Pictured above, from left: goat, Jon Ronson
“Acting the goat” was Captain Haddock’s favorite expression for Professor Cuthbertson’s General Doolallyness in Herge’s Adventures of Tintin. But it could work equally well for where we are right here, right now. Anyone interested in just what the United States has gotten itself into for the next four years could do worse than to check out our new series THE CRAZY RULERS OF THE WORLD, written and directed by Jon Ronson – with accompanying book, THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS – starting on Channel 4 UK on Sunday.
As Jon explains at the start of each program, we tend to assume that right wing = rational. Conservatives are generally not the sort to have any kind of truck with hippy-dippy free-love-inspired new-fangled notions. But think again. Under the current and now, alas, on-going commander-in-chief, the armed forces and so-called intelligence services have embraced a wide range of highly irrational strategies, from trying to kill goats by staring at them to trying to walk through walls. And that’s not all; as the series shows, the Abu Ghraib scandal was an example of this instutionalized insanity.
Now, before you shrug it all off as the unauthorized actions of a few loons, consider these quotes from Ron Suskind’s recent article in the NY Times, in which a Bush aide gave him a quick re-orientation about the Presidency:
The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community. . . That’s not the way the world really works anymore. . . When we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too. We’re history’s actors. . . And you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
Later, another aide later told him:
“You’re out-numbered two to one by folks in the big, wide middle of America, busy working people who don’t read the New York Times or Washington Post or the L.A. Times. And you know what they like? They like the way he walks and the way he points, the way he exudes confidence. They have faith in him. And when you attack him for his malaprops, his jumbled syntax, it’s good for us. Because you know what those folks don’t like? They don’t like you!”
Whether it’s reading “My Pet Goat” or staring at goats, this whole goat thing is not a good thing.
– Fenton Bailey
THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS Sunday 7th November at 20:00.
FUNNY TORTURE Sunday 14th November at 20:00.
PSYCHIC FOOTSOLDIERS Sunday 21st November at 20:00.