11 Apr Reflections on Skull Island: The Catastrophic Calamities of “Col. Kong”
I enjoyed the new King Kong movie more than I expected to, mostly for the film’s terrific special effects, imaginative creature design, and exhilarating action scenes. But surprisingly, it had more going for it than that. Set in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. war on Vietnam (plus Cambodia and Laos), “Kong: Skull Island” has a tiny wisp of an anti-war philosophy and even a moment of eloquence masquerading as a central theme (when the film’s actual central theme is “Smashy-smashy fun, big monsters and fighty soldiers, yay!”).
Battling Kong — futile, unjust, extremely costly, and risking a far greater calamity for all humanity — becomes a metaphor for the MIC’s foreign misadventures… now a permanent feature of the ruthless empire that was once the semi-democratic, somewhat law-adherent USA. Vietnam/Iraq/Syria-level catastrophes — with Kong-sized blowback to last generations — are uniformly the result when our military goes into foreign lands and *makes enemies* of the indigenous population, even when they pose no threat.
Even while serving under that gleeful, unquestioning idiot, George W. Bush, war-cheerleader Donald Rumsfeld privately questioned whether or not Washington was *creating* more terrorists than it was killing (years before President Obama and his hawkish Secretary of State would double down on the neocon agenda, dooming hundreds of thousands of Syrians to death and millions to exile… to say nothing of the fates of scores of thousands of Libyans, Yemenis, Somalis, Egyptians, Hondurans, Bahrainis, Greeks, Brazilians, and others assaulted by the U.S.-led corporate regime over the last two presidencies).
I realize that not-one-in-a-million Americans wants to hear the truth about our nation, our history, or the position we find ourselves in: an empire in decline, with the homeland tearing itself into zealously partisan pieces while we neglect nearly everything that matters: clean water, diplomacy, massively disappearing pollinators, deeply corrupt and undemocratic institutions, an eviscerated Constitution, the world’s oceans in systemic collapse, the Sixth Mass-Extinction event well underway, thanks to human activities… and more.
In a number of gatherings, in states both “Red” and “Blue,” I have been shouted down with the cry of “NO POLITICS!” by conservatives and liberals, alike — with people I deeply respect and love demonstrating the culture-wide aversion to civil discourse (in group settings) regarding controversial/forbidden topics, unapproved by unofficial state media, the corporate MSM.
So, I shall now attempt to tell OUR STORY in a different way, in Hollywood terms — in terms of “Col. Kong” (a fusion of Samuel L. Jackson’s Ahab-like Army colonel — Kong’s nemesis, the film’s tragic, sympathetic villain, who simply hated to leave Vietnam unfinished — and Kong himself, the warrior supreme, the film’s star and hero).
Picking up from where the movie leaves off:
Decades have passed since the defeat of the Lizard King (Kong’s “natural” adversary in the ecosystem of Skull Island). Col. “King” Kong, the last survivor of his family line, knows he is nearing the end of his reign — the end of his species. Dozens of the Lizard “Skull Crawler” King’s little ones have grown as big as their progenitor ever got, some bigger. They know they are poised to inherit Skull Island, and they are biding their time (the “Skull Crawlers” are China and Russia, I suppose, in this allegory, consistent with the MSM’s xenophobia and fearmongering; while “Col. Kong” is obviously the modern, suidical-ecocidal USA).
After Island War II (IWII — the *first* Island War being the one that claimed his family), Kong determined that “Never again!” meant “Never again, by anyone but me!” and proceeded to bring great violence to all corners of Skull Island in the name of “spreading democracy” (okay, in the name of “Eliminating the Lizard Threat” — like the Red Menace; only, like the US of A, Col. Kong found himself going to all corners of his world, occasionally plundering and killing liberally, whether the Lizard Things were present or not; after all, those corners of the island were often rich with resources Kong could use to shore himself up for The Long Battle; and he could always compel the allegiance of those he conquered, future “allies” for the Great War to End All… um, Wars!).
