Archive for January, 2011

The Problem With All The Jared Lee Loughners

It’s become a consistent pattern, after every act of mass violence, for the media to hold a “What Could Have Been Done To Prevent This?” session — what in sports is called Monday Morning Quarterbacking. At least in sports there are defined rules to the game, so trying to analyze what different player moves might have produced a different outcome isn’t entirely ridiculous.

Jared Lee Laughner
Jared Lee Loughner

What do we hear from the Pundit Class about Jared Lee Loughner, whose assassination attempt last Saturday on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords so far has failed, but nonetheless succeeded in wounding 18 others, six of them fatally?

We hear, of course, the obvious: that Loughner was troubled, confused, mentally ill.

We hear reports that Jared Loughner had enough run-ins with campus police when he was a student at Pima Community College that he was banned from campus unless he gave the college a psychiatrist’s letter declaring him mentally stable.

We hear reports that Loughner’s own parents were concerned with his behavior.

And, we hear lamentations that the FBI background check that cleared Jared Lee Loughner for legal purchase of the handgun he used in his rampage needs to somehow filter out unstable and potentially dangerous people from purchasing firearms.

Some better-thinking pundits do note that our legal system is set up on the premise of not treating someone as a criminal until they are convicted of a crime. Then the psychiatric aristocracy — with perhaps the best example being Charles Krauthammer — note that laws are often in place that allow for police to put someone into psychiatric evaluation for three days … and it’s with a nostalgic sigh that they often go on to note that before budget cuts made it impractical all it used to take to commit anyone to a mental hospital for an indefinite stay was any licensed doctor’s signature. The Nostalgic Psychiatrists don’t note that such a power to imprison at will grants doctors Gestapo-like powers to bypass an entire law-based system of arrest, accusation, bail, indictment, prosecution, conviction, and sentencing — all with various constitutional protections and rights — before depriving a human being of his liberty.

We hear in other political debates doctors lamenting how malpractice lawsuits and the expense of malpractice insurance is one of the major factors raising the cost of health care. So, any doctor signing a commitment order — or failing to sign a commitment order — is between a rock and a hard place. If they commit someone without cause, they could be subject to a lawsuit for unlawful deprivation of civil liberties. But if they make an examination of someone to consider psychiatric commitment, and don’t, then if that person subsequently harms someone else, the doctor is now liable for failing to protect the victim of that attack. That’s a really good reason for doctors not to want that responsibility thrust upon them again. People just weren’t so darned litigious back when involuntary psychiatric commitment wasn’t a budget-buster.

But here’s what no pundit — and I mean nobody — is saying.

It’s that the nature of the human being is to have free will. Whether given by God, or simply by the nature of the abstract epistemological disconnect between perception and reality — what Alfred Korzybski once called the difference between the map and the territory — human beings have free will. That means at any given moment, no matter what the prior background and personal history, every single human being — all seven billion of us — is utterly unpredictable.

As utterly unpredictable as whether in a classic quantum-mechanics thought experiment Schrödinger’s cat is alive or dead.

It’s actually this utter unpredictability that raises the blood pressure of the political class after every incident. Since they know everybody around them is an accident waiting to happen, the only sense of security they can have is to figure out new and better ways to watch everybody at all times and — if possible — neuter and declaw us all.

The only safe air travel, as far as the Politically Nervous is concerned — would be Con Air — transporting every passenger in handcuffs and leg irons.

The only safe contact the Politically Nervous want with the public would be if we’ve all had full body cavity searches then let into their presence only in transparent pajamas — again with the handcuffs and leg irons.

You ever see a movie with a prisoner being walked from the holding cell to the execution chamber? That’s the only way the Politically Nervous can feel comfortable with any of us: utterly chained, controlled, and powerless.

Of course they can’t get all the security they want, so they have to make do with air passengers being contestants on the TSA’s new game show: Radiation or Rape?

