Tuesday, December 16, 2014

today's guest is not a murderous heathen

("You know you've hit rock bottom when you've been told you have character flaws by a man who hanged his predecessor in a military coup."
-- Charlie Wilson)


Next scene is in a big Houston ballroom.

Abuzz with dressed-up people.
A-clink with silverware and water-glasses.

Congressman Charles Wilson is tête-à-tête with President Zia ul-Haq from Pakistan.

Pres. Zia (in a low voice vibrating with disbelief) -- You want me to go into business with the Israelis?

Charlie -- Just for this one purpose, yes, Mr. President.  The Israelis have the largest stockpile of Soviet-made weapons in friendly hands.

Zia -- I know that.  (pauses, thinks)  I need to trust that this arrangement will remain secret.  Pakistan and Israel would have to appear to be enemies in the public eye.

Charlie (with faint irony) -- Yeah, I don't think that's a tough sell.

Zia -- You have authority to do this?
Charlie -- None whatsoever.  In fact, I'm pretty close to violating the Logan Act.
Zia -- Well, I don't know what that is.  But Charlie.
Charlie -- Yes, sir.
Zia (mega-intense) -- If I see one [flipping] Star of David on a crate...
Charlie -- You won't.  I promise.


Charlie (glancing toward the paper she's packing) -- You want me to take a look at those remarks?

Joanne -- Why?

Charlie -- Just...Well, your introduction -- want me to look it over?

Joanne -- It's an introduction, Charlie I'll be fine.

She is firm, independent, confident, glamorous, unstoppable. 

She speaks to the audience, standing at a microphone.

Joanne -- Today we honor President Zia ul-Haq of Pakistan.

Joanne -- "Before we go any further, I would like you all to know this."
(elegant pause)
"President Zia did not kill Bhutto."

The President of Pakistan winces and looks astounded.

Charlie Wilson drops something clattering onto the table, in surprise, and looks astonished and profoundly aggravated.

{Charlie Wilson's War.  Directed by Mike Nichols.  Based on the book written by George Crile.}


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