Mahmoud's Big MacGuffin

What Iran recently accomplished in Lebanon has been called by various names.  A red herring, feint or diversion is what it is commonly called when recognized but the term MacGuffin (or McGuffin) is much more suitable when explaining Ahmadinejad's clever ploy.

This term was defined by Alfred Hitchcock while giving a famous interview to Francois Truffaut in 1966, explaining a type of plot device he had used and would use extensively in most of his movies.  As exampled in Notorious, it was the hidden uranium in wine bottles or the non—existent character of George Kaplan in North by Northwest and later on, the stone in Romancing the Stone, the diamond in Snatch and perfectly, the Fed—Ex package Tom Hanks hangs on to throughout Cast Away and finally delivers at the end of the movie.

Angus McPhail, widely credited as the inventor of the term, gave this absurd explanation of its meaning. 

'Two men were traveling on a train from London to Scotland. An odd shaped package sat on the luggage rack above their seat,' explained McPhail.

"What have you there?" asked one of the men.

'Oh, that's a MacGuffin," replied his companion.

"What's a MacGuffin?"

"It's a device for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands."

"But there aren't any lions in the Scottish Highlands!"

"Well, then, I guess that's no MacGuffin!"

It is really nothing at all, but merely an object or reason around which the plot is built.  It helps to carry the story along and is made to seem valid because of the real efforts and labor that are applied to the charade.  The more effort applied to the sham the more relevant the deception becomes.  It's what a magician does when performing sleight of hand — 'look, here's what I'm doing,' but meanwhile, somewhere else, an actuality is occurring.   It's misdirection, simple but yet, it's more than that.

The beauty and ingenuity of a MacGuffin is, even if it is recognized by one and all it can still be a highly successful maneuver.  Unlike a red herring, it keeps the observer focused on a particular thing while behind the scenes the real goal is being achieved without hindrance or vocal skepticism.  But a MacGuffin cannot be entirely dismissed as the ruse it is, because the characters don't know  if it's real.    

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cleverly concocted a Shi'a flavored MacGuffin in Lebanon when he had Israel and Hezbollah at each others throats.  While the entire world focused on the death and destruction there, Iran was left free to pursue its nuclear dreams, unfettered by half—hearted UN non—nuclear proliferation demands and threats of Western sanctions.  Even now, as Iran refuses to comply with U.N. Resolution 1696, it draws little ire from the United Nations Security Council and the nations that voted for it.  This most recent conflict has served its purpose and now all eyes are upon the rebuilding process, as the various interested parties engage in scapegoating and blame.

Flush with that success, Ahmadinejad cleverly served up another helping of the same recipe to the United Nations on 19 September 2006.  Many member nations listened with rapture as he delivered his habitual anti—American rant to the inhabitants of Turtle Bay.  And in the meantime, Ahmadinejad and his ilk are free to continue their nefarious nuclear goals. 

One wonders just how many Hitchcock festivals he might have attended before the occupation of the American Embassy interrupted his career as a student.

With Pavlovian instinct and a hidden agenda also spawned from the dark side, quick—study Hugo Chavez, saw an opportunity to follow his 'trench—mate's' successful act with his own Latin—American MacGuffin.  Speaking to the same crowd, the Venezuelan Marxist delivered his own vitriolic tirade and was rewarded with the applause and approval of many. 

As Chavez spoke his eyes were on 'the donut and not upon the hole.'   Apparent to most, the real prize he wishes to claim is the open seat on the UN Security Council (elected members) and to this end he set about to MacGuffinize one and all.  His demonization of Dubya was delivered on cue and with a certain sort of show biz skill.  Most observers now discuss  only his invective, not whether Venezuela should serve a two year term on the Council.

Not to be outdone by soul—mate, Ahmadinejad, Chavez next appeared on the altar of a Harlem church offering 100 million gallons of subsidized Citgo home heating oil to the poor.  This is the same neighborhood Fidel Castro visited in 1960, and again in 1965.  One could assume, by this symbolic gesture, Chavez intends to be Fidel's heir apparent in the Western Hemisphere.   

While some Liberals, such as Pelosi and Rangel did a quick 'two—step' to distance themselves, others, such as that Hollywood example of intellectualism, Danny Glover, and New York City Councilman and experienced Black Panther Party member, Charles Barron, rushed to embrace the anti—Americanism of this South American 'Castro.'  Also joining the Harlem media circus, US Rep. Joseph Kennedy was named by Chavez as 'chief Citgo salesman in the United States.'     
     
To call Chavez a clown demeans the likes of Red Skelton, Emmett Kelly and Art Carney.  He is not on the world stage to entertain and amuse us, he's there to lull us into unrecognized diversion and complacency for his own cunning agenda.  Clowns, by and large, are not dangerous but this calculating buffoon has schemes not yet realized and the fulfillment of them would not bode well for the Americas.  Call him what you will, even clowns are adept at a complex MacGuffin dish—up when needed.  

If you happen to like some exotic treat along with a Colombia Nariņo Supremo or an Arabian Mocha Sanani, then I say go for it!  As for me, I'll just have a plain MacGuffin with a large House Blend, black.  Somehow, it's less complicated when I hear of a Cruise missile rushing through the window of a Khartoum aspirin factory in the middle of a sex scandal.  Small, home—grown expected pleasures are sometimes the best.

