Tangentially Speaking

457 – ROMA 42 (Meteor Impact)

By January 10, 20214 Comments

Hear that? That’s the sound of the shit hitting the fan. In this episode (not for the faint of heart), I trace current events back to the marriage of modern advertising and politics in the 1980s and the fragmentation of media. We’re in for a wild ride, folks. It’s just beginning.

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Intro music: “Brightside of the Sun,” by Basin and Range,“American Kid,” by Carsie Blanton; “If I had a Rocket Launcher,” by Bruce Cockburn; “Blind Willie McTell,” by Bob Dylan.  


  • Lots of things to unpack here…

    Re. Walter Cronkite and how he was always perceived as an impeccable spokesperson of journalism integrity, he once appeared in a 1966 documentary titled UFO: Friend, Foe or Fantasy, which gave the typical conclusion that all those people reporting unexplained things in the sky were talking nonsense, and there was no cause for alarm or concern. I personally believe this is one of the reasons why the public started to distrust established voices of authority, and a schism between mainstream narratives and alternative thinking began; a schism that now seems like an unbreachable chasm in the age of QAnon.

    This is, of course, not the first time so many people chose a skewed view of reality, with catastrophic results. I began to read a little bit about the ‘de-Nazification’ process in Germany after WW2. The American general in control of occupied Germany conducted a survey which showed an alarmingly high percentage of Germans still held anti-Semitic ideas, and thought the Jews were to blame for what had happened in the war. One of the things the German politicians did, was to publicly accept blame for the atrocities committed by the 3rd Reich, instead of distancing themselves of it (like what happened in Japan); they also deliberately sought to make economic reparations to the State of Israel, something that obviously was met with great resistance at the time. As an outsider of American politics, I feel these two key ingredients were missing in American society after the end of the Civil War –instead of seeking reparations to the former slaves, the South was allowed to keep their martial symbols of disobedience and then came Jim Crow and Segregation as a result.

    Re. advertising companies always telling lies, there was actually a comedy movie starring Dudley Moore in 1990 called Crazy People, in which a publicist who has a nervous breakdown begins a revolutionary move in the advertising business, by creating ads that actually told THE TRUTH about the product –one of their ads had a beautiful woman in a small bikini and the copy read “Come in the Bahamas” 😛 — and all the creatives in charge of the ads were people the publicist had found… in an insane asylum 😉

    The movie you referred to was Salvador (1986) starring James Woods. It’s a good movie, but it’s a shame that Woods turned into a right-wing wacko later in life. I rather prefer Romero (1989) with Raul Julia –and not just because the title happens to be my last name 😉

    Speaking of movies, I’m surprised you didn’t mention how the character of General “Buck” Turgidson in Doctor Strangelove (wonderfully played by George C. Scott) was directly inspired by Curtis LeMay. There’s an interesting legend in UFOlogical circles that Senator Barry Goldwater once asked his good friend LeMay access to the ‘vault’ where the US government kept all their classified UFO material, and LeMay erupted and shouted, “You never ask me about that ever again! Not only ‘No’ but ‘HELL NO’ you don’t have permission to go there,when *I* can’t even go there myself!!” Who knows…

    And finally, I really like that “If I Had a Rocket Launcher” song, but it made me think what would happen if an Afghan artist sang it in Pashto. After all, wasn’t that what American politicians sold to the American people in order to provide ‘Freedom fighters’ the weapons they needed to defeat the Soviets? The movie Charlie Wilson’s War (2007) with Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and you departed doppelganger Philip Seymour Hoffman gives an interesting exposition about this neglected side of history.

    • Yes, Salvador. And yes, it’s a shame that James Woods went off the deep end. There’s a genre of movies in which professional liars start telling the truth. Another good one is Bulworth, about a politician who decides to come clean with his constituents (then falls in love with Halle Berry, of course). And yes, Strangelove. I might watch that again. It’s been too long. Charlie Wilson’s War is awesome.

  • AvatarNeil Sorsby says:

    Chris , you’re going to have to be less American

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