Sunday, September 19, 2010

RIP, Kevin McCarthy, 1914-2010: Fox News Making Pod People, One Brainwashing At A Time

By Manifesto Joe

You're next! You're next!!

That was the warning from Kevin McCarthy's small-town California doctor character in the 1956 sci-fi classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Directed by the great American B-movie auteur Don Siegel and co-starring Dana Wynter, the film depicts Earth people being covertly transformed into inhuman, emotionally dead "pod people" when they go to sleep. I would include a few minutes from the movie, but embedding has been consistently blocked. You can see clips on YouTube.

(I smell a Fox News conspiracy here!)

After this movie was released in 1956, there was a lot of writing about Cold War and McCarthyist paranoia. Although the greatness of Siegel's film has never been questioned, critics both right and left sensed political allegory, although the author of the source material, novelist Jack Finney, denied any such thing.

The right, at the time, wrote about the dehumanization of people under communism. The left wrote about the regimentation of Americans in the era of McCarthy-style blacklisting. I think an argument can be made in both directions: Fanatical ideologies of any mold have the potential to dehumanize the believer.

In 2010, I offer a new spin on it. Everyone I know who watches Fox News consistently displays a certain glazing of the eyes, and astounding, stupifying suspension of reason. It's a world of its own, quite divorced even from the reality of the lives of those viewers. They can be wage slaves, toiling for little more than minimum wage for rapacious corporations. Or, they can be people who make good salaries and benefits working for that vicious socialist government. Or, they can be retirees who live largely off "Socialist Security," yet see no conflict with being Tea Party activists.

They see no problem with their willingness to throw anyone and everyone who doesn't look like them, talk like them, worship like them, vote like them, etc., out into the street -- even if they aren't doing so well themselves. In that case, they blame it on people they perceive as below them, not the real culprits in higher places.

If that doesn't describe "pod people," I don't know what could.

And in passing, let's pay respect to a great American actor who never quite got his due. Kevin McCarthy (no relation to the late alcoholic right-wing senator) left us several days ago at the ripe old age of 96. Few obituaries noted that his sister was the late novelist Mary McCarthy, who wrote The Group. And although Kevin never quite became a star, his career on celluloid and stage was long and distinguished.

I hope the prophesy of Kevin's character in Body Snatchers will be heeded. One thing that's crucial is to understand what Fox News is: a right-wing version of the old Soviet state TV, or the newspaper Izvestia. If that's not obvious, then ...

You're next!

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas (surrounded by pod people).


Jack Jodell said...

Manifesto Joe,
Your comparison of Fox "News" with Tass or Izvestia is dead-on target! Fox "News" is bad news for America!

Anonymous said...

>>> Everyone I know who watches
>> Fox News consistently displays
> a certain glazing of the eyes

Here, the Libs are once again making broad generalizations and resorting to ad-hominen attacks against their opponents.
The Libs are always attacking We the People, who work for a living and pay taxes.
The Libs think they're so superior, with their fancy college degrees, their trust funds and their fancy cars.
We the People will be taking back America in November. The Tea Party represents the True People (The people who built this country).

Manifesto Joe said...

Jack, thanks for stopping by.

Anon, you're either joking, or you're an example of what I'm describing here.

If you want to see ad hominem attacks, watch Fox News and you'll hear one or two in about five minutes. Then they have the gall to call themselves "fair and balanced."

And, you take a great deal for granted. I've been in the work force for 32-plus years and have financed more stupid, needless right-wing wars than I care to remember.

I'm in the first generation of my family to get to go to college, and I had to work hard and go into debt to do it. I have two toes on my left foot, thanks to an industrial accident at one of those fancy jobs where I had to work to help pay my tuition. I drive a 1984 Ford F-150 pickup truck to work because it's still a good vehicle and I leave our "fancy" 2004 Honda for my wife to drive.

And you are too idiotic to have any real idea of how this country was built. It was built largely by underpaid laborers like my grandfather, who was born with no chance in life but lived on anyway, working for what "the man" felt like he could deign to pay that day. It was also largely built by black slaves, who had their labor stolen from them at the end of bullwhips and pistols.

Fools like you merely serve to illustrate my point.

Jack Jodell said...

I, too, take issue with Anon's assertion that liberals hate working people and look down on them. What a load of crap. It was LIBERALS, and NOT conservatives, who have always pushed for higher workers' wages and better working conditions. It's been LIBERALS who have been calling for middle class tax cuts and tax hikes for the very richest 2%, who are the ones freezing workers' wages and exporting their jobs. And it's been LIBERALS, and NOT conservatives, who have pushed for and passed safety-net legislation like Social Security, Medicare, and even welfare. To make the crazy statements Anon made is ample proof of the lies and distortion viewers of Fox "News" get 24/7/366!