September 26, 2004

It's What They Do

It's What They Do -- One of my top 10 5 favorite movies has been in heavy rotation recently on IFC. That's a good thing, since it's not on DVD (when, oh when?) and tough to get even on VHS. The movie is Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, starring Tim Roth, Gary Oldham in the title roles and Richard Dreyfuss as "The Player." Based on the Tom Stoppard play, it follows the two minor characters from Hamlet and is based on the idea that every exit is and entrance to somewhere else. R&G and The Player interact with each other outside Shakespeare's Hamlet universe. Watching it the other day, one exchange in particular caught me in this current election season. R (or G -- it's never made clear who is who) asks The Player if he and his troupe perform the classic plays of antiquity, to which he responds...
The Player: We're more of the love, blood, and rhetoric school. Well, we can do you blood and love without the rhetoric, and we can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and we can do you all three, concurrent or consecutive, but we can't give you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory. We're all blood, you see.

R (or G): Is that what people want?

The Player: It's what we do.
The connection to the election is the mainstream radio and TV's obsession with the "blood" -- with the polls, the gotchas, the soundbites, the snipings, and the 30-year-old irrelevancies on both sides. There is so little out there about the issues that relates and redacts either or both sides' agendas and claims. (An exception is a recent series on NPR -- RealAudio required -- that I caught this week during the commercial breaks on Stern.) What we the people what (and need) is information useful to understanding why we're voting for or against someone.

But that's what we want. That's not what they do.

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