Friday, March 09, 2007

The Monster of History


AmericanStranger on the Zombie Apolcalyse. These ravenous and unproductive consumers, agents not of an end of history but of "the continuation of history by other means", could be described in terms of biopower and biopolitics, but the tireless production through narration, perpetually shocked, interrupted and jolted by image, that the movies represent hint at the limits of that formula, especially when it comes to the expression of the egotism and conscious animosity of the narrating class:

The zombie (as fully realized by Romero), on the other hand, is a loathesome creature capable of inspiring only instant revulsion. It's very stinking, malformed presence puts the lie to any hope one might hold of the beyond, not only existence after death, but the atheist's dream of peace as well. There is no peace in a universe of exchange. Zombies remain dimly conscious, though any sense of dignity that might be assumed to correspond with this rudimentary capacity for self-awareness is stripped away. Zombie-ism turns its victims into slack-jawed mockeries of their former selves, presenting us with the ultimate anti-metaphysical perversion: both the subject and its body may die, but desire (as drive) lurches on. Doctor: "It wants me! It wants food! But it has no stomach, can take no nourishment from what it ingests. It's acting on INSTINCT!" The zombie 'wants' what is useless to it, which is 'life.' Slaves to an illusion, zombies are ugly, stupid, slow, and banal. Like anything so single-minded, zombies are hilarious, but you are always laughing at them, maybe a little nervously. Everything you do is at them. It is not possible to want to be a zombie, but it is so easy to become one, and this is why zombies couldn't be more terrifying to even a modestly socialized American. Zombies, as creatures of drive, are the opposite of freedom...

...

...the entire structure of the narrative, as a post-apocalyptic narrative, is a bourgeois construction, implying/reproducing an ideologically bourgeois audience. While it is capable of creating identification with a) the throwback elitist as tragic figure or b) some middle-way position (usually occupied by the protagonist), the actual agent of the apocalyptic event is always alien, whether it be an asteroid from outer space or a monstrous figure of the crowd, global warming or lumpenproletariat. In any case, huge segments of reality are reduced to mere figures for the liberation of the middle-class psyche, a worldview that easily carries over into one's consumption of CNN or the New York Times.


Paul Féval, Preface, La Vampire:

We undertake to recount a tale, historical it's true, but bourgeois, with features neither of court intrigue, nor military victories and conquests.

It is simply a page from the secret biography of that giant called Paris, who, in the course of his life, had so many adventures!



Jacques Rancière, Les Noms de l'histoire:

Une histoire, [signifying in French both 'story' and 'History'] in the ordinary sense, is a series of events which happen to subjects generally designated by proper names. Now the revolution in historical science has rightly desired to revoke the primacy of such series of events and proper names to the advantage of the longues durées and the lives of the unknown and anonymous. With this, historiography has simultaneously asserted its membership in the scientific and also the democratic age. Une histoire, is also, in the second degree, the account [récit] of these series of events attributed to these proper names. And the account is characterised by its incertitude with regard to the truth of the events related and the reality of the subjects to whom they are attributed. Things would be all too simple if one could say that all History [histoire], according to the expression, is nothing but a story [une histoire]. The property of une histoire is always to be able to be and simultaneously to be able to not be une histoire....

...The science of history constitutes itself against the diverting story or historical romance. It is for this reason that the historians of the old school relied on the rigorous inspection of sources and the critique of documents. It is for this reason that the historians of the new fashion have absorbed the lessons of geography, statistics and demography. Thus the materials of historical construction must be sheltered from the fabulising of opinion and literary turns. It remains that the material is nothing without an architecture. We know it, in the sense of the common expression: to know something is to not have to think about it. That about which we can dispense with thinking is this: history is susceptible only to one single architecture, always the same, and that is this: this series of events happened to such and such a subject. One can choose a different subject: the monarchy instead of kings, social classes, the Mediterranean or the Atlantic instead of Generals and Captains. We nonetheless must face the same leap into the void against which the rigors of no auxilliary discipline can offer any guarantee: we have to nominate subjects, we have to attribute to them conditions, status, affects, experiences.



Jacques Rancière, La Haine de la démocratie:

This double spring of the critique of the revolution permits us to understand the formation of contemporary antidemocraticism. It allows us to understand the inversion of the discourse of democracy which followed the collapse of the USSR. On the one hand, the fall of the Soviet empire was, for a very brief time, greeted joyfully as the triumph of democracy over totalitarianism, the victory of individual liberties over statist oppression, symbolised by the rights of man championed by Soviet dissidents or Polish workers. These 'formal' rights had been the primary target of the Marxist critique of democracy, and the collapse of the regimes built on the pretention of promoting a more "real" democracy seemed to indicate their resurgence. But behind the welcome accorded the assertion anew of the rights of man and of rediscovered democracy, the inverse was produced. From the moment that the concept of totalitarianism was no longer useful, the opposition of a 'good' democracy of the rights of man and individual liberties against a bad egalitarian and collectivist democracy fell, as well, into desuetude. The critique of the rights of man resumed immediately all its rights. It might lean in the direction of Hannah Arendt: the rights of man are an illusion because they are the rights of that naked man who is without rights. These are the illusory rights of men that tyrannical regimes have chased from their homes, from their nations, from all citizenship. Everyone knows how much this thesis has regained favour recently. On the one hand it arrived opportunely to support these humanitarian and liberatory interventions by States undertaking, as military and militant democracy, the defense of the rights of those without rights. On the other, it inspired the analysis of Giorgio Agamben, making of the "state of exception" the real content of our democracy. But the critique can also lean toward the marxist manner that the fall of the Soviet empire and the weakening of the movements for emancipation in the West have made available, anew, for all uses: the rights of man are the rights of egoist individuals of bourgeois society.

The point is to discover who are these egoist individuals. Marx understood these as the possessors of the means of production, that is the dominant class for whom the State of the rights of man is an instrument. Current wisdom understands this differently. And in fact a series of slippages suffices to grant to egoist individuals a completely new face. First we make a replacement everyone will allow us - that of "egoist individuals" with "avid consumers". Then we identify these avid consumers with a new socio-historical species, "democratic man".


Aimé Césaire, Discours sur le colonialisme:

Finally one must take sides and say once and for all, that the bourgeoisie is condemned to become every day more irascible, more overtly savage, more shameless, more completely barbaric; it is an implacable law that all decadent classes see themselves transformed into the receptables of the sewage of history; it is a universal law that every class, before it disappears, must, as a prelude, completely dishonour itself, in every way, and it is with a head buried in manure that dying societies emit their swan songs.

244 comments:

  1. dejan3:44 AM

    it's especially interesting to consider how george romero's zombies (who are always proles attacking the dirty burgeois unconscious) have been REMADE in currently popular narratives incl. DAWN OF THE DEAD from 2002 by Zack Snyder, where the subversive anti-burgeois implication completely and mysteriously disappears, and a simulacrum of a critique is left...

    but to note this, one needs to actually SEE the film...

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  2. but to note this, one needs to actually SEE the film

    Nonsense. Life is too short. You are here to describe it! Saving others (such as myself) the torture.

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  3. And how is the imagining of proles as aggressive zombies subversive? This is tradition. What does it subvert?

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  4. dejan9:14 AM

    Nonsense. Life is too short. You are here to describe it! Saving others (such as myself) the torture.

    I simply disagree. I can in the same fashion say that books are not to be read, but described from a distance. And going far enough in that direction we might just as well run off to the Walden or join the bonobos.

    Please read k-punk's new post and the referenced Owen Hatherley on the Brechtian alienation effect, you will see what I mean.

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  5. dejan9:17 AM

    And how is the imagining of proles as aggressive zombies subversive? This is tradition. What does it subvert?

    It's not a ''tradition'' - it was established for the first time as an idea by George Romero, whose zombie trilogy is highly critical of the burgeois narrative/gaze as American Stranger brought into view.

    The films are different from that Richard Matheson book upon which they are based, but you can't know that unless you SEE them.

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  6. dejan9:18 AM

    I'm considering some ludic-terrorist action such as you being forced AT GUNPOINT to the cinema.

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  7. dejan9:28 AM

    the subversion is in the idea that they return as the burgeoisie's repressed, as THE DRIVE versus DESIRE, and destroy the burgeois world order ''from within''

    it is precisely this idea that the 21st century updates of zombie narratives didn't pick up, apparently for ideological reasons

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  8. i've seen night of the living dead and parts of the others on television.

    it is indeed tradition - landlord tradition! - to portray "the mob" this way, Francis Bacon's many-headed hydra, mindless, violent, hungry, and unemployed.

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  9. the subversion is in the idea that they return as the burgeoisie's repressed, as THE DRIVE versus DESIRE, and destroy the burgeois world order ''from within''

    isn't this the oldest landlord anxiety? The oldest landlord story?

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  10. I'm considering some ludic-terrorist action such as you being forced AT GUNPOINT to the cinema

    Well there you go! An inescapable servitude; I even need to go see Mulholland Drive to be taugh by Mulholland Dive that going to see Mulholland Drive is submitting to enslavement! I already knew that, but I do not officially know it - i cannot adorn myself in knowing it - until I see Mulholland Drive, which has enclosed that thought (the product of the audience) and owns it and I, like every other person in the world, have to buy it back from the corporation. Until I SEE it, I can't think the precious privatised thoughts it owns, even the thought that it itself is a controlling fraud wasting 90 minutes of the life of everyone who watches it.

    I'll just go down to the station and wait for the next line of flight of out here, if that's okay.

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  11. not wasting of course, capitalising.

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  12. if you can only know what you SEE then you can't really know very much! even if you see a movie, you know nothing more about it then before you saw it. We both saw WOLF but we saw utterly different films; you saw an anti-capitalist film, I saw a extremist neoliberal film. If your seeing it is how you know it, my seeing it must have thwarted my possibility of knowing it; if the object is what you SAW, then my seeing it only interferes with it being for me the same as what you saw.

    So in the end, all the happened was I killed an hour and half and learned nothing except how I personally interacted with this film, and acquired little fragmented references to use in conversation with others who have seen it.

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  13. An inescapable servitude; I even need to go see Mulholland Drive to be taugh by Mulholland Dive that going to see Mulholland Drive is submitting to enslavement!

    Yes because submission to art and its power is not only enslavement, but also a beautiful thing, a liberation, a joy. And the film shows that ambiguity as well, shows you how we submit because of our deep desire and need for art.

    But it is unlike Hollywood movies because it employs the Brechtian alienation effect disruptively. K-punk/Owen writes about that disruptive moment and I agree with him.

    And it demonstrates the Brechtian idea that highbrow art needn't necessarily be burgeois-individualist-escapist as well; that mass-oriented ''populist'' art can also have a social meaning, and a relevant social message. This film is also Marxist in this sense, if you want.

    But you;'re judging it on fragments and my interpretations...

    so now I am going to consult with Lenin about that ludic action of getting Chabert to the cinema.

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  14. We both saw WOLF but we saw utterly different films; you saw an anti-capitalist film, I saw a extremist neoliberal film.

    but isn't the beauty of art and what makes it diffe3rent from propaganda that it lends itself to different interpretations?

    what are you trying to say here?

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  15. you're making it sound like THE WOLF will necessarily and under all conditions perform the function of asserting extremist neoliberalism! so you ascribe a power to film which it doesn't have!

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  16. isn't this the oldest landlord anxiety? The oldest landlord story?

    yes it is. but - so what? romero sides with the zombies. he sees them as a disruptive force. they cause revolutions. they can't be denied- they come back. they will always destroy the ruling order from within.

    why is it so significant to stress that the narrative is burgeois, i.e. aimed at the petit burgeoisie n spoken in its codes?

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  17. if you can only know what you SEE then you can't really know very much!

    i didn't say ''only see'' (rufo: the image is never entirely immediate)

    but to ''not see at all'' is the same as ''only see''

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  18. he sides with the zombies/rats/asteroid...?

    this is a bourgeois nightmare, completely. it is totally walled into a bourgeois worldview - the violent hideousness of peopple -there is not other.

    if its true that its easier to imagione the end of the world than the end of capitalism that is because maybe of this story being told over and over in more and more stultifying ways; the end of capitalism is shown repeatedly as the end of the world. Not leisure, not fun, abundance, not sexy, not dancing and art and restfulness, but zombies, destruction, gore, anxiety and strife. the bourgeoisie even sustains language - without them people don't have it.

    so here is a movie on an old theme: the alternative to subjugation to a ruling class is unbearably boring monotonous babarity enlivened by flashes of disgust.

    i am not saying it is not art, (though it is big business) even great art. It is NOT subversive.

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  19. this is a bourgeois nightmare, completely. it is totally walled into a bourgeois worldview - the violent hideousness of peopple -there is not other.

    that's only partially true. american stranger's review tendentiously accentuates the zombie's hideousness to prove his marxist point. romero sees them in a much more nuanced way - they have personalities. they come from all classes and strata of society. they are sometimes poignant, sometimes more human than humans, they are not only hideous and scary. and in the last part of the series, ''the land of the dead'', they are clearly pitted against the 3% of rich humanity, so they are best designated as proles in my view.

    another problem with the stranger's review is that he sees the remakes as good (dawn of the dead) whereas i think the remakes commodify the zombies and kill this marxist reading of them. this is to me interesting, how the new productions remove marxist criticism, appropriate dissent and sell it as a commodity. these remakes are all from the 21st century. so these new movies, the remakes, lend themselves to your bellerian analysis, not the romero originals.

    i don't dig on what grounds the am stranger qualifies them as good.

    i further disagree with you as i must have said before that the burgeois worldview and the proletarian one are NOT necessarily always in opposition. in yugoslavia these two classes are good friends.
    because they HAD to unite to fight the aggressors all the time. it is the bitching, the factioning, that collapsed serbia after the 2nd world war. in my own family i had a stupid fight between communists and the burgeoisie which split the family and caused a lot of grief to everyone.

    But also in the US now, with such large masses of middle classes growing impovershed in capitalism especially, it's hard to establish such a hard class distinction, why increase divisions by talking in these outdated binaries? to me it's more like a distinction between the haves and the have-nots right now, and the haves are the upper eschelons of the burgeoisie, the landlords.

    we should strive to mobilize the petit burgeoisie in a joint struggle against the rich. but if you don't want to analyze petit burgeoisie movies to show the petit burgeoisie how the cinematic machine works, then the petit burgeoisie will just continue to believe in the purloined letter.
    you're not opening their eyes, you're just scorning them.

    what's the use of the statement: there you see, it's ALL the burgeois machine? when as beller said we are living in the CINEMATIC MODE OF PRODUCTION?

    your retreat into the situationist position is passivity in the end.
    i respect and endorse the situationist position and the analysis of the spectacle society machine fully, but that machine is so strong now that you have to counter it by its own means as well.

    haiti can't overthrow american power, and serbia won't stop NATO expansion alone!

    i don't know, maybe i just can't adopt ''orthodox marxism''. clearly i am much more sympathetic to marxism than anything burgeois, but i'm not willing to dismiss the entire capitalism and the entire burgeoisie as eeeevil either.

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  20. i forgot to add apart from the landlords the tolerant multicultural benevolent AMERICAN ACADEMICS are on my shitlist as well

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  21. well but dejan you seem tobe saying the films themselves are subversive, but at the same time have to be watched and submitted to subversive critiques. Somehow the subversiveness can be activated by this auxillary product.

    okay, i don't object, i'm glad there are these readings, I enjoy reading them, I learn, i even make them sometimes, but making them is not going to be my personal detail in the army of cultural subversion, because literally this stuff bores me to death!

    "we should strive to mobilize the petit burgeoisie in a joint struggle against the rich."

    agreed

    " but if you don't want to analyze petit burgeoisie movies to show the petit burgeoisie how the cinematic machine works, then the petit burgeoisie will just continue to believe in the purloined letter."

