poloticsPower of Nightmares Comparative Media

“I think Fremont has a great concept there,” I said. “Denouncing an organization that doesn’t exist-one Fremont made up and says is taking over America. Obviously no one can destroy it. No one’s safe from it. No one knows where it’ll turn up next…. It’ll get Fremont into the White House.”
-Philip K. Dick Radio Free Albemuth

“Not only were the media bombarding us all the time with the talk about the terrorist threat; this threat was also obviously libidinally invested – just recall the series of movies from Escape From New York to Independence Day. The unthinkable which happened was thus the object of fantasy: in a way, America got what it fantasized about, and this was the greatest surprise.” -Slavoj Zizek Welcome to the Desert of the Real!

Network (1976) by Paddy Chayefsky.

BOSCH
A series about a bunch of bank-robbing guerillas?

SCHLESINGER
What’re we going to call it –the Mao Tse Tung Hour?

DIANA
Why not? They’ve got Strike Force, Task Force, SWAT — why not Che Guevara and his own little mod squad? Listen, I sent you all a concept analysis report yesterday. Did any of you read it? (apparently not) Well, in a nutshell, it said the American people are turning sullen. They’ve been clobbered on all sides by Vietnam, Watergate, the inflation, the depression. They’ve turned off, shot up, and they’ve fucked themselves limp. And nothing helps. Evil still triumphs over all, Christ is a dope-dealing pimp, even sin turned out to be impotent. The whole world seems to be going nuts and flipping off into space like an abandoned balloon. So — this concept analysis report concludes — the American people want somebody to articulate their rage for them. I’ve been telling you people since I took this job six months ago that I want angry shows. I don’t want conventional programming on this network. I want counter-culture. I want anti-establishment.

Wag the Dog (1997) by Hilary Henkin and David Mamet.

BREAN
Lookit, don’t worry about it. It’s not a New Concept.
Wake me when we touch down, will…

AMES
We can’t afford a war.

BREAN
We aren’t going to have a war. We’re going to have the “appearance” of a war.

AMES
I’m not sure we can afford to have the “appearance” of a war.

BREAN
What’s it gonna cost?

AMES
But, but, but, “they” would find out.

BREAN
Who would find out?

AMES
…the…

BREAN
The American “people”?

AMES
Yes

BREAN
Who’s gonna tell’em. What did they find out about the Gulf War? One shot: one bomb, falling though the roof, building coulda been made of Legos.

AMES
…you want us to go to War…

BREAN
…that’s the general idea.

AMES
Why?

BREAN
Why not, what’ve they ever done for us…? Also: they sound… Ah, you see, this is why we have to mobilize the B-2 Bomber…Well, I’m gonna hold on, but you went to win this election, you better change the subject. You wanna change this subject, you better have a War. What do you need? It’s gotta be quick, it’s gotta be dramatic, you got to have an enemy. Okay? What do you need in an enemy? Somebody you fear. Who do you fear? Som’b’y you don’t know.

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