No doctor, no sheriff, no parole board – not even a psychic medium — can put his signature on a document guaranteeing who among us is “safe.” Maybe someone in a persistent coma or a vegetative state, that’s about it. Even sleepers sometimes sleepwalk. With new electronic mind-reading technology as demonstrated by the game Mindflex we’re not very far from someone in handcuffs and leg irons being able to pull the trigger on a gun.

When all is said and done, the problem with Jared Lee Loughner is that he’s human.

God help us all.

This article is Copyright © 2011 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Speaking the Unthinkable


Advocating the violent overthrow of the government is, by definition, sedition.

Making war against the government is, by definition, treason.

But hold on there.

This was the precise situation in 1776, when the Declaration of Independence launched a war of independence against the legally constituted government of that time.

The United States of America was born in violent revolution. Its founders were, in fact, charged by the government with being seditious traitors. In modern parlance, they were terrorists — enemy combatants. When caught, the American rebels were imprisoned without trial and often summarily killed.

In 1787 a new constitution was written in secret session, and ratified by state governments. It proposed a system with sovereign states bound together by a federal government with strictly delimited powers.

Today the facts on the ground are that no branch of the federal government given lawful authority only by that constitution operates within those limits.

Not Congress, which regularly passes legislation never authorized by the Constitution.

Not the Executive, which decrees and enforces thousands of regulations with the force of law that are not only not legislated by the people’s elected representatives, but which are in areas never authorized by the Constitution.

Not the Supreme Court and its inferior courts which, in Marbury v Madison, staged a judicial coup d’etats, nationalizing — stealing from juries and grand juries — the people’s right to decide for themselves what is an unconstitutional act having no legitimate standing as law.

Signers of the Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence states explicitly where any rightful government authority comes from:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

When that consent of the people to be governed is withdrawn, the government’s rightful authority ends. If those in power continue in the absence of rightful delegated authority to continue to send armed men to enforce their decrees, the very founders of the American system of government declared that the people have the exclusive moral right to disobey, resist, and — if necessary — use deadly force to defend their lives, liberty, and property against the armed enforcers and those who dispatch them.

It is not necessary, as was done in the Declaration of Independence, to make a laundry list of sundry violations of the people’s rights. The facts on the ground, today, is that almost everything done by the federal government is unauthorized by the Constitution and violative of the people’s rights, immunities, and powers.

Generations of the American people have been patient, relying on their elected representatives to awaken to their duty and retract the government to within its authorized powers.

The arithmetic of that happening is not encouraging. The American people’s patience is not endlessly elastic. In my lifetime I have seen that impatience become brittle.

When heavily armed men are dispatched by the government on actions never contemplated or authorized by the Constitution, and in violation of the people’s rights, any immediate casualties are those who attack and those who defend, but the moral accountability rests with those who sent them.

During the American Revolution, no American launched deadly force against the King or Parliament who sent troops against them. The King and Parliament were simply too remote.

A few days ago a Member of Congress was shot and almost killed by a mad asshole. Jared Lee Loughner had no coherent thinking process, much less any well-thought-out grievance against the Congresswoman he shot in the head, with 18 other casualties, six of them fatal.

By all accounts, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is nothing but a sweet woman, moderate in her views compared to many in her party.

But here’s where precisely the question of “where the buck stops” comes in.

Is even a Member of Congress — who is, by all accounts, a decent human being — subject to the usages of revolutionary force when that body is comprised of members who daily violate their oath to abide by that Constitution’s limits on their legislative powers?

Were there no decent and sweet representatives, in the British Parliament of 1776, who sent armed Redcoats against the rebellious Americans?

Certainly the legal principles established more recently at Nuremberg place higher moral accountability on those who send armed troops to commit criminal acts, even though the troops themselves may not be held blameless because they were “just following orders”?

Government, while it exists, is the most powerful player in the life of a society. Nothing short of a full-fledged revolution can end its application of power. Random acts of violence directed at the perception of government only brings more repression and retribution.