Only that strategy turned out to be shortsighted. The other denizens of the island came to see Kong as a hypocritical, bloodthirsty bully, far more apt to terrorize the island’s residents than his adversaries, the Lizard Things, who at least kept to their little corner of their world. Whereas Kong is everywhere — and no longer a protector of the little musk oxen and face-painted primates, both of which he frequently *trades* to the Lizardos, nowadays, in exchange for his own safe passage, an obeisance, or a particularly shiny rock.
And now, the Kong Empire is clearly coming to a close. All that Kong once dominated is rapidly slipping from his frantically tyrannical grasp: The Razor-dactyls are allied with the Lizard Things, as are the Giant Octopi (who apparently are intelligent enough to hold a grudge, after all); and the Mighty Musk Oxen and Giant Walking-Stick Insects and Impaling Spiders refuse to honor their past commitments and simply avoid Kong (who trashes their homes upon finding them unoccupied; “They said they’d be here! Some treaties aren’t worth the papyrus they’re written on!” — this, coming from the ultimate shredder of treaties).
Facing ultimate defeat, Col. “Never say die” Kong says “HELL NO!” (and “Hold onto your butts!”), declaring war on everything, flailing and beating his breast (with BOTH arms, neo-McCarthyist left and xenophobic right) to insist that he is still the undisputed lord and ruler of his storm-enshrouded isle.
A fraction of his war (IWIII: The Global War on Horrific Things) is waged on a *few* of the Lizard Things (the smaller ones), but the “strategery”-employing Col. Kong actually spares his major rivals, preferring to cut deals with them instead. In fact, he turns several of the Lizardos loose on the secluded native human population (his “false flag” attack is intended to drive the tiny primates to support him more vigorously against their common foe — instead it completely wipes out the humans: oop oops).
And now, ancient, bloodied, nearly-broken, no longer worshipped, and with failing internal systems (zero integrity), the deranged yet highly dangerous Col. Kong is manifesting his most aggressively terrifying face: The ORANGE-HAIRED, PUSSY-GRABBING APE. He vows to build an “Anti-Lizard” WALL out of the corpses of every remaining organism on the Island. He pledges that he is willing to destroy the Island in order to “save” it. Like his predecessors, he will continue ignoring the way his wars have set off cataclysmic changes in Skull Island’s very stability (Kong’s best scientists have told him for years that the reckless way he’s been using the island’s resources promises to collapse the island, probably sinking it outright — but he’s too busy fighting everything under the sun to heed their urgent declarations).
And it will all end like the Vietnam War ended, with more losers, by far, than “winners.” And human tragedy on a massive scale, that much is certain. And Kong’s line, the vicious, myopic warmongers, clearly cannot go on. Regardless of the outcome of this generation’s war, Col. Kong’s time is over.
Were there other possibilities? Could the island have been saved? Was all that fighting and killing really necessary?
These are questions Col. Kong never asks himself. Because when it’s all said and done, he’s really not much of a king — he’s just a big, dumb, pride-driven, psychotically violent ape (Patton, Dulles, or J. Edgar Hoover, without the smooth faces). And he’s dangerously delusional — hooked on his own fabricated smack — with “WMD” tales to spin, imaginary “Election Hacking” Reds to target, and a weekly “Kill List” to fulfill (we’re coming for you, Assad! Plus any surviving children of Anwar al-Awlaki, wherever you are, you radical Colorado fucks!).
Like his business wing, Skull Island Corporation-Kong (SICK, Inc.), Col. Kong’s war-making activities must always show gains, gains, and more gains. Even while — beyond the boardrooms and Kong’s delusional, “Mission Accomplished” battlefields — everyone else is LOSING. Kong must keep bludgeoning, crushing, and smashing — even while the war, itself, is patently hopeless, undeniably metastasizing the Horror it once promised to eradicate… literally posing a threat to all living things.
If President Obama was “Bush on Steroids” — and in many ways, he was — then President Trump/KONG promises to be Obama on Steroids. Pity the wee Musk Oxen. Pity the little ones. “When the elephants battle, it is the grass that suffers.”
Because in America of 2017, “Col. Kong” is still King. Now more than ever. Oop oop. And hold onto your butts.