Archive for the ‘Movie Review’ Category
One of the questions I get asked most often is how I have remained so diversified over the years, and so passionate over such a wide variety of subjects and still maintain my optimism. My answer is often difficult and obscure in articulating, and most do not understand once they have heard it, but symbols are a powerful ally into healing the mind from the many unfathomable tribulations it might encounter in a lifetime—and when a mind beholds a symbol it holds in reverence, it becomes possible to always calibrate ones thoughts to the values that are most functional, and beloved. Religions often use such symbols to focus their minds on eternity, or spiritual awakening. Voodoo priests use symbols to focus their minds to speaking to those who have crossed over dimensional understanding. Shamans use symbols to invoke focus on the problems at hand that only have answers in the world of the unknown. I have always needed something that does all that and more, and for me, the symbol that I most reverently adhere to is the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars, the intergalactic starship that is the hero of the entire saga, and has been a representation of complete freedom as shown in that fantasy epic from a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
The picture shown above is one that I have had on my freestanding Craftsman tool box that I have had for years as I worked in machine shops and other assembly plants where exotic tools were needed to perform the task at hand, and as every real man knows, the size of a man’s tool box says a lot about the level of the mind that owns it, and their ability to solve problems—and my tool boxes have always been big. While my co-workers would fill their opened tool box lids with pictures of women in various states of undress, hot rod cars, and images from their favorite sports teams, my tool box had pictures of the Millennium Falcon pasted all over it as it has been a long-standing dream of mine to build an actual full-scale model of that famous movie space ship, and looking at those old construction photos from The Empire Strikes Back has always inspired me to think outside the box, and to never allow my mind to linger on the impossible. The Millennium Falcon for me is a symbol of always having hope, never surrendering even when the odds are terrible, and trusting that effort will always triumph over technical superiority. I wrote recently about my intention to build a real Millennium Falcon for $15 million dollars that actually flies with anti-gravity technology. CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW. In Tennessee there is a small group that is planning to build a replica of the Millennium Falcon for similar education purposes, which I am very excited to see. CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO VISIT AND OFFER SUPPORT:
I adore people like those at Full Scale Falcon.com. I wish the world was filled with more of them.
I have made it no secret that the car in my new novel Tail of the Dragon was inspired heavily from the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars and many times in my life, I have looked reverently to that classic star ship to reset my thinking on any given topic. My wife can attest that I engage the engines to my electronic Millennium Falcon that sits right next to our bed every night before I go to sleep. So I did what I promised myself I would do after a contentious election season in 2012 and that is give myself a break. I decided to rest from all the heavy-duty philosophy and history that I typically read and pulled a book off our book selves that my wife read last year and had been urging me to give a chance, James Luceno’s novel called Millennium Falcon.
To be honest I did not think the book would be any good and the reason I did not read it earlier was because I needed to finish a few books ahead of it on the Star Wars timeline from the Legacy of the Force series, so just picking the book up to read was not as easy as just reading one book. Millennium Falcon is a sort of bridge book between the Legacy series and the Fate of the Jedi series, so I didn’t want to spoil anything for myself. I waited till I had a chance to get to it when I wasn’t so busy. After the election and all the very heavy reading I did after November 6th 2012 going through books like War and Peace, The Golden Bough and many others, I decided to catch up on some of the Star Wars books from the Legacy and Fate series as well as the Old Republic novels.
James Luceno’s book Millennium Falcon was marvelous, and well worth the wait. I didn’t know how much I had been wanting to read it, or how much I would enjoy it, because the story is about the 100 year lifespan of the Millennium Falcon from its construction on an assembly line to almost the events that will lead up to the new films that Disney is about to produce, Episodes 7 through 9. In the Millennium Falcon’s long history under many different owners featuring crime lords, galactic pirates, rogue politicians, fortune hunters, medical innovators, circus performers, and rebel heroes it is literally a star ship that has launched a thousand fates—perhaps billions. The Millennium Falcon is to Star Wars what the Black Pearl is to Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. The Millennium Falcon is a hot rod pirate ship and is simply the coolest piece of technology ever put into a movie. Unlike other famous movie star ships, the Falcon represents individuality, and freedom which is why I behold it as a symbol still after all these years.
I enjoyed every page thoroughly of Luceno’s book as he takes readers on a heck of a fun story into the Millennium Falcon’s past which was unknown previously in the Star Wars mythology. I didn’t think it would be possible for a skeptical 45 year-old man to be as excited as a 10-year-old boy over a fictional symbol of freedom in a galaxy that only exists in the mind. But after reading the book it made me think even more seriously about someday walking through a real Millennium Falcon that I build for real function, or one like the good people at Full Scale Falcon.com are building to inspire a whole new generation of young people to reach for the stars. The Millennium Falcon has a special place in the hearts and minds of millions and as this evolution has occurred I am more proud than ever that I displayed those original construction pictures so prominently on my tool box, which are still there. The only difference is that the big stand up unit I used for staying gainfully employed is now in my garage. That tool box got me through some hard times as I worked excessively hard to make a living for my growing family, and never let my co-workers provoke me into removing my pictures of the Millennium Falcon from my tool box in favor of girls in bikinis. I can honestly say that the Millennium Falcon is sexier than any lingerie model in any state of super normal sign stimuli pose.
I feel that my life has reflected the fictional history of the Millennium Falcon after reading the Luceno novel, which I never would have known prior. But there is something destructive and positive at the same time in reaching for one’s individual freedom and sovereignty, and the Millennium Falcon represents that quest. And I’m not alone in my sentiments. Good people like Chris Lee at Full Scale Falcon.com feel it as strongly as I do, and are taking actions to make the Millennium Falcon a reality that young people can touch, smell, and walk through—and from those young minds are the next great inventions that will bestow upon the human race a wave of miracles that will usher in a new day in the long story of all of us. Everything starts with a thought, and a symbol can hold those thoughts into focus as the turbulence of life tries to wash away our dreams. Holding onto our symbols can keep those dreams anchored to the foundations of our souls.
That is why I LOVE the Millennium Falcon!
The number one comment that readers of my new novel Tail of the Dragon ask me is when will it be a movie, because the car chase in the book—which takes place over half of the story is so stunningly exciting that they want to see it up on the silver screen. I have been telling them that it’s not likely to be soon, because Hollywood isn’t making many car chase films these days, not like they did in the 1970s, which was my inspiration behind the book. On top of that–I am a conservative writer, and while Hollywood does endorse far left political activists like George Clooney and Sean Penn, it does not have a tolerance for people as fiscally and socially conservative as I am. So the list of producers and actors out there that would be able to take Tail of the Dragon from a novel and put it up on a movie screen in the manner that it is written is pretty short.
The other big problem is that the main character of Rick Stevens is so iconic, and strong that Hollywood isn’t producing actors that are able to reach the kind of emotional firmness that can capture the hero of Tail of the Dragon with the proper valor required. In these more politically left leaning times, characters like Rick Stevens are way too sure of themselves, and that is currently out of fashion in American film—where it used to be common place in Hollywood. Tail of the Dragon is in essence dedicated to all the great car chases of my youth set into overdrive. To accurately portray the high-speed chases that Rick Stevens embarks on in Tail of the Dragon it would require an actor like Steve McQueen, or a Burt Reynolds type who is actually a tough guy in real life–a thrill seeker, and would need to be a professional driver in some regard. Because the stunts that would be required to put Tail of the Dragon up on the silver screen would be unlike anything ever filmed before in any motion picture—so I don’t have much hope of finding the right combination of studio involvement, actor skill level, and financial commitment. CLICK HERE FOR SOME OF MY PREVIOUS WORK IN HOLLYWOOD. That is until I saw the clip below on Top Gear discussing the new Tom Cruise film Jack Reacher—which looks very promising.
It would take an actor/producer like Tom Cruise to bring the larger than life character of Rick Stevens to film, and it appears Cruise is back in that kind of character generating business, as his Jack Reacher looks like the kind of old-fashion throwback to the decades prior to 1990 filmmaking. That shouldn’t surprise me as Cruise is from Cincinnati just as Steven Spielberg is along with George Clooney and it takes someone from the Midwest to understand a story that takes place in the heart of the country. Tail of the Dragon is truly a modern version of Smokey and the Bandit and the great Tom Cruise classic Days of Thunder, so Tom Cruise would be a good fit—if the stars lined up properly.
I knew when I wrote the novel that it was a bit out of fashion in the present day as it makes no attempt to be contemporary except for the fact that the 700 HP 1977 Firebird in the story runs off a special vegetable oil fuel mixture which is very much in line with modern technical achievement, but the rest of the story is good ol ‘fashioned storytelling that is unapologetic in its larger-than-life presentation. I figured that sometime over the next 20 years such personal valor as exhibited from Rick Stevens in Tail of the Dragon would come back into style, and at that time there might be a chance for such a grand story to find its way to the silver screen.
I am delighted to see that Tom Cruise is back at it with Jack Reacher because honestly, I have missed these types of films terribly. The Fast and Furious films are good, but there is human nobility that is missing from those characters that is all too common in so many modern stories. Tom Cruise made his living for many years playing larger than life characters in films like Top Gun, Days of Thunder, and Mission Impossible, so there are still actors/producers in Hollywood who are capable of getting behind the wheel of a car like the one in Tail of the Dragon and telling the story of Rick Stevens and his bold, high-speed adventure through the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina.
In the meantime, I think I’m going to go see Jack Reacher and relish in Tom Cruise’s latest movie. There is a part of me that is rooting for Cruise to make a comeback to the silver screen, because honestly, I think Hollywood needs him.
In the small political battles of our day—the ones over which idea is better than the other, I see such conflicts to be minor squabbles in the scheme of existence. I prefer always the long view of looking at big things with much distance between myself and the object so I can see the situation clearly. When I have to engage against competing tribes of political view who attempt to interrupt my enjoyment of the long view I am all too happy to display their conquered scalps as trophies of war, but I am very aware that such things are small insignificant victories upon the tapestry of living. When battles are raging around you, political or otherwise, there are only two choices, win or become a victim. Choosing not to play is a choice towards becoming a victim.
I will have to thank my friend over at the Atlas Shrugged site Galt’s Gulch, Dr. Brett for being the first to break the news to me that Lucasfilm had been sold to Disney for $4 billion dollars. As any who read here clearly know, I think a lot of Star Wars, and specifically George Lucas, so the news that Lucas has officially hung up a company he built all his life as a sole proprietor was very sad for me, almost as sad as losing a loved one to a death. I respect deeply the creative environment that Lucas utilized to build Star Wars into one of the most recognizable names in the entire world. I respect all the companies of George Lucas because he maintained his ownership of them the way he should have, and he never yielded to pressure to make his films into anything but what they are. He reserved his right to make films like Howard the Duck which were bombs, but he also made wonderfully powerful films like Tucker: A Man and His Dreams, Willow, and of course the Indiana Jones series which has changed dramatically the entire field of archaeology and anthropology. But it was and is Star Wars that made all those films possible, films that couldn’t be made by anybody else no matter how big the studio or the personalities behind them were.
