By Jack Witek
|Image credit: Collider.com|
It was the worst of times and the best of times for the opening of the final film in the magisterial Dark Knight trilogy, a film inspired by A Tale of Two Cities. What had inspired James Holmes to murder? Culture Wars commentary points the finger at the films themselves and the nihilistic ‘culture of death’ as Alex Jones calls it, or it blames the 2nd Amendment. Was Holmes a patsy set up or only partly involved, as the alternative research community is arguing? Is the fact that he seems drugged out of his mind in court proceedings an indicator of anything? Or that he was once a star neuroscience student at a university complex once owned by the Army, and a hundred other oddities springing up like mushrooms?
At the beginning of Chapter Three in A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens observes:
‘A Wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it! Something of the awfulness, even of Death itself, is referable to this. No more can I turn the leaves of this dear book that I loved, and vainly hope in time to read it all. No more can I look into the depths of this unfathomable water, wherein, as momentary lights glanced into it, I have had glimpses of buried treasure and other things submerged. It was appointed that the book should shut with a spring, for ever and for ever, when I had read but a page. It was appointed that the water should be locked in an eternal frost, when the light was playing on its surface, and I stood in ignorance on the shore. My friend is dead, my neighbour is dead, my love, the darling of my soul, is dead; it is the inexorable consolidation and perpetuation of the secret that was always in that individuality, and which I shall carry in mine to my life's end. In any of the burial-places of this city through which I pass, is there a sleeper more inscrutable than its busy inhabitants are, in their innermost personality, to me, or than I am to them?’
Commenting for heraldonline James Carroll writes:
‘Apocalyptic fantasies have been a staple of creative expression at least since the Book of Revelation, which, in the West, defines much of the language of the genre: salvation through destruction, cities under attack, angels versus devils, the end of history, and so on. ”The Dark Knight Rises,” with a plot hanging on the detonation of a nuclear bomb, efficiently follows the ancient form, with a 21st Century resonance. We bring our real-life anxieties into darkened theaters, so why shouldn't movies pluck dissonant chords tied, consciously or not, to nuclear dread or 9/11? Perhaps bringing such doomsday anxieties into movie houses is a way of not unleashing them on the world.’
Carroll goes on to conclude:
‘It seems clear that, across the globe today, barriers to inhuman behavior that was once unthinkable have been weakened. Mass shootings are a sign of this — children expressly targeted in Norway last year. So is the plague of suicide bombing that has befallen the Middle East, the self turned into an indiscriminate weapon. Innocents not seduced but destroyed. Blurred distinctions between fantasy and reality, between watching and doing, between war and detached manipulation of technology: These are marks of a precious psychological barrier being lowered. A dark night falling.’
I will be addressing this awful, insulting and borish criticism in more depth at the end of this article, but before I get even further ahead of myself, a word about UFOs and classified energy and propulsion technologies, as after all is this not the cult website Silver Screen Saucers I am very happy to be guest blogging for? To wit, Bruce Wayne, Wayne Enterprises and the Batman embody much of the contradictions, power dynamics and symbolism inherent in the image of the UFO cover-up that we in ufology have formed over the decades. In A.D. After Disclosure, Richard Dolan and Bryce Zabel push the edges in making a map of the world with conspiracy drawn in and Disclosure played out, and in blogging on the official website in an article titled Breakaway Civilisation, Richard notes:
|The Dynamic Duo: Zabel and Dolan.|
Such a group would continue to be funded secretly and covertly by a combination of public and private funds. In effect, it would constitute an invisible empire, with technology superior to the rest of the world, able to explore areas of our world unavailable to the rest of us. It would probably have a significant built infrastructure, possibly underground and “off the grid” in important ways. It might even have interactions or encounters with non-human intelligences behind the UFO phenomenon. Most certainly it would be concerned somehow with managing the problem of “others” here on Planet Earth. All of the above would indicate that the group members would have deeper scientific and cosmological insights.
Yes, this might qualify them as a separate, “breakaway,” civilization.
Such a group would have great independence from the established system of power and control, although I would doubt its members would live in a completely separate environment all the time, like some Alternative 3 scenario. Most likely they would need to work in “our” world, if for no other reason than that Earth is where the action is. They would probably move back and forth between the realities of their deeply classified world and the official reality that the rest of us inhabit. Undoubtedly not an easy life.’
Not for Bruce Wayne, not for them, one can hypothetically imagine. As an ironic wink, in The Dark Knight the police have a photo of Batman tacked to their ‘Most Wanted’ board, next to a still from the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film, and I’m sure John Keel, author of the Mothman Prophecies would have got a kick out of Batman and his glowing red eyes swooping over the hallucinogen induced terrors in Gotham in the first film. But Christopher Nolan, his co-writer brother, and his producer wife, set out to strip the pomp and cartoon from the franchise, like the effects of the Scarecrow’s psychotropic weaponized hallucinogen from Batman Begins, as with ayahuasca which the blue flower compound is reminiscent of, they purged the franchise, reflecting back some of society’s basest elements, most terrible shadows and most transcendent hopes and fear.
