Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dysphoria

(CNN) -- James Cameron's completely immersive spectacle "Avatar" may have been a little too real for some fans who say they have experienced depression and suicidal thoughts after seeing the film because they long to enjoy the beauty of the alien world Pandora.

On the fan forum site "Avatar Forums," a topic thread entitled "Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible," has received more than 1,000 posts from people experiencing depression and fans trying to help them cope.


...A post by a user called Elequin expresses an almost obsessive relationship with the film.

"That's all I have been doing as of late, searching the Internet for more info about 'Avatar.' I guess that helps. It's so hard I can't force myself to think that it's just a movie, and to get over it, that living like the Na'vi will never happen. I think I need a rebound movie," Elequin posted.

30 comments:

  1. Have you seen the film? It's predictably but nonetheless spectacularly dismaying, I imagine you'd find plenty to comment on.

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  2. I saw it but not in 3D

    I'm following the debate in Socialist Worker (US)

    people are right I think to consider the popularity a sign of progressive longings in the audience, even if the film itself is racist and reactionary and of course is the means by which capital exploits the labour which produces it, a lot of in, in this type of commodity, slave labour, enslaved child labour in mines, the very worst gruelling most dangerous forced labour, the very kind of labour that despite the analogy people see in the film (Pandora, Congo) the film doesn't acknowledge is necessary for capital accumulation of the kind which has obviously taken place and is taking place in the fictional future.

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  3. people are right I think to consider the popularity a sign of progressive longings in the audience

    Is somebody really saying that? I think it's longing for 3d mayhem myself. And the film really is mistfyingly reactionary, although it produces interesting frissons in spite of itself - setting up a platoon of US marines as the enemy is not without its symbolic implications.

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  4. "Is somebody really saying that? "

    Yeah, many from the ISO

    "setting up a platoon of US marines as the enemy is not without its symbolic implications."

    right but they turn into the saviours when they realise their R2P

    it's an R2P sort of film, as the "Na'vi" are more like nature itself than like peopole

    so the marines have to go in and protect these prelapsarian innocents; the film would read I suppose as justifying the USFRANCECANADA invasion of Haiti and the Security Council dictatorship of Liberia rather than championing real resistance to imperialism

    the exchange in the US Socialist Worker covered the pro and con pretty well except of course avoided confronting the object as a capitalist enterprise at all, and just treated it as a narrative, as if it were a cave painting or a story told "around the campire" (as David Simon likes to describe his mass produced commodities and capital assets)

    4:06 PM

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  5. "I think it's longing for 3d mayhem myself."

    yeah, but all the blockbusters offer fantasies of life without work, either due to different world, superheroic supernaturalism, or riches

    this one offers a fantasy of life without work, with community, and an intensified conntectedness of the sort people already are obviously seeking on social networks

    It is definitely reminiscent of fascist fantasies, with all these healthy nietzschean wild beasties, and the antimodernism accompanied by confirmations of "natural" hierarchy or whatever, natural order with girls in bikinis, but this reminds us of what many people were attracted to in fascism

    i think the mayhem is the ideology of the corporation - the longing for community and leisure is a spontaneous audience desire, that is gratified with this product but laced with violence and competition and all this creepy ideology. But it's like coca cola, there is thirst, it does quench it, but dosed with salt and sugar and caffeine that addicts you, so now thirst becomes a desire for this drug. Now the desires of the audience for fantasies of liberty, leiusure and love are transformed by the commodities the audience has to buy to satisfy them into simultaneous desires for domination over others, for violence, destruction, infliction of humiliation etc.

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  6. yeah, but all the blockbusters offer fantasies of life without work, either due to different world, superheroic supernaturalism, or riches

    I took the blue people to be a hunter gatherer society. Which I suppose could be construed as anti-capitalistic, but it's not workless.

    It is definitely reminiscent of fascist fantasies, with all these healthy nietzschean wild beasties, and the antimodernism accompanied by confirmations of "natural" hierarchy or whatever, natural order with girls in bikinis, but this reminds us of what many people were attracted to in fascism

    I have read a number of critiques in the last couple of days and nobody - not even k-punk - commented on the "mating for life" thing. I don't use the word fascism lightly, but yeah, it's fascist sexual politics all right.

