The saddest movie ever made
September 3, 2014 by Thomas Wictor
On October 7, 2011, I was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease. My reaction was atypical: By that night I’d shaken off the chronic rage that had defined me. I thought that my new state of mind was permanent, but it wasn’t. No amount of good cheer could’ve withstood the suicides of my parents in February and October of 2013, the destruction of my writing career by con artists posing as book publicists, the indifference of the publishing and legal world to what was done to me, and finally the discovery that nothing about my life was actually true. My situation is best illustrated by the saddest movie ever made, The Manchurian Candidate (1962), starring Laurence Harvey, Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, and Janet Leigh.
I first read Richard Condon’s novel of the same title in 1987. It absolutely floored me. I read it five or six times in a row and couldn’t stop thinking about it. There were passages that described me so perfectly that they made me feel as though I were going crazy. This one, for instance.
The resenters, those men with cancer of the psyche, make the great assassins.
One of my worst fears was that I’d become a murderer. I knew I had it in me because of the anger, my cancer of the psyche. A chapter of Hallucinabulia: The Dream Diary of an Unintended Solitarian is devoted to the intense nightmares I had of committing murder. They were so realistic that I thought I’d actually carried out these acts.
There were two things about the novel and film that tormented me. The first was that I totally empathized with Raymond Shaw, the man brainwashed into becoming a political assassin without knowing it. Described in book and film as repulsive, he isn’t. He’s just damaged. His core has somehow survived the appalling mistreatment he’s endured; very rarely he meets people who can see through his defense mechanisms and who perceive his worth.
It happened to me once, in a very big way.
This was “Carmen,” the Cardinal Ghost of Ghosts and Ballyhoo: Memoirs of a Failed L.A. Music Journalist. For three years I was sure I’d avoided the terrible fate of Raymond Shaw, but it wasn’t to be. What happened was another way in which my life eerily paralleled this fiction that had held me captive for so long.
The second aspect about The Manchurian Candidate that…traumatized me—it’s the only word that fits—was the incomprehensible cruelty of everyone in Raymond Shaw’s life. With the exception of a handful, everyone he met assaulted him, used him, and betrayed him. I knew very early on that I had to be careful. If I were in a stadium of 100,000 people, and a psychotic entered through a distant doorway, that person would unerringly find his or her way to me.
It’s not possible to convey the horror of what’s done to Raymond Shaw. He’s fooled into thinking he’s a hero, winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor. But it’s a lie. The novel and book differ; I prefer the movie, because Shaw’s actions are volitional.
Made to commit acts too unspeakable to be cited here, by an enemy who had captured his mind and soul, he freed himself at last, and in the end heroically and unhesitatingly gave his life to save his country.
Though destroyed by the knowledge of what was done to him, Raymond has his revenge.
It’s become a dirty word, revenge. I think of it as justice served. There’s no formula; each case is different. I’m not naturally vengeful. Some actions, however, are unforgivable, and the offender must be made to pay. Vengeance can be good for soul. I don’t mean you sit around seething and plotting, but if the opportunity presents itself for you to be the vehicle of a perpetrator’s destruction, and you decide to take that opportunity, I don’t see the problem in that.
I put fake book publicist Mike Albee out of business. Someone close to him sent me e-mails confirming it. When he started up another con-job of a business, I forced him to take his name and face off the Website.
What I did was teach myself the art of search-engine optimization (SEO). My Web designer says that I’m one of the best SEO experts he’s ever seen. At the age of fifty-one, I taught myself concepts that I could barely understand, since my knowledge of the Internet was stuck in 2003, the last year I had a Website. I studied for months, experimenting, and then I began writing about Mike Albee and his wife Lura Dold.
I used specific words chosen to sabotage their career as fake book publicists. And it worked. I hounded them out of the business. Mike and Lura live far beyond their means. They’re vacuous social climbers who buy expensive pretty-shiny status symbols that they can’t afford, so they’re always desperate for income. Part of my vengeance was making it hard for them to earn money.
Though I’m not afraid of them—because all they can do now is end my life, which doesn’t scare me—I gave a sealed, addressed envelope to someone. It contains a piece of paper with Mike and Lura’s home address and other information, which one of their victims sent me. Another of their victims contacted me, and we spoke on the phone. He was one of the most terrifying people I’ve ever encountered. His name and address are on that envelope, now in the hands of a trusted acquaintance.
So there are limits to my vengeance. I could’ve given Mike and Lura’s address to this man whose voice and words made my hair stand on end. But I didn’t.
My Pallywood posts are vengeance. I write them not because Jew-hate has had any meaningful negative impact on my life, but because millions suffer at the hands of the same irredeemable predators who wreaked so much havoc on me and on my fictional alter ego Raymond Shaw.
I enjoy derailing the narrative. The “tell” that Jew-haters know they’re in the wrong is their absurd, infantile hyperbole about the “crimes” Jews commit: genocide, ethnic cleansing, creating the largest open-air prison, deliberately destroying civilian infrastructure, targeting children, committing massacres, controlling the world, debauching our values, and…worse.
These accusations are designed to rationalize Jew-haters’ deranged venom and assuage the feelings of self-revulsion they have at being so blatantly unjust. They turn the objects of their hate into cartoon parodies deserving of all the opprobrium that the “civilized” world heaps on it.
The Israel that these people describe is a monstrous entity devoted entirely to debasement, corruption, and the infliction of suffering. It’s textbook projection. Jew-haters are sickened by their own existence, but they can’t admit that their lives are cesspools due to their failures, failings, terrible decisions, and their refusal to admit to being wrong. And of course all Jew-haters were themselves victimized, another facet of their horrible realities that they must keep secret.
Israel is not only a diagnostic tool, I’ve discovered that she’s also a blank screen upon which people project their delusions. Every single person who accuses the IDF of murdering children is someone who should never be allowed anywhere NEAR a child.
Sorry, kid. Luck of the draw. Your face tells the whole story. Hang in there. Soon you’ll be free of her.
My Pallywood posts don’t stop the sorts of nightmares that the characters in The Manchurian Candidate have. Once you reach a certain level of erosion, nothing can make a difference.
Therefore it’s imperative that truth be assimilated early and reinforced often. To protect. The flaw is in the accusers, not the accused. This is a self-portrait.
Though The Manchurian Candidate is the saddest movie ever made, it’s also great art. I especially love the theme song. The second half is very painful; it’s the music of injustice, the arbitrary singling out of a person or a people for destruction. The resolution is ambiguous, but I like ambiguity.
Hope is ambiguous. It can also be vicarious.
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