It might seem that no amount of news could eclipse the massive Hurricane Sandy that had shut down the eastern United States, but news that Star Wars was now under the tent of the Disney Company eclipsed the tragedy of that event–even of the presidential elections. The news that Star Wars was now owned by Disney and that the company fully intended to make more Star Wars films rocked the world of Twitter, Facebook and news organizations all over the world with shock and awe.
I grew up with Star Wars; I raised my family on Star Wars. Star Wars is one of the great sacred bonds that my wife and I share. We love it, have watched the movies thousands of times, and read all the books. In fact, she has read every single Star Wars book ever written. They take up an entire section of our home. I enjoy watching Family Guy primarily because of all the parodies that Seth McFarland has done as a tribute to Star Wars. I get along most with Star Wars geeks and adults who aren’t afraid to admit that they love the films. My father-in-law and I have always shared an intense love for Star Wars. My nephews and I have stayed up entire nights playing Star Wars video games, and those memories still bond us as busy adults. Star Wars is always a dominate topic at every Christmas and Thanksgiving Dinner on both sides of the family. It is also the most commonly given gift for birthdays and Christmas in my family on both sides for over 30 years now. For me the love of the films are not an immature reach for eternal youth and fantasy, but rather, the long view at philosophy and life in general that they offer against the backdrop of fantasy in a far away time and space that allows ideas to reside in neutral territory. I find it repulsive when some fans accuse George Lucas of turning Star Wars into simply a cash cow, or that he sold out to the big and powerful Disney—allowing his sole creation to be turned over to some evil empire of the Disney Company. They simply don’t understand the situation and how the dots connect.
I have spent considerable time explaining at this site Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom why some people believe making money is bad—where those ideas came from, and actually how they hold society back. This is why I propose that Ayn Rand’s ideas are far more relevant philosophically for mankind than Karl Marx and that if one idea must be refined philosophically over another it should be those of Rand over Marx. Those reflections can be heard clearly in the opinions of Star Wars by the general public, but one thing that Star Wars does is unite people who would otherwise not be able to talk politics.
For instance, many of the writers of The Huffington Post who might argue with me about the merits of socialism versus capitalism share a love and passion for Star Wars. Many who believe that Star Wars is just a movie don’t understand why it is such a phenomena, but Star Wars is not just a movie intending to make money, but a tool that George Lucas has utilized to create the most important, and powerful mythology human civilization has ever known and it is intended to take Earth from a .7 Type Civilization that it is now, to a Type 1 Civilization on it’s way to an accelerated Type 2 with an intent to become a Type 3 and still have a basic philosophy that will hold up to such an expansion. For people who think Star Wars is just a silly movie, they do not understand that the foundation blocks of any civilization is its basic philosophy that is reinforced by its mythology, and Star Wars created by George Lucas is intended to be a giant mythology. Disney as a company envisioned by Uncle Walt was created to interpret and communicate mythology to the world, not to just make money. What most people miss due to the fact that they have been taught to hate money is that Lucasfilm and the Walt Disney Company have billions of dollars of value between them because they offer a very good product—but the value of that product is cultural enrichment through mythological creation that improves the general philosophy of all human beings. While it is true that Star Wars is geared for children, the messages within that mythology contribute greatly to the improvement of world-wide philosophy. Lucas and Disney both as heads of their companies have managed to perfectly bring together two important attributes necessary to human survival, the ability to produce wealth, and to use that wealth to dramatically improve the living conditions of mankind.
The limits so far with Star Wars is that George Lucas has been the “brand” of his company. He has become so big that anything done in Star Wars as a story, because they are so important mythically speaking to so many millions of people, is distracting, even limiting. I believe Lucas being the “way ahead of the curve” kind of guy that he is has recognized this and has positioned his company, its employees, and the product of Star Wars itself through the television experiment of Clone Wars on the Cartoon Network to make this move with Disney at a very reasonable price. Disney, as a giant company with no direct face that is the “brand” can take Star Wars to places it could not otherwise go being headed by George Lucas. Disney has the ability to build an entire Star Wars park so visitors can actually walk around in the Star Wars Universe. They can expand on the television, the movies, even the video games. Disney has the power to take Star Wars from a household name and make it a room to room name within that household.
To understand why I think this move to Disney for Star Wars might have a severe impact for the positive it would require knowledge of George Lucas as I have, so to know what he is most likely thinking. Back in the 1990’s George Lucas was a board member for The Joseph Campbell Foundation who was being carried on by Campbell’s wife Jean after Campbell’s death of which I was also a member. Lucas has always been interested in using Star Wars to bring young people to the study of comparative religion and world mythology studies. Few people know it, but Lucas always wanted to be an Anthropologist and books like The Golden Bough and The Hero with A Thousand Faces had a powerful impact on him as a youth and he has always planned to use Star Wars as a way to introduce youth to higher philosophical concepts. To understand to what extent Lucas has been committed to this just look at his company Lucas Learning. I would bet everything I have and everything I ever obtain on the notion that Lucas has intentionally planned to inspire young people to reach for the stars with the stories of Star Wars in fields of science, medicine, politics, art, virtually every aspect of society, and Lucas has done this as an anthropology/archaeology enthusiast, not as a film maker. Lucas, never really wanted to be a film maker, but instead used film making to communicate his interest in cultural studies. It is his interest in anthropology that gives the Star Wars Universe such a rich texture, that far exceeds any other science fiction endeavor so far to date. And I believe the result of this investment Lucas has made in civilization will be the necessary mythological tool that is needed to continue the social evolution into a Type 1 Civilization where religious barriers, scientific limitations, and politics get in the way of arriving at these necessary human advancements. This was why George Lucas made Episodes 1 through 3 the way he did about Galactic Republics and the demise of governments in spite of the efforts of the noble Jedi Knights. Lucas solved the political problems of his galaxy that has embraced laissez-faire capitalism but is not regulated by untrustworthy politicians, by using Jedi Knights who are governed by a deep commitment to philosophy, not crony capitalism that goes on between gangsters, pirates and politicians, to maintain order.
In a 1964 article on searching for extraterrestrial civilizations, the Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev suggested using radio telescopes to detect energy signals from other solar systems in which there might be civilizations of three levels of advancement: Type 1 can harness all of the energy of its home planet; Type 2 can harvest all of the power of its sun; and Type 3 can master the energy from its entire galaxy.
Based on our energy efficiency at the time, in 1973 the astronomer Carl Sagan estimated that Earth represented a Type 0.7 civilization on a Type 0 to Type 1 scale. (More current assessments put us at 0.72.) As the Kardashevian scale is logarithmic — where any increase in power consumption requires a huge leap in power production — we have a ways before 1.0.
Fossil fuels won’t get us there. Renewable sources such as solar, wind and geothermal are a good start, and coupled to nuclear power could eventually get us to Type 1. More info can be found at this article.
Nothing ever starts until the human mind can behold the concept. From there, invention and personal innovation will bridge the gaps. Currently, politically, our global societies are locked between a struggle between individualism and collectivism as political systems of all types are struggling to maintain the former power bases of class society indentured to resources controlled by the very few, whether that few are crony capitalists, socialists, pirates, thieves, looters, or kingdoms. The future is moving away from these kinds of regionalized controls and the internet is the first step in that particular direction. But there are still religions that are standing in the way of life expectancy and medicine, and governments that are restricting space travel as the human race is pushing violently against the limits of the past. Star Wars is a giant leap forward, but at the same time, into the past so to join in the minds of mankind with the possibilities of now. In Star Wars the galaxy they are living in is coming close to a Type 3 as they are able to travel across the entire Galaxy through hyperspace routes that are like intergalactic highways through worm holes in space. Such a concept is scientifically viable and scientists are beginning to seriously think about such things—because of Star Wars. And the utilization of the religious aspect of Star Wars, which is the Force follows many aspects that are just being discovered in quantum mechanics and presents them in story form in ways that human minds can find a practical use in the randomness of ideas. I could literally go on and on about this type of thinking, but in short, Star Wars is a big galaxy that has a lot of very fresh ideas in it from communication devices to propulsion systems, and those scientific concepts are quickly finding their way into the everyday lives of our current civilization.
Further, Disney as a company is about to do something that I think Walt Disney always fantasized about–it is about to take a bold step forward from a market driven motion picture market place and become a truly world power that will benefit the lives of the entire planet. For instance, China because it is a communist country only allows 10 foreign films to show in their country per year, which is actually a big step for them. The people of China are already looking forward to the next installment of Iron Man that is gearing up for a tremendous 2013 release—again another property by Disney who is uniquely positioned to take such a powerful mythology as the Marvel Comic properties and present them to a world hungry for the ideas in those stories. This is greatly helping China become more and more prone to the free market in all manners of business, slowly but surely brushing aside the kind of communism that has held those people down for over 60 years now. Star Wars has the potential to communicate those types of messages to a mass audience perhaps 10 times more powerfully, because the texture and depth of Star Wars is so deep and engrossing, and if Earth is to become a Type 1 Civilization, the same idea has to be held in the mind over most of the world. In other words, the people of China cannot think so much more different from those in The United States. But the lifestyle of The United States cannot be brought down just to level the playing field globally, but the rest of the world must be brought up to the level of America. The best way to do that is to export American ideas, like Star Wars to those countries so they can understand what they should be doing, and how to do it.
I feel sorry for some of my fellow adults who share my age, but not my youthful optimism. They truly believe that Star Wars is just another movie like everything else designed to make money for Lucas, or Disney. In fact in the days after this big announcement of Disney buying Lucasfilm that was the first thing that most people said to me, “Looks like Lucas just got even richer.” Those same people rush their kids to soccer practice while they update their Facebook accounts religiously and po-poo anything that isn’t rooted in the reality of their current busy lives. Their kids feel the magic on Christmas morning hoping they get a new Star Wars toy, or on Halloween when they get to dress up like a Jedi Knight. The parents feel the magic just a bit when they walk down the isles at Target and look at all the Star Wars toys designed specifically to massage the mind of young people by the toy makers in a plot Lucas hatched decades ago to expand the consciousness of the human race by beholding in their minds all of life’s potential.
