Sunday, 8 May 2011

casting czar

Remember that Barry Levinson film Wag the Dog? It was masterfully done and presented some uncomfortable questions about spin and public policy. I think it was not allowed to become such a phenomenon in the States or linger very long in sniping short-hand because of the eruption of events of the conflict in Kosovo and America’s role in it.

German commentators, and perhaps too soon but not expected to tow the party line, have raised that spectre concerning Osama bin Laden, and how might the death of a villain be staged who never existed, except as portrayed by a carefully casted troupe of actors. I have not followed these events very closely, admittedly, and a lot of the story-line is certainly inherited, and one cannot take too many liberties with the script, as it were, but there does seem to be an awful lot of theatrics going on. It is difficult to say which camp of critics either make the illusion or suggest the illusion, however. Is there enough subtlety in the way this operation played out to admit subversion? Real events, some could argue, do not tolerate irony and the story-arch as well as something scripted and story-boarded. Conspiracy theories create that kind of anti-cyclonic effects. A lot of disparate notions accompany an ongoing pursuit that become cul-de-sacs, other elements of a wild goose chase, that are later abandoned: bin Laden resided in that town in Pakistan for the past six years (numerous footnotes on the Wikileaks’ cable dump), was retired and raised bunnies for neighbourhood kids—and that mention of marijuana growing as wild weeds on his compound, which is not uncommon in suburban Pakistan, or the burial at sea to avoid idolatry of the graveside, a tenet rejected by conservative sects. What if it is all a carefully crafted tale, dynamic to anticipate and counter with plausible explanations the heckles of the audience?