    No! this is taking a puritan pov; if something is good to do or even neccessary, everyone has to do it. everyone has to be trapped and controlled by this unbearable boredom, this totalitarian medium.

    This is to deny the very existence of our material society. Some people can do this. You enjoy it, Amstranger enjoys it; i don't have to do it! Everybody doesn't have to do it! I can do something else!

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  22. This is to deny the very existence of our material society. Some people can do this. You enjoy it, Amstranger enjoys it; i don't have to do it! Everybody doesn't have to do it! I can do something else!

    Yes that goes without saying, you are not obliged to do it, but then also don't critisize good films which you haven't seen because good films exist.

    ANyway the Cultural Parody Center is preparing to inaugurate the International Parodic Tribunal for Cultural Crimes Against Humanity and we are looking for really good lawyers like yourself. Are you interested in the position? We will consider internal applicants this time.

    Slavoj Zizek has been indicted, and we are considering some other academic celebrities as a start.

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  23. why should good films not be criticised as films? why should only the consumers of each film have the right to speak about them? many many people who never see a film nonetheless see the trailer, or two minutes, or the poster, the dvd case - this is everywhere. do you wear calvin klein underwear? shalimar perfume?a rolex? do you eat at macdonalds? even if you don't this is all part of your environment, as is The Prestige and The Constant Gardener and Good Night and Good Luck and Children of Men.

    have you actually seen every outfit Karl Lagerfeld designed, every tom ford and anna sui? have you looked inside the prada jacket, under the lining, at the stitching? touched every fabric? is this kind of examination a condition for saying something about fashion, the garment industry? that's art too. are there no good evening gowns? good shoes?

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  24. ever try to talk about advertising with people who make it? "well you haven't seen the seventh ad in that toyota campaign, which was brilliant." how many car ads do you have to see before you can say something about them? how many zombie movies, action mlovies, romantic comedies do you have to see before you can say something about them?

    they're all the same! it is the total that is the actual social factor, the feature of our social existence, not some specific movie or other, this zombie movie or that one, which most people never see. sure some are 'better' - some vw ads are 'better' than others.

    if we'd had a conversation about Wolf before I saw it, it would have been the same as after. My SEEING IT didn't make any difference; I could have read a synopsis and seen a few clips and it would be the same. It's not like I even remember most of it, and certainly not as a discreet thing - rather we have a collection of images in our heads from all different films and tv and various videos. and films are mostly annoying, how controlling and predictable they are, the mind wanders, they're hard to pay attention to.

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  25. it's like when i had this job basically training people to program and schedule television networks. everybody who was hired in these jobs wanted to watch the shows.

    i can't tell you how hard it was to teach tv programmers not to watch the shows! watching them just confuses you.

    you look at the research;, you look at the ratings: you look at the genre. when you watch the show, what happens is your own opinion or feelings about it, especially if you 'life' it, blind you to what it is, to the fact that this is a mass medium. a sample of one -yourself, not randomly selected! - tells you nothing, in fact it gives you disinformation, because this is a very manipulative artform. Moreover it is made and distributed in a manipulative institution.

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  26. the fact is you have to step back from the spectacle to even begin to understand what it is, what it does, how it does it. when you are immersed in it, you can only basically worship the fetish of it. how can we explain this immense amount of subversive messages being sent out by huge corporations which film critics and theorists identify? It has to be a quarter of all film. And if it is, what can it be subverting? If this subversion itself is the norm?

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  27. and the artness of something is a feature but not one that negates all its other features. Giotto is art, but this doesn't mean it has nothing to do with religion, politics, ideology, and money. The divine comedy is art, and also overtly tendentious politically and ideologically, but this does not equal 'subversive'; the cathedral at chartres and the chrysler blg are art too - we cannot ignore catholicism and the auto industry however in trying to understand them.

    so here we have a case of surplus value extraction involving art. the artness of the art is an important aspect of the lure but it hardly overshadows everything.

    a hobbesian tale of bodily drives destroying everything, destroying all culture and abundance, because overthrowing the appropriator ruling class, is tradition. there is nothign subversive about this story, it is an old story. if its staged so the audience is rooting for the hobbesian horde, what's subversive about that? that the audience addressed as a hobbesian horde is being offered a completely controlled rebellion, vicarious, voyeuristic, the fears of the producers presented to the consumers as a wishfulfillment, to passively consume with a coca cola?

    what is subverted here? it seems to me this is rather the opposite of subversive - enclosure expropriation and the totalitarian 'creation/satisfaction' of affects and desires, all neatly contained in this profit generating circuit of pseudo social life, justified by this supposed kernal of 'art' as the uplifting antibarbaric evidence of human creativity/sociability, at the centre, as the hook or macguffin for the whole operation.

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  28. finding 'subversive' content in the film as fetish, i mean, is an aspect, a part of a critique, but all alone it is not a critique at all, it is an ad. this is what's so great about beller. because he emphasises that hollywood doesn't propagate subversion. It encloses it. It images it. It brands and commodifies. It evacuates everything it encloses of content and referentiality. It transforms things into convertible property, it expropriates and capitalises what people create (with our minds, our eyes, our experience, our interactions). If "subversion" is there on the screen it is because it is not here off the screen, it has been expropriated; it has been imaged, branded, enclosed, privatised, commodified; you have to even get your knowledge of the perniciousness and worthlessness of film from a film (Mul Dr); if you haven't seen this film you have to consider yourself a dupe of films; it's the latest in an endless series of updates for our filmhead software: it alone can supply you with the newest version, the perpetual cure for the planned obsolescence; it's trick is to dupe you again, one round up the loop de loop of ironic complicity, by telling you how duped you were before the update, over ninety boring (but profitable!) minutes.

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  29. the subversive film, the film that subverted film, would be the one whose fans did not tell other people to see it, but which really turned viewers off commercial film forever.

    (There actually was a film which had this effect on a certain visible portion of its viewers/fans: eyes wide shut. a certain number said it's fascinating and brillaint and there's no need to see it, or indeed any other commercial film, ever again.)

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  30. that was btw now that i think of it one of the mlast films i ever saw in a cinema, and walking out i did think i will never watch a film from beginning to end like that again. it wasn't true, i've been to the cinema a few times since then, and i watch dvds people send me and download things too, but i must say the revulsion it creates for the medium, for the spectacle of pseudo-sensuality and the immense wealth that it is simultaneously extracting, lingers, for me.

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  31. dejan5:05 AM

    the subversive film, the film that subverted film, would be the one whose fans did not tell other people to see it, but which really turned viewers off commercial film forever

    david cronenberg made such a film called CRASH (based on jg ballard)/people walked out of it in masses.it was made to inspire such a rejection.

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  32. dejan5:07 AM

    (There actually was a film which had this effect on a certain visible portion of its viewers/fans: eyes wide shut. a certain number said it's fascinating and brillaint and there's no need to see it, or indeed any other commercial film, ever again.)

    that's one of my favorite films. i think it's about the conspiracy of the rich to enslave the whole world.which is what's happening now. it also reflected kubrick's deep terror at the sight of ubiquitous cameras.

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  33. dejan5:18 AM

    because he emphasises that hollywood doesn't propagate subversion. It encloses it. It images it. It brands and commodifies. It evacuates everything it encloses of content and referentiality. It transforms things into convertible property, it expropriates and capitalises what people create (with our minds, our eyes, our experience, our interactions). If "subversion" is there on the screen it is because it is not here off the screen, it has been expropriated; it has been imaged, branded, enclosed, privatised, commodified; you have to even get your knowledge of the perniciousness and worthlessness of film from a film (Mul Dr);

    Marx almighty you're stubborn. i like that!

    I've been salivating like a mad lupine nerd trying to tell you that this film does successfully subvert by the deployment of a modernized brechtian alienation technique, as described in the KINO FIST article by owen. it is quite extraordinary and unique in this respect; i think this film is the future of good film. it opened the potential for a return of the subversive function that film used to play, for example, in arthouse cinema until the 1990s. but the thing is because it performs the subversion by its very FORM (content and form are here united), you have to see it. if you see a fragment like the one i showed you, no you can't get the message, because the message is the form of the film. you can't see the moebious loop that the narrative makes.

    and this is NOT a hollywood film, by the way. you're talking to me about hollywood films which i rarely ever watch, unless it's a really special case like ''the prestige'' where i was only interested because i'ts based on such a good book. they bore me to death the same way they bore you, because in my own education i learned about all the ways one manipulates film language to accomplish appropriation.

    i know beller's point very well and it's a crucial point. i am grateful for your bringing him into view.

    BUT WHY DID BELLER WRITE THE BOOK IN THE FIRST PLACE IF THERE'S NO VALUE IN FILM CRITICISM?

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  34. dejan5:21 AM

    If "subversion" is there on the screen it is because it is not here off the screen, it has been expropriated; it has been imaged, branded, enclosed, privatised, commodified;

    yes exactly what i just told you about the remakes of the zombie trilogy, but i'm not sure you read it. films from around the 1990s, when some crucial short circuit happened, when we entered the simulacrum, have been increasingly less and less subversive and now they're completely unsubversive.

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  35. david cronenberg made such a film called CRASH (based on jg ballard)/people walked out of it in masses.it was made to inspire such a rejectionq

    i think rather made to conjure the notion of such a rejection, commodify it, and sell it for money. in any case that was the actual result, regardless of what the intention might have been. after all, he loves film, it wasn't his last film, and all his fans love film.

    I've been salivating like a mad lupine nerd trying to tell you that this film does successfully subvert by the deployment of a modernized brechtian alienation technique, as described in the KINO FIST article by owen

    i will believe you if you tell mùe this was the last film you saw, and show me that some portion of the audience for it have ceased to watch films or to encourage others to do so.

    if not, where is the subversion? What exactly has been subverted?

    i'm not saying it didn't sell you back your existing idea of subversion, your own resistance to watching films, and that it's not art or whatever.

    BUT WHAT HAS IT SUBVERTED EXACTLY? What is overturned, undercut, changed by this film?

    and don't tell me i have to watch it! on me, that two seconds on your blog worked - the film taunted me with its control, and i turned it off. Voilà! On me, it is subversive of itself! On people who watch the whole thing, NOT.
    BUT WHY DID BELLER WRITE THE BOOK IN THE FIRST PLACE IF THERE'S NO VALUE IN FILM CRITICISM?

    trick question, because what are we doing here if not criticisng film?

    its not a question of no value in film criticism, I am challenging the model of film criyticism promoted by those with a materialm interest in the production and distiorbution of fil audiences and films as commodities. I prefer a different criticism, not no criticism, and I don't think "close reading" with its assumption of solipsism is all there is, indeed, i think this criticism, as it stands, is part of a larger institution which is terrible, violent, and enslaving everyone.


    and dejan the kind of film criticism you propose is impossible. Nobody can watch every film ever made, - so according to you then, there exists no one who can write the book beller actually wrote? nothing can be said about the medium of film, its ideology, the ideology of all the commercial movies as a group, a mass of stuff, which relevant to individual readings, but alos beyond them, by anyone who has not actually seen every film ever made?

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  36. "i think it's about the conspiracy of the rich to enslave the whole world"

    yeah and the role of the commercial cinema in that conspiracy.

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  37. films do't do anything; they subvert nothing. they do give us quite a bit of information about the people and class who make them. what they really say about audiences is far less clear, and the assumption that because they are somle kind of "art" and can narrate or image certain legible notions that they actually individually do something ideological to the audience is unfounded; no audience member sees just one film. they are not a blank slate going in coming out trained by this one single film, isolated. critics take up a pose towartd film which is a conscious posture - they image themselves as an educated reader, picking up all nuance and reference, and they imagine simultaneously a tabula rasa idiot watching beside them, and the criticism is created in between, in the space this close reading practise creates. What it actually describes is not clear.

    A critic will denounce a film as right wing propaanda - obviously for that critic it hasn't been. If the critic says oh this film is a subversive meditation on deleuzian becoming, then we know it was propaganda, because the critic has bought it. Has been taken in. What else they may have imbibed along with the deleuze they brought into the theatre neither we nor the critic knows, except this - that they are dependent on the corporation for philosophy and insights, for enlightenment and stimulation, for affects, for everything, for their own brains.

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  38. dejan7:50 AM

    i'm sure beller didn't want to abolish film, or deny people's right to extract jouissance from being exploited. exploitation can be a source of jouissance. for example, why would we restrict the masochist's freedom to be hurt in a safe way?

    beller just wanted people aware of the fact that they're inside a machine - to alter their consciousness of it, so that they develop a critical mind, be able to distance themselves. i think beller would champion a brechtian film like MH. but nowhere in the book did i notice he encourages people to NOT watch film.

    and there are still truly artistic films being made, film-poetry, like aleksandr sokurov in russia. you have narrowed the view to hollywood maffia.

    but it seems that YOU do want to abolish film, because after all, who needs film on Brigitte Bardot's ranch? In your words,Colonel, I hear the call of the wild !

    as for the fake subversiveness of film, John Waters already parodied it long before Beller, in CECIL B DEMENTED. it's about renegade film-makers who try to make some sort of cinema outside of the hollywood web, by filming directly cinema verite style their own proletarian rebellion, but realize in the end they're hopelessly entangled in it.
    cinema verite is no longer possibnle, etc.

    how can MH be subversive? i think the film surely opened the eyes of many aspiring hollywood starlets that such a life can be a surefire road to hell. it's not much, but it's better than NO subversion at all.

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  39. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PisDd7dXgwg

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  40. dejan8:15 AM

    i'm sure the reason you liked eyes wide shut is the classic Hellenic look of the protagonists, the modernistic-oriented soundtrack, psychological realism, the novellistic-type characterization, operatic Italian-style Bacchanalie and the strong underlying social criticism. admit it, you liked the film because it was LIKE A BOOK.

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  41. one of my professors at university wrote a book about cigarettes, a barthesian thing, while trying to quite smoking.

    i think beller is trying to quit watching.


    anyway why do you say I want to abolish film? I have no problem at all with film; when did I ever try to stop someone watching a film? I think you have said to me twenty times "you must see x" (at gunpoint if needed!) and I am sure I never in my life aid to anyone "you must absolutely not see x". Certainly I never threatened to stop you from watching MH again at gunpoint!

    so where is the passion here, the hint of an unexplored attachment? There is no threat to your filmù supply! certainly not from me. But for some reason you;, and others,; react to this kind of conversation about film more defensively than smokers to banning in restos.

    I really am not a puritan or torquemada, you can't make these assumptions that i want to control everyone. Why do I have to watch films just because you do? What is my not liking it that much a threat, a moral judgement, or whatever, to the point where you think I am trying to burn cameras like a luddite?

    Isn't this suggestive of something more here than a hobby? Even than art?

    I have problems obviously with the OWNERSHIP of film, like I have problems with the OWNERSHIP OF LAND AND WATER. Am I anti land and water? No.

    i'm not ignoring the non hollywood films - these are though the only ones we discussed. If I'm ignoring them so are you! there are fewer and fewer now films made with large budgets that are totally outside the control of the big media conglomerates. I don't think the effects of this influence are mysterious or controversial - the cheaper films of the past are certainly less deadening and boring than the films of the present, in and out of the hollywood system. And you know I like plenty of films. And other things. I am really not persuaded everything that I appeals to me personally has to be subversive politically, however. It is this distinction I would like to make more clear.

    Okay, so all this subversion is going on, John Waters, David Lynch, on and one, the world is full of subversive messages. So why are the people receiving these messages overwhelmingly reactionary? You asked before why there is no uprising in the US, not even any dissent; well you're telling me americans are flooded with politically subversive messages, images, films, surely this requires some consideration? Maybe there is nothing subversive about these messages? Maybe the spectacle - as a whole - is reactionary, guarantees confusion, passivity, conformism; regardless of the content?

