The other night, while looking on TV to find something to put on to fall asleep to, I stumbled across Ghostbusters II. Now – as many of you know, I’m a Ghostbusters addict. How many of you reading this can think of times where I have stumbled home with the party from the bar, made some macaroni and cheese, and put on Ghostbusters or Ghostbusters II and gleefully sat there reciting every line? Well, in watching Ghostbusters II the other night, I was amazed at the similarities between the plot and our current political state.
For those of you who need a refresh on the plot of Ghostbusters II let me do that. Vigo the Carpathian (originally known as Vigo Von Homburg Deutschendorf and in 1987 was suffering from a severe case of Carpathian kitten loss) is an ancient 16th Century medieval tyrant and sorcerer, who later died in the 17th century. His death was brutal – his people had led a rebellion and they tried and executed him in a manner that they saw fit for his rule. He was poisoned, shot, stabbed, hung, stretched, disemboweled, drawn and quartered (to which Venkman commented “Ouch”). Just after they removed his head, he uttered this prophetic warning: “Death is but a door. Time is but a window. I’ll be back.”
Turns out, he did come back, and decided that New York was as good of a place as any to resurrect himself. In the process of doing that, he created an incredibly dense river of slime under the city which was dubbed “mood slime” by the Ghostbusters. This slime was psycho-reactive to the mood of the people in the city, it grew and became more powerful the more horrible people treated each other.
When the Ghostbusters discover all of this, they try to talk to the Mayor about how the people of New York have the power to neutralize the smile themselves. The mayor scoffs at them, in this famous clip:
Eventually, the mood slime was able to give Vigo cover for his nefarious plan of being reborn in Dana Barrett’s hot-dog looking baby by creating a dome around the museum which the Ghostbusters were unable to penetrate. Sitting outside the museum, the following exchange happens:
Stantz inspects the wall of slime with his infra-goggles and finds that they have only managed to open a hole the size of a dime.
Forget it. The Vienna Boys Choir couldn’t get through this stuff.
Good effort. Now what? Should we say supportive, nurturing things to it, Ray?
It won’t work. There’s no way we could generate enough positive energy to crack that shell.
I can’t believe things have gotten so bad in this city that there’s no way back. Sure, it’s crowded, it’s dirty, it’s noisy. And there are too many people who’d just as soon step on your face as look at you. But there’ve got to be a few sparks of sweet humanity left in this burned-out burg. We just have to mobilize it.
We need something that everyone can get behind, a symbol –
His eyes fall on ECTO-2′s New York State license plate which features a line drawing of the Statue of Liberty.
(he sees it, too)
Something that appeals to the best in each and every one of us –
Something good –
And pure –
They end up mobilizing the Statue of Liberty to break through the museum dome by spraying the mood slime inside of it and playing Jackie Wilson’s “Higher and Higher”. They confront Vigo – save the baby (and the day) and get commemorated by the city for their efforts.
In essence, Ghostbusters II speaks to our political climate today – which is pretty incredible considering it was made in 1987. The famous clip where the mayor says, “It’s every New Yorker’s god-given right to be a miserable asshole and treat people like crap!” is similar to the argument you see people give in political conversation. ”It is every American’s god-given right to express their belief no matter what way it hurts other people because first amendment dammit!”
And you know what – that may be true. But for every action, there are consequences – and in Ghostbusters II – the negative energy fed the slime that empowered Vigo to try and take over the world. In our political climate today, the negative vitriol in political discourse combined with the apathy of the majority Americans feeds the politicians that we get in congress to represent us.
What we need is a Statue of Liberty. We need someone good, pure and most of all decent, to mobilize the masses and turn us into better citizens. When we become citizens, instead of getting Vigo (in this analogy is either Obama or Romney, as choosing between them is like choosing the least of two evils) we get a politician deserving of our new political atmosphere to lead us, and the river of slime goes away – to be replaced with something positive.
There are so many more of us than there are of them – and there’s got to be some way to mobilize the masses to show decency and humanity to each other. We just have to find it.