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Sep 01, 2006

The "Plot" Against George W. Bush


Take one part Oswald, one part Hinckley, one part Sirhan, stir it together with plenty of enmity toward GWB, and what have you got?

As of today, you've got this screen shot released by England's Channel 4.  It's a promotion for a 90 minute fictional documentary, to be aired in October, chronicling an imagined 2007 assassination of George W. Bush.  The film is scheduled to preview at the Toronto Film Festival in January.

Of course, the overwhelming tendency will be to dismiss this program as a crass effort to push the media marketing envelope.  If so, that would overlook a notable, if twisted, political, cultural and even sociological materialization. 

If art is fertile ground for primitive wishes and impulses, this "plot" would seem to represent the ultimate, if perverse vehicle for Bush sufferers everywhere (particularly the Europeans?) to fantasize a return to sanity and the restoration of a more proportioned international power balance.  Before hard-liners start to howl, however, perhaps its worth considering --given the extent to which the Bush Administration is guided by paranoia and propelled toward violence -- just how far this fictional narrative actually deviates from their own political lexicon.

And then, perhaps the purpose of this program even contains a practical and organic component. 

In an era in which traditional forms of protest have failed to capture more widespread imagination, is it possible the media/entertainment sphere has become the new platform for dissent?  In this case, perhaps the real "plot" here is to deliver a less-than-metaphorical jolt to the continuous and lethargy-inducing drone of Administration propaganda.

(image:  September 1, 2006.  Via YahooNews.)


"...Bush sufferers everywhere (particularly the Europeans?)..."
Sorry for, but Europeans have somehow forgotten the art to assassinate presidents, kings and queens. If I remember correctly, the last successful elimination of an unwanted ruler happened in the early 20ies last century, when the Yugoslav king was shot in Marseilles by a Serbian. (The case of Lady Di is still unclear) Of course we had the "RAF" - leftist extremists - in the 70ies, but the highest ranking they got was the state prosecuter..
So I am very sorry to be unable to offer some help.

I obvously have not seen the programme, so I can't comment on that. Let me point out though that we elected GWB, not once, but twice. The fact we are stuck with him is our own damn fault. Its wrong to wish him dead.

Bush wearing a bright orange jump-suit would be sufficient for me. Stories about assasinations only serve to polish his hagiography, even a fictional one as in this program. The St. Reagan movement went into full swing after Hinckley. Given the media savvy of this crew, I wouldn't be surprised if the Bush crew used this for their gain. It's a total win for Bush: it makes him more "presidential"; it reinforces his popularity by using the predictable general outrage at the idea; it places him in the same lineage as Lincoln, Kennedy and Reagan; it provides a new line of attack against those that are titillated by the idea; it demonizes his opponents who apparently won't stop at any type of attack on him; and it allows him to adopt a reinforced martyr pose without any real price. After all, it's a new reality now.

My first response to this is that it's on the same level as Ann Coulter's rant about knocking of a SupCo Justice.

There's just too much killing going on in the world today –
and as much as I think the royal GW is responsible for (or could control) much of it,
this type of art will only hurt art in the end.
More restrictions . . . this is the movie equivalent to flag burning.
It doesn't work.

I do like the B&W tho.

Peace to all baguettes.

Bush looks like he did in the photo where he's crossing his arms in the cathedral in New Orleans (as a sign for the Catholic priest that he's not Catholic and shouldn't receive communion). I can't tell which hands are his and which are his bodyguard's, though.

Is the whole film in black and white? They do make the connection with 1963 or 1968; there's nothing to really mark it as the present time. The men are in suits; the woman that's most visible is in a suit that could have been in fashion back then; there's no obvious sign of modern technology; everyone looks white.

Also, I would advise caution in any comments on this topic....

Actually, the Toronto International Film Festival starts next week.

Oops... I put the wrong username on my post above.

"Before hard-liners start to howl, however, perhaps its worth considering --given the extent to which the Bush Administration is guided by paranoia and propelled toward violence -- just how far this fictional narrative actually deviates from their own political lexicon."

I think this fictional narrative, far from being a wake-up call for the Busheviks, will merely reinforce their delusions. The extreme security measures taken to "protect" Bush -- taking his own cooks even to Buckingham Palace! -- bespeak extreme paranoia. The more anger and outrage are displayed against Bush, the more Bush sees it as proof that HE IS RIGHT AND EVERYBODY ELSE IS WRONG! "Everybody else is wrong" is an necessary to the Bushevik worldview as "we are always right". It justifies their aggressive actions and "go it alone" philosophy.

This drama is highly irresponsible, with what we know as the power of media to stimulate the perverted imagination of very sick people. The death of John Kennedy came after months of assassination talk by ordinary people on the street. It came as no surprise to those of us who heard the careless rhetoric.