When I was a little kid, I wanted the full-sized Millennium Falcon from Star Wars for Christmas like nothing else. This would be way back in 1980. But my parents couldn’t afford it, because it was really expensive. So I built my own Millennium Falcon out of a card board box that I played with for years. Once I got older and could afford to buy it myself, the toy had been off the market for a number of years, so I was never able to get it. But in 1995, prior to the Special Editions in 1997 Lucasfilm released all the old toys only updated with new manufacturing techniques complete with the “battle worn” condition made so popular in the films. That year for Christmas my wife bought me the new electronic Millennium Falcon with the updated paint scheme and everyday since that Christmas I have proudly set it next to my bed where I engage the engines every night before I go to sleep. Every night. And what’s strange is that it still has the same batteries in it from 1995, and they still work. Call it the FORCE! When I have had to fix a number of complicated problems around the house from broken dishwashers to electrical problems I have sometimes stared at that toy for hours pushing the buttons and thinking about the problem at hand which often frames the answer for me with perspective. The toy for me is a symbol of innovation and technical marvel, so it often elevates my logical trouble shooting thinking. That magic has stayed with me my whole life so far and doesn’t appear to be abating. And I know I’m not alone.
Under Disney, these toys, the books, the multiple nick-knacks will flood the marketplace and without question a sector of the population who hates money will call the whole ordeal a symbol of capitalist excess that is just making a lot of money for Disney and its shareholders. But the estimates from people like George Lucas are that the money drives the product and allows more people to experience such magic, and even the most hardened skeptic against capitalism or fantasy stories knows that they too feel a little of that magic when the media blankets the release of a new film, or they hear the famous tune to Star Wars which indicates to the ear that something great awaits the witness of the story at hand, they feel the magic. Lucas has attended many of the Star Wars Celebration events that take place each year, and he has seen the multitude of grown adults who share with their children love for a mythology that makes more sense to them than the reality of their daily life. With Disney now pushing the mythology machine of Star Wars, these events will explode with interest by even more people. Already the Star Wars weekends at Hollywood Studios in Florida that take place from May to June is so packed that the visitors have to use the parking lots at Epcot Center and Animal Kingdom to hold all the extra Star Wars fans. That was before Disney owned Star Wars. Now, it is certain that the parks in Florida will have a continued and much, much larger presence during the entire year and new generations will catch the fever even more than in the past, because if Disney does with Star Wars what they did with The Avengers the possibilities for how big Star Wars may become is immeasurable.
I have my doubts that the new Star Wars films will be as good as Episode 4 and Episode 5. But I have no doubt they can be as good as the other four. The proof is in the Cartoon Network episodes of The Clone Wars currently on television every Saturday morning at 9:30 AM. With that in mind, Disney could make Star Wars movies for centuries, because the material is that rich, and is so vast that the plot lines are literally infinite. I believe that with Disney at the helm of Star Wars, the ideas contained within it will find their way to every corner of the globe and in that way, will put every human being on common ground for the first time since the Tower of Babel separated all human beings with foreign language. That is what it will take to move Earth to a Type 1 Civilization, and Star Wars is the best hope for getting there.
So, in a lot of ways the news announced on October 30th 2012 has seismic consequences for every human being on planet Earth. Star Wars is not just another movie, and it is not just another product of Hollywood. It is modern mythology that surpasses the work of the Iliad, all the Greek classics, the Book of the Dead from Egypt, War and Peace, or all the works of Shakespeare, anything ever done in literature. It is the next step put into visual form what human beings are supposed to be working toward and they weren’t created superficially by whim from the mind of George Lucas, but are mythic characters dusted off from past stories and placed into the future for all to see with common eyes transcending language, political, and sociological backgrounds. That is the magic of Star Wars and the potential impact that the decision to move Lucasfilm under the umbrella of Disney can explode into uncharted waters never before seen by–anybody.
So I’m a fan of the move even though it does sadden me. The sadness is a selfish one, which I wish to preserve what Star Wars meant to me growing up, wanting to freeze-frame those films in time for my own enjoyment and memory. But I see the strategy and like Lucas I want the same thing. I want to see a world that embraces capitalism, embraces technical advancement, embraces philosophy, and never losses its belief in the limitless potential of the human imagination. There are only two directions possible at this juncture in history one where societies regress backward, or one where they move forward into space, colonizing the moon, Mars, and planets beyond with the effortless propulsion utilized in Star Wars. And the inventors of those future technologies are probably not yet even born, but will grow up in a world where Star Wars entices their minds with sounds and images plunging their imaginations into fantasy yearning for a Christmas toy under the tree to open and play with while they work out all the problems of advanced propulsion systems, gravity manipulation, and medical miracles performed without the added complication of losing their very souls to a shackled embrace of institutional imprisonment which always threatens to cast the mind of man back to the creation of fire.
That is what the Disney purchase of Lucasfilm means, and why it is very good. Also as a side note to George Lucas, when he enrolled in Modesto Junior college to become an anthropologist, and a philosopher he succeeded as both and those titles many years from now will come to describe him once all the concept of filmmaker is lost to the scrolls of time. Not only was he successful in studying the past and developing an expertise of history, but he has also changed the future for the better in ways that are subtle, yet unfathomably powerful for a civilization that is teetering on the brink and may yet survive thanks to Star Wars.
I appreciate the support my readers here provide by clicking on the pictures below. The support expands life in ways that will ultimately create the means to boundless imagination. For a sample of such projects, click here and witness one of my ever reaching projects.
Stunning is the best way to describe Ayn Rand’s classic novel, We The Living. Absolutely stunning! I feel upon completing that novel similar to what I felt when I finished Allen Eckert’s novel The Frontiersman—by asking the question, “why hasn’t this book been read by every single eighth grader in America?” Because We The Living should be read by every single person who either calls themselves Americans, or wants to become one. The book is absolutely knock-your-socks-off—stunning. The entire time I was reading the book, I kept thinking back to my teenage years when the restaurant chain Wendy’s used to air commercials like the one shown below at the height of the Cold War during President Reagan’s time in the Oval Office.
I used to think that commercial was a gross exaggeration of what life in the Soviet Union was really like. I thought it was just propaganda designed to steer people away from communism and toward capitalism. But I now know because I read We The Living, that life in the Soviet Union was about 20 times worse than what was shown in that old Wendy’s commercial and I am literally stunned that academia in The United States embraced communism to the high level that they have, because We The Living takes readers on a very intimate journey into the lives of many characters who are struggling to live under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat brought about by the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.
I suppose I have to thank John Aglialoro who is the financial mind behind making Ayn Rand’s classic book Atlas Shrugged into a movie. It was because of the upcoming Atlas Shrugged Part II film that I picked up We The Living to enjoy while I waited for the movie to come out. I waited so I could celebrate Ayn Rand in the weeks leading up to the film’s release with a book that I hadn’t read by her. If not for the Atlas Shrugged movies I may never have picked up We The Living because honestly I have had no desire to read about life in Russia, even though I have always been curious about it. When I think of Russia I think of snow and communism, neither of which I am particularly fond of. I like snow a little bit, but I absolutely despise communism. Collectivism for me has always been a dirty word, well before I ever bumped into Ayn Rand’s work. I feel that way to such a degree that I don’t even let people call me, “brother,” including when I was a part of a large motorcycle group in Ohio. I withdrew as Vice-President of that group because I recognized the collectivism in the bikers as I was making a documentary of how motorcycle riders were, so “independent.” I abandoned the documentary when I acknowledged that most bikers were behaving with collectivism down to the simple process of riding in formation behind a pack leader on the highway which to me was unacceptable. As I delved into the Easy Rider Chillicothe Rodeo and learned that public displays of sexual intercourse and drunkenness were important parts of the culture, I felt so disenfranchised that along with college fraternities, athletic institutions, academic politics and labor unions determined collectivism was a rampant problem that threatened the sanctity of The United States by intending to crush individual identity.
Today Ayn Rand is so hated, so despised by all the members of groups like the ones mentioned because her opinions threaten their existence. Yet the truth is the truth. It cannot be escaped. The hatred for Ayn Rand will be on full display once again when John Aglialoro, Harmon Kaslow and the rest of the Atlas Shrugged film team release ‘Either Or,’ (Part II of the Atlas Shrugged trilogy) on October 12th. Fans will love the movie. Collectivists, democrats, progressives, communists, intelligentsia, hippies, welfare recipients, neurotic parents, bleeding heart liberals, tree hugging green tech advocates, most of the viewership of Comedy Central, MTV, and fans of daytime soap operas will hate the movie. In fact if forced to watch the film they will wither about as though Holy Water had been cast upon their foreheads during a Catholic exorcism ritual inciting demons to flee from their bodies when Atlas Shrugged Part II hits screens in spite of all their efforts to keep the world from reading Ayn Rand or seeing a movie adaptation of her literary work. The question then comes to pass, why is she so hated? If so many people think one way, and only a few think the way she did—in a democracy—aren’t the majority entitled to rule over the majority? The answer is———a resounding——NO!
To understand who Ayn Rand was and how she thought, reading her book We The Living is absolutely essential. I can understand why Rand’s later characters are so hated by collectivists. John Galt and Howard Roark were the way they were in Rand’s later literary work because it was revealed in We The Living the true relationship that Ayn Rand had with her very first love as a 17-year-old teenager in a man named Leo. Leo in the book We The Living was trying to live a good life under a Soviet system that absolutely would not allow for such people to exist, and all during the book I kept thinking that life in America is not very much different. The heroine of We The Living is Kira Argounov which is the literal antithesis of Ayn Rand herself living in Petrograd in the year of 1924 trying to start a life with the man she loved, which was impossible without allowing her personal identity to be smashed into collective soup.
We The Living was the first time I had ever gained intimate knowledge of what life was like behind the Iron Curtain. This was my first realistic glance at what went on behind the Berlin Wall, and why people risked life and limb to climb over, to get away from the oppressive, Soviet dominated East Germany. We The Living takes readers on a journey into the bread lines at the co-operatives, into the minds of the communists ruling as Karl Marx’s proletariat, into the minds of the bourgeois, into their education system, into their economic engine, into their whole philosophy. The genius of the book is in how effectively the characters are developed so that their demise into having their individuality stripped away completely is revealed from the years of 1924 to 1926. In just a few years, once proud families were stripped down to nothing, forced to live like insects in public housing seized by the state, and begging for a job run by the state so they could receive a food ration card. The living conditions were absolutely appalling. The way the communists gained control of each and every person’s life in Russia was revealed in graphic detail and their motivations for doing so was also exposed. Many of those methods can be found in the modern United Nations Agenda 21 initiative, which was written by former fans of open communism, now calling themselves socialists and progressives.
