I’m sure you’ve noticed that shit has gone wonky in the world. More specifically, the United States – not that they are particularly united these days, unless you count the fact that 48 of them are pretty much stuck together by simple geographic necessity.
At any rate, let me flash back a bit…
Back during my late teens there was this movie. It was a bit of a spin on the Moon Landing Conspiracy nuts and it was called Capricorn One. (Warning, Spoilers) The basic gist of the movie is that at the last minute the government realizes that their mission to Mars will fail due to a defect in the space capsule, so just before launch they yank the astronauts, played by James Brolin, O. J. “If I Did It” Simpson, and Sam Waterston. They cart them off to a secret, hidden facility, where they have a mockup of the capsule, the lander, the martian landscape, and the whole nine yards. They fill them in on the story and convince them to act out the rest of the mission as if everything is fine – all in the interest of not embarrassing their nation. And so, they go along with it, for a while… Their compliance sort of changes when during the return flight the capsule fails, burns up, and that’s the end of that. Now the government has no choice but to off these guys and bury them somewhere, then hold a big public memorial for these fallen heroes who never actually left the Earth’s atmosphere. So, instead of saying, “Okay, I’ll take a bullet for the cause” they escape and strike out across the desert. Of course, the gubmint chases after them.
Enter Eliot Gould – intrepid reporter. He has figured out something is up and he has traveled out in search of where this secret base might be (he was tipped off by Rossi from Lou Grant… No, seriously, he was)… At any rate, after some serious acrobatic flying by Telly Savalas (Yeah, Kojak was a crop duster, who knew?) they rescue James Brolin (O.J. and Sam got offed by the federales) and deliver him to his own public funeral, right there in front of the TV cameras and everything, effectively toppling the house of cards built by the bad, eebil gubmint.
It was actually a good story, and not a bad movie. I even bought it on DVD many years later and have watched it a couple of times since that summer of my teens when two dollar matinees were the norm, and an air conditioned Wherenberg Theater was the place to be to escape the heat.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that today.
I’m pretty sure you could literally have this exact scenario occur and nothing would topple… Just look at our current election cycle. There’s a racist, misogynistic liar getting busted left and right – by himself, on tape – and he still has rabid followers who are convinced that it’s all just a plot to take down their guy. What’s worse, there are a lot of them.
Maybe that one way trip to Mars they were advertising a while back isn’t such a bad idea after all…
More to come…