Saturday, August 08, 2020

How to survive election night

These days, only one person may speak an unwelcome truth to progressives: Bill Maher. On his most recent show, Maher actually said the unspeakable: Trump is closing the gap with Biden. (See yesterday's post for a truly horrifying chart.) Maher also voiced the forbidden truth that neo-Stalinist efforts to muzzle free speech make ordinary people hate Dems. He even mentioned the allegations that Bill Clinton went to Epstein's island. I predict that this is the smear which will insure Trump's re-election.

(Maher does not know -- yet -- that the Epstein/Clinton smear is, in fact, a smear, and that Biden himself is vulnerable to the same false accusation. Can someone please show him this? It proves that Clinton is innocent.)

The virus is finally starting to lose strength -- and when it vanishes, so do Biden's chances. Trump has cleverly created the appearance that generous unemployment benefits will come from his personal beneficence. The Dems will get none of the credit. The Tangerine Terror has outmaneuvered Pelosi.

Biden will lose in November. Afterwards, of course, the Dems will blame Biden. They won't blame the voters who chose Biden, because black people made that decision and it is an article of faith among progressives that black people never, ever make tactical errors. (Ever.) Instead, we'll hear vague talk of nameless, invisible "elites" who foisted Biden upon black voters who didn't really want him.

It'll happen just like that. You know damned well that it will. I dare you to argue otherwise.

Let us now address an important question: How to get through election night? I've already made my plans.

First step: Vodka! Get some really big bottles (plastic, not glass) of cheap vodka. Mix it with, I dunno, some kind of icky-sweet fake fruit juice or imitation Dr. Pepper or whatever. (You can afford actual orange juice? Swankpot!) Forget quality: You're looking for quantity. You'll need it. Go ahead: Destroy your liver. It's Trump's re-election night and nothing matters anymore.

Second step: Movies. Seek out films that you enjoyed when you were a kid, because this is a night to wallow in happy memories. You definitely don't want works of art. You want dumb movies -- what my ladyfriend calls "non-hurty-brainy" movies.

If you have a certain amount of grey atop your scalp or in your beard -- if you were a nine-year-old in the 1960s or the 1970s -- I have just what you're looking for. Go to this glorious page. Behold! The Internet Archive has gifted you with decent-quality copies of all the classic Universal monster movies. Free. Get them on your hard drive now.

On election night, skip the original installments of each series -- the first Dracula, the first Frankenstein, the first Mummy, the first Invisible Man. They're far too slow and serious, and you've seen them too many times. What you want are the the later installments. They're totally insane B movies -- fast-moving, cheap and silly. The best of them feature amazing dialogue by half-smashed writers out to grab a paycheck while subverting the genre.

Take The Invisible Woman (1940), in which the perpetually-inebriated John Barrymore clearly has trouble reading his cue cards. (He looks like Trump doing battle with his teleprompter.) The script -- which features many surprisingly bold references to the title character's nudity -- includes this brilliant exchange:

"Call the airport. We're leaving."

"Oh, airport!"

"No, on the phone."

(After three fingers of 80 Proof Anything, that'll seem hilarious.)

You'll also want to see Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, in which Lon Chaney Jr. -- the screen's greatest self-loathing sad sack -- delivers this sublime line: "Now I want to die too. Won't you show me the way?" On Trump's re-election night, you'll drink to that.

And if the vodka hasn't yet knocked you flat, fire up House of Frankenstein, in which Dracula (John Carradine) seeks a cure for vampirism. This is the film in which the Wolfman says of the Frankenstein monster: "He wanted life and strength. I wanted only death. Yet, here we are." Those words will sum up your life on November 3. This is also the movie in which a flirtatious young woman tells Lon Chaney Jr. "Now, don't start barking at me."

Although the Universal monster movies will suit me just fine, my ladyfriend has expressed a preference for the Hammer versions. I can see her point: Cushing and Lee were superb, color adds much, and one does want the occasional dab of gore. (And Veronica Carlson is a goddess.) But too often, the Hammer scripts lacked wit. Nobody wants to admit it, but those all-important undertones of subversive fun are just not there.

If Universal's monsters won't suit your viewing needs, consider another welcome blast from the past: Ray Harryhausen movies scored by Bernard Herrmann. Those classics will chase away the election night blues.

Sure, I love Herrmann's work for Hitchcock -- but does anything say "high adventure" like the opening chords of Mysterious Island? (Well, maybe Jerry Goldsmith's title music for The Wind and the Lion.) You can hear those chords in the trailer embedded above. When I was very young, this score made me understand what music adds to a movie.

If you can forgive some iffy matte work -- inescapable, given the film's vintage -- Mysterious Island is a terrific, fast-moving fantasy that can still capture a young person's imagination. The screenplay also offers a well-written exchange in which a Union soldier questions the morality of Captain Nemo's terror campaign:

"Considering the ships and crews you've sunk without mercy, you can't disturb my conscience."

"Can't I? What I did was in the name of peace. Your war, like all wars, glories in devastation and death."

"Well, my war will set men free. That's a struggle that belongs to all men, don't you think?"

At that point, I'd like to see actor Michael Craig turn to the camera and add: "So fuck you, Jamelle Bouie."

So there's my "how to survive election night" plan. Your film picks will differ from mine, depending on which movies you loved before or during puberty. Vodka may not be necessary; I won't blame you for choosing some other substance to abuse. Chacun à son goût.

Here's what you must not do: Do not hop into Democratic Underground or any other left-leaning forum where you may be tempted to spar with BernieBros, Clinton-haters, Krystal Ballers and Cenk-wankers. Don't bother talking to the dolts who insist that, next time, the party must pay even more attention to feminists, gays, the transgendered and left-of-Biden black activists. Don't converse with progs who assure you that the party must show even more disdain for the white working class. Ignore ninnies who insist that the magic letters "GOTV" can counteract the disastrous impact of applying the label "privileged" to millions of struggling white people terrified of eviction.

The postmodernist pigs will never back down: "Yeah, that pale-faced schlub working the midnight shift at 7-Eleven really does deserve to be called privileged." Some of the pigs who emit that kind of oink actually live in St. Petersburg, although they pretend to be Americans. The Dems won't win until we stop engaging with those swine.


nocturne said...

I've also come to think that the worst-case scenario--not Trump stealing the election, as most progressives seem to fear, but Trump handily winning re-election--is the most likely outcome in November. No other president could ever win re-election in an economy this bad, but no other president has ever been like Trump. The old rules don't work anymore.

One advantage Trump has over any other candidate is that he simply dominates the media in a way that no other president, even Reagan, ever has. Part of that is the media's fault; from the moment he started running, they gave him far more coverage than he deserved. Part of it, unfortunately, is human nature. Trump is so weird and unpredictable that people simply love talking about him. People who hate politics, people who couldn't tell you the difference between Congress and the Supreme Court--the same people will happily spend hours talking about Trump, whether they love him or hate him.

According to The Atlantic, Trump dominates the media far, far more than Obama did: "When Barack Obama was president, his name appeared in roughly one in 10 news stories published by major U.S. news sources. During his first term, Trump has appeared in roughly one in four stories. ... Joe Biden has appeared in only 5 percent of news stories since he became the presumptive nominee in March."

We must consider a harrowing fact: Many people will vote for the candidate they've heard of. There's a reason that, in local elections, candidates will simply put signs with *their name* on it, and nothing else, all over town. People are more likely to vote for a person if the name is familiar. Most Americans know who Joe Biden is, but everyone in the entire world knows who Donald Trump is.

Also, thank you for the link. And yes, Harryhausen movies are a godsend in these dark times. I recently rewatched The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and found myself getting unexpectedly choked up at the fate of the hapless creature. It really does make a difference to see something real and solid--even a tiny model--instead of the CGI phantasms we have to put up with these days.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Why do you think COVID-19 has run its course?

Especially now that Benedict Donald and the Treason Party (fka GOP) are forcing people to go back to work and school, thus ensuring even more transmission of the virus?

It's going to skyrocket, and the swing voters will know whom to blame, and Donnie Two Scoops can't "win" (always with quotation marks because of Russopublican cheating) with his base alone; he did not do that last time.

