Mindy Newell: Not Such A Dark, Glittering Intelligence
“What Spader’s Reddington demonstrates is a dark, glittering intelligence and that makes him a fascinating character,” wrote my pal and fellow columnist John Ostrander here on ComicMix yesterday, discussing James Spader’s work as the protagonist (antagonist?) on NBC’s The Blacklist (Mondays at 10 PM EDT USA).
I read John’s column after reading A House Divided: Extremism And The Lessons Of History by Sean Wilentz and its accompanying article, Inside The GOP’s Suicide Machine by Tom Dickinson in the National Affairs section of the current Rolling Stone Magazine.
Over the last decade, my imagination has sometimes taken me to sinister places when I have thought about the future of the United States of America. Since George W. Bush became President through the manipulation of the vote in Florida and the engineering of his election to office by the Supreme Court, it has seemed not unbelievable to me that a cabal, a HYDRA-like group, has been working to overthrow our Constitutional government. K-Street, the home of lobbyists and lawyers from which some of the worst decisions affecting this country have emanated, could be the address of the Washington, D.C. branch of Wolfram & Hart; wasn’t one of their clients was a presidential candidate who used the firm to mind-wipe the population into thinking her rival was a pedophile?
“Oh, Mindy,” I can hear the scoffers saying, “that was a TV show about a vampire and featured demons and other monsters. Get real, girl! A magical mind-wipe?”
Oh, yeah? What the hell do you think Fox News and Rush Limbaugh do every day? (As Mr. Wilentz states in his article, “The press has abandoned its responsibility, twisting objectivity into the craven idea of false equivalency, where falsehoods get reported as simply one side of the argument.”)
This past week saw the very real – and truly unbelievable – possibility that the United States would default on its debt obligations. (To quote Mr. Wilentz again, “Until now, no member of Congress has seriously entertained triggering a financial crisis, willfully damaging the economy of the most powerful nation on Earth.”)
Not even the Kingpin or Lex Luthor, malevolent corporatists and power-hungry capitalists – and comicdom’s equivalent of the Koch brothers – could envision, much less embrace, the financial fantasies of a cabal of Congressmen who do appear to be intent on destroying this country before it reaches its 238th birthday this July.
No, the Kingpin and Lex Luthor are smarter than David and Charles Koch. They would never risk their financial empires on a “confederacy of dunces” such as the Tea Party and their pols, men like Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who argues that the Dream Act would allow citizenship to drug mules – speaking about immigrants, he is on record as saying, “For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds, and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
Men like Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida, who compares the Republicans who want to defund the Affordable Care Act, “Obamacare,” to Rosa Parks, Lech Walesa, and Martin Luthor King. Said Yoho about the tax on tanning salons, “It’s a racist tax against white people.” Or Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas, who warns us that Jihadists are sending pregnant women here so that their “terror babies” will be American citizens, and who is against gay marriage because, “you say it’s not a man or woman anymore…why not, you know, somebody who has a love of animals?”
Or Rep. Dr. Paul Broun of Georgia, who sits on the House Science Committee and embraces creationism – “the Earth is 9,000 years old” – and says “all that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology (again, I stress, this guy went to medical school), the Big Bang theory…is lies, straight from the pits of hell.” Or Rep. Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan, who wants to assign his staff to investigate the theory that government aircraft are seeding the skies with mind-control chemicals and who says that “impeaching Obama would be a dream come true.” Or Rep. John Fleming, who not only believed a story from the satirical website The Onion which said that Planned Parenthood was opening an $8 billion “abortionplex,” but actually said “I don’t think we should run government based on economists’ predictions.” And, not to leave women out, there is Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, who believes that ending the minimum wage would end unemployment, that global warming is “voodoo and hokum,” and during last election cycle warned that us off the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) which causes genital warts and has been linked to the development of cervical cancer in women vaccine, saying that “little girls would be forced to have a government injection.” (HPV has been linked as a causative factor in cervical cancer, as well as other, rarer cancers such as cancer of the anus, penis, vagina, vulva, as well as oralpharyngal cancers – as Michael Douglas learned a few years ago.)
And then there is the junior Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, the biggest dunce of them all.
So maybe I shouldn’t be so worried about real life cabals and evil organizations. Maybe I’ll just stick to my Kingpins and Lex Luthors and Wolfram & Harts and HYDRAS and Dan Brown novels about the Illuminati and hope for the best, let the cards fall where they may, as the saying goes.
Yesterday I was at the beauty parlor when a discussion started about The Blacklist. I have got to start watching this show, especially when as disparate a group as can be found in a “beauty parlor” (senior citizens, hairstylists, manicurists, women and men of varying ages and interests) are “watercoolingering” about it.
Plus, I adore James Spader. I loved him in White Palace (with Susan Sarandon), I loved him in Stargate, I loved him in Sex, Lies, And Videotape, and I loved him in Boston Legal.
So maybe my assignment this week is to catch up on The Blacklist. I’d much rather watch a fictional show about a bad man bringing down still-worse men and women than watch the terrifying reality show that is the Republican/Tea Party.
TUESDAY MORNING: Emily S. Whitten
TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis