"Yeah? You'll have to let me borrow that sometime. Oh my gosh, they have this here!" I reached out and grabbed the copy of SLC Punk, not really
believing I had finally tracked it down. "Have you ever seen this movie?"
"No, man. I heard it's good, but it's sad."
"Yeah, the ending is kinda sad..."
[censored for those who haven't seen the movie]
"Yeah, but this, it's...it...it's probably the best...It's one of the best movies I've ever seen. Top ten of the Jake's favorite movies"
"It is one of the best coming of age stories I've ever seen." My cousin just nodded, having gotten used to the nerdiness in the words I use. He had
always been one of my "cool" cousins, hip to the lingo, as I would put it. Down or something like that as he would put it. I dunno, I'll start
using his current vocabulary in about 5 or 10 years, as soon as it stops being cool. If it's not technology, I'm slow to adapt.
"Oh, man, have you seen Troy," he asked excitedly as we passed it on the shelf.
"Yes," I spat bitterly.
"You didn't like it?!"
"It was a cool movie, Achilles kicked a**, but it was too political."
"It was..." he started, but knew me, and knew I saw politics in everything. He let the matter drop as he discovered the copy of The Count of Monte
Cristo he'd been looking for. "Sweet [maybe awesome, or something, I don't remember and the lingo escapes me] I got the last copy!"
"Sucks to be any of the other two people in Chicago who wants the DVD but hasn't bought it yet," I joked. He gave the obligatory "heh", and we
moved to the checkout line.
"Oh man, can I borrow some cash? I'm short about $8"
"Sure, just gimme what you have and I'll throw it on my card." The irony is, this was the last purchase I would ever make on this card, but that's
The woman in front of us made every noticeable effort to let us know she was entering in her PIN number. We made a show of not looking at the machine
as obviously as possible. I stepped up to the teller. He ran the 6 movies (9 actually, but one was a 2 for 1, the other an awesome deal on Die Hard,
costing only $20 for all three of them). The total came out to about $158.xx, including the special DVD edition of The Sims 2. I swipe my card and my
cousin makes it very apparent he's not looking as I go to enter my PIN number.
"You know, the only way you're going to get this card is if you mug me; since I don't intend to let you mug me, I don't care if you see my pin."
I had always been able to beat him up if he or my other cousin picked a fight with me when I was about 12 and he was 9. We hadn't fought since; I
wasn't sure where it could go if we did. As it stands, my cousin is one tough cookie who likes picking fights, and I am one of about 3 people who
could say something like that to him without getting a reaction. I've decided long ago to maintain that illusion.
He laughed, as did the teller ringing us up. I took the receipt and started to head through the door, not bothering to look behind me to make sure he
was following. I said goodbye to the security guard as we went through the little detector things in front of all doors at Best Buy, and we started
headed to my car.
"So what did you find political about Troy," my cousin goaded. He'd heard this song and dance before, and on more than one occasion had
convinced me that politics had nothing to do with something I'd seen or heard. Don't even ask about the Fellowship of the Ring conversation...
Smiling, I decided to bite the bait. "Well, for starters, they had a very strong anti-God or religion statement in there," I began.
"What are you talking about? They never even mentioned God in it."
"Not in the film, no, they mentioned Gods, not God." My cousin looked at me skeptically. "Look, okay, you've got the bad guy, the guy invading
Troy not for the girl, but for glory. For pride." I paused, looking to him for recognition of what I had just mentioned. He nodded.
"Ok, so you have this slimy bastard who wanted to take over Troy, but just needed an excuse. Helen was the excuse. More on that later, try to remind
me. Anyway, you have this royal ugly dude (What can I say, I like to quote Bill and Ted) who wants to take over the noble king's country. Then you
have Hector, the noble, devout, moral, and honorable Hector. He believes his side can win. He has faith in the city's god. I think it was Aphrodite;
I don't remember for sure, but..."
"No, I think it was Aphrodite. That name sounds familiar."
"Ok, so he is convinced Aphrodite will save his army. He prays and he prays. The temple to his God is demolished and desecrated. Others around him
say their God has forsaken them, but Hector goes on. He knows that, even in impossible odds, his lord, his light, will help him through.
"Oookaaay," my cousin said, knowing I was going somewhere with this, but not entirely sure where.
"Now, on the other side, you have someone devoid of any morality. The only god he worships is himself. He believes he is the greatest thing to walk
the planet, the gods be damned. He doesn't need faith, he has numbers. Who wins?"
"Dude, you're reading way too much into that," my cousin told me. "I didn't see any message."
"Of course not. You're not supposed to. It's supposed to be subtle. I wouldn't have seen it either, except I had watched the movie right around
election time, and was rather focused on politics. Gimme a second to explain, and NO, I did not get this off of that conspiracy site. I mentioned this
to Curtis as we left the theater when I first saw it."
"Then what's the point?"
"What did you think of Achilles?" I asked.
"He kicked ass, man. He was a one man..."
"Exactly, he kicked ass. Throughout the movie his disdained...He didn't believe nor did he respect any kind of religion. He was going to do it on
his own. Do you remember The Adventures Of Ulysses? We both had to read it in sixth grade." My cousin nodded, opening his mouth to say something, but
I continued. "In that book, and the original written by Homer called The Odyssey, Achilles was half man half god, and his mother dipped him in the
River Styx to protect him, leaving only his ankle tendon, the Achilles tendon..."
"So that's why its named that."
"Yeah. So his Achilles tendon was his only weak point in the books. Because of religion and belief in the Greek gods. They even made a point of
explaining that away as not religion, but instead Achilles pulling the arrows from the rest of his body, but leaving the one in his ankle there."
"I still think you're searching for something that's not there."
"There were many other examples. I haven't watched the movie since I saw it in the theater when it first came out, and I don't remember all the
details. I remember more from the political side." My cousin grunted, as if to say I'm right, and you know it, but you're too stubborn to accept
it. I responded, "Look, we can watch the movie some time this week, I think it's on indemand. I'll point these things out to you through the movie.
Now, the point? Achilles was the lone rebel, the cowboy, the guy who knew he could do it on his own, even though he had an incompetent leader bent on
world domination and imperialistic goals. The Trojans wanted peace; that's all, just peace. Yet this psycho king decided that he wanted their land
and was going to take it without any kind of negotiations. You savvy?" I quoted Pirates of the Caribbean since it is such a great flick. Looking into
my cousin's eyes for a brief moment before focusing my attention back to the road told me he wasn't.
"Ok, we have a peace loving people, and a psychotic king of another nation coming to destroy their peaceful way of life. The peaceful people are
relying on their God, knowing that she'll protect them from such insane aggression. We also have our hero, someone caught up on the wrong side, and
he knows it. He's the hero, though, and you know he's going to rage against this evil king, and every time he shows disrespect towards the king, you
silently cheer. Do you agree?"
"Yeah, that guy was a dick."
"...Which guy?" I asked.
"The king, guy."
"Yep, he sure was. Now you have in your head a movie where there was an evil king, a noble warrior, and an innocent kingdom being conquered by this
evil king. Do you see any parallels here?"
"No idea what you're talking about, dude."
"Ok, look at Hollywood's portrayal of how they see the Iraq war. This dumb idiot, Bush, is invading a land where the people would prefer to just
have it to themselves. According to Hollywood, they want us out. Now, the right wing started a very effective spin campaign equating support for the
war on Iraq with being a patriot, and anyone who disagrees is guilty of treason. Remember the Dixie Chicks?"
"I can't believe they said that. Yeah, I remember..."
"You've fallen prey to the right wing spin machine. The Dixie Chicks had every right in the world, or rather the nation, to say what they did.
Because of how it was spun, though, most people didn't think they had that right. Hollywood has been extremely critical of Bush and every policy
he's made through his presidency. Now I'll give you the cast, and you apply it to real life. Bush is the king who invaded Troy, Achilles is
Hollywood and their noble attempts to stop or expedite the battle as best they can. Iraq is Troy."
I waited a few moments; I could see recognition coming to my cousin's face.
"Ok, so they said something about the Iraq war. I didn't see it until you mentioned it, though. So what?"
"So, when you draw those parallels in your mind, and are presented with the same situation, you're going to feel what you felt in the movie. That's
the point. To change you subliminally. When you hear of Bush attacking another country, though the UN will want to talk, even if the US gets nuked by
that country, you're going to be pissed at Bush. You're not going to know the real reasons, you're just going to know that the situation Bush got
us into sucks, and it's only to further his kingdom. You're going to have an emotional reaction before you have a chance to logically reason it
"So if I logically reason it out I'll agree with you," he said disdainfully.
"Well...Uh...No. Not necessarily, but you will have an added bias initially when addressing the issue. Let's just say we were attacked somehow.
We've been seeing it happening in London, and there's a chance it could happen here. After the first day of outrage, people are going to start
saying Bush is going to attack Iran or Syria no matter what because of this. Now, we gain intel that points directly to Syria as the perps who did
this. Bush demands they do something, I dunno, but then Syria doesn't comply. As a result, the US goes to war with them. Now you have been inundated
with information saying he's going to go after Syria no matter what by Achilles, and there goes Aga-whatever after the innocent and peace loving
Syrians. Your assessment will be biased towards that, because of a movie using subliminal political messaging."
He thought for a minute as I pulled into his parking lot. I parked the car, but he didn't move. "That's bull#, man. I never looked at it that way,
but that's what they're doing. That's bull#."
"Ignorance is bliss," I said as he was getting out of my car. We said our farewells and he told me to call him on Friday if I wasn't doing anything
as he walked to his apartment. I pulled away, cranking the radio and singing along with the the song playing as I drove home.
This conversation happened last Thursday night as I was driving my cousin home after taking him out to dinner for his birthday. I tried to remain as
accurate to the actual conversation as my memory would allow. That night has been etched into my brain after finding out the next morning someone had
stolen $2,200 from me that night. This is just an example of why the right sees the MSM as having a left bias. It's not blatant, it's subtle, almost
on the lines of being subliminal. A choice word here, an idea there, and you're influenced without your knowing. I figured the best way to express
this was through that conversation I had with my cousin that night. His eyes that night were opened to a whole world he didn't even know existed. Now
I get calls during the day and night as he watches a movie or sees a news cast or sitcom where he now sees political messages.
I'm jaded, I expect them. He, on the other hand, didn't ever see it before, and is rather excited when he finds one in a newscast and wants to tell
someone who will understand. Unfortunately, I suspect the calls will stop coming shortly as he, too, becomes jaded towards the main stream media and
its hidden agenda. As I had said in my conversation with my cousin, Troy is on InDemand. Since I won't have to pay any money to watch it, I will do
so tonight. What we had talked about was just the tip of the iceberg on that movie, and I'm sure people will say it wasn't there. After tonight,
I'll be able to cite many, many anti-religious and anti conservative messages throughout the movie. They're there in many things coming out of
Hollywood. If you have eyes to see, you will; if you shut your eyes to the hidden messages and just try to enjoy the story, you're being
EDIT: Threw in a disclaimer. If any mods would like me to censor the things we said to one another, let me know and I'll do so. I just tried to be as
accurate to the conversation as I could.
[edit on 7-26-2005 by junglejake]