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TOTALLY: It's a gas, gas, gas

Films Georges de Beauregard
A "Total" gas station sign featured in the 1965 Godard film "Pierrot Le Fou."
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Winter approaches ever closer. The autumn leaves have largely fallen and have blown away. Thanksgiving is over and a time for reflection really settles in.

The year 2014 was a total year. And all-out sort of year. Total war. Total chaos. Total uncertainty. Total happenings. In the realm of magick, “abracadabra” is believed to be interpreted in the Hebrew as “it came to pass as it was spoken.”

In the Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 French New Wave film noir Breathless, there is a scene in the apartment where the nihilistic anti-hero Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo) picks up a copy of Maurice Sachs’ 1952 novel Abracadabra. A quote in the book – “Nous sommes des morts en permission” (“We’re all dead men on leave”) – is shown and is a foreshadowing of things to come for Michel, a wanted man – wanted for killing a cop. And before long, while fleeing police, Michel is shot in the street and staggers for a while until he is out of breath (“a bout de soufflé” or “out of breath”).

In another French New Wave film from Jean-Luc Godard and starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Pierrot Le Fou (1965), there is a scene where Belmondo’s character Ferdinand Griffon is waterboarded by gangsters – and is out of breath. Breathless again. And like in Breathless, Griffon is killed by putting himself in a situation where he is killed in the end. A dark film, despite the colorful locations. A hopelessness pervades amidst the quirky characters and offbeat situations. In one scene, early in the film, the characters leave Paris in a stolen car. As they head out of town they note a replica of the Statue of Liberty on the Isle of Swans in the Seine. "The Statue of Liberty gave us a friendly wave," they say, heading off to death and destruction along the coast. A loss of liberty.

With Ferguson, Ukraine, Palestine, Liberia, Tibet, Mexico, Libya, Scotland, Turkey, Venezuela … folks are damn near out of breath. It’s been an exhausting year. Something’s got to give. Will it be self-destruction?

Aleister Crowley considered “abracadabra” as an incantation that had great power. And Steve Miller turned the word into a pop hit in 1982 – my favorite Steve Miller Band song, by the way. It had a certain ... magic?

What will 2015 bring? While I sensed 2014 would be a year that took the planet on a roller coaster (feel those earthquakes lately?) ride, I feel the ride is going to get longer and crazier, while offering real revelations for many of us, as the nation-states fracture and self-destruct. The current system is on the ropes. One can’t deny it in the face of all the evidence.

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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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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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