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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Where the Buffalo Roam

I find that after about five years, my memory of any movie I have seen, even films that impressed me greatly, suddenly drops off so sharply that very quickly I am left with only one bit from each film still left in my mental footlocker. The good thing about this is that it goes far toward making old films brand new again for me.

But that isn't my main theme in this post. Instead I wanted to speak about something that Mitt Romney said yesterday, right after his big win in Florida that has allowed him to just about wrap up the race to be the Republican candidate for President. Yet, to add to his already huge collection of cold-hearted statements, he said that he doesn't care about very poor people, because they have safety nets to take care of them. Never mind that for decades now his party has been slashing at those same safety nets so relentlessly that now, if commercial fishermen had to go to sea with comparable equipment, the fish would breathe a tremendous sigh of relief.

I think I have spoken of this before, but it bears repeating -- as Romney unconsciously did, but less vividly -- that in a 1980 movie called "Where the Buffalo Roam," Richard M. Nixon is portrayed as having conveyed exactly the same sentiment, in a scene that is the only thing I recall from that film, though it is probably the best of the small genre of movies focused on the late, renowned "gonzo" journalist, Hunter S. Thompson.

Bill Murray, playing the Thompson character, is shown following political figures around, trying to get intervuews. Finally he finds a way to be alone with Nixon in an airport restroom. While Nixon is using the urinal, Murray seizes this moment to fire a rant at Nixon that contains numerous references to how the doomed are suffering this, and the doomed are enduring that, and is he aware of how many Americans are falling into the ranks of the doomed.

Finally, while he is still squirting on the porcelain, Nixon calmly and mysteriously orders, "Come closer."

Murray hesitantly moves closer.

Nixon says, "No. Come closer."

While probably expecting some satrical toilet gesture, Murray shifts a few inches closer still.

"F-ck the doomed," the Nixon character says, and that was all.

The reason this one scene imprinted itself so indelibly on my mind must be the way that the film makers so masterfully hit on the idea of using simply that barebones setting and three short words to show the utterly contemptible uttering such utter contempt.


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