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09/29/2005 Archived Entry: "Jack Skellington and George W. Bush"

I WATCHED TIM BURTON'S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS last night and couldn't help but think about George W. Bush. No, there's nothing political in the movie (which was made when Bush was just a shrub). But still ...

Nightmare is the tale of Jack Skellington, the much celebrated, totally fawned upon king of Halloween Town. All the ghosties and ghoulies worship him, but Jack isn't happy. He's bored with the same old scares. He wants something better, though he can't even imagine what that might be.

Then one day, Jack stumbles into Christmas Town -- and he discovers everything his heart desires. Color and joy, warmth, song, and happy (not scary) surprises.

Jack returns to his dark home and enthusiastically tries to describe the delights of Christmas to the assembled creepy-crawlies, who manifestly don't get it. Jack himself doesn't truly get it, as we see when he conducts a series of scientific experiements on holly berries, Christmas bulbs, and other paraphernalia of the season, trying to discover the essence of their magic. In each case, he destroys the thing he so desires to understand. So, in frustration, Jack decrees that he will simply seize Christmas. He orders "Sandy Claws" to be kidnapped and sets about turning Halloween Town into a Christmas production factory -- with hilarously creepy results.

I kept thinking of GWB and his desire to "spread freedom" abroad and "preserve freedom" here. Assuming for the moment that Bush actually believes that's what he's doing, and that he's not merely seeking wealth and control, he is as far from getting it as Jack and his ghouls were from getting Christmas. In the process of trying to force goodness upon people by war, law, and edict, he only twists and perverts what is good. In the process of trying to promote freedom, he destroys it.

Sigh. If only GWB's results were as amusing as Jack's.

Posted by Claire @ 09:42 AM CST

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