KEYWORDS: system, war, film, cults, people

Apocalypse Now

David Berg

—A Blast at the Cults!DO 8651 January 1980

—Dinner discussion after seeing the movie, "Apocalypse Now!"

1. (DAD BEGINS BY ASKING SUE TO RECALL THE MOVIE, which she had seen some weeks before:) (Sue: I'm trying to remember. It opens with helicopters whirring & the jungle burning.) You don't have to give every detail. (Sue: OK, & then it shows a young Army guy; Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) in Saigon waiting for an assignment. And he's drinking & doing this karate stuff & waiting for his next assignment & feeling...) What is he? (Sue: An officer.) What kind of officer? (Sue: He was with the CIA.) Intelligence! In other words, he was a spy, that was his main job. And, of course, to carry out his work he had already killed several people.

2. IN OTHER WORDS, KILLING WAS JUSTIFIABLE IN HIS OUTFIT, providing he accomplished his mission. (Maria: Killing is justifiable with anybody in a war, right?) Uh-huh. (Maria: It doesn't matter what you are.) Especially with the System. Go on.

3. (SUE: HE FINALLY GETS REALLY SMASHED & two officers come in & try to sober him up & take him away to his next assignment, & then he's sitting around the lunch table with some top military officers...) What would you say‚ first of all, was his feeling & attitude towards the System? (Sue: He definitely seemed real fed up with it all.) Uh-huh, right! (Maria: But he wanted to get into it, remember? It was like he wanted to get on with it & do something, kill somebody or accomplish something.)

4. WHAT DO YOU THINK HE THOUGHT OF WAR? (Sue: He certainly didn't seem to like it. ... But he was in it, like he was doing his duty & job.) Right! How long was his hair? (Sue: Very short.) How long was his beard? (Sue: I don't remember him having a beard. Just stubbly growth, kind of.)

5. SO HE HAD NO BEARD, A CIA INTELLIGENCE OFFICER, SO OBVIOUSLY HE WAS BEING PORTRAYED AS WHAT KIND OF PERSON? Would you say he was a hippie? A rebel? (Sue: No!) Or a member of the System? (Sue: A member of the System! Even all the goofy things he was doing, his karate & his...)

6. HE WAS QUITE DEFINITELY A LOYAL MEMBER OF THE SYSTEM, the kind the System would admire, right? (Sue: Oh yes!) Short hair, no beard. Clean cut, good solider, obedient‚ killer. He didn't like the System, but nevertheless he did his job. So what was his new assignment?

7. HE WA SUPPOSED TO HUNT DOWN & KILL THIS RENEGADE COLONEL KURTZ (Marlon Brando) who had usurped authority, taken over‚ gone off into Cambodia on his own, & was now operating independently from the rest of the army, being accused of setting himself up like a god & excepting his tribesmen-soldiers to follow every order, no matter how insane or ridiculous.

8. DARED TO BE DIFFERENT, RIGHT? (Sue: Yes.) And to launch out on his own. Would you say he was doing things the System way? (Maria: No. It seemed he was getting results, though, from reports that filtered through.) Yes, so what he was accomplishing was good? (Sue: And a lot of his men were real loyal to him.)

9. AND SOME OF THE THINGS THAT HE DID, THE SYSTEM AGREED WITH. He was a genius, really fighting the war, very effectively, but in a non–conformist, independent rebel way, huh? (Sue: Yes.) Genius! Did people believe in him? (Sue: Yes, some of the GI's & also the natives. He had won them ...)

10. WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE WOULD YOU SAY THE NATIVES WERE? (Pretty simple, superstitious types.) And a few of the intelligentsia, right?—And even this Captain is almost sucked in! (Sue: Yes, almost! So when he's sent off on this mission & he's travelling down the river to try to find the Colonel‚ he's reviewing the whole time this man's history from huge file of paper they've given him—what the man has said & done, the letter to his son, etc., & we hear in his own head what he personally feels about it.)

11. WHAT IS HE THINKING ABOUT? (Sue: About Kurtz & what he thinks & believes. He almost is agreeing with him.) He's almost persuaded him! (Sue: Yes, & he's wondering what he he's going to do when he sees him.)

