The movie about the current protests across the United States was shot a quarter of a century ago.
Tonight, after five days of official farewells throughout the United States, from Minneapolis to Houston, George Floyd was buried. It is not our business to puzzle out whether the deceased was a moral man, but it is worth seeing what was made of him after his death.
At first, Floyd turned into the protest banner for "Black Lives Matter." Then a symbol of police misconduct and callousness of the state machine. Afterward, an emblem of white repentance: kneeling, lying flat, white cops licking the boots of their Black compatriots. And finally, he became a style icon and art object: T-shirts, posters, stickers, a golden coffin, Floyd’s eye on a Paris building.
Actionism has not become the main art of the 21st century overnight. The multicolored lights of the Eiffel Tower and chalk drawings on the pavement which followed the shooting at Paris’ Bataclan concert hall, can barely be called an adequate reaction, but this time everything has gone according to the script.
Each carton in the U.S. bears the "Black Lives Matter" slogan. Floyd’s face is everywhere, absolutely all over the place. Widespread crowds are kneeling with a symbolic duration of eight minutes, 46 seconds. Grieving and indignant celebrities; the crying mayor of a city, who had never seen Floyd alive, in front of the golden coffin.
Destruction of the symbols of oppression: Confederate monuments in the New World and the racist king monuments in the Old World. The idea of inescapable white guilt and the need for certain changes to restore justice has been launched across the planet.
The scourge of police brutality has effectively been turned into a political lever.
For several hours, Floyd’s funeral and memorial were broadcast on all American television channels. For the well-being of the nation, upon completion of these two broadcasts, it would be useful to air “Wag the Dog,” a cult movie for any political strategist.
Indeed, its screenwriter, 72-year-old David Mamet, is safe and sound. He might well have been involved in scripting the Floyd protests.
It even must have been him: one can feel his artistic touch in it.