What Hollywood accomplishes best is to repackage. Like transformed food it strips the nutritional qualities into sugar coated and sodium charged calories that create addiction and dependency. The craft, for though there is no art, is a distilling, filtering and sanitization into a distorted and context-adjusted mediation in which critical content; the personal, individual and unwashed figures are coiffed like show-dogs on a poop scoop runway.
In the case of Otto Dix, this was the complete makeover of Dix’s Weimar Republic into an adult Disneyland quarantined, sterilized and now an entertainment venue with homogenized symbols and archetypes; bobble heads and t-shirts.
Donald Kuspit: Without their critical edge and sting, they are fashionable mannequins on a commercial stage, however ostensibly — superficially — free spirits, as all figures that seem out of the bounds of social respectability, and charged with raw animal instinct — all “transgressive” figures that seem to lift the repression barrier — appear to be. Women in particular, as the risqué, self-destructive, impulsive dancer Anita Berber, depicted in a passionately red body-clinging dress (1925) — a sort of glistening snakeskin (its redness available in the Neue Galerie shop as glamorous “Berlin red” lipstick, a demoralizing triumph of advertising, packaging and commodification, not to say an “esthetic” cheap shot at Berber and Dix) suggests, along with the feline Reclining Woman on Leopard Skin (1927), who stares (glares?) at the male and for that matter female viewer, and seems ready to spring at and tear him or her apart, as her claw-like right hand suggests. Read More: http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/features/kuspit/otto-dix3-24-10.asp a
The power of the entertainment technology and its to appropriate in particular cinema, at the time of Dix, was the art of suffocating the liberating tendencies of the medium. Overt fascism could do this more crudely, but as Walter Benjamin and Adorno understood it, the manufacturing of culture as a commodity within a market based economy based on property, including the undervalued “intellectual property” was essentially an assault, a rape of anything that was considered progressive and democratic; a perversion of what was touted in propaganda as American utopianism. The mediated star, celebrity and idol system was almost the same as the “shock and awe” of fascist cinema of the lamb’s bleating before the lion:
” The star system and capital accumulation reestablished barriers between audience and film, just as Nazi propaganda films tried to illuminate Hitler and friends with a flattering ‘auratic’, charismatic glow. In radio and film, as in politics, a new selection by the apparatus was underway – those with the right voice, the good looks and skilled exhibitionism were favoured. The beneficiaries of this were the champion, the star and the dictator. But, at the same time, procedures such as Sergei Eisenstein’s workers’ cinema or Charlie Chaplin’s battles with technology and authority showed that cinema had at least the potential to generate a critical, politically based culture in which negotiations of the central (technological and class) forces in our lives are tackled.” Read More: http://spektakel.blogsport.de/images/EstherLeslieWalterBenjaminPoliticsAesthetics.pdf
Changes in government procurement policies, we argue, led the military to spin off many of its key technologies for simulation and training. Their adoption and further development by the game entertainment industry has resulted in the improvement of tools for designing war games. It has also fueled the growth of the video game industry, which by several measures has reached the level of film and television in its importance as an entertainment medium. During the Cold War it was customary to critique the military-industrial complex as an economic parasite separated from, but living off the free enterprise system. We conclude that the new military-entertainment complex of the 1990s has become a partner of the entertainment industry while transforming itself into the training ground for what we might consider the post-human warfare of the future. Read More: http://www.stanford.edu/class/sts145/Library/Lenoir-Lowood_TheatersOfWar.pdf
Tim Renoir, Henry Lowood: …On Independence Day, 2002, the traditional summer blockbuster date in the entertainment industry, the US military released its new videogame, America’s Army: Operations. Designed by the Modeling, Simulation, and Virtual Environments Institute (MOVES) of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, the game, intended as a recruiting device, is distributed free on the internet. Produced with brilliant graphics and the most advanced commercial game engine available (the Unreal game engine) at a cost of around $8 million, the game is a first-person multiplayer combat simulation that requires players to complete several preliminary stages of combat training in an environment mirroring one of the military’s own main training grounds—cyber boo
p. On the first day of its release the military added additional servers to handle the traffic, a reported whopping 500,000 downloads of the game. The site continued to average 1.2 million hits per second through late August 2002. Gamespot, a leading review, not only gave the game a 9.8 rating out of a possible 10, but also regarded the business model behind the new game as itself deserving an award….
As the military’s new blockbuster videogame illustrates, the military-industrial complex, contrary to initial expectations, did not fade away with the end of the Cold War. It has simply reorganized itself. In fact, it is more efficiently organized than ever before. Indeed, a cynic might argue that whereas the military-industrial complex was more or less visible and identifiable during the Cold War, today it is invisibly everywhere, permeating our daily lives. The military-industrial complex has become the military-entertainment complex. The entertainment industry is both a major source of innovative ideas and technology, and the training ground for what might be called post-human warfare. Read More: http://www.stanford.edu/class/sts145/Library/Lenoir-Lowood_TheatersOfWar.pdf
Recently, photographic portraits of nine World War I vets (all 105 or older when taken) were unveiled at a Pentagon ceremony. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates then noted that, when it comes to their war, “There is no big memorial on the National Mall. Hollywood has not turned its gaze in this direction for decades.”
If true, that is little short of a miracle — as Nick Turse indicates below. Hollywood hasn’t been able to keep its gaze off either war or the Pentagon since “the war to end all wars” began in 1914 (and the favor has long been returned). In fact, Hollywood and the Pentagon have been in an intricate dance of support and cross-promotion for almost a century, from a time when the Department of Defense was still quaintly — if more accurately — known as the War Department. Today, however, without leaving Hollywood behind, the Pentagon has branched out into the larger universe of entertainment. Video games, TV, NASCAR racing, social networking, professional bull riding, toys, professional wrestling, you name it and the military-entertainment complex has a hand in it — and don’t forget about the Pentagon’s links to Starbucks, Apple Computer, Oakley sunglasses, and well, gosh in one way or another, directly or indirectly, just about everything that looks civilian in (or out of) your house. Read More: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/174908/tomgram%3A__nick_turse,_the_pentagon_goes_hollywood/ a