Funny, you don’t look Fluish

Came down with some kind of cold on Wednesday night which basically took me out.  I managed to go see Waves of Mu at PS122 on Friday night, missed the other show for that night, the Saturday preview of Crawl, Fade to White was cancelled so I ended up just taking it easy and being sick. Cough cough Sneeze Sneeze.

I’m not sure why but I ended up renting The Omega Man, the classic Chuck Heston “after-the-plague” movie which was re-made recently as I Am Legend. Now I want to read the 1954 Richard Matheson novel on which it is based. According to wikipedia, the original novel differs markedly from both the 1964 film The Last Man On Earth (??), the 1971 Heston film and the 2007 Will Smith CGI-spectacular.

I wish I had time to put together a series of films that have been re-made and essentially defanged of any sociopolitical commentary. I think the most marked change between 1971 and 2007 – apart from the fact that Heston gets it on with a groovy black-power chick, which was pretty radical back then – is that the zombie/vampires are mindless. In the novel and the 1971 film these “infected” are conscious, articulate and organized.  But by 2007 the “infected” are mindless and subhuman, unstoppable, incomprehensible, inarticulate vehicles of destruction with no ideology, no humanity and no justification for their ongoing attacks. In 28 Days Later (also a variant on the theme) the Zombie/Vampires are infected by “rage” – and this personifies, contextualizes and characterizes the disease as something more than just biological warfare. It adds a not-too-subtle layer of symbolism. I’m trying to remember what started the disease in I Am Legend – and trying to figure out the meaning of this shift from 1971’s cognizant, conscious, self-organizing zombie/vampires to 2007’s mindless, ravenous, subhuman, all-consuming predators.

What does it mean? if I wasn’t so sleepy (I got up out of bed at 4:30AM to write this!) maybe I could figure it out. Food for thought – pencil it in and write about it more some other time.

The whole reason I woke up is because… well I won’t go into it. But I need a new bed. I also need the Federal Government to bail me out (I’m too big to fail!). Not to complain but my debt is significantly less than 700 Billion and no-one is stepping up to the plate to help me out. It would be nice to get a little cash injection to help get back to financial health. Or maybe a Tyler Derden-style assault on all the credit card companies to help get us all back to at least zero.

Speaking of which – I saw Mike Huckabee on Fox News suggesting that he heard (from unnamed sources, of course,) that it is possible that this economic meltdown is terrorism. He mentioned something about activity in the markets just before (or after) they closed in the U.S. and how maybe the Chinese or somebody was manipulating markets… I couldn’t follow it. But then I read Frank Rich’s Op/Ed piece in the Times about the thinly-veiled racism of McCain/Palin’s campaign which included the following:

No less disconcerting was a still-unexplained passage of Palin’s convention speech: Her use of an unattributed quote praising small-town America (as opposed to, say, Chicago and its community organizers) from Westbrook Pegler, the mid-century Hearst columnistfamous for his anti-Semitism, racism and violent rhetorical excess. After an assassin tried to kill F.D.R. at a Florida rally and murdered Chicago’s mayor instead in 1933, Pegler wrote that it was “regrettable that Giuseppe Zangara shot the wrong man.” In the ’60s, Pegler had a wish for Bobby Kennedy: “Some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow falls.”

This is the writer who found his way into a speech by a potential vice president at a national political convention. It’s astonishing there’s been no demand for a public accounting from the McCain campaign. Imagine if Obama had quoted a Black Panther or Louis Farrakhan — or William Ayers — in Denver.

And I started to get twitchy. You remember the early McCain ad that used coded language to suggest that Obama was the antichrist? I started to wonder what else we’re not picking up? I think I get most of it – but there’s a part of me that fears that embedded in Sarah Palin’s speeches are turns of phrase and code words that speak very clearly to radical racist, white-power, evangelical, right wing kooks who I won’t even name or link to.  You have Huckabee suggesting the economic meltdown is terrorism, you have Palin railing against Obama, saying he “launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist” that he is “palling around with terrorists” and is “not a man who sees America the way you and I see America.” (Which is White and Christian).

Bad economic conditions can lead to positive change or they can lead to fascism and despotism.

Wow. How did I get here from there? Okay.

This week I’m going to BAM for Woyzeck and Ethel’s Truck Stop, I’m going to try and go see Jo Stromgren Kompani at Abrons Arts Center, Dumb Type at Montclair, Crawl, Fade to White at Ideal Glass and, um, I don’t know… something else.

Happy Monday!

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