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  7. "Which I suppose could be construed as anti-capitalistic, but it's not workless."

    they have to expend effort to survive sure. But they don't have to sell their labour power to the owners of everything. and in blockbusters I think the dream is about the end of drudgery, not the end of effort. The world ends, ending drudgery, but you might have to run and run and run and lift and carry your kids or whatever. But you don't have to sell your labour power to the owners of everything. A lot of big budget films have this feature,t hat they are fantasies wherein people no longer have to sell their labour to the owners of the world.

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  8. jameson noted somewhere that a lot of blockbuysters have these fantasies of job satisfaction that appeal to petty bourgeois intellectuals - like jurassic park, or other shows with a group of elite specialists who accomplish something important with their skills. His notion is people crave meaningful work and this is a fantasyo fmeaningful work. We see this now sometimes - the meaningful work, the teamwork of the eliute specialists, the fabian elits - but less though than just some or other pretext for experience of liberty from the general condition of wage labourer.

    I'm sorry tpo be argumentative before by the way. I can't believe what is going on in Haiti right now and the world in general. I don't know how people go on. I really don't. Do people like 2012 because those visions of everything cruimbling and sliding away into the sea visualise how we feel inside so often, from all this? Hopelessness?

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  9. "I don't use the word fascism lightly, but yeah, it's fascist sexual politics all right."

    did you see the "cut love scene"?

    http://filmdrunk.uproxx.com/2010/01/read-this-now-avatars-deleted-sex-scene


    It's fascist generally in the conception of the perfect people, this Tribe who are envisioned in a tradition that suggests "racial purity" since they are all so similar in appearance; one skin color, same hair, same body types basically. and I mean these NaVi are these blonde beasts of Nietzsche except the color of their blood is on the outside and their hair is dark. They're all healthy - no deformities. They're supermen - tall, carbon fiber skeletons. And the individual dissolves into the fascio. which is not to say it names or demonises any intruder type, or implies exterminationism or anything, its fasho the way fasho envisions itself - as a nice thing, a community renewal and rebirth - not the way antifascists envision it. Yhere is a fasho body-beautiful thing established clearly, with the humans being defective physically, and this offered as a figuration of their spiritual decadence and degeneracy too, and that then is how the political degeneracy is portrayed and illustrated, and the alternative is just this fasho thing, heidegger would love, the community with its NoHistory historicity, it's timeless identity without history, its pure kind of ancient wholesome property (not this land belongs to everyone, but it belongs to our tribe). It's the kind of fasho that is within liberalism, that is a sort of key in which liberalism plays rather than liberalisms's alternative. It's liberalism's own version of its lost eden.

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  10. And the individual dissolves into the fascio. which is not to say it names or demonises any intruder type, or implies exterminationism or anything, its fasho the way fasho envisions itself - as a nice thing, a community renewal and rebirth - not the way antifascists envision it

    Yes, there is no other. A single race, without homosexuals or gender confusion or minorities of any kind, and with an immutable ahistorical social/political/economic order. And trees! Althuogh humans couldn’t breathe in it, that was sort of clever.

    Do people like 2012 because those visions of everything cruimbling and sliding away into the sea visualise how we feel inside so often, from all this? Hopelessness?

    I wrote something last month about 2012 as capitalist fable, in fact it linked to something you wrote, it’s actually how I found your blog. And one could write about its casual and not so casual racism, apposite in light of the catastrophe in Haiti. I just don’t think it ever graduates into anything more useful than that, or tap into diffuse real feelings of any sort. Partly because it’s so intentionally ludicrous and stupid, as if to defuse the power of its own imagery. Don’t worry, folks, WE AREN’T BEING SERIOUS. Avatar doesn’t do that, at least not quite so overtly, but I struggle to find a use for it.

