Nearly all of us are interested in a story involving social conflict, sex and violence, entitlement versus non-privilege, sexual abuse, and/or impropriety, wealth versus poverty, and racial tensions that flare out of control.
This is not only Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, the new Tarentino flick, it is also our everyday headlines.
Where Charles Manson and his family of devoted followers failed to start a race war, our fearless national family leader, Donald Trump, seems to be succeeding much more effectively at inciting his cult to racism, sexism, and at times, even violence.
The division, and race war Manson wanted, now seems possible.
Racism and sexism
Fifty years ago. Roman Polanski, the husband of slain beauty, starlet Sharon Tate, lamented the loss not only of his wife, but of his unborn child. A very pregnant Sharon was brutally stabbed to death by Manson family members.
Somehow, without motive to do it themselves, they slavishly did it for Manson, who was determined to bring about social chaos, and American division, that he called Helter Skelter.
Maybe the Beatles were put off just enough that they broke up later the same year, marking an end to so much hope for love and peace. Their Helter Skelter was about confusing, and oft times unrequited, love, but Manson’s helter skelter was about lighting a national riot.
The Beatles probably had their own reasons to split, separating us from some of our sanity and hope, but then again, when a Chilean Butterfly flaps her wings, chaos theory ripples into biblical disasters. Just sayin’.
Like today’s Jeffrey Epstein, Roman Polanski is considered a child rapist, and like most older guys at the time, he more, or less, has gotten away with it. The Manson women, cultishly devoted to a more powerful, and charismatic man are still serving time. I don’t see the charisma in either man, but maybe now is a different era, and we are more wary of cult leaders.
Cults cluttering up the landscape
Our Predator in chief, meanwhile, unlike Senator Al Franken, has not had much consequence for his alleged sexual impropriety (and, or, assault), although there are more accusations than you can shake a pussy hat, at.
This kind of inconsistency confuses, and divides, the public.
Then there is race. Old Hollywood, the lost one that Tarentino is waxing romantic about, had one race represented, white. They also had one sex represented, male. Yes, there were women in films, but very rarely as anything but accessories, or femme fatales.
Race representation has come a long way, and yet, still has such a long way to go. Manson had it in his swastika adorned head that America needed a race war.
The civil war wasn’t enough, apparently. And, Donald Trump, whether you see him as having a racist bone in his body, or an entire skeleton, uses race-baiting much more than he uses just casual racism for the sake of being a jerk. He notably avoids the N word, but who really believes he has never used it? He wishes only to be adored as a hero, and perhaps those who object to his race baiting and obvious appeal as a populist are not vocal enough.
Welcome to the club, or does he use a knife?
Trump, something like an Anti-Manson who repels more women than he attracts, uses both racism and sexism to rile up the base instincts of his base. The enemy for his cult seems to be political correctness. He uses fear of socialism, fear of the “other” and fear of having to change into decent people in a blended America as weapon. He uses a metaphorical cudgel because metaphorical stabbing is just too much, even for Trump.
Cue police violence, and words like “pig” written in blood. Our current society is of two minds when it comes to militaristic policing. Black Lives Matter, and most informed people, are righteously campaigning for an end to police brutality. Trump, on the other weapon, wielding hand uses the euphemism of “law and order,” or he even directs abuse and suggests violence against those who would take a knee, silently protesting for an end to counterproductive police brutality.
One Planet — not so Hollywood — one chance at redemption
One reform ushered in by the 1960’s that has gone horribly wrong is environmentalism.
Back then, everyone who breathed could see the sense of stopping pollution. Not so, today. We are as divided about climate protection as we are about race and sex. We may lose the whole war if we can’t get back the common sense of the sixties that said it’s the polluters who are extremists, not the peaceful environmentalists, urging more green jobs, economy, and infrastructure.
Now that pollution threatens and affects everyone on the planet in the many forms of Climate Crisis. Maybe 1969 was a hot, horrific summer, but 2019 promises to kill more people by far than crazed hippies infused with psycho-social idiocy.
With all our arrived, and still to come, droughts, heat-stroke, fire, floods, storms, and subsequent refugees we may yet again see an end to an era. It too, may be one that never really was real.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood harkens back to a golden age much like the Great America that Never WAS great for most people who are not female, or cis, or Caucasian. It ends with a bloody crescendo and probably a lot of screaming and violence.
Let’s just hope the current cults don’t have to go that far, before we unite against a race war, a gender-based culture war, or a war between “others” and ourselves.
It turns out that we are ourselves, and we are the only ones to stop the madness.