Monday, October 23, 2017
The Never-ending Horror Story
My daughter got me hooked on American Horror Story, which I'm beginning to regret. The newest season, Cult, started out well enough with a Michigan town under siege by a demented clown posse. However, it has taken so many twists and turns that whatever political message it had is awash in so much carnage that it no longer seems to really matter who is behind the masks.
It is tough to make any sense of the events since "119," the morning after Trump's unprecedented victory. The series peaked at episode four and it has been all downhill since as the creative team doesn't seem to know where to go next. What had been an intriguing gang of misfits appears to have morphed into a white supremacy group now that the fearless ringleader has gotten the blessing of Eric Trump.
Trumpkins aren't at all happy with the series as they see themselves openly portrayed as a "basket of deplorables." I suppose they can take some solace from the fact that the clowns are winning to this point, although the former girlfriend of Valerie Solanas appears to have added a new dimension to the series. Sadly, the fear factor that had made the first four episodes so compelling has given way to mass slaughter, as is all too often the case with "horror" movies.
Still, I get a kick out of some of the references, like projecting Valerie and her gang of "feminazis" as the Zodiac Killer, having turned the SCUM manifesto into an all-out war against men. How this will turn against the blue-haired ringleader remains to be seen. I'm not expecting a satisfying conclusion.
AHS tries to turn our worst political fears into a macabre reality, getting away from the usual ghosts, witches and vampires that dominated their past storylines. The anti-hero Kai Anderson wins his council seat by a landslide after personally making the seat available by killing one of its members. He has managed to generate so much fear with his clown posse that the locals will elect anyone who promises to restore law and order. Kai has replaced his killer clowns with a gang of jackboots. Not very subtle but effective.
This is certainly the fear Stephen Bannon is exploiting by rallying conservatives behind the most vile candidates imaginable, namely Judge Roy Moore of Alabama, who can be seen brandishing a revolver at one of his recent Alabama rallies. This is the toxic society we have become, and the viewing public can't get enough of it.
Ed Gillespie's Virginia governor campaign was floundering until he turned to Trumpism and immediately closed the gap on Democrat Ralph Northam. Republicans are confident they can reawaken the beast of 2016, turning Virginia into an "American Horror Story" for Democrats. No state would any longer be "safe."
There had been signals the tide was turning in favor of Democrats but Northam is the equivalent of stale white bread. So, Obama has stepped into the breach hoping to convince Virginia Democrats of the importance of this election. This is looking sadly like "119" all over again.
People truly enjoy the carnival-like atmosphere of these elections. The more absurd the better. This is what the creators of Cult are projecting on their liberal hamlet in Michigan. At what point do we come to realize it is no longer a joke?