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Power is the best ipicac: In the month that saw the release and immediate disappearance of geriatric cop thriller Righteous Kill — a kind of Diagnosis: Murder-grade vehicle for aging Stanislavski method actors Al Pacino and Robert De Niro — Cambodia-bombing old Henry Kissinger, the George Washington Carver of bombing the shit out of impoverished Asian villagers and who replaced Don Knotts as the deputy on The Andy Griffith Show for one weird season, is now supporting Sen. Barack Obama's call for diplomatic talks with Iran. With President Bush now explicitly supporting Barry Obama's timetable for Iraq withdrawal and the recent incursions into Pakistan, which Obama proposed and Sen. John McCain said would be a terrible idea, this makes three clear foreign policy successes for Barack Obama, and he hasn't been elected yet.
But getting back to Righteous Kill. I actually had to check the Internet Movie Database to remember the title, where I learned that the characters played by Pacino and De Niro are named, respectively, "Rooster" and "Turk." That is literally THE WORST. And also a leading indicator of a trend toward bad nicknames for movie characters if you consider that Dane Cook, the Smash Mouth's "All-Star" of comedians, plays a character named "Tank" in the upcoming My Best Friend's Girl. It's axiomatic that you can't give yourself a nickname; you have to inspire them in other people. Probably fortunately, I never did inspire anyone to give me a nickname, but if a screenwriter ever tries to give me one, I'll shut it down as quickly as possible by breaking his nose.
After the jump, a Bible-based push-poll analysis. Click here, or on our Lord and Savior in precious light switch form, which may inspire an uncomfortable conversation with your kids:
This fist for hire! After decades of establishing, maintaining and patronizing Jew-restricted country clubs and golf courses, ostensibly pro-Israel Christian Republicans like to say Democrats are antisemitic. Look: I know it's just business as usual, and as a libertarian Scientologist, I don't really have a dog in that fight. But according to The New Republic,Jewish voters are now receiving push-polling phone calls from a company called Central Marketing Research, Inc. about secret Muslim Barack Obama's secret plan to destroy Israel, or something. JEWS BEWARE, is the thrust of the scripted cold-calls. But why are Fundamentalist Christians really so obnoxiously pro-Israel?
In my spare time, I've been reading about a certain man — a humble man born to poverty, who was persecuted and tortured, but who rose again to save mankind. That man? Jefferson Lincoln Bolt, the two-fisted courier antihero of the 1973 film That Man Bolt, kind of the generic Always Save store-brand version of Shaft. I picked up the novelization at a yard sale. LOOKIT ME I'M ALAN SCHERSTUHL. Character dossier courtesy of my scanner:
OK, Bolt isn't scourged or crucified, and he doesn't rise again to save mankind, exactly, but he does save a briefcase containing one million dollars. However, the novelization1 of the 1973 film, as adapted by Peter Crowcroft, does depict the following racially-insensitive torture scene at the hands of a complete caricature of a Chinese acupuncturist:
"It important we know where money. I ask you sir, where money? This I find out soon?" Pak smiled again.
He pressed the needle into Bolt's side. Twisting and turning it, Pak worked expertly. Bolt felt a raging pain. It was something like a toothache going shivering down Bolt's right side.
"Tell where money. Tell, no more pain. Acupuncture very good. Acupuncture old Chinese torture, used by Mandarin on wrongdoers, used by medicine people to cure and help. I make terrible pain. I do not want to make pain for you. It important money. Tell where money, then no more pain."
Terrifying — and also a lightning-rod for the racially-charged tension between African Americans and Chinese acupuncturists in the 1970s.
Fundamental Christians, as seen on the worst Sunday morning cable broadcasts, actually support Israel because they believe that the return of the Jews to Israel and the destruction of Jerusalem presage the return of the messiah, described in Revelations as "a tough, smart cat who takes pleasure and danger where he finds them — and when the double-crosses start to fly, he gets it on with the lightning fists of a Black Belt karate master!" Whoops, ha, KIDDING! That was from the back cover of the novelization of That Man Bolt, as adapted by Peter Crowcroft from the screenplay by the hilariously pseudonymous "Quentin Werty." Got a super-hot delivery? Big bad and beautiful — man's got it all!
That Man Bolt (adaptation). Peter Crowcroft, 1974. Pocket Books, New York.