so here at the house of hate we try –really, really try– to not get too focused on politics and current events, although in fairness, i think we violate this all the time. ALL THE TIME. but anyway, i had this article from months ago (“Published: November 28, 2012,” as it turns out) that was pretty ridiculous, but was never actually used in an update at the time. i’m not actually sure why; i’m guessing it didn’t ever work out that it paired up with something, and so it got left behind. but given the Actual Current Events going on in Egypt right now, i think we should go ahead and make fun of it, as this may be our last time to do so.
…or, at least, before a bunch of horrible shit happens in Egypt and we’d feel really bad about continuing to make jokes about anything related to it. same difference, i suppose.
perhaps this update will keep things light-hearted in lieu of Morsi’s recent drama
Mohamed Morsi, the engineer and Muslim Brotherhood ally who became Egypt’s first-ever democratically elected president this year and who last week sent his country’s political system into chaos by granting himself sweeping new powers, appears to hold strong views on the 1968 science fiction film “Planet of the Apes.”
so obviously, while this predates the current drama, since it happened during the whole “granting himself new powers” thing that caused a fair amount of the consternation that would lead to him getting overthrown, it’s clear that either a) Morsi legitimately believed this discussion/analogy/whatever had serious bearing on matters even during serious times, or b) Morsi was always a little bit crazy. or maybe both!
“Morsi, in a lengthy interview with Time magazine, the transcript of which Time just posted online, abruptly transitioned from discussing the U.S.-Egypt relationship to the “Planet of the Apes” movie franchise. Morsi’s point seems to be about Egypt’s need to take responsibility for its own problems. Or maybe it’s about economic self-sufficiency. Or “the role of the art.” It’s really not clear. Here’s the leader of the Arab world’s most populous nation:”
now, in fairness to Morsi, Fisher notes that “English is not Morsi’s first language, and though he studied in California for several years in the 1980s, he presumably has more important things to do right now than brush up on a foreign language. So try to give him a sympathetic reading in that regard.” and i think that’s fair. but i WOULD argue that if his point is not clear, it’s not necessarily a language problem, because this goes off the rails into some “what the fuck is this dude talking about” territory ASAP.
…also, i have to ask about the wisdom of a guy trying to make a complicated and weird analogy if there IS a language barrier he’s fighting through. wouldn’t it make more sense to keep it as simple as possible? anyway, let’s dig right into Morsi’s quote:
“I remember a movie. Which one? Planet of the Apes. The old version, not the new one. There is new one. Which is different. Not so good.”
on the one hand, as an interviewer, i would IMMEDIATELY be asking myself what the scenario is where Planet of the Fucking Apes is a good analogy for ANYTHING. admittedly, though, i am partial to Beneath the Planet of the Apes, which has the best ending of any movie, ever:
The film ends with a voice-over saying, “In one of the countless billions of galaxies in the universe, lies a medium-sized star, and one of its satellites, a green and insignificant planet, is now dead.”
ANYWAY, on the other hand, Morsi makes sure to take a shot at the remake of the Planet of the Apes, which, while i think is rated a LITTLE worse than it deserves, is no critical darling and popular to bash. so that’s a wish move on Morsi’s part.
“It’s not expressing the reality as it was the first one.”
i think i know what he means by this remark (as in, the first film was more realistic to how a “Planet of the Apes” scenario should have been, let’s say), but it’s hilariously worded since we’re talking about a science-fiction film in which Charlton Heston does battle with rifle-toting apes. or maybe that’s just me being petty, i don’t know.
“But at the end, I still remember, this is the conclusion: When the big monkey, he was head of the supreme court, I think — in the movie! — and there was a big scientist working for him, cleaning things, has been chained there.”
i do appreciate his clarifying outburst of “in the movie!” in that it’s probably meant, as Fisher notes, “perhaps he feared we might believe he was describing real-life judges – such as the Egyptian judges on strike this week to protest Morsi’s decree granting himself sweeping new powers,” so there’s kind intent there … but was anyone actually confused as to what he was talking about? he started with “the big monkey.”
“And it was the planet of the apes after the destructive act of a big war, and atomic bombs and whatever in the movie.”
let me tell you something: if you find yourself saying “atomic bombs and whatever,” it’s possible you don’t remember the movie well enough for it to serve as the basis for your anecdotes. granted, when you get through the whole thing, that’s very apparent, but i think that’s where i might have said, “ah, you know what? my English is not great and i better not keep running with this. it’s hard to phrase it like i want to.”
“And the scientist was asking him to do something, this was 30 years ago: “Don’t forget you are a monkey.” He tells him, “Don’t ask me about this dirty work.” What did the big ape, the monkey say? He said, “You’re human, you did it [to] yourself.” That’s the conclusion. Can we do something better for ourselves?”
uh… Morsi, what the fuck are you talking about?
okay, let’s parse this out: i guess the “scientist” is Charlton Heston (who’s really an astronaut, but would probably be close to a scientist on SOME level), although he never really is “cleaning things,” at least not as i recall. Heston DOES seem anti-ape (or anti-monkey, if you will; Morsi seems unclear on the distinction between apes and monkeys, or at least there’s an additional language issue there), but i don’t recall him specifically disputing knowledge about the atomic war… since, you know, it’s not clear until the end of the movie that this planet is Earth. that’s the whole surprise reveal, Morsi! also, i am guessing “the big ape, the monkey” (even more confusion of the terms now) is Doctor Xaius? maybe?
the conclusion that, as i read it, “humans are to blame for their own fuck-ups, so let’s make an effort to do better,” does seem valid, though. i give him that.
“I saw it 30 years ago.”
i’ll say this: if there’s one thing we DO know for sure about what Morsi’s saying, it’s that he saw this film 30 years ago. the fact that it’s been decades since he saw what he’s basing a currently anecdote on could NOT be more clear.
“That is the role of the art. This is the very important role of art. Gone with the Wind has been treating social problems.”
you know… this is funny, in that i think Gone With The Wind is more indicative of social problems than working to solve them, but maybe Morsi sees it differently? or is thinking of a different movie? because the book about slavery that i personally see as “treating social problems” is more Uncle Tom’s Cabin than Gone With The Wind.
“Five in Hell. That was the Arabic title. Five Americans working behind German lines and they were using primitive military devices. I think it was Charles Bronson or something like that. My hard disk still carries a few things!”
Fisher suspects that “the president of Egypt may have bit-torrented “The Dirty Dozen,” based on his description of “Five in Hell” on his hard drive,” but i am pretty sure he didn’t Google this one, because he might have found a connection to “Five For Hell,” a film in which “a bunch of oddball G.I.s whose mission is to steal the German’s secret attack plans from a villa behind enemy lines.” although, in defense of Fisher, Morsi does mention Bronson (who is clearly in the Dirty Dozen and NOT Five For Hell) and that this was an Egyptian title for an American film. so i guess we can go either way on this.
but seriously, did Morsi just admit to having an illicit copy of the film on his computer? because i seriously think he did.
anyway, Morsi’s been deposed and, while i am not sure how this is all going to work out for Egypt, it’s unlikely to be something funny which, as an ostenably humor website, is what we really care about. so we’ll see what the future holds.