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  11. look at this

    http://blog.heritage.org/2010/01/13/things-to-remember-while-helping-haiti/

    it's unspeakable

    and people accept this because they are taught certain paradigms and the assumptions and scenario here seems to them familiar and only natural

    and one of the pedagogical devices which maintain and reproduce this paradigm and these topoi is the Wire

    there are real consequences to the Wireverse fictions, to what kinds of ideas and expectations and assumptions it plants in influential white petty bourgeois heads

    read that thing:

    "While on the ground in Haiti, the U.S. military can also interrupt the nightly flights of cocaine to Haiti and the Dominican Republic from the Venezuelan coast and counter the ongoing efforts of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to destabilize the island of Hispaniola. This U.S. military presence, which should also include a large contingent of U.S. Coast Guard assets, can also prevent any large-scale movement by Haitians to take to the sea in dangerous and rickety watercraft to try to enter the U.S. illegally.
    Meanwhile, the U.S. must be prepared to insist that the Haiti government work closely with the U.S. to insure that corruption does not infect the humanitarian assistance flowing to Haiti."

    this kind of nazified screed can only be accepted as seemly and sane because of the prevalence of a dominant fabulous narrative - cocaine, corruption, unfitness for self government...there are plenty of fictions which serve to keep every motif, every theme here vivid and alive for application to reality as here and the Wire is one of the more influential in recent years.

    appeals to "real life" here - there IS cocaine traffic through haiti, there IS corruption in the government, there will be massive flight on unseaworthy boats which will be dangerous - expose the general nature of such appeals (apology for reactionary advocacy) as the lame justification for whole discourses.

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  12. Mmmmhhh... you haven't entirely convinced me that The Wire proposes that black people in America are unfit to self-govern, sorry. Or that drugs are the root of the social evil - I really don't think The Wire supports the war on drugs at all, and let's face it the war on drugs as imperialistic tool predates The Wire by a few dacades. I am however with you on being entirely dismayed by the news, which for me was entirely contained in something that Obama casually said the other day (don't have the quote) about the fact that while they're there the troops might help with security - we all know what that means. Plus ça change.

    I don't know what you do. Do you teach, are you a writer? There aren't so far as I know very many studies of the reactionary aspects of, for instance, Italian
    neorealism, the dimension you are seeking to highlight in The Wire (there are significant racial fissures there, too). It's important political work that needs to be done, I wonder if you're thinking of doing just that, whether or not in a comparative fashion. And I'd love to help, feel free to email me or whatever.

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  13. "you haven't entirely convinced me that The Wire proposes that black people in America are unfit to self-govern, sorry"

    okay, it's not important to convince you that The Wire is part of the barrage which convinces people of this. Let's say it was eccentric. It's had no positive effect clearly. Those replies to Hallward show how people wish to perceive Haitians, from influential intellectuals (Zizek), to peopole who appear to be teens reading the Guardian - for all the them, Haiti is simply "a basket case" because Haitians can't produce a better situation for themselves. the idea that Haiti's situation has been produced by relentless aggression of more powerful nations in which we live offends people, even though if this is not the case, ti has to be concluded that haitians are simply not competent, simply not capable of selfgovernment.


    "Or that drugs are the root of the social evil "

    you know...where does this come from? you are replying here often to somenbody else, some 'typical wire critic' of something. I never said the show suggests drugs are the root of social evil, or anything like that. Below you also assert that I have been complaining that the show doesn't offer its audience a revolutionary programme to enact, and then you say "but that's not it's job;" Where did I ever make such a complaint. It seems to me only psychotics would watch HBO for instructions from their revolutionary leaders. But these are the kind of typical things that are assigned one side of the pseudo-debate in pop-political literature, etc, so it seems you have to attribute them to me if you are taking the side characterised by awed appreciation for the mystical transformative nature of crap television art.

