Sunday, March 29, 2009
Carl Marks is having the last laugh from his dialectical hereafter. He kicks the buyout program into the public-awareness stratosphere after a career lionizing the people who tried to engineer a better world by killing off a whole bunch of the disagreeable people cluttering it up, and then the buyout program goes down in flames because the people running it turned out to be a bunch of the most conscienceless motherfuckers you ever did see. Ideals, man. Fuck ’em. I never had any. If I, Walt Dangerfield, ever espoused ideals, I was kidding. K-I-D-D-I-N-G. The whole thing goes up in smoke, and up in smoke is where it should be. I mean, we live in a world where species that might have cured cancer by virtue of their dermal secretion are driven to extinction because somebody thought it might be a good idea to build houses in a swamp at the base of a mountain range. If the houses get buried in a mudslide, you know what? This is what you get for not wanting to cure cancer. This is what you get for thinking on a human scale. As human beings, it’s our responsibility to think beyond the human scale. When we don’t, you get guys like Carl Marks. I was watching the movie that made him again last night, The Assassination of Leon Trotsky, and the thing that got me was not De Niro’s performance as Stalin—which is better than Goulet’s but never would have worked in Koba!—and it wasn’t the fucking deranged pathos of Trotsky dying by the icepick after a life devoted to the idea of a vanguard revolution. It was the idea of a vanguard revolution, a group that sees farther and knows better than everyone else. There’s your kernel of why no human system ever works. Communism looked for equality, but people aren’t the same. Capitalism rewards success, but not everyone has the tools to be successful. So what do we do? Theorize? Fuck that. We make movies, we get away with what we can. We are kind to the people around us. Any more than that you can’t expect from a human being. I believe, without reason or justification, that when he had the axe in his head Trotsky knew this. Carl Marks didn’t. I won’t watch his movies anymore.