What Iran recently accomplished in Lebanon has been called by various names.  A red herring, feint or diversion is what it is commonly called when recognized but the term MacGuffin (or McGuffin) is much more suitable when explaining Ahmadinejad's clever ploy.

This term was defined by Alfred Hitchcock while giving a famous interview to Francois Truffaut in 1966, explaining a type of plot device he had used and would use extensively in most of his movies.  As exampled in Notorious, it was the hidden uranium in wine bottles or the non—existent character of George Kaplan in North by Northwest and later on, the stone in Romancing the Stone, the diamond in Snatch and perfectly, the Fed—Ex package Tom Hanks hangs on to throughout Cast Away and finally delivers at the end of the movie.

Angus McPhail, widely credited as the inventor of the term, gave this absurd explanation of its meaning. 

'Two men were traveling on a train from London to Scotland. An odd shaped package sat on the luggage rack above their seat,' explained McPhail.

"What have you there?" asked one of the men.

'Oh, that's a MacGuffin," replied his companion.

"What's a MacGuffin?"

"It's a device for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands."

"But there aren't any lions in the Scottish Highlands!"

"Well, then, I guess that's no MacGuffin!"

It is really nothing at all, but merely an object or reason around which the plot is built.  It helps to carry the story along and is made to seem valid because of the real efforts and labor that are applied to the charade.  The more effort applied to the sham the more relevant the deception becomes.  It's what a magician does when performing sleight of hand — 'look, here's what I'm doing,' but meanwhile, somewhere else, an actuality is occurring.   It's misdirection, simple but yet, it's more than that.

The beauty and ingenuity of a MacGuffin is, even if it is recognized by one and all it can still be a highly successful maneuver.  Unlike a red herring, it keeps the observer focused on a particular thing while behind the scenes the real goal is being achieved without hindrance or vocal skepticism.  But a MacGuffin cannot be entirely dismissed as the ruse it is, because the characters don't know  if it's real.    

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cleverly concocted a Shi'a flavored MacGuffin in Lebanon when he had Israel and Hezbollah at each others throats.  While the entire world focused on the death and destruction there, Iran was left free to pursue its nuclear dreams, unfettered by half—hearted UN non—nuclear proliferation demands and threats of Western sanctions.  Even now, as Iran refuses to comply with U.N. Resolution 1696, it draws little ire from the United Nations Security Council and the nations that voted for it.  This most recent conflict has served its purpose and now all eyes are upon the rebuilding process, as the various interested parties engage in scapegoating and blame.

Flush with that success, Ahmadinejad cleverly served up another helping of the same recipe to the United Nations on 19 September 2006.  Many member nations listened with rapture as he delivered his habitual anti—American rant to the inhabitants of Turtle Bay.  And in the meantime, Ahmadinejad and his ilk are free to continue their nefarious nuclear goals. 

One wonders just how many Hitchcock festivals he might have attended before the occupation of the American Embassy interrupted his career as a student.

With Pavlovian instinct and a hidden agenda also spawned from the dark side, quick—study Hugo Chavez, saw an opportunity to follow his 'trench—mate's' successful act with his own Latin—American MacGuffin.  Speaking to the same crowd, the Venezuelan Marxist delivered his own vitriolic tirade and was rewarded with the applause and approval of many. 

As Chavez spoke his eyes were on 'the donut and not upon the hole.'   Apparent to most, the real prize he wishes to claim is the open seat on the UN Security Council (elected members) and to this end he set about to MacGuffinize one and all.  His demonization of Dubya was delivered on cue and with a certain sort of show biz skill.  Most observers now discuss  only his invective, not whether Venezuela should serve a two year term on the Council.

Not to be outdone by soul—mate, Ahmadinejad, Chavez next appeared on the altar of a Harlem church offering 100 million gallons of subsidized Citgo home heating oil to the poor.  This is the same neighborhood Fidel Castro visited in 1960, and again in 1965.  One could assume, by this symbolic gesture, Chavez intends to be Fidel's heir apparent in the Western Hemisphere.   

While some Liberals, such as Pelosi and Rangel did a quick 'two—step' to distance themselves, others, such as that Hollywood example of intellectualism, Danny Glover, and New York City Councilman and experienced Black Panther Party member, Charles Barron, rushed to embrace the anti—Americanism of this South American 'Castro.'  Also joining the Harlem media circus, US Rep. Joseph Kennedy was named by Chavez as 'chief Citgo salesman in the United States.'     
     
To call Chavez a clown demeans the likes of Red Skelton, Emmett Kelly and Art Carney.  He is not on the world stage to entertain and amuse us, he's there to lull us into unrecognized diversion and complacency for his own cunning agenda.  Clowns, by and large, are not dangerous but this calculating buffoon has schemes not yet realized and the fulfillment of them would not bode well for the Americas.  Call him what you will, even clowns are adept at a complex MacGuffin dish—up when needed.  

If you happen to like some exotic treat along with a Colombia Nariņo Supremo or an Arabian Mocha Sanani, then I say go for it!  As for me, I'll just have a plain MacGuffin with a large House Blend, black.  Somehow, it's less complicated when I hear of a Cruise missile rushing through the window of a Khartoum aspirin factory in the middle of a sex scandal.  Small, home—grown expected pleasures are sometimes the best.