The Lid: Sooner or later, life seems to imitate all that art has afforded over the centuries of human endeavor. In the movie Wag the Dog, Barry Levinson’s 1997 film about faking the news for political profit, politicos Robert De Niro and Anne Heche work with Dustin Hoffman, as a Hollywood producer, to “produce” a “war” that will distract the media and get an unpresentable president through the last 11 days before his reelection bid. Brennan Spygate
In the course of the movie, Willie Nelson is called in to come up with musical themes for the production. His problem? The war is set in Albania. Albania, he complains, is hard to rhyme with, at least sticky-meme-ish-lyrics-wise.
Fortunately, the focus of the production goes a slightly different direction. Instead of rhyming Albania, Nelson’s character can write a fake “1930s folk song” about a “good old shoe.” (Which commemorates the boots worn by a fake combat hero – Woody Harrelson – being heralded for his fake part in the phony war.)
The war planners in Wag the Dog resort to Albania as their venue because Americans tend not to know from Albania. In 1997, there were probably more Americans than there are today who knew that the Belushi brothers, Jim and the late John, were of Albanian descent. Other than that, even coming off half a decade of war in the Balkans, Albania had managed to stay mostly off the front pages in the American news.
But Albania is where then-CIA Director John Brennan was, holding talks, we are told, with Albanian officials, at the peculiar time of 4-7 December 2016.
Those who have followed Spygate closely will have a pretty good idea of what to do with this information. We’ll consider some suggestions here – and we’ll be going lightly over the more obvious ground because there’s a profounder lesson to be absorbed from the context. read more