Sunday, November 13, 2016

In which the pond reads really stupid Miranda the toxic Devine, come hell or high water ...

If you haven't seen Hell or High Water, Greg Hunt the film here, or catch it at your local cinemah, and if you want to avoid spoilers, please proceed no further, because the pond is going to give the story away ...

When the pond drove across Texas, it felt like driving across the north west of NSW, it felt like home, and so did the rural poverty and despair ... Go Mules!, heart of Muleshoe ...

That's why Hell or High Water is such a nice modern western, and moody evocation of place and spirit of Trump times, and why - since eventually the pond will get around to the enormous stupidity of Miranda the Devine - it's worth spending a few moments reflecting on it ...

Of course the irony in these multicultural internationalist free trading times, it was directed by a Scot, one David McKenzie, and beautifully shot by a British DOP, one Giles Nuttgens, with a lovely eye for the surreal desolate beauty of Texas - though to be fair it was shot in New Mexico, but hey, one section of American western desolation is pretty much like another section of western desolation.

The acting should also be mentioned, with the immortal Jeff Bridges dealing out Trumpian racist remarks about Injuns - that's before he gets on to his partner's Mexican streak - and Chris Pine proving he's more than Captain Kirk, and Ben Foster as the crazy jailbird brother determined to go down in a blaze of glory.

Pine and Foster are latter day Bonny and Clyde brothers, mother just dead, out to rob Texas Midland banks, so that they can reclaim the family ranch (a grand name for nothing much) from its reverse mortgage (and kindly bank-loaned interest), laundering the cash proceeds through Indian casinos and eventually, having robbed enough banks, setting up a trust for Pine's children so that they can escape the grinding endless generational cycle of poverty experienced by Pine's forebears and by him, unemployed and lost ...

Oh it helps that they've discovered oil on the ranch, and the trust will be run by the Texas Midland bank ... no talk of climate change here.

Yes, it's an obvious enough fantasy, the same sort of fantasy of salvation, redemption, or death in a blaze of glory familiar from the old westerns that set the tone for the individualist, anarchist American psyche (Foster goes out shooting with sub-machine gun and long arm, taken out by Bridges with a crack shot) ...

Here there's no talk of gun control, just killings, and concealed carries making it difficult for bank robbing ...

There are a few indicators of what's what in the land ... the film uses some fairly obvious "lord of the plains" metaphors and visual signposts to set up the mood ...

Yep, ask and you shall receive ... bad credit, no credit, all welcome and fast cash when you need it, and you need it, with exorbitant interest, on pay day ... where home is a trailer ...

And the old ways are fucked ... as a surreal, out of control wild grass fire sends cowboys and their cattle scurrying (the pond has left in subtitles in lieu of dialogue) ...

Well you can spot writer Taylor Sheridan in the show in a cameo if you like, but now it's time to turn from a film in tune with certain American landscapes, to Miranda the Devine, a useless dropkick who doesn't understand much of anything, least of all the existential despair that makes people want to rob banks or go out in a blaze of glory (Jeff Bridges' good old boy also dreams of an epic exit, but is left brooding on a porch at the end about the wily young boy who got away, and didn't do it for himself, just did it for his kids and family and the good life, serving as an odd job man on the ranch for his shrewish ex-wife... oh come on, come on, he's Captain Kirk, be fair woman, he can bunk down with the pond if he likes) ...

Yep, as it was in Germany and Italy, so there are really dumb, infinitely stupid people ready to hail the Donald as the rescuer of western civilisation ... even as Hell or High Water makes the obvious point it's going to be pretty hard to grind out a living in west Texas, unless you happen to discover oil on your ranch, or you work for a bank screwing the locals or you rob banks and set up a trust (and the locals respond in kind, by not dobbing in the bank robbers) ...

How dumb can the Devine sound?

Very, very dumb.

Only the Devine could see a link between the Donald and Bill Leak and the dropping of a complaint that was never going to go anywhere, thanks to 18D, as many people had advised the complainant ...

But when you're in the business of doling out apocalyptic fuckwittery, that's the sort of leap you must make ... as you listen to ABC news radio...

Listen to the ABC? So that's what Devines do? Amazing ...

