Menzoid Essay: BEST car chase ever…

It was this week in 1968 that a movie featuring the greatest old school (no CGI) car chase ever filmed was released. The Menzoid speaks of Bullitt, which boasted three stars: Steve McQueen, a Dodge Charger R/T, and a Ford Mustang GT.

 

Indeed, the great chase unfolds ever-so-slowly, almost seductively. It begins with a black Charger inching into view, a shark stalking its prey. Meanwhile, Detective-Lieutenant Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen), is seated behind the wheel of a dark green ’68 Ford Mustang GT. He is the intended target of the two assassins occupying the despicable Dodge. In the background, ominous music plays. Like the car chase about to erupt, the soundtrack also starts off subtlety, eventually building to a crescendo. In the meantime, the ebony Charger nonchalantly follows the emerald Mustang along the serpentine streets of San Francisco.

 

Yet, unbeknown to the hitmen – and the audience – Frank Bullitt is indeed aware he’s being tailed. So when the driver of the Charger hangs a right at an intersection and expects to see the Mustang’s taillights, instead, he’s greeted by an empty vista. The Charger’s driver – dressed to match his car (thick black-rimmed eyeglasses, black trench coat and black gloves) – is silently yet noticeably rattled. Somehow, Bullitt has given him the slip.

 

The Charger continues to slowly cruise San Francisco’s hilly, winding roads. The hitmen look right and left for that elusive Ford. Then, suddenly, the missing Mustang is spotted – in the Charger’s rear-view mirror. The hunted is poised to become the hunter.

So begins the iconic car chase scene in Bullitt, first released 44 years ago. Although less than eight minutes, it doesn’t really roar into high gear until the two-minute mark. That’s when the camera zooms in to reveal the Charger’s agitated driver diligently fastening his seatbelt. (Translation: Time for some serious driving.) Sure enough, he floors the accelerator. At this precise moment, the background music ends as the howl of a Hemi unleashed appropriates the film’s soundtrack. Smoke gushes from the Charger’s wheel wells as it makes a rubber-incinerating left-turn from the right lane. This time around, it is the Dodge aiming to give the Mustang the slip.

Wow! The last time The Menzoid saw motoring like that Lady Menzoid was rushing to the mall to take advantage of the Smores sale at the Laura Secord Factory Outlet!

In any event, the chase is on as the two iconic muscle cars sometimes go airborne while navigating San Franciscan roads that resemble rollercoaster tracks.

 

Yet, the beauty of the Bullitt chase is how all the subtle elements merge together in such perfect harmony. For starters, there’s a complete absence of dialogue. The entire audio component consists of two minutes of edgy music followed by five minutes of roaring V8s and banshee-like shrieks of rubber-on-asphalt. Even when a death-defying close call occurs, frustration or fright is conveyed by a facial expression or hand gesture. Then there’s the inherent beauty of the city by the bay, which serves as the backdrop. And finally, there is the knowledge that almost half century after it was filmed, you know that the likes of Al Gore and David Suzuki must weep aloud upon witnessing such an egregious carbon footprint created by old school Detroit iron.

Like The Menzoid said: Best. Car Chase. Ever.

Menzoid Essay: A politically correct…Halloween!

Forget about the War on Christmas. The mavens of political correctness have a new target in their crosshairs: Halloween.

Case in point: those co-parents and tall foreheads at the ever-progressive Toronto District School Board have several “concerns” with respect to the imagery – and even the foodstuffs – associated with All Hallow’s Eve.

In fact, some schools in Toronto and elsewhere now refer to Halloween as “Black and Orange Day,” fearing the H-word itself will be as potentially offensive to certain groups as Christmas may be for some non-Christians.

Indeed, the TDSB’s Halloween policy is outlined in a document called – wait for it! –Teaching Resource for Dealing with Controversial and Sensitive Issues in Toronto District School Board Classrooms. Darn … I forgot to pick up my copy when it first came out.

In any event, this document, dripping with spine-tingling bureaucratese, outlines six reasons why Halloween isn’t as fun as you might think.

For instance:

  1. 1.   “Halloween is a religious day of significance for Wiccans and therefore should be treated respectfully.” According to the TDSB’s Supervising Principal of Equity and Inner City (don’t you love their titles, folks?), nobody knows how many students of the Wiccan faith attend Toronto schools. Nor have complaints been quantified. But non-wiccans celebrating Halloween might kinda sorta offend real wiccans who consider the day sacred. And, no, I’m not making this up folks.
  2. 2.   “Peer and social/media consumer pressures target all children and their families as consumers of costumes, makeup, food products, etc. Many students and their families can feel this socio-economic marginalization keenly.”  The TDSB is on to something here. Indeed, my young son, Sean, was planning on dressing up as Iron Man this year. But since money is too tight to mention, Sean realized The Menzoid wouldn’t be able to afford replica repulsor ray gloves or a pair of jet-propulsion boots. “Daddy, forget about buying me a costume this year,” Sean said the other day. “I just realized social/media consumer pressures are fueling my desire to dress-up as a superhero. I’ll stay at home on Black and Orange Day this year so that you don’t feel any socio-economic marginalization, keenly or otherwise.” Aw, what a kid!
  3. 3.    “The images and icons associated with consumer-oriented Halloween can come into conflict with some students’ and their families’ religious beliefs.” Hmmm… does dressing up as a zombie mock the resurrection of Christ? In any event, the TSDB notes that “tombstones, the trivialization of death, and gore” are offensive to both Christians and Muslims. Still, if a devout [fill in the religion here] student was offended by Halloween celebrations – or, more accurately, if the parents of that student were offended – wouldn’t it make more sense for that pupil simply to stay home on Oct. 31 rather than alter Halloween celebrations for the entire student body? Or is that too logical?
  4. 4.    “The food products that are marketed heavily during the Halloween period can come into conflict with students’ and their families’ dietary habits.” Certainly this is certainly the biggest red herring put forth by the anti-Halloween camp. Since “offensive” food products are marketed all year long, surely it is within the bailiwick of parents to control such foodstuffs. Besides, Halloween fun at our strictly peanut-free schools involves dressing up, not consuming copious quantities of conflicting candies.
    5. “Some students have had first-hand traumatic experiences of violence that make talking about death, ghosts, etc., extremely alienating.” Again, the TDSB has zero tangible evidence to support the position that a rubber werewolf mask might “alienate” or “traumatize” a child who has previously experienced violence. Are we to assume children who have experienced trauma are forever incapable of embracing make-believe fun on Halloween?
    6. “Many recently arrived students in our schools share no background cultural knowledge of trick-or-treating or the commercialization of death as ‘fun.’” Forget Halloween. Surely “recently arrived students” have no cultural knowledge of Canadian history, the lyrics to the national anthem, or for that matter, the delayed offside rule in hockey. Isn’t it incumbent upon teachers to, well, teach the kids about Canadian culture? Or is that too much to ask for – that teachers TEACH?

Bottom line: Halloween is all about kids from all cultures and faiths dressing up and having fun. The educrats at the TDSB, under the guidance of the abominable Chris Spence, appears to be basing its policy paper more on phantom concerns than quantifiable complaints.

Oh well. Happy Black and Orange Day, nevertheless.