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Maize/maze

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The evil, black-eyed "Brother Justin" (Clancy Brown) in the now-canceled HBO series "Carnivale." The final battle takes place amidst the corn stalks.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – “I like you, Lloyd. I always liked you. You were always the best of them. Best goddamned bartender from Timbuktu to Portland, Maine. Or Portland, Oregon, for that matter.” – Jack Torrance in The Shining (1980).

This famous scene features Jack (Jack Nicholson) having a whiskey-on-the-rocks in the haunted Gold Room of the Overlook Hotel, as the ghostly bartender Lloyd pours the drink and weakly smiles in agreement.

And as has been analyzed in Room 237, about director Stanley Kubrick’s real message in The Shining, the theory that the genocide of Native Americans by white settlers in the Americas – from the time of Christopher Columbus in the late 15th century until present day – was one of the messages Kubrick was sharing, holds more credence with me by the day.

Shining analyst Bill Blakemore begins Rodney Ascher’s Room 237 by setting the tone. He notes that in England, in 1980, the posters promoting The Shining said: “The wave of terror that swept across America IS HERE.” But was it the wave of terror caused by the Stephen King novel of the same name? Or was it something else?

Says Blakemore: “The wave of terror that swept across America from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon was the genocidal armies and the white men with their axe, clearing it all, and bringing in extractive industries, among many other good things as well, but that was the wave of terror that swept across America, terrifying, of course, the American Indians.”

Adds Blakemore; “And I said to my friends, that movie is about the genocide of the American Indians.”

Blakemore continues on this theme of genocide throughout the documentary, while others theorize about Kubricks’ involvement in the faking of the Apollo Moon landings, the Holocaust and other issues of collective American denial.

Denial just ain’t a river in Egypt. Somehow, Americans, by and large, have embraced their collective denial just as they would a piece of flotsam after their luxury ocean liner plunged to the bottom of the sea.

As I have noted here previously, I received a synchromystic gift on my 42nd birthday, in the form of a phrase: “Dopey little tykes, the stalks.”

I felt this was an important message, one that has puzzled me for several months now. I felt, though, that it had something to do with the appearance – and disappearance – of the Seven Dwarfs “Dopey” sticker on Danny Torrance’s bedroom wall. Theorists suggest that Dopey disappears after Danny “shines.” He is enlightened and “no longer blind or ‘Dopey’ to the evil the world has.” I reviewed Room 237 here.

But what of “the stalks”? I immediately thought of Stephen King’s Children of the Corn. But since then, I’ve expanded my synchromystic research to other films. It is remarkable how many films incorporate cornfields in their stories. Naturally, the 1989 film Field of Dreams comes to mind (“If you build it, they will come” a voice whispers to Kevin Costner’s Iowa farmer character). In Signs, alien intelligences try to communicate via crop circle. I addressed that phrase again in a piece I titled “Numbers.”

Online I came across a video by Nicolas Sanchez called “(Pop) Corn Fields Films,” a piece about the use of cornfields in critical scenes in movies – ironically, many of them horror films or psychological thrillers. What is it about corn and cornfields that triggers this fear and anxiety – is it the tall stalks? The fear of the unknown. Is it something deeper, something unaddressed? It is as if voices from the past are urging me to press on with this synchromystic/synchronistic research. 

Also, what food is most associated with going to a movie theater? Popcorn, of course.

In Sanchez’s video, he incorporates clips from the aforementioned Children of the Corn and its sequels and remakes, of course Field of Dreams, North By Northwest, and of course the Oklahoma-set Twister (which features a scene at a drive-in where a tornado strikes while The Shining is playing and Jack is hitting the door with an axe … (or is he the embodiment of the terrorizing, white settler, blazing a trail westward?). Interestingly, sync master Andras Jones talks about his own Shining/Twister sync here.

One film Sanchez didn’t mention was when Elliott first sees E.T. in a cornfield (the other), next to his house, in 1982’s E.T. the Extraterrestrial. And then there is the scene in The X-Files: Fight the Future (1998), where Mulder and Scully come across a cornfield in the desert and are chased by bees infected with alien DNA.

And then I saw Interstellar. In the opening scenes, the character Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is driving rapidly and recklessly through his own cornfield, while chasing a drone. In a dream I had in February, it is me, and the actor Benecio del Toro, who are being chased by a drone seeking to check our DNA. For more on that, check out "Oh mi corazon").

Fellow sync writer and analyst Loren Coleman, on his outstanding blog Twilight Language, notes how I have noticed the use of the name “Cooper” in numerous films/TV programs with a sync bent about them – Twin Peaks, for instance, and Agent Dale Cooper, who embraces Tibetan Buddhism and Native American themes, while working alongside a Native American lawman, Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse). Cooper, ever the gallant gentleman, enters the Black Lodge to save his true love. This writer says Agent Cooper's open mind makes him a perfect candidate for "border crossing." Continuing, Andreas Blassman writes: "Cooper's methods are a necessary requirement to enter the supernatural sphere that is revealed to exist in the 'Ghostwood forest'." Interstellar's Cooper shows similar qualities (read my Interstellar review here).

But Coleman (who has written about Room 237) also writes about Cooper in reference to Cooperstown, New York, home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the fact that the “Cooper” in Cooperstown, is named after “the father of noted American author James Fenimore Cooper, author of The Leatherstocking Tales, one novel of which was The Last of the Mohicans. (The phrase, ‘the last of the Mohicans,” has come to represent the sole survivor of a noble race – a notion that might be extended to Interstellar’s Cooper.”

