Monday, July 29, 2013

The Distinguished Gentleman

One movie I enjoy watching during its many reruns on one of the many movie channels on cable is The Distinguished Gentleman starring Eddie Murphy.  We have now ceased to get shocked by mammoth scams that have raped the country by various politicians and have resigned to the fact that politics and scams are like conjoined twins in our country. This movie tells us that we are not alone. Even in the US of A this happens and even there the people have resigned themselves to the inevitability of it all.

In case you have not seen the movie, a synopsis of the same from Wikipedia

“A Florida con man named Thomas Jefferson Johnson uses the passing of the longtime Congressman from his district, Jeff Johnson (who died of a heart attack while having sex with his secretary), to get elected to Congress, where the money flows from lobbyists. Removing his first name and shortening his middle name he calls himself "Jeff" Johnson. He then manages to get on the ballot by pitching a seniors organization, the Silver Foxes, to nominate him as their candidate for office.

Once on the election ballot, he uses the dead Congressman's old campaign material and runs a low budget campaign that appeals to name recognition, figuring most people do not pay much attention and simply vote for the "name you know." He wins a slim victory and is off to Washington, a place where the "streets are lined with gold."
Initially, the lucrative donations and campaign contributions roll in, but as he learns the nature of the con game in Washington D.C., he starts to see how the greed and corruption makes it difficult to address issues such as campaign finance reform, environmental protection, and the possibility that electric power companies may have a product that is giving kids in a small town cancer.

In trying to address these issues, Congressman Johnson finds himself double-crossed by Power and Industry chairman Dick Dodge. Johnson decides to fight back the only way he knows how: with a con. Johnson succeeds and exposes Dodge as corrupt. As the film ends, it appears likely that Johnson will be thrown out of Congress for the manner in which he was elected.”

In short a con man, he is proud of  his business  (incidentally he and his cousin run a phone sex racket which entices men and then they rip them off their money after catching the man in a compromising situation) manipulates his way into the Congress and there he learns that politics can be a big con. The usual cinematic moment of truth and romance happens and the hero goes about trying to fix one problem with a hilarious con.

You know that in a family movie the good will triumph over evil, the hero will get the pretty girl and everyone is happy in the end though none of them happen in real life. My favourite bit is the last part (not telling you that); each time the Presidential elections happen I have a smile on my face.

At the end of the movie I feel sad that democracy in any form is of the people, by the people but seldom for the people even in the land of the free. And there does not seem to be any solution in sight. People who dare to think differently or tread a beaten path are termed as mavericks and usually lose steam after some time. Remember Lok Paritran? Even the AAP is now beginning to tie itself up into knots and one day may forget its raison d’ etre.

Idealists suggest that the general public join politics but is it a really viable option if one does not scam? And the capital expenditure and working capital requirements today are so huge in the present system can anyone without money hope to make it? To become a distinguished gentleman you need to be born with a silver spoon or it seems you have to scam.


1 comment:

Susan Deborah said...

Sigh. Same blood everywhere!

Joy always,