by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog
Turns out the Mueller Report isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.
It is certainly a sad day for America. Get wasted on tabloid, sore-loser, unproven accusations and the hangover will be costly. But the damage to the credibility of the Democratic Party and the Mainstream Media? Incalculable.
Generation X-ers are role models now, but the past two years sure wasn’t “leadership”. Millennials trusted them on this one – you were so very certain, somehow – and… now what do you do?
This is not my problem, thankfully. I wrote against Russia(non)gate as early as February 2017, treating it for what it was worth – fodder for jokes. What’s amazing is how people took it so very seriously, and for so very long.
Wild claims of treason cannot replace a political platform… but I think it all clicks when we remember that taking total sociopolitical nonsense extremely seriously is a hallmark of the West’s Generation X.
I find it so interesting that Western media now talks almost solely of Baby Boomers and Millennials – it is as if Generation X has been written out of history! I guess Boomers, who are now the richest generation (as they inherit the wealth of the dying Greatest Generation), only want to focus on their grandkids and not their own loser children?
There are plenty of gleeful post-mortems being given in the left following the Mueller Report, but not many are asking: how did this come about? Two-plus years of mass delusion, mass paranoia, mass Russophobia, mass lynch-mob mentality – what are the moral issues which drove allegedly progressive people to these totally-unfounded political stances?
These moral issues simply must come from Generation X, because they are the still-vibrant, mature-adulthood foot soldiers of the ruling Baby Boomers, who – if not already retired – are taking Fridays off to visit their worshiped grandkids who they are spoiling with praise.
In newsrooms across the US the generation really in charge of day-to-day operations now is Generation X – they are the editors and top journalists. The Greatest Generation has passed on ownership of the media to Baby Boomers, while Boomer journalist-proletarians are on their last legs: journalism is a stressful job – there are no 65-year old daily reporters in newsrooms, and no one would hire even the most robust one (too expensive, too opinionated, etc.). Millennials aren’t in charge, to their shock and awe, because any craft relies on experience and Millennials don’t have any yet.
So the biggest blow to US media credibility since the failure to question “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in Iraq is truly a Gen X affair. It’s Pulp Fiction in political form.
“Ooh, this doesn’t sound like the usual mindless, boring, ‘getting to know you’ chit-chat. This sounds like you actually have something to say.”- Mia Wallace
However, as many may remember from the movie, John Travolta doesn’t really have anything to say: he is about to salaciously ask if a man was crippled over giving Uma Thurman a foot massage.
Elitist publications like Esquire routinely declare Dazed and Confused to be the “definitive film of Generation X”, but that’s false: that movie is childish, because it is about children – high schoolers. Those who say Dazed and Confused is the definitive Generation X movie are likely Baby Boomers, who subconsciously want to see their adult children as actual children, and thus remain forever young themselves, in that very typically American fashion (and which is because elders are not honoured there). Pulp Fiction is what the Dazed and Confused characters turned out to be in their adult prime, and it is not impressive: they are drug addicts, cheating boxers, wannabe actresses, raging bullies, the visually bizarre, the sexually bizarre and losers without children.
Pulp Fiction was such an enormously positive artistic shock when it came out in 1994 – it seemed that Generation X had found its cinematic auteur. Unlike most actor-driven pap, which is super-quick closeups instead of dialogue and plot, this was clearly the work of a great director. Want proof? Tarantino famously exhumed John Travolta to play a leading part – even your next-door neighbor would have been a huge hit in that role.
Our downfall was that we all foolishly assumed that Tarantino had something to say simply because he told Pulp Fiction so spectacularly well. It’s been written that Pulp Fiction is one cliffhanger after another, and it is… because there is actually no content. Content is slow-building and wonky.
Pulp Fiction is a supercool movie which is about nothing: it is 3 tabloid vignettes woven together in a most riveting fashion, and with no heartfelt moral in any of them. This is in stark contrast to Tarantino’s only other truly great movie, Reservoir Dogs, which is ultimately about the power of male camaraderie.
Ignore whatever fawning cinema critics say: Tarantino has not come close to approaching greatness with any movie since Pulp Fiction – he essentially has made living cartoons (Kill Bill 1 and 2), bad action TV from the 1970s (Jackie Brown, The Hateful 8) and childish revenge fantasies for minority groups (Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained, Death Proof – Jews, Blacks and women, respectively). The reason for this artistic collapse is simple: he truly has nothing to say on any topic of any importance, whether social, political, economic or religious. This disinterest in things of social substance is the essence of Generation X.
