Monday, December 28, 2015

Rick Salutin's Trumbo Mumbo-Jumbo

Turns out Dalton Trumbo is one of Salutin's heros--no surprise there, eh?--and he thinks the film starring Bryan Cranston is, like, really complex, especially re the issue of victimhood:
Something also cuts against this grain in Trumbo. In the final scene, when Trumbo Vindicated receives yet another Hollywood honour, he speaks words the real life Trumbo wrote about the period: “It will do no good to search for villains or heroes or saints or devils because there were none; there were only victims.”  
This restores victimhood as a complex category, by deheroizing it. It’s as if the character realizes at the very end that his moralistic posturing earlier may have been superficial and self-serving. He’s arrived at a deeper understanding.
A deeper understanding? As if! Fact is Trumbo never recanted his Stalinism and cared not a whit about its victims, ones whose victimhood, unlike his, was genuine.

A deeper understanding? As if Trumbo was the one who was dispatched in some dark alley via a Stalinist bullet, or left to waste away in the Siberian Gulag for trumped up "crimes" against the thuggish state. 

Compare that to Trumbo's "suffering." As a dedicated Communist working on behalf of this murderous regime, all he had to endure was a few years of hiding behind a fake name when flogging his Hollywood screenplays. That was followed soon enough by decades of lionization which continue to our day.

A deeper understanding?

Give me a freaking break!

As for "complexity"--the Trumbo of the movie explains Communism to his young daughter by using a simile involving a sandwich. Communism, he tells her, is like sharing half your sandwich with a kid who comes to school with nothing to eat.

Wow. That's just sooooo "complex."

And so totally out to lunch.

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