Beware the Ides of March

Election fever here. There’s a lot of campaign songs blasting up and down the streets – some are really cool, just for that – but I don’t know if the candidates – many are lawyers – have thought about the legality of using copyrighted music for their campaigns. Because there’s such a thing as for example, what if the artist or the music label doesn’t want to be associated with the candidate using the song? There’s some guidelines here about these. And we can’t be locking up smuggled stuff without first looking about our own coops, can we?

That’s on campaign songs. Moving on.
There’s one or two lessons that could be got from the movie, Ides of March. Directed by George Clooney, himself politically active, one wonders if he’s driving at something here. The expression ‘beware the Ides of March’ is a forewarning to Caesar who was indeed assassinated on the ides of March. It has since turn into an expression to impart a foreboding. A betrayal.

The movie has these captions: Ambition seduces. Power corrupts. The audience sees these play out in different forms in each of the characters, from Governor Morris running for President (George Clooney), campaign press secretary (Ryan Gosling), the journalist covering the campaign (Marissa Tomei), even the campaign’s intern (Evan Rachel Wood). The overall message is that when it comes to being with or having power you never know what other person unknown to you before will rise out of you. I’ve seen it. In former friends who’ve risen up the ladder. And I’m conscious of it in myself – every thinking person has it, ambition. I think it’s also the combination of personality and ambition – that when the mix is right, you get a good bang. Or it could also be that when ambition outweighs the others you can get something like someone mad for power. But the thing is, you never know of the outcome unless there’s a catalyst. An event.

Back to the movie, Governor Morris did everything to become and maintain (at least in all exterior aspects) the campaign image – Believe – built for him by his team. He even had on a straight Believable face during his speech at the death of Molly, the campaign intern who he had sexually assaulted in his earlier campaign for governor. The audience is engaged to imagine that behind his sad words, Governor Morris is actually thanking the heavens for her unexpected demise. On the other hand, Murphy, the campaign press secretary, privately cleans up Morris’ mess after Molly spills it out on him. He gave her money to get an abortion. At first, the audience thinks wow Murphy is our kind of guy. But the audience discovers that Murphy did it not out of charity but for himself and Morris, because if he didn’t it will be the ruin of the campaign and its presidentiable. His career. As for Molly, she insisted that she could be reassigned in the campaign’s office in another State but was strongly advised by Murphy to leave the campaign trail altogether because “you’ve f–d up.” The audience at this point grunts at him because in truth they’re all f–d up. Even the journalist, Ida. She betrays Murphy, spilling a private information to the public throwing Murphy out of the campaign as a result (but he got back in, using Molly’s information) and then ingratiating herself on Murphy as his best friend.

Beware the Ides of March is more a message for our selves, to become more aware of our inner hidden selves. As this country faces an important election, it’s a fair warning for political candidates as well as their supporters. The voting public too.


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