For me the most heart-wrenching scene was when a young couple was thrown into Siberian jails because of their counter-revolutionary intentions against the great Dictatorship of the Proletariat. The couple simply wanted to eat, and because they didn’t belong to any of the trade unions, they couldn’t get a job, and therefore couldn’t get a food ration card. So they plotted to overthrow the government by passing out flyers in factories urging people to stand up against the communists. They were sentenced to 10 years in Siberia at different prisons which they both knew was a death sentence because nobody came back from Siberia. They typically died from suicide or consumption, there just wasn’t any food in that frozen land but what was brought in by train. The couple rode for most of the trip together in a train holding each other as long as they could. Then at a particular train stop the woman was ripped from the arms of her man and put on another train to head to a different prison and that was the last they would ever see of each other ever. It was a terrible scene beautifully written. I often thought of Steven Spielberg’s Schindlers’ List during these kinds of scenes where the content was just terrible, but the delivery was magnificent.
The book is filled with scenes like that; all of them absolutely catastrophic. It is no wonder that it took three years to get published in the United States in 1936 and was rejected by a dozen publishing houses before Macmillan finally considered it over the violent protests of Granville Hicks, who would later get revenge on Ayn Rand through the New York Times when he was sought out by them to review Atlas Shrugged twenty years later. The owner of Macmillan overruled Hicks by saying “I don’t know whether the book will make any money, but that it was important and ought to be published.” Hicks was revealed to be a card-carrying member of Communist Party USA as was many members of the media, academia, and labor unions in the period of the 1920’s to the 1950’s. They were later forced to go underground into hiding behind the Democratic Party disguised as political progressives. And it was clear that the Soviet Union Dictatorship of the Proletariat planned for the entire world to be converted to communism. They had extremely elaborate plans to move their utopia of misery to every nation on earth, and many in the United States were willing to help them do it, because they didn’t see the real conditions of what the people in the Soviet Union were undergoing. All they saw was the idealistic utterances broadcast from Moscow through the G.P.U, and later the K.G.B.
During my reading of We The Living I kept thinking of modern life in America and how much communism has shaped the way many people think. I thought of the green movement, particularly the smart meters that are going onto all of our homes for all the reasons that the government in 1920 Russia controlled the food supply, so that the citizens would have to follow instructions in order to eat, and if they stepped out of line, the card would be taken, and the people would starve. This control was not taken over night, but gradually, over a ten-year period. The same thing has been going on here in The United States over the last thirty years. Government, which leans toward communism by its very nature, is gaining control of the food supply, and is placing a particular emphasis on power supply. If the government can control how much electricity flows into a home, they can control the behavior of the people who live in that home and this is how so many people in Russia allowed themselves to be ruled by a Dictatorship of the Proletariat, because their everyday lives were completely focused on just trying to eat. They didn’t have the time, or mind to question anything about freedom—because they were just trying to survive moment by moment, which was by design.
It would seem that a book written over 75 years ago would resemble very little of the modern world, but on virtually every page I read something that reminded me of what I read recently in my local newspaper, or heard from some politician declaring that the rich in America make too much money and that they should give some of it to the poor. That statement started in the Soviet Union in the opening days of communist rule chronicled so effectively in We The Living and we hear it today under labor unions, and politicians—particularly on the Democratic side. After reading We The Living it is not far-fetched at all to consider that communists would plot with great care to place a president into power like Obama. For those who have seen the movie Dreams of my Real Father, you know what I’m talking about. The communists have planned for such things as far back as the turn of the century. Progressives started in America what the communists did in Russia. The only difference was that America had a culture of independence that was difficult to overcome, and it would take a long time—but they were prepared to wait. In We The Living the communists spoke of Soviet education, which is alive and well in America right now. If you have a child in public school, they are getting that education right now. If you are going to college, or sending a child through college, then you already know the rest of the story. It is not by accident, it has all been on purpose. We The Living shows clearly what the plan has always been and we are living it today in 2012 what was planned with great detail in 1920 to implement.
If I hated communism before I read We The Living, I don’t think there are human words yet invented to describe the level I despise such a collective concept now. I liked Ayn Rand before I read We The Living, but now I think she may be the greatest author in the last 200 years. I think Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead are two of the greatest books not only in American literature, but in world literature, and yes that includes the great classics. I would say that We The Living is more important than The Diary of Anne Frank, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Moby Dick by Herman Melville, or The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne. We The Living should be read by every single human being on planet earth.
We The Living is in its most simple form a skeleton key to understanding Ayn Rand. If only 50% of the book were true, which I think is closer to 80%, but even at fifty, Ayn Rand had great reason to hate communism and those who advocated it, which these days are a majority of the American population. Rand lost her first love to communism and she despises it for damn good reason. It destroyed everything she cared about. She was unique because she didn’t allow communism to crush her spirit the way it did so many of her friends and family. If she hadn’t gotten out of the country, she may have been crushed within a year or two of 1926 when a guest at a party she attended in Russia found out she was leaving The Soviet Union and asked her to get the message out of what was happening behind the Iron Curtain. “When you get there, tell them Russia is a huge cemetery and that we are all dying. Tell them We The Living told them.” Ayn Rand kept her promise and wrote We The Living which was criticized, and shut down in the United States for nearly 25 years. It was only after the success of Atlas Shrugged in 1957 that Random House finally re-released it to the public. Today We The Living is enjoying a renewed interest almost 80 years after its publication in large part because John Aglialoro, and Harmon Kaslow are making a modern movie of Ayn Rand’s work Atlas Shrugged and curious minds like mine are reading We The Living because we want more of what Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead offered. It is too bad that the new interest didn’t happen 60 years ago, otherwise America might avoid the pain and suffering it is about to go through. So when the bad reviews for Atlas Shrugged Part II come out, it is for all the reasons told above and more, not because the film is bad. Communist sympathizers, which extend from Barack Obama and Joe Biden all the way down to the local unionized firehouse and FOP station, do sympathize with communism. Anyone who preaches the message of the proletariat (middleclass) advocates communism and that message is no clearer upon the world stage than in the book We The Living.
We The Living is a must read. If you have not read it then you must do so as soon as possible. I would recommend closing this site right now and going over to Amazon.com and buying We The Living right now! Don’t rent any movies, don’t go to any public meetings, don’t watch any sporting events until you have read this book and understand that the communism of that book is as real today as it was then. IT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW IN AMERICA FOR GOD’S SAKE, and Ayn Rand was trying to warn the world, and they didn’t listen, because the communists were already in place the way the party began to come into power in 1915 in Russia, when the world thought the Bolsheviks were “small potatoes.” It is not an overstatement to say that this is an emergency. It might have taken nearly 80 years to get the message out, but don’t let it become 81 or 82 years. Get the message today so you can act tomorrow, because you have to know who and what you’re fighting. In America we let the communists change the names of what they are without calling them on it, and we are paying for it dearly. 12 years of the Bush presidents, 8 years of Clinton, and now 4 years of Obama have delivered America to the doors of communism as it was established as a world revolution in Petrograd–1924 after the revolution of 1917. And it took one little woman out of the millions trapped in that country of collectivism to escape and report to the world what was happening, and that the wave was about to hit them too. That warning came in her book We The Living, but people didn’t listen. So she knew that she had to provide a blueprint for how to rebuild society after communism collapsed it. That is why she wrote The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged, so people could see for themselves how things “should” be, since they were unable to act based on what “was” happening. We The Living is just a stunning portrayal of life in the Soviet Union and a vision of what intelligentsia has in mind for America, and provides the evidence to even the dullest minds what the intent has always been. It is a book that must be read, must be understood, and must be communicated to every friend, family member and loved one. It is in my mind the most crucial, historical novel of our time, not because its content is uplifting, but because it’s all too real.
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Maturity is a word that was invented to keep the adult population dormant from the dreams of their youth. Maturity is designed to be a concession to mediocrity. When someone says that a person is mature, they mean it as an insult. They intend it to mean that one knows their place, takes orders well and won’t rock the boat. In essence, maturity is the bolts that hold machine politics together. When young people put away the things of childhood to embrace the realism of adulthood, we call them “mature,” or say that they have “grown up.”
Well, more than once, I have been referred to as “immature” by my peers because as a man in my 40’s I still love video games and comic books, just as I did when I was younger. I also still hold to an idealistic state of justice that only exists in the world of comic books. Contemporaries insist that my youthful views have no place in the political arena, and it is for that reason that I write books instead of hold any public office. The characters in my novels are often reflections of events I’ve personally witnessed in actual confrontations with members of the established political arena, and my reluctance to play ball the way they learned to play the game makes them very, very angry. That’s typically when the word “immature” is used.
I grew up with comic books, and I have never left them. Comic book stores were some of the first places I took my children and they learned to read by getting comic books and looking at the pictures and trying to figure out what the words meant. I see comic books as works of art that emit modern mythology that is very much needed. The definitions of right and wrong are very apparent in the comic book universe of youth, which the adult likes to call unrealistic. To the “mature” adult compromises must be made, and the world is shades of gray. That is in essence an incorrect view of life that opens the world to evil.
I can say such things about comic books because I have the context of advanced literature behind me. I have read and enjoyed many of the most complicated literary classics there are, particularly Shakespeare, and can report that the comic book wins over the characters of advanced literature in most every case. For instance, Bruce Wayne as a character is superior to Titus Andronicus because he does not collapse into madness finding himself a victim to a corrupt regime of Roman superiority as Titus did. Wayne took the fight to the corrupt instead of letting the corrupt bring the fight to him, leaving the only measure of redemption available in making a pie out of the dead bodies of the Empresses’ two sons who raped and maimed Titus’s daughter. Batman is better, by far than not only Titus, but Henry the Fifth, Hamlet, and Othello. That’s not to take anything away from Shakespeare but if he were alive today, he would probably write comic books.
I have been to live stage plays of Equus where the characters act with fully nudity on the stage and had sex in front of thousands of people, and I can say that the message of Captain America has more meaning, Superman is more profound, Iron Man is more realistic, and The Hulk much more sophisticated. In fact I thought of The Hulk while watching the nude woman on stage in Equus attempting to seduce the naked Alan Strang. Alan in his confused obsession with horses had nothing on Bruce Banner in fighting off the rage that dwells within him. The Hulk is far better theater than Equus, yet it is Equus that gets all the praise in our “mature” society. In fact when Daniel Radcliffe made famous by the Harry Potter films decided to play the part of Alan Strang in a London, and a Broadway rendition of Equus he received a lot of positive media attention because the hero of the Harry Potter films appeared nude, and vulnerable on stage, which was highly commended in the high brow society of maturity. Such performances say to the world that Radcliffe does not plan to be a superhuman hero in all his future acting roles, but is mature enough to play a “vulnerable” parasite who murders horses because he loves them. Natilie Portman received the same kind of praise for her role in The Black Swan for much the same reason. Anne Hathaway was very naked in Love and Other Drugs, which was designed to show she could be a sophisticated actress and not just a fairy princess. See Anne Hathaway very nude at the link below for context.