In A.D. After Disclosure, Richard and Bryce postulate that what began with the likes of a Majestic 12 within the military as it was then, has since become a private esoteric and corporate affair, the conspiracy of silence, which translates to the League of Shadows and, of course, Batman himself. The interface of old and new money, basically. Directly analogous to the question of classified ‘free energy’ technology and the implications for Disclosure and the UFO, the plot of the third film revolves around the clean energy fusion reactor that Wayne developed and Bane turned into a bomb, the bomb module itself being evidently directly designed to conform to the dimensions of the Trinity test site nuclear device, known as the Gadget. Richard and Bryce argue in After Disclosure that one of the main factors in the policy of UFO cover-up is the possibility of reverse-engineering recovered craft and working out the energy systems that drive them. This presumes of course there are any nuts and bolts systems driving these or that it was an alien disc that crashed in Roswell or anywhere else, and not something entirely different, even if it was ‘nuts and bolts’ as Joseph P. Farrell will attest. Of course it needn’t even be that they directly reconfigured alien technology, they could simply have been inspired by it to figure it out for themselves. Nick Pope has said as much himself, while also flatly denying the possibility of recovered craft. In an article by Lee Spiegel on the Calvine UFO photo that the MoD had secreted away: ‘Naturally, we wanted the propulsion system,’ he added. ‘And if we couldn't get it, we wanted to at least try and understand the principles on which it might work because that might play into research and development.’ Christian Lambright makes an interesting case for the US military being inspired by alien technology in his book X Descending, which also chronicles the psychological operation known now as the Bennewtiz Affair. Were they hiding Bat crafts of their own at the Manzano weapons storage facility? Richard and Bryce argue that the fear of the weaponization of such ‘free energy’ technology, or the fear of starting a new arms race after you yourself have weaponized it and losing your monopoly of power, could well be the crux of the secrecy.
Ufology began pragmatically, more or less. The pool had yet to be unalterably muddied by the contactees, by channels, by abduction, crop circles and mutes, by the Bennewitz Affair or Exopolitics. This early groundedness was not least of all owed to the fact that the first ufologists were from military and intelligence backgrounds themselves, even chairpersons of whole civilian UFO groups. One of the earliest and to this day staunchest rational advocates of the subject, Jacques Vallee, pointed out in Messengers of Deception, as his military intelligence source ‘Major Murphy’ warned him, that in some cases this was no doubt not accidental. Like any good scientist, with some prodding, Vallee collated his suspicions and paid attention to the uncomfortable details swept aside in the rush to the utopic Disclosure and alien contact. He has never swayed from his stance that the UFO is a physical object manifesting intense energy of a physics known or unknown. Where he departed at the end of the ‘60s from almost everyone else was that he could never take it for granted that in every case or even in most cases they were literal physical aliens from an exoplanet. As Arthur Koestler said to him, hearing the accounts of experiencers left him with the same feeling one has after a bad seedy joke.
Has the UFO been used as a cover for groups on earth, military intelligence operations, perhaps? Mind control experiments? This is again reminiscent of the blue flower compound from Nolan’s Batman films that is used by the League of Shadows. Peter Robbins notes that somewhere, there is a factory that makes the legless block tables that are always encountered in regression accounts despite leading questions, such as ‘describe how many legs the table has’. Well, perhaps. But that in and of itself doesn’t account for the pathological, the goofy, the downright absurd that is a lot of the abduction and contact accounts. In Batman Begins, Ra's al Ghul counsels Bruce that: ‘If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, and if they can't stop you, then you become something else entirely.’ Which is? asks Bruce. ‘A legend, Mr. Wayne’. And on his private jet, a conversation with Alfred: ‘People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy and I can't do that as Bruce Wayne, as a man I'm flesh and blood I can be ignored I can be destroyed but as a symbol, as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting.’ What symbol? asks Alfred. ‘Something elemental, something terrifying.’ Bane, in The Dark Knight Rises: ‘Theatricality and deception, powerful agents for the uninitiated. But we are initiated, aren't we Bruce?’
And that word on violence and meme propagation, on the invidious accusations from Alex Jones that these films are psychological conditioning. Alex Jones, a man who I nonetheless respect greatly, has said on his radio show review that he walked out halfway through the film in disgust at its acclimatising police state propaganda. Apparently the film is nothing more than a giant corporate mind job to vilify protesters, Occupiers, as terrorists and violent anarchists, that it lionises the police and the militarised corporate security state in Wayne Enterprises. Well, in brief, it appears evident Jones was not watching the same film I was. I mean, of the police in the film, the ones on the bridge are depicted essentially as fascists who were ‘just following orders’, the Commissioner is disgraced as a liar, before atoning nearly with his life, a young rookie tries to shoot Batman, and the other senior cop who refers to Blake as an irresponsible ‘hothead’ and thus ensures Bane’s surprise siege, is himself a careerist dolt who abuses his bloated force for celebrity. And Jones says this film lionises the police?
|Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle (a.k.a. Catwoman) in The Dark Knight Rises (2012).|
It bespeaks the tunnel vision that befalls great martyrs to causes, like Jones, the very kind of martyr that is encountered in the trilogy on a grand scale. It seems to deny the role of the artist, which is primarily to make art. Yes, it is a giant Hollywood funded production with extensive corporate sponsorship, but does that invalidate Christopher Nolan’s vision and the work of his family and the creative geniuses he surrounds himself with? Corporations don’t care often about the message, as long as they can make money off of it, co-opting it in the process. But Nolan, I feel, is beyond that. Apparently Nolan and co are all paid agents, or unwitting dupes, but what is this based on? The story arc of this final film is perfectly continuous with what was began in 2005, so do we then surmise that they foresaw Occupy and paid off Nolan years in advance? This is pathetic and absurd. And after all, does Max Keiser not fill auditoriums and TV studios to the full with people who cheer his message of ‘Let’s hang some bankers’? I’m not comparing the two, but Iran has just announced it will hang four defendants on charges of two billion dollar banking fraud, perhaps as scapegoats for internal corruption. Selina warns that: ‘There's a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you're all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.’ Also, the argument that these films glory in violence is rather weak, and reflects more on the mindset of the antagonists in the Culture Wars than it does on these films, where all of the worst violence isn’t even shown in-frame. Compare to Inglorious Basterds, or the Saw films. The true violence explored in these films is psychological, spiritual. It is all about the dark night of the soul. The comic book inspiration for these films also lies heavily with Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum and Alan Moore’s Killing Joke. I remember that David Fincher’s Fight Club gained the same criticism from media commentators, that it encouraged anarchist violence, which always completely ignored the fact that the films, like the Dark Knight trilogy, are a meditation on violence, on movements, on secret societies, of how they become the mirror of that which they are fighting. Interestingly enough, one of the prisoners in Gotham’s Blackgate is seen reading Mein Kampf, with a big fat swastika on the red cover. In Jon Ronson's Them: Adventures With Extremists, the book that chronicles his infiltration with Jones into Bohemian Grove, of his own separate adventures with the Bilderberg group, and other organisations and ideological movements, he comes to the conclusion that while these secret societies do exist, people like Jones – and here he does indeed unfairly and unsparingly and untruthfully lump Jones in with the KKK and other groups – however righteous they may be, are only the extreme mirror of the same groups. I always felt this was an interesting if very overstated insight, but in some ways I think it is indeed applicable, not that you won’t have already heard this same criticism of course. But I am not here to bash Jones, simply to criticise some of his statements. After all, like the ‘gang of psychopaths’ that Wayne refers to the League of Shadows as being, as Ronson found out in his later adventure with The Psychopath Test: ‘This - Bob was saying - was the straightforward solution to the greatest mystery of all: Why is the world so unfair? Why all that savage economic injustice, those brutal wars, the everyday corporate cruelty? The answer: psychopaths. That part of the brain that doesn't function right. You're standing on an escalator and you watch the people going past on the opposite escalator. If you could climb inside their brains, you would see we aren't all the same. We aren't all good people just trying to do good. Some of us are psychopaths. And psychopaths are to blame for this brutal, misshapen society. They're the jagged rocks thrown into the still pond.’
|Chalk it up to passion: director Christopher Nolan during the the filming of the critically acclaimed The Dark Knight Rises (2012).|
Jonathan Nolan said: 'A Tale of Two Cities' was, to me, one of the most harrowing portraits of a relatable, recognizable civilization that completely folded to pieces with the terrors in Paris in France in that period. It's hard to imagine that things can go that badly wrong.’ In The Dark Knight Rises, you have the orphan child drawing with white chalk Batman wings onto walls, which later John Blake adopts, as it were, and this symbolises the dual nature of the beast, in contrast to Bruce Wayne’s blacked out lone wolf, er, bat. Gotham’s version of the Canadian student movement’s Red Square, or Anonymous’ V mask. What Steve Bassett calls the ‘Truth Embargo’ has been ongoing for generations now, and trust in the state has not only been abused, it has been used as a weapon, if Jacques Vallee and Dr. Joseph P. Farrell are right. People are looking elsewhere for their truth now, even to irrationality and cults, fleeing ‘from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.’ But certainly to the mythic.
Now, some people want to be swept away by the UFO, but do they appreciate the shadow it casts into the past, into our future, of the masks and the marks, and what they are really asking for? ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way— in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.’
Jack Witek is the 'James Bond of Ufology', or so Richard Dolan insists, but you can take it up with him. Jack is a full time dilettante in aforesaid, and generally a reasonable chap. He Needs to Know, and feels you do to. He lives by the sea in Plymouth, England, with his insufferable alien-hybrid cat, Adramelech, or Adra for short. 'Adra, PUT that Man in Black down, NOW!' et cetera. You can catch him in one of the city’s many fine drinking establishments sipping herbal tea and nibbling quinoa crackers with his head buried in the latest UFO book, trying to look inconspicuous yet mysterious and strangely attractive.
See more of Jack's work at his blog site, Unidentified Flying Media.
See more of Jack's work at his blog site, Unidentified Flying Media.