by George Giles
donít read as much as they should or used to. The mass media rules
the day for cultural information transfer. Pop culture is a good
window into the collective conscious of what the media elites think
we, the benighted masses, should be thinking. It was in this spirit
that I watched the new television show E-Ring on its debut. It could
be an intriguing concept show, to see what goes on in the inner
workings of the Pentagon: beautiful women, handsome and virile men,
glorious action, adventure, trampling of the constitution, ours
and others, plus lots of spending of the taxpayers money on technology
and folly. Just what the hell are they doing with our $500 billion
dollars a year? The show did not disappoint, and as a cultural indicator
it should be taken as a warning.
premise of the show is that a young and noble officer is assigned
to work in special/covert ops under a curmudgeon-like rebel Colonel.
Benjamin Bratt plays the handsome major freshly assigned to the
Pentagon from Afghanistan. A major is an officer senior enough to
not be naïve and inexperienced, yet does not have enough rank,
connections and baggage to be corrupted. Dennis Hopper plays
the Colonel, from which the irony just drips. Hopperís office is
a large vault, a relic of the cold war. The show opens with a beautiful
and completely nude young women wound around Bratt as he gets out
of bed for his first day of work at the ring. Beautiful and nude
enough to authenticate the virility of the protagonist Bratt. Later
in the show we learn she is a CIA analyst that he has rescued from
certain peril, always an endearing trait of beautiful young women,
especially when you want them to take their clothes off.
premise of episode one is the CIA has a valuable asset, a spy in
China, about to be arrested, who has signaled she wants extraction.
The extraction count down clock starts to build the tension. She
is, of course, a beautiful Chinese young women, running, hiding,
wearing disguises, carrying the ubiquitous microchip full of secret
(an old chip with 8 leads, enough for 256 bits of data, not quite
adequate for a CAD model of a stealth submarine, but hey we're in
fantasy land here so why let reality intrude). She must evade the
stern Chinese police, drive her fancy Japanese sports car to the
beach where a team of Navy SEALS will extract her to safety.
first meeting with Hopper is a confrontation in which a new officer
brushes aside bureaucratic decorum to intercede on the CIAís behalf
to get Hopper to spring a Navy submarine that happens to be in the
neighborhood to do the deed. During the first half of the show Bratt
and Hopper are getting shut down by the bureaucracy that does not
want to approve the risky, costly and potentially hazardous mission.
Cost benefit analysis is actually briefly discussed, about 15 seconds,
as approval for the op is denied.
best part of the show is where Hopper tells Bratt to give it up,
he needs to learn how the Pentagon works before tilting at these
windmills. His words are basically that you have to get the SecDefís
(Secretary of Defense) love and everybody is frantically queuing
for it, but that love is actually funding, so keep you mouth, shut
your head down and maybe if you get along youíll go along, i.e.
get some love. Itís the only moment of truth to be had here.
goes home to his beautiful CIA analyst and has a confrontation with
her about honor, duty, not leaving a fallen comrade behind, all
the clichés one would expect. She is alive because he came
back for her, he is alive because his country came back for him,
and thus he cannot leave the Chinese operative behind. He pedals
his bicycle, minus the seat, which was stolen at the Pentagon, back
to the Ring to set things straight. The potentially sodomizing seat
pole is quite the ridiculous visual someone went to a lot of trouble
to put in. What a metaphor for his career since he is taking on
the most ferocious, take no prisoners bureaucracy on the planet,
actually they take quite a few prisoners, but thatís a story for
another day. No matter, his cause and determination will carry the
fray. Bratt confronts Hopper with the same no one left behind soliloquy
he spewed on the analyst, pumps him up, they call the up CIA, the
joint chief, SecDef etc. A big meet is to be held at another E ring
high tech dungeon/conference room, where Bratt gives the four stars
the no one left behind speech for the third time, thumbs up all
round, and the Navy sub, the one with the 12 foot ceilings, is dispatched.
music wails as the extraction clock counts down, gets to zero and
turns red on screen, cueing the audience that a climax is approaching.
