Sunday, October 11, 2009
The Swayze Diaries
"The chair...is against the wall. John has a long mustache."
This cryptic message to Americans in occupied territory crackles over the radio in the mountain camp led by Patrick Swayze in John Milius' Red Dawn (1984). An incitement to revolt, one that mirrors the banner seen across the music store-turned Soviet-American Friendship Center just before it blows up: "People of America, Rise and Join the Revolution!"
I recently had the fortune to see a special Swayze memorial screening of Red Dawn at Austin's Alamo Ritz. I don't think I had seen the film since the collapse of the Soviet Union. And once you stop laughing at the Brat Pack interpretations of Milius' napalm-perfumed Nietzschian dialogue, it's interesting to experience the movie at a long distance from its Cold War context. And realize that the movie is an alt-history fantasy of twentieth century American revolutionaries.
A couple of days later, I literally bumped into Austin-based conspiracy theorist Alex "Infowars" Jones coming out of an elevator in an underground parking garage (very Deep Throat). I had heard about the latest story Alex was following, regarding the apparent takeover of the town of Hardin, Montana (including the town's abandoned prison) by a private military contractor operating under the name American Police Force.
The story, initially picked up in regional media, was perfect material for Alex's master narrative of the imminent imposition of martial law by the incipient world government, complete with FEMA-style permanent "emergencies" and prison camps for those with the will to resist:
- In a remote part of the country, a previously-unheard of private company called "American Police Force" arrives to take over the local prison, which has been abandoned for two years. News searches reveal a CNN report from April that Hardin and the local "Two Rivers Authority" is proposing to establish a Gitmo-style detention camp for enemy combatants: "Guantanamo Bay West."
- In the town, black Mercedes SUVs appear with "City of Hardin Police Department" logos.
- The logos feature a coat of arms of a very Old Europe-looking double eagle. Upon investigation, it turns out the logo is an exact copy of the Serbian coat of arms!
- A similar logo is found on the website of American Police Force, which reads like material created as backstory for the new season of 24 (except for the very odd touch of a continuous loop of Ravel's Bolero on the home page), full of pictures of European-looking soldiers in action poses and lots of riot control gear.
- Reports indicate APF is somehow affiliated with Blackwater/Xe.
- The chief executive of American Police Force turns out to be a mysterious Montenegran, Michael Hilton, also known as Miodrag Mic Djokic.
- A sign posted on the inside of the detention center reads "NO HOSTAGES WILL BE ALLOWED THROUGH THESE DOORS."
As the story develops, it becomes apparent that "Michael Hilton" has an extensive criminal history as a fraudster, suggesting that the conspiracy is an elaborate con of a a bunch of rube local pols. Hardin as Poisonville?
Which makes me imagine what should have been the last Patrick Swayze movie, one that would have married his talents for action and song and dance: a 21st century post 9/11 remix of The Music Man. Harold Hill=Michael Hilton, selling the folks of Two Rivers City on the idea of paying his imaginary Blackwater affiliate to turn the town jail into a lucrative government detention camp for terrorists and traitors. Envision a massive Bollywood techno mix of "Seventy-Six Trombones," with the marching band replaced by mercenary riot police, a whirling dervish mob of Central Asian terrorists, and chorus of fat and happy Montanan townspeople.
And then I read that somebody is already filming a remake of Red Dawn. Currently in production in Michigan, Red Dawn 2010 involves a Chinese invasion of suburbia, with Chris Hemsworth (Capt. Kirk in the Star Trek reboot, and the upcoming live action Thor) in the Swayze role and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Comedian) in the Powers Boothe jet pilot role. Suburban 21st century analogs to drinking the blood of a fresh-killed deer TBD.
Red Chinese invasion? I suppose 20th century thinking is to be expected from a remake of a movie whose plotline was rendered obsolete in 1989, but this is even worse, Yellow Peril stuff worthy of some vintage pulp like The Spider.
A more attuned remake for the post-9/11 world would retain Alex Jones as a consultant, and feature an occupation of America by our own government in league with multinational forces and the gnomic cabal of the Bilderberg Group — perhaps tapping that scary thread of The Turner Diaries running through a lot of the Tea Party rhetoric. Imagine our high school jocks going underground in the abandoned Circuit City, becoming guerillas fighting the invasion of their town by FEMA, the National Guard, and Belgian Blue Helmets. Imagine a Hollywood movie that takes on as its plot an actual near-future American revolution.