Apr 30, 2020
Let Us Watch The Trailer For Errol Morris’s Documentary About Donald Rumsfeld And Seethe Together
I cut way back on my moviegoing at least a decade ago because after several years of living and working in Hollywood and seeing how the sausage gets made, so many movies filled me with an incandescent rage. So it will be nice to see a movie this April that fills me with incandescent rage for totally non-Hollywood-related reasons.
I’m speaking of The Unknown Known, Errol Morris’s upcoming documentary on the career of Donald Rumsfeld. The movie played the festival circuit throughout 2013 but is now apparently getting a theatrical release on April 4. (No word on how wide the release will be, but given the names involved it is a good bet it will be in more theaters than your average documentary.) Since Morris has made a few documentaries about clueless idiots, the subject of Rumsfeld is right in his wheelhouse, and the trailer looks great, even if the rage it induced in me gave me a headache.
You may remember Rumsfeld from such fuck-ups as “The Nixon Administration,” “The Reagan Administration,” and most prominently, “The Dubya Administration.” That’s a lot of fuck-ups for one guy. Which is why he’s getting the documentary treatment. That level of fucking up must be immortalized for history. Were this ancient Greece, someone would have written an epic poem about him that we would still be reading in high school English today.
According to the film’s distributor website, Morris used his on-camera interviews with Rumsfeld to have the former Secretary of Defense expound on the thousands of memos Rummy was infamous for sending out during his reign in the Pentagon. Termed “snowflakes” for the frequency and duration of the blizzard of them that Rumsfeld sent out on a given day, the memos were short bits of info about whatever topic seemed to cross the SecDef’s mind at any moment. Because there is nothing people in a large bureaucracy enjoy more than receiving thousands of memos containing the short, disjointed thoughts of the boss. It’s like Twitter only even more rage-inducing.
From the trailer, The Unknown Known looks similar in concept and execution to Morris’s The Fog of War, which profiled another war criminal of a Defense Secretary in Robert McNamara. Whereas McNamara, as best I recall, had performed at least a tiny tiny smidgen of introspection (but not regret, because regret is for pussies, though he admitted the Vietnam War was a mistake), Rumsfeld comes off as the same glib, back-slapping, glad-handing, cavalier, uncaring, cold-hearted, shit-spewing, boot-licking, brainless, dickless, craven, lying, addlepated, gibbering leprous sea monster we all knew and loved from his Iraq War press conferences. And that’s just in the trailer. How this country was dumb enough to let him be in charge of any enterprise larger than a shoe store at the ass end of North Dakota is a mystery for the ages, one for which our grandchildren will be paying in another fifty years.