In place of political power of an enriched citizenry, the firearm, like God and gold, takes on a totemic power, representing the last stand of individual liberty.
Trumpism is like the political embodiment of those men who put truck nuts and noxious coal burners on their diesel pickup trucks filling up the streets with plumes of black death – what aficionados call “rollin’ coal,” or “Prius repellant.” Youtube has a plethora of videos where a couple of rednecks are yuckin’ in up watching their buddies billow plumes of death from their tailpipes on liberal roadside demonstrators in their pink hats. A glance at the comments below the videos and it’s clear who is watching ecocidal resentment porn – one read something like “nice job, should be using mustard gas though.”
But despite its flaws has an underlying structure that could have made for a great film. As time goes on, I’m beginning to realize a couple of things about Costner’s disaster epic. One, that it was perhaps an ill-timed film – perhaps made a decade too late or two decades too soon. And in the critical flaws of the film’s tone, particularly in the much dissed second half, could be much better interpreted in the real life dystopian Trumpian America of 2017.
The ruined malls pierce the consumer cultural veil. Where there was once children lining up to take a picture with Santa now has become a zombified postindustrial space. Some economists are predicting that in five years, half of the 5,000 malls in America will become ghost malls. Santa must find other places I guess.
If left on this path, like a runaway train, like a dinosaur, it’s set on creating in the 21st Century, a new kind of dynastic capitalism which codifies an allowance for the excesses of the robber baron classes with the façade of democracy. We are near, or already in, Elysium, where only the wealthy have access to quality healthcare and can get into Jodie Foster’s cure-all chamber, and education, and where the games of the working class are their entertainment.
The following presents further where the character form of the American vigilante hero in our cultural imagination, in film, folklore and in real life, is treated as a kind of convenient danger. An angel to some, a demon to others, living in the edges of society where the moral grey areas of the American frontier still exist, where the man of violence waits for another crisis to put his discomfiting skills to use.
The following explores further the character of the conservative American hero from dime novel westerns and detective stories to film noir to the ever popular super hero genre. There emerges the quintessential American hero drawing from all of these action genres the singular influence of Batman.
… D.H. Lawrence may had this heroic ideal in mind when he described in Studies in Classical American Literature, “But have there the myth of the essential white America. All the other stuff, the love, the democracy, the flourishing into lust, is sort of a by-play. The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted”