Greenbacks, Gasoline and the Gun
I was thinking about Charlton Heston driving around an empty city at the start of The Omega Man [before later going ‘shopping’ in a deserted store] listening to Theme from A Summer Place from the 1959 film on his car’s 8 track before screeching to a halt and pumping out some lead from his M3 ‘grease gun’ at some mutant behind an office block window. I then remembered that Chuck was the one time president of the U.S. National Rifle Association who popularised the slogan “I’ll give you my gun when you take it from my cold, dead hands” [shortened as “from my cold, dead hands”].
I was minded of the similar laconic phrase “Molon labe” of King Leonidas at Thermopylae with his Greek/Spartans sent to delay the invading Persian army. Surely the Spartan reputation for verbal austerity was the birth of the corporate slogan strap line? After all to turn Brecht’s thoughts from his play Mother Courage and Her Children, that war is a “continuation of business by other means”, around [business is war by other means] might explain why Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” became so popular amongst yuppies in the 1980s?
In my mind the characters played by Michael Douglas in the 1987 movie Wall Street and the 1993 Falling Down are shadow brothers in arms [just one got promoted up the corporate ladder the other got fired]. “Greed is good” vs “I am not economically viable”.
Historian James Truslow Adams popularized the phrase “American Dream” in his 1931 book Epic of America: But most Americans now predict that achieving the Dream with fair means will become increasingly difficult for future generations [and likewise the ideal of ‘upward mobility’ as now exported to most of the world].
The automobile and the gun. The revolver in the private Dick’s glove compartment. The drive-by shooting. The heroes and villains in 48 Hours trading gun-play between hijacked bus and clapped out Cadillac. The Villains in the back of the truck in Robocop firing on the pursuing police, “You burnt the fucking money!”
Greenbacks, Gasoline and the Gun – Paper, Scissors, Stone.