A Beautiful Biopic
So, my husband and I, his sister and her husband went to see the movie “The Butler” recently. I’m a little bit of a history buff and tend to be entertained by epic biopics. Also, I didn’t want to watch Insidious 2 because those movies scare the caca out of me and disrupt my sleep for at least two weeks. Turns out, “The Butler” caused sleep deprivation just as much as the horror flick.
Throughout the first ¾ of the movie, I was mesmerized by the historical significance of this man’s life, what he lived through and what he accomplished. The fact that it’s “inspired by true events” always makes it so much more beautiful. I was entertained by the quirky choices of the star studded cast – John Cusack as Nixon? Mariah Carey as an abused slave wife? Liev Schreiber as LBJ really tickled my funny bone.
Anyway, it was engaging and twittered through the decades on the wings of angels with none other than Oprah Winfrey riding at the helm. Forest Whitaker gave an Oscar-worthy performance as the butler and Oprah tore it up as his drunk, cheating and hilarious housewife. The audience had palpable reactions to the imagery – the killing of the main character Cecil’s father on a 1930’s Alabama cotton plantation, the graphic depictions of hangings that happened in that time period, the scenes of Cecil being abused mentally and physically by white folks at every turn. We followed Cecil through the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I’m pretty sure I had a permanent grin etched on my face throughout the 60s and 70s, thanks to Oprah’s antics.
We followed Cecil through his job as a butler at the White House through eight presidencies; Truman, JFK, Lyndon B. Johnson, (His pooping-with-his-beagles-in-the-bathroom scene was quite possibly my favorite part of the whole movie) Reagan…right up to 1986 when Cecil retired.
A Slap in the Face
As I wallowed in my joyous reverie for all this man had overcome and loving this movie like the black Forest Gump, I was viciously slapped in the face and ripped from my happy place. Low and behold, about ¾ of the way through the journey, Oprah and Forest showed up to a barbecue in Obama T-shirts. Then the foggy, dream-edged and excessively long montage of Obamaness began. The Butler and his wife had finally become self-actualized…because Obama had won the presidency. Then the movie ended with the spunky and geriatric Cecil waiting to meet President Obama and me waiting to puke when I left the theater.
Suddenly the beautiful, epic story of a boy slave rising above his torment and working his way to the top through sheer hard work, morals and values, became a political piece of Hollywood propaganda. A commercial for our defunct government; a clichéd “message movie” for all the “sheeple” watching it. Can we no longer construct art without inserting an agenda into it? It seriously ruined the movie for me. And not just because I didn’t vote for President Obama. It took the joy right out of an otherwise awe-inspiring movie, because it felt like a set-up, like propaganda, like something from a George Orwell novel.
People in the theater literally groaned and released gusts of breath they’d been holding, because they were on the edge of their seats, in love with Cecil and Gloria Gaines. Call it what you will, the reaction was raw, it was real and I wasn’t the only one who felt it.
I Let it Go
I decided to let it go. I really did. It was just a movie, after all. I went home that night and Googled Cecil Gaines to get a real feel for his life and see if the movie paralleled it well or bisected it perpendicularly. Turns out it was the latter. Horrifically-Hollywood so.
The real butler was Eugene Allen and while he was indeed a butler in the White House serving eight administrations, that’s unfortunately where the similarities end and the bull-hockey begins. Of course, the true story of a man who grew up in segregated Virginia, worked his way to the highest position in White House service, was happily married 65 years and had a son who honorably served in Vietnam was just all too ordinary and real. The protest, inner-struggles, booze and cheating; the dissolute and depraved details had to be fabricated – apparently Eugene’s story had to be doctored up to be marketable.
Even the movie poster gave me the creeps. Look at his fist-in-the-air gesture and eerie resemblance to the president. Yikes. The “inspired by true story” nonsense means absolutely nothing and doesn’t bring any more leverage to the story because it’s not really based on any story that actually happened. Sorry, but I don’t remember anything about The Butler character, Cecil or the real butler, Eugene actually igniting any revolution. What the crap?
Hold that thought.
Indoctrinate the Babies
Today, I read a story about a school in Wisconsin who played the celebrity infested “I Pledge” video made by Oprah and company back in 2009 after President Obama was elected. Supposedly, the playing of this video was in honor of “Peace One Day”. (apparently a real thing created by some filmmaker in 1999 trying to incite global unity)
There were parents at this celebration of “intercultural cooperation” and they came unglued. Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis pledging his first-born to Obama while kissing his bulging biceps. (I’m not kidding…about the bicep kissing, anyway) Demi Moore promising to be a servant to President Obama. (that didn’t work out ’cause I’m pretty sure it’s crack and not Obama that she’s serving now) And besides, isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? The elected officials serving the people? Did I sleep in the day our government became a monarchy?
The school has since offered an official apology for sharing politically slanted (not to mention outdated) viewing material to middle-schoolers and everyone seems to have kissed and made up. I still can’t shake the feeling that we’re being brain-raped on a regular basis by Hollywood and the government. It’s like they’re in some major cahoots to placate and mollify us into submission – or at least delude us into thinking everything is as it should be and getting better. The economy is reeling, belly-up, many of us are still jobless while the elitists at the top are sticking their grubby mitts in the dirty laundry of other countries while we’re drowning back home.
Linking the Nonsense
So, forgive me while I cynically sew these two events together into a human-skin jumpsuit. Can we not go to the movies, to school, or turn on the computer or the TV without being bombarded by leftist propaganda? It’s like we’re in 1940s Germany – a broken-down and desolate time when people wanted and needed change, but only a dictatorship was there to offer it up. A time where hearty helpings of lies and political puff-pieces were served up in movies, children’s games and even greeting cards. The scariest thing for our time is that the powers-that-be and the celebs and the filmmakers are all so much more stealthy than World War II Germany. It’s all wickedly contrived and dubious and I just wonder if Hollywood leverages the big-wigs in power or the other way around. Illuminati, ya’ll, Illuminati.
So, next year, when Mother’s Day comes around, I’ll make sure to look for the creepy “I will serve Obama” Mother’s Day cards. Not.
Now, for your viewing pleasure, I’ve assembled an impressive collection of videos to shiver yer timbers.
1. The original, creepy “I Pledge” video.
2. An updated, 2012 version checking in on how those celebrities are doing with their “pledges”.
3. The news coverage in Hudson, Wisconsin.
What do you think? Am I a conspiracy theorist who should be wearing a tin-foil hat or is something fishy?
Photo attribution – see links embedded in pictures as well as Stock Images via freedigitalphotos.net