A lot of individuals may be wondering what is wrong with Vern. Why does he say these things. “I’m wondering what he thinks of the french art porn movie BAISE MOI. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m in the mood for a dissertation on the USA Patriot Act and how it has legalized secret police searches of my house in the name of protecting my freedom.” “You know, maybe I do care what some ex-con has to say about LORD OF THE RINGS, that doesn’t mean I want to hear more complaining about Bush and congress giving years worth of taxes back to the big corporations and saying it’s because of terrorism.”
Well let me tell you I’ve finally figured out what’s wrong with me and because I feel close to all you fuckers I’m gonna share it with you. I have recently been self-diagnosed with S.F.S. (which stands for Societal Fatigue Syndrome), more commonly known as T.O.A.T.S. (or Tired Of All This Shit). Much like many individuals are allergic to the dander of a cat or the pollen of a flower, and as Michael Jackson is allergic to earth’s atmosphere, your ol’ friend Vern is sensitive to the current climate in his homeland of the U.S. of A.
There are many factors that lead to my TOATS. One of the main culprits is this latest fad of authority figures saying things that nobody with even a tiny drop of passing common sense could think was true, with the safety of knowing that everyone will play along.
For example: George Bush says that after the events of September 11th we now know that we need a missile defense shield.
Yes, now that we know that a couple a guys with a sick imagination and some box knives can kill 3,000 people, it is clear that we must give literally billions of dollars to corporations to stop missiles.
Why is this? Well, George says, because it is a new age, and we must find a new way of defending ourselves. I.e., by going back to the crack headed “Star Wars” plan that his dad and all his criminal buddies wanted to do nearly twenty years ago.
George is saying things that EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US knows flies in the face of reality. He is giving us a con. He’s that guy on the street with the runny nose that asks you for money and swears its to feed his children. And what he says gets repeated on the news as if it’s fact.
Tom Brokaw knows what Bush is saying doesn’t make sense. Connie Chung knows it doesn’t make sense. Emiril knows it doesn’t make sense. I bet even that Titus dude knows it doesn’t make sense. But nobody on tv’s gonna say anything. Peter Jennings especially isn’t gonna say anything. Tell him where to line up, he’s there.
Next example. A government report has been released criticizing college professors for being critical of U.S. foreign policy post-September 11th, listing the professors by name.
Anyone who hears this, of course, says fuck you, government. This is a free country. After September 11th we are still allowed to examine what our government is doing. In fact we have more responsibility than ever to do it. And you can take your fucking blacklist and stick it up your billionaire oilman asshole.
But then the government says no, this was not intended as a blacklist, or as a way of creating a chilling effect and curtailing free speech. What we really meant to do was, you know, “broaden the dialogue.”
That’s all these people have to do, they give us THAT, and they’re off the hook. Next headline, please. Halfway through the news, the survey’s forgotten. If ONLY the rest of us had this luxury.
“No, that was not an armed robbery. It was a regular transaction.”
“It was a–? But no, you had a gun though.”
“No no no. Gun? No. You misunderstood. Don’t be silly.”
“Well… okay, I suppose. Seems kind weird but… guess we have to take your word for it. I’m sorry Vern. You’re free to go. I’m sorry about all this.”
“You better be fucking sorry. I’m OUTTA this sorry sack of shit. Goodbye.”
“What!? I don’t have time for this shit.”
“Vern. I just– I want to tell you to have a merry Christmas, Vern.”
Vern turns and quickly rushes out the door. At the last second he stops hesitantly. After a moment, he turns slightly, looking over his shoulder.
“You too, man. You have a merry Christmas too.”
He turns the rest of the way around. For a moment it seems as if they will hug. But Vern turns away before revealing too much emotion.
You know what, I think it’s time for the press to become responsible and start treating everyone like fucking grownups. It’s time to stop playing along, giving them that luxury. If a guest on Ricki Lake came up with a pea brained explanation like that the audience would boo and laugh at them.
In fact you don’t even have to be a grownup to know this. If a kid tried to get out of trouble that way – let’s say he stole some cookies. “No, actually, what I did was not steal the cookies. What I did was, I gave the cookies to the orphans.” He’d get his ass spanked and be sent to his room.
Remember in that movie KINGPIN, when Woody Harrelson was pretending that Randy Quaid was really drunk so he could con the bartender, and the bartender said, “He gets that drunk off of ginger ale?” and Woody Harrelson said, “Uh, he was just sniffing glue out in the parking lot.”
That was a bad lie. And he didn’t get away with it in the movie. And if it was real life, it wouldn’t have worked either. Not unless he was a government official, saying it on tv.