Foolish children. Where could they have possibly got the idea that the Donald might have a few dangerous ideas?

Oh fuckity fuck fuck ... speaking in the new Donald language that's the sign of western civilisation at its best.

But when you're a really stupid Devine, you really do work hard at your enormous stupidity, and you always double down (and as a result if you play poker, as Foster does in Hell or High Water, you walk away a Comanche winner).

Putting the likes of Sarah Palin and Newt "Gecko" Ging grinch and Rudy "the scream" Giuliani in charge is draining the swamp?

What a stupid, stupid woman Miranda the Devine is ...

Oh and how about putting Sid Miller in charge of agriculture? He's a qualified, certified saviour of western Civilisation, up there with Constantine ...

Yes, there's western civilisation for you - possibly Sid had Miranda the Devine in mind when he tweeted that, as he evoked Texas in all its shoot from the hip glory, redeeming western civilisation from the pagan Comanche and the Injuns ...

Never mind, Bridges' character likes the bottle too, just as they like the bottle in Tamworth, and now, why not have a swig of Colbert, where the pond got the idea of what might be found if you drained the swamp in Trump style ...

From zero to Nixon hit list in a click of the fingers, and that excerpt from the one-word Omarosa is about as chillingly sociopathic as the pond has seen in recent days ...

She can be found going psycho near the end of the routine ...

Oh America, America. You know deep down that you can't rob banks and win, don't you? You do know that politicians conspired to keep the payday industry deregulated? 

And there's going to be no blaze of glory from the Donald? Maybe just a Texas wildfire blaze?

In much the same way as reading the Devine makes the pond infinitely dumber, day by day ... now say hello, America, you've just inhaled the essence of Miranda, heart of Australian darkness ... and if you think that's civilisation, watch out, because the Visigoths, the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths actually win ... (but not being aware of history is an essential part of being a Devine, and that's why the futtock thinks you can build a wall and win ... tell that to the Mongol hordes).


  1. Miranda likes to have all her eggs in one basket. Easier to make an omelette that way. I'm glad she's found a new saviour. It will be interesting to watch Trump and how he responds to the forgotten men and women, and what happens when they realise they aren't going to find their rightful place in American society. "At his peril" indeed.

    Good to see Peta "I didn't learn nothing from Abbott being PM" Credlin sounding sensible too.

  2. Hi Dorothy,

    “During his reign as Roman Emperor, Diocletian had divided the empire into the eastern and western provinces. In 306 CE, on the death of the western Augustus (province ruler), Constantius I, his son Constantine quickly claimed his father's throne. Constantine wanted to seize power in the east as well as the west, and he saw the Christian cult as the means to his goal.

         The Christians constituted only about five per cent of the total population of the Roman Empire, but they were concentrated in enclaves in the key cities of the east. The eastern Christians were an organised cult of fanatics, in many cities holding important positions in state administration. Some held posts even within the imperial entourage. The main body of the church confronted the Roman State as a "Republic within the Republic," with its own treasury, laws, magistrates and command structure.

          The ambitious thug-ruler of the west, Constantine, realised that he could use the "Christian" fanatics and their hierarchical structure, as part of his plan to become Emperor of a united Rome. He declared Christianity as the official religion of his regime. By championing the cause of the Christians, Constantine put himself at the head of a "fifth column" in the eastern province, through which he was able to seize power.

         By 330 CE Constantine had taken control of both the western and eastern provinces and declared himself supreme Caesar over all of the Roman Empire. He appointed one of the rival "Christian" chieftains Lucius Lactantius as his official Latin theologian, propagandist, and tutor to his son Crispus. Lactantius soon lost the job of tutor when Constantine had his son murdered for adultery with his stepmother. Lactantius praised Constantine as "a model of Christian virtue and holiness" (De Mortibus Persecutorum).

    Among many other insane policies that Constantine enacted--leading to the fall of the Roman Empire--was that of disbanding the praetorian guard and replacing them with a special imperial guard, an elite cavalry regiment of 500 soldiers, mainly Germans. This left Rome essentially defenceless, and within a century the Visigoths were sacking Rome and other imperial cities.”

