Monday, December 8, 2008

The Devil's Advocate

No, for once I'm NOT talking about the FINEST movie Keanu Reeves ever made. I want to toy around a little bit with what you "gentlemen" have posted so far.

First up, thanks again for filming and uploading these, EC. Second, thanks again for writing up some smart speculation about what these films could mean, G.

Third, I think you're both wrong.

If there's any one thing we've FAILED to learn as a country from the Cold War, it's that an idea of a threat can be as powerful as the the threat itself.

If we'd had an ounce of sense on September 12, we'd have said, "Ok, a bunch of useless whackjobs did this, and whoopie for them, they just killed off a third of their own manpower. They're a sad and lonely bunch of crazies who have to hide from society because of how much everyone else in the world thinks they're fucking dogshit. They punched us. It hurt. Who gives a fuck? We're bigger and badder than that, and we're going to rebuild, and they can go fuck themselves."

Instead, we fueled the idea. We made them supermen. We made them a thousand times more powerful in our nightmares than they ever could be in reality. A handful of totally twisted broken people with a severe inability to fucking DEAL WITH IT ("it" being the rest of the fucking world) became a monster in every shadow. We closed our eyes and saw them there too. When they probably weren't enough people to storm and wipe out half the fans of a southern high school football game.

The thing is, we ALWAYS do this, and we're ALWAYS wrong. Think back on Kim Philby and Team B and HUAC and McCarthy. We've got the worst track record on this shit. Every time we figure out that we were wrong, we say, "Well, we're never going to overreact like THAT again!" And then the next crisis comes along, and we go all, "WAAAUUUUUUUGGGGGH FFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!!!" and freak the fuck out and act like a bunch of totally unforgivable pantswetting spazzes.

What's worse is, I think you guys are doing it again here. When, if anybody SHOULD know much better, it's you guys.

So what...?

Okay, first of all, let's accept that everything GFK said about the date of this video is true. Well, what's that tell you?

Look at the time period. The Soviets weren't stupid. They could see what was going on in America. Fuck, getting a subscription to the New York Times wasn't hard. They watched as we reported on our own paranoia. HUAC was a sitting committee starting in '45. Every time the communists made a gain in Europe, we flipped the fuck out. Meanwhile, look at it from their perspective:

1. They need nukes and don't have them.
2. They know even if they crack the nuclear code and start making nukes, we're way ahead of them.
3. But we'll believe anything we read, see, or hear, so...
4. What the fuck's it matter?

Instead of racing to close the distance between us on nukes, why not say, "Fuck it"?

I know what you're going to say: "Fuck it! Yes! That's your answer. That's your answer for everything! Tattoo it on your forehead! Your revolution is over, Mr. Lebowski! The bums lost!"

Seriously, though, follow me here. If we were so credulous we'd just buy ANYTHING, that meant they didn't have to sell anything real. Just invent something that would make us shit our pants. Sure, we had nukes, but all they had to do was claim they could seed the sky with something that would set the world on fire. Who needs nukes when they have that? BOOM, right there, it doesn't matter if there's a gap in nukes, because nukes are on equal footing with SKY FIRE.

It's not even that implausible when you consider 1946 is when cloud seeding was invented. We'd already just figured out that we could control the weather by dropping shit into clouds, so why couldn't the Soviets control the apocalypse by doing the same? Hell, WE tried to weaponize cloud seeding anyway, so we were already thinking perfectly along the lines they'd need to promote a propaganda weapon. WE started chemically altering the sky itself, so who could even say that they couldn't do it with the right compounds, ones we hadn't even found yet? Hell, just stop and think of the images in the film. Why are ALL their troops wearing gas masks? What is this stuff coming out of the plane? What could the Piemaker be making?

CHEMICALS. Or so we'd be totally willing to believe because we almost NEED to believe shit like this.

We set OURSELVES up. All they'd need was a punchline. One filmstrip leaked to the west later, and suddenly there's "proof" how they're going to fight American nuclear armament. A little push here with a cartoon and some Higgins motherfucker, and we'd shit our pants for them and create our own fears.



L-Scott said...

Hey, I just wanted to say that I'm sorry if the tone of the post comes off as kind of a dick post. I'm not trying to put down the effort either of you guys has been making, but I think it's sort of a bad habit to get into to WANT to believe what something is so much that we forget it could be anything else. The trouble is, if we get tied down arguing about how or why this video could be this one thing, we're going to close off all the other things it could be, and we're not going to learn anything. That's all I'm worried about. I don't want you guys getting pissed at me.

George F.K. said...

No, don't worry about it. I understand what you were doing. I appreciate your trying to bring us back down to earth, because you're right in that there's this ever-escalating scale of speculation, where we tend to inflate our ideas past the point where they're really sustainable. Any one question or interjection of some sense can puncture and dissipate all those increasing gradations of assumption. You were right to call me on it, and I appreciate it.

Do me a favor, though, and trust me when I say that I'm not trying to be a dick in saying that I think I eventually would have checked myself. That's not to say that there's nothing you can think of that I won't think of, too. I was just writing while drunk and late at night, and I've been a little too busy lately. I guess what I'm saying is that eventually I would have said, "Slow down, George," and questioned myself, because I can't help but question myself.

Thank you for the post though.