    It could be.

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  42. i didn't "like" eyes wide shut at all.

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  43. i mean how is this illusion created that so many commercial films are subversive?

    people, leftists, who love novels don't speak of subversive novels very often.

    but television and film is, judging from criticism, this positive volcano of subversiveness!

    you can argue for the subversiveness in this practise of the close reading of some film nobody sees (because most people dont see most films), but this illusion disappears when one begins to look at the big picture. this is why looking at the big picture is verboten in film theory practise normally!

    Hamlet is written about a great deal, loved by people of all political persuasions, theatre folks and littrachuh folks, i never heard it called subversive.

    don't you find this in itself interestng? David Lynch's deeply misanthropic product is subversive? OF WHAT? What is it inimical to? How does this subversion actually manifest?

    its as if film gets this philosophy status, where just anything 'new' or pseudo-new or grumpy, ugly and self reflexive is considered somehow subversive of the social order, rather than expressive and reproductive of it.

    there's no evidence that there ever was a single subversive film! or that a film even can be subversive. how can it be when the whole ideology is founded on this supermarket shelf, with so many choices, including brands for you too, subversive movie buff! tested and targeted just for you.

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  44. " i think the film surely opened the eyes of many aspiring hollywood starlets that such a life can be a surefire road to hell. it's not much, but it's better than NO subversion at all."

    well is this based on something empirical? I just don't buy it. Besides the story it tells is of the road to hell but in fact even that road to hell is just a story and is simultaneously for the actress in it the road to fame and success. nd it has convinced you NOT that movies emerge from this viciousness dripping blood and gore but that movies are innocent and good - it is innocent, good, this movie, social work, a public service, art, saving the damsels, elightening the bovine credulous masses - and that it is "indie" even though it was Vivendi, whose pres at the time called himself Jean Marie Messier Maître du Monde.

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  45. i actually like lots of films. Saw the Player the other day on teevee, or most of it, had seen it once before, and enjoyed it even the second time.

    very clever, but not subversive.

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  46. Dejanino8:53 AM

    there's no evidence that there ever was a single subversive film! or that a film even can be subversive. how can it be when the whole ideology is founded on this supermarket shelf, with so many choices, including brands for you too, subversive movie buff! tested and targeted just for you.

    yes this is true and I HATE that subversive market more than hollywood. but this mulholland is an exception. there are exceptions. there are films that genuinely do wish to subvert. to what extent they do, is relative. i can imagine this film is less subversive to someone like you with your malevolent disposition and your knowledge of literature,philosophy,politics, law. but i can imagine that it could work subversively on some confused american kid who's only ever dreamt of becoming a STAAARRRR....

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  47. dejan8:55 AM

    it must work subversively on kids like this:

    http://parodycentrum.wordpress.com/2007/03/10/parodic-profile-lefty-progressive-grad-student/

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  48. dejan8:56 AM

    I also love the Player! And it's quite like Mulholland Drive, only in a different, faux-documentary mode. Drive is oneiric, and Brechtian.

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  49. My favourite movies have frilly shirts and swordfights.
    I could watch Le Bossu once a year.

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  50. "Hamlet is written about a great deal, loved by people of all political persuasions, theatre folks and littrachuh folks, i never heard it called subversive."

    I never read Stephen Greenblatt on Hamlet, but I wouldn't be surprised that someone writing in a "new historicist" vein would make such an argument. Some of the new historicism of the 1980s really reads like a tv generation rereading elizabethan-jacobean history: early modern spectacle, including executions, is simultaneously subversive. All (elite) cultural product is combed for its elided subversiveness. Was the Elizabethan theologian Richard Hooker's Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity subversive? It could certainly be read that way by a 1980s tv-consumer. yay. History refashioned as a detailing of the subversion within state spectacles of power--rather than history from below, its the history of consumption.

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  51. dejan9:02 AM

    don't you find this in itself interestng? David Lynch's deeply misanthropic product is subversive? OF WHAT? What is it inimical to? How does this subversion actually manifest?

    in the way the film first SEDUCES you (in the manner of a Hollywood film noir) and then DISRUPTS the seduction brutally (the Brechtian alienation effect), in the way it portrays Hollywood as maffia, in the way it uses psychoanalytic principles to show that a life based on obsessive image-identifications is in fact DEATH. In many ways. Also in the way it refuses to be ''commodified subversion'' by parodying Lynch's own position as an avant garde director,.

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  52. dejan9:04 AM

    History refashioned as a detailing of the subversion within state spectacles of power--rather than history from below, its the history of consumption.

    Ok Hallowentry I see what you're getting at, but to find this useful one must be a full-on total Marxist, which I am not. I do not dismiss the burgeoisie entirely.

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  53. dejanushka9:10 AM

    My favourite movies have frilly shirts and swordfights.
    I could watch Le Bossu once a year.

    well corresponds totally to your taste for French realism in books. non?

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  54. my malevolence is a great comfort to me

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  55. dejanchuk9:13 AM

    ...in the way it links female homosexuality with narcissism, which is completely against official codes codas and mannerisms

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  56. yeah i like those books, adventure novels, the fanastic, the gothic, 18th century to mid 19th, very much.

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  57. dejanino9:17 AM

    yeah i like those books, adventure novels, the fanastic, the gothic, 18th century to mid 19th, very much.

    do name some

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  58. oh yes, Greenblatt. I did read that - very much what you say, in this case though the subversive element is so bougy market madness I didn't even think of it.

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  59. dejanenin9:27 AM

    BTW try to see this documentary tomorrow sounds great - was what i was telling you about behavioral-cognitive therapies:

    http://leninology.blogspot.com/2007/03/trap.html

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  60. name some books? Oh where to begin! I like the hateful Mrs Radcliff, Polidori's Vampire, Godwin's Caleb Williams and St Leon, Maturin the Wanderer, Lewis the Monk, I love Beckford's Vathek; Potocki, The Manuscript Found In Saragossa of course: Shelley, Frankenstein and The Last Man; Peacock too; Wolf Tone's novel; de Quincy; Porter: Scott: ETA Hoffmann; Tieck: Chamisso; some Goethe; Balzac; de Vigny; everything by Dumas (everything i have read; there is quite a bit left for me to read);
    most things by Féval...


    and of course the non novel: Casanova, History of My Life

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  61. thats a very good observation about "renaissance self fashioning"; there is something very post video about it, very televisual, this assumed audience for the subversiveness.

    (a completely different approach than say Linebaugh in London Hanged, or rancière or ep thompson).

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  62. warszawa11:56 AM

    The Colonel's malevolence is heartwarming. The world would be a bleaker place without it.

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  63. dejan3:31 PM

    warzawa you still owe me that discussion on lacan!!! i had to make a complete fool out of myself at I BAN, I DELETE, I GO IN THE HUFF, heroically defending psychoanalysis in front of ZIZEKIANS.

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  64. dejan1:03 AM

    http://parodycentrum.wordpress.com/2007/03/11/land-of-the-dead/

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  65. I saw the remake of dawn of the dead a few weeks ago, and indeed every trace of what used to be called social comment-satire in the original was completely excised.
    The consumer was compensated by 'superior production values' and an episode where the survivors exhibit their essential humanity was confirmed by them risking their lives to save their pet dog.
    A fair exchange is no robbery I suppose.

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  66. I seem to remember something about "containment" being the fad of New Historicist studies of Shakespeare. All this violence was made into a stage-play--and it was directed at royalty! (by other royalty, alas...)--and served to 'contain' the revolutionary urge of those who watched it. I don't remember if Greenblatt falls into this vein or not; if so, he wouldn't think Shxpr to be subversive, but exactly the opposite, a reinforcing brace of the status quo.

    Colonel: I am going to quote you on film.

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  67. Actually Greenblatt says nothing about Hamlet specifically I think, in RSF, except to compare Montaigne's essays to his soliloquoys; there is more on other plays. I can't find the book - the only Greenblatt I've read unless I'm forgetting something - but it is here somewhere and will.

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  68. Greenblatt, to be fair, was not so guilty (at least in that book) of the ahistoricalism of the later new historicists. There was not so much irrational exuberance of speculation in that book; i don't really remember it - it didn't even at the time strike me as memorable - except that i didn't buy the assumptions under his take on Machiavelli.

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  69. dejan4:21 PM

    I just saw a John Carpenter DVD where I learned something I didn't know: ''They Live'' topped the box office for 2 weeks, and then mysteriously disappeared from the charts. It was stated in a documentary which told the story of how Carpenter always aspired for his horror to be critical of the various social ailings it depicted,.

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  70. dejan6:37 PM

    anyway why do you say I want to abolish film? I have no problem at all with film; when did I ever try to stop someone watching a film? I think you have said to me twenty times "you must see x" (at gunpoint if needed!) and I am sure I never in my life aid to anyone "you must absolutely not see x". Certainly I never threatened to stop you from watching MH again at gunpoint!

    i said that because i think your position of refusal is more reactionary than the reactionism you ascribe to filmgoers in that it denies precisely the point john beller made that we are living in a cinematic production, and since we have to live, breathe and eat, and to do that, we have to WORK, in conditions of cinematic production we CANNOT entirely avoid film. ergo, the only way we can come close to some sort of real subversion is using the weapons of that machine: an alternative mode of cinematic production! i am trying to formulate such a project, so the goal of my argument is not just pointless argumentation, rather something creative active and productive: how to find a code that will undermine the cinematic machine.

    I am experimenting with it: is it parody, or maybe some sort of cinema-activism, or maybe your method of bellerian film analysis

    it is YOUR position, and not that of the filmgoer, that is sollipsistic.

    you make the statement that since the buggy is driven by the corrupt capitalist, you're going to get off, quit smoking, abstain.

    the first question is: HOW? the number of isolated islands is increasingly smaller and smaller. you'd have to go to Papua New Guinea, to avoid screens.

    the second question is: will you not be killed by passive smoking? this I say because reality is now more cinematic than cinema itself!
    ( a point made a long time ago by marshall mc luhan!) and the point which you underline yourself: REGARDLESS OF CONTENT, THE MACHINE KEEPS ON GOING!!!

    but i think you;re harping on your situationism because you have been traumatized by this whole experience. i can perfectly understand that. i was traumatized by the same situation - living for 20 years in a virtual prison. but after the trauma and the lesson learned,one has to pick oneself up and DO SOMETHING.

    i find this orthodox-marxist position unacceptable because all i hear is self-righteous indignation where the orthodox-marxist tells the petit burgeoisie: ''YOU SEE, YOU'RE ALL VICTIMS OF EXPLOITATION''. What does that accomplish? That is exactly the same as commodified subversion which you (rightly) point out.

    and besides do you really think that if the cinematic machine was solely proletarian, it would be any better? History shows that Communist property owners were just as crazy and brutal as the Capitalist ones.

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  71. i think it is propabably possible to expropriate cinema, but I don't see that the production of close readings as auxilliary to cinema accomplishes this. Which is not to say it accomplishes nothing. I am not persuaded that art is subversive or can in itself be subversive - though i can accept the idea of subversive art as an adjunct to actual subversive politics and situations. Canned subversive art strikes me as a ruse.

    But one needs to comprehend the whole thing, to have a clear idea what's going on, how this institution/s puts us to work and how it monopolises, how it contains us and expropriates social life itself. Why shoulhd not having seen MH be like living on some remote island? In exile? Eremitism? But in a sense it is, culturally; to function as a member of a certain class of culture producers or intellectual producers, you increasingly have to know this language which is the language capital provides us, its courtier class; it is dictating the terms of our grasping of the world, it is setting up toll boths at every point of interaction with eachother, and guaranteeing its own reproduction and continued accumulation and expansion this way. Debord's Society of the Spectacle gets truer every day.

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  72. funny you should bring up "they live" because i thought of it, the struggle, the fight they have to have for one to make the other put on the sunglasses! meanwhile there is something certainly suggestive about championing land of the dead as art, and uplifting as art, and necessary to us as art, and at the same time subversive art even though it itself depicts a insurrectionary humanity clearly incapable of art-production, a humanity which is emphatically not the humanity for whom art matters or from whom art comes, and in this way holds a mirror to the audience which is in many ways discourageing and degrading and reinforcing the self loathing and sense of parasitism which is then expressed in this same fear of losing daddy corporation's art supply, as if the disappearance of capital and capital's mass media would mean there would be no more art. The movie says so - (zombies are not artistic) - and the defense of the movie says so (to reject the movie is to seek a world among zombies, in a desert without art). Is this harmony of conceptions coincidental?

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  73. dejan2:58 AM

    But really is failing to rent Mulholland Drive like going to a desert island?

    Oh ok already - don’t rent it! But don’t expect me then to go to the opera, and let myself be exploited by the operatic capitalist machine either!

    think it is propabably possible to expropriate cinema,

    well if you REALLY believe in the power of proletarian struggle, then it certainly is possible! so why don’t you sponsor organize or otherwise help people who might be able to do it?

    but I don’t see that the production of close readings as auxilliary to cinema accomplishes this. Which is not to say it accomplishes nothing.

    you spent so much of your talent on repeating that point, that by now you could have already published a book about the way films exploit which could have altered the consciousness of at least a CERTAIN number of people! You would have accomplished SOMETHING!

    meanwhile there is something certainly suggestive about championing land of the dead as art, and uplifting as art, and necessary to us as art, and at the same time subversive art even though it itself depicts a insurrectionary humanity clearly incapable of art-production, a humanity which is emphatically not the humanity for whom art matters

    the consumerist society of today IS NOT capable of art, only cloning and simulation. the film is not falsifying in this sense. besides, romero is a director who shares carpenter’s dissident-popular-populist mentality so i really have no clue why you don’t like him; if there IS a subversive horror director, then it’s him and carpenter!

    Yet there was a kind of belief in a vast zombie audience, these swarms of passive idiots, of which we are a part and yet from which we stand out as “critical” watchers.

    Yes I agree this is a problem. I also noticed we are constantly excusing Hollywood: well, you know, under these conditions of lowered expectations,…and well yeah maybe they could have done it better… but my response is 1) don’t look at the audience in this way, because the audience is not the zombie and 2) make an uncompromisingly critical film, like dusan makavejev’s mysteries of orgasm
    …and then my inference was that something like mulholland drive provides a glimpse of the way such criticism could be delivered, uncompromisingly, in today’s conditions

    Film and television repeatedly conjure, somehow, these zombies among whom we live, the discouragement to democracy, the ‘rabble’ one can satisfy, pander to, pacify or rouse.

    This is true also, but NOT IN ROMERO’S FILMS. His zombies are complex. That they have been perverted by Tee Vee and lame modern remakes doesn’t mean that they were such in the beginning.

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  74. dejan3:10 AM

    AND they live's proposal for breaking down the central transmitter is useless today because there are many transmitters organized in a non-linear fashion (as a network)

    so if you're going to exporopriate the cinematic mode of production, you have to do it in a ''networked'' way

    in this way i agree with shaviro who said that beller didn't take into account the new media, generalizing the ''cinematic''

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  75. the wonderful thing about 'They Live' is that it is so superficially 'artless'. Its the cinematic equivalent of chesterton's 'good bad books'. (the guy that wrote it, ray nelson, has a lovely little story about pk dick here)

    Any film that has aliens co-mingling with 'the human power elite' is worth making, subversive or not. Personally, i've never seen a more elegant exposition of the way things are.

    The original film in the series 'night of the living dead' was made outside the great machine, an underground success ( a bit like carpenter's original essay on the conservative nightmare - assault on precinct 13 (recently and equally pointlessly remade)). Established, romero made plenty of interesting films (the crazies, martin, dawn of the dead). whether they actually subvert or not is asking the wrong question.