However the chances are, more people in society could name off their favorite comic book characters in their favorite Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, or DC Comics than even know that their icon of fantasy in Harry Potter took off his cloths for a Broadway play at 17 years old. That is because it is more important to strive for perfection in the human heart than to yield to human weakness as Alan Strang did in Equus when he cut out the eyes of the horses that witnessed him having sex with a woman seeking to blind them so they couldn’t see his sins.
This comic book morality of mine is frowned down upon by those who give Equus favorable reviews. To me, Equus is just an excuse to get people naked on stage and call it art, when it’s simple pornography. The theme is one of human weakness and I instead find comic books much more honest emotionally. Over the years comic books have kept my moral compass pointed in the right direction. I have had many offers from machine politics in the realm of the “mature” to take bags of looted gold placed at my feet which I rejected many times over in favor of honesty which is the theme of many comic books. If I had taken the gold I may never have had to worry about money, I probably wouldn’t have had the fire to write novels and participate in political reforms. Instead I might be on a golf course patting myself on the back talking about the hot chick that was naked on stage in the Equus stage play and discouraging my children from buying comic books as symbols of childhood.
When I practice with whips in the yard and work to keep myself in shape I am working to give to the youth in my own family something to look up to, because young people need that. It is a sad situation when all they have to idolize are drawn characters on a printed page and stories told out of deep human desire not rooted in sexual tension, but in a sense of justice. The whips shown in the pictures here are the new whips that David Crain is making for me. At the heart of a lot of people who want lessons on how to crack a whip is a person enchanted by Zorro, Indiana Jones, or even the Jedi Knights of Star Wars. In fact David specializes in making very special whips that mimic the light sabers from Star Wars which allows handlers of those weapons to get the feel of using a weapon that is very similar to the sophisticated management of an art form of the Jedi against the Sith in a fight for philosophic control over an entire galaxy.
Comic books and the heroes that come from them are about big ideas, and for that they are called immature by the adult population that has already given up. Most people when gold is laid at their feet take it without question, even if the intention was to purchase their silence and cooperation. They yield to the hero that dwells within them nurtured by the fantasies of youth and justify their weakness by sophisticated stage plays like Equus, which confirms in their weakened state that they are not as corrupt as the poor, deranged Alan Strang. Those poor souls pulled into the depths of maturity would have seen the folly of their actions if they had only read more comic books and seen the intentions behind the bags of money contextually written by artists who still look forward to the greatness of man.
As for my favorite comic book character of all time, it is The Incredible Hulk. I have always identified most with The Hulk since my temper is legendary and has always been something I have had to work on to keep under control. Every now and then it is fun to let my inner Hulk go, but it always seems to get me into a lot of trouble. When they can’t beat you mentally, or physically, they simply call you “immature.” The cry for maturity comes from those who are too lazy to match the lofty minds that reach for the stars and have the muscle to get there. Rather, they hope to keep their enemies at stage plays kneeling before their nudity, their delusion, and their apathy.
Puny gods of theater and guardians of maturity. HULK SMASH!!!!!!
“With Tale of the Dragon, Rich Hoffman combines NASCAR, Rebel Without a Cause, and Smokey and the Bandit. If you like fast cars, and hate speed traps, this is the book for you. And just every once in a while, any real American wishes he had a Firebird like the one in Tale of the Dragon.“
I am very happy that the movie Dark Knight Rises stayed on top of the box office rankings for three weeks in a row in spite of the terrible shooting at Aurora, Colorado. To date the worldwide sales for Dark Knight Rises is at $750 million and continuing to grow. After three weeks of running at the top it beat the opening of the Total Recall remake by more than $10 million dollars. Dark Knight Rises made $36,440 million in domestic sales during a weekend of heavy competition at a run time of 2 hours and 45 minutes, which defies logic in Hollywood terms. Dark Knight Rises is only $40 million dollars behind the domestic total of The Dark Knight–the previous Batman film in the Nolan trilogy–at its 17 day total mark, which is quite incredible considering the blanket of horror that shrouded a very good film on the opening weekend tragedy.
The why is the reason I sat in the Regal Theater long after the movie credits ended and only silence in an empty arena looked back at me with a blank screen white and motionless. I know damn well why Dark Knight Rises is so successful and there are factions on the progressive political side that fears that reason, because they know it too and work to prevent it. The movie is fantastic not because it has any particular realism to the story line. Some might find parts of it unbelievable as the heroics might sometimes defy logic. But Dark Knight Rises is not about realism, it’s about what lives in the human heart and why. It is about what works in society and what doesn’t, and it holds up the confusing messages of our current world and takes viewers on an incredible journey into topics that baffle us in the light of day. Read my review by CLICKING HERE.
I will have to give Christopher Nolan credit; he played the ultimate Don Diego. Only people who know me well will understand what I mean by that, but Nolan pulled off a miracle that critics should have seen coming in the previous two films. I suspected it was coming, but I had no idea that he would be able to pull it off with a 2 hour and 45 minute movie without Warner Brothers cutting the film down to an even 2 hours, because the extra 45 minutes contain all the important messages that progressives have managed to suppress for many years of film making. Dark Knight Rises is the movie that Ayn Rand would have put her support behind, along with Walt Disney, and John Wayne. CLICK HERE TO SEE WHY. Nolan working within the framework of a progressive town wore the mask himself and did the impossible delivering to the world a film they needed to see.
And the world is HUNGRY for it. Once critics saw the film and realized the heavy anti-collectivist message Dark Knight Rises contained they tried to back out of their gushy support for Christopher Nolan, which up to a few weeks ago could do no wrong. But it was too late.
You see, the battle for the heart of mankind is at stake, and progressives want to posses that heart. They want control of the media in virtually every way and they do not want competition in thought, because their ideas cannot compete directly with a philosophy of freedom. If you are familiar with the great novel The Fountainhead there are a million Ellsworth Toohey’s working today as newspaper reporters, newscasters, and film critics. Dark Knight Rises directed by the critically acclaimed Christopher Nolan turned out to be a work of Howard Roark and the critics didn’t catch it till after the film hit theaters and a gush of anxiety rippled through progressive communities like an earthquake.
To see an example of what I’m talking about here are a couple of reviews from Anthony Lane of The New Yorker. The New Yorker is a progressive publication in the extreme. They were progressive well before there was ever a Huffington Post, a Daily Show, and Bill Maher. They were progressive when George Soros was still making his fortune as a capitalist on Wall Street. I have read The New Yorker for years as a way to hone my writing skills, because they often publish very good short stories and I enjoy their articles. They’d never publish anything I’d write because my politics is way too conservative for them, but I do appreciate good literature even if it’s progressive. But it cannot be ignored that they are attempting to paint Dark Knight Rises as unsophisticated tripe that should be ignored by popular culture. Below are two links from The New Yorker so you can see for yourself what is being said by them and how. Read these reviews intently. The gap between what the general public wants and what the progressive desires for mankind is absolutely clear by looking at the words of the reviewers who have come out against Dark Knight Rises.
It is in such pretentiousness that many Victorian well wishers hold much sway. For the leeching progressive who desires human weakness, ever-growing government, and perpetual debt they fully endorse films and other art that supports their cause. They do not want characters like Batman to inspire an entire generation of young people toward the cause of inner strength and valor. Valor to the progressive is the Holy Water of political exorcism. Hollywood fears these types of progressive critics because they are perceived to be the intellectual elite and don’t want the intellectual elite to alienate Hollywood from cocktail conversation.
But it’s OK Hollywood to turn the progressive opinion loose. The numbers from Dark Knight Rises should solve the question once and for all. Dark Knight Rises will make well over a billion dollars for Hollywood, much, much more than Slumdog Millionaire. Making the kind of movies that make people like Anthony Lane happy will not make Hollywood money. But making movies like Dark Knight Rises will. And it takes more than dressing up a guy in a bat suit to pull it off. The movie has to have the correct message that audiences respond to, and Dark Knight Rises has it, and they put it up on the screen without apology.
To understand the intention of The New Yorker’s Anthony Lane all one needs to do is read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. Ellsworth Toohey is a character in the microcosm of that classic novel that many of today’s critics and newspaper journalists play similar roles. In media circles, the New Yorker is considered to be the top rung of social thought, and out of all the journalists who wish to become great novelists, or work for a big news organization, they read the opinions of The New Yorker, where writers like Anthony Lane help shape the parameters of society in the exact same say that Ellsworth Toohey did against Howard Roark in The Fountainhead, written in 1943. So the tricks are not new, but if left unchecked will play out perpetually forever and to great destructive effect.
In The Fountainhead, Toohey was furious that Howard Roark was able to build the type of architectural designs that authenticated Roark’s individual existence. So Toohey used his influence at the newspaper he worked at to shape social thought away from Roark’s designs even though the public enjoyed the originality, and strength of them. Toohey being the gatekeeper of what was “cool” in society or “uncool” attempted with all his effort to bring Roark to his knees in complete destruction for the sole reason that Roark functioned outside of the influence of Toohey. For an example, below is a short line from Toohey from The Fountainhead. Then compare what Anthony Lane says about Dark Knight Rises in the linked New Yorker movie reviews above with the Toohey quote in mind. If you know the Rand work, you will understand immediately. If you are still being exposed to this work, then it might take a moment of thought to behold.
• Don’t set out to raze all shrines—you’ll frighten men. Enshrine mediocrity—and the shrines are razed.
o Ellsworth Toohey, p. 636 of The Fountainhead
Now, The New Yorker quote from the July 30th 2012 film review.
• Be honest. How badly would you not want Bruce—or Batman—to show up at one of your parties? He has no small talk (and Bale, as an actor, has charisma but no charm), although ask him about fear, anger, and other large abstract nouns, especially as they relate to him, and he’ll keep you in the corner all night. He doesn’t eat or drink, besides toying with a flute of champagne. Basic human tasks are beyond his reach; direct Batman to the bathroom, and it would take him twenty minuets of hydraulic shunting simply to unzip. On the rare occasions when Bruce, fresh from his helicopter or his Lamborghini, enters a reception with a girl or two on his arm, he looks deeply uncomfortable, and Nolan, as if sharing that unease, tends to hurry him through the moment. The point—and, after three installments, it seems a fatal one—is that the two halves of our hero form not a beguiling contrast but a dreary, perfect match. Both as Wayne and as super-Wayne he seems indifferent, as the films themselves are, to the activities of little people and to the claims of the everyday, preferring to semi-purse his lips, as if preparing to whistle for an errant dog, and stare pensively into the distance. Caped or uncaped, the guy is a bore. He should have kids; that would pull him out of himself. Or else he should hang out with Iron Man and get wasted. He should have fun.
o Anthony Lane from The “esteemed” New Yorker.
