Swans Commentary » swans.com March 14, 2005  



Bring Back Poindexter, Please!
The Sure Thing


by Richard Oxman





Special note: It is highly recommended that readers review the footnotes as they go through the article, although reading what's offered by the links is not necessary.


(Swans - March 14, 2005)  The title? Not because John Bolton's so bad. Which he is. I just couldn't resist invoking the name of the highly (Iran-Contra) decorated, former senior national security adviser for Reagan, considering the false sense of security being fostered by FBI fakirs these days.

Former director of the Pentagon's now defanged Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the infamous, retired Admiral John Poindexter (JP) once tried to take book on whether or not missile strikes, assassinations, coups, etc. would come down the pike, (1) and I'm ready to make a wager on upcoming terrorist attacks...as per a new secret FBI report obtained by ABC News. (2)

I don't think they'll put the action up on the board at Las Vegas, it's such a lock. So I'm dyin' to bring JP's outfit back...so's I can cash in. (3)

When I put my money down on the Bosox last year and the Academy Award Oscar-winner Charlie Kaufman this year, I knew I had a lock, as they say. And I still felt that way after the (ultimately yanked) Yanks were self-thanking themselves for being up three zip (with only one to go, baseball historical precedent totally on their side)...and in spite of the 11th hour Hollywood grapevine buzz over Mike Leigh (Vera Drake) and Brad Bird (The Incredibles). (4)

But zero compares to the "sure thing" that ABC brings...with their lame proclamation.

(Jarring) Cut to The Realm of Cinema.

In the "There Is Only One First Time" section of The Conversations, there's a lovely sequence of words put together by Walter Murch (and Michael Ondaatje)...relating to intimacy. (5) Walter describes the cinematic experience as one of "mass intimacy," and Michael points out that "One of the things about watching a video is that it never feels private." They both seem to agree that watching a DVD on a computer with headphones can get back to the "true intimacy that film has." It's a wonderful discussion in a gorgeously singular book.

However, I'm focusing here...now...on intimacy only. My intention is to quiet the reader down from the roller coaster orthographics above, and secure undivided attention...before reiterating the punch line of this article...in no uncertain terms.

Just as Marcel Duchamp wanted viewers of his last artwork Étant donnés only to see the creation...if they viewed it from tiny holes in an old door of a gallery wall, peeking through..."to reawaken an original private and childlike curiosity...shared secret between two...," (6) I want you to let me whisper my message. In confidence, if you will. I'll italicize for effect.

There will be horrible devastation wrought on these shores this year. Put the rent/mortgage payment down.

If the FBI thinks that their sleepwalking take on "sleeper cells" says anything of value, they've probably taken Woody Allen's analysis of revolutionaries (in his 1973 Sleeper) too seriously. Kind of like how Sleepy Hollow progressives have dropped the ball somnambulistically in Seattle and elsewhere. Not believing in mayhem. Making sure the ghost walks. Unsure things. (7)

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1.  The idea of creating an online futures market in which anonymous traders could wager whether or not this or that horror might take place was devised by the same Pentagon unit which brought us the Orwellian Total Information Awareness Program; the raison d'être there centered on the collection of medical, financial and various computer-based info for the basis of fighting terrorism. Poindexter's brainchild, called Policy Analysis Market, was supposed to be the ideal scenario for gaining intelligence about potential terrorists' plans. Where IS that bridge I've been trying to sell? It's cracked and it's got potholes, but it's not crackpot.  (back)

2.  As per a recent Democracy Now! headline, the report "questioned the capability of Al Qaeda to strike inside the United States. The FBI concluded the Al Qaeda has tried to recruit members to form sleeper cells but the U.S. has never actually found any true 'sleeper' cells insider the country."  (back)

3.  Out of respect to my debt to Dostoyevsky. To understand this all better from several angles, the reader might want to dip into my "February Dirt and Duck Tape Mentality," using the opening Camus quote on Dostoyevsky as a point of departure. Why a lock? See "Real Homeland Insecurity," "Goal, Osama, Goal!", and "Jewish Suicide Bombers Are Coming." These are not my best-written articles, but they're spot on target here. In fact, Poindexter and his plans are down for the count as per Roy Mark's rundown ("Terrorist Futures Site Sinks Poindexter").  (back)

4.  My Bosox prediction was documented with the line: "That's why the Red Sox will take it all away from the Yanks this year." When I went out on a vine, so to speak, playing Hollywood Cassandra, I proclaimed: "I'd say the Shoe-in of The Night will come with the Metaphysical Prankster Charlie Kaufman's Oscar. He was the writer for Being John Malkovich, Human Nature, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Adaptation, and...from this year's goodies...Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In spite of the fact that Hollywood doesn't take too well to plumbing the deep well of Mind Games, the members are likely to finally acknowledge this cerebral guy who made John Malkovich famous... The Academy's international orgy of vapid pop-cultural celebration makes this a lock. At the races, handicappers always had a Best Bet of the day. This is it. Put the rent down." (In my "Pushing the Envelope at the Oscars: Selectoral Fraud.")  (back)

5.  In particular, on and around p. 47 of Michael Ondaatje's The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002).  (back)

6.  Ibid., p. 48.  (back)

7.  There are references to the Burtonized version of Washington Irving's tale here, wherein Crane refuses to believe that a ghost is committing mayhem. But "the ghost walks" also refers to getting paid, compensated. I tried to work in Roger Donaldson's Sleeping Dogs (1977), but failed; that features a New Zealand man torn between repressive government and violent resistance, in a situation precluding neutrality. It was the very first NZ film to open in the U.S.  (back)


Internal Resources

Humor with a Zest on Swans

America the 'Beautiful' on Swans


About the Author

Richard Oxman, always in search of a trustworthy bookie, lives in Los Gatos, California. A former professor of Dramatic Art, Speech, Cinema History, Comparative Literature, among other disciplines, at Rutgers University and other so-called institutions of higher learning, he's also taught ESL plus worldwide for over three decades...to all ages. He's crossed significant paths with some of the most interesting figures of the 20th century, including Tennessee Williams, (mentor) George Weber, Samuel Beckett and Kid Gavilan, but he believes the deepest creative influences on him have been his many wives and children, and unkind strangers; serving the public in very odd non-academic capacities has also contributed. Some of his past lives can be viewed at frenchpaintbox.com and onedancesummit.org, and most of his recent writing plus can be found in the Cultural Politics section of the online journal, Selves and Others. Throughtout 2004 he focused primarily on what he calls walktalk, writing that attempts to move readers to action (following new paradigms). He plans to be a regular contributor to Swans, which he considers a gem, and "rare as flawless chrysolite."



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This Edition's Internal Links

An Outcast's Inappropriate Aria - by Phil Rockstroh

The Insurgent Word: "Persona Non Grata" - by Gerard Donnelly Smith

The Open Society Revisited - by Michael DeLang

Side Effects Of Perverted Brains - by Philip Greenspan

Profiling, Torture & Knowledge - by Francis Raven

Never Underestimate The Power Of Fear - by Milo Clark

English vs. American Theatre Criticism - by Charles Marowitz

Framing - Poem by Gerard Donnelly Smith

An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge - Short Story by Ambrose Bierce

Blips #14 - From the Editor's desk

Letters to the Editor

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URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art11/roxm001.html
Published March 14, 2005