BadaBing--It's Business, Not Personal, Sonny
NBC aired Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather Saga in 1978. Coppola recut his two masterpieces to tell the story in a chronological order. My parents, placing their trust in the NBC censor's superior bowdlerizing skills, let me watch it. For about a year afterward I wanted to be Italian, wanted to be Catholic, wanted to shoot various mean little girls in the head. That was a big year for me, because I was also into sharks and The Sound of Music. I checked Italian language records out of the Public Library and learned how to ask for aspirin for my wife's headache from any druggist in Italy. I configured a wonderful Mittyland where I was a heroic Italian nun who fought sharks for the Catholic church. I don't quite know what danger sharks posed to Catholocism, but my fantastic alter ego was always there to protect the Pope on one of his numerous ill-fated boating missions. I kind of grew out of all that (last year some time), but I still have every word of both classic films committed to memory. The only remembrances I have of Part III involve the wretched gnocchi-crafting scene, Pacino's "pull me back in" and Mary's ridiculous death scene. I've hated Winona Ryder ever since. I know deep down that at the end of Lost In Translation Bill Murray whispers thusly to Scarlett whatever: "Now that Sofia has proven herself, we're all gonna find Winona and torture her for bowing out of Godfather III" . Scarlett smiles the same smile I would have at the thought of roughing up Sticky Fingers.
Ah. But it's business. Not personal. Everyone knows that phrase. I'm sure that pretty much anyone has said it at one time or another, usually joking. I thought a lot about it yesterday, when I reached my Bush-bashing threshold, because it's one of the things that I just don't understand about the political climate of 2005. So few people seem to realize that it is not personal. I'm sure that the comments section hereunder will be filled with the standard claims of personal injury at the hand of politicians. I understand and agree that politics does have vastly echoing repercussions in the personal lives of everyone. I don't dispute that. I know there are people who've lost their TennCare, people who've lost their sons in the desert. I realise that these are very real ramifications of our political system.
What I fail to understand is why everyone feels the need to constantly attack those who are NOT politicians. All the other 'little guys' on the other side, who made the best choice they could given the information available at the time. Sure, you may think that Bush has made nothing but hideous mincemeat of our society. You may think that Bredesen has put the State of Tennessee into a woodchipper. All that's fine and dandy. But the line is crossed and the discourse lost when we start belittling the people who voted for these men. When we extend the missteps and the failures we perceive in politicians to those who voted for them, the most basic discussions are instantly adversarial. Any hope of a valid solution is lost in the murk of slinging mud. And that is what makes politics in 2005 so tiresome.
In the books and films, Michael Corleone devolves from a much-loved family man and war hero into a lone savage. He starts by only killing for business, but then every personal thing is slowly covered by the business umbrella. He dies alone on a park bench. He's killed everyone that ever got close. He let all the business get personal.