Sunday, 5 July 2009

The Good Shepherd

Friday 18th of January 2008 commenced early around 6are after good night of 2 sessions of two hour sleeps. The highlight of today was to have been the first press conference by Kevin Keegan and as I will report later he not disappoint. But whereas Keegan and Newcastle AFC is an affair of the heart and of faith the intellectual stimulation came from watching a film, The Good Shepherd.

I played chess against the computer for the enjoyment of it and then sorted out the accumulation of material over the past three days and then filed. As the series three of lost progresses it is evident that I had seen many of the episodes especially that of today, but my appreciation has increased because of having also viewed the first two series. The Big Brother House catch up previous 24 hours was also available but had no appeal.

Around 11am when up to date except for some in tray communication related to my mother I decided to watch a DVD of the Good Shepherd, a film experienced in theatre in 2006, and a timely arrival given my interest yesterday in the covert activities of the CIA yesterday, it was a timely opportunity to remind the place in post war America of the CIA. The film was recognised as a major contribution to the cinema in 2006 and has some memorable moments and in my judgement ranks alongside the BBC productions of Le Carre novels and a Dostoevsky storyline.

It is one of those interesting coincidences that the main character has the same surname as Charlie Wilson, although as this point the resemblance ends because whereas Charlie Wilson was, and is, a self confessed hedonist, Edward Wilson is a conventional man without a natural sense of humour, someone who witnessed and then covered up the suicide of his father, carrying the guilt, unable to have a normal relationship with his own son conceived in a relationship without love. He becomes a man who will what is necessary for his country's and for his family's welfare, but we are left uncertain as to his true beliefs and convictions, especially after he learns the hard way a message given to him by his former university tutor in English Literature, played by Michael Gambon, that you cannot trust anyone, including your closest friends and family, and the point is later reinforced by his USA based Russian counterpart, that enemies can also be your friends, and friends your enemies.

As with all significant film, theatre and literature, the work can be appreciated at a number of levels. The film is a story about one individual, his work, his relationships and his family and ideally suited for Matt Daemon. It is also a story about the nature of post World War II American society. At one point the is asked about what drives him in the context of American society where the first loyalty of Italians is to their family and their church, the Irish to their homeland, the African American to their music, the American Jew to their tradition and rituals whereas Wilson represents the White middle class American, probably of English anxiety, educated at Yale and a member of one its private clubs where members and their families continue to meet thought the rest of their lives, in addition to treating each other as a brotherhood. His response is to regard himself as an American, someone with a willing sense of duty toward his country.

In the film it is the Yale Club, the Skull and Bones which is portrayed as the recruiting mechanism for the creation of the CIA, but while this is not accurate in relation to the CIA, it is in terms of the role of such university based clubs in the control and development of American society. The clubs are private, in that membership and membership rituals are intended to be restricted to those who assessed as likely to accept and further the standards and rituals of the group. The term private is more neutral than secret society, as most of those existing as part of American Universities are known and listed and the most well known members have also been documented? The Skull and bones include George W Bush as one of its three members who became Presidents and others including a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the first presidents of the Universities of California, John Hopkins and Cornell.

The film is in the style of a documentary about the creation and development of the CIA with great attention to detail and many of the roles modelled on actual well known figures in the story of the CIA. Such is the attempt at fictionalised authenticity that the CIA has published an official analysis of the film. A key element of the story is the failure the attempted counter revolution against Castro, The Bay of Pigs fiasco, in 1961 allegedly because of an information leak within the CIA. The CIA review explains that the nature of the operation was such that disclosure of the date, time and location of the landing was widely known to the Cuban exiles community where it was likely that Castro had several informers. About the only historical fact which the official review accepts is the impact on involvement in the organisation upon family life.

The Kevin Keegan interview was spectacular and Sky TV were thrilled which is potentially counterproductive in terms of the response of fans of other clubs in the North East and further affield, While it is not my intention to get season tickets for either Sunderland or Newcastle next season unless my financial and other circumstances significantly change I will attempted to get rickets for games I want to see and which are not on TV or could be special events. There were 900 single tickets available this morning for Saturday's televised game on Saturday when Kevin is back in charge and I was able to get on in the corner where I had a sat for all but the first year of his time as a manager. I want to be able to say I was there.

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