12. THIS GUY'S TEACHINGS ARE PRETTY PERSUASIVE, huh? And his followers almost hypnotised, huh? And a lot of what he teaches is right!—Especially that the System's pretty bad. But his assassin (& that's the idea), sent to assassinate him, although he knows the System is very bad & he doesn't like it, finally decides what? (Sue: That he has to kill him, because:

13. (THOUGH THE SYSTEM IS BAD THIS MAN IS EVEN WORSE. When he finally arrives at the Colonel's camp he gets the full treatment.) Yes‚ he is starved & imprisoned, kept with somebody constantly, constantly brainwashing him. Deprived of food &—rest, & then finally even given his liberty & freedom. (Maria: And taken into the Colonel's confidence in close association, living right with him.)

14. IT'S ONE OF THE CLEVEREST PIECES OF PROPAGANDA I HAVE EVER SEEN! You ask me what I think of the film: It wasn't as bad as I expected it to be!—It was worse! After your report that it was a horrible, gruesome, typical blood-&-guts anti-war film, my first reaction was, "Well‚ as far as blood & the guts & the war, it wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. We've seen oodles of films that are even worse blood & guts war.—Not the blood & the guts & war were worse,

15. BUT THE SUBTLE PROPAGANDA OF THE SYSTEM AGAINST THE CULTS‚ from start to finish!—They even named the Manson Family murders, the whole thing. I told you before, the System doesn't go to that kind of expense on a film nowadays, on which they spend millions, unless they've got a message & some log to roll, something to put across, some kind of propaganda, especially the [AC] media that publicises such things & who makes such movies & controls them. I've told you folks before, that most movies have a message. This particular one has been the most publicised in the world!—And has won all the top prizes & awards & touted buy all the media‚ [AC] media: It's almost the greatest film ever made! Spent more millions on it than any other film, & went to more trouble to make it!

16. IT WASN'T AS BAD AS I EXPECTED—IT WAS WORSE!—Not the war, but the message. And you know what the message really was? Ummmmmm, how subtle, … how clever the System! You never heard the real message in any of the publicity, you just heard the film extolled as the greatest picture ever made, the most horrible war film of mankind today—especially advertised that way for the Americans, who are absolutely perverted, bloodthirsty, & love the shoot'm-ups & the blood-&-guts!

17. THE MORE VIOLENT THE FILM THE BETTER THEY LIKE IT! They knew that would get the Americans to go see it. What clever subtle under-current propaganda! Some places were pretty obvious. The film showed the System is pretty bad, right? Horrible! But what?—But the cults are even worse!

18. THESE MADMEN ARE EVEN WORSE! They are even worth going to any length to assassinate, you would be doing yourself & their people & mankind a favour to get rid of them! Even though they've got a lot of good ideas & even though the System is horrible—very bad—they are even worse! Horrors! Horrors! Horrors! Remember how often that word was repeated?

19. THE MONTAGNARDS THEMSELVES: SIMPLE SAVAGES‚ who helped the Americans fight against the Vietnamese, mountain aborigine people. Very simple‚ very ignorant, very superstitious‚ a very strange cult themselves, right?—With strange practices. And this guy took advantage of them with his brains‚ wisdom & Americans genius in training, & organised them into quite an outstanding effective cult, right?

20. AND IT HAD ITS REWARDS FOR THOSE WHO JOINED, even those from the System. They showed the photographer‚ who was one of the guru–Colonel's followers. The photographer represented what class of mankind? He had a beard, what did he wear? (Sue: He was like the hippies?) Exactly! He represented the intellectual hippie looking for a guru, a brilliant guide.

21. THE LIEUTENANT IN THE ARMY SYMBOLISED WHAT? Why, he was a military officer, member of the System, but he got sucked in, how?—By security, power & sex! It shows him in a nice little family group with his four wives & many children!—Quite an appeal to a sect like this! Get it? Satisfies the hippie instinct for leadership & an alternative to the System, a meaning to existence.

22. SATISFIES EVEN THE SYSTEMITE, THE MILITARY MAN‚ WITH GREATER FREEDOM out from under the military, & more pleasure. But in the long run, as you saw all the dead & the carnage & all the horrors & the torture & everything, although the System's war was bad enough, the cults were even worse!—Even to the point that to accomplish your mission, if you even had to kill the innocent—like the boat people & the boat oarsman, & some of your own men—to get there,

23. IT'S WORTH THE SACRIFICE, EVEN TO SLAUGHTER THE INNOCENT, IN ORDER TO PUT A STOP TO THIS HORRIBLE THING? At first Captain Willard was almost deceived & persuaded, right? At first he hardly blamed the guy, considering he himself hated the System too. And he didn't like the System either—a lot of what the guy taught about the System was true.

24. BUT IN THE LONG RUN, THE GURU REALLY WAS INSANE‚ crazy! Although a brilliant, persuasive, hypnotic, marvellous personality he was insane, & even worse than the System! When he finally murdered him, he had to carry his book with him.—For two reasons: To prove that he had killed him, & to prove, through his own writings, how insane he was!—Get it?

25. AND IF YOU DON'T THINK THEY HATE US, THEY'D SPEND MILLIONS TO GET US! That ought to be a lesson to you. (Maria: But at the beginning, when Willard was first being assigned the job‚ one of their accusations was: "He's getting these people to follow him & obey the most ridiculous, insane orders!—They'll do anything, whatever he tells them!" But that's the Army‚ that's exactly what they do & that's what they teach you to do! It was a little ridiculous to say that, because it gave them away. Of course! The System does the same, but the Systemites don't see that.

26. THE SYSTEM CONSTANTLY BRAINWASHES, CONSTANTLY PROPAGANDISES, constantly uses every tactic they falsely accuse us of, of which we're not guilty, they accuse us of all their own sins & portray us as even worse, because their victims don't even know they're being brainwashed & being propagandised, & don't even realise how horrible the System is!

27. SO HE ALMOST GETS SUCKED IN, the Systemite of the Systemites, a CIA agent loyal to the core, willing to kill for his government & the Army & the military—even a few innocent civilians, to accomplish his mission. He finally realises that he's discovered something that's even worse‚ that must be killed—even if he has to take a machete & hack him to death! (Maria: Even though he feels sorry for him‚ & even though he's so pitiful!)

28. ONCE HE FACES HIM, HE'S SORRY FOR HIM, he's a pitiful wreck! In fact, the Colonel is so miserable he's almost asking for it, he almost wishes the Captain would kill him. Therefore Willard is doing him a favour by putting him out of his misery, & of course doing his people a favour to get him out of the way.

29. YOU'RE LET TO BELIEVE THAT HE REALLY HATES WHAT HE'S DOING. He doesn't really want to do it. He's caught up in something he doesn't know how to get out of. He's learned these horrors, by the way, from guess who?—Another bit of propaganda!

30. WHERE HAS HE LEARNED TO BE MERCILESS & CRUEL & SAVAGE? (Sue: From the Vietnamese?) Vietnamese who? Which side? (Sue: The guerrillas?) And who are they? (Sue: Communists!) Exactly! Another sect! Another blast! "We're bad, but at least we went in & vaccinated the children.

31. "BUT THE COMMUNISTS CAME ALONG & CUT OFF THE ARMS WE VACCINATED!" And Kurtz says, "What a master stroke of genius!—If I could only be like them, if I could be like them I could win this war! Merciless, cruel, would rather have their children's arms cut off than vaccinated by the non-communists! They can kill without feeling!"

32. IN OTHER WORDS, "THEY'RE STRONGER THAN WE ARE, BECAUSE WE HAVE LOVE‚ mercy & compassion & judgment & morality; therefore, we can't be as tough as they are, we can't be as cruel & merciless & as hard & cold; therefore we can't be as good soldiers as they are. In other words, if I had an army of these monsters, like these communists, I could win a war too!" The whole idea was because they were that way, they are stronger than we are‚ they're going to win the war.

33. "WATCH OUT FOR THESE CULTS, THAT ARE NOT CONTAINED OR CONSTRAINED BY OUR MORALITY & our System rules & culture & mores & customs, but will kill without compunction, maim, do anything! Some cults are even stronger than we are—communism! So it's the great horror to fear the most!—this film is saying.

34. WHY TALK ABOUT THE HORROR TO FEAR THE MOST!—It's those who can cook up propaganda like that, so clever that people don't realise they are being brainwashed while they are sitting there watching it! It's like you kids who read The Crash of '79 & didn't realise what you were being told! Yes‚ this film was not as bad as I thought it was going to be—blood-wise—that was bad enough.

