I don’t like going to the movies. Too much hassle, too many commercials and previews, too expensive, and 90% of the movies are worthless drivel, SJW inspired crap, or government buoyed propaganda. Last weekend was my wife’s birthday and she wanted to see a movie. When she shockingly suggested a western, I reluctantly agreed. So my wife and one of my sons got in the car and headed to an old Franks theater in Montgomeryville that only charges $8.50. I had seen a brief review of Hostiles on-line and saw it got a decent rating on rotten tomatoes. I was looking forward to being mildly entertained.
The next two hours and fifteen minutes of this dark, somber, violent, morally ambiguous treatise about the old west cannot be described as enjoyable.
But I did find it riveting and thought provoking. Christian Bale, as Captain Joseph Blocker, mournfully carries out his duties without a single smile crossing his bearded countenance for the entire movie. The tone, atmosphere and message of this film reminded me of my favorite western and subject of the final part of my five part series based on Clint Eastwood movies – Unforgiven. One of the soldiers in Hostiles even has dialogue almost matching Will Munny’s foreboding exchange at the end of Unforgiven:
“That’s right. I’ve killed women and children. I’ve killed just about everything that walks or crawled at one time or another. And I’m here to kill you, Little Bill, for what you did to Ned.”
It was clear to me Scott Cooper, the director, was paying tribute to Eastwood and his Academy Award winning revisionist western classic, with his dark cinematography, introspective atmosphere, and themes of good, evil, heroism, aging, duty and courage. Movies in this age of shallowness, disinformation, and fake news rarely broach subjects like the treatment of Native Americans in the 1800s.
The usual superficial Hollywood treatment paints a black and white picture of good and evil; right and wrong; good guys and bad guys, when the true picture is a swirling surreal portrait of opacity and moral relativism. The reason Unforgiven is considered a classic is its honest portrayal of the brutality, murder, reputation, heroes, villains, and the blurred line between good and evil.
Hostiles tells the story of Captain Joseph Blocker who is on the verge of retirement after decades of fighting Indians, with a reputation as the most relentless, brutal and unforgiving Indian fighter in the U.S. Cavalry. By order of the president he is tasked with returning a paroled and dying of cancer Cheyenne Chief – Yellow Hawk – to his home Valley of the Bears in Montana so he can be buried in his birthplace. He initially refuses the assignment because of his blind hatred of all Indians and specifically Yellow Hawk.
During his decades of fighting Indians, he found Yellow Hawk to be his equal in murderous brutality and disdain for his enemies. He personally slaughtered four of Blocker’s closest friends. His colonel threatens him with court martial and the loss of his government pension if he does not carry out his orders. Always the good soldier, he obeys and leads his hand-picked men as they begin their mission.
Shortly after undertaking their mission they come across a burnt out homestead where a Comanche renegade war party had killed and scalped the patriarch, shot and killed his three children and left a shattered wife who had hidden in the woods to escape slaughter. The stoic, gruff, hard hearted Blocker makes the executive decision to escort this broken woman to safety, the soldier displaying a degree of compassion that almost renders him unrecognizable.
The dangerous journey to Montana becomes a metaphor for Blocker’s passage from blind hatred to trust, understanding and retrieval of his humanity. After a lifetime of barbarity and animosity, killing without remorse because he didn’t see his enemy as human, Blocker gradually gains perspective and empathy.
After his unit is attacked by the same murderous Comanche war party and he loses some of his few soldiers, Blocker reluctantly removes the chains from Yellow Hawk, who gives his word to help defend their small contingent. They prove their worth and allegiance by sneaking out of camp in the middle of the night and slaughtering the Comanche warriors and then returning. Blocker silently acknowledges this act, beginning to shift his preconceived beliefs about Yellow Hawk and his Cheyenne brethren.
A grudging respect between mortal enemies develops as the journey and metaphor intersect and the violence of the old West continues unabated. The line between heroes, villains, bravery, cowardice, murder and self-defense blurs, as the concept of morality is distorted by the lawlessness of an unforgiving world. The old West was far more complex than portrayed by the Hollywood entertainment complex.
Despite a well-crafted film and an Academy Award winning lead, I believe this western will not connect with Americans and draw a large audience because we are in the midst of a Fourth Turning.
Movies and books become blockbusters when they reflect the current mood of the country. The violent backdrop of Hostiles fits into the current paradigm, but its message of compromise, understanding, and reconciliation is inconsistent with the current disposition of the American populace.
Americans are in a fighting mood. Just as physical altercations broke out on the floors of Congress in the 1850s and compromise became impossible, the current animosity in the political realm has crossed the point of no return. Self-proclaimed moderates have no say in the current poisoned partisan atmosphere. The pure hatred and vitriolic loathing of opponents for control of this country has reached a breaking point.
