by John Walters
Tweet Me Right
Wag The Dog II: Mar-A-Lago Boogaloo
The White House, without authorization from Congress, has assassinated Qasem Soleimani. He was basically the No. 2 dude in Iran behind the Supreme Leader, the dude who directed all acts of war, terrorism, foreign policy skulduggery behind the scenes.
The rationale—that Soleimani was directing imminent attacks against U.S. troops and/or civilians in Iraq—has only been true for, oh, about the past 17 years. So why now? And what’s the plan going forward besides tweeting?
And why did Eric Trump tweet “Bout to open a big ol’ can of whoopass” and #DontMessWithTheBest on New Year’s Eve, two days before the strike occurred? Did he know about this 48 hours before anyone in Congress, most of whom learned by Twitter, did?
Anyway, Soleimani is dead. He was a bad, bad man, particularly where U.S. interests are concerned. But of course, this is the beginning, not the end. I think we can all use our imaginations and consider what array of responses Iran might use, what targets (human and cyber and geographic) they might go after in response.
But it’s also an opportunity for Donald Trump to deflect from the impeachment process. To perhaps declare martial law. To behave like a tough guy. Has he thought three steps down the road? No. Trump plays checkers, not chess.
Stay tuned. The “Toots” (2020s) just got interesting, a whole two days in.
One last thing: Isn’t it a little funny that the U.S.’ rationale for killing this man is that he was “in the planning stages of attacking U.S. interests” yet this same administration uses as its defense in the Ukraine impeachment case that it never actually accomplished what it is accused of setting out to do?
Jones’ing To Be Fired
After yet another 8-8 season with all that talent, Jason Garrett was fired by the Dallas Cowboys (four days and like, three meetings with Jerry Jones after the Cowboys’ last game, a meaningless blowout of the Washington Redskins). We were curious why the ESPN crawl and the SportsCenter promos and even espn.com kept repeating the same stock phrase: “Cowboys To Move On” from Jason Garrett.
When you’re being spun as a fan, it’s important to be aware of that fact. Someone in Dallas (J.J.) wields a lot of power with the ESPN folks (and uses Ed Werder as his conduit?) and as long as ESPN was going to break this story, maybe they had to agree to word it Jerry’s way? Just a conspiracy theory, but then again this is an event that took place in Dallas, the epicenter of conspiracy theories, so the judges will allow it.
Just a reminder that with a ton of talent and two games apiece versus the Redskins and the Giants, plus games against the Dolphins and Jets, the Cowboys were unable to win enough games to make the playoffs. Incredible.
Bring on the “Urban Cowboy?” heds. And wouldn’t it be something if Coach Meyer had yet another chance to under-use Ezekiel Elliott?
Five Films: 1986
- Platoon: Finally, a good six years into the decade, a film that is both popular and critically praised. A movie movie. Oliver Stone’s semi-autobiographical tale about a privileged kid who volunteered to serve in Vietnam and barely made it out alive felt, at the time, like a very, very accurate account of what it was like without all of Apocalypse Now‘s Heart of Darkness varnish. Sergeant Barnes: “I AM reality.” 2. Hoosiers: Seeing this film as a college student in Indiana, it felt as if someone had made the love letter to the state that I was feeling inside. Gene Hackman probably never quite knew how much this film would blow up as he was filming it. Credit writer/director Angelo Pizzo for not going overboard with the maudlin, for understanding small-town Indiana, for some wonderful cinematography, for a thrilling score to accompany those action scenes, and for just the right amount of comic relief…in the form of Dennis Hopper. And wouldn’t you know a kid named Steve Alford would lead the Indiana Hoosiers to the NCAA title that year? 3. Stand By Me: For as much credit as Rob Reiner gets, he still does not get enough. In the 1980s he made This Is Spinal Tap, this, The Princess Bride and When Harry Met Sally. Not bad, Meathead. Not bad. River Phoenix embodies precocious. Could’ve been the next Brando. 4. Top Gun: I mean, yeah, so manipulative and formulaic (it’s All The Right Moves at a Navy flight school) and so, so closeted (“I’m on YOUR tail!”) but it delivers and the dog-fight scenes are incredible. And that’s Meg Ryan before she was really, really big. Tom Cruise has still never won an Oscar. Incredible. Still get a chuckle seeing topless dudes in jeans playing volleyball. 5. Hannah And Her Sisters: So many films could’ve landed in this final spot, so let’s recognize ones we loved here— Blue Velvet, Something Wild, Back To School and Pretty In Pink. We’ve never been a fan of Ferris Bueller because as, I believe it was Gene Siskel pointed out, if you look at this film through the lens of “Ferris is just an incredibly narcissistic and self-serving ass,” you may see it differently and, oh, by the way, that is the correct lens. We’ve always wanted to see Mission and hope someday that we will. As for this film, it’s a sign of Woody Allen’s maturation (as a film maker…don’t Soon-Yi me; I know). This and Crimes and Misdemeanors are almost impossible to tell apart from one another, but they’re both dark and also funny.