While always in favor of artistic freedom, I think such a drama would have a more legitimate place, if any at all, after Bush's Presidency is over, when he will be less a target for such action.

I hold the opinion that art reflects the community in which it is created. I hold the opinion that the current administration behaves like an abusive parent or spouse ("I'll protect you, dammit! Now stop crying! Stop it!" [ slap ]).

I hold the opinion that the far-too-right's talk and fantasies about violence towards everyone to their left (which I've been hearing for a long, long time) is their "response" to their perceived (or manufactured) persecution.

Satire and absurdity would have been a better rhetorical device rather than a "fictional documentary."

Haven't seen the film, but find the idea repugnant and perverse. I'm against assassination, just as I'm opposed to the violence of war. My profound objection to the current administration lies in its radical embrace of violence to promote democracy -- or so it claims to be doing.

Something about this post, Bag, made me think of the front page story in today's WaPo, with attendant pictures, about "reality TV" bringing a "breath of fresh air" to Iraqis. I think the complete reversion of meanings requires some like James Wolcott to do it justice.

That should be "inversion", of course.

Sad to say, this "documentary" will just increase the Republican Right's paranoid perception of themselves as "victims," (even though they are the ones who are the victimizers). Did Karl Rove produce this show? I agree with Darryl that irony and satire would be a better way to expose the corruption of the Bush administration.

Conflating GWB with JFK / RFK strains credulity leading to suspension of disbelief issues for most viewers. The film makers could have cast this project in a George Wallace / Ronald Reagan assassination attempt framework, a self absorbed nut case acting alone, so very alone. No mideast assassin with terrorist ties, instead Arthur Bremer taking a sabbatical from his bus boy position and his porn collection, looking to promote his autobiography.

For 21st Century America realism, a "hunting" "accident" involving Richard Bruce Cheney.

Fictional documentary? or is it a dangerous piece of "art"?...
or is it just injecting in people's minds more of paranoia?
To place the protests against the war in Iraq as a centerpiece, helps the cause of the idiot. Isn't this a warning by the homeland security not to protest at all since the protests will cause the assassination of the idiot?
I am also bothered by the identification of the my mind comes right away a soldier returning from his\her duty in Iraq where the job was just that assassinate people...This time the bullet hits Idiot and not a protester.
Now, the next is to identify the sniper as Syrian born...and we have more reasons to profile Arabs and anyone named Jamal Abu...and tag them as danger to society...
What is the purpose of this "fictional piece of documentary movie"??? It seems to me this is a rehearsal for the hunt, for those who protest, for those who wear Tshirts with arabic writing, for those who call Idiot idiot...and so on...
The mainstream media is in the lead and manipulators pull the strings unseen...
Nobody needs directions! What is needed is to point the finger and say 'I told you so!"
Rumsfeld comes to my mind...

Well, this is a puzzler. It's hard to reconcile the ideals of free speech with a documentary that proposes the current U.S. president be assassinated. While I doubt the documentary specifically suggests it happen, it's skirting on the edge of suggestion just by being made. If I recall, there's a superstition about presidents being assassinated or victims of attempted assassination that, if true, would mean Bush was next. Something like all presidents elected in a 0 year? I can't remember exactly, but this documentary reminded me of it.

Killing the president is no solution. I can't imagine how much worse the mess we're in now would be if this were to happen. And if someone does try to hurt the president between now and October, or after the show airs, the show's creators will have a LOT to answer to. I just think this show is a mistake.

I fcukin' wish.....

Here's hoping art imitates life.

re GeorgeF

Both Olaf Palme and Anna Lindh, Prime Ministers of Sweden, were assasinated not so long ago. Also the IRA were about 60 seconds from killing Thatcher in Brighton.

Let's hope art DOES NOT immitate life. I despise GWB, but nothing could be worse than some sort of assassination by yet another wakko, of anybody, and that includes Saddam.

Haven't we seen enough blood lately? Need more babies with their heads blown off, do you? Gee whiz people are full of hateful crap! Don't bring it near me! Ugh!

Elizabeth "false memory" Loftus in the news.

@ kebmodee
Ooops, you are right - Olof Palme and Anna Lindh. But have they been assassinated by Europeans? And even the IRA had not the guts, just to draw the gun and shoot Maggie. You see, we are so weak ("soft-balled" as we say here) that by this time we have to import real assassinators.

Do I dare correct Alan? WE did not elect GWB. He was appointed by the SCOTUS in 2000 and by all reliable accounts, remainedered in office by massive election fraud.