    If you are keen on mcluhan (mcluhan, chesterton, what is it about catholic mystics?) Videodrome is your film

    What's in the box?
    Your head.
    - I got your head in this box.


    I find nothing to like in the ponderous purgatory that is 'eyes wide shut', but we're all slightly different, I suppose.

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  76. can't believe i forgot this; it's all pink highlighted in my copy of this book, and scribbled all around the margins:

    "In a famous passage in the Prince, Machiavelli writes that a prince must know well how to use the beast and the man, and hence the ancients depicted achillesand other heroes as educated by Chiron the centaur. This discussion is an early instance of the celebration of psychic mobility that has continued to characterise discussions of Western consciousness to the present time. Thus in his influential study of modernization in the Middle East, The Passing of Traditional Society, the sociologust David Lerner defines the West as a "mobile society", a society characterised not only by certain enlightened and rational public practises but also by the inculcation in its people of a "mobilke sensibility so adaptive to change that rearrangement of the self system is its distinctive mode" While traditional society, Prof Lerner argues, functions on the basis of a "highly constrictive personality", one that resists change and is incapable of grasping the situation of another, the mobile personality of the Western Society "is distinguished by a high capacity for identification with new aspects of its environment," for he "comes equipped with the mechanisms needed to incorporate new demands upon himself that arise outside of his habitual experience". Those mechanisms Professor Lerner subsumes under the ingle term empathy, which he defines as "the capacity to see oneself in another feelow's situation". In the West, this capacity was fostered first by the physical mobility initiated by the Age of Exploration, then confirmed and broadened by the mass media"


    -greenblatt, renaissance self fashioning

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  77. he goes on...

    ....I would like to...delineate the Renaissance origins of the "mobile sensibility" and having done so...to demonstrate that what Professor Lerner calls "empathy", Shakespeare calls "Iago"

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  78. That stinks a bit: This discussion is an early instance of the celebration of psychic mobility that has continued to characterise discussions of Western consciousness to the present time

    One wonders how 300 plays into this long history of the empathetic West: the writhing, seething brown and black mass which is not to be identified (with or at all!) that must be held back by the efforts of 300 icons of Western democracy and might.

    Of course, one must produce along the lines of the dominant ideology, so Greenblatt was just toeing the line.

    I should look and see what Machiavelli actually says.

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  79. [T]here are twos ways of fighting, one with laws and one with force. The first is properly a human method, the second belongs to beasts. But as the first method does not always suffice, you sometimes have to turn to the second. Thus a prince must know how to make good use of the beast and the man. Ancient writers made subtle note of this fact when they wrote that Achilles and many other princes of antiquity were sent to be reared by Chiron the centaur, who trained them in his discipline. Having a teacher who is half man and half beast can only mean that a prince must know how to use both these natures, and that one without the other has no lasting effect.
    --The Way Princes Should Keep Their Word

    This discussion represents a common ability of human consciousness to employ metaphor.

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  80. Thus in his influential study of modernization in the Middle East, The Passing of Traditional Society, the sociologust David Lerner defines the West as a "mobile society", a society characterised not only by certain enlightened and rational public practises but also by the inculcation in its people of a "mobilke sensibility so adaptive to change that rearrangement of the self system is its distinctive mode"

    That thus does a lot of work. It changes an observation that laws are scribbles on a page or chips in rock without a force to sustain them into the foundation of a distinctive characteristic of Western mentality: a consciousness that can react to changes in its environment!. Hrm.

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  81. "In a famous passage in the Prince, Machiavelli writes that a prince must know well how to use the beast and the man, and hence the ancients depicted achillesand other heroes as educated by Chiron the centaur. This discussion is an early instance of the celebration of psychic mobility that has continued to characterise discussions of Western consciousness to the present time"

    This has to be the worst reading of that passage.

    It's bad enough western civ textbooks still argue that calculus was invented by the scientist-magus geniuses of the scientific revolution, still happily ignoring the astronomer/mathematicians of Kerala in what is today sw India for instance. But this...

    Machiavelli's argument that the Prince must combine the traits of beastly brutality and dignifed suppleness is supposed to really stand in for the special (but amorphous) psychic supremacism of western volks.

    So I suppose that South Asians should thank the (16th c. dutch calvinist merchant) Jan Huygen van Linschoten for accusing those 'gentile' idolaters of what is today modern India of worshiping man and beast--he really didn't mean that they were pagans, he was granting them the western perspective of psychic mobility in his interpretation of their 'idolatry'. Thanks Linschoten.

    Greenblatt here really speaks to the desperate desire to prove a western supremacism--every tiny little statement by a western genius(tm) is read to be a sign of western specialness. It could almost be read as subversive parody.

    But it's not. It's racism.

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  82. dejan4:17 PM

    carpenter's latest film, cigarette burns, is about

    '' There's just something really interesting about a film that drives its audience completely insane upon viewing and sends them into a violent rampage. The film also affects people just by getting close to it – you don't even have to view it to feel its power. This whole concept is very cool and works so well within the film that it'll have you addicted to the storyline like nicotine. ''

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  83. But it's not. It's racism.

    Funny thing is that it is so improbable. Machiavelli telling potential princes that they must be simultaneously brutal and reasonable is seen to be the site of an early example of Western specific empathy or psychic mobility? Untenable in the first place; not even a stretch. I always wonder what the hell people are thinking when they write or take this sort of thinking seriously (probably not too much other than referring back to a major writer). I didn't remember Greenblatt being this flimsily constructed theoretically.

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  84. I mean in terms of their thinking other than stupidly rascist thoughts. Maybe that in itself is the point: the glorification of Western singular excellence. But what the hell does that do, really? I mean: it's unintelligent, uncritical, unreflexive in the extreme, obviously so; it serves to channel attentive energy, certainly, and to assure one of ones essential superiority, but is that all?

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  85. I guess I am looking for the pay-off. Does it play into a greater system which feeds of Western Excellence serving to blind its patrons to the plight of The Rest of the Nonexcellent World? Or is it simply in terms of material exchange under the Western Excellence commodity? Or both?

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  86. "Funny thing is that it is so improbable...
    ...I guess I am looking for the pay-off. Does it play into a greater system which feeds of Western Excellence serving to blind its patrons to the plight of The Rest of the Nonexcellent World? Or is it simply in terms of material exchange under the Western Excellence commodity? Or both?"

    Yeah, right-on questions. I haven't read Greenblatt in a while, and though I think new historism as a genre of academic production was often astonishingy uncritical, I remember him being a decent, sometimes surprising close textual reader (in the old school english lit sense). But this stuff--'what's the payoff' exactly

    I think that most of these banal statements about western super specialness I've read are not just points at which a supposed super european scholar temporarily takes leave of their senses--whether in philology, climatology, literature, history, philosophy--but that these assumptions are assumed by the author and academy, and their imagined and purified audience.

    This banality of supremacy is just assumed to be the rock solid foundation for the elegant constructions or deconstructions in de Stael on climatology, von Humboldt on greco-roman languages, Derrida on chinese characters, Simone Weil on rootedness, etc... it's similar to the re-packaged West you see in orientalist advertising of the earliest department stores, or early airline travel brochures. I'm not trying to reduce all these super philosophers to a single formula, but I wouldn't do that with advertising either. This commodified and strangely reductionist western supremacism is nonetheless there.

    There's an assumed readership in a spectacle of western supremacy: middle-class and white--but I think its the spectacle itself which invokes this pure public as a community, a class not only in itself, but for itself, a community that not only wants it all now, but is granted deed to every wonderful idea that humans have ever thought, parcelled and wrapped in flimsy and cheesy packaging called 'western civ', the paper thin package itself that is really the gift of this spectacle.

    oh, that got a little rambling. sorry about that.

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  87. "''They Live'' topped the box office for 2 weeks, and then mysteriously disappeared from the charts"

    but films exist in a competitive market; i'd bet anything the 'mystery' is only the release of another film or two.

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  88. "That thus does a lot of work. It changes an observation that laws are scribbles on a page or chips in rock without a force to sustain them into the foundation of a distinctive characteristic of Western mentality: a consciousness that can react to changes in its environment!. Hrm."

    Exactly, that "thus" is the compact pellet of ideology. Though Greenblatt goes on of course to reject Lerner as a self satisfied meanie basically who ignores the violence of colonial conquest, he opens the discussion with him, sets him in the place of the gound level assumptions, which are then modified and adorned with proper liberal decency and "but of course it wasn't all always that grand". Our cherished Omlettes! But even the way the chapter is constructed, with Lerner positioned up front, backed up by Machiavelli himself - its very History Channel clip show, too, with Lerner the talking head, and Machiavelli and the Prince the dramatisation, and then comes a clip from I Love Lucy later in the passage - means all that Greenblatt intends to do with this white supremacist western civ is confess the price of its coming into being. He's going to catalogue 'the costs' as he reaffirms the virtues and the value, which adds up to added value because this mobile personality is something he himself is now exhibiting, this empathy which allows him cultural autocritique, proving Lerner to be right about empathy even where he went wrong.

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  89. "This banality of supremacy is just assumed to be the rock solid foundation for the elegant constructions or deconstructions in de Stael on climatology, von Humboldt on greco-roman languages, Derrida on chinese characters, Simone Weil on rootedness, etc... it's similar to the re-packaged West you see in orientalist advertising of the earliest department stores, or early airline travel brochures. I'm not trying to reduce all these super philosophers to a single formula, but I wouldn't do that with advertising either. This commodified and strangely reductionist western supremacism is nonetheless there."

    yes, and it is protected by this banality itself, that it is always assumed and never asserted means it is awkward to challenge it. Meanwhile all these western eggheads are constantly forgiven their absurdities and stupidities with refernce to the slooooo progress of enlightenment being experienced by the Subject of History - Kant's insane riffing of the smell of black people must be forgiven because of his era, as if it is not his class and its isolation and point of view, as if Time Itself and History Itself was concealing reality from its only Truly Thinking Subject. Enough time has passed now that even scmitt and heidegger and blanchot are forgiven their fascism on account of this slooooo progress, this veil dance that History is playing with its Subject, just as if they did not live in a world brimming over with antifascists trying desperately to get through to them every day.

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  90. dejan7:31 AM

    this is the subversion in Mulholland Drive:

    Here I agree with critics who point out that the brilliance of Mulholland Drive lies in roughly the first two-thirds of the movie: up to that rabbit-hole moment where a certain structure of fantasy and reality is revealed and, significantly, including the material written as the ABC pilot (which ended with Betty and Rita’s discovery of the corpse in Diane’s bungalow) and a “transitional” section that is, I would argue, the conceptual center of the film, the place from which the film should be understood, and also the place in which Lynch does something genuinely new. (It is not to be overlooked that this peculiar transitional section was created as a direct result of the interruption of Lynch’s initial plan: the continuation of the pilot as a series.) I can’t give a full reading of the film here but rest assured that it would have to include a thorough account of the three main elements of the transitional section: first, the scene in which Betty helps Rita cut her hair and makes a blond wig for her; second, the sex scene between Betty and Rita; and third, the entire sequence inside Club Silencio. What is so important about this section is that it marks the climax of a problem of doubling around which the movie has turned up to this point. That is to say, the real and truly complex problem of doubling exists within the so-called fantasy section of Mulholland Drive and not between the fantasy and reality sections. The obvious point is this: the problem here is not between Betty and Diane but within Betty herself; it is a problem of narcissism in the psychoanalytic sense. What complexifies this point is that the doubling we have to deal with is not between Betty Elms and Diane Selwyn but rather, on the one hand, Betty and Rita and, on the other hand, Betty and the dead body of Diane Selwyn. In Mulholland Drive, the problem of the double is itself doubled. Or rather: in Mulholland Drive, there is the double and then there is the Same. Both have the force of the uncanny; however, while the double leads to the dead body, the horror of the Thing Itself, the Same is the creation of something new, in the image of oneself: the transformation of “Rita” into the newly-blond reflection of Betty that marks the first act of that crucial transitional section. In Mulholland Drive it is that confrontation with the double, one’s own dead body, that precipitates that all-important second moment of sameness. It is this relation of the double with the same that needs to be thought.

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  91. dejan7:53 AM

    "''They Live'' topped the box office for 2 weeks, and then mysteriously disappeared from the charts"

    but films exist in a competitive market; i'd bet anything the 'mystery' is only the release of another film or two.

    No no, the film was taken off the charts because it was dangerous / subversive to the Reaganite policies of the period; but this was only reported 20 years later, in the said Carpenter docu. And even now they didn't really say why it was banned by soft censorship.

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  92. I'm sorry Dejan I really don't get it. what does this subvert? It reads to me like a pitch for a movie, psychographically targeted, selling it as legible with commonplace psychoanalytic terms and recogniseably in the established tradition of the postmodern genre pic.

    I can't guess what the target of the subversion is, honestly. Describe the thing that this is subversive of. Is it a genre? an institution? a school of psychoanalysis?

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  93. the description suggests the film is a case of the fungal proliferation of genre characteristics, in this case those of pomo genre mysteries, like Love Actually exhibits the fungal overgrowth of the tricks a certain romantic comedy genre, with four of every obligatory moment instead of one, and then eight endings instead of one.

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  94. i mean i get that it is reflexive. but this is not subversive, it's normal - all postmodern art practically has that feature, its industry expansion. And it's no bar to value generation - David Lynch Signature Coffee! Where did that come from? If the film's "subversiveness" was more than surface, pretence, fetish quality, more than image itself, more than the feminism of the nike swoosh, the coffee would not be a viable venture.

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  95. Here if you read this and imagine instead of "mulholland drive" what is being described is ninety minutes of restless channel surfing of television, it's very recogniseable. oh there is julia roberts and she's a lawyer named Susan; oh no now she's teaching at wellesley and shes called 'Lily', now she's vringing because something blew up, and there she is blonde and sexy and different again. what's consistent as you flip and flip is that "ugly people", certain types of people, are wicked and frightening, and certain types of people are victimised by them; that attractive women are frequenly in jeopardy or 'braless on bicycles', that the united states appears to even whiter than it is, like 92% white....

    i think you could randomly channel surf an 80 channel spectrum and pass it off as a david lynch film.

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  96. lynch did have a self-reflexive, PoMo phase - the one where the coffee comes from (Twin Peaks); this doubling, mirroring, is that PoMo loop (behind the facade of smalltown Americana lies its dark doppelganger, the world of sex violence and transgression)

    THIS has now become mainstream,and can be found in Love, Actually, or any number of Halliwud films

    And this is indeed not subversive anymore, rather, it's commodified subversion

    But as the reviewer says, in MH Lynch does something NEW by collapsing this PoMo doubling (via the Moebius strip) onto a plane of immanence. In this way the two stories in the film are neither correspondent nor contradictory; they are both at the same time = ontologically equal. So there is no way you can interpret what happens in the film, without taking into account its Moebial form. The film is literally Baudrillard's simulacrum.

    And that's not yet subversive, or even new, because already cartoons in the 1950s did it.

    But what happens to the viewer is that identification (which PoMo manipulates while feigning distantiation) is undermined radically, in such a manner that the viewer becomes spectral (how this is done I cannot retell easily without referencing images)

    and it is precisely HERE that the material comes back in!

    diegetically, by way of her CORPSE which the woman is trying to deny, repress, push back, or foreclose, but which keeps insisting (the narrative is like her hallucination in which she keeps bumping into her own corpse)

    and ontologically, by the viewer's sudden realization of the fact that he has been ''spectralized'' inside the simulacrum so that when the film ends, rupturing the simulacrum, the viewer is suddenly aware of the materiality (of the world) around him, and by extension, aware of the materiality of the film's conditions of production = of the fact that it''s an illusion-producing machine

    this happens in ''prestige'' as well, with the machine which produces MATERIAL objects. but because ''prestige'' has a PoMo form (described above), not the Moebius strip, it doesn't work disruptively. It merely reproduces
    the illusion-making machine. Although destabilized, the viewer's identification remains intact...

