Brazil revisited

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A report from Ale 81 Inn field correspondent, Ford Wenty


 

After watching the farcical proceedings of the Adam Schiff Show for the past couple of weeks I was prompted to revisit one of my favorite dystopian tales, the 1985 Terry Gilliam film Brazil.  There are doubtless those within our audience who are familiar with the film, though I suspect that these would be in the minority. In the nearly thirty-five years since it’s release it is fair to say that despite Academy Award nominations, and the timeliness of the picture’s theme, it is something which has faded to relative obscurity.  For those not familiar I do highly recommend that you look up Brazil and set aside 94 minutes that you can easily part with. Some green would be in order for the occasion, or any other mind altering poisons that you have successfully tamed.

A little background here for those who may be completely unfamiliar. Terry Gilliam is best known as the lone Yank of the legendary English comedy troupe, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, most notably as producer of their bizarre animated sequences. It was a quite ambitious undertaking at the time, just four years after Gilliam’s first foray into film, Time BanditsBrazil incorporates some of the same fantasy elements as it’s predecessor; some may say these are overdone to the overall detriment of the Brazil storyline. The film employs what may only be called a “retro-futuristic” landscape, in much the same fashion as the more recent A Series of unfortunate Events. The sets depicting the outside world are eerily reminiscent of those presented in the early sci-fi masterpieces of famed German director Fritz Lang.

The cast was comprised of a veritable who’s who of British cinema, many of whom in ensuing years were to become well known to American audiences. One would need begin with Jonathan Pryce as the story’s chief protagonist, Sam Lowry. You will recognize him from his later roles in films like Four Weddings and a Funeral and the Brendan Fraser Mummy franchise.  There were also fellow Python alum, Michael Palin; Ian Holm, later best known as Bilbo Baggins from Peter Jackson’s LOTR universe; a not yet well known but certainly recognizable Bob Hoskins, later of Roger Rabbit and countless others. A bit of truly obscure trivia for you: Hoskins’ role was that of a workman, an HVAC technician from government’s Central Services. He had a partner which was none other than Nigel Planer, better known as Neil the Hippie from BBC 4’s short lived The Young Ones a few years prior. There were also some well known American talents, including Katherine Helmond, who was quite familiar to American audiences at the time from her television role in the hit ABC sitcom, Soap. In the most unlikely of roles Robert DeNiro appeared as one Harry Tuttle, the renegade HVAC technician and enemy of the State.

Without divulging all, for the benefit of those who may wish to check out the picture, it will have to suffice here to say that Brazil is a sort of dystopian parody/romance.  Those who have seen and recall it will likely concur with that summation. It is, if nothing else, the most unique treatment of the genre; the cinematic equivalent to Kafka. There has long been an audience in the English speaking world for the dystopian nightmare. In Brazil, like other British iterations, these are depicted as a moribund bureaucracy possessed of only the most inept and unintended malevolence. American interpretations tend to be more sinister in character. In truth any dystopia should contain equal parts of each. The absurd element of the bureaucratic state is captured sometimes subtly, but always brilliantly in this film. Some may have already drawn the connection, while others may still be pondering: what is the connection between this and the impeachment hearings? 

Well, recall that I began by stating that these hearings were the impetus for my cinematic retrospective. There have been an abundance of storylines that feed into this idea of the unaccountable state run amok. Each day there is some new element of federal agency malfeasance exposed and it all broadly coalesces into one large and intricately connected web, for those who will take the time to connect all the dots.  I contend that this can not be the result of mere ineptitude, rather it is by design. By the very complexity of these schemes, any attempt to explain and expose them becomes so convoluted that it makes it a very easy target for the label of “conspiracy”. The fact that the players within this drama are insulated, so far removed from any semblance of reality that exists beyond their bubble, is evidenced by something as innocuous as their language.

When I refer to language I do not mean the manner of speech used by the witnesses brought before this inquisition, telling as that may be. I mean instead their shorthand, the lexicon of their profession. Languages evolve out of a unique or distinctive culture. In the last two weeks we have been presented a cross section of unelected functionaries representing various sectors of what I like to think of as the “permanent security state”. There were the State Department, the Defense Department, and my personal favorite; the playground of the Ivy League farm club system and globalist tainted think tanks, the National Security Council. One watches, one listens, and one reads; and one is overwhelmed.

State. Secretaries and Under Secretaries, and deputies thereof. Ambassadors, deputy Ambassadors, chargee d’affaires and chiefs of mission. Oh, and don’t forget the venerated “special envoy”.

Defense. Active duty US Army, assigned to NSC at White House, reporting through chain of command to John Bolton, while also liaising with State and also reporting to an as-yet-to-be-named intel agency. Nice!

And the NSC. As far as the current impeachment narrative runs this is where the crux lies. The NSC: inextricably attached to CIA, DIA, DHS and every other damned alphabet soup bureau and/or agency in our federal government.

Even the House itself: committees and subcommittees, Intel, Oversight, Judicial and more. Question: how many lawyers does it take to fuck up a free lunch? And in the Justice Department and all of it’s many moving parts? DOJ-NSD, OCA, OCG, Directors, Deputy Directors, Deputy Assistant Directors, Counter-intel, AG, DAG, DAAG, and on, and on and on.

All of this nonsense, cumulatively, adds up to this theater of the absurd quality as viewed in the film Brazil. It’s like a Mad Magazine marathon of Spy vs. Spy, each little cell programmed to eternally perform it’s function oblivious to the body politic as a whole. It has become a living yet mindless organism, dedicated as are all organisms, to it’s own propagation. Look at it carefully, America. Is this what we have become? Reduced to a pathetic cartoon? Never mind ANY of the subject matter at hand. Just LOOK at what an absolute FARCE the entire thing is. Not just the hearings, but the ENTIRE federal government. And just like in the film there are only two ways that the absurdity comes to an end: by it’s utter destruction or by it’s own complete and utter victory.

We have but one, ONE chance to cleanse this filth in a peaceful and bloodless fashion. If we fail to do so something much worse will follow, for good or ill.

 

Ford Wenty report end, 23 November, 2019

 

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