The Anger of the Enfranchised"/>
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God Bless America:
The Anger of the Enfranchised

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If I had to put my finger on the defining feature of contemporary American life, it would be anger. Everyone is angry about something, and in many cases, it is often an individual’s most defining characteristic. Mainstream conservatives are convinced that they have somehow been cheated out of their birthright, because liberals just won’t get with the program, and mainstream liberals are convinced that America would transform into utopia overnight, were it not for those other people with their nasty (and admittedly superficial, for the most part) hang-ups about tradition and morality and so forth. An entire cottage industry has sprung up around tapping into – and of course, making money off of – this anger, on both the “left” and the “right” (I put those terms in quotes since there is no genuine left/right dichotomy in the United States today, but only two branches of liberalism with slightly different priorities). The latest product to roll off the assembly line of anger is the film, God Bless America.

The film’s story, such as it is, is extremely basic: Frank, a middle-aged, divorced White office worker in Syracuse, New York, is hit with a double-dose of disaster, first being fired, and then being told by his doctor that he has a fatal brain tumor. Fed up with the state of America, Frank decides to use his remaining time on this Earth to rid the country of people whom he thinks are having a bad effect on it. He begins by tracking down the starlet of a popular reality TV show, a girl who got upset on-screen with her parents over the choice of car they gave to her for her birthday. Frank finds her at her high school and guns her down, in the process meeting up with a 16-year-old girl named Roxy, who is inspired by Frank’s actions and insists on coming with him. Together, the two begin crisscrossing the country, killing various media figures who they don’t like, and, predictably, becoming martyrs to their “cause” on the set of another reality TV show (obviously an imitation of American Idol).

The film starts out with some potential, resembling what might happen if Office Space were to meet Falling Down, following the formula of an entirely average office drone living a life of quiet desperation until, one day, he snaps. It’s not original in any way, but potentially interesting. The film quickly goes off the rails, however, when Roxy is introduced, and never makes it back on. The story and characters meander without any real point or apparent forethought by the film’s writers, basically being about a middle-aged man fed up with the fact that Americans aren’t “nice” enough to suit him anymore (he has no stated political motivation), trying to get along with a teen who seems to have little reason to be homicidally angry other than because America doesn’t live up to her NPR-liberal’s idea about what it should be (she continually harps on about “people who won’t let gay people get married,” surely the root of all America’s evils).

The finger is pointed at the usual bogeymen: reality TV, Fox News, and even George W. Bush (apparently, three years on, he’s still responsible for America’s entire cultural situation). But there are no real insights into any of it, and nothing ever gets resolved – we’re just supposed to cheer as the duo gun people down, since surely, we are just as frustrated and lacking in real solutions as they are.  Certainly, there are lots of problems in America today, and this film briefly touches on a few of them, but by the end of the film, the two characters, and presumably the film’s writers as well, are just as clueless about their real causes or what to do about them as they are at the beginning. Apparently, they think it’s enough to just blow off a little steam with some mindless violence, and then go on about our empty lives, supporting the American Moloch.

This raises an interesting question: why are Americans incapable of imagining a solution to our social and cultural ills that rises beyond going on a shooting spree (something we already have more than enough of in real life, thank you)? Have our collective imaginations been so dulled, and our attention spans been so shortened, that we can’t imagine solving a problem in any other way? Films like this certainly seem to indicate that. In earlier times, it was understood that bringing about social change meant a lot of contemplation, study, time, dedication and hard work, not to mention an ability for self-criticism (something these characters, like most Americans today, are too self-righteous to be capable of). But that’s too much trouble – it’s much more satisfying to just indulge in random acts of violence against our perceived enemies.

The other thing that irked me about the film is that television is the story’s primary demon, and yet the protagonists, in spite of their professed hatred for what’s on it, can’t stop watching it, and often express themselves in terms of references to popular TV shows and movies. This seems indicative of a strange paradox present throughout American life today. People complain about reality TV, or Fox News, or whatever, and yet they clearly possess detailed and up-to-the-minute knowledge about what they profess to hate, which they use to make themselves even angrier about “the state of America.”

Here’s a novel idea: TURN THE DAMN THING OFF! The last I checked, TV viewing isn’t yet compulsory in America. But the “off” button seems beyond the capacity of the average American’s imagination, these days. Everyone wants to be jacked in to something 24 hours a day. Apparently, it beats living.

It’s easy enough to make short shrift of this film, but I still find myself wondering about all this anger, which seems endemic throughout America today. I first began to notice this coming to prominence of anger in American life during the Clinton years. Conservatives hated Clinton with a passion I had not yet seen up to that point in my life. They hated him with a fervor typically reserved for a high school nerd’s jealousy of the prom king.

Although the real spark was the contentious 2000 election. This resulted in liberals feeling cheated and victimized for the next eight years, and conservatives becoming convinced that their opponents were out to sabotage the country by any means necessary. And throwing 9/11 into the equation was like adding lighter fluid. American political “discourse,” such as it is, has been white-hot ever since.

