Zero Dark Thirty

Sweet Aunt Liberty Gets Her Revenge


…creating a safe homeland for three-hundred-million people on loot can sometimes be such torture…szell’s diamonds scattered like ashes across lower manhattan…the pot calls the kettle black…conspicuous consumer’s guide to intelligence thrills and psycho-mutilation…


Spoiler Alert: Sort of. I mean, if you don’t know Osama gets popped in the end just stop reading now.


You remember Aunt Liberty, right? She was the one who wept so openly for someone she had lost on Nine-Eleven. Not understanding at first, thinking it was maybe a movie or something. Finally came the response: More death and war in perpetual beta.

We become what we fight. We are who we struggle against. Each victory is someone else’s loss, each success a somewhere failure. James Dean said the end of the world will come at dawn. Would you like fries with that?

Assuming the credits, vouchers and disclaimers along Zero Dark’s path are accurate then that makes the whole fucking affair mostly disgusting, sad and empty.

As I am waiting in line to buy tickets for Zero Dark Thirty I ask myself this, I ask:

“Self, is zero-dark-thirty kin to half-past-a-monkey’s-ass, quarter-to-his-balls?”

Then I step to the window.

“I’d like one for Zero Dark at six-Thirty. Smoking? I’ll take whatever you got.”

Everybody’s somebody’s terrorist sometime.

Aunt Liberty wanted in, wanted to know more so she investigated. Got the biggest, baddest motherfucker on the block to string up a usual suspect and question him. Libby got what she needed, then lost it around ’08 about the same time the world economy flushed her budget like a hamburger turd.

When she lost perhaps her only friend Libby started chewing more bubblegum and kicking more ass than Dana Scully, and who knew Auntie was a redhead and a knockout in more ways than one? Tell us, dear Auntie, what does that cold dish revenge feel like in the desert? Empty as a C-130 all to yourself, perhaps? Nothing to keep you warm when that torch you’ve been carrying for George Washington is about to go out.

Lib’s old man, Sam, that hog-ridin’, steer-wrestlin’, beer-drinkin’, baseball-swattin’ and bearded red, white and blue uncle of ours is still around, but he’s home minding the store. Now Lib gives the orders and nails the players.

As archetypal antithesis you have Colonel Flagg from M*A*S*H. “Mares eat oats and does eat oats” just doesn’t cut it in the Twenty-First Century. Lib’s into some serious shit, more like Olivier’s Szell drilling question “Is it safe?” Assuming the credits, vouchers and disclaimers along Zero Dark’s path are accurate then that makes the whole fucking affair mostly disgusting, sad and empty.

Even the sudden violence of the trailers was jarring at thirty feet tall. I had the eerie sensation that someone might open fire as I sat down next to an overly perfumed lady who coughed, nay, hacked out loud through most of the movie. Must have been the dust from all the desert shots. Finally unable to move because I was riveted to the screen I drew my neckerscarf to cover my delicate snout.

And what of cruelty and politics?

So where are we now, our beloved Auntie? Sing us a song of the people, yes! What have we become and what have we always been? This film answers a lot of those questions, but the answers are dancing shadows on Platonic cave walls. This is not Hans Gruber we’re talking about, my American friends. This is Osama Bin Fucking Laden, the American-trained, king-hell bitch-ass terrorist this side of Adolf Hitler or Lawrence of Arabia. Everybody’s somebody’s terrorist sometime.

A dizzying dervish of a digital score, a minor spit of revenge in a racing heartbeat. The scenes of brutality are punctuated by semi-colons of actual empathy and human emotion, which are themselves interrupted by, you guessed it, more brutality. A whispered climax, its tendrils wrapping around you three times with the name of the rebel scum: “Osama…”

And what of cruelty and politics? What of the fact that two subjects of this year’s Oscars were rumored to suffer from Marfan’s Syndrome? Abe Lincoln was accessible as a housefly, while Osama hid beyond the frontier. One fought to keep America from breaking apart, the other to bring it to its knees. Both had unruly beards and embodied messianiasm, and both were killed by bullets aimed at larger ideals. Finally, we can accept Abraham Lincoln as a vampire slayer, but not the fictional suggestion that Osama was lassoed (and nigh simultaneously euthanized) through means of torture. The splinter of time heals all stake wounds to the heart.

This two-and-a-half hour film about the hunt for Bin Laden manages to show neither the bearded devil’s face nor the World Trade Center. These are only suggested, like colors through night vision goggles. Exercises in power range from a fifty-dollar S.E.A.L. Team bet over horseshoes to the decision to shoot in the end. It’s worthless to even try to come to some logical conclusions after the Nemesian bride bucket is filled before stealing away under Rethelean rotors.

So come and get it, Auntie Sam, dinner’s on the table. You brought home the bacon. You fried it up in a pan. Too bad your family and the Company forgot why they all sat down in the first place. You thought you knew them, but you really don’t because you left it all behind, including yourself, to pursue the swine.

It’s a damn shame, that great meal gone to waste. Dinner’s on the table and now you’re not even hungry.

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