Monday, May 9, 2016

Trump is Gen Jack T Ripper in Dr. Strangelove, reality TV version

"How I learned to stop worrying and love The Donald."

A few weeks ago, I started repeating the phrase in my head: "How I learned to stop worrying and love The Donald," a variation on the phrase used to market the film Dr. Strangelove when it came out in 1964. Posters advertising the film read, "Dr. Strangelove: How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb."
There must be a reason I keep repeating that phrase, I figured, so I got the DVD of Dr. Strangelove from the library and popped it in the machine. 

One after another, parallels between the Stanley Kubrick film and the Trump For President Campaign were striking:

Trump resembles in both swagger and mannerisms General Jack T. Ripper, the character in the film who goes nuts and starts nuclear war. Played by Sterling Heyden, Ripper snarls orders into the phone, with the same sociopathic self certainty as we've all seen in Donald Trump as he repeats "believe me, I'll be the greatest" with no evidence to back it.

Gen. Jack T. Ripper
In one of the first scenes of the film, Ripper sits in his office announcing a Condition Red using phraseology and mannerism similar to Trump.

"Let's see if we can stay on the ball," he hollers. "Listen to me carefully."  (Like Trump, Ripper just keeps repeating "Listem to me" which is same as Trump's "believe me, believe me." The general, like the Donald, uses his dominance to keep people from asking questions.

"Listen to me carefully." 

"Believe me"

Ripper is bombastic and egoistic and so much like Trump it's scary, as he delivers his explanation for dropping the bombs.

War is too important to be left to politicians.

Ripper: "Mandrake, do you recall what Clemenceau once said about war?  War is too important to be left to the generals.  When he said that fifty years ago he might have been right, but today war is too important to be left to politicians.  They have neither the time the training or the inclination for strategic thought." 

 (HOW MANY TIMES in past years have the likes of the Tea Party said we should elect outsiders with no experience in Washington instead of professional politicians?)

"Today war is too important to be left to politicians," said Jack T. Ripper.

The more I watch, the more I realize, 

Dr. Strangelove: "Truth is not always a pleasant thing.  But it is necessary now to make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable but nevertheless distinguishable postwar environments, one with twenty million killed and one with a hundred and fifty million killed.
"I say no more than ten million killed tops.
(Like today we will soon have a choice between two horrendous presidential candidates, one of whom is Trump / Ripper ) (giving me chills)

They cut to Russia: a convoy of trucks traversing a barren landscape

It looks like the images we saw last year of ISIS spreading across Iraq.  


Ripper: "I can no longer sit back and allow communist  infiltration communist indoctrination communist subversion and the international c conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids."

Okay aside from the part about bodily fluids- substitute Muslim for communist above and you have Trump, in the persona of General Jack T. Ripper.

Then says Ripper: "This base is sealed, I want all privately owned radios to be immediately impounded.  I want every single one of them collected without exception." 

Up in one of the planes, Major Kong, speaking in a southern twang like LBJ after a sixpack, prepares to go after them Russkies.

"Well boys I reckon this is it.  Nuclear combat toe-to-toe with the Russkies." (about as much concern as one hears today from a Trump supporter about the idea of a madman like Trump with his finger on the nuclear button).

(In my memory, in 1964 that kind of extreme red-neck style patriotism was not as widespread as it is today in 2016.)

More notes from  from Dr. Strangelove:

Buck, the other general, has a personal assistant working in his home office in a bikini

(I'm beginning to see the meaning behind similarities between the film and today.  Trump is taking America on a dangerous ride much like General Ripper, telling everyone to just believe him.)

Ripper:  "There's nothing anyone can do about this now, I'm the only person who knows the three letter code group."

More notes as the film continues, we are now in the war room and Peter Sellers as President Merkin Muffley resembles eerily the current President of France:


Peter Sellers as President of the United States looks way too much like French President Francois Hollande for my comfort

They are at Burpelson Air Force Base
Interrupted in the middle of Operation Drop Kick to attack Russia.
Once the go-code issued, if they fly past their fail safe location, there is no way to call back the planes

Dr. Strangelove: "Once the go code is received, the radios in the aircraft are switched to a special coded device.  To prevent the enemy from issuing   need three letter code

Radios are off in the planes
General Ripper has sealed off the base and cut off communications. 

They are on their way in there and there is no way to bring them back. 