With Obama’s election, the paradigm simply reversed itself, but to me, it seems that the nation has been in an apocalyptic rage continuously since 2000. And I imagine this is now the norm, and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future.

This anger is simply a distraction from the genuine issues, which most Americans are too stupid, timid and/or lazy to face – mainly because the average American hasn’t yet begun to feel the deep pain that is coming our way from the real, and much more disturbing, problems on the horizon. And few people are willing to wake up to the fact that both mainstream liberals and mainstream conservatives are equally clueless about, not to mention culpable in, driving America toward the yawning gorge into which it Is soon to plunge, irrevocably so.

And the media industry is more than happy to help out, offering distraction after distraction while lining their pockets with the fruits of the people’s frustration. Besides, Americans are constantly on the edge of boredom and demand continual amusement – and politics is still the best show in town. Fox News and MSNBC are just modern forms of the Romans’ infamous bread and circuses (and, ironically, this is a point that is also made in God Bless America, in one of its few cogent moments).

I’m sure there is a great film waiting to be made about the American cultural predicament, but this isn’t it. I was reminded of the 1976 classic Network, which thematically overlaps with God Bless America in many ways, and how insightful and prophetic it was about the role that television was beginning to take in American cultural, economic and social life. I imagine there aren’t many filmmakers today who are capable of making a film of such depth.

God Bless America is just pornography for White middle-class liberals, essentially Bill Maher taken to a (more) ridiculous level.  I just hope that a real critique can get made before it’s too late – if it isn’t already. Time is running out.

 

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17 Comments

  1. me
    Posted May 9, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    I wrote a piece and someone condensed it to the following:

    White Americans are declining morally, physically, economically and politically. Many sense that something is terribly wrong but cannot identify the root problem.

    The controlled mass media condition people to avoid discussion of certain taboo subjects in a politically correct climate. Most people have lost the capacity for independent thought and are conditioned to look first to equally-conditioned leaders and experts for politically-correct answers.

    Attempts by free thinkers to discuss politically incorrect subjects are often met with apathy or hostility. For example, any mention of racial differences or organized Jewry will likely trigger accusations of bigotry and Anti-Semitism. However, these subjects must be considered in a search for causes and their effects.

    Positive portrayals in education, entertainment and advertising of a multiracial and mixed race society have conditioned people to accept it as natural to human evolution. The truth however is that race-mixing has destroyed many past civilizations.

    This trend must be reversed if the dwindling White race is to survive as a unique people. You can be part of the solution by trusting your innate intelligence and seeking answers on the internet, a place where uncensored truth can still be found. Will you do it today?

  2. Sandy
    Posted May 9, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    You hit the nail on the head with the statement This raises an interesting question: why are Americans incapable of imagining a solution to our social and cultural ills that rises beyond going on a shooting spree
    This attitude of shoot and shoot to kill has permeated society at all levels. As a union steward I have been involved in trying to get a man his job back after the fact. The union and management are as bad as each other in their self righteous “shoot the serf” attitude. Mind you, I am beginning to understand this white supremacists attitude of lets fill the country with little brown people so we can lord it over them. Of course, as we know from other article in C-C the white “elites” with their “more Jewish than the Jews” attitude love to lord it over anyone and to hell with society. I’ll save you all the details of me trying to help this “little brown man” (who just committed a minor indiscretion as we all do) and congratulate you on a wonderful article.

  3. Posted May 9, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Kingsley Amis may have the diagnosis, if not the cure:

    “I’ve finally worked out why I don’t like Americans … Because everyone there is either a Jew or a hick.”

  4. Johnnie Appleseeds
    Posted May 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    For young people there is no reality outside of virtual reality.

    If you don’t have a cell phone or Facebook, you don’t exist.

    To be a member of the social hive you have to accept the poison on some level.

  5. Jaego Scorzne
    Posted May 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Peace at any price? That’s not the American Way. Savitri Devi reminds us of the ancient way of physical violence without hatred – the Aryan Ideal espoused in the Bhagavad Gita. Learn to smile even if it feels like a grimace. It probably is but at least you’re trying.

  6. robroysimmons
    Posted May 10, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I have bought bison meat from some company out of SD and its owner is a rapidly aging white liberal author. He wrote an awful book by the name of “Stolen Horses” and I mean awful feminine handed dreck that was basically violence porn for white liberals. I paid 6 bucks for a kindle version and I was cheated, badly.

    I view the left as being in a mess of its own making and taking the same tragectory as the Jim Jones cult, utopians with no hope and too many guns.

  7. Posted May 10, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Sandy, thanks for your compliments. I’m glad my essay rang true with your experiences.

  8. Posted May 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Nice review. Now I’d like to see the movie because I suspect there might be more to it, maybe after a few viewings (if warranted).