The sole survivor of a noble race. And yet here in Oklahoma, where we have many tribes and the words "Native America" emblazoned on our license plates, next to the famous "Sacred Rain Arrow" statue, the dominant, white population continues to treat Native Americans with disrespect and contempt, as we have seen with the governor's daughter and famous, locally-grown celebrities, both here in Oklahoma City. And it is interesting when you aim a little "truth telling" at these Oklahoma elites, well, they don't respond well.

As one obsessed with the mid-2000's HBO supernatural series Carnivale (starring Michael Anderson, who also played the "Little Man From Another Place" on Twin Peaks), I was impressed with the end of the series, which takes place in a cornfield. Evil faces good in that eternal struggle - amidst the stalks of corn. Brother Justin, a bringer of darkness and evil - planning to bring hell on earth - is slain by the good-yet-apprehensive Ben. Or is he? He was ordered to do so by the being "Lucien" - to "destroy the preacher you've seen in your dreams." This, like Danny Torrance, in the confusion of the snow-dappled hedge maze in The Shining, leads his father (of lies) to his death. 

Coleman also makes a strong case for Interstellar being a baseball movie in "Interstellar: Last Mohicans and Elysian Fields". Baseball plays a surprisingly big role in this remarkable space opera, one that many critics are comparing to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

As Coleman notes: “But the baseball fields in Interstellar are certainly more than baseball fields. Are they sort of fields of dreams.”

Which brings me back to corn – “the stalks,” as noted in my brain’s “field of dreams.”

For months I have been thinking about corn. Fascinated with it. Put off by it. Perplexed. Just yesterday, a possible GOP presidential candidate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, noted on a radio show, in an “aw-shucks” manner, that he is just a guy who “grew up in a cornfield.” Will this cornfed hoosier become the Republican presidential nominee in 2016?

Then there is the controversial issue of high-fructose corn syrup and the damage it can do to the human body – this, after America’s corn crop reached all-time highs in 2014. Studies show it is dangerous, but the corn lobby continues to push it on the public.

And as we approach Thanksgiving, thoughts turn to the Pilgrims who came to North America, at Plymouth Rock, in November 1620.

“An Indian named Squanto was employed by the Pilgrims to teach them how to grow corn …” writes Oregon State University historian Richard Hall.

That is why corn/maize plays a big role in the Thanksgiving story.

The Native people of the Americas highly regarded corn.

“Corn itself was often given religious significance,” writes Hall, adding that “Cornstalks were, and are, often used to construct habitations in Central and South America. In the Mexican state of Michoacan, some churches have very lightweight ancient religious images, huge man-size statues made of cornstalks.”

 In 2009, I wrote a review of the documentary film King Corn, I note how since the 1970’s and the Nixon administration, Big Ag has gone into overdrive with expanded agricultural production, including corn and its poisonous byproduct – high-fructose corn syrup. The King Corn filmmakers talk to a farmer near harvest time and he seems disgusted by the whole process.

“We aren’t growing quality. We’re growing crap. Poorest quality crap the world’s ever seen,” the farmer tells them.

And back to the Richard Hall piece on the history of corn, the native Mexican people believed in Centeotl, the goddess of maize – “She who sustains us.” Celebrating Centeotl, youths were given a maize porridge called mazamorra and these youths “walked through the maize fields, carrying stalks of maize and other herbs called mecoatl with which they afterwards strewed the image of the god of cereals that everyone had in his house.” A maize maze. A corn labyrinth? Perhaps Mexican-American director Guillermo del Toro was on to something much bigger in the mind-maze puzzler Pan's Labyrinth, with synchromystic themes galore (here and here and here and here) while set against the Spanish Civil War, a subject I've been spending a lot of time studying.

As I drove to the office, preparing to write this piece, I had the radio on – my favorite 80’s New Wave satellite station – and the first song on is ABC’s “Poison Arrow.” That immediately synced with the “Numbers” reference to the “Sacred Rain Arrow” of the Native Americans and the poison in the all-too prevalent HFCS that is causing obesity and death in America.

But I also thought about the legacy the white man left in the Americas. A few weeks ago I read Bartoleme de Las Casas’ devastating book Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies. After reading it you will never look at Christopher Columbus or Columbus Day the same way ever again. Yes, the "ocean blue" was turned blood red. A flood of blood, as it were. Not unlike the flood of blood synchronicity discoverer Carl Jung wrote about prior to the outbreak of World War I.

This Spanish priest came to the New World along with conquistadores of that era. De Las Casas’ first-hand account of what he witnessed will chill you to the bone. It’s a story of genocide, greed, hypocrisy, and cruelties so horrific, you will feel sick to your stomach. Native peoples are promised peace, only to be slaughtered by the European invaders, many of whom were greedily seeking gold and treasure.

Perhaps Stanley Kubrick was on to something. Think of the hedge maze (not in King's book) that proves to be a key feature in The Shining film. A maze in the U.S., particularly this time of year, is usually carved out of a cornfield. Just this morning, a story was posted online about a corn maze (or maize?) so large that people are calling 911 in hopes of being found.

Perhaps that is why the Gold Room plays a significant role (an obsession for gold – and getting it at any cost) and Jack muses to Lloyd that all of this – from Timbuktu (African slave trade) to the far Pacific coast of Oregon, is “white man’s burden” – an excuse for the intolerable way those of European descent treated the Africans and also the Native peoples who were living and thriving before our arrival.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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