"Let's get going there's no other choice, god willing we will prevail  through the purity and essence of our natural fluids, god bless you all." - Ripper's last message to the world (the haters always invoke God to justify their hate).

Meanwhile General Buck Turgidson speaks like every bureaucrat you've ever encountered. When the President shouts I thought you said this could never happen, Buck replies:

"Well I don't think it's fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip up, sir." (sounding like every milquetoast bureaucrat one has ever dealt with in these decades).

That war room set in Dr. Strangelove was so futuristic at the time, how does it compare to today?

As real army trucks approach the base but the soldiers think they are enemy trucks, armed guards have this dialogue:

Those trucks look like the real thing don’t they
Probably bought them from the army as war surplus.

Then soldiers, as ordered, shoot down the truck convoy before anyone can see who they really are. 

Americans shooting at Americans, each thinking the other is the enemy.


JANUARY 17, 2014
Almost Everything in “Dr. Strangelove” Was True

Half a century after Kubrick’s mad general, Jack D. Ripper, launched a nuclear strike on the Soviets to defend the purity of “our precious bodily fluids” from Communist subversion, we now know that American officers did indeed have the ability to start a Third World War on their own. And despite the introduction of rigorous safeguards in the years since then, the risk of an accidental or unauthorized nuclear detonation hasn’t been completely eliminated.
The command and control of nuclear weapons has long been plagued by an “always/never” dilemma.

For years, the Air Force and the Navy blocked attempts to add coded switches to the weapons solely in their custody. During a national emergency, they argued, the consequences of not receiving the proper code from the White House might be disastrous. And locked weapons might play into the hands of Communist saboteurs. “The very existence of the lock capability,” a top Air Force general claimed (in 1960), “would create a fail-disable potential for knowledgeable agents to ‘dud’ the entire Minuteman [missile] force.” The Joint Chiefs thought that strict military discipline was the best safeguard against an unauthorized nuclear strike. A two-man rule was instituted to make it more difficult for someone to use a nuclear weapon without permission. And a new screening program, the Human Reliability Program, was created to stop people with emotional, psychological, and substance-abuse problems from gaining access to nuclear weapons.  Coded switches to prevent the unauthorized use of nuclear weapons were finally added to the control systems of American missiles and bombers in the early nineteen-seventies. 

More Notes from Dr. Strangelove:

Ripper goes off on riffs about the importance of water. . .
In his case it's the fluoridation
"The most monstrously conceived and dangerously communistic plot we've ever had to face."
(There used to be people who went on and on about fluoridation of water back in the sixties.  Today the threat people obsess over depends on what websites they visit.)

As things get worse, we have the introduction of Dr. Strangelove who advised the Bland Corporation on the technology. 

As Dr. Strangelove gives his speech his arm keeps jerking up and giving a Nazi sigheil sign, especially right after saying military personnel should be among the hundreds of thousands who get to go live in mine shafts for a hundred years after nuclear devastation so the human race can continue.

Dr. Strangelove represents the madness that Trump is releasing.  Dr. Strangelove becomes the most important person in the war room as Earth approaches self destruction.

Strangelove himself is connected to a gigantic complex of computers

Circumstances Under which the bombs are to be exploded are programmed into a memory bank
(In 1964 that was futuristic, today it is likely true)

Shootout continues at the Air Force Base, Americans shooting Americans, too caught up in the crossfire to realize they are shooting their own people.

Side trip of our hero having to stop at a phone booth to call the president and don’t have change to place the call

They aren’t able to stop the planes, 34 are recalled except the one piloted by Slim Pickens,
"It's not going to help either one of us if the doomsday machine goes off,  is it?" says the President.
Pickens goes off looking for "target of opportunity" because his plane is losing fuel, drops the bomb on the nearest city and begins the end of life as we know it on Earth.

At one point dr. Strangelove almost gets strangled by his own out of control hand
Buck warns against a mine shaft gap
Then series of atomic bomb burst footage as chorus sings "we'll meet again don’t know where don’t know when"

(I have to learn to stop writing things down and just watch the movie.)


"She will be easier to beat than many of the people I've already beaten." - Trump re Hillary after his April 26 sweep.


Link to New Yorker article: 

Posted by Kay Ebeling
Producer, City of Angels Blog
Not just L.A., the city of angels is everywhere

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