But, if we’re to be as manly as those who signed the Declaration of Independence, a government that breaks its own laws is deserving to be taken from power, even if those who issue unlawful decrees are too powerful be held accountable.

Thoreau, Gandhi, and King insisted that victories for justice and liberation could be won without force of arms.

The history of the American Revolution suggests otherwise.

This is not a call for the overthrow of the government of the United States by force of arms.

This is not a call to make war against the government of the United States.

This is a call for seeing reality.

This is a call to remember that the government, itself, founded in violent revolution, relies on the violence of armed men to enact its decreed policies, unlawful though they may be.

This is a call for those in power to look at the history of how the government in whose name they act came into being … and why the government that came before it had to be ended.

Unlawful violence begets unlawful violence. What is ultimately deemed lawful violence is decided by who prevails.

What is ultimately deemed the moral use of violence is a decision above any of our pay grades.

This article is Copyright © 2011 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Ideals from the 2011 Anthem Film Festival! My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available free on the web linked from the official movie website. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Some 1/10/2011 Thoughts on 1/8/2011

Jared Lee Laughner Robert Brady Carolyn McCarthy
Jared Lee Loughner, Bob Brady, Carolyn McCarthy
Frank LautenbergGlenn Beck
Frank Lautenberg, Glenn Beck

Who Needs Protection from Whom?

Washington (CNN) 1/9/2011 – Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pennsylvania, said he will introduce legislation making it a federal crime for a person to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a Member of Congress or federal official.

It’s long overdue for a law making it a crime for a Member of Congress or federal official to threaten to send massively armed government officers against a private citizen if that citizen does not comply with rights-violating laws or forcibly resists violations of his rights.


Glenn Beck’s Tory Pledge

Glenn Beck posted today on his website the following:

I challenge all Americans, left or right, regardless if you’re a politician, pundit, painter, priest, parishioner, poet or porn star to agree with all of the following.

  • I denounce violence, regardless of ideological motivation.
  • I denounce anyone, from the Left, the Right or middle, who believes physical violence is the answer to whatever they feel is wrong with our country.
  • I denounce those who wish to tear down our system and rebuild it in their own image, whatever that image may be.
  • I denounce those from the Left, the Right or middle, who call for riots and violence as an opportunity to bring down and reconstruct our system.
  • I denounce violent threats and calls for the destruction of our system – regardless of their underlying ideology – whether they come from the Hutaree Militia or Frances Fox Piven.
  • I hold those responsible for the violence, responsible for the violence. I denounce those who attempt to blame political opponents for the acts of madmen.
  • I denounce those from the Left, the Right or middle that sees violence as a viable alternative to our long established system of change made within the constraints of our constitutional Republic.

Substitute “our constitutional Monarchy” for “our constitutional Republic” and Beck’s pledge could have been a British response to the Declaration of Independence, which reads:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

You can’t have it both ways. When violence is used to snuff out human rights, often violence is both necessary and morally justified in preservation of those rights.

This statement does not in any way countenance the violence of a madman who in a hail of indiscriminate gunfire targets a grocery shopper who by happenstance turns out to be a sitting federal judge, or a nine-year-old girl who was attending a rally because of a budding interest in politics. That madman deserves to die for his crimes.

But Glenn Beck said on his Fox News Show today that such incidents should not be used to support any political agenda.

Beck’s pledge does just that. It supports the political agenda of abandoning self-defense against established violent tyranny.


Crazy Violent reaction to Crazy Violence

Defenders of Jared Lee Loughner might use diminished capacity as a basis for claiming he wasn’t capable of forming a criminal intent in his shooting rampage. But what negation of mens rea can justify Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s (D, NY) and Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D, NJ) legislative intent to send massively armed federal officers to initiate violent confrontations with peaceful owners of 2nd Amendment protected firearms?


