Thursday, March 19, 2020

Would you believe this if it were a movie script? I love this essay -- best sarcasm ever

The Worst Damned Screenplay Ever Written

by Jaime O'Neill | March 19, 2020 - 6:30am
Laughter does help...a little...

It feels like I'm living in the worst damned screenplay ever written, one that never would have been greenlighted even by the dumbest studio exec or an independent producer with too much money and too few brains. This screenplay is unimaginably worse than even the worst shit that too often makes it into the cineplexes.

Think of a doomsday scenario in which the leader of the most powerful nation on earth is someone called, let's say, President Clump, a guy who wears way too much makeup that looks like the old Crayola color called "Flesh." Let's say that he supplements that makeup with a tanning bed he crawls into every night like a vampire, hoping to gain that rugged outdoor look that will make people think he is young, rugged, and virile. Let's also say that the person in charge of making him up each morning when he crawls out of the tanning bed is lazy, and fails to take the makeup up to his hairline, leaving his face framed by about a half inch of nakedly pale flesh in sharp contrast with his orangey makeup-supplied flesh tone. Let's also say that President Clump is something of a Bond villain type, albeit the leader of the good guy country. He has hair that looks like spun sugar, like blonde cotton candy, a kind of skull covering meant to resemble someone's idea of hair that adorned the heads of 17-year-old adolescent punks seen on American Bandstand in 1958, when Dick Clark (who dat?) was still alive and billed as the world's oldest teenager. Anyway, like so many men in their 70s, President Clump wants his supporters to think he's a blonde, golden blonde, albeit a Clairol-girl blonde. (Casting suggestion: Gary Busey, in a luxurious blonde wig.

Anyway, Clump was elected leader by a) convincing millions of people that he was an ardent Christian who believed in indiscriminate and frequent pussy grabbing, low taxes for rich people, walling off a nation to the south, spreading the fear that his predecessor was from an African country, leading chants at his political rallies that called for the incarceration of his opponent, a woman he and his propaganda agencies easily demonized, with help from her own side of the political spectrum and no small degree of misogyny.

Now, if all that's beginning to sound more than a little implausible, add the fact that President Clump has to make pay offs to a porn star with whom he had an affair while his third or fourth wife was about to have a baby, and that he lied about these payoffs, and continued to lie about them even after the check was shown on TV. And still his supporters believed him. Or said it didn't matter. What's the dif?

Add to that the fact that he had promised to reveal his tax returns once elected, then never did. Add to that the fact that he was successfully sued for defrauding poor students who'd paid to enroll in his entirely bogus university. Add to that that nearly everyone connected to him during his campaign and his early months in office would soon go to jail. Add to that abundant evidence that his election efforts had been significantly enhanced by foreign meddling and election tampering. Add to that the fact that he had an army of apparent mutants who showed up at political rallies that continued after he assumed office, all of them wearing red head ornamentation and chanting slogans about locking people up. Add to that the fact that President Clump managed to convince followers that he was a pretty bad ass dude even while whining incessantly about how unfair everyone was to him almost every time he stood in front of a microphone, and add to that the fact that he boasted about the wonderfulness of himself that would have seemed unseemly and embarrassing if done by any other president at any other time in any other place, and add to that the fact that President Clump was, to the normal person's eye, rather repugnant, and you've got an increasingly incredible screenplay, in the sense, of course, of credibility.

But the plot thickens. President Clump mostly doesn't do shit. He doesn't listen to briefings from people who tell him stuff he needs to know. He shows little or no interest in the job. He complains that the presidential palace is a "dump." His wife dons an outfit with a message scrolled on it that reads "I really don't care. Do you?" She gives speeches plagiarized verbatim from the speeches of the first lady who preceded her. Pictures of her naked body appear all over the place. Clump's followers insist, nonetheless, that she's the "classiest" first lady ever.

And there's more. Much more, all of it building toward the moment in the screenplay when the world is plunged into a pandemic of truly apocalyptic dimensions. President Clump goes before the public to call it a hoax, just another attempt to make him look bad. By now, the audience knows that Clump is a guy who thinks it's all about him, no matter what "it" is.

People began to sicken and die all over the place, from Iran to Italy. President Clump calls it the Chinese disease, though he firmly denies that's a racist assessment. Though Clump had only recently said it was a hoax, that the "fake" news was exaggerating the whole thing just to be mean, he says it's like a war, and declares himself a "wartime president." President Clump's son, Clump Jr., had said the opposition party wanted "millions to die" just so it would make his pop look bad. Meanwhile, leaders of Clump's party continued to insist that all had been just hunky dory. Within a few days, however, they change their minds and authorize a big socialist payout to Americans, tossing money at the virus as though it's a pay off to a hooker and will just take the money and run.

Until, that is, the stock market continues to tank. It was shored up "very quickly" when the government agency that controlled the rate of interest banks could charge for loans reduced the rate to zero. That move generated a brief recovery of some of the market value that had been lost. But then President Clump went before the cameras again in an attempt to reassure the nation and the world once again, an effort that proved to be a bridge too far, especially since Clump wandered off script more than once to spout information that was either untrue or at variance with something he'd said just a sentence or two before.

So the market sought a bottom once more. The agency in charge of interest rates issued a policy in which borrowers were actually paid to borrow money, but even that didn't work, since it was becoming harder and harder to find things on which money could be spent. Toilet paper had disappeared, a commodity soon followed by food, drugs, and most services.

The movie ends with President Clump coming to the podium once more, surrounded by the familiar gaggle of experts, all looking rather glum, with pasted-on smiles and ghastly pallor. The single news camera is operated by remote control. No reporters are in the room. Most are dead, holed up, or locked up. Few citizens watch the news anymore, anyway.

Freeze frame. Fade to black. Roll credits which include an actor who played a former FBI Director, an actor who played the head of Russia, another who played Lupert Morloch, an Australian disinformation meister, and a cast of people playing some of the dumbest voters ever to have called themselves citizens of a democracy, plus extras playing a bunch of 3rd party twits, ninnies, and dooms dayers, and others playing members of the DNC, and still others playing every fuckin' living Republican from Nixon to Clump.

But not to worry. Who would ever greenlight production on a film with a premise that bad?