Thursday, January 19, 2006

Now We Know

I'm a big fan of writer, columnist, and ├╝berblogger James Lileks, and I read his "Daily Bleat" just about every weekday. As an old radio man, he recently has been doing weekly podcasts, which he calls "Bleatcasts," usually featuring an eclectic selection of music and radio from previous eras. ("Eclectic" means he just wings it, but at least he's honest about it.) A tail end baby boomer, he has great and genuine affection for the popular culture of all eras of the 20th century, except for the 70s, affection he shows through ruthless mockery.

But in his Bleatcast for January 6, 2006, he presents us with something of great relevance to us here in New Orleans just now. It's from the 1998 movie of The X-Files, a scene in which David Duchovny's Agent Mulder is being briefed by Dr. Kurzweil, played by Martin Landau, who does the Terrified Insider Who Knows Too Much bit better than just about anybody. After all those seasons of Mulder and Scully digging for the Truth Beneath It All, Kurzweil is trying to finally fill Mulder in on what the real secret is, the real danger lurking in the dark, who's really behind it all, what we really should be afraid of:

Kurtzweil: [frightened, breathy voice] Are you familiar with the hanta virus, agent Mulder?

Mulder: Yeah, it was a deadly virus spread by field mice in the Southwestern United States several years ago.

Kurtzweil: According to the newspaper FEMA was called out to manage an outbreak of the hanta virus. Are you familiar with what the Federal Emergency Management Agency's real power is? . . . FEMA allows the White House to suspend constitutional government upon declaration of a national emergency. Think about that!! What is an agency with such broad sweeping power doing managing a small viral outbreak in suburban Texas.?

[spooky music starts]

Kurtzweil: I think you know. . . . The timetable has been set. It'll happen on a holiday when people are away from their homes. The President will declare a state of emergency at which time all government, all federal agencies, will come under the power . . [whispers] . . of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. . . FEMA!! . . . . . The secret government . . .

Mulder: [pause]. . .They call me paranoid . . .

[Note: All of Lileks's Bleatcasts are worth hearing in their entirety, but if you're really impatient you can right-click here, download it, and with the mp3 player of your choice fast-forward to the 14 minute point.]

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