Skip to comments.Being There...
Posted on 06/20/2010 2:30:46 PM PDT by pickrell
In 1979, a Peter Sellers film was released, with mixed success at the box office.
In the film "Being There", Sellers played a savant gardener named Chance, who was totally isolated from the world, except for what he saw, and tried to make sense of, on T.V., until his reclusive employer eventually died. With nowhere to go, and no way to support himself, he came under the care of an elderly and powerful couple, Eve and Ben, who decided to repackage him as a profound philosopher, changing his name to "Chauncey Gardner", and eventually maneuvering to install him as an advisor to the President of the United States!
A rather sipid and gullible news media begin to fawn over his words, reading great profundity into his pronouncements, even though any arms length observer could not help but notice that he had no experience at all on any of those subjects that he was asked about, and merely served as a packaged creation of that media. His invariable and reflexive pronouncements relating to gardening were taken as allegorical and proof of the depth of his grasp. And actually, in a manner of speaking, so they were.
At the time it seemed such an innocent comedy, since no nation in its right collective mind could possibly be so duped by an empty-headed creation of a obsessive media, that he could rise to the heights of Advisor to the President.
Otherwise it wouldn't have been funny.
But it didn't do as well as it might have at the box office, since no collection of morons, such as the media were portrayed in the film, could ever be believed capable of such reckless stupidity. It simply wasn't credible enough. Such is the nature of comedy.
We were right. That isn't what has happened.
Why pause at the advisor level? Why not work out a scheme that will so package such a savant, complete with voice training and political indoctrination, and install him directly into the White House? After all, is any knowledge of history...
of business management...
of the Constitution, and the laws it gave birth to...
... really, necessarily a required skill for being the leader of the free world and the man entrusted with the nation's destiny?
Could the majority of voters ever become so clouded with the bait that everyone could somehow force everyone else to pay for their medical care and other needs, that they would pull that lever?
It's even less funny, this time around...
Very thought provoking.
“I like to watch.”
Peter Sellers died while making this movie. (He was one of my favorites.)
Please note my tagline, ‘Nuff said
Most of the media knew all along that this is what he is. They are not dupes. They are fellow travellers. The dupes are the people who consider themselves good Americans who voted for Obama because "their family always votes Democrat" or they are overly swayed by what the media tells them.
If the media had tried to investigate this man and tell America what they'd be getting, I don't think he would have been elected but the "fellow travellers" made sure that America never heard the truth.
I think the Democrats are executing the transition to communism that their Ivy League masters dreamed of for decades. The elites, of course, would get all the luxuries they enjoy now. It's the rest of us who are getting screwed.
That's incorrect. He died while making one more lame sequel in the Pink Panther series but I prefer to think of "Being There" as his final performance because it illustrated so well his nuanced comedic skills. One of the reasons it appeals to me is that much of the humor is very subtle, unlike most of today's comedies.
Nice post. I love that film.
“A rather sipid and gullible news media......”
The word you want is “insipid.”
This was one of the most disappointing movies I ever saw.
I guess I just didn’t get it.
I even rented it TWICE, Peter Sellers, Shirley McLaine, how bad could it be.
We watched it twice and it was just awful.
You go tell Rafael, that I aint taking no jive from some western union messenger!
Then he told me to get my ass outta here or hed cut it!
>>> an elderly and powerful couple, Eve and Ben, who decided to repackage him as a profound philosopher, changing his name to “Chauncey Gardner”, and eventually maneuvering to install him as an adviser to the President of the United States!
You should watch a movie before you review it. Nobody tried to “package” Chauncey as anything, nobody changed his name, nobody lied. Instead they misunderstood and misinterpreted.
Chance was a simple but honest man. He never misrepresented himself, and Eve and Ben did not deliberately misrepresent Chance. It was just one misunderstanding piled upon other misunderstandings. For instance he told them he was Chance, the Gardener but they misunderstood that to be Chauncey Gardener. Because he was so direct in a city unused to simple unsophisticated honesty, the “smart” people filled in the gaps. They saw what they wanted to see, and hear what they wanted to hear.
And the movie ends with Chance walking on water. With someone who can do that, this might not be the best movie for you to make your point.
It is amazing how many people protest that their actions, once the consequences begin to come home, were all just a huge misunderstanding, or "misunderstandings piled upon misunderstandings."
There is nothing more dangerous on this earth than people who see what they want to see, and who hear what they want to hear.
We can debate forever to what extent the media should be exempted from blame, simply because they really did believe that the man could walk on water.
My point is, that as long as a distressingly large number of people primarily have their opinions formed by whatever they hear on the news, and the very future of our country depends on that body of opinion, then it seems irrelevant whether the "Boy, golly gee- he sure fooled us," defense can be allowed to be invoked.
We seem to wait for that Conservative Champion to emerge, when what is really needed is to turn off the pundits after the debate, and think about exactly what you heard the candidates say. If the answer from one seems vacuous, then your choice would seem apparent.
The movie didn't end with Chance walking on water. The movie ended with Peter Sellers being filmed in an illusion of a man walking on water. If that doesn't make the point effectively, then perhaps we were watching two different movies.
Or else looking at the film from different viewpoints.
But, I appreciate your comments.