    Incidentally, you might also consider comparing it to the 1994 Oliver Stone film “Natural Born Killers,” with Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Rodney Dangerfield, Tommy Lee Jones, and Robert Downey, Jr. It has a similar theme of hating yet courting the media.

    As a black comedy, however, there was far less anger but more . . . “fun.”

    • Posted May 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      One more comment: Why do BOTH main characters shoot with their left hands on the cover of the DVD? I read left-handedness as a form of othering in film. Are they really both left-handed?

      The man is wearing his watch on his left hand, which would indicate otherwise.

  9. Posted May 10, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Dear Ed,

    You’re welcome to look for deeper meaning, but if there was anything more to it than what I wrote above, it surely escaped me. I would love to hear from you, if you do find anything. However, the fact that the film was made by a career stand-up comedian (Bobcat Goldthwait) doesn’t give me much confidence that there is something there that I missed. At any rate, I myself don’t have the time or patience to give it repeat viewings, when there are so many good things to watch. Or read.

    I remember “Natural Born Killers” – I saw it in the theater when it was new – and had considered mentioning it in this essay, but decided against it because I felt that it didn’t really have that much in common with this one. NBK is about how a couple of psychos become darlings of the media. It was really just a big-budget (and not as good, IMO) take on the same theme as the great Terence Malick 1970s film, “Badlands.” (And I thought there was a great deal of anger in the film, both at America and the media, although it was completely undermined by the fact that NBK itself was a slick, exploitative product of the very system it was supposedly condemning.) But in “God Bless America,” scant attention is given to how the media deals with the killers. Indeed, the fact that the duo is able to continue to travel around the country unnoticed is part of the film’s (I’m sure deliberate) conceit.

    The two films that most invited comparison in my mind were the two I mentioned in the essay: “Falling Down,” because it’s also about an average middle-aged White guy who decides to go on a lone crusade against America’s evils, and “Network,” not because the story is in any way similar but because it also attempted to show how the media has come to dominate the American psyche. Much more effectively, in my view.

  10. Free Man
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Good essay, I stopped watching movies and television to free myself from all this anger.

  11. jack
    Posted May 11, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    God Bless America is just pornography for White middle-class liberals, essentially Bill Maher taken to a (more) ridiculous level. I just hope that a real critique can get made before it’s too late – if it isn’t already. Time is running out.

    What about Falling Down I thought that was an interesting commentary on contemporary America in the wake of the collapse of the USSR with the angry white mans travel through American society or what as become of it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9ckjELRL6Y

    According the IMDB the script was turned down by every Hollywood studio until Michael Douglas read it and backed it.

    Every studio in Hollywood turned down Ebbe Roe Smith’s script. Producer Arnold Kopelson was getting to the stage of considering cable TV when Michael Douglas came across the script and pronounced it one of the best he’d ever read.

    187 was a pretty damming portrayal of US inner city school system comprising of black and Mexican minorities running counter to the nonsense that was Dangerous Minds.

    • jack
      Posted May 11, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      as was supposed to be has. Keyboard did not register the h. It happens sometimes.

  12. Posted May 12, 2012 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    Dear Jack,

    I did mention Falling Down in passing in the essay, and also in my comments above. I agree that it’s a precursor to God Bless America. I still didn’t find FD very effective when it first came out in 1993 (I especially didn’t care for the stereotypical neo-Nazi gun shop owner), but it was certainly a masterpiece compared to this film.

  13. Peter Quint
    Posted May 12, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    I hate this country I want to destroy it. I would give anything if there was an organization like the “Silent Brotherhood.” What I feared would happen has finally happened I have become a recluse almost a hermit! The never ending outrages on my person, the never ending insults, insolence and ever present threat of physical attacks by the “noble savages.” The countless instances of ethnic masochism, the trouble on and loss of jobs because of feminists and “noble savages.” The ever increasing disgusting scenes of miscegenation, the frequent “skunk eye” that has been cast my way by white females that think they are too good for white men or that I’m a threat to their mongrels. I have become completely alienated and estranged from “modern” society.

  14. Deviance
    Posted May 12, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    As long as there is enough wealth and qualified workers to invent, pay for and maintain the last beasts from Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, the Pax Americana will continue, and Americans will continue to live in blissful opulence.

    But we are close to the economic and biological breaking point, and the U.S.A will soon rejoin the graveyard of failed civilizations. You have to pay the toll one day for your negrification, your suicidal culture, your dysgenism and your Jewish overlords.

    The question is, who will take their place? And can we expect the new world rulers — i.e. the Chinese — to embrace racism and autocracy, or become degenerate in their turn? That would make an interesting article. There are conflicting reports on the genetics-aware nature of the CPC Politburo.

  15. Posted May 12, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    I tire of these pessimist manifestos. CNBC daily audience now 100,000 and declining, ditto the rest of the Jew MSM. There will be blood, and we will win. Naturally, I have my own definition who “we” is going to be.

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