You know how there are days in your life when everything changes?.
For George W. Bush, it was the day he put down the crack pipe and met
Jesus. For LeBron James, it will be the day that he finally loses his
virginity. For me, it was last Thursday, when I saw the CNN show
Crossfire and first gazed upon the magnificent host, Tucker
Carlson, and forgot entirely about my hunger strike to meet
Ledger. I should point out that my hunger strike didn't get as
much attention as it might have because I mainly just skipped my late
I took a flight (Thank you, US Airways E-savers) from Appleton to
Washington, DC, where I got a chance to see Crossfire live at
its studio at George Washington University. GWU has also converted the
main library into an Indian casino and its women's dorm into Martha
Washington's Strumpet Inn and Massage Parlor in an effort to raise
cash and distance itself from the boring stuff that most universities
do. The school's catchy new slogan -- "George Washington Networked
Here" -- really shows how far the school will go to make their
students the best lobbyists in the country!
Anyway, there was Tucker on stage in all his cherubic glory, with
his pink pants (sadly, hidden from the camera) and his bowtie. In the
audience, we were encouraged to cheer for our favorite comments, and
Tucker had so many sharp points to make at those liberal whiners that
I couldn't stop screaming his name, including during the part when the
two guards carried me forcefully out of the studio, and then for
fifteen minutes out in front of the building. My throat still hurts,
and I wish it was for doing something for Tucker other than screaming.
When I get in one of my moods, I think the best thing to do is to
see a movie to calm me down, and what could do that better than a
futuristic nightmare about the end of the world and kung fu fights
against 1,000,000 robots who all look like the evil elf from Lord
of the Rings?
Some of you may have heard of the first Matrix movie, which
was sort of a cult classic that I think was about newlyweds who have a
flat tire and end up in the house of a crazy scientist. It's most
famous because people sing along with Keanu Reeves and the other
people doing "Let's Sing the Time Warp, Again."
In the new installment, Keanu plays "Neo," also known as "The One,"
who flies in and out of a computer world where he has magical powers.
It turns out that in the future, computers are angry at humans and are
trying to send an important message about conservation. What's so
frustrating and fiendish about the computers is that they are very
passive-aggressive and often don't say things as clearly as they
should. What do they want? Why are they so mad at Neo?
People are pretty much the same all over the world, in my opinion,
and probably even deep inside of the world far in the future. So it's
not surprising that people would do a lot of talking about what the
computers want, how their lives have meaning, and that sort of thing.
In other action movies, writers and directors will usually keep the
chatter to a minimum, figuring that French debates about
exigeticalentialism or whatever probably aren't all that important to
a rampaging bunch of dinosaurs who realize that Steven Spielberg has
given them some fat guys, lawyers, and black people to kill. But in
the new Matrix film, the Flying Wallenda Brothers, who wrote
and directed the movie, Load up a lot of great conversations.
Do we have choice? Or is everything predetermined in advance? Why
do socks always disappear in the dryer? What's up with those airplane
seats? And how come they call it "military intelligence"? Do we
control machines, or do they control us? I can't have an orgasm unless
I am watching a porno film, so are the actors unable to have sex
unless they are watching me masturbate? It really makes you think.
Turning an action movie into a long series of philosophical debates
might have been risky, if the two directors had not found such great
actors to do the debates. But with Keanu Reeves, Monica Bellucci,
Samuel Fishburne, and the other stars, it's clear that in addition to
their acting ability, these people were chosen mostly because of their
natural ease with difficult metaphysical questions. Keanu Reeves
almost destroyed his career in 1992 for launching a spirited defense
of Martin Heidegger, in spite of Heidegger's Nazi ties, during his
Oscar acceptance speech for his leading role in Point Break.
Three years later, however, Reeves made a public statement condemning
Heidegger, largely because he had in the meantime become a fan of
Edmund Husserl, which allowed him to see the consequences of
anti-Semitism. Reeves was then given his second Oscar, for Johnny
Mnemonic, and then gave a speech that spoke in general terms of
his fondness for peanut butter and his wish that more news broadcasts
would feature feltboards or puppet shows, to clarify some of the
difficult issues, like who is higher up in the government, the
President or the Vice-President.
The Wallendas and their fine cast weave philosophy into the movie
using one of the most interesting devices this reviewer has ever seen.
Whenever they reach an unresolvable point in one of their debates,
they begin to fight. The dramatic high point comes when Hugo Weaving
challenges Reeves's Wittgensteinian position regarding the primacy of
language over substance in philosophical debates. Taking a neo-Popperian
stance, Weaving multiplies himself several hundred times, announces
there's ultimately no way to prove that there's only one of himself,
and proceeds to beat the snot out of Keanu until he realizes that
Keanu has superman powers and can beat to death all of the new
Weavings with a poker.
Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) challenges the idea of the subject and
argues instead that free-flowing discourses and narratives shape all;
she ends up in a fight to the death with a madly powerful Jurgen
Habermas (playing himself) who teaches her the meaning of
intersubjectivity by randomly taking control of one person after
another in a fiendish plot to destroy her. The philosopher Cornell
West (also playing himself) has a rap duel with Eminem and loses
badly, then moves back to the "amateur circuit" and is beaten badly by
What's most disturbing about the future isn't just that the robots
and computers control the surface of the world, and humans are
underground. It's more that in the future, the human world has gone
topsy-turvy, and that most of the people in charge are young black,
Oriental, and Spanish people who do a lot of sexual dances to
throbbing music. Because I'm a huge fan of Broadway -- a place I
probably would have visited if it wasn't in New York -- I was very
happy to see that the cast of Stomp survived the apocalypse,
but I'm not sure I like the idea of them playing that sort of thumping
tune for people basically to have sex to. Call me old-fashioned, but I
don't see what was so wrong with Sonny & Cher.
Because this troubled me so much, I wrote in a question to Tucker
on Crossfire for tomorrow: What part of the new Matrix movie do
Republicans find scarier: a world not run by people, or a world not
run by white people? I hope they use it on air and that Tucker winks
By the way, it seems that the apocalypse is all the rage these
days. Last night, Buffy the Vampire Slayer had its last
episode, and a couple of lesbians prevented the end of the world by
opening up the underworld and using their friend vampire as a dupe to
destroy himself and everyone else. A similar plot was in Smallville,
which made me cry as it always does, because they always use some sad
teen songs to show how much love can hurt, even when you are Superman.
Then Clark puts on a red kryptonite ring and rides off on a Harley to
destroy the world. To be continued? We hope!!!!! This is the way the
world should end, with a bang, not a motorcycle ride.
While watching Monica Bellucci in The Matrix: Loaded I had
wanted to, you know, take care of business, but I couldn't because of
what I said before about why I need porno movies. So after watching
Smallville, I took the picture of Monica Bellucci that I had cut
out of People magazine and taped to the TV, then put in my video of
Hung Wankenstein with Ron Jeremy. It was sort of weird, but that
worked. Then I had a good night's sleep.
I predict that next spring, Keanu will pick up his third Oscar and
will finally get to give that speech about Bertrand Russell and bong
water that he's been saving up..
On a scale of four or five stars, I give The Matrix: Loaded
both four stars and five stars, and neither four stars nor five stars.
Makes you think, doesn't it?
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