If he does "win" in spite of running with the huge, stinking, rotting albatross carcasses of his failure to handle COVID-19, and the economic disaster it caused, hanging around his neck, that will only show that Putin and his gremlins can actually hack the computers and change vote totals.

The failure of Donnie Two Scoops and his Rethugs to handle the COVID-19 pandemic properly will be Issue 1, and the economic crisis caused by their failure to handle the pandemic properly will be Issue 2.

Americans will have something more important to worry about than the bullshit Culture Wars, as they did in 1992 and 2008.

Only Putin can save Donnie now--and, underneath the eternally efficient Russian censorship, Corona-chan is probably pegging the Bear with a strap-on cactus. That just might preoccupy Vlad a bit.

Plus, I read earlier today that China does not want Donnie Two Scoops back. If so, then Putin might face a counterweight this time.

OTE admin said...

COVID-19 has nowhere near "run its course." Hell, here in Oregon, students are NOT allowed to return to school in September if the districts are in an area that is above the threshhold of infections for safely having in-person instruction. This means the vast majority of Oregon school districts will not have in-person instruction at any grade level, which is a disaster, I can tell you that, and Oregon still has among the fewest cases of confirmed COVID-19 in the country. In my school district, I have to return to work later this month along with staff and teachers, but students will not be allowed on campus until at least October. This "hoax" now has over 5 million confirmed cases serious enough to receive medical attention, with 165,000 deaths. There is no end in sight.

Joseph Cannon said...

Kids, it's hard enough being responsible for my own words. I refuse to take responsibility for the words you put into my mouth. I did not say that the coronavirus had run its course. I said "starting to lose strength" -- and my source is the CDC. Go here...

...and scroll down to "new cases by day." At this rate of decline, the disease should be within the realm of the manageable by September or October. An economic comeback may well be evident by the end of October, although I've heard varying predictions about that.

I suppose the CDC is now a "bad guy" organization, when it tells you something you DON'T want to hear.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Okay, I looked at the chart.


And how is the number of new cases NOT going to spike back up with Benedict Donald and the Treason Party forcing people back to work and school?

And hwo is the economy going to recover with more people getting sick, even dying, and other people refusing to make any unnecessary journeys or purchases?

1992. 2008. My fellow Non-Elite White Folks had more important things to worry about than the Stupid Bullshit Culture Wars. 2020 is looking like that kind of year.

Also, the last time a Republican presidential candidate won a clear, indisputable victory was in 1988. Their cleverness at cheating is admirable in an amoral fashion, from a standpoint of pure appreciation of strategy and tactics, but demographics are catching up with them. Plus, Benny Don and the Traitors' approval ratings were dropping even before Corona-chan hit.

Nope, again, only Putin can save them.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Let me correct myself. The Treason Party's only hope is foreign and/or domestic cheating.

From No More Mr. Nice Blog

He's almost as gloomy as you. ;)

But yes, we need to be ready for every dirty trick they can pull.

Tiro said...

“The virus is finally starting to lose strength” That’s idiotic.

Joseph Cannon said...

Tiro: The CDC is idiotic? Look at the chart (New cases by day):

New cases have gone down 27 percent in the past 16 days. That rate translates to a more than 50 percent reduction in a month's time. At that rate, the problem should be solved before the election. And even if human stupidity causes the problem to linger, case numbers will still go down.

Pandemics run their course. No matter how wisely or foolishly you try to deal with them, they run their course. In 1918, different countries and localities dealt with the pandemic in different ways. In all locations, the "Spanish Lady" kept going and going until she just...stopped. That's the way it is and always has been and always will be.

Everyone hated me for saying that we should have emulated the Swedish approach, but that approach worked.

They paid a price -- a higher death rate during the crisis period. But the crisis is now OVER there and has been for weeks. (Look at the chart.) We still have another couple of months to go -- during which time, we are going to run up even more insane amounts of debt while spending funds meant for natural disasters.

Tiro said...

There is so much wrong with what you are saying, that it is not even worth arguing with you about.