35. BUT IT WAS EVEN WORSE BECAUSE OF THE SUBTLE SATANIC PROPAGANDA AGAINST THE CULTS & their leaders! Diabolical! Diabolical! I mean he & his cult were diabolical! Colonel Kurtz, a brilliant man on his way to the top who could have had anything he wanted if he had just stayed in the System! But he became a rebel & went astray with all his brains & all his cleverness & his persuasiveness & hypnotic influence, he went the wrong direction.

36. THEY'RE CONFESSING HE WAS BRILLIANT, a genius had a lot of good ideas, what he said about the System was true, it is bad, but ... he's worse than the System like the cults! He was diabolical, his cult was diabolical, his people in a way were diabolical & deluded, ignorant, superstitious‚ simple people, with a few smart ones who were also deluded, but:

37. THE PROPAGANDA & CLEVER BRAINWASHING OF THAT PICTURE WAS EVEN MORE CLEVER & MORE DIABOLICAL! Because they intend for you to come out from that cinema with the conviction the "Yeah, that's right the System is horrible, the System is bad, war is fiendish, but there's no greater horror than the cults! There are Systems that are even worse! The cults & communism!"

38. (MARIA: THEREFORE EXCUSING & JUSTIFYING THEMSELVES.) Yes, of course: "What we do—the System does—is horrible!—And our mercilessness, our cruelty‚ our slaughter of innocents is horrible! But what the cults do is even worse, & their horrors are nothing but horrors, horrors‚ horrors."

39. I JUST FELT LIKE I HAD TO GO SEE THAT PICTURE! I said, "I'd like to know why that picture is so highly touted & publicised, propagandized & getting all types of top awards, of course, by the [ACs] & [AC] organisations & [AC] Systems & [AC] media, the movies, etc."

40. DID YOU NOTICE WHOSE SLOGAN WAS WRITTEN ON THE WALL OF HIS COMPOUND?—Painted on the wall of his temple like a demonstration were the words: "Apocalypse Now!" the slogan of these rebels! meaning what? What's the Apocalypse? The story of the End! What was their message?—the End Time! "This is the End! Join us, because this is the End, & you should be with the right group that knows this is the End!—Apocalypse now!"—Get it?

41. IN OTHER WORDS‚ THAT WAS THEIR MESSAGE, THE APOCALYPTIC MESSAGE! We have been accused in the newspapers many times of the Doomsday message‚ the Endtime message-they've even used the word, "Apocalyptic." We have an Apocalyptic message, in other words, a message of the End. (Maria: And then they accuse us of trying to bring it on, like they were accusing them!) How damnable how subtle, how diabolical & how clever!

42. AMERICANS ARE THE MOST PROPAGANDISED‚ BRAINWASHED PEOPLE IN THE WHOLE WORLD! Even more than the communists, because they are slaves & victims of the System & don't even know it, but have been persuaded that they are free!—That they're right & righteous & holy & Christian! Therefore, they can wage wars over righteousness‚ they can tax their people to death for a good reason—to raise billions for more wars!

43. "APOCALYPSE NOW"—IN THIS CLEVER AMBIGUOUS TITLE YOU THINK THE TITLE REFERS TO WAR but it's a subtle insidious undercover, a slam against the message of the cults! In other words, "War's pretty bad, but don't believe that it's the End. Some day it's going to stop. In other words, don't worry! It's plenty bad. War is terrible!—But it'll be over some day!

44. "BUT THE CULTS!—AHHH! THEY'RE THE ONES YOU HAVE TO ABOLISH, even if you have to assassinate the leader‚ even for his own good & the good of his people." So that's why I say the picture wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be!—It was worse! Oh, there's another interesting thing:

45. IT SHOWED THE PEOPLE QUITE READY & WILLING TO ACCEPT & WORSHIP A NEW GOD! If this god was more powerful than the first god & was able to overcome him & kill him, then he must be greater & stronger than the other god, & the people would thank you for killing him! They will thank you for delivering them, & they will be ready to worship you as well! Boy, what a clever piece of propaganda! Whew! It makes me shudder at the damnable devilishness of the System!

