I’m finding it very difficult to write this issue’s Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk. I’m having trouble putting words together which, for anyone who knows me, is not something I normally have trouble with. They might not be the smartest words, or even the correct words many times, but lack of words is usually not a problem.
As this is my first column of the most futuristic sounding year since 2000, I had planned to write all about my goals for 2020. To borrow the frequently mocked “Karen mantra,” it was going to be one of those “New Year, New Me” columns. I planned to climb into my comfy chair, legs tucked under my bum, wrapped in an infinity scarf and holding my latte close to my chest to talk about how 2020 is going to be a year of optimism and rebirth, but as I prepared to do this social media alerts started to ping on my phone about how we were about to enter into World War 3. Groovy.
After seeing things like #WWIII, #TrumpsWar and #NoWarWithIran trending on Twitter, I looked up what happened and read the following statement from the Pentagon:
“At the direction of the president, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.”
The Pentagon goes on to say Soleimani was actively planning an attack on Americans in the region, and concludes that statement with:
“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”
Not arguing the validity of the attack, I do have one phrase that came to mind as I read what happened: Wag the Dog.
“Wag the Dog” is a 1997 film starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert DeNiro about a U.S. president who starts a war to distract the country from a political scandal. The title comes from the expression “the tail wagging the dog.” If you haven’t seen the film you really should watch it because I’m pretty certain Trump has it marked on his Amazon Prime favorites list.
Less than a week in and it appears that 2020 will be the time when Trump does whatever he can to distract from his growing list of scandals, lies and impeachment to include but not limited to raging war, blaming immigrants and poor people, locking up children and defending racists. I’ve never been one to believe in any Zodiac symbolism but I do think it is pretty telling that January 2020 in the Chinese Zodiac is the year of the pig rolling over into the year of the rat.
I don’t know where we will be as a community, country or planet when this publishes. News these days changes so quickly so it may be revealed that the attack — as stated by the Pentagon — was warranted or we may be — as stated by Twitter — engulfed in the largest global war since the 1940s. If the latter is the case, I thank you for taking time away from your post at the Gatling gun to read my lil ole column.
While I cannot see the future, and would probably be locked up in my house laying in the fetal position if I could, all I can offer up in the way of 2020 predictions is recommend some movies to watch as we gird our loins.
Along with the aforementioned “Wag the Dog,” you should also check out 2018’s “Vice,” a great film about former VP Dick Cheney and how he was a key player in getting the U.S. into war with Iraq under false pretenses.
I would also recommend the 1976 classic “All the President’s Men.” Another film starring Hoffman, this time alongside Robert Redford, on the reporting of Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and how their reporting helped to bring down the Nixon presidency.
You should also watch the 1996 sci-fi comedy “Mars Attacks!,” starring Jack Nicholson as a completely inept, vain U.S. president.
My final recommendation is the 2011 film “What’s My Number?” It doesn’t have anything to do with politics or corruption, but it stars the always delightful Anna Farris and Captain America himself, Chris Evans. It was a criminally underrated romantic comedy that always makes me smile in the end and always makes me blush when Evans answers his door in nothing but a kitchen towel. Swoon!
In case there is a light at the end of the Trump train tunnel, and we make it to the end of 2020 sane and in one piece, in this issue we speak to fitness professionals and nutrition experts on how to stay focused on your 2020 health goals.
In this issue, we also chat with entertainer Kristin Chenoweth as she heads to Sarasota for a concert and interactive performance artist John Michael as he prepares for a pair of shows in Orlando.