    I'm not for example at all convinced by this analogy to Italian neorealism that the pr of the wire has offered and has been picked up. Something can't be dickensian and desician at once surely? The Wire is stylised and cartoonish, not vérité, the only thing gritty naturalist about it is that it's cheap and the characters use the word motherfucker tirelessly. still it's not that kind of "realistic" that Italian neorealism strove for at all - Brother Mouzone? Omar? "Kunta Kinte" hahahah? The constant postmodern rehashing of ancient gags and selfconscious quoting of television, the feel is often Jarmusch and Coen brothers' self conscious "quirkiness", the smug bourgeois fascination with the quirky "cultures" of the city (the show's tone is more like Desperately Seeking Susan than like a Sidney Lumet film) where the union stevedore is practising "white slavery!?" One of the things in Italian neorealism generally was that the events shown were ordinary - painful but not sensational for being headline worthy. Umberto D. doesn't meet up with the diabolical wraith of Hymen Roth. Nothing like the container of dead beauties, the von Sydow-derived comically polite and cultured hit man, the romantic loner robin hood hood who whistles his own theme music, all these gimmicks are 80s indie american style stuff but without the east village whimsy or the "cosmopolitanism", they are used in a narrative that restores and hardens old categories of type (race, gender) which were for a time shaken and indeed going extinct, becoming unintelligble.

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  14. "I don't know what you do. Do you teach, are you a writer? "

    right now I'm a media consultant...This blog btw is a group blog, we each don't really know everyone who posts to it, though you have rightly identified several by this same Qlipoth, not all recent posts are mine. Thanks for the offer to help - have you read Jonathan Beller's The Cinematic Mode of Production? It's great.

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  15. this

    http://orbismediologicus.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/math-as-semiotic-mediation-at-the-mathematical-scale/

    is a really interesting blog I discovered recently that i bet you'd like too

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  16. http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/the-left-debates-avatar/#comments

    everyone's missing that the Na'Vi are leisured supermen who live the life of the yachting and horsey superrich and own something everyone on earth needs evidently. They are more like the shareholders of these media corporations - who own this infinitely productive digital image property (can't be depleted, the license value grows with every copy generated) and mean to protect their property from those horrible geeky pirates - than like the wretched of the earth.

    but one can see from proyect's take and the thread that people mainly are attracted to what they perceive as "taking the side" of some abstract antiimperialist resistance. the principled stance, (that is completely meaningless, mere show) that asks for applause gets it.


    it's instructive - like I can't convince you that what entertains you about The Wire might be something other than wholesome progressive political lectures secreted within all the jokes and shoot em up, these other smart people will probably not concede there might be something attracting them to Avatar that isn't antiimperialist advocacy. That maybe there isn't even any such advocacy here, no more than there is a critique of capitalism in The Wire. These notions of what the content of the spectacles are may be like "Low Fat!" labels on processed desserts. "Critique of Capitalism!" it says in a golden starburst on the DVD box of the Wire, "Critique of Imperialism! Radical Environmentalism!" on the Avatar ticket, like the Frosted Flakes box might advertise vitamins and minerals.... perhaps it's there, perhaps it isn't. The sugar is definitely there though.

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  17. it's instructive - like I can't convince you that what entertains you about The Wire might be something other than wholesome progressive political lectures secreted within all the jokes and shoot em up, these other smart people will probably not concede there might be something attracting them to Avatar that isn't antiimperialist advocacy

    Ouch, that hurt! But I'll take it. Must think harder about the "what entertains me", part, it's still the issue you raised concerning the Wire that I find the most challenging.

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  18. I'm not for example at all convinced by this analogy to Italian neorealism that the pr of the wire has offered and has been picked up. Something can't be dickensian and desician at once surely? The Wire is stylised and cartoonish, not vérité, the only thing gritty naturalist about it is that it's cheap and the characters use the word motherfucker tirelessly. still it's not that kind of "realistic" that Italian neorealism strove for at all

    Granted, Italian neorealism wasn't about gangsters, but it was cartoonish, maybe it's just harder for you to see (I know, look who's talking). And it was pure propaganda, it's how Italians reinvented themselves after Fascism as a country of good honest folk who would never think of doing the Bad Things.

    This blog btw is a group blog, we each don't really know everyone who posts to it, though you have rightly identified several by this same Qlipoth, not all recent posts are mine.

