A Fat Christian Bale, aka “Dick Cheney”

Oh look, another movie about things that didn’t really happen that way by the guys that made that other movie about things that didn’t really happen that way.  Yes, it’s about what you think it is, and yes, it will be spun exactly the way you think it will be.  What more could our contemporary political climate need if not poorly-disguised social engineering to pad out a comfortable, fifteen-year-old narrative?

The worst part of this trailer isn’t even the story or necessarily its content.  Political thrillers and comedies based on real events are a staple of popular culture and have been since medieval times, though the contemporary obsession with false depictions of real events and the confusion of fantasy for reality might make this sort of Saturday Night Live-style dramedy a little more obnoxious than it needs to be.

The worst part of this trailer is how absurdly tryhard it looks.

You can tell from the expressions of the actors that their impressions are driven out of malice.  Good impressions of people carry both the good and the bad of the person being impersonated; it requires the actor to have enough insight and finesse to pay a tribute to them, even if the tribute is poking fun at some aspect of their demeanor or highlighting some aspect of their character.  But the Bush Administration’s real life players have been so hated by the sub-90 IQ entertainers in the industry that I don’t think you could find anyone willing to do an honest, even if negative, portrayal of Number 43, much less anyone in his cabinet.

So what you’ll get instead is a series of performances of comparable caliber to your drunk friends pretending it’s 2004 again.  Watch Sam Rockwell’s expressions—it’s like he’s not even aware of how stupid he looks.  Oh, but isn’t that the point, right, since Good’ole Dubya was stupid too?  Maybe if you’re doing a 3 minute sketch on SNL, Sam, but this is a two-hour movie.  What the hell are you doing, man?

And of course, Christian Serious-Actor Bale, so dedicated to his craft that he’s willing, even though he doesn’t want to, to put away a good fifty pounds for an overlong cold open sketch, will be the biggest draw of the film.  Movies today are not stories and spectacles made to distract us from the daily drudgery, they’re performances of ego made to glorify the vanity of the personalities that occupy Hollywood.

Is anyone going to this movie to watch a story, however stupidly-written, about the Bush Administration?  Or are they going to watch Christian Bale and Sam Rockwell and Amy Adams pretend to be members of a political group?  The movie wouldn’t exist without the specific actors they got.  The cult of personality is the whole point.  What a joke!

The Mad Abortionist

So the mad abortionist Kermit Gosnell has a movie about him coming out in about a week from now.  I probably won’t have a chance to see it, and given its subject matter—a grisly topic whose imagery I have no interest in seeing projected into full color on a screen the size of my house—I probably won’t any time soon.  That said, given the heads who were put together to get the project to the silver screen, I anticipate it being good if not great.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Gosnell, he’s hailed as the most prolific serial killer the United States has ever experienced, though the line between “serial killer” and “doctor” seems these days to be an increasingly vanishing distinction.  As John Water’s review of the film (no, not that John Waters) explains, Gosnell’s trial highlighted the absurdity of Pennsylvania’s moratorium on 24-week abortions.  What, indeed, is the difference between vacuuming a child’s brains out of his skull when he’s at 23 weeks versus at 24?  And this, of course, is to say nothing about what difference a short passage through the birth canal makes with regard to something as ambiguous as personhood.

One of the more ironic parts comes into play when you look at the place he was operating out of.  Just take a look at his Wikipedia page:

Practice conditions and procedures

  • Extreme unsanitary conditions (resulting in cases of STDs and sepsis); pervasive non-sterile conditions; blood stained materials and instruments; contamination of the facilities by animal feces, urine, and other noxious fluids and waste; and months-old fetal remains stored in “jars, bags and jugs”[56] (in 2013 the trial heard that Gosnell had also been in dispute with his medical waste company, with the latter stopping their services);[57]
  • Surgical malpractice including perforation of bodily organs and “on at least two occasions” death;[55]
  • Improper equipment and usage, including repeated reuse (“over and over”) of disposable supplies, and “generally broken” life-saving and monitoring equipment (including blood pressure monitoring, oximeters, and defibrillators);[58]
  • Padlocked emergency access and exit routes;[58]

You get the idea.

Take a look at the image that was just constructed for you: a horrible, bleak facility quite literally strewn with infant carcasses, blood stains, and garbage, with locked doors, and God knows what else.  If this doesn’t sound like the “back-alley butchers” that abortionist advocates fear-mongered about back in the seventies, then I don’t know what does.  The ironic part is that this facility—mediocrely named the Women’s Medical Society clinic—operated in this condition at the time in was raided in 2010. 

Roe v Wade had passed thirty-seven years before that.

So the next time someone tells you “women will always find ways to get abortions, and you don’t want them going back to hiring unqualified amateurs using coat hangers do you?!”  Just remind them that this facility was allowed to operate this way for decades.  Don’t even bother trying to explain the strikingly obvious point that the less appealing child murder looks, the less likely any woman would be willing to go through with it.

That said, of course, the grisly image of a blood-smeared extermination chamber at least evokes the connotations of abortion’s grim reality; the sterilized stainless-steel surfaces and bright hospital-like linoleum of, say, a Planned Parenthood clinic has to extend the lie in its moniker all the way into its very aesthetics.  “Relax, it’s a medical procedure, look how easily we can role-play being life-savers as we expertly drive forceps through the base of your child’s skull.”  The only reason Gosnell is in jail, apparently, while these liars are still in operation (with the financial consent and support of the US tax payer, no less!) is because he had the temerity to wait until the kid was already out of the womb before he did it.

Oh, and there was some drug charges about the distribution of oxycodone, but I guess it comes with the territory when you’re butchering children out back.