The Real Climate of Violence

Every time a SWAT officer busts down a door to serve a warrant for a victimless crime — regularly resulting in the murder of innocent victims who weren’t even committing such victimless crimes — a climate of violence leading to a cycle of more violence is perpetuated. Let’s not lose sight: the number of innocent victims Jared Lee Loughner racked up with a gun in ten minutes is insignificant compared to the government’s weekly body count.

This article is Copyright © 2011 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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A Shadow on the Second Amendment


I’m reprinting this for a second time here from the July 15, 2009 issue of The New Gun Week.

Gabrielle Giffords
Gabrielle Giffords

The assassination attempt made yesterday on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D, AZ) is exactly the sort of politically-motivated violence I discussed in my Gun Week guest editorial published 18 months ago. I contemplated that the target would be President Obama. That’s it’s a moderate Democratic Party Jewish Congresswoman in Arizona doesn’t change my point: that there are always what I called “demented clowns” who attach themselves to any cause, and whose identification with that cause can damage it, perhaps irreparably.

Jared Lee Loughner’s ravings on YouTube against fiat money will be used to dismiss as demented anyone who now advocates gold and silver as money, and charges the Federal Reserve to be a criminal fraud that dwarfs anything done by Bernard Madoff.

His choosing a politician who voted to expand the powers of the federal government — and who deserved a Tea Party challenge for that reason — gives sympathy to those who advocate for greater government control over our lives.

There is a message here that must be taken from it: bad things done in the name in a good cause must not be used to dismiss the rightness of the cause.

For murdering nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green, and five others, may Jared Lee Loughner swiftly get a needle in his arm that delivers him to Hell.

– JNS, January 9, 2011

Anybody old enough remembers 1968 as the year the Second Amendment went into a coma.

Five years earlier, November 22nd, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by rifle fire in Dallas.

Then, April 4th, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated by rifle fire in Memphis.

Two months after King’s murder, June 5th, 1968, after celebrating victory in the California Democratic Presidential Primary, President Kennedy’s younger brother, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, was assassinated with a handgun at the Ambassador Hotel in L.A.

Twenty weeks after the second Kennedy murder, the Gun Control Act signed by President Lyndon Johnson October 22nd, 1968, imposed federal gun controls on the sale or transfer of common firearms. Now any firearm crossing state lines had to be transferred or sold only through a federally licensed firearms dealer and records kept on buyers.

Why this history lesson?

Ever since June 26th, 2008, when the Supreme Court in its Heller decision recognized the Second Amendment as constitutionally enshrining an individual right to keep and bear arms, there’s been guarded optimism among Second Amendment proponents that a slow-and-steady march toward extinction of our rights had finally been reversed. The Ninth Circuit Appellate Court, which in its 1996 decision HICKMAN v. BLOCK wrote “[i]t is clear that the Second Amendment guarantees a collective rather than an individual right,” reversed itself on the basis of Heller and on April 20th in NORDYKE v. KING not only recognized the Second Amendment as an individual right but incorporated it through the 14th Amendment as one that must be recognized by state and local governments. On June 2nd the Seventh Circuit reached an opposite conclusion in NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA v. CITY OF CHICAGO, increasing likelihood the Supreme Court will have to decide between them.

But the Supreme Court’s Heller ruling was 5-4, and if the Court shifts to an anti-Second Amendment make-up, Heller could be short-lived.

Second Amendment politics is therefore still critical and politically motivated murders using firearms – particularly those identified with conservative causes – could once again swing the balance of public opinion against the Second Amendment.

We’ve had two political murders identified with conservative causes – both using firearms – within as many weeks.

On May 31st anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder, using a handgun, fatally shot George R. Tiller, MD, while Dr. Tiller was handing out prayer books during services at the Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas. Roeder is reported to have been a member of the “anti-government Freemen Militia” in Topeka, and a 2005 court ruling in a custody case identified him as schizophrenic. Dr. Tiller’s Women’s Health Care Services in Wichita was one of only three clinics nationwide performing late-term abortions. It wasn’t the first time Dr. Tiller had been a shooting victim. On August 19th, 1993, using a handgun, anti-abortion activist Shelley Shannon had shot Dr. Tiller in both arms.

