Signs: ET in the Age of Bush

Mike Friedman mikedf at amnh.org
Fri Aug 9 00:46:34 MDT 2002


Lou, was it you who pointed to the surfeit of militaristic movies in this
period? I just went to see "Signs," the new Mel Gibson 'space invaders'
movie. Jeez, if you really want to know the ideological difference between
the period we're in and the post-Vietnam war period, just compare and
contrast this movie with ET. Remember ET's child protagonists teaching us
that different and alien doesn't mean hostile and evil? Signs turns this on
its head with a rabidly xenophobic message, that difference and alien-ness
is to be feared. In Signs, the people of earth and most of all the white
people [the unwitting killer of the Reverend's (Gibson's) wife -- and his
faith --  was an Indian or Arabic-looking individual] were the victims of
the evil aliens. And singled out for victim-hood were Gibson's children. We
must, of course, protect our kids against the evil aliens! In the end, of
course, Gibson regains his faith [in the good ole US of A?] and the
earthlings beat off the aliens (sorry...). Hollywood, I think C.L.R. James
pointed out, faithfully reflects its historic epoch, although not always
this crassly. And did anyone see "Master of Disguise"? Stupid adolescent
movie, but at least, in this one Dana Carvey appears as George Bush in the
final scene. "Folks around here call me Dubya," he comments to the evil
Brent Spiner (Data, for you Trekkies), "but you can call me King George."


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