Swans Commentary »
March 14, 2005
Bring Back Poindexter, Please!
The Sure Thing
by Richard Oxman
Special note: It is highly recommended that readers review the
footnotes as they go through the article, although reading what's
offered by the links is not necessary.
(Swans - March 14, 2005)
The title? Not because John Bolton's so bad. Which he is. I just
couldn't resist invoking the name of the highly (Iran-Contra) decorated,
former senior national security adviser for Reagan, considering the
false sense of security being fostered by FBI fakirs these days.
Former director of the Pentagon's now defanged Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency (DARPA), the infamous, retired Admiral John Poindexter
(JP) once tried to take book on whether or not missile strikes,
assassinations, coups, etc. would come down the pike, (1) and I'm ready
to make a wager on upcoming terrorist attacks...as per a new secret FBI
report obtained by ABC News. (2)
I don't think they'll put the action up on the board at Las Vegas, it's
such a lock. So I'm dyin' to bring JP's outfit back...so's I can cash
When I put my money down on the Bosox last year and the Academy Award
Oscar-winner Charlie Kaufman this year, I knew I had a lock, as they
say. And I still felt that way after the (ultimately yanked) Yanks were
self-thanking themselves for being up three zip (with only one to go,
baseball historical precedent totally on their side)...and in spite of
the 11th hour Hollywood grapevine buzz over Mike Leigh (Vera Drake) and
Brad Bird (The Incredibles). (4)
But zero compares to the "sure thing" that ABC brings...with their lame
(Jarring) Cut to The Realm of Cinema.
In the "There Is Only One First Time" section of The Conversations,
there's a lovely sequence of words put together by Walter Murch (and
Michael Ondaatje)...relating to intimacy. (5) Walter describes the
cinematic experience as one of "mass intimacy," and Michael points out
that "One of the things about watching a video is that it never feels
private." They both seem to agree that watching a DVD on a computer
with headphones can get back to the "true intimacy that film has." It's
a wonderful discussion in a gorgeously singular book.
However, I'm focusing here...now...on intimacy only. My intention is to
quiet the reader down from the roller coaster orthographics above, and
secure undivided attention...before reiterating the punch line of this
article...in no uncertain terms.
Just as Marcel Duchamp wanted viewers of his last artwork Étant donnés
only to see the creation...if they viewed it from tiny holes in an old
door of a gallery wall, peeking through..."to reawaken an original
private and childlike curiosity...shared secret between two...," (6) I
want you to let me whisper my message. In confidence, if you will.
I'll italicize for effect.
There will be horrible devastation wrought on these shores this year.
Put the rent/mortgage payment down.
If the FBI thinks that their sleepwalking take on "sleeper cells" says
anything of value, they've probably taken Woody Allen's analysis of
revolutionaries (in his 1973 Sleeper) too seriously. Kind of like how
Sleepy Hollow progressives have dropped the ball somnambulistically in
Seattle and elsewhere. Not believing in mayhem. Making sure the ghost
walks. Unsure things. (7)
· · · · · ·
1. The idea of creating an online futures market in which anonymous traders could wager whether or not this or that horror might take place was devised by the same Pentagon unit which brought us the Orwellian Total Information Awareness Program; the raison d'être there centered on the collection of medical, financial and various computer-based info for the basis of fighting terrorism. Poindexter's brainchild, called Policy Analysis Market, was supposed to be the ideal scenario for gaining intelligence about potential terrorists' plans. Where IS that bridge I've been trying to sell? It's cracked and it's got potholes, but it's not crackpot. (back)
2. As per a recent Democracy Now! headline, the report "questioned the capability of Al Qaeda to strike inside the United States. The FBI concluded the Al Qaeda has tried to recruit members to form sleeper cells but the U.S. has never actually found any true 'sleeper' cells insider the country." (back)
3. Out of respect to my debt to Dostoyevsky. To understand this all better from several angles, the reader might want to dip into my "February Dirt and Duck Tape Mentality," using the opening Camus quote on Dostoyevsky as a point of departure. Why a lock? See "Real Homeland Insecurity," "Goal, Osama, Goal!", and "Jewish Suicide Bombers Are Coming." These are not my best-written articles, but they're spot on target here. In fact, Poindexter and his plans are down for the count as per Roy Mark's rundown ("Terrorist Futures Site Sinks Poindexter"). (back)
4. My Bosox prediction was documented with the line: "That's why the Red Sox will take it all away from the Yanks this year." When I went out on a vine, so to speak, playing Hollywood Cassandra, I proclaimed: "I'd say the Shoe-in of The Night will come with the Metaphysical Prankster Charlie Kaufman's Oscar. He was the writer for Being John Malkovich, Human Nature, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Adaptation, and...from this year's goodies...Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In spite of the fact that Hollywood doesn't take too well to plumbing the deep well of Mind Games, the members are likely to finally acknowledge this cerebral guy who made John Malkovich famous... The Academy's international orgy of vapid pop-cultural celebration makes this a lock. At the races, handicappers always had a Best Bet of the day. This is it. Put the rent down." (In my "Pushing the Envelope at the Oscars: Selectoral Fraud.") (back)
5. In particular, on and around p. 47 of Michael Ondaatje's The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002). (back)
6. Ibid., p. 48. (back)
7. There are references to the Burtonized version of Washington Irving's tale here, wherein Crane refuses to believe that a ghost is committing mayhem. But "the ghost walks" also refers to getting paid, compensated. I tried to work in Roger Donaldson's Sleeping Dogs (1977), but failed; that features a New Zealand man torn between repressive government and violent resistance, in a situation precluding neutrality. It was the very first NZ film to open in the U.S. (back)
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About the Author
Richard Oxman, always in search of a trustworthy bookie, lives in Los Gatos, California. A former professor of Dramatic Art, Speech, Cinema History, Comparative Literature, among
other disciplines, at Rutgers University and other so-called
institutions of higher learning, he's also taught ESL plus worldwide for
over three decades...to all ages. He's crossed significant paths with
some of the most interesting figures of the 20th century, including
Tennessee Williams, (mentor) George Weber, Samuel Beckett and Kid
Gavilan, but he believes the deepest creative influences on him have
been his many wives and children, and unkind strangers; serving the
public in very odd non-academic capacities has also contributed. Some
of his past lives can be viewed at frenchpaintbox.com and
onedancesummit.org, and most of his recent writing plus can be found in the Cultural Politics section of the online journal, Selves and Others. Throughtout 2004 he focused primarily on what
he calls walktalk, writing that attempts to move readers to action
(following new paradigms). He plans to be a regular contributor to
Swans, which he considers a gem, and "rare as flawless chrysolite."
Please, feel free to insert a link to this work on your Web site or to disseminate its URL on your favorite lists, quoting the first paragraph or providing a summary. However, please DO NOT steal, scavenge, or repost this work on the Web or any electronic media. Inlining, mirroring, and framing are expressly prohibited. Pulp re-publishing is welcome -- please contact the publisher. This material is copyrighted, © Richard Oxman 2005. All rights reserved.
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