Ten days after the church shooting, June 10th, James von Brunn carried a .22 rifle into the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and shot to death African-American security guard, Stephen T. Johns. Motive? FBI Agent Richard Farnsworth filed a sworn affidavit that he found a handwritten note in von Brunn’s car that reads, “You want my weapons – this is how you’ll get them. The Holocaust is a lie. Obama was created by Jews.”

Clearly both Roeder and von Brunn identified with conservative causes. The Right to Life movement is right wing, as are “anti-government militias.” Not only did von Brunn worry about losing his firearms but in 1981 he’d pulled a sawed-off shotgun at Federal Reserve headquarters, threatening to take the Board hostage. As author, myself, of a novel in which the Federal Reserve causes a U.S. economic meltdown – a point of agreement between this particular right-wing Jew and this particular right-wing neo-Nazi — there’s no question for me that right-wing pundits like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck are engaging in a disgustingly dishonest game of spin when they try to convince their listeners that James von Brunn’s Nazi affections are left-wing, and his anti-Semitism no worse than President Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright’s.

As my fellow libertarian novelist, Brad Linaweaver, pointed out to me, the Nazi Party in 1930’s Germany came to power by fusing left-wing economics with right-wing nationalism.

And as far as I know, the only thing the Reverend Wright has ever shot off is his mouth.

The issue is not whether Roeder or von Brunn were hateful and mentally unbalanced. Of course they were. Neither one could have passed a firearms background check, particularly the convicted felon, James von Brunn.

Nor is it reasonably deniable that there are as many hateful and mentally unbalanced individuals on the hard left. Mega-deaths achieved not only by Nazis but Communists – plus endless ethnically and religiously motivated killings in Ulster, Rwanda, and Sarajevo – leave few political movements free of bloody hands.

Unlike much of the rest of the world violence is still the exception rather than the norm in the struggle for American political change. But no “American exceptionalism” can shield us from political violence if we’re not as vigilant in purging the haters who join our causes as we are in pursuing our love of those values which make our lives fruitful, free, and just.

Silent tolerance of bigots and haters is an intolerable danger to our just causes – particularly when one of those causes is the deterrence to despotism the Framers intended widespread private firearms to be. Our movement has a good track record in rooting out and shunning extremists, but that’s not good enough. We also need to admit openly that evil men do walk among us, and to tell the pundits who claim to educate us that that lying in defense of our rights is no virtue.

Most importantly, we need to remain civil in disputes with our opponents, even while we fortify our backbones with steel.

The Second Amendment movement just can’t tolerate a Bill O’Reilly who – knowing that Dr. Tiller had previously been shot at and his clinic bombed — repeatedly and editorially called George Tiller a “baby killer.” O’Reilly boasts The O’Reilly Factor has the highest ratings in cable/satellite television news. O’Reilly knew there are always psychotics waiting for a justification to commit mad violence and it was as foreseeable endlessly repeating “Tiller the Baby Killer” was inviting murder as it was for King Henry II’s infamous remark that led to the assassination of Thomas à Becket: “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”

It’s a lesson I learned in 1994.

While promoting my book Stopping Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns on the Chuck Baker radio show in Colorado Springs in August, 1994, I implored listeners to burn up Congress’s phone lines to stop passage of the unconstitutional Federal Assault Weapon Bill.

One listener was Francisco Martin Duran, who was so worked up by our feverish rhetoric that he travelled to Washington D.C. and on October 29th, 1994 opened fire with his SKS semi-auto rifle on the White House lawn. Duran was convicted of trying to assassinate President Clinton and sentenced to 40 years. Like Roeder, Duran was mentally unbalanced. Like von Brunn he had a criminal record.

Knowing that, I still now temper my rhetoric whenever I’m at a microphone.