46. I WAS TEMPTED NOT TO SEE IT because you said it was a terrible hell of a war film, which of course it was, with all the blood & guts & killing. Actually, it wasn't as bad as some war films we have seen. I'll tell you what came to my mind when I heard about "Apocalypse Now": I thought‚ "My God! Another war film!—Haven't we heard enough about war?—And particularly about the Vietnamese War? We want to forget it!—The American people particularly want to forget it!—

47. "WHY WOULD THEY BE MAKING ANOTHER WAR FILM?—And of all wars, about the Vietnam War? Why?" That's the question that came to my mind, & I told Maria, "I've got to see that film, I want to know why? Why would they want to rub our noses through that shit again?—In a war in which they were defeated & a war which they would like to forget? Why would they bring it up again?"

48. THEY HAD A LOG TO ROLL, THEY HAD A POINT TO PROVE THAT THERE ARE THINGS EVEN WORSE THAN THE VIETNAMESE WAR!—Look out for the cults & the gurus! Or the boogey man will get you if you don't watch out!—Even worse than war & our System! (Maria: It's like a justification of the war, too.)

49. IT WAS EVEN EXCUSING THEIR LOSING THE WAR: "IT'S BECAUSE WE'RE WEAKER, Because we're loving & kind & merciful, not as cruel, not as horrible, we have compunction‚ or we have judgment," Kurtz said, "that's the greatest evil judgment." In other words, what he was really saying: We have conscience, we have consciencewe can't do things like they did! Therefore they are stronger than us! The message was:

50. "WE HAVE GOT TO LOSE THIS CONSCIENCE & these compunctions & these convictions & this mercy & love & kindness & all this shit! We've got to be as tough & cruel & strong & horrible with even greater horrors than they have! Like maybe atom bombs or anything in order to win the next war!" In other words, "No, folks, don't be frightened at having to use atom bombs on them. Don't be afraid for the atomic war, because, though it is a horror, it's better than communism!"

51. (MARIA: BECAUSE IF YOU DON'T GET THEM‚ THEY'LL SURE GET YOU!) "They'll get you Cut off your little baby's arms & stack them in a pile!" See? In the film, they were confessing all of the evil & horrors of war: They slaughtered innocent civilians & pillaged their villages, slaughtered innocent boat people, horrible slaughter of women & children! In one scene they are torturing a man they have captured to get information.

52. THEY FREQUENTLY KILL PEOPLE BY MISTAKE: "Well, it was an accident, we're sorry, but those are some of the things you've got to expect in war‚ you know, & you've got to overlook it & forgive it; because after all, in the long run, our System is better than their System, & We are more righteous than they are. We're not as cruel & horrible & conscienceless as they are, which makes them stronger than us in some ways.

53. "THEREFORE WE HAVE TO BE MORE LIKE THEM TO OVERCOME THEM: For example, be willing to use the Bomb to wipe them out! The world, in other words, would be better off! Although it's horrible, it's terrible, it's monstrous, it's evil, it's not as evil as their evil! And it's better to overcome any evil that is greater than your evil—

54. "IT'S BETTER TO OVERCOME EVIL WITH EVIL if the other evil is even worse!" Like some of those misinformed people that St. Paul talked about, that wanted to "do evil that good may come." (Ro.3:8). That's exactly what they're teaching there in that film!

55. "WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DO EVIL, TO OVERCOME A GREATER EVIL‚ that good may come!" Horrible & clever! How subtle, how insidious, how Satanic! Most films say something. Very few films are made by the System for pure entertainment. Most have all got a message, propaganda. And the message of this one was that: "The System is bad‚ but it's not as bad as any of the other Systems & cults & communism!

56. "IN FACT, THE SYSTEM REALLY IS NOT BAD ENOUGH! It needs to be badder & worse, so it can overcome these other more horrible cults & systems & evils even of their System. Our System needs to be more bad & more evil & more fierce & more cruel & more horrendous, because we would be right in being so, in order to overcome these other Systems that are even worse!" What propaganda!

57. SUBCONSCIOUSLY, EVEN IF YOU DIDN'T UNDERSTAND IT, YOU WERE BEING BRAINWASHED! SUBCONSCIOUSLY YOU WERE BEING SHOWN THAT, THOUGH OUR SYSTEM IS HORRIBLE & evil, these other Systems & cults & communism are even worse‚ so anything is justifiable to overcome them. Our System is bad, it's horrible, it's evil, war is terrible, it's very bad—but the others are worse!—So it's better for you to help fight with your System, as evil as it is, to conquer these other Systems."

