Freedom’s On the March and Dissent Will Not Be Tolerated
or, The Very Bad Sequels of the Two Georges
Copyright © 2005 by Noam Daguerre, Cultural Warrior. All rights reserved.
A president who doesn’t read wages a religious crusade while his handlers keep him isolated from the electorate, incestuously spoon-feeding him a simple, manufactured reality of his own devising. He is never wrong and everything is working perfectly. Sounds like a Philip K. Dick novel, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s the one we all woke up in. Maybe not screaming, not yet, but you will be. You will be.
The next four years are going to be fun and funny, if you’re into Dickian tragicomedy, for the king has beheaded his councilors and ushered in an era of unctuous sycophancy.
It turns out Bush holds loyalty above all else, and by ‘loyal’ he means ‘yes-man.’ He will brook no dissent, especially from within his hallowed cabinet. If you think Bush is doing a bad job, he just plain doesn’t want to hear about it.
What does this say about him as a leader? Don’t worry that bone too long — I got the short answer for ya: An epically crap-ass bad one.
GEORGE BUSH: EPICALLY CRAP-ASS BAD LEADER
Leaders who believe themselves above criticism are merely setting up a punchline, historically speaking. First comes the power grab, then the putsch, then the rim-shot at the end of their one paragraph in the high school history textbook. Funny. Screamingly funny. But more screamingly while you’re living the punchline. And believe you me, we are George W. Bush’s living punchline.
“But criticism sucks,” you say. Yes, it is hard and hurty-like. (I want to say something about a deformed penis here, but that would be inappropriate. Or would it? I mean, where GWB’s concerned we’re all FUCKED. Ahem.) I agree that criticism is rough. It’s not nearly as soft and syrupy as praise; but after the fifteen-billionth “yeah, I liked it” you start to wonder, “okay, great, everybody likes it — but how could it be better?” Praise tells you nothing in this direction. That’s where criticism comes in.
Carefully considered, criticism can inform the direction of your action, spurring you forward, whipping you 180°, or canceling your momentum altogether. Criticism allows you to consider the flaws in your precious plan from another point of view; if you can properly refute them, you move forward doubly sure that yours is the right path. If you can’t overcome the flaws, then pause and fix them, or solicit a new plan altogether. In short, criticism is enlightenment. Only those who wish to spin endlessly round in darkness need ignore good counsel.
A leader who thoughtfully addresses his critics, for good or ill, is wise. A leader who shuts off all access to criticism makes crummy sequels. Using my prodigious psychic powers, I predict that the next four years will be similar to some other famous sequels that lacked the benefit of criticism. For there is another George who famously surrounds himself with yes-men, and makes us all suffer for it.
GEORGE LUCAS: EPICALLY CRAP-ASS WRITER/DIRECTOR
It takes an especially odious breed of unctuous sycophant to okay the embryonic idea of Jar-Jar with a double-thumbs up. Any sane person without the flannel pulled over their eyes would have been reaching for an RU-486 pill. And a hose, a funnel, some padded straps and a gallon of cheap vodka. Ideas like Jar-Jar and midichlorians must die die die. But George is The Man. And The Man knows what he is doing ‘cuz he’s a Genius. Who produced the “genius” of Episode I.
I have to admit, as bad as that was, I had high hopes for the sequel. I mean, Star Wars wasn’t as great as you think it was, but The Empire Strikes back was better than you remember. Why? Because someone else wrote it. And someone else directed it. George did a great job of being the Visionary, especially in his decision to let others write and direct. I felt sure that he would do the same for Episode II.
And then Episode II was like watching the Prom queen getting mounted in the back seat of Mom’s Soccer Taxi without a condom; you just knew it wasn’t going to come together.
Bush’s sequel is going to be exactly like Lucas’s — overblown, sloppy, ham-fisted and childish, and very, very expensive.
And all for want of a simple “No, Mr. President.”