Should any art be subject to censorship? Are "reality" shows art? From what I've heard about this film, it cannot be called 'docudrama' which term presupposes documentation of fact which is being dramatized. This is pure flight of imagination and/or wishful thinking. I'm getting the impression it is rather clumsy and heavy-handed, but that again may be anti-hype. If the former, then the question is why, when the Brits are so good at irony and satire. I wonder why they didn't 'Python' it. That way they could be just as outrageous and still get away with it. Or even TW3 or "You Are There" could work. Is there a need in Britain (and probably the rest of the world) to see the Idiot dead? I could understand their anger at the self-aggrandizing posture and paranoia when visiting the Queen, so perhaps the film makers knew this would push his buttons.

So, will we be hearing about how like Jesus the first idiot really is? "They" wanted to kill Jesus, too, you know. Are we sure Rove isn't the producer? For the southern lemmings, it will just reinforce the belief that 'they' (those foreign europeans) were always against us. It will probably just reinforce the paranoia of a certain segment of our populace. I don't think it will ever be seen in this country because any theater owner would be afraid of being blown up. I doubt even Showtime would have the courage to put this on the air. But I'm also willing to bet that the film makers will make a lot of money in the rest of the world.

lytom, the Guardian article says: "The hunt for Mr Bush's killer focuses on a Syrian-born man, Jamal Abu Zikri". That doesn't necessarily mean that he's the one who ends up being the killer, though. So it could be that it's the Syrian, and that would give the government more reason to consider Syria part of the "axis of evil", impose sanctions, invade, or whatever. Or it could be that it turns out not to be him, and there might be some food for thought about the suspicion immediately falling on an Arab.

Usually, fictional shows about the President use a fictional President. I'm just curious - would people have the same problems with it if they had done that?

And I probably shouldn't bring this up, but I can't help but think of the Danish cartoon controversy when the free speech issue comes up...

The filmmakers shouldn't get any kind of censure, even in the event of an actual attempt. To suggest that they gave someone the idea is ridiculous. The kind of person who would actually commit such a crime wouldn't need a film to spur them to action.
Did anyone see the pilot episode of X-Files spinoff, The Lone Gunmen? In it they uncover a plot by elements of the Defense Intelligence Agency to stage a false flag terrorist event in order to hasten the arrival of martial law in this country and justify wars around the world to increase arms sales. Their crash a passenger jet, hijacked by remote control, into the World Trade Center. The heroes regain manual control at the last moment of course, just clipping the antennas on top of the tower. Pretty eerie scene to watch. This aired in March of 2001. It puts the lie to the official story that no one had ever conceived of such a thing taking place, but at the same time, no one's idiotic enough to suggest that the actual plot was inspired by the show.
On the topic of assassination being morally wrong...were Hitler's generals wrong to attempt to assassinate him with a bomb? Are Israeli & U.S. "targeted killings" not assassinations? Isn't the strategy of decapitating a regime assassination?
I'm not just being a jerk. I want to know if there are justifiable assassinations and if the same rules apply to everyone or if the acceptable and unacceptable simply fall along partisan & realpolitikal lines?

No, let us not hope that life imitates art.

Way back in 2001, I had a dream (a literal dream, while I was asleep) that I smuggled a protest sign into a Bush speech, but when I realized that the man next to me was holding a gun, I grabbed his arm so that he fired it into the ceiling instead of at Bush.

When the reporters all clustered around me, asking me how it felt to save Bush's life and obviously expecting me to say it was the best thing I ever did in my life or some such, I said, "George W. Bush can choke on a pretzel. I stopped the gunman because Bush getting shot would be all the excuse they needed to impose martial law."

I'm just surprised that they haven't staged a phony assassination attempt to create that excuse.

Very glam recreation of 1960s assassinations in America, but I find this Photoshopping just plain creepy and juvenile:

"This scene, which was created by putting the *President's face* onto an actor with digital wizardry, shows him being gunned down just hours after driving past an anti-war demonstration while doing a talk in Chicago."

But here's the detail that reveals it's fiction: Bush would never be driving past an anti-war demonstration.

Also, don't they (the Brits who made the movie and the "Syrians" who pulled the trigger) know it should be Cheney? Obviously the Brits must really *hate* us if they made a movie that crowns Cheney president. Or perhaps they're nihilists.

Assassinating a Bush has been a topic (in fact, fiction, dreams, visions, and Biblical codes) for years now:

hmmm... I told my old lady that I predicted that Dubya would get assassinated in 2007 by the right wingers in order to give them an excuse to impose martial law, suspend elections, etc. etc. etc. only partly tongue in cheek.

And now the Brits are making a faux documentary about the same scenario?

Well, why not? US cable and network "news" media have been giving us fake news for years.

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