Friday, May 27, 2005

Being There

From the novel by Jerzy Kosinski

Screenplay by Jerzy Kosinski and Robert C. Jones
January 10, 1979

PRESIDENT: Mr. Gardner, do you agree with Ben, or do you think that we can stimulate growth through temporary incentives?

[Long pause] CHAUNCEY: As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.

PRESIDENT : In the garden?

CHAUNCEY: Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.

PRESIDENT: Spring and summer?

CHAUNCEY: Yes.

PRESIDENT : Then fall and winter?

CHAUNCEY: Yes.

BENJAMIN RAND: I think what our insightful young friend is saying is that we welcome the inevitable seasons of nature, but we're upset by the seasons of our economy.

CHAUNCEY: Yes! There will be growth in the spring!

BENJAMIN RAND: Hmm!

CHAUNCEY: Hmm!

PRESIDENT: Hm. Well, Mr. Gardner, I must admit that is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements I've heard in a very, very long time.

[Benjamin Rand applauds]

PRESIDENT : I admire your good, solid sense. That's precisely what we lack on Capitol Hill.

RON STEIGLER: Mr. Gardner, uh, my editors and I have been wondering if you would consider writing a book for us, something about your um, political philosophy, what do you say?

CHAUNCEY: I can't write.

RON STEIGLER: Heh, heh, of course not, who can nowadays? Listen, I have trouble writing a postcard to my children. Look uhh, we can give you a six figure advance, I've provide you with the very best ghost-writer, proof-readers...

CHAUNCEY: I can't read.

RON STEIGLER: Of course you can't! No one has the time! We, we glance at things, we watch television...

CHAUNCEY: I like to watch.

RON STEIGLER: Oh, oh, oh sure you do. No one reads! Listen, book publishing isn't exactly a bed of roses these days...

CHAUNCEY (mild interest) What sort of bed is it?


DENNIS WATSON: You know, I've never met anyone like you in Washington before.

CHAUNCEY: Yes, I've been here all my life.

WATSON: Really? And uh, where have you been all MY life? [laughs]

WATSON: Ah, tell me, Mr. Gardner... have you ever had sex with a man?

CHAUNCEY: No... I don't think so.

WATSON: We could go upstairs right now.

CHAUNCEY: Is there a TV upstairs? I like to watch.

WATSON: You like to uh, watch?

CHAUNCEY: Yes.

WATSON: You wait right here. I'll go get Warren!


PRESIDENT: Life is a state of mind.


MORTON MULL: Do you realize that more people will be watching you tonight, than all those who have seen theater plays in the last forty years?

CHAUNCEY: Why?


DUDLEY: But what do we know of the man? Nothing! We have no inkling of his past!

NELSON: Correct, and that is an asset. A man's past can cripple him, his background turns into a swamp and invites scrutiny.

CALDWELL: ...Up to this time, he hasn't said anything that could be used against him.

NELSON: The response from his appearance on the 'Burns Show' was over- whelming; mail and telephone response was the highest they ever had, and it was ninety-five percent pro!

CHARLIE BOB BENNET:(a Texas oil millionaire) Well, I'm certainly open to the thought - it would be sheer lunacy to support the President for another term.

LYMAN MURRAY :(a banker) Exactly. That is why I agree with Ben's final wishes, and I firmly believe, gentlemen, if we want to retain the Presidency, that our one and only chance is Chauncey Gardiner!

PRESIDENT (reading) ...'I do not know the feelings of being poor, and that is not to know the feelings of the majority of people in this world.

For a man in my position, that is inexcusable.

Just in case you wondered where the saying

Life imitates art

comes from.

Sometimes it's better to say nothing about nothing.


Today, we were driving back from the Radio Shack

because we were having equipment failures with the microphone.

We were working on a documentary on the Earthfamily.

And we were listening to some kind of weird talk radio.

They were talking about Nazis and Zionist and whatever.

They were selling emergency food kits with real seeds that sprout,

for the coming trouble.

The main pitch was this.

It's better to be a year early.

Than a minute late.

The driver of the van,

who is an old friend and part time film maker,

told me,

"If this kind of stuff upsets you,

It's because you are not right with yourself."

This is just noise.

These are just words.

All of these concepts just divide us.

Each of us must find the truth for ourselves.

As Chauncey says,

"As long as the roots are not severed, all is well.

And all will be well in the garden."




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4 Comments:

Blogger Charlie Loving said...

I am not sure where you were going with this? I don't watch movies anymore they are all too violent or too realistic and a real bummer. Even cartoons leave a lot to be desired, the exception of course is Sponge Bob. Badness abounds on the tele.

The part in the van was strange enough.

A friend of mine has been staying ahead of the end of the world as we know it for years. Being a retired sea capt. he has had the money to build underground silos and fill them with grain and food. He filled an underground tank with gasoline and in another area he stored oil cans. His well was deep and he had multiple gallons of water storage capacity. He built sheds and pole barns and stuffed them with things that he dreamed would be necessary. There was a small bunker in which he stacked guns and ammo.

Then the world didn't end in 2000 and he had egg on his face and tons and tons of rotting food. Rice full of bugs, corn with mold and so forth. Gasoline that was turning to varnish, the stablo didn't quite work as advertised. The guns of course were good to go and some of the dehydrated food was ok, if awful tasting. Just add water.

So today he is busy replacing all the stuff that went bad and still waiting for that day when he can say, "I told you so." Of course we will all be dead or in the process so it won't be very funny then.

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I laughed as I read the dialogue and rememembered Peter Sellers' remarkable performance on the big screen. It also left me disturbed - uneasy as I think about who is running the show.

I enjoyed this post and it disturbed me

7:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim Kunsler is scarey as hell and yet I enjoy the straight forward way that he presents what he sees.

Truth. Is it in the eyes of the beholder or is that is beauty?

It was good to have easy access to J Krishnamurti to end this visit. "Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity.:

7:23 AM  
Blogger OZ said...

In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.

9:16 AM  

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