Toward the end of Shakespeare’s classic Macbeth, the title character utters the lines that include the famous quote “…[I]t is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” In context, Macbeth is reacting to the news of his wife’s suicide, and the “It” in question is life itself. However, the line quoted has long be used out of context to ridicule all manner of overblown and ultimately meaningless constructs, be they artistic, social, or political.
In the film 21 Grams (2003), the relatively simple tale of a tragic car accident, and the improbable coming together of the victim’s widow, a doomed math professor, and the hit-and-run perp is related via an overly complicated non-sequential narrative technique. A good deal of viewer effort is required to keep track of plot elements, as the short scenes dart backward and forward in time, until the movie ends just where it began.
It is not until the picture does end, that the cinema watcher, who put forth all that diligence to keep things together, will feel cheated. Had the story unfolded in a linear manner, its many weaknesses would have been readily exposed.
What purports, with a full dose of pretentiousness, to be a work of art examining the value of the human soul (the 21 grams supposedly lost when we die), is in truth little more than a naturalistic portrayal of desperate individuals trying to do the right thing. That the most likable character is the born-again ex-con perp, despite the film’s tone mocking his religious faith, should tell you a bit about where the writer and director are coming from.
Apparently, a drug and alcohol abusing woman who loses her husband and children in a horrific accident, a dying heart transplant patient, another woman who seriously damages her reproductive system by exercising her “reproductive rights” in a botched abortion, and a career criminal trying to go straight have no need for God. Rather, they should somehow collaborate in a mystical, never specified humanistic fashion—and if that fails, steel themselves to the reality that “Life’s a bitch, and then you die.”
If that last sentence summarizes all of Liberalism to you, and you see the analogy to the deceptive packaging of 21 Grams, go to the head of the class. As the majority of the film critics were taken in by the false promise of the movie, so are the condescending and increasingly hapless cultural elites by the ever-disproven tenets of Liberalism and Socialism.
If there really were success stories to their myriad programs, don’t you think they would be touting them non-stop? As it is, any reference to the litany of failures is inevitably explained—when they bother to explain it at all—with some variation of we didn’t spend enough money, we didn’t collaborate enough, we didn’t give it enough time, or you’re a racist, bigot, or homophobe.
Besides, the process is more important than the result, is it not? Otherwise, they might have to answer for the tragic breakdown of the family, especially the Black family; the absolute destruction of public education; the creation of heretofore inconceivable “rights” that trump national defense, common decency, and even survival; and a major political party long past its prime, that stands for nothing beyond hating George W. Bush and promoting abortion.