In 1982, a young woodworker took to film and released what would later be acclaimed as one of the greatest horror spectacles of all time. This director, named John Carpenter, released the mostly fictitious “The Thing” which contrary to common belief, was not based on a film from the 50s “The Thing From Another World”. He based his movie on true events: the future.
In his crystal balls of foresight, Carpenter witnessed a flailing political environment (and a heartwarming coming of age story) and in this horrific vision decided to immortalize it on the silver screen. The horror witnessed on this film reel is reely terrifying from the implications.
For example, the main villain of The Thing is the thing. This creature is a stranger from a strange world, and if your parents have ever taught you anything, it’s not to take candy or pantless hugs from a stranger. This alien is emblematic of many facets of our society today. He came to this country (technically Antarctica but whatever) uninvited, climbed over our fences (technically a snowbank but whatever) and refused to pay taxes for his under the books job (technically killing everyone but whatever). This illegal immigration sounds awfully like something the United States is dealing with right now: congressional deadlock. This deadlock (legitimate spoiler: I’m not referring to John’s status throughout season 6 of Lost), has made our society more and more unable to move. Senators and Congressman are saying and doing whatever they need to be elected. They are cycling through more personalities than Gollum’s screen debut as Two Face.
This all leads back to The Thing, and I don’t mean the shitty prequel that came out a few years ago where it turns out the villain was actually peer pressure. In Carpenter’s magnum opus, the creature is capable of assuming the form and retaining the memories of anyone it assimilates. It becomes someone it’s not to survive. It is afraid of being judged for what it is. Surrounded by people who look different, who have their own cliques, their own special handshakes, people who sit together at their own lunch tables, people who exclude outsiders and pick on the unpopular kids, it’s only logical response is to kill them all. As head bully (he focused on insulting you from the neck up. Exceptions were made if your neck was particularly ugly) and self-diagnosed hypochondriac Wilford Brimley soon encounters the villain. Blair comes to finds out “sometimes laughter isn’t the best medicine”, especially when the medicine is trying to kill you and take your form. The aforementioned “medicine” is of course in reference to Brimley’s role of diabetes advocate Blair in the film, who attempts to fight the creature with insults and one liners and a semi-automatic epi-pen.
Blair, famous in the film for lines such as, “If there is an Antarctica where is Uncle Artica?” and “Don’t eat the asian snow”, represents the congressman of today, men and women who will spit out whatever syllables they can conjure in order to maintain public favor. Like Blair and his crazy witch project (it turns out the witch was peer pressure), these people are looking for something they are only going to find when it’s too late: belief not from the public but from themselves. By the time they find what they are looking for they will have let their moral atlas flow down a river of lost dreams. Politicians are so eager to please the people, as they should be to some extent, they forget to fight for what they believe in, assuming what they believe in is not pleasing the people (wink emoticon directed at Eliot Spitzer). They become chameleons, changing their color to match the background of whatever party is on the upswing.
If the Congressmen are Blair, then it is evident that the political parties are the Thing. As stated earlier, the thing isn’t a tangible creature. It changes, it evolves, it assimilates. The thing is an idea, and ideas are immortal. The political parties of the United States, all of them, are founded not on people but on ideas. Ideas are deadly. They are fickle. They will kill you at an Arctic Research Base just cause. This embodies the Thing perfectly, especially the last descriptor.
Kurt Russell, Paul Revered for his beard and take-no-prisoners-even-if-they-are-innocent -women-and/or-children attitude, is indicative of someone just trying to survive in the hostile alien eat human world. In this instance, he embodies the average U.S. citizen. And though I hate to be Kurt with you, based on my nielsen ratings, people would rather read me discussing a heartwarming coming of rage story rather than American politics. Stay tuned for part two.