    Oh, excellent.

    is a really interesting blog I discovered recently that i bet you'd like too

    And here's a PhD thesis on the uses of realism from a resolutely Marxist perspective.

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  19. "everyone's missing that the Na'Vi are leisured supermen who live the life of the yachting and horsey superrich and own something everyone on earth needs evidently"

    this is the noble savage, right? what they possess is basically the state of nature, embodied in this 'unobtanium' resource (an old screenwriter joke). it's the same granter of the general equilibrium utopia that enables the star trekkers to travel around spreading enlightenment that makes the nav'i self-sufficient isolationists. both lifestyles center around forms of work that are not drudgery - survival within a harmonious natural order and adventure in infinite space, respectively. but the whole concept of noble savage relies on the assumption of a racial difference between 'noble' and savage' ('nature' and 'culture' in the background) that the figure reinforces by pretending to transcend it. it does this by imagining the difference is 'cultural' or 'psychological,' and therefore to be overcome by breaking from rather than changing the (concealed) social structure, hence the intentional hokiness of unobtanium, there just as a transparent sign of psychic lack. the representative of the superrich (giovanni ribisi's corporate executive), who live the closest thing to this lifestyle in reality, is a monster because he and the society his superiors are the masters of (ours) prefer the extraction of material resources (here figured as obviously imaginary and absurd) to the psychological/spiritual/biotechnological transformation involved in becoming the noble savage which remains the film's impossible fantasy solution to the problems it superficially raises. Its specific form as the video game 'avatar,' or how the film inserts technofetishism into the narrative cracks, is its only real innovation on the john smith myth, as far as i can tell.

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  20. thanks giovanni, traxus

    I seem to recall something - probably woggia - on the web about the nobility of the noble savage lately - noble because hunter, an aristocrat only pasttime - to seek out again

    Murr put this very well; that with all the inorganic and organic logging on, the latter involving connection with the mother goddess, Spectacle=Nature


    And I’d add since spectacle=nature,and here we have a potentially endlessly fruitful nature, divinely fecund, I think unobtainium suggests here doubly Spectacle (its a macguffin which is a thing of spectacle old style but it is also the generic macguffin of scifi geeks) it's the infinitely profitable intellectual property in digital image commodities. Its superconductivity suggests networked mind yadda yadda.

    Giovanni’s really excellent thesis

    http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/gtiso/impossible_recollections.pdf

    seems pertinent too, differently:

    In these narratives, the removal of mnemonic prostheses is often associated with death, a total loss of pre-existing function, or at best intense physical pain; as if to say that the traumatic coupling of the human and the machinic has to be mirrored by an even more traumatic separation, underscoring the impossibility of switching the direction of progress. Pandora’s box, once opened, cannot be sealed again. In the case of Andrew Worth, the protagonist of Greg Egan’s Distress, , the forceful separation is described in terms suggestive of a grotesque birth in reverse:

    “I wrapped the fiber around my hand and started hauling the memory
    chips out of my gut. The wound left by the optical port was too small, but the chips’ capsule-shaped protective casings forced it open, and they emerged into the light one by one, like the gleaming segments of some
    strange cybernetic parasite which was fighting hard to stay inside its host.

    "The farmers backed away, alarmed and confused. The louder I bellowed, the more it dulled the pain. The processor emerged last, the buried head of the worm, trailing a fine gold cable which led to my spinal cord, and the nerve taps in my brain. I
    snapped it off where it vanished into the chip, then rose to my feet, bent double, a fist pressed against the ragged hole.”


    contd

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  21. This tearing asunder mirrors the moment of insertion of the technological appendage into the bio-port – which at times is highly carnal and sensualised, as in the movie eXistenZ (1999, dir. David Cronenberg), and at
    times overtly reminiscent of an act of rape, as in The Matrix (1999, dir. Larry and Andy Wachowski) – and offers a remarkable contrast with the sanitised, streamlined couplings portrayed in the glossy world of the marketers of the digital. Here the end-user, a self-confident, empowered individual who derives power and/or pleasure from his or her technoappendages
    without fear of pain or loss, is the protagonist of a starkly
    different brand of fiction. Its overarching philosophy, brilliantly
    encapsulated in Nicholas Negroponte’s Being Digital (1995), is unashamedly utilitarian in nature, and surprisingly timid in its imaginings.

