Friday, August 28, 2009

Health Care And Strangelove

Sellers as Dr. Stragelove

There is a film I would like to recommend concerning the current healthcare crisis. No it's not "Sicko" by Michael More (although that is an excellent one to see). But my healthcare movie is "Dr. Stangelove" staring Peter Sellers, Peter Sellers, Peter Sellers, and Peter Sellers (he really does play five parts in the film). It also has a host of other stars including Keenan Wynn, George C. Scott and several other old actors from the 60s. The film was the first major picture by Stanly Kubrick, who made "2001 a Space Odyssey," "Full Mettle Jacket," "Spartacus."

Its a hilarious film, in the great tradition of 60's style sarcasm and satire, the whole thing is a total farce, but acted in deadly serious earnest. It was 1964,the the height of the cold war, height of the arms race. Filmed in black and white, with man hand held shots it has the look an early 60s documentary. In fact the producer tells as story that the film began as a serious drama but he and Kubrick kept laughing as they put paranoid right sing thinking into the mouth of the general who goes nuts and sends the order to attack the Soviet Union with nuclear bombers. Finally they realized it was a comedy. The changed the General's nate of Major General Jack Ripper, who is concerned that communists are stealing our precious bodily fluids, and orders the a mission for a B52 to drop a nuclear warhead on the USSR. The President in the war room and all his advisers tell the Soviets about the rogue bomber, the Soviets tell them they have dooms day device and if the bomb is dropped it will set off every warhead in their arsenal, thus destroying the world.The U.S. Military helps the Soviet shoot down the few bombers that connect be recalled. One bomber makes it through. The head of the joint chiefs of staff, George C. Scott, is concerned that we have a "doomsday machine gap." AT that time in history there was much talk about "the missile gap." this is the kind of thinking Carl Sagan latter mock with his analogy about the basement filled with gasoline we are arguing about who has the most matches.

The one B52 piloted Slim Pickens does actually make it through. The bomb is stuck in the hanger and Pickens jumps on it to force it out of the bombay. As he falls to his death the rides the bomb like a bronco, waving his stetson in the air and shouting "Yeeeeehaaaaaaa!" There is then a serious of nuclear blasts, one mushroom cloud after another, as the doomsday device is ignited. The movies ends with the President and joint chiefs listening to Dr. Strangelove, refugee from the Nazis who keeps addressing the President as "mine Fuhrer," then saying "o sorry Mr. President" and who keeps fighting his arm which seems to have a life of its own, either zig hieling or trying to choke him. Strangelove discusses a plan to save some elements of humanity in the deepest mine shafts, it would only a hundred years before they go back to the surface. The scene fades out into the credits with Geogre C. Scott declaring, "We must not fall into a mine shaft gap." The Russian ambassador sneaks a small camera in his watch and takes a picture of the big war room board, and sneaks off hopeful of making it back and surviving in a Russian mine shaft. They others discuss the next cold between mine shafts.

The basic theme of the movie is: "the people in charge at the top don't know anymore about what's going on than I do, but they are willing to blow up the whole damn world to make us all think they know."

this film is the best symbol of the health care crisis because exactly the same kind of thinking dominates the medical care crisis and the Republican's response to Obama's plan that dominated the cold war. The insurance companies have manipulated the situational so long that health care now has nothing to do with helping people, but we are going to pretend it does and get very angry and enraged when someone proposes a change. No at the top really knows what they are doing, although Obama has tried to find out, but they are willing to let the system fall apart to make you think they know what's going on.

What's going on is you are going to die if you get sick. The silly irate angry red necks are so easily manipulated. The people who want power tell them, "Obama is going kill Granma. We need to stop this health care thing becuase those evil tax and spend democracies will kill grandma." So the red necks go the meeting and shout their stupid little heads off "I don't trust you you evil liberal tax and spend democrat blah blah" guess what? The present system is going to kill Grandma. Grandma will die if she get's sick, we don't need death panels to make that happen, it's going to happen now. That's the nature of the system. Its' not there to help anyone.

when my Mother began acting funny in the head the doctor said it was Alzheimer's and nothing we could do and just give her vitamin e and Ginco. She got worse and died and never got tested, never got any treatment or help because the insurance company wouldn't go for it. she paid into it all her life and when she got sick it didn't do her a bit of good. That's what's going to happen to Grandma if we don't get Obama's plan.

I have Medicaid. But guess what? I can't use it because the only doctor who takes it and who is anywhere near me is either the one that has 400 people waiting in line on any given day, or one who is about fifty miles away, and that's in Dallas Texas,a major metro area. One of the many lies the Republicans have told about Obama's plan is that there will be long lines, people waiting forever. Gee guess what? that's the way it is now, especially if you aren't rich.

As the President said, that's the ticking time bomb that is going to undermine our ability to work off the deficit. How quickly we forget! Remember just about a year ago were all scared to death that the banks were going to fail we were going to be in knee deep in Great Depression II and nothing we could do about it. Obama didn't bail us out alone but he did preside over the major part of it. Now we don't want to trust him or follow through with the things elected him to do because we are scared they cost too much. But if we don't do something soon it's going to cost a lot more.

the Republicans are just like the guys who were willing to blow up the world to stay in power. They are willing to allow the whole system to collapse and come down around their ears in order to screw Obama so they can get back in.

The scene where Pickens rides the bomb to ground zero is very apt in temrs of this medical crsis. That's just what's happening now in terms of the economy and the society. A bunch of idiots are riding on the bomb in one last futile and totally unnecessary blaze of glowry displaying their ignorant redneck cultre as they go.


Anonymous said...

Love it...

One of my all-time favourite movie lines: "Gentlemen! You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!" ;-)

I hope you guys win on this health care thing; I can tell you from experience all the fear-mongering stories you're hearing from the right about waiting times and substandard care in Canada are completely untrue. When my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer a few years ago she had surgery within a week. No bills to pay...and no "Death Panel" review, even though she was in her late seventies at the time. Just "you need surgery, see you tomorrow for pre-op tests."

J.L. Hinman said...

glad you like it man. I thought it was time I wrote one for you.

I love the movie too, tons of good lines in it.

we can't fall into a mine shaft gap. that's my favorite.

The story about your mother, that's the way it should be. That's because Canada has something we don't, not just health care, but civilization!

hope your mom is ok now days.