Thursday, December 18, 2003

Hey there, y'all. Sorry, it's been a while. I've simply been inert, for which there's no real excuse or explination. Reading, a bit. Rereading Cryptonomicon, which I'm thinking has the same kind of cliffhanger ending as Quicksilver. So maybe Stephenson's ending don't really suck; maybe they're all just cliffhangers for the next book. Sure would explain a whole bunch.

So, yeah, having thoughts about goddamned Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, and how it's really just a propaganda film aimed at getting the little kids of the world to become conformist and (especially) pro-American-gov't. Really, seriously. Think about it for a minute, that speech at the end, after the Wonkavator has tossed Willy and Charlie and Grampa Joe into low orbit around whatever little Bavarian town they live in, the speech in which Wonka explains to Charlie that he (Wonka) could never hand the factory over to an adult because they'd "want to change things. They'd want to do it their way. I need a child to make sure that things will stay the way I made them" (or something pretty much like that. I don't have the fucking thing memorized, right?). Man, is that ever the old school American line? You, my son, will inherit this fine nation, just so long as you promise not to fuck with it in any way whatsoever.

The insidious thing is that it plays itself out as an anthem for the counterculture ("It's everybody's non-pollutionary, anti-institutionary, pro-confectionery factory of fun!" was the tagline, according to IMDB), as this wonderful, magical, blah, blah, blah thing that'll show you the secret to life and happiness. Which, apparently, is to never step out of line, do what you're told and ask for nothing more than a loaf of bread while you secretly desire after everything in the goddamned world. And if you if you do all this stuff, the man up top, the man who holds all the cards (a man in a top hat & tails, much like an Uncle Sam with his Red, White & Blue replaced with purple velvet and houndstooth) might just let you in on some of his secrets and hand you the reins to his empire (once he's ready to retire, of course, and just so long as you promise to NOT FUCK WITH ANYTHING).

And, no, I'm not reading into this one. Reading into it would point out the little insatiably ravenous German kid getting sucked into a tube fulla semi-liquid brown...stuff...and then getting, um, shat? out into the bowels of the factory (propaganda payback for WWII?), or the little cowboy kid, Mike Teevee ('cause, really, what's more all-American than a cowboy watching television?) getting yanked into the tv (the vacuity of Am culture?), or the gum-chewing girl swelling up from her five-course dinner gum (too easy, really...the gluttony and wealth of the States, I'm thinking, putting us right where we are right now, really) and then whatever the fuck happened to Veruca Salt, which I'm sure I could figure out something for, or the Oompaloompas, small yellowish men who work quickly, cleverly & dilligently for their happy, singing, all-powerful master.

Look, it was 1971. The cold war hadn't quite hit its peak, but it was close. Nixon was on the skids and heading south, fast. The hippies & activists weren't shutting up any time soon, the economy wasn't doing anything to make the American people happy. Typically, nothing was really going all that great. Think about the propaganda value of a movie like this. It wasn't gonna convince the adults or the teenagers to stop thinking for themselves, but it sure as hell was gonna imprint a whole lotta desire to play follow the leader on any kid that's watching. And the really fucked up part is that it still plays all the time on tv, and it's still a fave of little English-speaking kids everywhere.

So, okay, if you've got kids, don't let 'em watch Gene Wilder dancing around and talking about snozzberries. Don't let 'em get brainwashed. Don't let 'em think that the only way they can have something as cool as the Chocolate Factory (locked away from prying eyes, like America's military secrets from the vile Commie bad guys...) is to be given it, and the only way to be in line to get it is to give up personal desire and suck some ass.

Right. Tomorrow, how Winnie-the-Pooh is secretly recruiting for the Church of Satan. Tell all your friends to come on by.

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