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There is a light that never goes out (Hell Valley)

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OKLAHOMA CITY – So, the Tweeter-in-Chief does it again. 

He tells us to "get smart." Yeah, right pal.

And right after it is reported a "machete-wielding terrorist" attacks people at the Louvre in Paris, France. President Trump wants to chime in on Twittersphere, as his goofball sidekick, Kellyanne Conway babbles about the notorious "Bowling Green Massacre" - that never happened.

Fake news alert! Or maybe we really have entered Biff Tannen's dystopian "Alternate 1985" in Back to the Future Pt. II. Instead of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, it was actually meant to be 1985. After all, we have our own "Mad Dog" in government ... Time's up runt!

Oddly, this synced with a November 2015 post I made here at Dust Devil Dreams - "The tyranny of evil men" - where I note not only the-then recent attacks at the Bataclan theater in Paris during an Eagles of Death Metal concert, but I also make a reference to the show Get Smart.

And recall the pyramid at the Louvre? Well, Loren Coleman has more on that angle here.

President Trump Tweeted at 7:51 a.m. EST: “A new radical Islamic terrorist has just attacked the Louvre in Paris. Tourists were locked down. France on edge again. GET SMART U.S.

Funnily enough, speaking of pyramids, I recently saw someone call Trump our Chauncey Gardiner, from Being There. Nearly a year ago, Joel Dyer wrote:"Trump is Chance in a real-life Being There remake."

Naturally, when I saw the emphasis on the phrase “GET SMART,” I could not help but think about the Mel Brooks and Buck Henry-created secret agent-spoof comedy Get Smart (1965-1970), starring Don Adams as CONTROL Agent (read: CIA) Maxwell Smart, who is constantly battling the agents of the “International criminal organization KAOS founded in 1957,” as we learn in the black-and-white first episode “Mr. Big,” which aired Sept. 18, 1965.

Cone of Silence. (NBC)

This episode stood out in my mind, even though I had not seen it in months. Funny thing, my family had been in a Get Smart mood and when I watched the “Mr. Big” episode last fall, the storyline really stood out to me, particularly when thinking about what went down in New York on September 11, 2001 (Read Dr. Judy Wood’s Where Did the Towers Go? for more on that).

In this episode, Smart (aka “86”) and Agent 99 (played by the fetching Barbara Feldon), are instructed to stop Mr. Big and recover the stolen Inthermo, a powerful machine invented by Prof. Hugo Dante – who was kidnapped, along with Dante’s Inthermo - which is “capable of converting heat waves into immense destructive power.”

KAOS leader Mr. Big tries to extort $100 million or the Inthermo ray will be used against New York City, specifically the Statue of Liberty.

Maxwell Smart and Agent 86 eventually figure out that the KAOS agents are aboard a “garbage scow” in New York Harbor and that the Inthermo is aimed at the Statue of Liberty.

Target: Liberty (NBC)

“So that’s their target,” Smart says to 99. “Miss Liberty herself.”

Smart and 86 work to thwart Mr. Big and his KAOS henchmen aboard the boat, as Mr. Big yells, “Get Smart, you fools!”

It is here that I should mention that the Statue of Liberty was a gift to the United States from (terror-stricken) France, back in 1886. And it was on the centenary of the Statue, in 1986, that repairs were made to this beacon of hope to the world, seeking peace and freedom.

And while the Inthermo ray was not turned off, a self-destruct button did go off, obliterating the boat and Mr. Big along with it. Smart, 86 and Prof. Dante escape in a dinghy as the debris falls around them.

Prof. Dante sagely says that the “blazing inferno” of the Inthermo ray-induced explosion reminded him that rather than his device being called Dante’s Inthermo, it should be called “Dante’s Inferno,” clearly a referenced to the epic poem of the same name by Dante Alighieri and his circles of Hell.

Oddly enough, in Back to the Future Pt. II, noted earlier, when Marty McFly realizes they are in Alternate 1985, he suggests they are "It's like we're in Hell or something." Doc responds, "Oh it's Hill Valley, although I can't imagine Hell being much worse." Hill Valley under Tannen (Trump) becomes a veritable HELL Valley.

Discussing the complexities of Back to the Future time travel on The Big Bang Theory.

Meanwhile, the Statue of Liberty – and New York City – are saved by the bumbling and well-meaning Agent Maxwell Smart.

Agent 99 (Barbara Feldon) and Maxwell Smart (Don Adams) at the end of the first episode of Get Smart. (NBC)

Calling CONTROL from his shoe phone, Smart says: “I take great pride in saying that the forces of evil have once again been foiled in their attempt to extinguish the torch of liberty.” Then he realizes it was a wrong number …

So here we are, over 50 years after that debut episode of Get Smart aired on television, in an era of espionage, secret agents and obsessions about James Bond, Agent 007. And the idea of the Statue of Liberty is under threat. This very week, The New Yorker magazine features a very powerful cover image, with the “torch of liberty,” held by the Statue of Liberty, “snuffed out,” as reported by The Huffington Post today. The reason? Because of President Trump’s un-American stance on immigrants, particularly aimed at Muslims and Hispanics. 

My November 2014 Dust Devil Dreams post "TOTALLY: It's a gas, gas, gas" addresses the Statue of Liberty enigma.

“It used to be that the Statue of Liberty, and her shining torch, was the vision that welcomed new immigrants. And, at the same time, it was the symbol of American values,” cover artist John W. Tomac told The New Yorker. “Now it seems that we are turning off the light.”

A light that never goes out? Maybe not.

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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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