I would go so far as to say that there is no situation in every day life where anybody could ever get away with this kind of asinine bullshit that the government is getting away with right now, except in the very specific situation of George Bush or John Ashcroft or Donald Rumsfeld or any of their henchmen talking to so-called journalists.
I remember one time that rapping group, the 2 Live Crew was on Phil Donahue. And everybody was really outraged at their sex raps. And some old guy stood up and he said, “The way things are going today, I wouldn’t be surprised if next thing you know people are fornicatin’ on the street corners.” And Phil Donahue kind of laughed and said, “I don’t know about that” and immediately moved on to the next person.
THIS is the most polite response any journalist should give the government when they feed us this type of garbage. And in my opinion, it is way too polite.
But the mainstream disagrees. It is more important for them to pussyfoot around than to actually be journalists. They are involved more than almost anyone in this big game of pretend. On the cable news networks this morning it was kind of a slow news day. Just lots of interviews and round tables talking about the same old shit. If I didn’t read the ticker at the bottom I wouldn’t have known that last night our army bombed a convoy of Afghan tribal leaders heading to the inauguration.
No, they were either Taliban or Al Quaeda, I’m sure is what the Pentagon says. Somehow I believe the Afghani officials on this one. This is not an accident. And it will not be an accident when the Afghani government turn out to be stooges for american big business, and help them to build their big oil pipeline. You know, to stop terrorism.
I actually read this sentence in The Seattle Times: “[a particular college professor] believes U.S. foreign policy contributed to the hatred that fueled the terrorist attacks – a controversial theory.” Sadly, the sentence isn’t lying. It is a controversial idea around here, even though every single one of us knows it’s not a theory, but a statement of obvious fact.
I know I’ve seen people on tv that CLAIM to not believe this bit of common sense. But I can only assume that they are trying to show off. I realize that Osama bin Laden is a terrorist and, let’s face it, an asshole. But I think we can still take him at his word when he says that it really pisses him off that we still have troops in the holy land of Saudi Arabia. Or that it bothers him that we are still bombing the shit out of people in Iraq. And hell I gotta agree with him when he says that, you know, having intentionally starved over a million people with our sanctions in Iraq is, like, kinda fucked. Or that Clinton probaly shouldn’t have bombed one of the only pharmaceutical factories in Sudan, causing a holocaust.
I mean, I don’t think it makes me any less of a patriot than you for me to go out on a limb and admit that I am against holocausts.
See, I don’t think the real patriots, the real americans, are the ones playing pretend. The people pretending are the people who don’t really believe in the ideals they say america is about. They don’t believe in innocent until proven guilty or giving a trial. They literally wanted to cut bin Laden’s head off before having seen any evidence at all, or even having heard any description of any evidence actually existing. I’m talking months before they even saw that home video. (the hottest thing since the alien autopsy video!)
These people don’t mind the poor people of afghanistan dying if it means we can feel a little more comfortable in first class. They don’t mind secret military trials as long as it’s some foreigner. Hell they wouldn’t mind completely shutting off immigration. Maybe they could get some sleep at night.
Hey, I just like the flag, fuck all that freedom shit it symbolizes.
That is not patriotism. That is being a pussy. If you can’t admit that our country kills as many people as everybody else, you are a pussy. If you can’t admit that our president was not elected, and that this is a problem, you are a pussy. If you can’t admit that what our government is doing right now is not in keeping with freedom and democracy, you are a pussy.
For all these reasons, Bush is a pussy. He is not a patriot, or an american. He’s a fucking criminal. If you didn’t believe in the ideals of America, asshole, you should’ve taken over some other country. Now you’re stuck with us, and our ideals. Otherwise we’re gonna knock you on your ass.
This column is not for the people playing pretend. It’s about the america I’m seeing, not the one they’re showing us. It’s my only hope for treating my S.O.A.T.S. I’ll be Writing this every once in a while to get it all out. Because every morning I hear the news on the radio and I get something new to be pissed off about. I hear about the american who became a taliban soldier, and now George Bush 2 wants to give him the death penalty. Nobody wanted the death penalty for the soldiers who walked down the streets of Panama burning down houses row by row, to help Bush Sr. take control of the drug trafficking. Or the ones who drove specially designed bulldozers in Iraq that dug ditches and then buried people alive in them. No, those war crimes are all fine. They were just doing their jobs. But some dumb hippie moves to Afghanistan, grows a beard and joins the army, they treat him like Jeffrey Dahmer. (Who, by the way, DIDN’T get the death penalty. Officially.)
If you think america can do no wrong, well, obviously, go somewhere else. This is for the grownups. But if you’re angry like me, and you want to stand up for what america is supposed to be about, I hope you will join me.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.