Hostile is the perfect description for the factions clashing for control of the American Empire. The last week revealed the Deep State conspiratorial plot to prevent Donald Trump from winning the presidency. A sitting president, his high level lackeys in the FBI and DOJ, crooked Hillary, and the left wing propaganda spewing media, colluded to steal the presidential election – essentially committing treason. A few years ago only obscure bloggers used the term Deep State to describe the shadowy wealthy interests pulling the strings behind the scenes and ruling over the peasants through a combination of fear, disinformation, surveillance, propaganda, and control of the legislative, judicial and executive branches.
Now there is irrefutable proof Edward Bernays was telling the truth in 1928 regarding an invisible government manipulating the habits and opinions of the ignorant masses to benefit their own self interests. The level of control and manipulation has reached a tipping point. The internet, obscure bloggers, and a small but vocal irate minority setting brush fires of freedom in the minds of critical thinking citizens has foiled the plans of Deep State traitors.
The unanticipated election of Trump has unleashed a tsunami of civil strife, plots to undermine the presidency, exposing the corporate fake news media as co-conspirators of the Deep State, and an out of control surveillance state that makes Orwell’s 1984 Big Brother seem like a piker. Make no mistake about it, there is a civil war ongoing in this country and the outcome is very much in doubt.
The three critical factors driving this Fourth Turning continue to be civic decay, global disorder and debt.
As described, civic decay is accelerating at an astounding rate, hurtling the country towards a Constitutional crisis. Every day new evidence of surveillance state misdeeds feeds the rage building among critical thinking non-partisan Americans. The American military empire is actively engaged in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, and other countries around the globe. Turkey is at war in Syria with our Kurd allies.
Our Al Qaeda backed rebels are fighting Assad and Russia. The Ukraine is a powder keg, with our installed lackey president pushing for conflict with Russia. Israel and Hamas are on the verge of war. Iran and Saudi Arabia are fighting a proxy war in Yemen. The Korean peninsula could explode at any moment. Global disorder is mounting in intensity and dimension. America’s belligerency, policing the world, provoking Russia and China into an alliance, and pursuing the agenda of neocons and the military industrial complex, pushes the world ever closer towards a global conflict.
The third core element of this Fourth Turning has thus far been the component temporarily concealing the foulest aspect of this ongoing crisis. The Deep State and their financiers at the Fed and Too Big To Trust Wall Street banks have propped up a debt saturated failing financial system with tens of trillions in additional debt. By artificially suppressing interest rates; rigging stocks, currencies and precious metals through the shadowy derivatives market and dark pools; and providing free money to Wall Street bankers, they have purposely created the largest bubble in world history in stock, bond and real estate markets simultaneously. The “Everything Bubble” puts all other bubbles to shame. Just the slowing of debt creation is beginning to reveal cracks in the system.
The average American has been led to believe the current bull market is due to an improving economy or some other such tripe. Their delusions are built on a vaporous foundation of unpayable debt and relentless propaganda spewed by the corporate media. This debt based paradigm is mathematically unsustainable. A 1% increase in interest rates blows the entire Ponzi scheme sky high – and rates have begun to rise. The ten year Treasury breaching 2.8% last week led to a 1,100 drop in the Dow in the blink of an eye. When greed turns to fear, look out below.
Buy the dip says the Wall Street shill “experts” who are paid to tout stocks. Debt is still the key focal point which will propel this Fourth Turning towards its climax. Leverage is a beautiful thing during a crack up boom, as speculators who believe they are brilliant investors appear to get money for nothing. During the inevitable bust the highly leveraged “investing experts” see their faux wealth evaporate in an instant, while the debt remains and must be serviced.
I wonder how the investing geniuses who bought bitcoin at $18,000 with their credit card a few weeks ago are feeling now with bitcoin below $8,000. It appears this fragile fake financial house of cards, built on a titanic mountain of dodgy debt, is wobbling and the slightest gust of wind or 25 basis point increase in interest rates endangers all of the Deep State machinations to prop up their failing social order. When average Joes and Janes see their 401ks obliterated for the third time in the last two decades, they will be enraged and susceptible to the ravings of the latest politician lunatic savior. When people lose it all, they will lose control of their reason, and all hell will break loose.
Once financial hardship sweeps over the land, the civic decay and global disorder will fuse with the anger of the populace and thrust this crisis into a violent dimension. The use of debt by the Deep State ruling class has disguised the rot in the system, but will turbocharge the downside as financial collapse and universal dismay with those in power leads to violence, bloodshed and war.
If you think the current environment is hostile, you haven’t studied history to understand the death and destruction wrought during the climaxes of the last two Fourth Turnings. Millions will die before this is over. We are exiting the eye of the hurricane and the risk of catastrophe is high. You can feel the swelling peril in your bones. Get your affairs in order and get ready for the next phase of this crisis.
“The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one of maximum risk and effort – in other words, a total war. Every Fourth Turning has registered an upward ratchet in the technology of destruction, and in mankind’s willingness to use it.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning