The Oxford Dictionary says that subversion is the undermining of the power and authority of a government or institution. Ayah! He's started his essay with a dictionary definition. How sophomoric. But don't worry, I only quote it here so that I can tear it to pieces. And that bloody Oxford Dictionary - what the hell would they know?
Better we dig down to the derivation. If we were to transliterate the Latin base of subversion we'd get 'to turn from below'. But if a government was of the people, by the people, for the people, how would it be subversive if it was directed not by the pointy end of the pyramid but by the broad base below? Don't the people decide the course of a democracy? Ha ha ha ha. Sorry, that was just me being comedic. Let's just say that this use of 'below' isn't very instructive. Best we take it to mean 'beneath the surface', which is to say 'not perceived', which is to say 'hidden'. Now we're getting somewhere.
And why does the thing being subverted need to be a pyramid structure with 'power and authority' at the pointy end? Might not a culture be subverted? A culture isn't led. It evolves. And yet it too can be steered in a hidden fashion. Here I could go off on a long rant about television and advertising. But to hell with that, I've got a film to tear apart. I'll leap into it and then somehow cleverly tie it all up at the end.
Shooter's claim to fame was that it was 'subversive'. When it first came out the net was buzzing with chat about the film's subversive anti-government statements, themes and plot elements. Right there! On the big screen! Well I hate to tell you, but that's not how subversion works. Not in Hollywood. The 'subversion' on the big screen is a cover for the real subversion - the subversion of Western acuity.
Our hero as loyal servant
We meet our hero, the ever reliable swinging dick Mark Wahlberg, perched on a cliff top with a sniper rifle as he and his spotter partner shoot black people. Where are they? Who are they shooting? Why are they shooting them? Who cares? Our shooters aren't German. There will be no Nuremberg trial for them. In this American film, the fact that they blindly obeyed orders reflects well upon them. God forbid they should be condemned for it.
Foolishly our hero's partner has fished out a photo of his girlfriend. We all roll our eyes - that's him fucked. In spite of the fact that, tactically, the extraction of our hero and his partner's body would have been the simplest thing in the world, those leading the operation shut it all down and leave Mr Wahlberg to his fate. And haven't we seen this plot device over and over again? Don't worry that it makes no sense. Cut to the next scene.
Our hero as sceptic
Wahlberg now lives as a pony-tailed rugged mountain man with only his dog for company. Can anyone guess the dog's fate? Never mind that, what's going on with the art direction? Red meat for conspiracy theorists! Inside his cabin, right there next to his internet computer, a prominently displayed copy of the 911 Commission Report! Wow. And what's that on his computer? Is that zmag.org? Wow again.
But wait a minute. What do we really have here? The 911 report was a pathetic whitewash. If Wahlberg's character was really a conspiracy guy wouldn't he have a copy of, I don't know, David Ray Griffin's New Pearl Harbour? If I was to say that the 911 report here is merely product placement for the government cover-up would I be wrong? And then there's zmag.org. I briefly subscribed to zmag before I figured out it was a useless blind alley. Zmag is about as kosher as it gets - you could read everything on it and learn nothing at all. No surprise that the 'z' people are now spamming my email address. And then there's Wahlberg's line, 'Let's see what lies they're trying to sell us today'. What a curious thing to say. Why would a contrarian say this about what's ostensibly an alternative site? He sounds more like some kind of Rush Limbaugh fan.
Why don't I rewrite the scene? Wahlberg sits down at his computer. Behind him is a poster of the twin towers with the words 'Inside Job' in big letters. On the computer screen we see a flashy corporate news website. 'Yeah, I've had my fill of bullshit already,' says Wahlberg as he clicks the tab and whatreallyhappened.com pops up. 'Now, let's have some truth,' he says. There, that wasn't too difficult was it? Ha! In my dreams! In a Hollywood movie, this scene is an abject impossibility.
Our hero as patsy
Despite his government having left him behind to become a naked corpse tied to a truck, our hero is still a patriot. Go figure. When some obvious bad-attitude spooks led by Danny Glover visit him (and menace him with guns no less) all it takes is Glover's Congressional Medal of Honour to make him all gooey. Glover has an important mission and Wahlberg is the only man for the job.
Says Glover, 'The president is going to be shot and we want you, a pissed off loner with three names and a house full of guns, to scout out locations and otherwise behave like an assassin.'
Wahlberg, ever distrustful, hangs tough, 'Do you promise not to photograph me, set me up as the lone gunman and then shoot me?'
'Yep, scout's congressional medal of honour', says Glover.
'Hmm... that sounds pretty good,' says Wahlberg clearly impressed.
Oh wait, that was me re-writing the script again. The actual script features some half-baked waffle about how if we don't stop the assassin, tyrants might run the country. Gosh! Anything but that!
I'm going to be charitable (above and beyond the call of duty) and say that this film is not completely crap on account of its message (unintentional sure) that reading zmag obviously rots your brain. Well, that's the only reason I can come up with to explain Wahlberg climbing back into bed with such obvious bullshit artists. If only he'd spent time on wrh he'd have known better. Perhaps I should provide some other useful tips for any other brain-rotted zmag readers who might be here taking a break from their Noam Chomsky 'Conspiracy? What conspiracy?' Diet -
-When the cop comes into the interrogation room, puts a gun (or any other thing) on the table and tells you to check it out, you politely decline.
