TRAVIS BICKLE (Newt Gingrich) LIVES!
"Did anyone prophesize these people? Only Travis... Come in Travis." --The Clash, Red Angel Dragnet
To trivialize or (temporally) encapsulate "Taxi Driver" is a mistake. TD is not about 1976. It is not about Viet Nam. It is not even about White Male Rage…
It is about the (American) decline, decay, insanity and violence exemplified by New York City in 1976--and conversely (by extension) about the sacrifice (by Washington and now suspect institutions in general) of decent, moral, hard working America--to the immoral rise of “Wall Street" metonym corporate capitalism, culminating in the political aspirations of one Mitt Willard Romney.
Yes, New York City, at least since Rudy Giuliani, is mostly sanitized, mostly "cleaner" and like any well run theme park, mostly "safer"--for tourists.
But only because the poor, the marginalized and the increasingly discontented are decades hidden from view--behind "service sector" jobs, protest barricades, ghetto boundaries or "War On Drugs" prison bars--while the real "Golden Calf", the true "Christ" of conspiring elitist WASP America, The Wall Street Bull (sculpture) remains safely ensconced in Manhattan’s Bowling Green park, surrounded by steel barricades and 24x7 police guards--in keeping with the militarization of American civil life in general since 911.
Yet Travis Bickle lives! His fractured American Male psyche is as alive today—e.g. Gingrich’ South Carolina Republican primary win--as ever. And we have Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader and Bernard Herrmann to thank for delineating the poetry behind America’s consuming and inevitable descent to madness.