The other night, I happened to flip on Turner Classic Movies and came upon a film called The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg. This was a silent version of a novel that became an operetta by Sigmund Romberg and was most famous as a movie musical starring Mario Lanza in 1954. Having seen the Lanza film many times, I watched the silent for a while and although I missed the wonderful singing, I nonetheless could follow the plot, familiar as I was with the story itself.
Similarly, I have enjoyed watching the silent version of Showboat that was filmed on the cusp of the talkie era in 1929. Again, I rate the 1936 adaptation of the Kern/Hammerstein musical much higher -- the scene with Irene Dunne doing the shuffle with Hattie McDaniel is alone worth the price of admission -- but the silent version essentially tells the same story.
Many folks disdain all older films and especially the silents as primitive and unentertaining, given that there is no spoken dialogue. And this always makes me laugh given what passes for witty repartee in modern movies. But just as a picture has always been worth a thousand words, much of the subtitling was deemed unnecessary, as when a damsel waved goodbye to her hero at the train station; there are just some things you can comprehend merely by looking at them. This got me to thinking about the upcoming mid-term elections as I watched the evening news; so many are the liberal scenes to which we've become accustomed that need no oral embellishment.
Now in days past, liberal presidents were better spoken than the current occupant of the Oval Office. But with Barack Obama and the current crop of Democrats, after we have read copies of their speeches beforehand -- or even when we haven't -- we need not turn up the volume on our TV sets: we know exactly what they're going to say. So now that the election season is upon us, let me be your guide to what would be a blessing from heaven: liberal silent movies -- no teleprompters needed.
In our first scene, a white Democrat is seen exiting a black church arm in arm with the pastor and either Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson, which denotes one of two things. If this takes place from August to November, it is to demonstrate that he is a friend to all those who are "down for the struggle." Now if it is not an election cycle, and the liberal is merely carrying a bible in hand with a painful look of contrition on his face, no subtitle will be necessary, only the poignant sound of a tinkly piano and the tear leaking out of one eye.
An old standby that is almost a requirement out on the hustings are scenes where liberal nerds like John Kerry attempt to be portrayed as average guys playing football or Al Gore paddling a canoe. But the most telling scene is when liberals are photographed while hunting to demonstrate their love for the kinds of firearms that only kill animals. You don't need to actually hear them say it to know that they were raised by their pappies to hunt n' shoot before they could walk.
Almost as popular as gun-loving liberals out on the campaign trail is the sight of them scarfing down all sorts of food they would otherwise never allow to cross the thresholds of their homes let alone their gullets. A wonderful combination of the two comes from the erudite Joe Biden who, proving that liberals are their own subtitles, said at a fish fry in Castlewood, Virginia. in 2008: "I guarantee you Barack Obama ain't taking my shotguns, so don't buy that malarkey."
Another scene guaranteed to take place is on election day itself, when the cameras will follow our intrepid heroes to a polling place they've surely never seen before, all the while demonstrating the kind of retch-inducing forced familiarity that makes dialogue for all of these scenes utterly superfluous. They can glad-hand the hoi polloi all they like; we've seen this movie before.
And probably the worst of all climaxes -- a horror scene actually -- is when a group of liberals stand smiling before a podium at the Capitol in the second week of November to announce...well, anything. We don't need any audio or graphics to know that things are about to get seriously worse. But hopefully, this is one scene that will remain on the cutting room floor this year.
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