I have as many policy differences with President Obama as anyone else in the conservative or libertarian movements, particularly with economic policies. Nonetheless I voted for Obama over the slightly-more centrist John McCain. I saw Obama’s election as an opportunity to show the world once-and-for-all that America had moved beyond its sad history of race slavery and Jim Crow. It hurts me when I receive email from a conservative friend with an animated cartoon of a shucking-and-jiving dancing Obama that easily could come from the KKK.

It frightens me when Sean Hannity churns listeners by endless harping on the President’s guilt-by-association with a 1960’s anti-Vietnam-War terrorist and oppression-legacy black minister, or calling the President’s quest for an end to violence between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs “selling out Israel.”

How can Hannity claim to be fair-and-balanced when he refuses to inform his listeners that President Barack Hussein Obama’s White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Israel Emanuel, is an observant Jew whose father fought with the Irgun underground in the founding of Israel and, himself, served as a civilian volunteer on an Israeli military base during the Persian Gulf war of 1991?

I have no problem with anyone opposing any Obama policies that we consider compromise our founding principles or weaken our rights.

But neither can we Second Amendment supporters tolerate extreme rhetoric directed at a President certified as achieving electoral victory who’s taken the oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” The remedy provided by the Constitution, should he fail to live up to that oath, is impeachment by the House and trial in the Senate – not a knife on the floor of the Senate or rifle fire aimed at a presidential motorcade.

God help us if another demented clown — even remotely associated with any of our causes — shoots at the first black President of the United States.

I do not believe the Second Amendment could survive it.

It’s not like change can’t be inspired by civilized rhetoric.

Read Thomas Jefferson’s harshest summation about King George III in the Declaration of Independence:

“A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

Jefferson didn’t even need to drop the F-bomb.

–J. Neil Schulman

Pahrump, NV

J. Neil Schulman is author of the book, Stopping Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns, of which Charlton Heston said, “Mr. Schulman’s book is the most cogent explanation of the gun issue I have yet read. He presents the assault on the Second Amendment in frighteningly clear terms. Even the extremists who would ban firearms will learn from his lucid prose.”

This article is Copyright © 2009 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Subject: Inception Soundtrack — Four Revised Cues

Intercepted through Wikileaks

Inception Movie Poster

From: Hans Zimmer
To: Christopher Nolan
Subject: Inception Soundtrack — Four Revised Cues
Date: 02/27/2010 11:08 PM

Chris,

Here are the revised cues you asked for. I hope they’re closer to what you need than the originals I emailed you last week.

Hans

M17B
“At This Point The Audience Has No Effing Clue What’s Going On”
01:30:46:14

M17C
“I Can’t Believe the Pitch I Sold This On Was ‘Synedoche Meets Ocean’s 11′”
01:31:52:00

M17D
“Even Philip K. Dick Wouldn’t Be Able to Follow This Plot”
01:32:13:22

M18
“Am I Really Making This Movie Or Am I Dreaming?”
01:33:32:15

Sent from my iPhone

This article is Copyright © 2011 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Unmaking a Classic Movie

The 2008 “remake” of the 1951 classic film The Day The Earth Stood Still has been playing recently on HBO, giving me a chance to rewatch it enough times to compare it in detail to the original. Here’s my conclusions. — JNS


The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

The original The Day The Earth Stood Still has long been considered a classic for good reason: it’s not just good science fiction, but it’s also one of the most intelligent political commentaries a film made in its own time.

At the height of Cold War fear that the human race had finally come up with nuclear fusion weapons so terrible that no war could be fought with them that wouldn’t destroy modern civilization, a very human extraterrestrial comes to earth from a culture that has solved the problem of super-powerful aggressors threatening its civilization. That such a solution requires godlike moral perfection and in that absence is necessarily totalitarian is the reasonable distrust that separates the conservative from the utopian; but is forgivable in science fiction.

