Saturday, March 15, 2008

White Paint

The big multimedia, film, music festival is in town, and we will have seen six movies in 48 hours if I don't dottle with this post.

Earlier today, we saw the new documenatary about the POTUS's adopted hometown, Crawford. Here is what the director says about his new effort:

"What happens to the 705 people of Crawford, Texas when George W. Bush moves to town?

CRAWFORD’s characters are, by turns, bizarre, entertaining and tragic. Shoved into the spotlight for political stagecraft, their insular town explodes, pushing a progressive teacher and her student to the brink — and beyond. Invaded and abandoned, Crawford booms and busts, like the Presidency itself."

Crawford’s story is incredible: In 1999, Governor George W. Bush buys a ranch in Crawford, Texas and calls it “home”; an insular community explodes overnight. Bush declares candidacy for President, using Crawford as the perfect set-piece to project a folksy image. Months later, he thrusts the town of 705 into the spotlight as his token symbol – the President’s “Western White House.” Crawford is instantly overrun with international press corps and droves of flocking tourists. Shops open; Main St. booms; the locals watch themselves on national TV.

Now, Crawford’s boom is busting like the Presidency itself. Tourists have stopped coming; land is overvalued; the bumper sticker and trinket shops are boarded up."

After the showing in the Q&A, the director (David Modigliani) and his editor (Matt Naylor) revealed that they had shot over 120 hours on the project, ultimately reducing it to around 75 minutes. Beginning with Bush's first appearance at the town's football stadium while he was still governor, the movie carries you through 7 years of Bushdom.

As we begin to say goodbye to the worst president in the history of the United States, perhaps Crawford will serve as a microcosm and a metaphor of his time in office.

Towards the end, Tom, a young, honest kid at the beginning of Bush's term says it well. For Bush, "Crawford was White Paint". He used Crawford to run for office, to run away whenever he could, and to cover himself in small town morals and virtue. He was born in Connecticutt, not Texas, and he isn't a rancher or a cowboy.

As they say, "he is all hat and no cattle."

But much worse, just as he was with drugs and alcohol, he is a user and an abuser. Whether it is Crawford, the Supreme Court, his Daddy, Texas, the Constitution, or the country he swore to serve, this movie somehow exposes just how shallow and reckless a leader he truly is.

Perhaps the world will be able to recover from his works and misdeeds, but the scars he leaves will live on.

But, it will take a great deal more than White Paint.

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