Thursday, August 1, 2013

Burn After Reading, the Culturist Review

The Coen Brothers' film, Burn After Reading (2008), is about what happens when our Christian God leaves public life – the government fills the vacuum and people become 'morons'. The film speaks directly to Liberty GB values, culturally. For fun and profit, culturists need to watch this film, study it.

In the opening scene we come from a God's eye view of Earth to the CIA headquarters. Therein, John Malkovich gets fired from his job as a CIA Balkans analyst. He says his firing is a crucifixion and stands with his hands out wide. He is Jesus. In the very next scene he's being asked about picking up "cheeses" (Jesus) because the Pharaohs are coming to dinner. Fun stuff.

The political messages are subtle but strong. On a boat at sea, Malkovich tells his silent father (God) that he quit his job because it is not the same as when he (God) was "in State." Malkovich's Jesus character guesses that perhaps it is the end of the Cold War (when we were fighting Godless communists). Now government seems to be "all bureaucracy and no mission."

As for politics, it is interesting that Jesus (Malkovich) calls himself a good analyst of the Balkans. Indeed, removing God from our Balkans analysis led to NATO backing Muslims against Christians in that region. When Linda Litsky, who we'll meet in a moment, gives secrets to the Russians she is apathetic concerning ideology. But, rather than political, the film's sadder message is how shallow Western society has become in God's absence.
The sadness of modern persons gets dramatized by the aforementioned Linda Litsky (Frances McDormand), who needs money to "reinvent herself." Specifically Linda Litsky needs to pay for four cosmetic surgery procedures because she's "gone about as far as I can go with this body." These surgeries include a lift on her eye area, which she calls "the window to the soul." Her employer at the gym "Hardbodies," a retired priest, tells her that perhaps someone might love her as she is. But Litsky seeks to be born again via surgery.
Linda Litsky sees an opportunity to get her surgeries paid for when she and her equally comical co-worker, Brad Pitt, find a top secret CIA CD ROM on the bathroom floor. Litsky and Pitt blackmail the person who lost it, John Malkovich, Jesus. Litsky and Pitt demand money for being "good Samaritans" and returning the CD. That is, these gym employees blackmail Jesus (Malkovich), using his found  information (CD) to get money. Cultural degradation to the extreme.
When the blackmail ploy fails, Linda Litsky has nowhere to go. She doesn't believe in the West, as evidenced by her giving secrets to the Russians. And, not being religious, having sold Jesus' information, she doesn't turn to God. Instead, she sadly calls the insurance company that has already rejected her request to pay for her surgeries. Tying Litsky to the CIA rather than God, she repeatedly pleads for an "agent." This false prayer portrays modern man's pathos beautifully.
Here the film gives a strong nod to British viewers. As MacDormand's Litsky finally gives up on the agent, the unofficial anthem of England, "Jerusalem," plays in the background. The William Blake poem the English anthem recites, also named "Jerusalem," asks if Jesus had actually been in England. And Blake's poem encourages us to fight to get religion back into England's collective soul. The satirical sadness of Linda Litsky of Hardbodies illustrates the void Liberty GB's cultural focus seeks to address.
Burn After Reading? 'Burn' fat at Hardbodies gym after 'reading' the Bible? What of this title?
In the final scene a CIA chief learns that Jesus (Malkovich) has been shot and is in a coma with no brain function. The chief calmly says, "Good. Great." The chief continues, "If he (Jesus) wakes up, we'll worry about it then." He says he doesn't know what the CIA did to create such a mess. Then the chief concludes the film's dialogue saying, "Jesus f***ing Christ" and closing the case book. The film returns to the opening's God's-eye-view, letting us know someone's watching from up higher.
As the film displays so well, our detachment from our Judeo-Christian inheritance leaves us diminished in meaning, beauty, and elevation. For national enlightenment, Liberty GB needs to answer Blake's question about Jesus having been in the West in the affirmative.

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