Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"We Come in Peace!"

The hilarious satire, "Mars Attacks!", was made well over a decade ago, yet its outrageous social and political humor is even more applicable today than it was at the time of its initial release; during the relatively tranquil Clinton administration.

Yes, those were the days.  "Homeland Security" as far as our former President was concerned, consisted of keeping Hilary out of the Oval Office, to allow him enough time to enjoy a good cigar.  I wonder if any of the Secret Service guys were enlisted as Bill's "wingmen"?  I wouldn't doubt it.  After all, Clinton was one of our most engaging head-honchos; a charming silver tongued devil who knew how to get what he wanted out of people.  Let's not forget; he did a pretty good job of  running the affairs of state (no pun intended).

He was a darned good leader; forget the guy's character flaws.  Clinton certainly had a great admiration for our late, great President,  John F Kennedy; including his free-wheeling lifestyle.  Enough said.

Getting back to the motion picture industry; what makes "Mars Attacks!" the hilarious iconoclastic phenomenon that it became, was the brilliant parody it portrayed of American life; in all its banal, gullible, superficial and self-serving splendor.  The premise is quite simple:  The Martians decide to pay a visit to Planet Earth, and after a few conference calls back and forth (but no lunch), agree to meet the United States' military representatives out in the Nevada desert (Parumph), not far from the entertainment capital of the universe---Las Vegas.  I suppose Parumph was chosen, just in case our visitors might be feeling a bit frisky after the long trip from Mars; but I don't think earth girls were what these aliens had in mind when they landed.

After an elaborately planned dose of pomp and circumstance greets our new friends from outer space, the Martian leader steps forward to address the world.  His words bring immediate joy and relief to the masses attending this historic gathering: "We come in peace!"

At that point, some clown in the crowd, rejoices "They come in peace!" and proceeds to let a white dove of peace fly around, oh so peacefully...for about two seconds.  The stunned Martians zap the poor little birdie (into pieces), along with dozens of not-so-smart military and civilian personnel at the scene.  It was total (hilarious) chaos.

If that's their idea of "coming in peace", I'd hate to see how they'd act in they "came in violence".  Holy galactic calamity, Batman!

But wait!  It was all just a "cultural misunderstanding".  Clearly, that bird was a sign of "aggression" on the part of the earthlings; at least that's what our fearless leader---our President---determined, after a meeting with his so-called "brain trust".  After all, they did say they "came in peace", didn't they?  Surely, they're not lying about something like that.  That just wouldn't be fair.

The next meeting with the Martians is even more disatrous, as they zap 90% of Congress out of office (not a bad idea, really) right there on national television.  By this time, the President realizes this could be trouble.

In the end, most of the earth's population is wiped out, but the survivors do manage to use a little American ingenuity to defeat those demons, in a hilarious conclusion to the flick.  The heroes, a young man who works in a rural donut shop and his lovably demented granny, receive medals for their efforts, amid all the rubble that was once the White House.  The planet will continue, on a much smaller and simpler format; and that's what makes it a happy ending.  We're starting over, from scratch.  Maybe, the second time around, we'll have a clue.

I suppose it's human nature to want to believe what we hear from strangers; or from our politicians, for that matter.  We want to believe them, if they're telling us what we want to hear.  It's much more convenient than doubting them; resistance can be so inconvenient; so unpopular.  It's always easier to jump on the bandwagon.  Certainly, what "everybody" is doing must be right; so the rationale goes.

Wrong.  People make mistakes all the time; including who we vote into office.  It's great strategy for a politician to claim to be "transparent".  It's another thing for them to really live up to that claim.  We must keep an eye on those in Washington, DC.

Trusting our politicians is about as sensible as trusting those little devious aliens from the movie.

"We come in peace".  Yeah.  Right.

Larry Underwood is a corporate cynic, a government watch dog, and the author of Life Under the Corporate Microscope.

Visit his Author's Webpage for more information on the book that shook corporate America.  It's also very hilarious.  http://www.outskirtspress.com/LarryUnderwood