Don't Let Me Down
by DICK CHENEY
Everything tends towards catastrophe and collapse. I am interested, geared up and happy. Is it not horrible to be made like this?
- Winston Churchill
There is nothing like the throes of war. When I first heard about the attacks on our country almost ten years ago, I made love to my wife, as I recalled last week. But that is not everything I did. I also told the secret service to get the president into a limousine and load it up with more alcohol than Katy Perry demands backstage at her concerts. (She hates carnations almost as much as I do.) When President Bush found me curled up in a fetal position inside the vehicle, smelling of Pop Tarts and gin, the first thing he said was, "You're pissing me off." Then he smiled and sucked grain alcohol from my belly-button.
HBO recently greenlit a BBC co-production of a World War I drama where the protagonist will be played by one Benedict Cumberbatch. (Scrootenjew Meeperschmidt wasn't available.) If this miniseries also ends up starring Rebecca Hall, I suggest we send the Storm Crows to ravage the BBC offices and demand satisfaction. The British always have funny ideas about war, they always think it's about falling in love like in The English Patient. They're like, "awesome war guys, let's go have consensual sex with the local populace." No. War is more about falling out of love with life and embracing death.
My first White House was Gerald Ford's and whenever we were addressing an overseas conflict he demanded we slip our dicks out into the open air. Don't get me started on my years with President Ford, controlling him was like trying to swordfight with yellow straw. The day we lost to Jimmy Carter I murdered a Canadian black bear. Sure, things went bad, but the below photograph depicts my first Oval Office orgasm.
I can only compare those initial moments of war, the look on the face of your adversary as he considers the prospect of his own demise, to waiting in a doctor's office with the best magazines in the world. Since the only good magazine left in the world is National Geographic and I never see that at my grandkids' pediatrician, it's better to imagine peeling open a shopping catalogue and discovering that anything can be purchased. During the initial phases of the first Gulf War, I demanded a lightsaber one morning and I had it by the afternoon. Carved in a grip of human bone were the words "Dick Maul."
We tore down statues in Iraq because it made a good image for television. I have no idea why Khal Drogo does it when he enslaves entire towns, killing and raping women and children. He already proved his point. There have been great men who enjoy war as much as Khal Drogo seems to, but there is no one who has ever enjoyed saying the word stallion as much as he does. From the looks of it, the populace Drogo enslaves is also quite religious, and their gods resemble the Old Gods of Westeros, perhaps some starfaring race that colonized the planet.
About his experience managing war, Churchill wrote "I think a curse should rest on me — because I love this war. I know it's smashing and shattering the lives of thousands every moment — and yet — I can't help it — I enjoy every second of it." Every delusional warrior demands an adversary as mighty as he imagines himself. Ned Stark may not have the same affection for war as the Lannisters did during Robert's Rebellion, but you can't blame Cersei Lannister for not tying up her loose ends.
Even thousands of pages after the first visit from the King that opens A Game of Thrones, I am not entirely sure why Robert Baratheon goes to visit Winterfell. He had never done it before; he does not recognize the children of his best friend, and he can't look into the face of his friend's wife, who resembled the woman he lost.
The death of Jon Arryn must have guided his actions to some extent, but it is impossible to believe that King Robert lived his entire life siring bastards of brown hair and it never occurred to him to find it strange that none of his children by Cersei Lannister shared that characteristic. If Robert wanted a man loyal to him running the empire, he had better candidates in King's Landing. It seems more likely to me now, given my encyclopedic knowledge of warcraft, that he went to Winterfell to start the war he felt was coming.
The Lannisters hate the North. They hated it during that long overdue visit. They hated it so much they did not bother to be sure of Bran's death before they left. The very chill of winter must have upset them greatly.
Last night we got the first of many chapters in the relationship between Tyrion and his father, and it restored me from the anger I felt during last week's dwarfless episode. There is always a halfman in the middle of a war. He survives longer than his brethren because killing him would be an act of cruelty rather than an act of war. In order to accentuate his weakness, Tyrion uses the full thrust of his vocabulary and diminishes his true capabilities whenever possible, reminding me of how I ensured George W. Bush would be elected by a majority of Americans twice.
The problem with centering a television show around the excitement of war, is that real war is too confusing and complex to portray as anything except riotious, hilarious murder. For over three decades, that fraud Roger Ebert would begin every single review of a Vietnam movie by meaningfully citing Francois Truffaut's maxim that you can't make an anti-war movie because films about that subject make war seem like fantastic fun. He would just reuse this opening whenever a Vietnam movie came out, it started to get kind of weird after awhile, like he had just forgotten and we were supposed to pretend we didn't notice.
As in my own case, Truffaut's early years in the French armed forces consisted of him trying to escape his service. Unlike Jon Snow, the reason for escape from his enlistment was not because he wanted to go off and serve in a different war. He had experienced the first excitement of fighting, but once that passed, he realized that nothing else about the experience would be so great.
The first part of anything is the only part worth holding onto. The first time you ask Francis Fukuyama to lie for the sake of his country is the best time. The first minutes of eating a Frosty is a decadent pleasure, the rest recycles past guilt and shame with each wet bite. The first time keying David Frum's Oldsmobile and telling him you saw Puerto Ricans do it is the only time that matters. A chess move only counts with a victim.
I can't even feel bad for Sansa Stark. Arya, at least, is abandoned to the King's Highway. Ned Stark rots in a dungeon. Syrio Forel never dies. Renley Baratheon forces another guy to shave his chest with butter. Robert Baratheon hunts a boar, somewhere. Sansa is held up as an ideal in a time without any, and to watch her naivete fade stirs a warm excretion in my heart. She will never be higher than before she is forced to fall.
Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. You can find last week's Game of Thrones recap here.
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