December 8, 2016

"As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden."

We just re-watched "Being There":



Did we watch "Being There" now, because of Trump? Did "Being There" amaze and distress us with its continued relevance because of Trump?

Actually, not at all. Peter Sellers's character — Chance/Chauncey Gardiner — was just about the complete opposite of Donald Trump. Chance was a man who seemed to come out of nowhere and to make statements about gardens that other people perceived as brilliant political metaphor — "the most refreshing and optimistic statements I've heard in a very, very long time." His lack of any known background counted as a plus to the rich insiders who got the idea of advancing him to the presidency: "A man's past cripples him. His background turns into a swamp and invites scrutiny."

That's much closer to the story of Barack Obama than Donald Trump.

Trump has been so well known for so long. He had a huge weight of past baggage, and it didn't cripple him. He had that "swamp" of a background that invited scrutiny, but he made it anyway. He didn't make it because rich insiders chose him to serve their interests. He was the rich insider himself, and the other rich insiders were the opposite of delighted by his communication style. Trump didn't make simple abstract statements that worked because voters projected their own hopes onto him. He blabbed endlessly about all sorts of concrete problems and played upon our fears and our sense of loss at least as much as optimism.

(You can buy "Being There" at Amazon.)

33 comments:

David Begley said...

Gardiner would have been a better President than Obama; at least no Iran deal.

Chris said...

I've always felt that movie was dead on depiction of Obama.

rhhardin said...

I watched it long enough ago that maybe it would be entertaining again. I also can rewatch the Pink Panther flicks, come to think of it.

I don't know that it's a good match to Obama or Trump. Obama was black and Trump was the PC killer, as to dynamics.

rhhardin said...

Obama and Trump was about which way the estrogen went.

MayBee said...

That's much closer to the story of Barack Obama than Donald Trump.

Yes.

rehajm said...

Chance most resembles President Chelsea Clinton.

Meade said...

Everything I know about the art of seducing women I learned from Chance the gardener and rhhardin.

wild chicken said...

Always thought it was about Carter, but then my betters assured me no it was Reagan.

Big Mike said...

@Meade, you chose wisely.

AReasonableMan said...

This is not really true. It is not a past personal history that kill candidates it is a past political history that dings them. Votes for/against the Iraq war, abortion, Supreme court nominees, budget-busting budgets etc.

EDH said...

Chris said...
I've always felt that movie was dead on depiction of Obama.

Nope, but close: a dead on depiction of the people around Obama.

Mike said...

"A man's past cripples him. His background turns into a swamp and invites scrutiny."

That is exactly what George Soros hissed into Barack's ear in 2004 after that one good speech he made.

Mike said...

Right before he lifted him to the top of the capitol dome and said, "All of this can be yours..."

mockturtle said...

More like Bob Dylan, I think.

mikee said...

Gardner could walk on water. Obama, not so much.

Meade said...

That's right. Also, Chance the gardener is real. Obama is just a state of mind.

Todd said...

Additionally, the movie was a powerful statement (at least I thought so) on the ability of people to project their preconceived notions and their thoughts onto others. Chauncey was a literal blank slate for others to write on or dare I say a mirror to reflect back the perceptions of others.

Remind anyone of someone else that was described as such?

Amexpat said...

Sellers should have gotten the oscar for that role. Much more difficult to play understated than over the top.

Michael K said...

Chauncey was a literal blank slate for others to write on or dare I say a mirror to reflect back the perceptions of others.

Obama to the very end. He even admitted it one time, I recall. He said something about being a blank slate that others project their wishes onto.

The "Hope and Change" campaign was all about wishes.

Jupiter said...

"That's much closer to the story of Barack Obama than Donald Trump."

No shit, Sherlock. How many times did you vote for that smarmy little prick, anyway? Two, or just one?

Trumpit said...

Trump in not witty, not even funny. He never laughs. Well, at least at himself. He has little analytical ability, and is under-educated (especially about science, economics, etc., and grossly ill-informed to be president. He is a racist demagogue like Hitler was, who wouldn't rent to black. He was a dishonest business who fleeced the students of Trump U. These were some of his good points. His narcissistic, infantile personality is insufferable. He is vacuous like Peter Sellers' character. A fraud on so many levels. He is a poor thinker in spite of his grandiose claims to have a great mind. The more negative things I say about him, a dozen more pop into my head. The last thing I will say is that people who don't recognize this about the man, and even praise him, themselves are delusional and essentially as ignorant as Trump is. SAD!

Bad Lieutenant said...

Trumpit, you old fool, next time save keystrokes and just type:

Trump, winner! We hates it forever!

Gollum won't mind.

tcrosse said...

Love trumps Trump-hate.

Yancey Ward said...

I always think of this movie every time I hear or read the word "honkie"- every single time. Mostly because of the outtakes clip at the end of the film.

mikee said...

"You go tell Raphael that I ain't takin' no jive from no Western Union messenger!
You tell that asshole, if he got somethin' to tell me to get his ass down here himself!"

The flubbed scene of Sellers trying, and failing multiple times, to deliver this message without laughing to a non-involved African-American medical technician is shown as the credits roll in the movie. It is one of the funniest scenes I have ever seen in film.

rightguy2 said...

I believe it was said by Krauthammer, in 2008 : "Barak Obama has a resume' as thin as Chauncy Gardener's".

rightguy2 said...

Trumpit said "Trump in not witty, not even funny. He never laughs. Well, at least at himself. He has little analytical ability, and is under-educated (especially about science, economics, etc., and grossly ill-informed to be president. He is a racist demagogue like Hitler was, who wouldn't rent to black. He was a dishonest business who fleeced the students of Trump U. These were some of his good points. His narcissistic, infantile personality is insufferable. He is vacuous like Peter Sellers' character. A fraud on so many levels. He is a poor thinker in spite of his grandiose claims to have a great mind. The more negative things I say about him, a dozen more pop into my head. The last thing I will say is that people who don't recognize this about the man, and even praise him, themselves are delusional and essentially as ignorant as Trump is. SAD!"

So if any of that is true, then why has he been running circles around the dems and their confederates in the media since Nov 9th? I'll give you hint- Trump is a doer, not a talker. In fact, he doesn't talk well at all. Your guy (BHO) was all talk.

eddie willers said...

So I'm watching an NFL game last week and one player's name was Chauncey Gardiner.

As Dave Barry says, "I am not making this up".

Forbes said...

"Being There" and Chance the gardener is sooo Obama, it's not even close. It's scary.

rhhardin said...

I watched it again - not as interesting as the first time.

The romance makes no sense.

It fails for Obama even under the idiot analogy - Chance has good character where Obama sees enemies and dupes.

rhhardin said...

The Bobo, in the same DVD shelf, I remember as good, a better romance, back when I was going through Sellers.

mikee said...

The Bobo and Being There should be required watching for anyone wanting to understand the difference between self esteem and self respect.

Leigh said...

Obama and Chauncey are twins. They both say nothing that can be disputed because neither of them ever say anything. The only difference between the two is that Obama requires far more words to say nothing.