If you have seen Alfred Hitchcock’s North By Northwest, read further. If not, there are inevitable spoilers here and you should probably wait for another blog posting.
You’ve been warned, ye swabs!*
If you recall the movie, poor Roger Thornhill is mistaken for George Kaplan by a coincidence when Kaplan is paged at the same moment that Cary Grant (Thornhill) decides to send his mother a telegram. * [* Note to Modern Youth: a telegram was an early form of texting.]
Now the spoilers:
Grant is kidnapped, questioned, a fifth of bourbon is poured down his gullet and he’s stuck in a Mercedes convertable that he manages to keep on the road long enough to rear-end a police car and is “saved” from his would-be assassins.
And thus begins the fruitless pursuit of George Kaplan, who has dandruff, short suits and has been chasing master Evil Person James Mason, supposedly.
Fairly early (a couple of murders and attempted murders later) it is revealed that George Kaplan is a fiction. He’s a “decoy” meant to keep James Mason from suspecting the informant that they’ve got planted in his merry band of thugs.
Whoops! No George Kaplan here …
“The Professor” (Leo G. Carrol) explains it to Thornhill (Grant):
Thornhill: I see. What’s all this got to do with Mt. Rushmore?
The Professor: Vandamm has a place near there. We think it’s his jumping-off point to leave the country tomorrow night
Thornhill: Are you going to stop him?
The Professor: No.
Thornhill: Then why are we going there?
The Professor: To set his mind at ease about George Kaplan.
Thornhill: Oh, you, huh? You’re George Kaplan, aren’t you?
The Professor: There is no such person as George Kaplan.
Thornhill: What do you mean? I’ve been in his room. I’ve tried on his clothes. He’s got short sleeves and dandruff!
The Professor: Believe me, he doesn’t exist.
Now, when you really look at it, the “Tea Party” seems an awful lot like George Kaplan: a series of ginned up “rallies” events and bus tours all meant to convince us that the REAL STORY of this election season is a fiction as purposive as George Kaplan.
It’s meant to divert our attention from the real snake in our midst. I talked about it on Friday, and President Obama talked about it in his weekly Saturday address:
The White House Blog
Weekly Address: The Republican Corporate Power Grab
Posted by Jesse Lee on September 18, 2010 at 06:00 AM EDT
The President explains how the most dire warnings about the Citizens United case have been proven valid as Republicans in Congress have blocked legislation to fix it.
Back in January, in my State of the Union Address, I warned of the danger posed by a Supreme Court ruling called Citizens United. This decision overturned decades of law and precedent. It gave the special interests the power to spend without limit – and without public disclosure – to run ads in order to influence elections. Now, as an election approaches, it’s not just a theory.
We can see for ourselves how destructive to our democracy this can become. We see it in the flood of deceptive attack ads sponsored by special interests using front groups with misleading names. We don’t know who’s behind these ads or who’s paying for them.
Even foreign-controlled corporations seeking to influence our democracy are able to spend freely in order to swing an election toward a candidate they prefer.
As I said on Friday: the REAL narrative [is that] this election is for sale, and the amounts of hidden money slushing around through anonymous donor organizations is already obscene. So who are you going to believe? A carefully mediagenic “Tea Party” narrative, or the narrative of the puppeteers who are trying to throw you off the scent with this “George Kaplan” narrative?
Oh, and there is one more North By Northwest scene that springs to mind when, last week, Karl Rove was “adamantly against” Tea Party Express candidate Christine O’Donnell, and was then “taken to the woodshed” by Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin … PROVING that this isn’t Karl’s party anymore. (You know, giving them plausible deniability to say WE’RE not Bush!” and where the heck is Cheney these days? Hmmm.) Leonard (played by Martin Landau) is explaining that Eva Marie Saint (the double agent) has shot Cary Grant in the Mount Rushmore cafeteria, but all is not as it seems. Vandamme (James Mason) is disbelieving:
Leonard: You surely would have suspected. Why else would you have decided not to tell Miss Kendall why our little treasure here has a belly full of microfilm?
Vandamm: You seem to be trying to fill mine with rotten apples.
Leonard: Sometimes the truth does taste like a mouthful of worms.
Vandamm: Truth? I’ve heard nothing but innuendos.
Leonard: Call it my women’s intuition, if you will. But I’ve never trusted neatness. Neatness is always the result of deliberate planning.
Vandamme: She shot him in a moment of fear and anger. You were there, you saw it yourself.
Leonard: Yes. And thereby wrapped everything up into one very neat and tidy bundle. A: She removed any doubts you may have had about her. What did you call it? Her “devotion”? B: She gave herself an urgent reason to be taken to the other side with you… in case you decided to change your mind.
Vandamme: I think you’re jealous. No, I mean it. I’m very touched.
[Suddenly Leonard brings the gun out from behind his back and points it at the startled Vandamm.]
[Leonard pulls the trigger, fires point blank at Vandamm. There is a SHARP REPORT. Vandamm stands there, stunned but unharmed.]
Leonard: The gun she shot Kaplan with. I found it in her luggage. It’s an old Gestapo trick. Shoot one of your own to show that you’re not one of them. They’ve just freshened it up a bit with blank cartridges.
Gee. They “shot” Karl Rove, to prove that they weren’t the old George W. Bush bad guys. Sounds like the kind of stunt that Karl Rove would come up with. But, of course, everything here is on the up and up.
Call it my women’s intuition, if you will. But I’ve never trusted neatness. Neatness is always the result of deliberate planning.
Let’s get out there and find George Kaplan. Er, I mean the Tea Party. And remember, not all pirates talk like pirates are supposed to. Some talk like James Mason. Or Karl Rove.
Vandamme: Rather unsporting, don’t you think … using real bullets?
And, if you don’t think it’s easy to pull the wool over the eyes of a huge chunk of the public AND their self-appointed gatekeepers, consider that North By Northwest ends with such a blatant dirty joke that no one ever sees it.
Having survived the chase on Mount Rushmore,
… Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint are now happily married. And as the newlyweds lie into their Pullman sleeper bed, we cut to the outside of the train and see:
Train going into tunnel .. uh, GET it?
It ain’t that tough, mateys. Arrr.