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First-class warfare

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Gore Vidal is not the chronicler but the fictionalizer of American history. The twin capitals of the nation warranted titles of their own, in his estimation. The one was Washington DC. The other was Hollywood. I ascribe not even the tarnished Golden State as the residence of Hollywood. Instead this bucolic appellation that once meant a modest agricultural hamlet now describes an ethereal thoughtscape that hovers above and beyond terrestrial boundaries. Hollywood rests on a state of mind, not a mere State of the Union as the existence of Bollywood and other imitators attests. It is a factory town and it’s one produce is Dreams. Tony Montana was well advised. “Don’t get high on your own supply.” Mark Wahlberg should have listened.

You know this cat, he is the guy who is not Matt Damon. In the more civilized days after Disco he earned fame as the original B-boy in Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. But the honorable trades of break dancer and white rapper were not enough, the music industry could not fulfill his ambitions. Perhaps he thought so or perhaps some headhunter came and got him. In any case he has been knighted and raised to the Peerage through chiseled abs and skillful coaching. If he isn’t the King of Hollywood today his elevation only awaits a dagger thrust into George Clooney. His realm is the Action Movie and I must admit, this has had appeal for me. Among explosions that kill and disrobe most meticulously Wahlberg has leapt and grunted through my living room as much as the next fellow. Foolishly I allowed myself to be persuaded through the miracle of casting and screen writing that he truly was a sensible Everyman, perhaps the better to believe that I might also skillfully rob with the Mini Cooper as my weapon and gain the devotions of Mila Kunis. But that is their BUSINESS out in Hollywood. Mark Wahlberg should know as much about movies as Lee Iacoca knows about cars especially as he has much more to do with daily production. It seems though that Wahlberg has begun to believe his own highlights reel. He has bought his own press. He has gotten absurdly high on his own supply and we know this because he believes that 911 was a blockbuster from 2001 in which he, sadly, was not cast. Men’s Journal has the scoop.

“If I was on that plane with my kids, it wouldn’t have went down like it did. There would have been a lot of blood in that first-class cabin and then me saying, ‘OK, we’re going to land somewhere safely, don’t worry.'”

That’s his re-write. Not bad, huh? He doesn’t try to get himself cast as Todd Beamer. That is thinking small. Rather he writes himself in, playing himself and allows Beamer not even a supporting roll, much less the rest of the passengers and crew who, somehow, managed to hold a plane-wide vote on their actions. And he doesn’t save the day simply by crashing the plane that had been commandeered into jihad as a flying bomb; oh no! He leads the whole planeload of grateful extras to a safe harbor, perhaps in a Shanksville field or perhaps in Atlantic City, after which they take Trump’s casino for a grillion!

We cut the Hollywood hero a bit of slack. He was, after all, scheduled to board some 911 flight that day (which one is unclear), if only that Toronto film festival hadn’t popped up, how different history would have been! The more friendly venues where this story appears imply that Mark of Hollywood suffers PTSD, that is Pre-traumatic Stress Syndrome, or maybe HTSD, Hypo-thetical Stress Syndrome. Lucky for him and the jihadis that he was able to charter a plane that fateful day but unlucky for America. And he has apologized. We’ll give that equal billing with the original flubb.

“To speculate about such a situation is ridiculous to begin with. I deeply apologise to the families of the victims that my answer came off as insensitive, it was certainly not my intention.”

Now THAT is an apology! Clearly it has come from a PR team and was funneled through legal unlike the original offense which, by the way, was not all that original. Wahlberg said something quite similar in 2006 and this one specifically states it was Flight 93 so his statement…

“We certainly would have tried to do something to fight. I’ve had probably over 50 dreams about it.”

at least implies that no one did, in fact, do any fighting. Ah, but Marky has dreamed about it, now THAT I believe! But the guy, unsurprisingly, is having some trouble separating his dreams from our reality and friends, that is where the Hollywood/Washington axis runs.

In the same way the infantile Mr. Wahlberg believes, oh, if only I were there…. likewise does the political animal of any persuasion resoundingly know in his heart that if only HE were elevated, if only HE were entrusted, if only, gosh dern it, people would just LISTEN! then all would be well. Not just the individual beast believes this but our elected class as an institution does likewise. Most of the “partisan” division is illusory. In full Wahlberg style, Ron Paul believes that if he were at the helm of state 911 itself would never have happened as America would have been happily indifferent to the world and the jihadis therefore happily indifferent to us. Mr. Obama believes much the same, or did before he was in charge except he takes it further, saying we might have befriended the market bombers and honor killers; replacing their grievances with friendships. We have given peace a chance however. It’s poor results have been chalked up to older animosities like the fall of the Ottomans, the kindly predecessors to Mubarak and bin Laden. Boner and Ryan and Newt and Mitt all agree with Obama and his Democrats that a leading position in both your retirement and your medical decisions must be reserved for government. Does the simple observation that not a dime can be returned in benefits that was not first taken from a beneficiary crack the consensus? Oh no. If one is not convinced that there is a moral imperitive, based on metaphysical equality that demands the nationalization of all things important, then there is the pseudo-business rational that we have economies of scale in our giant government projects that cannot be duplicated. No one can be found to say, the actuaries have spoken and the whole enterprise is doomed; a simple truth. No failure or depravity of any sort wounds the happy comity; not a rate of fraud in Medicare that outstrips all profit in medicine seven fold; not an explosion in applicants simultaneous with a collapse in funding. No, if these aren’t the work of malcontents and enemies they are cyclical fluctuations, sometimes known as “luck”. We can still sell bonds. We can still print money. We shall shortly return to vigorous growth giving us time to work out the bugs and once we do there will be Happy Endings for all. This is the firm conviction of all these waistcoated muckies who examine their manicures in First-class and know they lack only the opportunity to show their greatness. There is a reason that politics is known as Showbiz for the Ugly. It is a state of affairs our limited government was designed to keep to a dull roar but the semi-venerated papers were never enough. The drafters assumed at least a bit of skepticism on the part of America at large. We know (if he does not) that Mark Wahlberg cannot leap and fart and shoot with any accuracy simultaneously even though we may enjoy seeing that at the movies. Gravity is not subject to over-cranking nor time to time lapse photography. How can we then accept that printing money creates wealth? Or that unemployment makes jobs? Or that taxes can provide MORE than they cost? 

Simple, there is a giant industry that produces those illusions. We collude in both the Hollywood and Washington games with the Willing Suspension of Disbelief and oodles of straight cash. The only solution lies in the resolution that neither of these dream factories have anything we cannot live without. We can realize that on our own or in short order it will become a literal and unavoidable fact. In the case of Washington, the checks will bounce. In the case of Hollywood, the tickets will go unsold. Both are happening now though those who live by make-believe refuse to grasp it.

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