If you understand the media network and how it works from the top where Anthony Lane writes from to the bottom, where the local 22-year-old journalism major is trying hard to impress editors at large publications so they can advance their careers by mimicking the type behavior exhibited in The New Yorker, you can begin to understand why I did not want to leave the theater at the end of Dark Knight Rises, because the way the system is set up, such movies hardly ever get made to the epic scale shown in the latest Batman film.
Yes, there is a war for the heart of man, and too many writers trained in colleges and film schools have been taught to bend their will to the Anthony Lanes of the world. The writing pool in Hollywood has been watered down with progressive tripe, in spite of the hunger for American audiences to witness the exceptional. So Hollywood has turned to comic books, not destroyed by progressivism for new material to put on the big screen, because comic books have not been destroyed by the Ellsworth Toohey’s of literature. The American public wants exceptionalism. Children want more than mediocrity, and much of their anger as young people approaching adulthood is the realization that the world they live in is mediocre, shaped in large by people like Anthony Lane. Because when an example of exceptionalism shows itself, progressives attempt to crush them before they have a chance to encourage others to also rise above mediocrity.
I appreciate exactly how difficult it was to bring a movie like Dark Knight Rises to the big screen, and it is now obvious that like Nolan’s film Inception, the concept of delivering Dark Knight Rises was a dream within a dream within a dream. The motive was well-kept and hidden from people like Anthony Lane behind the performance of Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight to set up this well conceived comic book masterpiece that arrived intact to millions of fans in a unique exposé of valor, honor, and inner strength exemplifying the plight of the individual against a parasitic attack by collectivists.
In this case, fans are voting with their wallets. But the progressive wishes for the vote to never take place, which is why more films like Dark Knight Rises does not see the light of day off a film executives desk. The process for which such restrictions occur were written by the former screen writer Ayn Rand in her masterpiece The Fountainhead. For me, to see Dark Knight Rises was equivalent to reading about Howard Roark’s construction of the Wayland Building. The journey is very similar and to see it happen is an act of wonder that I won’t soon forget.
Toohey in the novel The Fountainhead embraced socialism as a political philosophy because he was a weakling in his youth. He knew he could never be exceptional, so as he grew into an adult he used his natural manipulative abilities to bring down the world around him with aspirations of collectivism in an attempt to eliminate his own anxiety about a world that would always outpace him—as he would always be condemned to a life of mediocrity. Without knowing Anthony Lane personally, his views of the world are without doubt very close to the fictional views of Ellsworth Toohey and for the same reasons. They fear that stories like Dark Knight Rises might push society to reach for exceptionalism and are a direct threat to their meager, boring lives.
However, as the evidence at Comic Con testifies to, most people do aspire to become more than mediocre. The fan geeks and other Comic Con nerds are at least in their minds attempting to behold the heroics of exceptionalism even if their bodies cannot rise to meet the cause. It is in the act of embracing the idea of a superhero where magic actually happens, and this is to the peril of collectivism. No child at 5 years old yearns to the toy aisle at Target to search for the newest toy that will allow them to pretend they are at a New York dinner party impressing people like the snooty Anthony Lane. Instead kids look for fast cars in their Hot Wheels, action figures from The Dark Knight, and Star Wars light sabers because in such play is the attempt to be more than social yielding wants for us. Hidden deep in the mind of Anthony Lane is a concession that fantasy should be abandoned in favor of realism which falls under the spell of political control where magazines like The New Yorker set the standard of quality. But the box office results do not lie. Nobody waits in line to read The New Yorker and nobody would scammer to the theater 3 to 4 times to see the same movie like they are doing with Dark Knight Rises, if the movie was about collectivism. It is exceptionalism that audiences want and in the case of Dark Knight Rises, Director Christopher Nolan found a way to work around the system to give everybody but the progressive what they wanted. Warner Brothers get a smash hit that will help carry their studio through the rest of the year without worry. And the fans received a film that will fill their imaginations with a yearning for greatness, even if the closest they ever get is in a darkened movie theater.
The truth is in the box office take, because in spite of the progressives who wish to shape society with gentle nudges, the fans have put their money where their mouth is. This is devastating news to all the Ellsworth Toohey’s who are quite stunned at the box office take in spite of all their efforts. So it brings me great pleasure to see Dark Knight Rises continuing its path to a billion dollars. Because film studios must take note of what not just American audiences want, but the entire world. The world wants Batman, and they want their heroes uncorrupted, unafraid, and larger than life. And these days, the modern heroes’ ride the musical wave of Hans Zimmer as it is his music that most plays from my iPod hour by hour week by week on a quest for valor and hope of what can come from fearlessness.
Behold—the superman! What every young person should strive to emulate without apology!
To place in perspective just how important those box office numbers are for Dark Knight Rises consider that popular summer film geared exclusively toward older women, Magic Mike featuring male strippers was released on June 29th and to date has only made $110,894 million total, and has not been released to international markets. Magic Mike would be considered a progressive film as it plays to the feminist movement. The movie did very well the first couple of weekends as all the “liberated” women flocked to the theaters to see a movie that gave them revenge on men for all the “sexist” films they’ve watched over the years like American Pie and the Hangover. Opening that same weekend was Ted directed by the makers of the cartoon Family Guy which to date has made $203,414 million with a production budget of only $50 million, both movies could be considered a financial success, but not even in the same category as a film like Dark Knight Rises.
In the same arena however would be the latest Spiderman which is not considered a success and insiders are disappointed. Opening right before the 4th of July it had the benefit of a holiday week with a rare Tuesday midnight opening, then a following weekend to make a ton of money, but for the month of July it only made $250,640 with a production budget of $230 million, not exactly a runaway success. The only film that looks to beat Dark Knight Rises in the year of 2012 is The Avengers which opened in early May and to date has a worldwide box office take of $1.6 billion dollars after three months of release. Dark Knight Rises is already halfway at that point, and it still hasn’t opened in China or Italy. But what those last mentioned films have in common as opposed to the more progressive films like Ted and Magic Mike is that they are superhero movies—movies about individuals doing big and glorious things. Critics like those who write for The New Yorker and other so-called prominent publications seem to dislike money, so to them all the movies are on equal footing. But in a world where fans of movies vote with the price of a ticket, the differences are extremely clear. In the end, the ones left standing in the corner talking to themselves won’t be Batman at the dinner party but the pretentious socialite that wants to talk about feelings and how to save the poor which global socialism created. Everyone else will be at the movies watching Batman kick the crap out of the kind of people who write for The New Yorker.
“With Tale of the Dragon, Rich Hoffman combines NASCAR, Rebel Without a Cause, and Smokey and the Bandit. If you like fast cars, and hate speed traps, this is the book for you. And just every once in a while, any real American wishes he had a Firebird like the one in Tale of the Dragon.“
It was reported to me that the Indiana Jones booth at COMIC CON in San Diago July 11th through July 15th will have a recreation of the famous Well of Souls scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark complete with live snakes to celebrate the release of all four Indiana Jones films to Blu-Ray. For those who need a map and want to know where to go, the Indiana Jones booth is 2913 at the Lucasfilm pavilion on the show floor. In the spirit of this exciting push to keep the name of Indiana Jones alive I am going to spend a moment to defend the last film, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull from the scrutiny it has received, which I have been thinking about for 4 years now.
To me all the Indiana Jones films are innovative fun escapades into the deepest questions of our times. Few people know it but George Lucas originally wanted to be an anthropologist but since he settled into a job as a “filmmaker,” the character of Indiana Jones allowed him to explore aspects of archeology that he could have only dreamed of as a field scientist. However, I will say this; George Lucas should go down in history as one of the greatest archeologists who ever have lived for the simple fact that many of today’s current world explorers, scientists, physics geeks, treasure hunters, mercenaries, and authors have been profoundly inspired by George Lucas’ creation of the character Indiana Jones. Because of Indiana Jones hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars have been invested in archeological research that would have never happened in the field of that scientific endeavor if not for the first Indiana Jones movie, the greatest movie in the history of the world in my opinion, Raiders of the Lost Ark.
I would have come to use a bullwhip anyway, since my grandfather passed on to me the love of it which predated Raiders. He and his father were deeply inspired by old Zorro films like Don Q Son of Zorro from the silent era, so he was going to teach me whether I liked it or not. But when Raiders of the Lost Ark came out, which was a tribute to those old Saturday Matinees it allowed my generation to understand what my grandfather’s generation had loved so much. From the early film era of the 1940’s it was Zorro’s Fighting Legion that I love the most, and Indiana Jones was the modern mythic tale of those old adventures. So I took to the study of the bullwhip which has personally led me on many unique adventures and has given me a view of the world few get to see through that martial art weapon.
Some die hard film critics will say that Temple of Doom was the worst Indiana Jones film. Even Steven Spielberg has said he isn’t proud of that movie. Yet, the film is one of the most beloved movies in the history of film. It invented the PG13 rating because the film was too violent to be simply rated PG and was too family oriented to be rated R. Temple of Doom is the ultimate adventure film and studios have been trying unsuccessfully to tap into the magic of that particular movie for many, many years. I’ve seen it at the movie theater over 15 times that I can remember, the most exciting time was when I was on a high adventure camp excursion deep in the hills of Kentucky within one week of Temple of Doom’s release. I was only 15 at the time so I was under the care of adult supervisors. After a day of intense backwoods hiking and spelunking the members of our camp went to bed around 9 PM. Two of my friends in the same tent waited patiently with me for everyone to go to sleep since everyone was exhausted and covered in dirt and sweat. When we no longer heard voices speaking from the many tents, we quietly escaped and ran 5 miles into a nearby college town to catch the last showing of Temple of Doom for the day at 11:15 PM. With sweat pouring down our faces and backs we bought our tickets and sat down in the wonderfully air-conditioned theater just as Indiana Jones came into the Club Obi Wan with his white tuxedo. I have raised my children to the movie Temple of Doom. It played on our television every day for about 8 years. I raised my niece and nephews on the movie since my wife and I helped raise them as children. To this day, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom brings them found memories that they cherish from their childhoods. It is the story of good and evil and even though Indiana Jones gets stabbed, burnt, tortured, poisoned, possessed, and beat up in countless ways he somehow comes out heroically in the end facing all the dangers by stating, “It’s a long way to Deli,” meaning anything can happen, and we’ll deal with it as it comes. To this day my wife and I say that to each other whenever a series of bad things happen, and it brings comic relief.
(This is a personal friend of mine, Gery Deer in Jamestown, Ohio performing at the Murphey Theater in Wilmington.)
When Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade came out, I took my oldest nephew who was 5 at the time out of school to the premier. We saw the movie on opening day for the very first screening. I figured he would learn a lot more at that movie than he would in school, which I was of course right. In Last Crusade the archeology follows along the lines of the typically Christian pursuit of archeological relics. Made just 8 years after the first film in Raiders, Last Crusade had not yet experienced the changes in archeology that would come as a result of the massive amount of money that was flowing into the science because of Indiana Jones. Last Crusade was about the legend of the Holy Grail which is an item that runs deep into Christian religions. This film took Indiana Jones back to his childhood so audiences could see what kind of events helped shape the kind of person that Indiana Jones would become as a man. The concept was so successful that George Lucas started a television show called The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles that would be geared to teaching people about the events of world history taking place from 1900 to around 1919. (Yes, I have every one of them on DVD and my kids have watched them all with me many, many, many times.)
For many fans, The Last Crusade would be their last impression of Indiana Jones. Archeology to them would be biblical in scope, and the adventures of Indiana Jones would end. Life would move on. To the rest of society, people get old, and they put away the items of childhood, which Indiana Jones was. The television show was enjoyed by people like me who naturally loved history, but was not geared to the swashbuckling action of the movies. Instead it centered on the character development of Indiana Jones as a young man.
Over the years many things happened in popular culture. Thousands of archeologists who went to college and pursued their dream of working in that business because of Indiana Jones were doing investigations of their own. Private investors who loved the Indiana Jones movies poured millions of dollars into college research projects giving archeology a lot of money that it didn’t have prior to 1981 when Raiders of the Lost Ark hit theaters. In the 1990’s archeology were doing some big things—but the revelations being discovered with all this new money was not more of the Christian based study that many would have thought it to be. The evidence being discovered was that human existence on planet earth was much more complex than we previously thought and it appears that mankind had help getting started. So when Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came out, audiences who did not know of these developments were a bit mystified to see what had happened.
My oldest daughter asked me how I managed years ahead of the film’s release to make many of the statements about human society that Crystal Skull was making. I explained to her that George Lucas was following the Robert Pirsig “quality rule” as he was in front of the train yet again while the rest of society was well in the back. Crystal Skull offered an explanation to the advanced societies all over the planet that were obviously connected in some way. This science was revealed in part by Indiana Jones films, so it was up to Indiana Jones to offer the difficult reality that other beings played a part in human evolution, and not just beings from outer space, but “interdimensional” creatures. I had come to this same conclusion years ago after my own studies, which is why my daughter was amazed that Crystal Skull was right on target with what I had been saying for nearly 10 years, that earth was seeded from another civilization that did not originate on earth and that the idea of God had suddenly become much larger.
After 20 years of not seeing Indiana Jones on the big screen audiences were suddenly confronted with an Indiana Jones who was 70 years old who was still in fist fights, romancing women, and performing unbelievable stunts. This is a difficult reality to a society of people who cast senior citizens into disregard past age 65. Seeing a film icon like Harrison Ford looking quite good as a 70 year old man shattered perceptions of what the elderly could do, and opened up the possibility that aging didn’t have to be a degrading process. The second thing that audiences had trouble with was that Indiana Jones survived a nuclear explosion by climbing into a lead lined refrigerator. Many fans did not know that the only objects to survive nuclear explosions in the many tests done were lead lined refrigerators, so Indiana Jones true to his past exploits of always finding a way to survive climbed into the only thing that would have saved him from a nuclear blast, a lead lined refrigerator.
Fans were mixed on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It wasn’t what they thought it should have been. Indiana Jones as a character had evolved over the years through the television show, which was incorporated into the new film and it served as a kind of bridge to merge the films and the television show together. The abandonment of typically Christian relics also caused some anxiety as the plot of Crystal Skull centered on the ancient alien oriented plot complete with flying saucers and little green men. And of course people had a hard time accepting Indiana Jones as an older person with a society that thinks age 30 is the end of life as they know it. But, society will catch up to the vision of George Lucas. They are doing it already. The current show on the History Channel Ancient Aliens would have never become possible if not for the mass audience exposure to the kind of information that has been coming in from archeological research. The mainstream audience was confronting for the first time in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull the possibility that mankind’s Gods were in fact beings from another world, and possibility from another dimensional reality which really messed with the stereotypes many had formed over the years through their religious studies.
Before seeing Crystal Skull I had already read several books by Zecharia Sitchin and of course the great Forbidden Archeology by Cremo and Thompson so I could almost see George Lucas smiling from behind the movie screen as I watched the events of the latest Indiana Jones movie play out. I knew exactly what he was doing, and slowly, four years after the release of that very innovative movie, people are beginning to catch up to Lucas’ vision. In the years to come, it will be Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull that will be known for changing the way human beings see themselves as science is only now starting to admit that the discoveries of Indiana Jones in The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull film are turning out to be more of a reality than they ever dared to admit.
I personally loved Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and I place it somewhere in quality to being between Last Crusade and Temple of Doom. To this very day it is Raiders of the Lost Ark that is my favorite movie of all time. So much so that the CD soundtrack has been played in my home and to my family well over a thousand times—my oldest daughter actually used to sleep to it. When she was married, it took her about 6 months to finally learn to sleep without listening to the Raiders of the Lost Ark soundtrack. My favorite song on that soundtrack is called “Desert Chase” which I listen to almost every day at least once. In fact yesterday as I cleaned my motorcycle, I listened to that part of the soundtrack on my iPOD.
For my birthday several years back, my family bought me a leather flight jacket from U.S.Wings that was made from the same roll of leather that created the leather jacket for Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I have put that jacket through absolute hell. It’s been drug in the dirt, pelted with rain, snow, ice, and had just about every kind of living creature crawling on it. It has been to the top of mountains and touched the breath of foreign countries. It has seen 30,000 miles of torture from a motorcycle. I said to my family just the other day that the jacket was just now starting to get the look of “character” that I like. In another 15 years, it should look just about right. Indiana Jones is known for his period style hat, his beat up leather jacket and his whip. Many of those things are part of my personal attire as they are of many science lovers coming out of the 1980’s who found magic and hope in Indiana Jones. Indiana Jones for millions has set the bar high for not only what we expect in our movies, but also in what we expect out of ourselves.
People often wonder how I have done and survived many of the things I have, and why I am not content to just drift off into the sunset on a sail boat. Well, I spent a lot of time watching Indiana Jones and raising my family on those films, and it just wouldn’t be right if I didn’t give them the closest thing in reality to that dynamic character. The magic of Indiana Jones is in saying “yes” to life, to not allowing convention to rule the day. If Indiana Jones is anything, he is probably the most tenacious character ever to appear in film, and he is a survivor to such an extent that not even a nuclear blast can stop him. He’s not a superhero from some other planet, or a multi millionaire who can afford to build the machines of his dreams to combat crime. Indiana Jones is just an ordinary man with an extraordinary sense of wonder and hope, which has never learned the word can’t, and that is why fans will flock to the Indiana Jones booth at COMIC CON and take pictures of themselves next to the live snake exhibit. They’ll do it because there’s a little bit of Indiana Jones in each of them, thanks to George Lucas who decided to make his kind of movie from the front of the social train while the rest of society watched from the back.
Yes, I will buy the new Blu-Ray set of the Indiana Jones films. I have a grandchild coming and I can promise that his first images, his first sounds, his very first impressions will be of Indiana Jones punching a bunch of maniacal Thuggee in the face from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. My grandchild has a lot to learn from me, and to prepare his mind for what his life will be like, he had better start thinking the way Indiana Jones does—that nothing is impossible, that life is a never-ending adventure, and even when the worst that can possibly happen happens—there is always a way out so long as your mind can dream and adapt.
I have always had a conflict when watching air shows at the concept of formation flying. Of course this idea of formation flying comes from watching birds like geese flying in a triangular pattern. Mankind wishing to fly adopted this tendency, so when airplanes were invented, we executed the practice in reality. The trouble is flying; or rather the romance of it is a solitary endeavor. It’s an achievement of mankind’s success to be able to take to the skies and reach for the heavens under the power of a machine invented in the mind of man.
But as any game hunter will tell you who are hunting ducks, or geese, they love the tendency of those collective oriented birds to fly in formation because it makes them easier to shoot down. When I look at a duck, or a goose, I do not think of independence or the freedom of flight. I just see a stupid creature that travels in packs blindly following a leader and I despise such creatures. When I look up into the sky and see a flock of birds flying about I do not have envy of any kind for them, even though they have the added dimension of flight in their physical abilities. I see them as unintelligent, just as I do when I see human beings behaving in flocks on the ground.
This is why America adopted the American Bald Eagle on June 20th 1782 as its national symbol. The bald eagle was a large creature that had a solitary nature and once they found a mate they stayed together until one died. Eagles are strong, they can fly up to10,000 feet and are at the top of the food chain regarding the bird species. They resembled the idea of what an American is. Because of these traits they were adopted as a national symbol for America.
Eagles are not collectivists. They don’t even migrate with their young, and often not even with their mates. Eagles tend not to nest near other eagles unlike buzzards and other collective oriented raptors. Eagles spend most of their time alone and like it that way. It would simply be an insult to come to a tree full of eagles hanging around socializing and waiting for something to eat. Such a thing just does not happen in nature. If such a thing were to be seen it would cheapen eagles dramatically.
The reason we do not respect crows, buzzards, geese, ducks and dozens of other bird species is because we innately see them as a weaker class due to their tendency toward collectivism. If an eagle were to be shot by a hunter with the same gun that had just killed a buzzard even though both raptors are large and majestic, we would feel a profound sadness for killing the eagle, and probably nothing much for killing the buzzard.
Human beings see such creatures as buzzards and crows as predatory scavengers who wait for something to die so that they can swoop down and eat a carcass. They are nature’s welfare recipients. They are collectivists and we tend to look down our noses at them.
But the blad eagle is a creature that hunts their prey and kills it cleanly—with work and superior speed. We admire the eagle because they are the best at what they do, and they don’t look for help in doing it. It is for reasons like this that we admire the bald eagle as representatives of American citizens. Bald eagles are what Americans know they should strive to become, individual predators for their own welfare.
This is why I think it is disgraceful to see a flock of American warplanes flying in formation. When I met the Thunderbird pilots a few years ago at an air show, I did not look at them with awe. I admired their piloting abilities, but as I shook their hands, I realized that they were simply collectivists who followed orders from their military superior. They flew in formation like geese and did what they were told. Because of that, I had less respect for them.
It is for these reasons that the old Tom Cruise movie Top Gun is still revered as a classic American film. There’s a bit of Maverick in all of us—the kind of person who wishes to go it alone and march to the beat of their own drummer, to thumb their nose at authority and give them the finger while doing it. Americans were never intended to fly in formation. They were not intended to cooperate with the crows, the buzzards and the geese of the world. Can anyone imagine an eagle sharing its food with a group of buzzards? How about an eagle sharing its kill with a flock of crows? What about an eagle plucking off little bits of flesh from a slain fish to feed to a flock of ducks swimming around helplessly on the surface of a lake? Such thoughts are absurd. Yet our modern government of ducks, buzzards, and crows proclaim that all the American Eagles of society should do just that.
