The Manchurian Candidate

  - promoted by david

I’m breaking my self-imposed “radio silence” to encourage us to be careful about what we think we know — to paraphrase Mark Twain, “it isn’t what we don’t know that hurts us, it’s what we know that just ain’t so”.

Case in point is “The Manchurian Candidate”. This fabulous novel is, in fact, political satire aimed at McCarthyism. The brainwashed mole is an assassin, not a candidate. The novel is still available. I bought and read it — it’s a fabulous read. I am amazed at how accurately it reflects current politics.

It is only tangentially related to Russian attempts to influence the election. In the novel, the protagonist is a trained assassin — the “brainwashing” plot is in fact a vehicle used to construct biting, accurate, and funny political satire. The novel paints the Chinese, not the Russians, as the bad guys, and has much in common with “Catch 22″.

Whatever Donald Trump is or is not, he is NOT a “Manchurian Candidate”. If there are any moles planning assassination in America today, they are more likely to be terrorists than communist agents. I do confess that a contrast-and-compare between Eleanor Shaw (a well-crafted villain) and Kellyanne Conway would be fun.

The real target of the Manchurian Candidate is blind, ignorant, and fact-free GOP politics, as practiced by elected demagogues with no intellectual integrity or concern for truth, facts, or right-versus-wrong. That was true during the McCarthy era, it was true in 1959 when the novel was published, and is true in spades today.

The fundamental challenge facing America today is that as we face the inauguration of Donald Trump, we do so in a culture that has enthusiastically embraced “Neo-McCarthyism”. THAT is the reason to read “The Manchurian Candidate”.


9 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Bumping ...

    Adding a comment, in hopes of bumping this into visibility.

  2. Really overrated movie

    Just saying.

    • I haven't seen the movie

      There were actually two, and I’ve seen neither.

      The book is a fun read, though.

    • Which version...?

      Really overrated movie(0+ / 0-) View voters

      Just saying.

      The John Frankenheimer version, from ’62, with Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Angela Lansbury is a brilliant film.

      The 2004 Jonathan Demme version with Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep is an absolute stinker.

  3. The original film is brilliant and subversive

    And the best performance of Frank Sinatra’s career. A Trump Essie Bulgarian anti communist Senator is actually married to a covert Communist who astutely manipulated him and her surroundings. Very prescient.

    There are only two possibilities with this upcoming foreign policy-neither of which are good. Either Trump is too stupid to realize he’s being used or he wants to be and that part of the plan. The former seems far more likely to
    me, and is still quite dangerous, but the latter prospect is truly frightening.

  4. Welcome back

    I noticed that we hadn’t heard from you for a couple weeks BEFORE BMG started having problems, and since I don’t recall you announcing that you were going quiet I was concerned whether everything were OK. Since you are usually so active your absence was conspicuous.


    BMG just isn’t as stimulating without your pointed insights !

    I saw the original movie with Frank Sinatra and thought it was excellent and remember hearing that it was originally censured. Then JFK screened it and demanded it be released.

    Fred Rich LaRiccia

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Fri 28 Apr 3:58 PM