In a recent post I said that the current revolt on the Right could be described as the Falling Down Revolt. This references the 1993 movie, “Falling Down,” that starred Michael Douglas as a divorced, recently laid off defense industry engineer, named William Foster, who, while stopped on the Los Angeles freeway on a sweltering hot day discovers he has reached the end of his rope. He leaves his car in the middle of traffic and goes on a trek across the mean streets of Los Angeles to see his young daughter on her birthday. Along the way he runs into all the dysfunctional aspects of modern America. There is the Korean inconvenience store where the clerk won’t let you have change unless you pay larcenously high prices, the fast food store where a minute after the prescribed time breakfast becomes an impossibility and the food looks nothing like the nice pictures on the wall. There are the Mexican street gangs holding up a stranger at knifepoint and then peppering a whole sidewalk full of neighbors with automatic weapons fire to revenge themselves on someone who didn’t allow himself to be robbed. There are construction sites that spring up and leave the drivers stopped in place for hours, not to repair streets but just to maintain the size of the city construction budget. There are the panhandlers and psychotic hate-mongers and all manner of unhappy people wherever he turns.
At the end of the film the police detective (played by Robert Duvall) following behind Foster’s trail of destruction figures out that Foster’s unconscious plan is to commit a murder suicide against his wife and daughter. When Duvall tells him he’s under arrest Foster and the detective have this exchange:
- “I’m the bad guy?” he asks, in a moment of rare clarity.
- “Yeah,” says Robert Duvall’s police officer evenly, pointing a gun at his chest
- “How did that happen?”
Now, up until the very end of the film Foster actually seems like a well-meaning guy who’s having a nervous breakdown in the middle of a city that is psychotic. When he replies to the detective, he tells his side of it. To paraphrase Foster, “I always did what they told me was the right thing and now I’ve been thrown away by my job and my family. I’ve been lied to.” The detective tells him that everyone has been lied to but that what Foster did isn’t justified.
“I always did what they told me was the right thing and now I’ve been thrown away by my job and my family. I’ve been lied to.” This is the crux of the analogy. The regular joes were just doing all the right things we were told we should be doing. We were being the good guys and bending over backwards to help the other guys out and what is our reward? We’re told that we’re the bad guys. That’s the whole thing in a nutshell. I guess you could say it’s insult on top of injury. And if they hadn’t added the insult at the end, when they thought it was already too late for us to do anything, they probably would’ve gotten away with it. But these folks on the left just have to rub it in. They not only want to destroy their enemies but they also need them to grovel too.
So that’s how we got here. We can make a good showing for ourselves now that we know who and what we are up against. We don’t actually have to help them dig the hole they want to bury us in. We can stop paying them extortion money as they have no intention of showing gratitude because of it. In fact, it only makes the Left more self-righteous about their entitlement. Basically, it’ll be every man for himself, if I may be so bold to use the singular masculine pronoun. So that’s why I think Falling Down is relevant. We don’t want to pay for being the good guys if we’re still gonna be called the bad guys anyway.
[…] that film (as photog explains in a follow-up essay, “I’m the Bad Guy? How Did That Happen?“), Douglas plays a disgruntled private defense contractor who, despite obeying all the rules […]