-When Peter Power from Visor Consultants calls you about a training exercise for London Transport and he wants you and your three buddies to play the role of 'backpackers', you politely decline.
-And when the government tells you that there are foreigners who 'hate us for our freedom' and that you should go overseas and kill them, you politely decline.
Or you can just tell them to go fuck themselves if you prefer. I'm good either way.
Our hero as avenger
Now it's time to kick arse. Or 'ass', in this case. (Sure enough, non-Americans think 'ass' sounds exactly as stupid as Americans think 'arse' sounds - funny that). Anyway, heads explode, limbs fly off and people are burned alive with napalm. All good clean fun and all thanks to our hero. It's a good thing we don't do body counts anymore because, assertions of mass graves aside, our hero maybe kills fifty times as many people as the bad guys. In fact now that I think about it, we see the bad guys in this film kill precisely one person.
Perhaps I should mention the bad guys. According to this film, made by the co-religionists of the people who own the US Fed, it's the oil industry! It's a popular theme, this mad notion that the White House is full of oil men, isn't it? But it's bullshit. Neither Bush nor Cheney have anything much to do with oil. But the oil industry makes a good scapegoat doesn't it? And speaking of Dick Cheney...
The film arrives at its crunch point. Our hero has the villainous oil man senator, Ned Beatty (cast for his resemblance to the aforementioned veep) right where he wants him. Wahlberg has shot all the senator's gunmen, freed his ex-partner's bosomy gal (now his), and holds in his hand a recording detailing the senator's wickedness and proving Wahlberg's innocence. And as the FBI arrive (that he himself called) he takes the precious recording and burns it. Go figure that one out. Whatever way you look at it, it doesn't make a lick of sense. In Hollywood films very little makes sense but this would have to be in the top ten list of stupidest things ever.
Here's the actual dialogue -
'What are you doing?' says Wahlberg's FBI renegade buddy.
'Saving our lives.'
'But that proved you were innocent!'
'Nobody out here is innocent. This stuff's plutonium. Nobody can handle it without dying. You hand it over to the authorities, it's just going to disappear, along with us,' Wahlberg says, dropping to his knees so that the FBI can take him away for his death-penalty trial.
Thanks Hollywood. Now we know that there's nothing to be done. Your only option is to hand things over to the authorities, and they're just going to kill you anyway. You may as well turn yourself in and cop the death penalty. Curses! Is there nothing we can do? If only we had some means of putting evidence into the public domain beyond the control of the government or the media. Imagine if we could connect our computers to each other and send incriminating files to lots of people and ask them to put the evidence on some kind of cyber page thing where thousands more could read it and in turn send it to others. Then it could never be taken back and everyone would know. We could call this mad invention the 'Digital Underground Headquarters', or as I like to say, 'Duh'!
God forbid Hollywood would have anyone understand the power of the internet. Attention whistle-blowers - Get a clue! Whatever you've got, put it in public. Don't wait, and don't try to strike some kind of Deborah Jean Palfrey deal. Honestly what was she thinking? Speaking of which, what's Sibel Edmond's story? She has very very damning evidence but since none of the media will do her justice, she's not going to tell. God spare me, you'd think the internet had never been invented. Anyway, with all her dangerous information I expect the government will whack her too. Sooner or later. One of these days. Or maybe not. Maybe she's as real as this stupid movie.
Never mind that. It seems Wahlberg was right to hand himself over to the FBI. They listen closely and are very impressed that the gun used to frame him didn't have a functioning firing pin. Not only do they free him but they tell the uber-connected spook Glover to go fuck himself. Ha ha ha ha. What fine comedy. Both Lt. Col. Philip Zack and Stephen J Hatfill laughed their heads off. Never mind that the former is untouchable and the latter had his life destroyed. Both of them get the gag.
Here's how it works. If a democracy is what it says it is (ie. a rule of the people) then it follows that to openly lay bare falsehood and dispel ignorance amongst the people cannot be subversion. In truth it's a reinforcement, by way of knowledge, of the power and authority of those who rule. Us. Did you see the full stop (period) there? It's important.
Most certainly there is subversion out there. You can see it every time you turn on the TV. The bloc-media is, perpetually and without exception, subverting our ability to rule ourselves by keeping us in a state of ignorance. Without knowledge, such as the fact that the Reserve Banks of the world are privately owned, how can we have any sensible discussion about what's best for the people? Hollywood and the media (same same) exist to keep us in a state of ignorance so that democracy may be subverted and a tiny hidden elite may steer us as suits them and them alone.
For the sake of posterity, why don't I also rewrite Wahlberg's idiot speech to the senator?
'And you know what senator? This recording here that you were so keen to get your hands on? You're too late. I've already sent it to whatreallyhappened, uruknet, truthseeker and two hundred other websites. Hell, I even sent it to zmag! The whole thing took me five minutes and a buck fifty at an internet cafe. The mainstream media have it too, and with the push from the alternative sites, even they won't be able to ignore it. You're so fucked I ain't even going to bother shooting you.'
Cinema of nobody - the stuff that dreams are made of!