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  97. ...whereas in MH, identification is disrupted/broken to a kind of a ''sobering'' effect (this is what reminded me of Brecht).

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  98. This is not the work of *differance*. [2] These signs signify; there is neither lack nor deferment. This is what makes Lynch's films so creepy, so menacing: someone, something, somewhere understands these elusive signs.

    this is the plane of immanence I am referring to

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  99. in fact just like 9-11 collapsed the simulacrum to suddenly make you aware of the dust dirt and blood around you etc...

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  100. i will put it psychoanalytically: the film can be viewed as being in the mindframe of a pathological narcissist (for definitions, see heinz kohut especially) whose very existence depends on an identification with (idealized) images

    and then he enters ''defragmentation''(the psychotic part of the pathological narcissistic disorder) in which there is no more referrent, no signification

    this is where he meets THE MATERIAL; when this two-way cross-mirroring between the viewer and the film breaks

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  101. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  102. okay, well that's a good argument! but it's still trapped in the assumption that the film is its surface - the story it tells and how it tells it - and nothing else (it is not also the means by which lynchyness aquires value saleable as coffee, it is not also mezningfully the expropropriation of labour but instead a philosophical service offered its viewers enlightening them regarding something about which they were ignorant before seeing the film) and b) that this effect is really achieved on viewers (the internet suggests its less than 1% who read the film as you do and experience this as you do) and c) this effect on 1% of the viewers translates into something other than the ability to express it - something other than a relationship to (loyalty to, love of) this film.

    but these are not questions whose answers can be found by speculation, by watching the film over and over and thinking. the real effects of this newfound awareness of the real world and film's deception, provided by this commodity, can only be measured by studies of the audience for the film. In other words, to discover if the commodity really achieves its effect promised on consumers, one has to do just what one would do to discover whether drinking diet coke makes you thin. Does this commodity make its consumers wise in this particular way you describe? Just looking at the ad for the commodity - which for films are the films themselves - tells one nothing about the real effect sof acuiring and consuming it. This is why the approach of close reading is insufficient. What has to be explained now for example is why if you look at all the comments about this film on the internet, you see that the overwhelming majority of viewers a) think there is an "answer" to the puzzle of the relations between fictional siuations in the usual way, a diegetic hierarchy, and discuss it and b) don't seem to have been affected by this in the way you describe, but instead are affected in the way fans are affected by all films (a little more likely to go and acquire some lynchiness in a cup of coffee).

    we could account for this by saying these audiences are not very susceptible to this art. But then, how does the film's internal subversiveness get out into the world and manifest itself? And how can a commodity which is not even consumed by .01% of the world's population, who are already the elite, be subversive? What kind of subversive activity does this segment of the global population engage in, what could it possibly do besides drink Lynch Coffee and make and consume more such "subversive" art?

    "aware of the materiality of the film's conditions of production = of the fact that it''s an illusion-producing machine"

    so you are assuming viewers were unaware of this? the film buffs and film makers who see this film? how did david lynch himself know this before he made/watched the film? i never saw the film and yet I know this.

    and what about the person who sees the first half of the film only? is psychotic narcissism induced in them?

    i think you are conjuring the very spectral viewer the film itself insists on to be the protagonist of these experiences and the object of these effects. there is a huge often ignored gap between producing a learned and observant reading/interpretation of a film (getting at what the film as text signifies - for the learned reader) and concluding that the film is subversive of something, drawing conclusions about the effects of certain product distributed by mass media on mass audiences. the likelihood that every single member, or even the majority, of the actual human audience will have identical reactions, justifying the form of the description of the film's effect 'on the viewer', is low. that this effect will be similar to the effect of a real experience (such as psychosis) is almost impossible; there is no evidence that any film ever affected even a single viewer in that fashion.

    moreover many viewers will not even see the whole film, or see it in sequence, or understand the language in which they see it; some will see it interrupted by spots, some without, some will flip around the dial, some will see it out of the corner of their eye. even those who see it in a cinema, silent and attentive, will have a variety of responses - clearly many of those responses will involve a dogged insistance that something "really happened" and something "was just a dream" (check the comments on internet fora - this is by far the majority response). even the highly homogenous, conformist circle of film theorists show a diversity of interpretation of the film as a text, and certainly there is little agreement even in tight little circles in one film department in one university regarding what happens to audiences watching films.

    so the argument for the subversiveness of a film can't really confine itself, or begin with, a close reading of the film's surface, its text. Subversiveness cannot exist in a bottle; it has to manifest in the world, in people's relations, actions and thoughts. It has to be visible to those who don't see the particular subversive film or drink the particular subversive coffee.

    one thing we can say for sure is David Lynch has not subverted himself as a going concern; he's become his own distributor having gotten fed up with only seeing the up front money. He has made some more image sequences for people to watch, which generate more close readings, and even those people schooled by Mulholland Drive in the perniciousness and pointlessness of these sequences go and see the new ones, find some reason to consume more of these image sequences. If the contention is that they have been cured of psychotic narcissism, it remains to be demonstrated that a)they were psychotic narcissists prior to the cure and b) they really have been cured and c) as a result of being cured they've gotten up to some subversive activity or other, or function in the world differently than prior to their cure effected by the consumption of the commodity in question.

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  103. and how can one explain Peter Travers' professional opinion that the film is a zoopah film, great performances, sexy!? Why is he immune to/unaware of the subversiveness? for him it's "wild ride through the unconscious... grounded in emotion"

    In the film's final third, as identities shift and the world is thrown out of balance, we are encouraged to link the pieces of the puzzle cunningly devised by Lynch, cinematographer Peter Deming, production designer Jack Fisk and editor Mary Sweeney. The challenge is exhilarating. You can discover a lot about yourself by getting lost in Mulholland Drive. [!] It grips you like a dream that won't let go.

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  104. dejan6:06 PM

    that the film is its surface - the story it tells and how it tells it - and nothing else (it is not also the means by which lynchyness aquires value saleable as coffee, it is not also mezningfully the expropropriation of labour but instead a philosophical service offered its viewers enlightening them regarding something about which they were ignorant before seeing the film)

    ok that's true. but will you finally define your position: are you saying that ALL labor expropriation must be removed for the world to be a happy place? in other words are you proposing the abolishment of the entire capitalist economy? If so, I don't mind. But bear in mind that the Communist economy, even though it was less exploitative, wasn;t much less exploitative, and 2) I think for such a thing to happen one needs to literally invent some machine that produces goodies without input (like Tesla's ambipolar generator), therefore not requiring any labor. And 3) most importantly the question is then would humans be ''nice'' enough not to divide themselves yet again into classes based on the ownership of such a machine.

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  105. dejan6:20 PM

    film) and b) that this effect is really achieved on viewers (the internet suggests its less than 1% who read the film as you do and experience this as you do) and c) this effect on 1% of the viewers translates into something other than the ability to express it - something other than a relationship to (loyalty to, love of) this film.

    now you sound to me like a behavioral or empirical psychologist who thinks that people's reactions can only be accessed by EMPIRICAL FACTS & ''objective'' conclusions drawn from them(and in this you bring the film, which isn't geared towards marketing, into the arena of marketing). I don't doubt that on one level the film can be measured like that - just as I'm sure Lynch put a lesbian scene in it because that services 93% of at least male audiences who love to see two chicks feeling each other's breasts on screen. Etc. After all you do need to sell something to at least return your investment.

    But psychoanalysis is famously suspicious of the value of empirical research because it knows there
    are ''hidden'' phenomena accessible only in specific intersubjective dialogues, in this case, between each individual viewer and the film.

    (I will come back to this point)

    I think much more valuable data can be extracted from your internet-research by noticing that the film is able to provoke such disparate, perplexed, contradictory responses (that alone already suggests that it works disruptively). Precisely if everybody in the group said ''I was enlightened by this film, it got me to think about ownership relationships and it transformed me positively so that I am now aware of exploitation'', that would be a surefire sign that the film is not working subversively AT ALL.

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  106. dejan6:22 PM

    most importantly the question is then would humans be ''nice'' enough not to divide themselves yet again into classes based on the ownership of such a machine.

    in other words it seems to me that behind YOUR concept of subversion lies the undivided Marxist historical subject, and I don;'t believe in him. People are not in essence GOOD.

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  107. dejan6:26 PM

    a) think there is an "answer" to the puzzle of the relations between fictional siuations in the usual way, a diegetic hierarchy, and discuss it a

    psychoanalytically their thought that there is an ''answer'' belies their uncertainty that one exists, or they wouldn't be claiming it so assuredly (and I know I am calling on the mechanism of NEGATION to say this, but then not all psychoanalysis is ZIZEK).

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  108. dejan6:39 PM

    If the contention is that they have been cured of psychotic narcissism, it remains to be demonstrated that a)they were psychotic narcissists prior to the cure and b) they really have been cured and c) as a result of being cured they've gotten up to some subversive activity or other, or function in the world differently than prior to their cure effected by the consumption of the commodity in question.

    as you probably know lynch is involved in attempts to patent transcendental meditation as a GROUP method of subversion (e.g. meditating for the end of the war). In this respect also I think his experiment with MH is geared towards subversion, rather than self-marketing as you suggest. (Besides the guy is so talented that I really don't think he has problems with MONEY that he should be so interested in seeing money behind the front and nothing else)

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  109. dejan6:56 PM

    not psychotic narcissism, but pathological narcissism which ultimately leads to a psychotic break (defragmentation) at the end of the film, which then leads to a confrontation with the material

    because, a psychotic has direct access to the material / literal(his ''language'' is unmediated - the bond between the signifier and the signified being radically unstable, contantly shifting; he ''hears voices'' - voices that belong nowhere, and are there in their pure materiality)

    the condition of pathological narcissism resembles cinema consumption: there is only me and the screen, and we feed off each other's reflections in the process of labor exchange(like the blonde actress in the film bases her self-worth in the adoration of the brunette, while the brunette bases her own self-worth in the adoration of the blonde)

    this linking of narcissism with cinema sounds very appropriate to me, because it explains why we are so easily lured by films in the first place

    it is from this exploitative narcissism of the CINEMATIC MACHINE that the viewer is ultimately (rudely) awakened, and i think this is possible because everything has been flattened onto that plane of immanence; this ultimately makes one aware of the fact that an abstract entity is running the show (your reviewer sad the entity is CINEMA itself, but I would say drawing on Beller - CAPITAL)

    but I would also say that you as a viewer realize that labor has been abstracted from YOU because you end up realizing that the film has implied you as a ghost (drained you)

    (watching some scenes tonight in order to be able to respond here, I noticed a crucial scene at the beginning of the film where the camera is hovering, like a ghost, over the same bed where the corpse of the heroine will later be shown to be lying. Clearly the viewer is referred to as a spectral entity.)

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  110. dejan7:06 PM

    You can discover a lot about yourself by getting lost in Mulholland Drive. [!] It grips you like a dream that won't let go.

    SO SOMETHING COMES OUT OF THE FILM, SOME GHOST, AND KEEPS HAUNTING HIM! DONT YOU SEE? IF IT WAS DIET COKE, IT WOULD DISSOLVE INTO BUBBLES THE MINUTE THE SCREEN GOES BLACK, AND THEY WOULD REPLACE IT WITH ANOTHER PEPSI LIGHT, PERPETUATING CAPITALIST EXPLOITATION!

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  111. dejan7:32 PM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ck5UCUvKJpc&mode=related&search=

    here right after the Jitterbug scene you see the camera hovering over the bed, and you hear heavy breathing = the viewer is the ghost

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  112. dejan7:36 PM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Kfkt1PsSHs&mode=related&search=

    and this would be the function of the coffie, which as you can see is meant ironically

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  113. dejan7:42 PM

    here lynch parodies himself as an impotent ''avant garde'' ''subversive'' director whose ass gets kicked by two typical hollywood narcissists:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euPXGgT94GU&mode=related&search=

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  114. dejan8:26 PM

    http://parodycentrum.wordpress.com/2007/03/14/david-lynch-on-911-from-the-dutch-vpro/

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  115. Okay, ah well! I can't bring myself to watch it. I have seen now maybe 12 minutes total - the scene in the nightclub, where chicano = eeerie, seedy, unsubstanital, the spanish language itself conjured as sinister, and the scene on your blog, and thrity seconds here and there: all his movies just seem like ordinary 'merican racism and misogyny to me made vendable in a glittering wrapper of laboured, winky insider spectacle speak (psychoanalysis, film buffery, reflexive style in the contrived painterly flatness of the film surface). Every lynch I've seen strikes me as basically feverish anxiety about miscegenation and the threats posed to the integrity of beautiful white people - of the White Beauty - at the center, hansel and gretel, sigmund and sieglinde, who are menaced all around by foreigners, people of colour, misshapen and defective people, underclass people, whose existence collectively create an eerie and dangerous environment where the pristine form and spiritual innocence of the beautful white movie stars lose their bearings and disintegrate; the nostaligia for the fifties (apartheid) redeems them however, and they are immortalised, to live eternally in Style Heaven.

    therefore i don't think it's just coyness when lynch says 'just surrender to it, don't think about it, it's a dream'. the product is aiming to be a substitute, mass produced unconscious, an unconscious which equates sex and violence and collects it under voyeurism, an unconscious bursting with anxiety about the permeability of the borders of the american elite and the instability of its integrity, which consistently identifies what is inimical to it, outside it, and menacing it after a fascistic model, given an additional twist of pomo self consciousness and ironically treated low culture conventions because this is the marker of elite audience self image these days, rather than a posture of reversence for an elite national culture.

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  116. dejan2:36 AM

    i think this last one is tendentious; furthermore it only confirms your position that the popular/populist style of the proletariat is PERFECT so let's kill all the white supremacist burgeoisie and go back to ''classless'' self-management...THEN the world will be rid of ownership and whatsmore, rid of all trouble!

    i'm sorry, i'm not going to join you on that revolution, because it's naive and it will fail.

    and then let's say I agree with you, why do you not like ROMERO then - a popular/populist director?

    i agree that the use of midgets and disabled people in such productions is dubious, but on the other hand I think Lynch does it in the tradition of Todd Browning's FREAKS and not in the way which you have malconstructed out of it

    what ''redemption'' through the 50s? ever since the beginning lynch has undermined that particular piece of US propaganda (the 50s as innocence) ... frederic jameson wrote about that in post-modernism, i'm not going back to that overly well-known book

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  117. dejan2:43 AM

    I can't bring myself to watch it.

    well this is why we need a gun, not so much as a violent device, more as a POPULIST one

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  118. dejan2:45 AM

    you're like that black guy in THEY LIVE who doesn't want to look!

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  119. dejan3:03 AM

    no, I WILL join you in your revolution, but on the following terms and conditions:

    that you pack one suitcase of clothes and hygienic equipment only the necessary and immediately leave western europe, and we go together to some central serbian swamp where we will share the destiny of many destitute serbs

    you will cook and i will hunt, we will have no electric equipment in the house

    from those headquarters we can arrange a social experiment - helping haiti

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  120. but dejan, i am not inquiring into its psychoanalytic effects, but your contentions that the film is subversive of the obtaining mode of production, has in fact materially damaged the movie industry, disrupted its profitability.

    surely such subversion is visible? can political subversion happen only in the unconscious of a certain tiny minority of people who have consumed a certain commodity? How do you know it happened? How is the subversion manifesting?

    even for psychoanalysis - to perform it - there needs to be an analysand somewhere. you are taking the spectral viewer inside the film, the camera position, as the analysand, and suggesting that human beings who watch the film are all affected the way this non-human spectre, which has no consciousness, is affected.

    clearly people generally think the film has a diegetic plane; that the first two thirds are "a dream" of a woman who "might be betty". This seems to be the consensus. Nonetheless, those who don't think this is relevant to a reading (the diegetic plane is only an illusion of ontological primacy in any film anyway), haven't stopped seeing films! and they don't appear to be seeing new films any differently either. Perhaps they are but you'd have to demonstrate this is actually the case. It's not something that you can guess from ust watching the film, because your reading would be exactly the same if no one but you ever saw the film. If there was, in effect no audience, your argument for its subversiveness would be exactly the same, since it is locating the subversiveness in the film narrative's relation to the film's form.