    The rest here;

    So Trump the Vulgarian would leave Washington DC to found a purpose built capital in the East (Russia maybe?) name it after himself, Trumpople or maybe Trumpopolis and leave the US and the West to descend into the Dark Ages. Sounds plausible.


    1. RC mythology about the roots of their imperium leaves much out doesn't it, DW.

      And why would the Repug Trumpistas wish to shift power away from their Senate and House to the point of near irrelevancy (per stabiliser Diocletian, and his poor mimic Thug Constantine) ?

    2. DW, that page makes some fair points, but the section you've quoted is mostly complete balls. The "insane" policy of Constantine was not that he disbanded the Praetorian Guard, but that he created a central "mobile" army.

      It was actually Diocletian who effectively disbanded the praetorians, greatly reducing their numbers and replacing them with two legions that had been loyal to him (the Joviani and Herculiani). Unlike the praetorians, these units moved with the emperor, rather than remaining in Rome. Constantine only disbanded the rump of the Praetoriani, much of which had been cut down at the battle of Milvian Bridge, where Constantine defeated Maxentius ("In Hoc Signo Vinces" and all that). He didn't replace them with an elite cavalry regiment - there were at least a dozen such units.

      But the existance or otherwise of the Praetorian Guard, or the nature of the Scholae replacements was an irrelevance to the survival of the Roman Empire, or the sacking of Rome.

      While there were a lot of Germans (estimates vary between 1-in-4 to "most") in the Scholae Palatinae, that is not a factor in what transpired. The German troops were mostly Franks, who had generally not troubled Rome and who had no affinity with the Visigoths who later sacked Rome. The Romans had a long history of "barbarian" units in the army (the "auxiliaries" had outnumbered the legionaries by 50% when Rome was at its peak). Nor does the "fifth column" argument stack up - Constantine's final victory over Licinius was seen in religious terms - Licinius having recruited numerous Visigoths (then pagan) into his army - but "fifth column" implies a destabilising factor. In fact, Christians in the east were quite happy with Licinius, who was at least as Christian as Constantine, and did not undermine his rule.

      The real problem Constantine inflicted on the empire is roughly what Zosimus was complaining about in the box immediately following the bit you quoted. Instead of having legions and auxiliaries on the frontiers ("preclusive security"), Constantine stripped the frontiers to build central strategic reserves to defeat invading armies ("reactive security"). Of the many problems this created, the biggest was that the mobility to make this approach work on the scale of the Roman Empire would not exist until railways came along in the 19th century. In the fourth and fifth centuries, it only ensured a steady and disastrous decline of the army, imperial finances and the integrity of the empire.

    3. Hmm. So, FD, Constantine didn't actually experience a deathbed conversion to 'Roman Catholicism' after all - those church people sure do love their porky pies don't they.

      I have a vague recall of reading somewhere that Constantine regarded a 'state religion' as being a strong binding force for the empire as a whole and that 'christianity' had the least restrictions on entry of the available candidates - though I have no idea what he thought about it offering entry to women.

      But I am always entertained by the thought that "France" is really German (Franks) and Norse (Normans) with a later admix of Vandals (Burgundians). The thing is though, when did those Germans start speaking 'Frankish Latin' ? Before or after Clovis ? Certainly by the time that Charlemagne made the first try at forming the EU.

  3. Miranda, darling, the term 'never Trump' was coined by Republicans to describe Republicans who refused to endorse Trump, people like Krauthammer, Romney & The Bushes. It was never used, as you state, to describe anyone from the friggin light weight!

  4. I've been trying to imagine if there was any particular mentality that led to Devine's bile and fuckwittery. The bile is less explicable but perhaps hereditary.

    I have found an analogy for her fuckwittedness. In Tom Stoppard's play Travesties about a British diplomat in Geneva in WWI, he is told be his valet about the Revolution occurring in Russia. (paraphrasing the dialogue)
    "Revolution? You mean like women smoking at the opera?"
    "No sir. A class revolution."
    Long pause as he digests.
    "I told you! The ruling classes would only take so much insolence before they revolted against such behaviour!"

    I think Devine's grasp of things is somewhat similar.


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