Friday, January 20, 2006
Oh my God! Hide the virgins - it's Michael Myers, er Osama!
Oh, fatbrained Chrissy Matthews was sorta right last night. When comparing Osama Bin Laden to Michael Moore -- a laughable construct even from C student Tweety Matthews, he got the first name right: Michael.
Not Moore. Myers.
No, not that funny guy from peace-loving Canada. The other one.
Big white face, freaky hair, perennial huge knife in hand.
This Michael Myers.
Remember him? Turns out he and Bin Laden have quite a bit in common.
Like Michael, when Osama's on the move, he looks foreboding. In between sequels, while in repose, people have enough time to look more closely. And when they do...
He looks rather silly. Oooh, big scary white mask..er, turban. Clothes that blend into the surroundings. A big lumbering, ponderous frame. Oh nooes! I think I'm gonna wet myself!
Everyone forgets all about Myers, every year, until Hollywood and Halloween trot him out again to try and scare the beejesus out of us. Why? It's a good marketing tactic. For whatever reason, fear of Mike has lasted decades, too. Maybe it's his general absence the rest of the year.
Michael Myers sells: he sells movies, costumes, books, conversation, intrigue, theme music and lots and lots of masks.
Osama sells, too - sells Bush's policies by criticizing them (because what person would actually want to agree with Michael Myers about anything?), sells young patriots a reason to join the military, replaces fear with legitimate questions and gives everyone someone to fear and distrust.
A common enemy to get everyone rooting for Dear Leader...uh, I mean Jamie Lee Curtis.
Which is why they both show up every year, like clockwork, menacing their way onto screens everywhere.
Where exactly does a psychotic killer hide the other 364 days? Is there some kind of Mass Murderers Halfway House? The YMCA, where the "M" stands for massacre, maybe.
And just how inept is Donald Pleasence that he and the law can't catch up? Fer Chrissakes, the guy sorta sticks out. Kinda like a 6"4 arab dragging a dialysis machine behind him.
So, no more bungling that Bush and our government, apparently. Yet still laughably ubelievable, even for a movie.
Another commonality? Like Myers, Osama just won't die.
We can try to 'smoke him out,' chase him down, bring him to justice, even pretend he doesn't exist. He'll just pull out the proverbial Laurie Strode knitting needles, dust himself off, stitch himself up, and wait 'til next September 11 or October 31.
He's got all the time in the world, as does Myers. They're both singleminded in focus, and neither has to juggle jobs, bills and a social life.
Both have but one lifelong cause, if you will: to scare their chosen targets.
To accomplish his goal, Myers uses ropes, guns, knives, and the occasional pushing a guys face through the bars of the door. But he always just kills other people to scare Laurie Strode. If it was all about actually murdering her, Myers would've gotten Laurie Strode somewhere between the first film and its first regrettable sequel.
Bin Laden uses suicide attackers, perpetual war, bankrupting nations through defense spending and the occasional video threat. But if he really wanted to harm America, he could've by now. As the 9/11 commission points out - we're no safer today than we were then.
They can't die. Why? Because it would be bad for business.
Both of them always manage to miraculously show up whenever the public thinks it's safe: safe to come outside and breathe the air, safe to walk through a house without turning on the damn lights, safe to begin questioning how in the world we got ourselves into a war with a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.
Whenever any of the above happens - whoop, there he is. Ooh, lookout behind that Bush, America -- I think I saw the scary killer!
Unfortunately for Myers, the viewing public has wised-up.
Only so much menacing scares people, no matter how willing we are to suspend disbelief. It becomes predictable. So predictable that it's no longer scary. The only fun left resides in wondering when he's gonna come back. Because no money maker goes without another sequel, whenever possible.
You see, the audience, like Laurie Strode, adapted to Myers.
Like most mammals, she recognized the tell-tale signs: the calendar, the sound of laborious breathing through a mask, a smell of latex, lack of electricity and familiar scary music wafting through the night air.
We're all adaptable. It's the greatest quality humans have - the ability to use reason and logic as a means towards recognizing patterns and predicting what will happen next.
We cannot survive without it, in fact.
But a funny thing happens as we adapt: we begin to doubt and question when events do not make sense, or when they seem too convenient. Logic begins to overrule emotion, particularly fear. We start to see more clearly. Thanks to the law of diminishing returns, we can safely say the public won't muster much enthusiasm for the next "show."
Myers, Bin Laden, threats, fear mongering, taxes, clogged toilets: just more crap we gotta contend with, sooner or later. And when we finally get close enough to rip off the mask...any bets on who really hides beneath it?