I think about a world to come where the books were found by the golden ones, written in pain, written in awe by a puzzled man who questioned, "What are we here for?" All the strangers came today and it looks as though they're here to stay.

-David Bowie "Oh! You Pretty Things"

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Red State (2011)

For some time I've thought that if they made a movie about the modern Democratic Party it would be a comedy, but if they made a movie about the modern Republican Party it would be a horror film. Kevin Smith recently made the latter and called it Red State. I'm still waiting on the former.

Red State is a mixture of Westboro Baptist Church, the David Koresh incident in Waco, Texas, the Patriot Act, and a variety of other real life occurrences. From the perspective of any one of these particular groups or events, Red State would seem to be building a straw man argument. But Red State is not simply a slippery slope argument against the horrors of Fred Phelps and their anti-gay propaganda. As a matter of fact, Kevin Smith makes certain that you understand that Phelps is merely practicing his first amendment rights, no matter how much of a dick he is, whereas Five Points (five points make a pentagram, in case you didn't notice) is a horrible and murderous death cult. Taken together, however, all of these real life occurrences make one believe that the events of Red State are not just horror or dark comedy or a straw man or a slippery slope. I hold that our nation's history since my birth proves that we're never too far away from events such as those depicted in Red State happening.

Now, I mentioned earlier that this film has a great deal to do with the Republican Party. After all, it is the Republican Party which on-again/off-again courts extremist religious groups (Westboro Baptist Church) and political groups (the Tea Party). It is also the Republican Party that brought about some of the most egregious examples of human rights violations through the Patriot Act. Let's not forget that the term Red State is a political term that refers to a state that votes Republican. But the biggest reason I think that Red State represents the Republican party is that, throughout the confusions of big government (which Republicans never used to stand for), big business and big religion, the individuals who believe that they're being represented get lost in the mess. Here's a spoiler: Every single character that we relate to from the first half of the movie is killed without a care before the end of the movie. All of the innocents, along with all who would stand up for the innocents, are murdered for no good reason. (Of course, that's a funny phrase. It assumes that there is a good reason to murder.) And any justice that comes about in the end of the film comes about as a result of a fluke.

Having said all of that, I want to say that it is not my intention to make this post a long rant against the Republican Party. After all, nearly everyone I've ever known who is a Republican became a Republican because of what the party once was. They tell me that Republicans used to actually stand up for the individual, that Republicans used to fight against big business/big govenment Democrats. Well, that's not the case anymore. If you ask me, Red State is a wake up call. It tells us both what the Republican Party has become and what it could become in the future if it doesn't experience a dramatic overhaul. Like last year's Machete, this year's Red State does what horror used to do all the time: It tells a cautionary tale. And cautionary tales are meant to warn us before we go down the wrong path.

In other words, if you're a Christian or a Republican who protested this movie, I think you might be better serving your belief system by making sure that you're the Christian, that you're the Republican, who makes certain that the group you represents never gets this far out of control. I believe that you can be better than the people in this film.

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