I finally got around to seeing a movie I have been curious about, Interstellar, with Mathew McConaughey and Ann Hathaway, two of the least believable actors imaginable as astronauts. At almost three hours, the movie is a challenge, but I’ve been intrigued by Christopher Nolan since 2000’s Memento, a wonderful movie starring Guy Pearce, an actor with real chops.
I’ve also been intrigued with Nolan since Dark Knight Rises, which inexplicably contains allusions to both Aurora and Sandy Hook. Then he did Man of Steel, the Superman franchise reboot that virtually reenacted 9/11, the TV show. This guy Nolan is wired to intelligence.
Before you go off on me for suggesting that Hollywood and Langley work hand-in-hand in crafting American attitudes and beliefs, let me remind you that in the 1950’s the Joint Chiefs were in Hollywood discussing scripts and themes with producers like Zanuck and Cohn, the Warners, director Cecil DeMille and actors like Ward Bond and John Wayne. The idea was that movies could not be willy-nilly tossed out there, but rather that there had to be a guiding theme.
The theme was named “Militant Liberty,” a huge propaganda initiative. For Hollywood it was an extension of McCarthyism, an American Inquisition that effectively purged the town of its most creative writers and directors. American military and intelligence were intent on controlling the American mind in those days, as now, so that movies had to come under the watchful eye of the Pentagon and Langley. In the 50’s, Americans were taught to be scared of reds under our beds. Communism was the dark side, the wrong choice in a world where there were only two options, us and them, good and evil.
I said “in those days.” Don’t imagine it has changed. Hollywood is still under strict control. Very little gets out that will interfere with the modern-day us and them, terrorism, the new reds-under-our-bed boogeyman. What truth does make its way to us in movies has to be smuggled via symbols and allegory, as Kubrick is so famous for.
Getting back to Interstellar, the movie is a fable wherein earth is saved by McConaughey’s Cooper and his daughter, Murph. It is a well-spun tale taking us on a journey through a wormhole looking for a new planet to inhabit, and in the end bringing back to earth the magic formula needed to save this planet.
There are no doubt allusions to other sci-fi movies and some Kubrickism embedded, and I’ll leave it to others to search through it for that stuff. At nearly three hours, I have invested all the time in the movie it is worth. (I had to buy it to watch it, but it is priced at only $10, so it is not in high demand.)
I was surprised by an early scene in which Cooper, sitting across from Murhp’s teacher, is informed that the moon landings of the 1960’s and 70’s were indeed a hoax. The textbooks of that era (set in 2070 or so) have been changed to reflect the hoax. It was done, Cooper is told, to force the Soviets to bankrupt themselves in a fake contest to see who could get to the moon first.
In propaganda-speak, that is known as “Door Number Two.” Interstellar may be one of only half a dozen films (Toy Story, Capricorn One, Diamonds are Forever) that have acknowledged or even hinted that Apollo was fake, but the revelation is carefully packaged in another false tale, the space race.
That door will close now, and we’ll go back to Door Number One, that it was all real. But it was not.
The reason for faking the journey to the moon was not fun and games or any nonsense about a contest with the Soviets, who were never interested in using rockets to put men on the moon (either).
At stake was money – $35 billion or so in 1960s dollars (today $225 billion), and a race to place weapons in near-earth orbit. (The program was further enhanced by the Space Shuttle program.) They could not tell us the truth, as the public would have rightly balked. The rocket launches were real; NASA, a fake-civilian agency, was engaged in deadly serious business. The hoax was considered vital in a quest for military domination of the planet, which is why to this day our authority figures are not allowed to speak freely about it.
I do not know the extent to which the tale has unraveled now, but assume that if we are being given Door Number Two in a major Hollywood production, that there has been considerable erosion. It was allowed to see light of day in Nolan’s Interstellar. If Aurora and Sandy hook allusions were no accident in Dark Knight, then this was no accident either. It could be some revisionism, that all of the skeptical inquiry into the hoax has created such widespread doubt about Apollo that we are being given an alternative fake history to replace the first one.
Perhaps this was just a glimpse into our future false history.