    In spite of grandiose pronouncements such as the one implicit in Negroponte’s title, which promises nothing less than a rewriting in binary language of what it means to be human, these narratives reduce technology
    to an inert tool, an engine of change but merely of lifestyle, advancing the reductionist notion that our lives will carry on just as they do now, only a lot
    more so. In the digital age, everything will be amplified, and we will all lead super-lives with the infinite resources of the world constantly at our fingertips. This is Negroponte at his most lyrical:

    "Early in the next millennium your right and left cuff links or earrings may communicate with each other by low-orbiting satellites and have more ccmputer power than your present PC. Your telephone won’t ring indiscriminately; it will receive, sort and perhaps respond to your incoming calls like a well-trained English butler. Mass media will be
    redefined by systems for transmitting and receiving personalized information and entertainment. Schools will change to become more like museums and playgrounds for children to assemble ideas and socialize
    with other children all over the world. The digital planet will look and feel like the head of a pin."

    Leaving aside why one might actually want one’s cufflinks or earrings to communicate with each other, let alone via low-orbiting satellites, the revealing key to this passage is the reference to that old, amiable fictional
    character, the English butler. This eminently reassuring figure, perfect antithesis to the cyborg, is the marketer’s answer to the dark imaginings coming from quarters such as science-fiction and belligerent critics of
    technoscience such as Donna Haraway. His subservience and discretion, not to mention his ability to render himself invisible when the master requires
    it30, reassure us that the integrity of our individual identities will never be
    threatened, even by those consumer products, such as the personal digital assistant, that are specifically designed to deal with the intimate details of our day-to-day lives.

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  22. "it was cartoonish, maybe it's just harder for you to see "

    yes, because i am moved by those films, it is harder to see the cartoonishness.now you mention it, though, much leaps to mind.

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  23. Anonymous3:19 PM

    From that Proyect post, QFT:
    “Avatar” has triggered one of the more interesting debates on the left in quite some time.

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  24. here's one of roger's posts
    http://limitedinc.blogspot.com/2009/02/myth-of-noble-european.html

    and here's another
    http://limitedinc.blogspot.com/2009/02/more-on-myth-of-myth-of-noble-savage.html

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  25. thanks traxus for the links

    here's another lefty thumbs up

    http://socialistworker.org/2010/01/15/avatar-is-a-starting-point

    You would think that after US audiences discovered it was easy to root for Germans in WWII in Das Boot there would not be assumptions like those in there. But you can almost see the wall that pleasure has built between the writer and her critical capacities.

    Traxus this point:

    "both lifestyles center around forms of work that are not drudgery - survival within a harmonious natural order and adventure in infinite space, respectively. but the whole concept of noble savage relies on the assumption of a racial difference between 'noble' and savage' ('nature' and 'culture' in the background) that the figure reinforces by pretending to transcend it."

    seems really important and part of a larger pattern. You wrote before about Ray's A Certain tendency in the hollywood cinema, where he shows how the american mainstream cinema's thing is to establish the rivalry between individualist and lawman and then resolve in a way that doesn't require a choice. the individualist figure, the Indianised white man, (whose name is Sully in Dr Quinn Medicine Woman) in american action adventure etc is the key to the whole american thing, all the genres of american style white supremacism (as the africanised aristo features in british parallel stuff, though not as dominant, the distinction is more important to british imperial ideology, the appropriuation of the savage less complete). In Arcades there is that sequence on the influence of Fenimore Cooper I have to find again...

    The 19th century authors who became gfascinated with the "dialectic" read a lot fo stories where this pattern of tension as in "noble savage" is central - the hit novels and poems of the day all centre on this kind of figure and its permutations, shepherdess queen, citizen king, everyman emperor...

