How Manuel Noriega's Death Was About Brett Ratner, By Brett Ratner
Every generation gets the work of literature it deserves, and today a 400-word opus dropped into our collective Instagram feeds with the same aplomb that we can only imagine accompanied David Foster Wallace's first draft of Infinite Jest when it landed on his editor's desk at Little, Brown in the fall of 1993.
But first let's backtrack to Monday night, when former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega (ousted in 1989 in "what was then the largest American military action since the Vietnam War") died. At the time of his death (approximately 11 p.m.), Noriega was serving a prison sentence for corruption, and having his opponents killed, according to NPR. Panama's president broke the news of the ex-dictator's death, tweeting, "The death of Manuel A. Noriega closes a chapter in our history; his daughters and his relatives deserve to bury him in peace." What President Juan Carlos Varela didn't realize was that there was someone else deeply affected by Noriega's death. No, we are not talking about the countless Panamanians who were affected that time Noriega rigged the presidential election, the subsequent human rights violations, the cartels, or even the political opponents that Noriega had killed (though one could argue they were, perhaps, most directly affected by him!).
The person we are talking about is obviously Noriega's close, personal friend Brett Ratner. The famously douche-y director uploaded his Manuel Noriega magnum opus sometime in the very wee hours of Tuesday morning, and it offers an extremely interesting angle on the famously brutal ex-dictator's death that was somehow ignored by every major media outlet: how Manuel Noriega's death was about Brett Ratner.
"When I was at #NYUFilmSchool @nyutisch my closest friend from the #DominicanRepublic married #GeneralNoriega's daughter and invited me to come to Panama to escort my friend #MikeTyson and #RobertoDuran on a trip for his retirement from boxing," Ratner begins his post, using five different hashtags in a single sentence, thereby maximizing the chances that any possible fans of the D.R., the late dictator, Mike Tyson or Panamanian former boxer Roberto Duran will be able to find his post. Also, in case it wasn't clear, Mike Tyson is also a friend of Brett Ratner's, #NBD but just so you know.
Ratner's friend asked him to Fedex a color xerox (it was the '80s!) of his passport so arrangements could be made for their trip, but unfortunately the U.S. military invaded #Panama the day before Ratner was supposed to head down. Here's how the whole thing went down, according to Ratner:
My friend went to the #cuban embassy and eventually back to #dominicanrepublic and #Noriega sought refuge in the church because the military couldn't enter the church. After a long stand off and by blasting heavy metal music with giant speakers into the windows of the church he ultimately surrendered and was taken to prison in miami. Not soon after I was paid a visit at my dorm room at @nyuwinstein and questioned by the #CIA because they found the color xerox of my passport in The General's desk drawer at his residence and wanted to know about my relationship with him. I of course explained that I never met him and had a personal relationship with his son in law.
Nearly twenty years later, Ratner was "home at #HilhavenLodge relaxing with my grandparents," when he received a collect call from a prisoner inside a federal penitentiary. We have to pause briefly to note the fact that after hashtagging his own home, Ratner hashtags #GenevaConvention about two sentences later, likely making this the first ever literary work to include hashtags for both Hilhaven Lodge and the most famous standards of international law. Classic Brett, amirite? Hilhaven Lodge is also the name of Ratner's high-end whiskey line and also where we imagine the Dorian Grey-style portrait of all that's left of Lindsay Lohan's soul hangs glibly on a wall under a disco ball while cocaine dust bunnies collect in the corners. Just speculating, though. Anyway, back to the "facts." Here's what happened next, according to Ratner:
Curious as I was, I accepted the call and shockingly it was General Manuel Noriega. He said he had something very important to discuss with me and asked to see me in person. I immediately flew to miami where he was incarcerated at the Federal prison. When I entered the prison I was searched and escorted to a room where I watched them clear the entire yard of prisoners in order to bring prisoner #41586 to where I was waiting for him. I asked him about this and he said because of the #GenevaConvention he hadn't come in contact with another prisoner for 20 years! We spent the better part of the day together talking.
Ratner writes that he "cannot reveal" what he and #GeneralNoriega talked about, but it was "fascinating to say the least." It also remains unclear why Ratner can't reveal the details, but we can only presume all will be revealed when the kinks are worked out over who definitely owns the ex-dictator's life rights. Regardless, it was one of "great experiences of my life that I will never forget," wrote Ratner.
He and "The General" kept in touch until Noriega "was sent ultimately to #Panama to prison and spent the rest of his life. #TrueStory."
#TrueStory. [We tried to reach out to Ratner's reps to verify if this was, in fact, a #TrueStory but no one at his PR firm picked up the phone].
h/t: The Ankler