The original movie’s Klaatu comes to a world that has not yet solved the aggressor problem and, for an entire generation, was told they were no more than a half hour at any given time from our civilization ending and most of us dying. That post-World-War-II generation — known as Baby Boomers — reacted to growing up in that fear and despair by infecting all politics with both cynicism and, paradoxically, a utopian wish that some external intelligence like Klaatu would save us. They became apocalyptic in outlook, expecting the end either through events prophesied in the Book of Revelation, or Alien Invasion, or Monsters grown in Atomic Sludge, or the Population Bomb, or a Hole in the Ozone Layer, or Supercomputers finding human beings no longer necessary, or Bio-labs releasing Plagues, or Global Cooling, or a Really Big Rock creaming Earth, or — and this is the biggest stretch — the very Carbon Dioxide gas we breathe out every few seconds killing the planet through Global Warming.

The reasons for expecting the end of the earth keep changing; but a generation taught to duck and cover never got past the childhood trauma. They kept looking for a higher power — usually not God but any celebrity promising that We Are the World — to save us from ourselves. An entire generation grew up expecting global suicide and eventually would settle for nothing less.

Michael Rennie’s original Klaatu is an ambassador with a simple message: kill each other all you like but if you come anywhere near us with your weapons we can end you in a moment. Even after he’s been shot twice by humans — the second time requiring a full Christlike resurrection from the dead — he’s willing to get back into his spaceship and leave peacefully, having done nothing destructive to the planet beyond powering down machinery for a few minutes.

Keanu Reeves’s Klaatu is, by contrast, one of the invaders from Independence Day, planning on cleansing the earth of human pestilence so they can add the planet’s valuable real estate to their own empire of civilizations — after sampling any of our locally grown livestock that might have commercial value. But he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing — a monster with a human face. He unleashes a plague on planet earth that will kill it even if he’s killed.

Keanu Reeves’s Klaatu is the Ultimate Suicide Bomber, sent by some alien Osama bin Laden.

The New Klaatu claims to want to save the earth — but he makes Hitler look like a nice guy by comparison for only wanting to exterminate what he considers inferior human beings — not all of them. There is only one species on planet earth with a conscience. That’s the one Klaatu wants to kill off.

When Jaden Smith wishes his father was alive to kill this murderous lying creep, you can’t help but remember when Jaden’s real-life father, Will Smith, punches the lights out of one in Independence Day.

And even when at the end of the movie Osama bin Klaatu changes his mind about killing all of us, before he flies off in his spaceship he neutralizes all the energy that keeps seven billion of us alive. It’s no longer the “day” the earth stood still. It’s going to stand still permanently. With the power maintaining the human habitat shut off permanently, within a couple of years we’d be lucky if a few hundred million humans are left alive. The post-technological civilization Klaatu has reduced planet earth to is an inhuman death trap.

The new The Day The Earth Stood Still has everything a modern movie-going audience has come to expect from Hollywood. The movie is well-acted, well-directed, well-paced, and has state of the art special effects. Technically it’s as good for its time as the original was for its. I’ve spoken to enough people coming out of movie theaters after watching a lot of different films whose reaction to a movie is entirely inside baseball, as if the content of the movie is of no consequence so long as the special effects are exciting. That’s an appalling low expectation to allow ourselves when it comes to the most popular and powerful means of teaching moral lessons our world has.

But, first, to take the latest apocalyptic fad and once again declare with angelic certainty that we’re dooming ourselves – so why not let the Klingons have the planet? — is evil. The remake’s sop to Red State America that “It’s only on the brink of destruction that we change” — is a con game worthy of Bernie Madoff. The only change this new Klaatu would accept is for humans to change from people seeking individual liberty and pursuing our happiness into misanthropic Zero Population /Zero Energy Use nihilists — you know, like the wolves in sheep’s clothing now deciding which major Hollywood movies get a green light.

Note: I wrote about The Day the Earth Stood Still briefly in an earlier article here, “Things I Hate in Four Movies I Love.”

This article is Copyright © 2011 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


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