L. Neil Smith's
E.T., Go Home!
by Manuel Miles
Special to TLE
Recently I was horrified to hear that a newly renovated version of Steven Spielbergís misanthropist classic, "E.T., the extraterrestrial", was being foisted onto the unblinking masses of the Empireís serfs. Commissar S.S. must have decided that there is no improving on the tried-and-true successes of his agitprop, so why not recycle them.
Oh, I know you are saying, "What does Miles mean?! I loved E.T.!" After all, whatís not to like? The little creature was so utterly cutesie, with those outsized eyes and all the other morphological and behavioural characteristics of toddlers. His squeaky little voice was so endearing that a generation of children learned to imitate it whenever they needed to squirm their way out of a maternally- threatened "time out".
Then, too, there were the exciting chase scenes on bicycles, and the various tricks and stunts involved in hiding a harmless, gentle creature from the menace of The Evil Adult Male Persons. The entire show was custom made to appeal to soccer moms and their day care centred, fatherless progeny. And it did, too; big time.
The question is, to what end? All films have messages; they donít exist in a cultural vacuum, after all, and they wonít sell unless their messages are successful at ringing some cultural bell or another. The "good" ones have a single theme, with subplots well integrated into it. The "bad" ones leave you asking questions, and that does not serve the needs of the Almighty State. In short, every movie is a propaganda effort, whether you realise it or not -- and itís in the best interests of the State and its fellow travellers in Hollywood that you do not realise it, at least not consciously.
Here, Spielberg showed his genius as a propagandist. At no point did he say, "The Evil White Male Person is nasty and bad," rather he filled the viewersí minds with images of menace. Throughout the film, we were led to identify with the alien and with the (supposedly abandoned by their fathers) children, by means of subtly effective camera tricks, lighting and music.
In the opening scenes, the toddlerís-eye, low to the ground viewpoint of the camera showed the menacing legs and torsos of a tramping horde of relentless, faceless adult males as they pursued the gentle, flower-sniffing visitor from beyond the stars. Fortunately for the cause of intergalactic horticulture, the diminutive creature found sanctuary at the home of Eliot and his foul-mouthed little sister.
Oh yes, and their mother lived there, too. The poor dear actually had to try to survive in a million dollar home (probably worth no more than a mere half million back when the flick was made) and alimony and child support enough to make an oil sheik gasp, while the disgusting father (spit here) was off in Mexico with "that woman". Oh, boo hoo hoo.
The weepy broad took his home, his savings and his children, and the son dared not make reference to his own father lest she collapse at the supper table in a sea of self-pitying tears! And sheís the victim?! No wonder he divorced her; poverty is preferable to a lifetime chained to such an immature, self-centred, manipulative bitch.
When I saw this propaganda masterpiece, the cinema was full to bursting with divorced women and their little soccer players (presumably the latter had weekend passes from the Donít Care Centres). There was not a dry eye among the maternal element at this presentation of the traumatic conditions under which poor Eliotís mama was forced by a combination of cruel fate and male chauvinism to live. When the lights came up, I ran as fast as my adult male legs would move; I barely made it out of there alive.
If Spielberg has "issues" with his father, then thatís his problem. His assault on those of us who elected to remain men in the face of lifeís inconveniences, however, is a problem for all of society. His self-hating, anti-male agitprop may relieve his liberal guilt, but it helped to inflict a hellish childhood on an entire generation.
That generation are now adults. Most of them are not happy at all with the kiddie concentration camps to which they were confined. Many have openly criticised this pathetic substitute for a normal family life. Apparently S.S. felt that the young comrades needed to be re- indoctrinated to the "necessity" for the destruction of the nasty old "nuclear family" and the appalling self-centredness of their mothers.
Sure enough, twenty years after its first release, Spielberg comes out with a digitally remastered, politically corrected (yes, even E.T. is out of step with these enlightened times) version of the great classic which showed a generation that Men Are The Enemy. I take some comfort in knowing that Spielberg was divorced in the meantime.
I hope she took him to the cleaners.