them, if not quite sympathetic, at least not as dastardly as if they had robbed a small business like a liquor store. Ready 2 Die conveys a generalized anger at the economic plight of the country; and, without articulating any particular argument, the movie seems to be suggesting blame by flashing the Federal Reserve Bank sign during the opening robbery. Sniper is unemployed, and the fact that Smiley is behind on his house payments reminds viewers of banks’ predatory lending tactics.

3. Anti-police. Ready 2 Die evinces either indifference toward the “fucking po-po” or, if anything, actual hostility, casting them as the pesky antagonists who pursue the central characters.

2. Anti-war. Sniper expresses the nihilism of war brought home when he says that shooting at police cars and helicopters is “just like Fallujah, baby – just different motherfuckers.”

1. Racist! Ready 2 Die demonstrates as well as a movie could why even minorities have reason to fear the eventuality of their neighborhoods going majority non-white. Gangs, drugs, and scary tattoos are the norm, with mothers living in fear that their children will be murdered not by white supremacist pigs, but by members of their own wretched raza. Furthermore, blacks appear in an almost uniformly unfavorable light in the film. Sniper is one of the movie’s most coldblooded killers. “Fuck that funny-lookin’ bitch,” he excuses himself for shooting a bank teller. “She was lookin’ at me all crazy and shit.” He robs and kills because he would rather do this than “flip some burgers”. A black cop lounges around his home milking “disability”, while his misbehaving son ludicrously claims to have been suspended from school just for being black.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Interesting speculation at Jay’s Analysis on possible predictive programming of the ISIS fraud as featured in Iron Man 3. Jay is an incisive commentator whose writings are, however, hampered by his reluctance to talk about Jews.

Jay's Analysis

By: Jay

Downey, Jr kidnapped by ISIS Downey, Jr kidnapped by ISIS

As our friend, the talented writer Peter Parker pointed out back in May of 2013, the intelligence scripting for the news events surrounding radical Islamic terrorists seem to find their curious parallel in certain Hollywood blockbusters.  Parker explained with precision how the plot of Iron Man 3 in particular demonstrated this obvious correlation with Ben Kingsley’s character, The Mandarin, playing the laughable role of the British actor cum terrorist.  In the plot, the terrorists were fake, kidnapping Iron Man and holding him ransom.  Sound familiar?

As is usual around Jay’s Analysis, this Hollywood meme is again relevant, with a new ISIS “beaheading” today calling to mind the same scene from Iron Man 3, following last week’s theater showing.  In May 2013, Parker wrote:

“Sometime ago this writer made a discovery that was featured here on Jay’s Analysis concerning an episode of…

View original post 1,076 more words

out_of_the_furnace_poster

Christian Bale racks up another career highlight performance as Russell Baze, a good but deeply flawed man at the end of his tether in Out of the Furnace, a strong, deeply American film from writer-director-to-watch Scott Cooper. Baze is an endearing dead-end ex-con and mill worker who, in a relationship reminiscent of that between Keitel and DeNiro in Mean Streets, attempts to look out for his war-damaged deadbeat brother Rodney (Casey Affleck). Rodney is in debt but uninterested in conventional employment, leading to his involving himself in the dangerous world of underground fighting.

Out of the Furnace stands as a stark statement that the American Dream is deceased. Its rust belt setting rings all too true, and a barroom television moment more subtle than a similar scene in 2012’s Killing Them Softly shows that Obama’s hope-and-change rhetoric has no reality for the typical working (or unemployed) stiff. Out of the Furnace is a film of its time and timely, its story enthralling, with each frame carrying fascination and a feeling of immediate importance.

Those who enjoy tense, earthy family dramas and character studies with gritty, realistic settings – movies like Sling Blade, Mud, or The Place Beyond the Pines – are certain to appreciate Out of the Furnace, which, in addition to the showcased character creation of Christian Bale, features sharp supporting performances from Forest Whitaker, Sam Shepard, Zoe Saldana, and Willem Dafoe. Deserving special recognition, furthermore, is Woody Harrelson, frightening light-years from Cheers here as hillbilly drug kingpin Harlan DeGroat. Harrelson’s hot dog moment in the opening scene sets the grotesque, tenebrous tone of the film and constitutes the most shocking piece of fast food humiliation since the fried chicken scene in 2011’s Killer Joe.

5 stars. Highest recommendation.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Out of the Furnace is:

7. Diversity-skeptical. In one of his underground fights, Rodney is pitted against a black thug who taunts him, calling him “white boy” and mocking his military service. Pleasantly, Rodney makes a comeback and gives this rascal a vicious and racially charged beatdown.

6. Antiwar. Rodney comes back from Iraq as an angry and alienated man.

5. Protectionist. The mill is scheduled to be shut down, with American jobs exported to China.

4. Pro-miscegenation. Notwithstanding no. 7, Russell is in love with brown beauty Lena (Zoe Saldana), but loses her after his stint in the pen.

3. Anti-drug. Drunk driving lands Russell in prison. Harder stuff turns Harlan DeGroat into a maniac.

2. Anti-redneck. Harlan DeGroat is the scariest white trash bad guy since Deer Crossing‘s Lukas Walton.

1. Pro-family. Russell Baze is driven by his devotion to his family, caring as best he can for his sick father and brother while both are still alive, and diligently avenging them after they are gone.

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