58. THEY TRY TO SHOW "THE GURU IS RIGHT ABOUT A LOT OF THINGS, the cults are right about a lot of things, they're right in a lot of their criticisms of our System, but they are even worse!" My God! How clever the lies of the Devil!

59. THE DRAGON OPENED HIS MOUTH & SENT FORTH A FLOOD TO SWALLOW UP THE WOMAN, BUT THE Earth opened its mouth & swallowed it! The Earth is swallowing it, the World is swallowing it, they're believing it. But somehow or another that's protecting us, because we're not swallowing it, we're not believing it, therefore we, the Woman in Revelation 12—the Church, Christians—escape. It's a flood of propaganda, just think!:

60. THE DRAGON OPENED HIS MOUTH & LET OUT A FLOOD OF PROPAGANDA, to try to engulf the Woman & overcome her. But instead the World opened its mouth & swallowed it, but she didn't swallow it. (Rev.12:15,16.) So, praise the Lord! Whew! That was the most shocking thing about that film! Here I was, prepared to see just another blood–&-guts anti-war film, & I was thinking, it's a bit late: The war's long over & lost, so why the hell another anti-war film!?

61. THAT WAS NOT AN ANTI-WAR FILM: THAT WAS A PRO–WAR FILM!" As bad as war is, & as horrible as it is, & as many mistakes as we make, it's better to have the war weapon to wipe out the greater evil!"

62. WHEW! IMAGINE THE EXPENSE ($30 MILLION) THEY'RE WILLING TO GO TO, to issue this kind of propaganda against the cults!—& of course‚ ultimately, "Communism, which is the worst cult of all!" How clever to agree that "the System is pretty bad, & the war's horrible‚ & a lot of what the gurus & the cults & the sects & communism teach is right, & a lot of their methods are true & right, but they are worse than we are, & we've got to choose at least the lesser of two evils." Whew! Hum! Boy oh boy!


64. THE PROPAGANDA FOR THE FILM WAS SO CLEVER! They never revealed the message in any of the stuff I read about the film, never! Whew! … It was about as System as your can get! That was not an anti-war film, it was a pro-war film! But it was an anti-Communist film & an anti-cult film & an appeal to sensible, shorthaired‚ clean-shaven, System-addict intelligentsia, in fact, even the intelligence—CIA—to "Be loyal to your System!—No matter how evil it is‚ it's still better than the rest!"

65. BOY, I'LL TELL YOU ONE THING, THE HOLY SPIRIT'S FAITHFUL! I felt the urge that I had to see that picture‚ that it had some kind of message, & boy, that was a shocker!—That was not the message I expected! It was a blast at the cults, a blast at the gurus, & especially‚ the final greatest blast at the communists!

66. OF COURSE, THE JEWS TODAY ARE THE MOST DEDICATED FOES OF RUSSIA & COMMUNISM, because Russia's turned against the Jews. The Jews used to be the leaders of Communism during the days of the Russian Revolution, Depression, Roosevelt, Hitler & until after the Second World War, when Russia turned on them when they saw the Jews were trying to keep control. The Jews were the leaders of communism, from Marx on down! They were the leaders of American & European communism. But the Russians turned on them.

67. I THINK RUSSIA FINALLY GOT FED UP WITH THEM & saw that either the Russians control it or the Jews control it, one or the other. When the Russians decided to run their own country instead of letting the Jews run it, that was the end of the honeymoon between the Jews & the communists, & now the Jews are doing all they can to have another war to abolish communism & completely exterminate the Russians!! Whew! God help us & deliver us!

68. WELL, LORD, YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO, & we know You're in control of it all, & all things work together for good to them that love Thee. The world is swallowing all this propaganda & all these lies & all this deception, but we are not deceived by the Devil's devices, we're up to his tricks, & we know what's the truth & what's really going to happen, & what You're going to allow & what's coming, thank you, Lord! Help us to stay close to You & Your Word & each other, Lord, & we know You'll bring us through somehow, even if it's by death! Thank You, Jesus! Amen. (Are you wise to the Devil's tricks?)