American Shithole #29 | End of Act II (The Empire Struck Back)
By Eric Wilson
As many Literate Ape readers understand, the end of Act II typically involves the dropping of the curtain on our heroes in the worst of states. Usually, there’s a terrible reveal or turn of events. It’s the point in the story when all seems lost.
My earliest understanding of how the second act of a three act drama works, The Empire Strikes Back, hit theaters just as I was finishing 7th grade. If you are not familiar, at the end of the second film in the Star Wars trilogy our hero, Luke Skywalker, confronts the villain, Darth Vader, only to lose handily (ha!) whilst finding out that the antagonist is also his dad. I wasn’t used to my heroes getting their asses kicked (or their hands chopped off), but that was my introduction to the nadir of the Hero’s Journey.
Now — I offer this Star Wars descriptive, not because I think there are people out there who have no idea what the fuck I’m talking about, I do so because I actually live with someone that has never seen, in full, the original A New Hope or The Empire Strikes Back, so I know there are people out there who have no idea what the fuck I’m talking about.
Which, I’m sorry, but that’s just fucking weird. That’s weird. You’re weird, and you all know who you are.
Seriously, Star Wars is a few hours of your day, and a lifetime of nerd references at your disposal. How many times have you stood clueless in a terribly boring conversation about lightsabers with dorks like me? (And how many times have you watched Clueless?)
Also, I think we just got our hand chopped off, America.
In this tepid analogy, Skywalker — in particular, his lightsaber-wielding right hand — is the physical manifestation of the Arm of Justice. Republicans have done away with that arm via the Kavanaugh confirmation (and the Merrick Garland block); and they did it out in the open, with no fear of reprisal, in one of the ugliest displays of partisan politics I have ever witnessed.
The United States Senate. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.
It bummed me out so much I spent the weekend trying to hide in the decade I grew up.
I watched Robocop on Saturday night — another classic from the ’80s. Peter Weller loses his hand at the beginning of the film, which fails to serve my Act II argument, but it does further a theme. I’m definitely not cleaning the kitchen disposal any time soon. I don’t even know where Robocop’s Act II is, I was too busy trying to identify the differences between the theatrical version, and the X-rated one that’s currently available on Amazon. (I couldn’t tell the difference; are you still reading, or have you gone off to check if there’s a Robo-penis?)
In an effort to revisit my fondest memories from the ’80s — Dungeons and Dragons — I played a bit of the new Pathfinder: Kingmaker video game that came out this past week. It’s like D&D, without the Dungeon Master, friends or creative, communal story-telling experience.
I also blew off my physical therapy and my diet.
I was pretty depressed this weekend — not depressed, that’s not accurate — no, I was deflated; like one gets after a terrible body blow. So I retreated to the safety of familiar things: the company of a good friend, feel-good television and film, comfort food, games, a warm bed, snuggly dogs, a happier era, etc.
It’s Tuesday afternoon as I write this, and I still haven’t looked at the news. For all I know, the powers that be have moved on from making a mockery of the Supreme Court, to making Soylent Green out of kidnapped Ecuadorian refugees — or whatever the next unimaginable, horrible offense that they find to be a profitable venture.
With the SCOTUS now poised to undo decades of progressive legislation — and quite likely, protect the president from the Mueller investigation or any other entity deemed an enemy of the administration — I don’t know what checks and balances we have left.
I am worried that in the near future, an exponentially increasing number of suffering, oppressed Americans will be forced to decide when it is, that acts of violence are a civic duty. That’s not how I want to spend my fucking golden years, and unless you are one of those gun-worshipping morons goose-stepping it to Stephen King’s fat, orange version of the Pied Piper — neither do you.
It is quite possible now, that McConnell and the republican Senate, Ryan and the republican House, the President, his entire administration — all of them — all of them are going to get away with everything. If so, in the immortal words of C-3PO, “We’re doomed.”
Welcome to the end of Act II, America.
Worse still, what if this sci-fi turned horror flick has only just finished the opening crawl?
I imagine quite a different scene at the home of Brett Kavanaugh this past Saturday. Perhaps an evening alone, dressed in black, standing in front of his luxurious bathroom mirror channeling his deepest James Earl Jones rasp “No, America, I… am your Supreme Court Justice.”
Either that or he was hosting a Keggerape with his buddies Tobin, PJ, Squee, Dooku, Greedo, Palpatine and Donkey Dong Doug — and some girl unlucky enough to wander upstairs.
I really hope the Democrats have a plan — hopefully one that doesn’t involve too many of us Bothans dying. I have a bad feeling about this.
Do you think Human Greed has a small thermal exhaust port, right below the main port?
P.S. If you didn’t get the reference to the Death Star in that last line, you probably missed the ten or so other Star Wars Easter Eggs throughout. Seriously, how many times can you watch Mean Girls?