    But the Indianised white man, who is the hardboiled detective in that genre, who reads the urban space as the fenimore cooper indian deciphers his forests, who is the rogue often of natural goodness, self sacrifice, discipline who justifies and cleanses the system whenever it decays of becomes corrupt, is more and more important as a counter to egalitarianism and socialism. This romantic individualism is choice for the ruling class who are finance, media and entertainment moguls (not Undershafts, they don't like the oldstyle captain of industry image, they want to seem childish too, at play while they "work" making games and movies, as the Na'Vi are at play aways, as the euro royals and artistocrats at their hunting lodges are at play).

    cont'd

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  26. the new socialist worker piece says its a good start. That Avatar is objectively imperialist enterprise no matter what the images and story are doesn't seem to matter. Is there a connection between the affection for Avatar and the willingness to cheer on the currently barbaric beyond belief US invasion of Haiti, to BLOCK aid, because of the charming generous messages the President and the Sec of State says to announce it...


    Forty years ago, the Indianised white man was featured with critical examination that seemed pretty exhaustive, though maybe Taxi Driver added one last point (which might be reactionary). But In 1970 Arthur Penn invited his audience to relish the defeat of Custer at Little Big Horn in the film Little Big Man. For all its weaknesses of paternalism and folklorisation, this was at least as a narrative a progressive film that was part of a larger progressive movement: the audiences witnessing the barbarism of the expansionist white supremacist genocidal forces were also agitating against the projection of the inheritor's power in Indochina and welcoming its defeats there, and the film was addressing the audience precisely as antiwar, antiimperialist, left progressives. With Avatar it is very different - imaginary defeats of imperialist plunderers are offered as consolation and thrill for the audience. Instead of a imaginative telling of real history as in Little Big Man, Avatar offers comic book style trasnhistorical fable which functions as a kind of all-purpose historical revisionism, to rewrite the Conquest with a happy ending, for example, the consequences of which fanciful virtual revision are that somehow James Cameron and Murdoch position themselves as the descendants of Sully and Neytiri – they are the Indianised white men now, these lords of Nature/ Spectacle. The Star Wars formula with its Jungian crapola serves to churn all these traditions into their most reactionary forms, with the erasure of history and the replacement by this no-history spectacle that is a fantastic “history” which superimposes epochs to render history maximally abstract, History capital H, voided and commodified. History that is No History, this object of fascist longing.

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  27. History capital H, voided and commodified. History that is No History, this object of fascist longing.

    It would explain why I was so consistently reminded of The Matrix above all else.

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  28. Qlipoth, I find your blog very interesting but I can't tell if you're pro- Zizek or anti-Zizek? Maybe it's the way some of the quotes have been indented.

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  29. Zizek is a fraud, a clown. The closest thing to his act is Borat. His act functions like Borat in multiple directions while operating from a kind of evasive stance; so it works in different ways for different audiences. For anticommies, he is the grotesque persona "the communist", a hairy, ignorant, slobbering balkan hick who appears lately all the time on tv in gulag issue underwear - vomit colored t-shirt. (really, every tv appearance now for a while) His image is designed to replace Noam Chomsky as the best know vision of "leftist public intelletual", to repulse people. For those kids who think they are leftists and love him, he seeds basically fascistic ideas, supporting every vicious ruling class police from the destruction of yugoslavia to TARP, recuperates ancient corny racism and misogyny, engages in risible historical revisionism, is constantly attacking the left with ridicule and the kind of thing that intimidates teenagers etc.

    His thing is to say "as a marxist I applaud Aristide when he encouraged his macoute-like chimeres to necklace the rich!" and "as a radical leftists I support Iran's secret nuclear weapons program!" He's sort of the counterpart to Colbert but his fans don't know he's faking his "leftist" views in favour of Chavez' abolition of democracy or Chomsky's holocaust denial and racist smears of Obama...(Actualy Colbert has some right wing fans who don't get it either)

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  30. Zizek is a fraud, a clown. The closest thing to his act is Borat.

    Priceless.

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