With the same “all hype, no substance” of a Gen X rapper, the Mueller Report has proven to be nothing but empty calories. America is now disgusted with itself for gorging on something so unhealthy, again.
“The days of me forgetting are over, and the days of me remembering have just begun.” – Pulp Fiction, opening scene
That, of course, is what an immature slacker loser says after their latest failure, which was so very similar to their last failure.
It was all a big empty diversion, of course, both Pulp Fiction and the Mueller Report. The latter was to deflect attention from the total failure of the hollow, out-of-touch, self-glorifying, 99%-hating, fake-leftist Democratic Party in the 2016 presidential election. The idea that Trump would somehow require Putin’s assistance to defeat decades of emperor-egoed Democrats, and even amidst the Great Recession and its failed QE solutions, is as believable as were the emperor’s new clothes. I can go on and on about this, but I just said the crux of the biscuit.
The Mueller Report, despite repeated assurances that it would contain everything short of the meaning of life, turned out to be superficial nonsense. Obstructing justice is what Liberal Democratic politicians do; the fraud convictions for Paul Manafort is what Liberal Democratic politicians do – an investigation of any top US politician would produce the same crimes. What was in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction? Just two lights and a battery, per Samuel Jackson.
While Political Correctness is an often unfairly-maligned lens, Generation X is known for taking this to the absurd extreme: a belief that moral relativity can be a guiding ethical philosophy.
Moral relativity also means never having to say you were wrong – there are no “truths”. This helps explain why so many Gen X journalists, like Rachel Maddow, are now trying to move the goalposts on their Trump-Russia accusations.
For those of us who do not make moral relativity our crowning ethos, such people will always look like lying, amoral, untrustworthy, egotistical people until they admit wrongdoing and apologize for the consequences. It is not “all relative”….
However, it’s not just anti-Trumpers who are typically-Generation X, but pro-Trumpers too. I get it as a protest vote, but the only way a person could possibly justify a sincere vote for The Donald would be through moral relativistic machinations worthy of anyone on MSNBC defending Barry “Bailout” Dronebama. Many Gen Xers made such votes. Generation X is full of people who think anyone on TV is automatically worthy of respect, and who are also unable to parse political meaning intelligently following a lifetime of disinterest and disdain.
I think that pro-Trumpers won’t need any such moral twists and turns in 2020 – who could vote for a Democratic Party which went all in on Trump the Treasoner and was wrong?
It’s really too bad, because a 2nd term of Trump will be very tough on three countries which are very dear to me: Iran, Cuba and Palestine.
But Pulp Fiction is the greatest Generation X movie because of its politics, NOT just its style.
Yes, Pulp Fiction actually had serious political messages, but they are rarely examined – a legacy of Generation X is the preference to focus on style, remember?
Sociopolitcally, Pulp Fiction is best remembered for initiating the current age of comfort in, trivalization of, and expectation of massive explicit violence. However, it is wrong to pin this on Gen Xers and Tarantino – here, they are the victims of larger American imperialist culture and history.
Gen Xers grew up or lived during the violent 1970s and then the crack epidemic – this is when bloody gun violence, road rage, gang warfare and tabloid TV journalism became a part of everyday life. Had Gen Xers not numbed and habituated themselves to this violence… how could they function in US society? However, from the first hatchet to an Indian’s skull American culture has been imbued with violence – duh.
These immediate and unfair criticisms blinded many to what is so impressive about the sociopolitical commentary in Pulp Fiction, which 25 years later has proved to be stunningly politically prescient; it gave seemingly scant attention to politics and economics, yet it completely it captured the essence of Western Gen X thinking on such subjects.
“It’s the little differences. I mean they got the same s*** over there they got here, but just there it’s a little different.” “Example?” – Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield
It’s a repeatedly cosmopolitan movie, mirroring the coming advent of the Euro and the confirmation of pan-Europeanism. Samuel Jackson is so entranced by Travolta’s rendering of Amsterdam that, “Aw man, I’m going, that’s all there is to it, I’m f***ing going!” to move to Europe. European Gen Xers were similarly “jump in the deep end and damn the consequences” pan-Europeanists – look at how that has turned out. (And whatever happened in real-life to that Columbian, taxi-driving fox (excuse me, wolf), Esmerelda Villa Lobos? I always preferred her to Bruce Willis’ self-absorbed French girlfriend… yet I moved to France?)