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  121. "has undermined that particular piece of US propaganda (the 50s as innocence) ... "

    he can't possibly have done so because he was simply born too late. It was not there anymore to be subverted by the time he began making films. what he did was revive it from the dead, as a new myth, complete with kinky underside, to attack what was then the mainstream, an anti-fifties, post civil rights, urban multiculti-ism. to say lynch radically undermined that muyh of the fifties is like saying he dealt a death blow to medieval humoural medicine. On the contrary, he rescusitated its framework, pomoishly - in blue velvet and wild and heart.

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  122. "you're like that black guy in THEY LIVE who doesn't want to look! "

    no that's you! you want me to watch the thing without the sunglasses.

    i want you to put on the sunglasses. then you will see very clearly a lynching opening wild at heart, offered up graphically/shockingly with the distractions and excuses and all the absolution that comes from 'no point of view' - a resurrection of the experience of lynching participants, with all the usual justifications, packaged in style which allows the audience to enjoy it again, after years of not being able to in the maintstream.

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  123. see now dejan, what does this mean that this product is in your eyes essential for a civilised being to have a civilised life? why is not consuming this product equivalent of the feral life? does not that idea alone make you question? If i don't buy this stuff, this newest kewelest commodity, I am a barbarian?

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  124. the lynch stuff that I have seen is just all the vile shit from american culture rebranded and made 'innocent' by little surface tricks of style. it offers the same old loathing of women, abjection of Others, violent voyeuristic wish fulfillment and white supremacy packaged in shiny fascinating fetishes, pseudo-transgression which consists in recycled 'shock' images (a black man's brains beaten out, a woman raped, whoa how very very unusual!) made pious and suitable for adults because used for quoting the Holy Scriptures of Jung and Freud and The wizard of Oz and sacred reruns on TV.

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  125. dejan4:10 AM

    the lynch stuff that I have seen is just all the vile shit from american culture rebranded and made 'innocent' by

    most of what you said here refers to BLUE VELVET, which is a film made in 1986 as far as I know,and we are now in 2007 discussing Mulholland Drive from 2001

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  126. dejan4:13 AM

    If i don't buy this stuff, this newest kewelest commodity, I am a barbarian?

    3:57 AM

    no,no, not a barbarian, a noble sauvage who thinks that non-participation in capitalism is a) noble and b) actually practical

    and your position is certainly valuyable. i certainly feel better being held and told that capitalism has fucked me over and destroyed my youth. that's certainly better than being actively IGNORED. and your petitioning for haiti in its own way will certainly alter a fragment of the collective consciousness.

    but it won't damage the system significantly.

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  127. dejan4:15 AM

    by the time he began making films. what he did was revive it from the dead, as a new myth, complete with kinky underside, to attack what was then the mainstream, an anti-fifties, post civil rights, urban multiculti-ism.

    which for the time when it took place, which is the 1980s and the earluy 1990s, was exactly what i would have done as well, if i was a director in that time!

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  128. dejan4:19 AM

    why is not consuming this product equivalent of the feral life? does not that idea alone make you question? If i don't buy this stuff, this newest kewelest commodity, I am a barbarian?

    my point is that capitalism over the course of the last 20 years has become too intelligent and knowing about cinematic manipulation, therefore becoming aware of its manipulations does require a certain emancipation in comparison to the viewer of a century ago, which is where the literature and the movies you like fit into approximately.
    your position is not barbaric, it's old-fashioned

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  129. Non participation?

    I AM A CURRENCY TRADER!

    Not only that, this week I am working for the evil mass media.

    there is no such thing as non-participation in capitalism.

    but i prefer not to be exploited and not to suffer to produce suprlus value for others. the thing abpout capitalisùm is that it is arranged so that it's better to be a capitalist. this is what i prefer, given the choice. i don't want to work for david lynch, to endure the agony of his ugly misanthropic misogynist racist films, for free. i disagree that they are subversive, but if they are, great! but i think it can't be so if the person arguing for their subversiveness most passionately is insisting that one has to consume them to participate p^roperly in capitalism.

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  130. dejan4:25 AM

    the obtaining mode of production, has in fact materially damaged the movie industry, disrupted its profitability.

    it's too early to judge and i did not say that only one film, that film, did that,. but lynch exerted an enomrous influence on world cinema (there are many other directors eg wong kar wai and cronenberg who have followed his course after MH). like i told you, films generate ideas. i can imagine that if this idea is developed properly it will ultimately damage cinematic production.

    did you see the 9/11 fragment I posted? it confirms my assumption that MH was made as a disruptive film. in this fragment lynch is calling on an inquisitive mind, taking chomsky's positions, find the answers, inquire, don't sit passively in the sofa. he says the human mind is like a detective. in MH a similar, ALERT MIND is created by the collapsing of the narcissistic cinematic illusion, based on identification and feedback loops.

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  131. "which for the time when it took place, which is the 1980s and the earluy 1990s, was exactly what i would have done as well, if i was a director in that time! "

    it was indeed rewarded in the reaganite reaction, so would be a smart choice. but very reactionary. worked for all the propaganda - "welfare queens", "willie horton", "peru", all across the spectrum the same reactionary product, at different levels of kewlness and eliteness, all of reaganite white middle america on the endless media roadtrip menaced by miscegenating castrating fiendishly and dsiastrously procreating women and their brutish rapist men of color.

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  132. dejan4:35 AM

    worked for all the propaganda - "welfare queens", "willie horton", "peru", all across the spectrum the same reactionary product, at different levels of kewlness and eliteness, all of reaganite white middle america on the endless media roadtrip menaced by miscegenating castrating fiendishly and dsiastrously procreating women and their brutish rapist men of color.

    i don't dig this lingo, you have to explain in some more universal language

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  133. dejan4:40 AM

    is what i prefer, given the choice.

    so if you had a choice, you would rather live in self-management. But self-management was a bad trip utopia. Historical reality did not demonstrate the superiority of really existing socialism. Obviously there's something unavoidable in capitalism. Ergo, our task is to curb capitalism so that it doesn't get TOO monstrous. Not to dismiss every cinematic production as evil !

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  134. dejan4:45 AM

    in fact as a currency trader with a marxist mind aren't you in david lynch's position, undermining from within?

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  135. i am not undermining capitalism by currency trading. i am simply gambling with capital accumulated in the usual way. if i mlisten to opera or kewler subversive music while i do it, if the film running in the corner of the screen is they live or titanic, it makes no difference whatsoever.

    i sense a real consumer calvinism here, that what we buy really does determine not only what we are but whether we are on the side of evil or good. that you can acquire subversiveness from a corporation by buying the commodity branded 'subversive'; if you buy it, you're a subversive; if you buy the 'unsubversive' product but smirkl and giggle while you consume it, and use a tone of irony or sarcasm when expressing actually sincerely why you love it, you're a subversive also. It's like david lynch saying heheheheh buy this coffee, it's a great cup of coffee!' in a tone of sarcasm even though he really means nothing more than 'buy this coffee'. fashions of "wit" have allowed us to become walking adverstisement for things, because we simply repeat advertisements in a sarcastic tone; our sarcasm poses as subversive but it isn't at all, its an image, a pretence of subversiveness, and all it is is the device which allows us to repeat the advertsiement and disavow what we are doing at the same time. the lynch i have seen offered this familiar shit, but with a combination of ticks which cover it with the equivalent of a smirk of sarcasm; the ordinary is eerie and wierd! images of violent sex are radically transgressive! (uh, no, the ordinary is ordinary, even with the stupid camera angles and the spooky music. images of violent sex are ordinary, even in those colors and with that disorienting pov

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  136. dejan5:17 AM

    i am not undermining capitalism by currency trading. i am simply gambling with capital accumulated in the usual way

    i see what you're aiming at, and i guess yes, overt capitalism is better than one with a pomo autoreflexive smirk

    but in this context, what do you do with your marxism (what is it for, except for long-winded discussions with dejan and the mediated jouissance of blogging and kommenting (tm)?) you washing your conscience with it or something?

    It's like david lynch saying heheheheh buy this coffee, it's a great cup of coffee!' in a tone of sarcasm even though he really means nothing more than 'buy this coffee'.

    now this is simply cheapjack low tactics! i sent you a clip from muljholland where the coffee is clearly referenced as an evil elitist symbol of capitalist power, symbol-as-commodity, consumed by the hollywood maffia producer who wants to appropriate the director's film, who wants to say you can never please me, i represent the unattainable goal of perfectly tasting coffee, i make the rules here and you are just a pion in my game

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  137. dejan5:23 AM

    and use a tone of irony or sarcasm when expressing actually sincerely why you love it, you're a subversive also.

    i thought we'd establisjed that there is no IRONY or SARCASM on the plane of immanence and that the film is not self-reflexive

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  138. dejan5:25 AM

    i sent you a clip from muljholland where the coffee is clearly referenced as an evil elitist symbol of capitalist power, symbol-as-commodity,

    but of course it's easier to assume the self-righteous indignated marxist's position and not see the clip because omigod you might get severely BURNED by it and exploited to boot

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  139. okay the film opens with what is the credits sequence of the tv show that wasn't. white people jitterbugging. its america, 1940-50s. but they cast huge dark shadows which interlope. betty is the form/ideal generated by this: there she is, it's smiling spirit.

    betty comes to hollywood from the great white north to find 'rita' - margarita carmen cansino aka rita hayworth, the object of a famous ethnic makeover - naked in the shower, without memory, havng infilatrated the castle-like complex, with a bag of unexplained cash, of an amount which belongs to fifties' films.

    its television, but a little slower than usual (too slow for the network who commissioned it); its american comics (betty vs veronica) its assigning all the places of television - the innocent and good white heroine, the dark ethnic shadow who is mystery and contamination...with rita, having fallen in love with rita, betty will descend to the squalid depths of a chicano nightclub, its abject and sinister antireality. "silencio" is "rita's" foreignness killing "betty".

    (margarita cansino was part of a gyspy dance act...and its a gypsy curse which also spooks up the movie in inland empire.)

    anyway once betty has been dragged by her fascination with the pseudo-rita - whose quality is image, pseudo-ness, fraud, vacancy - to the very hell of hideous and eerie spanish otherness, rita becomes/is revealed as camilla; she is in power in the place rightfully belonging to the white beauty, and betty the true, genuine white woman is made abject. hollywood and films are evil because they have passed off an other as an ideal and loveable representative of us (rita hayworth); she is really a prostitude and a chameleon who has duped us into thinking her 'without history'. betty loses her part in "the sylvia north story" (northern woods, her rightful role) to camilla, the dark other going in disguise as the white goddess, the seductive image of femininity which hides the squalor and otherness of 'silencio', and usurping her place;

    this is all unrecuperated generic stuff, it seems to me, the standard reaganite-fascio fable, complete with spineless jewish poser intellectual movie director, in the typical jungian arrangement.

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  140. so dejan, if what you say about the coffee is true, explain this david lynch signature cup venture to me. retail vendors want to sell it. why? who do they think will pay a premium for david lynch coffee? who do you think will, (if anyone)? why?

    lynch has a discourse of coffee inside his discourse of fetishes - the virtuus wholesome diner coffee that the white middle class american drinks; the espresso that dangerous, sexual/violent ethnic others drink.

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  141. dejan7:23 AM

    jungian arrangement? where do you see that?

    is david lynch a jew? didn't know that.

    white people jitterbugging. its america, 1940-50s. but they cast huge dark shadows which interlope.

    that's the contest that betty/diane won, which got her to hollywood. there she met superstar camilla/rita, with whom she fell in love (in a narcissistic way: by basing her whole self=worth in camilla's grandiose superstardom). when later camilla dumps her for a man, i.e. a projection of david lynch as a hollywood director, betty/dianne kills camilla/rita and then kills herself.

    its abject and sinister antireality. "silencio" is "rita's" foreignness killing "betty".

    well yes but how did you manage to read reactionariness and racism into this critique of imperial suprematism when lynch is always clearly preferring his ''evil'' (malevolent) characters to his ''good'' (benevolent) white characters? this abjectness and malevolence is lynch's preferred mode.

    she is really a prostitude and a chameleon who has duped us into thinking her 'without history'.

    she is the femme fatale from film noir, in other words. the film references sunset boulevard a lot. rita is a lot like gloria swanson. but no the relationship between the blonde and the brunette is not like you described it; it's one of narcissism - one can't exist without the other.

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  142. dejan7:28 AM

    the espresso that dangerous, sexual/violent ethnic others drink.

    ??? the espresso is drunk by the hollywood mafia boss *played by lynch's composer angelo badalamenti. what violent ethnic other?

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  143. i'm not indignant about david lynch coffee. i would have suggestedit if I worked for him in fact. I suggested changing the name of the country of Slovenia to "the Republic of Adria" because it would be more attractive to the tourists steeped in aryanism.

    i just don't think that's subversive and you haven't convinced me that it is, and you won't convince me that it is just by saying "well you're self righteous and there's a lot of cool shit to buy out there!"

    i'm not a hermit, i'm not a vegan, I even wear fur, so you can't charge me with advocating composting on the mountainside or with not being a good consumer. I consume plenty, believe me. I just bought twelve new opera cds and 5 books this morning.

    sure there is lots of kewl stuff to aqcuire. excellent cool shit everywhere to buy. is this really though what will undermine and overthrow capitalism, our recognition of all the excellent cool shit there is we still have to buy? cool subversive shit too!

    i said gfrom the beginning, i concede all the contentions about this being art, great art, works of genius, whatever.

    the question is how it is subverting the status quo of property relations or the obtaining mode of production. and i still don't think there is any evidence for this, and i don't think a close reading of the film could make an argument for this no matter how incredibly cool and wild and genius this, or that, video is discovered to be in that process.

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  144. dejan7:33 AM

    so dejan, if what you say about the coffee is true, explain this david lynch signature cup venture to me. retail vendors want to sell it. why? who do they think will pay a premium for david lynch coffee? who do you think will, (if anyone)? why?

    what's there to explain? like you in your currency trading, lynch is capitalizing on his brand. what's either good or bad about it - it's business!

    doesn't mean that his whole project is about branding! if it were so, he could just make disney movies

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  145. dejan7:39 AM

    the question is how it is subverting the status quo of property relations or the obtaining mode of production.

    as I said: by undermining identification. by making viewers aware of their libidinal investment in film. even if that idea only struck me , you, k-punk shaviro and a few other people, it's enough to spread the idea. that idea can then grow into a subversive method. not necessarily a cinematic one, one delivered by a single film, but maybe in some other more efficient form.

    just like (notice the 9/11 clip) it could have inspired people to THINK about their position vis-a-visd the 9/11 image and get them to question and investigate

    i repeat for the upteenth time: INTERRUPTION OF JOUISSANCE. the same role that psychoanalysis plays.

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  146. dejan7:44 AM

    anyway i think the reason you are libidinally invested in this whole uissue is that you feel guilty. complicit. i don't know why, but if you feel guilty, that means that you are at least aware, you have not been duped and brainwashed. so that's actually good.

    and i also think that each of us in our own way is terrified of the idea that in fact we have fallen nopt into capitalism, but into totalitarianism, so THERE IS NO WAY OUT.

    as lynch says to the journalist's question and what if the american government organized 9/11: the thought is too terrible for people to even think.

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  147. no, david lynch is not jewish: "adam kesher" is clearly a jew

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  148. "as lynch says to the journalist's question and what if the american government organized 9/11: the thought is too terrible for people to even think. "

    yes but 70 million americans think it.

    itys not so much too terrible since people find it too terrible to think wicked ayrabs did it. why would that be less terrible? answering that question one could look into david lynch's own work, to see why the idea of the violent and irrational ayrabs is not especially terrible, while the idea of terrorist violence arising from nice white white house, with neither physical deformities, underclass creepiness, ethnic otherness, or any of lynch's other markers of the eerie and the sinister, would be "too terrible". what lynch doesn't seem to realise ever is that the US is not as he pictures it, with innocent white beautiful subjects surrounded by evil dark and deformed allegorical forces. it is easy enough for most black americans, for example, and for many latino and latina americans, to think the terroristic violence of the white house - indeed a more natural thought than to think the irrational suicidal others proposed to them by the television.

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  149. dejan7:58 AM

    no, david lynch is not jewish: "adam kesher" is clearly a jew

    but adam kesher is an asshole in the film, a hypocritical faux-subversive avant garde director whose doppelganger is an overtly machistic and abusive Hollywood director - Lynch's selfparody

    i don't see on what basis you claim that he is protecting the white supremacist position?

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  150. dejan7:58 AM

    no, david lynch is not jewish: "adam kesher" is clearly a jew

    but adam kesher is an asshole in the film, a hypocritical faux-subversive avant garde director whose doppelganger is an overtly machistic and abusive Hollywood director - Lynch's selfparody

    i don't see on what basis you claim that he is protecting the white supremacist position?

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  151. "kesher" means "to connect, to link, to become a conduit or connection" in hebrew.

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  152. if kesher is a self portrait of lynch (i don't see this at all, but say its so) what does it mean that lynch, in order to make himself a parody of himself, to debase himself, judaises himself? what does this revision of himself - ethnicised and othered, given a jokey hebrew surname etc - his abject self portrait, and its conformity to hackneyed stereotypes, signfiy?

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  153. dejan8:16 AM

    don't see this at all

    he's wearing a typical black suit which avant garde academy students used to wear in the 80s-90s and he's making a film which he thinks is independent when it's all the while determined by sinister forces of the cinematic machine

    the parody is in the fact that in the 2nd part of the movie, which is like a mirror image of the first, he is a ruthless hollywood director, a womanizer and egocentric/narcissistic

    kesher would be an appropriate signifier here because he DOES connect the two women and the mvoie is all about connections

    are you saying that all jews are automatically eeeeevil? i've known some nice jews, like a certain le colonel chabert.

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  154. (needless to say i have viewed the film with lots of ff this morning.)

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  155. dejan8:19 AM

    it is easy enough for most black americans, for example, and for many latino and latina americans, to think the terroristic violence of the white house

    but it 's not that easy for most WHITE AMERICANS and this film is clearly aiming at them as its central audience; black people don't need to hear the message of this film, they already know it

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  156. dejan8:23 AM

    (needless to say i have viewed the film with lots of ff this morning.)

    thank you for this Biblical sacrifice you have made on my behalf; I will remember it

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  157. dejan8:25 AM

    sorry i meant to say: about missed connections, because the p.o.v. keeps slupping away (it's hauntological)

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  158. dejan8:28 AM

    and the kesher element is interesting for another reason: he interrupts the two women's narcissistic jouissance

    if you posit narcissism as something that generates doubleness (not in the sense of doubling, but in the sense of SAMENESS - cloning)

    then this lesbian jouissance has to be banned, prevented, like the cloning machine in Prestige

    ''Adam'' also references the Bible and indeed the whole thing has undertones of the original sin (Pandora's box, the blue box)

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  159. no i am saying the character is another uninteresting stereotype from television, alongside all the others, lined up in their usual ethnic places, from 1950s american propaganda self portraiture - the spineless nebbish jewish worm, the fatal dusky false-blonde temptress, the hollywood gangsters, the scary hick, all these foreign threats teeming in this environment to penetrate and collapse the integrity of the innocent and gifted White Engenue, prom queen princess, creature of the 50s american dream, usurp her rightful place, infect and debase her; her degradation is the result of her sinking into the mire of all this otherness and duplicity loosed in the world by the breaking of the barriers of apartheid and patriarchy which protected her, these agents which permeate her membranes with their squalor and unwholesomeness and dangerous sex and fraudulence and foreign tongues, this world without stable borders and hierarchy, which can only result in her torment unto death but which of course also, as is traditional, makes for a good show, the taditional favourites, served up for delectation: - young woman solving mystery/young woman naked in kinky or racy sex scenes/young woman in jeopardy/young woman dead - all lumped together by a convenient and cutesy negligence of the usual genre restraints.

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  160. dejan9:05 AM

    the sheer brilliant bile and malevolence emanating from this last one made me laugh already with no relation whatsoever to the subject matter, so i wonder why you don't see yourself as a WRITER
    I think that's your calling in life
    and it doesn't matter whether you write about law literature film or something else

    look i agree to an extent - this is after all an AMERICAN movie don't forget. a casual glance at current russian production reveals that russians don't need any tee vee stereotypes to deliver metaphysics, but i think in america this is absolutely necessary, because the general SAT scores are on the level of a cartoon

    but the interesting thing (unlike twin peaks) is the hauntology - that dianne is not betty's repressed self, really, but a parallel character... this slippage of fixation (which the constantly-shifting camera and p.o.v. also support)

    it is somewhat reminiscent of fassbinder's melodramas, although it takes things to a new level of alienation

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  161. dejan9:07 AM

    integrity of the innocent and gifted White Engenue, prom queen princess, creature of the 50s american dream, usurp her rightful place, infect and debase her;

    the point is tjhat her rightful place is hauntological - psychotic

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  162. dejan9:14 AM

    her degradation is the result of her sinking into the mire of all this otherness and duplicity loosed in the world by the breaking of the barriers of apartheid and patriarchy which protected her

    i think he rather wanted to show how the barriers of apartheid and patriarchy ended up killing her, because any differance is banned from this world of the rich and the powerful

    she is a tragic character because unlike kesher she refuses to acknowledge that the buggy is DRIVEN

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  163. "the point is tjhat her rightful place is hauntological - psychotic "

    this is the formal candycoating offered up for insiders to distract and allow disavoiwal of the film's referentiality, its political, social content and context. its like the overt oedipal triangles, etc etc. this is all the new features, the buttons and blinkers and gizmos, added to the same old ideoloogucal product, in an effort to evade or erase responsibility for its content, to evade implication in the enunciation of its content; this is the effort the film makes, to give these alibis for the enjoyment and consumption of the usual shit - woman solving mystery, woman in jeopardy, woman abused, woman dead - all rolled into one by the convenience of a little unusual but not unheard of negligence toward genre conventions. This is the attempt - you see hauntology and dopplegangers, formal gadgets and a planified painterly film surface, rather than people of various races, classes, genders mobilised in a generic narrative, but this is the excuse for that same generic narrative to be told again and brought back into fashion after its debunking and rejection as untruthful, hackneyed and propagandistic - but all the fireworks do not actually accomplish the erasure, and if they did the films would fail, because it is the enjoyment in these scenes of stupid violence and brutality, the degradation of women, the fear and chastisement of ethnic others, that is actually the real lure, and the fetishised formal stuff offered for you attention with fanfare, provoking fascination and available to existing critical processes, are just the extras and the excuse.

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  164. i gotta go, off to the opera this evening. (ariodante)

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  165. "look i agree to an extent - this is after all an AMERICAN movie don't forget. a casual glance at current russian production reveals that russians don't need any tee vee stereotypes to deliver metaphysics, but i think in america this is absolutely necessary, because the general SAT scores are on the level of a cartoon"

    Really fascinating discussion, I gotta run but I wanted to respond to this part Dejan.

    I was over for dinner with family friends this weekend, North American married immigrant couple, working in a sweatshop and as a short order cook, and they didn't bring up the need for cartoon stereotypes in order to discuss politics. They aren't politically active in the sense of going to demos, or reading literature. I think romanticizing working class people is patronizing, but it's clear to me my friends aren't politics consumers the same way I think you are assuming with this statement. North america is not the tv. The audience is not actual people. It is the public sphere, an imaginary leviathan.

    Over dinner, they told me a lot about the destruction of Yugoslavia, Russian neo-liberal imperialism, the western-supported juntas in Greece, not from tv, theory, or even progressive media, but because they actually lived through the juntas, and talk and listen to the stories of other working class immigrants. The cinema and tv is not actually North America. Every working class job I've ever had, everyone i hung out with knew their work was being taken from them, that the managers were assholes, and that governments and the media are liars. And I don't know what went on in anybody's head, so this is more speculation on my part, but I didn't hear anything remotely close to a need for interruption of their bourgeois jouissance either.

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  166. I am inclined to say that here — if I may (ab)use Lacanian parlance — the Symbolic order altogether collapses; it is just too ridiculous to endure. But the “Imaginary” order that replaces it (with all those mirrors, and with the dual female protagonist) is not the morass of narcissism that those Lacanian moralists are always sternly warning us against. It is rather a zone of play, and of imaginative creation; it is the realm of Freedom, as opposed to the (capitalist and patriarchal) realm of Necessity. There is no narcissism here, because the “subject” of this playful freedom is always (at least) two, rather than one.

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  167. hallowentry thank you for drawing attention to the distortion i made in order to answer le colonel re those stereotypes

    indeed americans are not tee vee, i was just remarking i guess that american tv and film productions tend to the cartoony - maybe because of the pragmatism and empiricism so present in american culture

    other parts of the world seem more willing to accept ambiguity

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  168. but this is the excuse for that same generic narrative to be told again and brought back into fashion after its debunking and rejection as untruthful, hackneyed and propagandistic

    but colonel, tell me, WHICH stories under the sun are new? all stories were already told on the walls of the altamira caves. it's by the recombination of old stories that you get new films. as lynch said himself, a painter uses the same palette but the painting is never the same.

    and what you're calling new ''buttons'' and ''gadgets'' is hardly as simple as you designate it. the verveeeemdungseffekt is not just a button.

    by the way in the case you actualluy saw the entire film, did you notice the opera fan in the end who utters ''silencio''? that's YOU!

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  169. "tragic character"

    see - but it is precisely the abolition of the conditions of this statement that the film is supposed to have abolished. But you see it doesn't abolish any of this illusionist metaphysics, that something "is" and that there is textual causality, a hierarchy holding text, subtext and meaning in place, an ontological primacy of character over plot, etc.

    All the film does is allow the diavowal when convenient of its own enunciations. by setting all under this global irony and distance, it tries to evade interpretation and demand instead the most naive reading, as if it were a mirror along a highway - your critical attitude is directed toward the mirror. It poses as a dream, for which the dreamer is not responsible. All this does is allow an opportunistic evocation of the referentiality of the films content.

    It is not that the stories are not new, it is that they are traditional stories of white purity menaced by dark otherness. Traditional misanthropic, hobbesian, misogynist, racist content. "Miscegenation" is the seed anxiety giving rise to all lynch films, even elephant man, but the formal ticks allow one to pretend this is about art, to bump up this concern to tyhe question of representation and recording - it plays out as anxiety about the cloning/reproduction of recording technologies, resulting in postmodernity's textual promiscuity, about superimposition, mixing high and low, not respecting genre borders, about then the loss of the Beautiful and Form's domination in art - but it is also always enunciated directly in the films as anxiety about "racial" impurity and its menace to Form and Beauty in aryan reality, latched as usual to dangers of sexual, esp. procreating, women, with this extremist calvinist puritanism about sex going in disguise as kinkiness, a pseudo-transgressiveness that is these infantile fancies of kinkiness presented as "eroticism" when they are really infantile scatological humour laced with an protestant, adult disgust for bodies treated with absurd seriousness.

    The film presents itself as unreferential, in total control of itself and meaning nothing but itself (like a dream, which spontaneously appears and simply is) but at the same time it refuses responsibility for itself (also like a dream); what it will avow is responsibility for the formal ticks, the illusory "outside itself" it claims to occupy, with the aim of grounding that "inside" as accidental and unchangeable and a kind of absolute, spontaneous truth. So far from abolishing the diegtic illusion, these films expand and armour it in new defences, and do so to protect the repellant, tendentious content from interpretation and scrutiny. And the success is marked by the critical reception which features very often this refusal to critique, this refusal to interpret anything to which the too visible directorial presence has not authorised the critic to pay attention to - you say, well, so they stories are old, it's meaningless, a mere fact of nature. Because the films have not authorised the investigation of their content but instead done everything possible to distract from and forbid such interpretation and investigation. "Don't pay attention to the story I am telling, the images and the content of what i present as uncanny, but to the artfulness of my telling it. Pay all your attention to the man behind the curtain."

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  170. thanks hollowentry -

    i'd add that we have to be conscious of the niche of lynch consumers. these are actually the demographic that used to be called yuppies; slants to male, white, under 40, university educated and managerial. SAT scores of that demographic are relatively high. Twin Peaks was allowed to play out on the network even though it was extremely low rated (for its epoch, getting about an 11 rating, the lowest rated show on a network in prime time at the time) partly because the audience's quality - its demographic - is desireable to luxury car advertisers.

    The posited consciousness which is spectralised as the viewer/dreamer of lynch movies is unmistakeably white and male and american. It is very possible that rather than "interrupting" the jouissance of the viewer, these films provide wish fulfilling violence for a voyeuristic delectation, excused with a veneer of urban Scripture (psychoanalysis and film-theory/film-history), and simultaneously stir, revive and suggested targets for resentment and chastisement. It is an historical fact that the victims portrayed in these films, which coincide with reaganite-bushite reaction, are also the targets of official propaganda and that their referents are the targets of increasing state and corporate violence. It may be that the film itself exhibits some kind of dissident posture toward the violence and abjection it depicts, but this is no guarantee that audiences do not consume this stuff pleasureably and have a taste for these depictions with or without this dissident posture which in any case conveys itself only to an "insider" group on the lookout for Oedipus, Auteur and Suture. There is also no way fo knowing how conscious Lynch the biographical individual is of his own ideology; he doesn't speak intelligently about his own films and his remarks on painting suggest religious mysticism about art of the ostensibly secular, free-market purist capitalist, sort.

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  171. Twin Peaks was allowed to play out on the network even though it was extremely low rated (for its epoch, getting about an 11 rating, the lowest rated show on a network in prime time at the time) partly because the audience's quality - its demographic - is desireable to luxury car advertisers.

    Where do you find out little tidbits like that?

