03 May 2010

Tricky Dicks

Just got finished writing a lengthy, historical (slightly critical) diatribe on Richard "I am not a crook" Nixon, and I thought this would be a great sounding pad to get out all the cultural Nixons that I squeezed into my concluding paragraph--and those that could not fit.

Nixon vs. Black Dynamite (2009); or, Nixon as paranoid, vitriolic, and excellent at kung-fu.

Nixon in Secret Honor (1984); or, Robert Altman excoriates the drunk, cruel Nixon.

Nixon in "A Head in the Polls" Futurama (1999); or, Nixon, Checkers, and the two-bit Watergate crooks get the what-for.

Nixon in The Simpsons; or, not my favorite Simpsons v. Nixon moment, but it'll have to do for, um, exposing Nixon's true "face."

Nixon at the "Last Press Conference" (1962); or, Nixon shoots self in foot--Norman Mailer would say the move was akin to suicide--before becoming twice-elected President of the United States of America.

Nixon reminding public/press "I am not a crook" (1973); the speech, a true testament of wishful thinking and believing your own dishonesty, is better understood in the look of the afro'd reporter early in the clip (he's thinking, like the nation, 'What the hell is up with this dude, cuz frankly this is uncomfortable and strange--and I'm pretty sure he's lying.')

Nixon's "Farewell Speech" (1974); or, a perfect study in ethos, pathos, logos, and much, much bathos (I wrote my paper on this doozy).

What do these images, fictionalized (sort of) or not (sort of), tell us of Richard Nixon? Not much. That's the one thing I've learned in my time reading, writing, and obsessing over Nixon: he is frankly unknowable. Is he full of shit? Yes, mostly. Is he utterly sincere (truly believing some of his own lies)? Yes, often. Is he a parody? Of course. Is he an important political mind? Certainly. Is he a dastardly war criminal? Sure. So, you tell me, what portrait could you draw of that person? Only one:

(Love, your pal, Richard M. Nixon)

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