Pulp Fiction presaged Brexit, denying England’s connection to the Continent. Referring to Harvey Keitel’s tuxedoed, American, smooth, “Mr. Wolf” character, Travolta says, “I don’t know why I just thought he’d be European or something?” Jackson responds, “Yeah man, he was about as European as f***ing English Bob.” The English will no longer be European (Union) as of April 12, one hopes.
Pulp Fiction also anticipated the rise of violent Christian evangelism, where Christianity is deployed to justify atrocious violence. This is not something which can be done on a public level, due to official Western secularity, but the “Christian Warrior” concept is certainly alive and well among the army’s rank and file as well as the Pentagon. The raging bullying of Samuel Jackson, self-righteously screaming Scripture at an apartment full of terrified and baby-faced novices he is slowly murdering in cold blood, certainly reminds one of a confident, well-trained US mercenary in Afghanistan, Iraq or any of the other foreign wars which were massively supported by Gen Xers. I always thought this scene could have never have been played by a White actor – hits too close to home.
“Did you just order a $5 shake? That’s a shake – that’s milk and ice cream – that’s $5?” What’s amazing today is the idea that anyone would balk at paying $5 for a milkshake in a fancy place like the fictitious Jack Rabbit Slim’s! Balking wouldn’t start until more like $11. Reduced purchasing power is indeed the primary economic consideration since the mid-1970s, and you have to give Tarantino credit for recognising that and memorably hitting the nail on the head.
The movie was the first rationalization of lifestyles which used to be thought of as deviant in the West; it also illustrates the idea in the West (which is governed by “identity politics” instead of socialist solidarity) that deviants are not minority outcasts but, somehow, the true elite. The most amusing example is Rosanna Arquette, with her 13 piercings all over her body: rejecting any sort of “normal” philosophy, she pontificates about how not using a needle for piercing “goes against the whole idea of piercing” as if piercing was a complex moral philosophy! Obviously, that makes her one of the apostles, and apostles don’t have to admit they were wrong on Trump’s Russia collusion. Such boring, self-absorbed conversations – whether on piercing, tattoos, craft brewing or vinyl records – replaced sociopolitical discussion for Gen X.
Hard drug use used to be thought of as deviant, but much like violence I think that Pulp Fiction is simply reflecting American reality – Gen X was the victim, not the originator of this trend.
The famous anal rape scene was perpetrated by – of course – rural Americans: it’s the Gen X version of Deliverance. Elitists who demean “White Trash” is something I have written about often, but we can’t deny that Tarantino was politically attuned to American fake-leftism when he decided to portray rural people as truly horrific “deplorables”. If the movie was written today all that would be needed is to add a “MAGA” hat to “the Gimp”, the disturbing, bondage leather-clad human kept in a dungeon by the film’s hillbillies.
The famous Christopher Walken scene – a family heirloom watch is hidden inside rectums for 7 years in a POW camp – is essentially a way to mock the sacrifices of armed forces, which is very Generation X. They could not have cared less about fighting Vietnamese socialism (which was real), yet they fell as hard as stones for WMD nonsense when Islam was declared the enemy (which is false) after 9/11.
Most interestingly, in film’s moral and philosophical climax, Pulp Fiction illustrates why Generation X has certainly proven to be the strongest adherents of ice-cold neoliberalism. We must recall Gen X was the first US generation in several generations to not have any socialists at all; they are a resolutely capitalist-imperialist generation which grew up hating socialism, hating Russia and not caring that this hate was misguided and morally wrong. Gen X is hardcore capitalist-imperialist, but they merely do it in a passive-aggressive way, not unlike their Canadian neighbors. Gen X also doesn’t talk about politics or economics – their unity on heartless neoliberal capitalism-imperialism is as assumed as the sun coming up in the morning. This explains why Tarantino doesn’t talk about economics much, but when he does it is 100% neoliberal capitalism.
