“W” Takes a Loss

4 01 2009

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“W.” 2008

Starring: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, Richard Dreyfuss, Thandie Newton

I had almost forgotten about George (W.) Bush. I’ve spent the last eight years trying to find ways not to despise him, and over the last several months have nearly succeeded. With the 2008 presidential election dominating the media, I was simply too distracted by my high hopes for the administration of the future to give much thought to that of the present.

Along came “W.,” Oliver Stone’s ambitious attempt to clarify the experiences that shaped the second president Bush into the widely detested leader he has become.

It turns out that (surprise!) George W. Bush was an overindulged alcoholic with a prominent family name that managed to repeatedly bail him out of trouble and simultaneously land him one undeserved job after another. He eventually dried himself out, found God, and heard his calling (to the presidency, that is. Not the priesthood. In case you were wondering.) And (big shocker here), his ego is the size of a small country, the name of which we can be fairly certain he cannot pronounce.

The film does provide some insight into the behind-the-scenes discussions and decisions that led to some of the more despised events of Bush’s eight year presidential reign. The application of more effective “interrogation methods” (that’s Bushspeak for torture), for example, was decided upon between a smug Bush and his slick and slimy cohort Cheney over club sandwiches. I’ve always tried to give Bush the benefit of my doubt that he had any of the intellectual capacity necessary to actually play an active role in the executive decision-making process. This film disputed my last-ditch effort to alleviate guilt from our president. I still maintain that he is intellectually unequipped to govern the country, but his arrogance, rather than is naïveté, is the element which has driven us to systematic destruction.

This film was released in the midst of a presidential election which, in my opinion, could have ended with either hope or utter hopelessness. The people of this country have rallied to ensure the former, and for that I am grateful and proud. The demise of an entire nation cannot be attributed to a single man, but I believe that the disintegration of our collective psyche can. A president, the leader of our nation, is responsible not only for executing decisions that act in the best interest of the country, but of upholding the sense of unity that defines the ideology of a democracy. In this example, as in so many others, the second President George Bush has failed us.

He has also failed us in providing a compelling subject for a film that felt about six hours long. I spent most of this time in anxious anticipation of the end. Ironic, as this is the very same feeling I have about the subject’s final term.

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One response

11 04 2009
uncle joe

Howdy Megan,
What amazing analysis of both this film as well as the current political temperment. Your in-depth notions plus command of the language is awesome to me. Congrats again!!
!Ciao!!
u. Joe
P.S. My Eastercard insert to you included a mention of a prominent N.Y.C. based writer; his name is misspelled. The correct spelling is: Philip Lopate. He is a writer of some import. !Ciao-ciao!!

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