In nature, which the tree hugging parasitic hippies seem to worship, the bald eagle would eat the ducks if they got in its way. They’d slaughter a whole tree of buzzards because the buzzards are individually cowards who do not know how to fight. And a whole flock of geese could be slain by one eagle should the eagle desire to do so. This is why Americans are the eagles of the world and why they tend not to be politicians. Buzzards and crows become politicians, and they have tried to bend nature with rules of their own requiring eagles to hunt for them as they sit in the tree and wait for a dead carcass to be delivered to their feet in the form of taxes.
No matter how politicians attempt to frame the issue, or Hollywood tries to glorify collectivism, Americans do not like collectivists. Their favorite movie stars are individuals. Their favorite movies promote individualism. And their military heroes are solitary, not collective. At air shows it is not the acrobatic collectivism that amazes audiences, but the one Marverick in those planes that would break out of formation and shoot down 5 of the enemy all by themselves. The thought of such a thing are what puts smiles on the faces of the young and old alike. The reason for it is the same as why America selected the bald eagle as its national symbol. It is also why progressives would like to change the national symbol from an eagle to a flock of ducks.
Enjoy your Fourth of July, and honor the eagle with a special respect as you fire off your fireworks defying the law—which has proclaimed them illegal in most states. The Fourth of July is about honoring the eagle in each of us, and that is not to be taken lightly.
After my article a few weeks ago on the soft drink, Mello Yello the marketing team noticed and contacted me to let me know they appreciated my dedication to their product. You can see their comments from that first contact at the bottom of that posting.I have only ever drank one kind of soft drink, and that is Mello Yello, so I was particularly impressed to come home on Friday to a box from the Coca Cola company in Atlanta, Georgia. Inside the box were a number of Mello Yello marketing items that the company had sent me that made a good day even better.
They sent me a T-shirt, a long sleeve shirt, a hat, a pen, a notebook, and a thank you note, which meant a lot coming from a company that I have silently been very loyal to for a number of years. I had just enough time to open the box and scan through the items before getting ready to take my kids and their significant others out to the movie theater to see the long-awaited Prometheus. So I put on my new Mello Yello T-shirt, and my Mello Yello hat, and I grabbed the Mello Yello notebook with pen to give to my oldest daughter, and we left for the movie.
Of course I looked like a walking billboard for Mello Yello when my daughter let me into their townhouse where I gave her the notebook. She tends to write almost as much as I do, so I knew she would put it to good use. I also knew my kids would get a kick out of seeing all the Mello Yello gear, because in our family, it’s well known my love of Mello Yello. We don’t all get together as easily as we used to because we all have busy lives, so getting the Mello Yello clothing in time for our long-planned movie was a nice addition to a wonderful evening.
For Prometheus my wife wanted to see it on the IMAX screen at Showcase Cinemas in Springdale, which I think is the best movie screen in the Cincinnati area. Of course the film was in 3D like they all are these days, just like film producers promised when they flew me out to Los Angeles a few years ago to do a fire whip sequence and prove out the use of a 3D camera system for Real D 3D with Peter Facinelli. I had at that time a lot of skepticism that audiences would flock to theaters to put on 3D glasses and watch a movie with just a little extra thrill factor. Women who go out on dates spending a lot of time fixing up their hair just right I didn’t think would be interested in putting on glasses that would smear their make-up. People who naturally wear glasses have to now look through two glasses to see anything in a 3D movie, which is a pain in the neck. But Hollywood was committed to the idea of 3D just prior to Obama becoming president because they were pushed by theaters owners all over the United States to justify their investments in state of the art projection systems, giant theaters, and comfortable seating.
Hollywood like the education industry is facing the same kind of economic bubble that the housing industry has already experienced, and it’s bursting. In Hollywood, it was the films of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg in the 1980’s that set the modern idea of what a “blockbuster” was. Every year since the release of E.T. and the last of the original Star Wars films Hollywood has tried to copy the box office numbers of those films by pushing for larger stunts, larger and louder explosions, and faster paced film techniques driven largely by the music video generation created by MTV. Most of the films Hollywood produce each year falls short of executive expectations, but the pressure has been on for quite some time to get larger box office totals as the entertainment unions have driven up the financial expectations higher and higher. Leading actors now for a picture make between $20 million to $30 million, so budgets for a typical summer blockbuster are now up over $150 million dollars routinely. Hollywood has increasingly had to rely on overseas sales to complement their box office take domestically in order to justify their massive up front investments. Revenue streams are changing for the industry as well, as ticket prices have went up to compensate the increasingly high budgets for films, technology has made it so people can often watch films at home more comfortably than at a movie theater. Just the other day I was at Wal-Mart where I looked at a beautiful 70” big screen LCD television that was just over $2,000 dollars. Hollywood now has to find a way to give people an experience at the theater that they can’t get at home, so 3D is their solution. And it’s failing.
I say 3D is failing not with pleasure in my voice, but sadness. I love the movie theater experience, which is why I made a tremendous ritual of taking all my kids to a movie and spending $100 on tickets that cost over $15 each to see Prometheus with my Mello Yello gear on to create memories that will last a lifetime. I wanted them to have a great night out at the movies where going to the theater is like going to a sacred mythic temple as modern mythology is bestowed upon the moviegoer.
Prior to our film beginning I watched the previews for the newest rendition of Spiderman, and Batman, and half a dozen 3D extravaganzas that I could see will end up in the same scrap heap as Battleship and John Carter. It’s not to say that those films are bad, or don’t have a market niche to fill, but studios are forced to spend over $100 million to make those films because of expectations, and ticket prices are simply too high, most people will wait to watch those films on video, or Netflix. Every movie cannot be Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean, or The Avengers. Most Hollywood producers are fearful to attempt these days to develop original material because the risk is simply too great. Even a popular book like John Carter may not be enough to guarantee success. As I watched the previews prior to Prometheus, I knew that 75% of those films would be box office disappointments. They were dead before they have even arrived, because of the laws of quality described in Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The Hollywood producers and entertainment agents more than ever are chasing dreams like the founders of California’s gold rush. They are digging for gold where it’s been discovered instead of looking where nobody has discovered it yet, because they are functioning in the back of the “train” so to speak.
Needless to say the film I took my family to Prometheus was spectacular, and it should have been for $100 bucks. I had no regrets in seeing that movie especially since everyone enjoyed the film tremendously. But as I stood in the lobby of Showcase Cinemas afterward in my bright yellow Mello Yello gear a wave of sadness swept over me realizing that the financial structure that made the whole movie theater business run was about to bust. Prometheus represented the best that Hollywood had to offer, and at $15 dollars a ticket, it barely seemed worth it. I can’t image paying that kind of price for a lesser movie, yet the movie industry is counting on it, and they will be disappointed.
The same holds true in the movie industry as it does with President Obama not understanding that European economic models built around socialism is the cause of their failure, and The United States allowing for a mixed economy of a little socialism here and there sprinkled with bits of capitalism is what has caused Obama’s failed economy during his presidency. He’s as clueless as the typical film executive who will find themselves out of a job in a couple of years because their films failed to meet the market expectations. Hollywood is looking for the Justice League to fill the market void of George Lucas retiring. That was on my mind because just a few days before Mello Yello sent me all that merchandise I received a press release from Lucasfilm stating Lucas was officially retiring, and that Kathleen Kennedy was stepping in to help fill the void at that billion dollar film company. Kennedy is a long time assistant to many Spielberg films and now she’s going to work full-time at Lucasfilm. This is a serious indication that Hollywood’s creative core is aging, and moving on to other things, and the next generations of Hollywood filmmakers and other above-the-line talent are functioning from the back of Pirsig’s quality train, and will fail under the heavy expectations.
I thought it was appropriate that I was wearing a Mello Yello T-shirt on a night when I was having all these thoughts. Way back in 1994 and 1995 I wanted to buy a Mello Yello T-shirt, but then frustrated executives at Coca Cola were upset that the soft drink did not perform equivalent to Mountain Dew, so they pulled the drink for a bit and changed it to the soft drink “Serge,” so I didn’t get my Mello Yello shirt. This went on for a while until executives at the Coca Cola Company realized that this would not boost their sales, so they had sacrificed a very good drink just because it arrived late to the marketing gate, and if they had held strong, they might have made real gains through the late 90’s into the next century. Mello Yello made its triumphant return slowly, and is just now beginning to be purchased in the northern states of America. The same day I went to Wal-Mart to see the big screen television, they had three 12 packs of Mello Yello on their shelf. My wife bought all three of them. A couple of years ago, Wal-Mart in Ohio did not carry Mello Yello at all.
Mello Yello has always been a great drink, but it was judged based on the blockbuster success of Mountain Dew, and it suffered as a result. The same thing is about to happen in the film industry. Many films will suffer as film executives lose their jobs in the years to come due to the entertainment bubble collapsing under the enormous weight of expectation. And like Mello Yello, I have my brands of filmmakers that I support valiantly, and Ridley Scott is one of them. When my “brands” make a film that I know they poured their heart and soul into it, I go and see them. The next film I feel passionate about will be Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. I will pay top dollar to see that movie as a kind of vote for what I think success in a movie should be, to help curb the disappointment from an industry that expects too much, and is collapsing under inflated opinions. Twenty years from now, like my previous twenty years of supporting Mello Yello, I’m sure some of these very good film studios will re-emerge from the wreckage that is about to become of the film industry, and I’ll be there to support them as I was to see the great film Prometheus and one of the great offerings of the year from 20th Century Fox.
I proudly put my Mello Yello gear away when I got home that night and contemplated all that you read here today. And because of that, it means more to me than the moment that I opened it. In capitalism, whether it’s a movie, or a soft drink, the idea came from the mind of a capitalist, and millions of people enjoy the results of those thoughts—and every instance is a thing of beauty. I cherish Mello Yello because it’s been through so much as a company and even with all that, they still have the swagger about them to send me a box full of Mello Yello fun on the eve of taking my family to see the film Prometheus. It was an evening of ideas, and capitalism, and crushing expectations. But at the end of the day, it is the ideas that burn not so much brightest, but longest that survive. And Mello Yello survives, in the same way that many others will endure as great minds who think at the front of the train emerge to give great ideas a place to materialize. Each time I wear my Mello Yello T-shirt, it will not be out of blind devotion to a soft drink, but out of reverence to a company that I cherish because it makes a great product, and has had the tenacity to weather the storms of economic betrayal to arrive at a day when it can please the taste buds of millions.