When Samuel Jackson explains to John Travolta that he has had a religious epiphany and is going to quit gangsterism in order to “walk the earth” and “get in adventures”, he is immediately smacked down by Travolta. We can interpret this as a typical Gen X lack of “pioneer spirit”, yet Travolta’s rationale is totally neoliberal: “No Jules, you decided to be a bum. Just like all those pieces of s*** who beg for change, who sleep in garbage bins, who eat what I throw away. They got a name for that Jules – it’s called a bum. And without a job, a residence or legal tender, that’s what you’re gonna be man, a f***ing bum”. This speech is the essence of the hyper-capitalist and fundamentally neoliberal economic view which Generation X obviously totally embraced: without money, a job and the trappings of middle-class respectability Jackson is just walking human excrement. Shortly thereafter, when Jackson is going to give $1,500 to diplomatically and peacefully resolve restaurant gunfight standoff, Travolta warns, even at the risk of murder and his own death, “Jules, you give that f***ing nimrod $1,500 and I’ll shoot him on general principle.” Travolta’s “principle” is quite in line with neoliberal American capitalism – no economic “giving” or redistribution under any circumstances, no to Jules’ revolution, no to socialism.
Add up all these different and often bizarre sociopolitical proclivities and beliefs, and we can understand why – incredibly – so many Gen Xers genuinely believed that treasonous Russian collusion was a certainty because there existed a scandalous videotape of Trump getting urinated on by Russian prostitutes despite his well-known phobia of germs. It sounds like an axed fourth storyline in Pulp Fiction….
Forget about the Gen X things most people focus on with Pulp Fiction – the nostalgia, the retro style, the super-cool music (RIP this week to Lebanese-American Dick Dale, who introduced Arabic scales to US pop music; the movie also introduced a new generation to Link Wray’s Rumble, which marked the birth of the power chord AND reverb, and what’s cooler than those?) – Pulp Fiction gave an accurate presentations of Generation X’s socioeconomic value system.
“Pride only hurts, it never helps.” – Marsellus Wallace
Yet another motto of Generation X.
Well, it all depends on context: “Non serviam” (I will not serve) was the sin that cast Satan from heaven, sure, but not serving the gangster Wallace is a good form of pride.
A total lack of pride is what led to Russiagate debacle.
Gen Xers are the media and political staffers who were all-too willing to serve gangsters, banksters, political shysters and journalism magnate hucksters. They composed the editors, the talking heads, the chiefs of staff, the rank and file, and the movers and shakers who only shook America into the nothingness that is the Mueller Report.
They had no pride, because pride is not found in the success of your individual self but in shared concepts, shared responsibilities and shared achievements. Gen Xers in these jobs of social responsibility – tens or hundreds of thousands of them – repeatedly failed to stand up to what was obviously a totally pathetic ruse because they cared only about their own success.
Much like Bruce Willis, who served Wallace in order to retire early to a Tahitian beach, Gen Xers pushing Russia(non)gate were only it for themselves. (Willis’ character had obviously served Wallace before, which is why he was insulted with “palooka” by Travolta’s character.) That’s the Gen X way, and America needs to realize this. They say that Millennial Americans are more collective-minded, and I certainly hope so – but maybe it only appears that way because they are standing next to Gen Xers?
What has Russiagate ultimately given us? It has given us “fake news” – the idea that propaganda actually can exist in the United States, and not only outside it. It has also given Americans the idea that they may actually have their own “Deep State”, a concept which every other nation has already identified in their own country. These are indeed momentous and necessary realizations which America needed to examine deeply, but they are so pitifully far behind in political thought that I could only satirise them before moving on to examine actually-important issues.
So what happens when Gen Xers fight other Gen Xers? You get a nothing Mueller Report.
Did the pro-Trump Gen Xers “win”, really?
No. Donald Trump was an unwanted prize to begin with. His victory, and now his exoneration, and soon his re-election, are a typically-Gen X affirmation of their political and moral abyss.
But that’s how Gen X likes it. They don’t like to join and they don’t like to lead. They like to laugh all alone, mockingly, and not with the group. Certainly unelectable, yet America must elect them. As Pulp Fiction relates, they are a strange, unrelatable lot. Interesting to watch, as long as you are far away.
I’d like to end with: regardless, let’s not write Generation X out of Western society – these problems aren’t going away. Similarly, don’t encourage Tarantino by paying to see his next movie – make him get back to making art and not pulp, although apparently his next movie is going to be his last one.
A couple weeks ago Nancy Pelosi, knowing the Mueller Report was about to be a dud, dropped Democrats’ hysterical and undemocratic demands for Trump’s impeachment with a decidedly parental (and fundamentally smug), “And he’s just not worth it”. Mommy and Daddy know exactly how to defuse their kids, after all.
It’s a very Generation X-type of idea: The fight is not worth fighting.
Russiagate wasn’t, that’s for sure.
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.