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  172. dejan9:21 AM

    see - but it is precisely the abolition of the conditions of this statement that the film is supposed to have abolished

    i don't quite understand what you are obfuscating here in your deliciously malicious rhetoric. but as mulholland's defense lawyer i have to say the character is tragic because she is a beautiful , sensitive, intelligent and vastly talented young woman who gets completely fucked over and thrown into psychosis by the cinematic machine, and in the end also gets used and dumped by the male patriarchal system of power, which doesn't allow her lesbian love for the superstar, which favors lush looks and tits to character and talent, in what is surely a condemnation of white suprematism and its oppressive, narcissistic codes, rather than its endorsement. i don't understand what's wrong with that representation, and why it is acquiring such racist undertones in your wonderfully vicious, yet flawed, analysis.

    furthermore the characterization is NOT stereotypical because she is ALSO: narcissistic, overly naive, greedy, obsessive, etc. It is a subtle ,ambiguous, multi-layered characterization, one that escapes pinning down, and easy identification, and in this it UNDERMINES precisely the tee vee characterization you describe, as well as the binary oppositions associated with both the patriarchal and the Hollywoodian discourse. Similar as in Fassbinder's films, it works by way of flattening instead of classical (XX century novel) psychology. The meaning is ''reflected'' rather than ''read into'' the film. But that doesn't mean there is no meaning, no purpose, save for lárt pur lart sort of painterly surfaces, or that the director is unsympathetic to the character, or that she is disgusting and odious as you suggest, a racist white trash horrible vacuous homecoming queen. Naomi Watts's performance is incredible for all I can see, accomplishing subtle modulations and various, often contradictory, yet complementary registers. I think it's great that Lynch managed to work past the stereotype, while working within it.

    it is that they are traditional stories of white purity menaced by dark otherness

    well but white purity menaced by dark otherness IS THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. how can you talk about it or critisize it without having the elements of its narrative in the movie? by denying it? I don't dig your logic. Do you think using exclusively black, Hispanic or disabled characters planet would have told the story better? Unless again your logic is situationist. The best way to critisize the white supremacist narrative is to ABOLISH it. The best way to shoot a movie is to not shoot it at all. Lynch might just as well have come out before the camera and said: Viewers, this movie is stupid. Movies are stupid. And you are all burgeois twerps for having come here and paid me to see it. My stories reproduce the heteronormative narrative and sell it in the guise of subversion. Get out of the hall. Fuck off! And don't come back!(Cut)

    esp. procreating, women, with this extremist calvinist puritanism about sex going in disguise as kinkiness, a pseudo-transgressiveness that is these infantile fancies of kinkiness presented as "eroticism" when they are really infantile scatological humour laced with an protestant, adult disgust for bodies treated with absurd seriousness.

    I did not see this. What I saw was a very beautiful lesbian scene which (again) undermines the conventional expectations of the male viewer in terms of female sex on screen. It takes place as if by accident, it's spontaneous, and it's full of sensual, loving, passionate, desperate longing and other such movements instead of being pornographic, frivolous, Calvinist-sick or gratuitous. This is female loving on the woman's terms, not the terms of the male viewer. Yet another example of the way the film uses cliches (e.g. lesbian scenes for the heteronormative viewer) only to undermine them.

    where exactly and concretely did you see infantile disgust for bodies?

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  173. dejan9:26 AM

    So far from abolishing the diegtic illusion, these films expand and armour it in new defences, and do so to protect the repellant, tendentious content from interpretation and scrutiny

    In order to abolish the diegetic illusion, you first need to establish a pretty convincing diegetic illusion, or nobody will believe you, and the film accomplishes that beautifully - it has the intensity and the vividness of a dream. All the more sobering and painful the awakening from the dream, which happens in the second part of the film ,when the illusions collapse.

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  174. dejan9:31 AM

    calvinist puritanism about sex going in disguise as kinkiness

    i always thought lynch's representation of calvinist puritanism was right on the mark (in eg blue velvet) because it revealed the bipolar nature of the calvinist fantasy, torn between extremes of psychotic innocence and psychotic violence. i see it every day in holland, in churches which are built right next to whorehouses. i think lynch's films capture really well the bipolar results of sexual repression in the calvinist mind. i think this bipolarity is at the heart of puritanism. but in mulholland drive, i don't see that this is the subject of the film at all. and in that seedy squalor of silencio which you found repulsive i saw the beauty of spain and mexico ,old world europe, old european cinemas, as opposed to plastic multiplexes etc. it was magical and sinister, beautiful.

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  175. dejan9:36 AM

    i don't see that this is the subject of the film at all.

    what i meant here is that i don't see that the two levels are presented in terms of repression (bizarre sex as the underbelly of pastoral 50s America) rather as a Moebius strip: they reflect and do not reflect each other. This is what lends the film a psychotic quality. The meaning constantly shifts, eludes.

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  176. dejan9:41 AM

    Twin Peaks was allowed to play out on the network even though it was extremely low rated (for its epoch, getting about an 11 rating, the lowest rated show on a network in prime time at the time) partly because the audience's quality - its demographic - is desireable to luxury car advertisers.

    Oh so the crime of the show I guess is that it wasn't geared towards the WORKING CLASS, wadn't it? That it wasn't something like MARRIED WITH CHILDREN? The only acceptable series is the one that speaks the language of the working class. Aren't you being implicitly condescending to the working class? Why shouldn't the working class be EMANCIPATED through a show like Twin Peaks which addresses ''high culture'' themes and metaphysics through popular codes understandable to the working class?

    What's wrong with Lynch's using the snobbery of the luxury car consumer to get money in order to visualize his dark brilliant poetic vision?

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  177. dejan9:47 AM

    It is an historical fact that the victims portrayed in these films, which coincide with reaganite-bushite reaction, are also the targets of official propaganda and that their referents are the targets of increasing state and corporate violence.

    This is a material misconstruction. There is a long digressive scene in Mulholland drive where the hitman shoots two representatives of the working class - a fat secretary and a Latin immigrant cleaner - which shows how the Hollywood conspiracy directly kills working class people in corporate America. How the sinister workings of the film industry can kill people in gruesomely arbitrary ways.

    Now you're going to say, but the problem is that the secretary is fat and the cleaner is a Mexican.

    This perpetuates the ruling narrative, and the ruling order, you will say.

    They should have shown a thin secretary and a white Protestant cleaner, you will say.

    Well OBJECTION YOUR HONOR!

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  178. dejan9:56 AM

    rather than "interrupting" the jouissance of the viewer, these films provide wish fulfilling violence for a voyeuristic delectation,

    they first fulfill the viewer's wishes for voyeuristic delectation,then interrupt the jouissance of that fulfillment

    the voyeur in blue velvet is allowed to watch, then threatened by castration by isabella rosselini

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  179. Oh so the crime of the show I guess is that it wasn't geared towards the WORKING CLASS, wadn't it? That it wasn't something like MARRIED WITH CHILDREN? The only acceptable series is the one that speaks the language of the working class. Aren't you being implicitly condescending to the working class?

    I don't see how offering the fact that advertising revenue from a lucrative market played a part in keeping a low rated show on the air makes one endorse art that targets the working class. It's an observation on how TV works: the show's target audience isn't as important as the fact as its projected ad-revenue. The WORKING CLASS sitcom must have a far wider viewership, because ad-dollars for each moment of prole-attention are far lower than ad-dollars for each instant of yuppie-stare.

    What's wrong with Lynch's using the snobbery of the luxury car consumer to get money in order to visualize his dark brilliant poetic vision?

    Nothing, as long as we remain conscious of how this vision comes about. But then, you would probably say everything. Of course I am more naively hopeful than the Colonel: I think that non-participation might not only be possible, but necessary.

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  180. There is also no way fo knowing how conscious Lynch the biographical individual is of his own ideology; he doesn't speak intelligently about his own films and his remarks on painting suggest religious mysticism about art of the ostensibly secular, free-market purist capitalist, sort.

    Objection your honour!

    Since when is an artist obliged to speak intelligently about his work?

    And is religious mysticism a burgeois conceit in your system, or do you allow the possibility of, say, a working class religious mystic as well?

    Why is religious mysticism BAD?

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  181. TWIN PEAKS and MARRIED WITH CHILDREN function to the same essential end (to generate profit); differences between them are accidental, like different strategies in chess--except this is a payperplay tournie.

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  182. Nothing, as long as we remain conscious of how this vision comes about.

    Well, yes, but I hardly think this is a REVELATION you know that TV is largely run by advertisements

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  183. TWIN PEAKS and MARRIED WITH CHILDREN function to the same essential end (to generate profit); differences between them are accidental, like different strategies in chess--except this is a payperplay tournie.

    but your implication here is the abolishment of profit, don't you realize? and i just don't agree with that idea, that all profit is bad. some profit is necessary. better to think of profit that harms people less. your next implication is situatonist marxism, with which i just don't agree. i only see it useful as a critique, not as a really-existing project.

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  184. i only see it useful as a critique, not as a really-existing project.

    i mean i see it as useful that one should distance oneself in criticism and observe the object of criticism AS IF he or she wasn't participating, but non-participation is fully possible only amongst the wolves, or in Henry Thoreaux's Walden books

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  185. i only see it useful as a critique, not as a really-existing project.

    i mean i see it as useful that one should distance oneself in criticism and observe the object of criticism AS IF he or she wasn't participating, but non-participation is fully possible only amongst the wolves, or in Henry Thoreaux's Walden books

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  186. i only see it useful as a critique, not as a really-existing project.

    i mean i see it as useful that one should distance oneself in criticism and observe the object of criticism AS IF he or she wasn't participating, but non-participation is fully possible only amongst the wolves, or in Henry Thoreaux's Walden books

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  187. Well, yes, but I hardly think this is a REVELATION you know that TV is largely run by advertisements

    SCANDALOUS isn't it? Well, once we grant that, and we grant that advertisements are serving to reinforce the basic social relations and the consolidation of wealth (ie power), how can TV, in its current state, be anything other than another process of reinforcing current social relations? (Sure, you can talk all you want about the first-person, subjective experience of art or the artful play of tropes, etc, but that does not change the material facts of the working of the TV industry.)

    The same goes for film.

    But call me a philistine.

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  188. "Where do you find out little tidbits like that"

    at the time it was airing, i was getting neilsen ratings every day, but you could find out in Variety also.

    "Oh so the crime of the show I guess is that it wasn't geared towards the WORKING CLASS, wadn't it? That it wasn't something like MARRIED WITH CHILDREN?"

    no, i'm just stating the facts of who the audience is, in an effort to remind you that you are talking about them, their jouissance interrupted, their subversive psychoanalytic cures, as if they are spectral rather than real. One can actually know some things about the audience for film and television; a reading which posits an inhuman tabula rasa viewer will doubtless make errors - speculating about that audience's reactions to a film or tv program but denying their existence simultaneously. It is one thing to read the film as a text and speculate about its producers, and the factors going in to its production; it is quite another to posit a uniform viewer without qualities as the sole receiver of mass media to assist in contentions regarding the subversive effects of film. You think the program was making subversive consciousnesses; ad buyers thought it was creating a good condition for selling those viewers cars. They did research; you didn't!

    The main competition was actually "Cheers" I believe, not "Married with Children". Twin Peaks failed because it bored and annoyed more people than Cheers did, but both bore and annoy people of all classes and personalities. Twin Peaks' demographic - as with all network shows - was of course very mixed; it was just a little richer in desireable young male viewers with disposable income than some other shows, it was not made up exclusive, by any means, of such viewers. But because of this demographic quality of its audience, it was given more than the usual chance to succeed, vast promotion, endless puffing in the papers, seeking a favourable slot, everything was done to try to get it an audience. This should at least give a hint that it was not viewed as subversive by the network or the advertisers.

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  189. but your implication here is the abolishment of profit, don't you realize? and i just don't agree with that idea, that all profit is bad. some profit is necessary. better to think of profit that harms people less.

    Yes, I would agree with that.

    your next implication is situatonist marxism, with which i just don't agree. i only see it useful as a critique, not as a really-existing project.

    Maybe not: one can only hope, eh?

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  190. how can TV, in its current state, be anything other than another process of reinforcing current social relations?

    also behind this statement is an utopia. nothing wrong with utopias, as long as you realize there hasn't been a single system or society in the world that didn't use the media (including books) to reinforce current social relations

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  191. "Filmmaker David Lynch, the cocreator of the show, built a cult following with such movies as "Eraserhead" and `Blue Velvet"-but what's driving many people to watch "Twin Peaks" is a virulent strain of adult peer pressure. "Everyone at parties is talking about it," says George Stephanopoulos, 29, a staff assistant to House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt. "It's gauche to walk away with nothing to say." Carmen Kroel, a San Francisco editor, agrees: "It's only a TV show, but you feel like a cultural idiot if you can't quote it on Fridays." It's not that "Twin Peaks" is another "Roots" in terms of ratings; it routinely gets beat by NBC's perennial hit "Cheers." But once people begin watching, addiction usually follows. Then, madness.

    Chris Ervin, 39, a General Motors speechwriter from Detroit, picks up a Canadian signal on a roof antenna so she can see each episode a day early. Movie director Penny Marshall has women friends over each week to cook dinner and, says actress Susan Forristal, revel in what is "beautiful and moody and everything that American television isn't." New York artist Mel Odom, who also has a weekly "Twin Peaks" party, reports that his guests "scream and run around the room during com commercials because the show can build up emotion, tension and angst. "Oleg Egorov, a Russian emigre living in New York, can relate to that. Says Egorov: "I missed the first episode, which I regret absolutely."

    Hey, Oleg, lighten up. Bootleg tapes of the first four "Twin Peaks" episodes are selling for about $20 each. Besides, you did see the much-discussed third episode, the one with the dream sequence featuring a creepy dancing midget and the dead Ms. Palmer whispering seductively in FBI agent Dale Cooper's ear. It is worth noting that many people are leading productive lives without having any knowledge of "Big" Ed's Gas Farm, the Log lady or Sheriff Harry S. Truman's affair with Josie Packard, the Chinese sawmill owner he's described as "one of the most beautiful women in the state." The show, which started out with a 21.7 rating and a 33 share when it was broadcast as a two-hour, Sunday-night movie, had settled down to an 11.3 rating with an 18 share by last week.

    ABC claims it isn't overly concerned with that statistical dip just yet. The network's research indicates that it's the over 50 audience, much less coveted by advertisers, that's abandoning "Twin Peaks" as the hunt for Laura's killer grows weirder and the huge crowd of characters spend more time eating pie, drinking coffee and having psychic visions. The core group of 18- to 49 year-olds remains; indeed, thanks to people like 37-year-old Doug Marshall-a member of a Chicago group that ritualistically repeats key script lines such as "There's a fish in the percolator"-the show is doing as well in its time slot as any ABC show in four years."

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  192. also behind this statement is an utopia. nothing wrong with utopias, as long as you realize there hasn't been a single system or society in the world that didn't use the media (including books) to reinforce current social relations

    One of my favorite quotes:

    Either you're a utopianist or you're a schmuck.

    I wouldn't ever say that all possible social relations are bad; some a clearly more desirable than the ones we currently have. A utopian project would look to embody more desirous social relations into its very cultural production, including the media.

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  193. no, i'm just stating the facts of who the audience is, in an effort to remind you that you are talking about them, their jouissance interrupted, their subversive psychoanalytic cures, as if they are spectral rather than real.

    you're talking from the perspective of a commercial TV producer, and although I know how powerful and influential this particular breed is, I have always seen their interventions as profoundly stupid precisely because they want to mathematize and predict something that lends itself to individual interpretation. and it's counterproductive as well because it is always the films with character, with quirkiness, with DIFFERENT ideas, that make the most money. even within pure exploitation it is films (like pixar's animations or lucas's insane fascist fantasies) which have something extra, something unpredictable, something ''crazy''. this is capital's invasion upon art, but i don't think you can blame lynch for having to deal with that in order to get his art made. it is rather exemplaty of him that he has managed to elevate the material beyond the level of sheer tee vee stereotyping.

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  194. some a clearly more desirable than the ones we currently have.

    i think in this particular area of social relations, yes, socialis mwas much better than capitalism. there was much more avantgarde film, much more experiment, much more socially critical art

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  195. http://www.lynchnet.com/tp/articles/newsweekmay7.html

    adult peer pressure! that's from Newsweek.

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  196. george stephanopolos, penny marshall, leaders of the revolution....

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  197. no, i'm just stating the facts of who the audience is, in an effort to remind you that you are talking about them, their jouissance interrupted, their subversive psychoanalytic cures, as if they are spectral rather than real.

    i am talking about the PSYCHOLOGY of film reception, and that is something universal which transcends class and creed

    the perceptive apparatus works pretty much the same in most people
    (otherwise film would not be possible)

    but i am also talking about the fact that despite ''facts and figures'' films like MH not only allow, but encourage, different readings, and THAT is their allure

    (also the allure of twin peaks, which created such an obsessive following)

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