The Chinese spy, now with shorn hair and a beard is frantically
talking on a cell phone in Chinese, waving a red flashlight hoping
for extraction. A Chinese spy satellite suddenly veers off course
to fly over the beach area where it could foil the escapade by discovering
the submarine! A Predator drone is dispatched to get a closer look
even though itís night (no problem weíve got thermal vision). The
SEALS get to the beach, grab the spy, learn of approaching red dots
from the Predator, get ready to fight when it is discovered itís
a child and another women, apparently wanting extraction as well.
They all hustle off to the submarine, the four stars are kept abreast
by a live feed, high fives, back slapping all around, and a job
well done. This is story telling of sub-teen sophistication.
show should be discomfiting to freedom loving people everywhere.
It explicitly states that a Chinese "Stealth" submarine
would be a threat to oil from the Middle East which is an un-provable
assertion. It could tip the balance of power in the region, another
un-provable assertion. The show also explicitly stated that the
Chinese are growing consumers for oil, and will compete for it on
the open market. This is just dense as everybody competes in the
market, thatís why it exists. If that fails they will compete for
it militarily with technology that only the U.S. should be allowed
to have, just the same old poor excuse we have had for Middle Eastern
adventurism since Roosevelt was president, which is an oxymoron
since we are the only country actively pursuing that policy, the
Chinese soldiers are demonized by wearing the same black hats, heavy
coats and machine guns the wardrobe department trotted out caricaturing
the Soviet bears for four decades. The symbolism is pedantic, unimaginative,
supporting facts are all the opposite of what is portrayed: the
Chinese do not have spy satellites, nuclear submarines, stealth
technology, an offensive military, or policy designs on the Middle
East. They are, however, profligate savers and ambitious capitalists,
who lend us the money necessary to cover our deficits which we in
turn waste on the Pentagon. If we turned off the cash hose to those
spendthrifts we would have no deficits and could not afford all
of our other Federal cash hemorrhages.
frightening premise of the show is that American power can and should
be used, whenever and wherever it is deemed appropriate by the powers
that be. This is scary. We are proudly shown this power being manipulated
by an idealistic junior officer on his first day at work. Who knows
what heíll do once he really gets settled in? The fact that it is
on a prime time TV show replete with all glamorizing imagery, is
designed to inculcate the acceptance of a militarized society into
the American psyche. Given the last 5 years, and a trillion dollars
of taxpayerís capital that has been wasted, the thousands of lives
lost pointlessly, this is a sterile and barren production devoid
of value except as a warning to the citizenry at large.
the producers are closet libertarians, sending us a subliminal message
to stop this criminal nonsense, but I doubt it. This show is a warning
like Mein Kampf was, on what is to come, and like Mein Kampf it
seeks to make the cause noble, by dressing it up in poor rhetoric,
bad logic and a crude emotional presentation of causes and effects
that are disjoint.
this show is so bad, with banal dialog, weak character development
and a complete lack of realistic protagonists that in the coming
weeks an assault on all the usual suspectsí will occur: out will
be trotted nuclear armed terrorists, drug lords and cruel dictators
with the concomitant trampling of territorial boundaries and ethical
behavior along the way. Ultimately the story lines will desiccate,
because they are so threadbare, tired, and worn until the inevitable
fall in ratings doom this, and thatís the good news. On the down
side this turd might sprout wings, take off, and become a recruiting
commercial for the young, and a validation to the populace at large
of what has been going on right under our noses for the last century,
regardless of how inaccurate and poorly done it is. Thus, giving
cultural credibility and justification to the whole stinking mess.
I sure hope not.
should not survive more than one season, but if it does Dennis Hopper
will have to stay stoned to get through multiple seasons of this
Giles [send him mail]
is an independent thinker and writer in Nashville, Tennessee.
© 2005 LewRockwell.com