panning for the wild

Fantasy as the idealization of desire. Permeating liberalism and enlightenment thinking has always been a racist undertone, the collander, the sieve,  of secularism that disposes of the chaff into a compost heap. The thinking that brought forth romanticism as corrupted classicism and post modernism as corrupted romanticism. The so called liberal good intentions more often reveal a reinforcing of place and privilege in a vampiric relation to the “other” . Clearly in the middle east with its “regime change” we see this process at work where virtuous rebels can be the victim or assume a role in the white world’s fantasy. The public relations wash and spin through Hollywood is too express sympathy with these idealized while avoiding the central issues of the actual struggle.

---The demonstrators also donned long hair and loincloths Friday for the weekly protest against the barrier near the village of Bilin. They equated their struggle to the intergalactic one portrayed in the film. Israel says the barrier is needed for its security. Palestinians consider it a land grab. The protests have become a symbol of opposition. They often end in clashes with Israeli security forces involving stones and tear gas. The "Avatar" protest comes a day after the Israeli government began rerouting the enclosure to eat up less of the Palestinian village.---Read More:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/12/palestinian-protesters-po_n_460560.html

The movie The Help is a good example of how young affluent people in crisis deal with this anxiety by plugging into limited but intimate relations with the more virile and full blooded activities of the poor and marginal. Bell Hooks explored the same terrain in her Outlaw Culture, how white youth will lock into black music culture as a restoring and transitory phenomenon before resuming their linear trajectory. The other is engaged superficially and is essentially a commodity. Advertising is the most blatant example of a kind of wining and dining of the poor, basically the mass market through a synthetic compassion that finishes with a purchase of some product that is almost all form and little substance. The vampire syndrome as default position based on the construction of artificial individualism that are mere sales shelves for what is tailored as culture and discriminating tastes. The mechanics of liberal reformism.

---Environmentalists have launched a global campaign against Mattel Inc., the world’s largest toy company, as part of a decade-long effort to force multinational corporations to purge their operations of any links to rain forest destruction. On Tuesday, Greenpeace activists in turquoise vests rappelled down the face of the company’s 15-story headquarters in El Segundo and hung a giant banner depicting a frowning Ken doll with the message: “Barbie: it’s over. I don’t date girls that are into deforestation.” El Segundo police arrested 10 protesters, including a woman dressed as Barbie in pink and blue Spandex who was driving a bright pink skid loader a half a block from the scene.---Read More:http://www.jazdpackaging.com/blog/?p=162

The following ( see link at end) is from Slavoj Zizek , and it really is an indictment of American pop culture, this business model of reproduction at minimal cost that is so pervasive of the post industrial so called knowledge economy. In part, it sounds like an updated Veblen critique, a sort of Marxism coming from another direction and it avoids the line between elitism of the avant-garde and its natural antagonism between the sentimental and traditional, that there might actually be something valid within the kitsch; in other words the view is hyper objective but is instructive of how easily behavior can be conditioned by the parameters of the stereotyped situation and the constraining implications it has on memory.

…with two realities: the ordinary world of imperialist colonialism on the one hand, and a fantasy world, populated by aborigines who live in an incestuous link with nature, on the other. (The latter should not be confused with the miserable reality of actual exploited peoples.) The end of the film should be read as the hero fully migrating from reality into the fantasy world – as if, in The Matrix, Neo were to decide to immerse himself again fully in the matrix….

…This is why it is interesting to imagine a sequel to Avatar in which, after a couple of years (or, rather, months) of bliss, the hero starts to feel a weird discontent and to miss the corrupted human universe. The source of this discontent is not only that every reality, no matter how perfect it is, sooner or later disappoints us. Such a perfect fantasy disappoints us precisely because of its perfection: what this perfection signals is that it holds no place for us, the subjects who imagine it.

The utopia imagined in Avatar follows the Hollywood formula for producing a couple – the long tradition of a resigned white hero who has to go among the savages to find a proper sexual partner (just recall Dances With Wolves). In a typical Hollywood product, everything, from the fate of the Knights of the Round Table to asteroids hitting the earth, is transposed into an Oedipal narrative. The ridiculous climax of this procedure of staging great historical events as the background to the formation of a couple is Warren Beatty’s Reds (1981), in which Hollywood found a way to rehabilitate the October Revolution, arguably the most traumatic historical event of the 20th century. In Reds, the couple of John Reed and Louise Bryant are in deep emotional crisis; their love is reignited when Louise watches John deliver an impassioned revolutionary speech.

What follows is the couple’s lovemaking, intersected with archetypal scenes from the revolution, some of which reverberate in an all too obvious way with the sex; say, when John penetrates Louise, the camera cuts to a street where a dark crowd of demonstrators envelops and stops a penetrating “phallic” tram – all this against the background of the singing of “The Internationale”. When, at the orgasmic climax, Lenin himself appears, addressing a packed hall of delegates, he is more a wise teacher overseeing the couple’s love-initiation than a cold revolutionary leader. Even the October Revolution is OK, according to Hollywood, if it serves the reconstitution of a couple.

In a similar way, is Cameron’s previous blockbuster, Titanic, really about the catastrophe of the ship hitting the iceberg? One should be
attentive to the precise moment of the catastrophe: it takes place when the young lovers (Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet), immediately after consummating their relationship, return to the ship’s deck. Even more crucial is that, on deck, Winslet tells her lover that when the ship reaches New York the next morning, she will leave with him, preferring a life of poverty with her true love to a false, corrupted life among the rich.

At this moment the ship hits the iceberg, in order to prevent what would undoubtedly have been the true catastrophe, namely the couple’s life in New York. One can safely guess that soon the misery of everyday life would have destroyed their love. The catastrophe thus occurs in order to save their love, to sustain the illusion that, if it had not happened, they would have lived “happily ever after”. A further clue is provided by DiCaprio’s final moments. He is freezing in the cold water, dying, while Winslet is safely floating on a large piece of wood. Aware that she is losing him, she cries “I’l

ver let you go!” – and as she says this, she pushes him away with her hands.

Why? Because he has done his job. Beneath the story of a love affair, Titanic tells another story, that of a spoiled high-society girl with an identity crisis: she is confused, doesn’t know what to do with herself, and DiCaprio, much more than just her love partner, is a kind of “vanishing mediator” whose function is to restore her sense of identity and purpose in life. His last words before he disappears into the freezing North Atlantic are not the words of a departing lover, but the message of a preacher, telling her to be honest and faithful to herself….Read More:http://www.newstatesman.com/film/2010/03/avatar-reality-love-couple-sex

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