In these days of economic depression, high unemployment, and battles within Congress over spending cuts, it may come as some surprise to a few – those of us with something still working between our ears – that 34,000 of our US fellows have signed a White House petition demanding America build a ‘Death Star’.
Not being one of the herd obsessed by Hollywood’s “Star Wars” epics, I was a trifle perturbed to learn a ‘Death Star’ is a huge military machine armed with super-lasers, roaming around space and in the business of destroying whole planets.
Apparently, even if the US Congress were in favor of the idea – and, let’s face it, they’ve managed to approve a few crazy suggestions in their time – the cost, $850 quadrillion dollars, would be prohibitive.
That’s $850 thousand billion, or billiards, as they’re known by mathematicians. And, let’s face it, there’s a load of balls in this somewhere. Not at all, say the exponents of this lunacy, it would create jobs and strengthen defense.
Given that the US arsenal of nuclear weapons is sufficient to destroy this planet a hundred times over, and it’s just possible not too many folks would be queuing up to work in outer space, it may be the whole deal hasn’t been completely thought through.
But then, is anything given suitable consideration anymore? If it comes off the TV, or out of Hollywood, it must surely have merit. It’s how Americans appear to be educated. I don’t know why they bother to keep the schools open. Think how much money would be saved if the government fired all the teachers and professors and paid kids to stay home and learn from the “History Channel”, and the “Biography Channel”. They’d know all about ancient aliens and celebrity ghosts within a week.
And, let’s not forget, “The Learning Channel”. No, on second thoughts, forget I wrote that.
With a state subsidy, cinemas could be free to students; universities offer degrees in religious studies based on the, “Passion of the Christ”…
…and “The Devil’s Rock”…
…just so they get a nicely balanced view of the subject.
Ben Affleck’s “Argo” is the latest Hollywood effort attempting to educate young minds. It’s a tale of the 1979-81 Iranian hostage crisis, and ‘tale’ is the operative word. Mark Lijek, one of the US diplomats caught up in the crisis, likes the film but admits it’s way off the truth.
From the BBC:
…Argo’s final scenes are superbly tense, as the six make it onto the plane by the skin of their teeth. The CIA had given them false departure documents for which, of course, there were no matching arrival forms.
The big climax is a heart-pounding chase down the runway as gun-toting members of the Revolutionary Guard try to stop them taking off.
“Absolutely none of that happened,” says Mark.
It doesn’t matter. Hollywood hasn’t produced anything truly factual in its history. It’s a dream factory, designed to titillate and entertain. Which would be fine if Americans saw it in that light. Sadly, for many, it’s how they learn about life, history, and, yes, even religion.
Right now there’re 34,000 signatures on a White House petition to prove it.
 “US shoots down Death Star superlaser petition” BBC, January 12th 2013
 “Argo: The true story behind Ben Affleck’s Oscar-nominated film” BBC, January 13th 2013