Ktismatics

14 July 2008

Gone With the Wind, 1939

Filed under: Movies — ktismatics @ 9:40 am

Abandoned by Rhett, Scarlett drapes herself decoratively across the grand stairway of her Atlanta pied-à-terre:

“I can’t let him go, I can’t! There must be some way to bring him back. Oh, I can’t think about it now — I’ll go crazy if I do. I’ll think about it tomorrow… But I must think about it, I must think about it. What is there to do? What is there that matters?”

Scarlett lapses into a fugue state, in which voices from the past swirl around the soundtrack:

(Her father) “You don’t mean to tell me, Katie Scarlett O’Hara, that Tara doesn’t mean anything to you? Why land’s the only thing that matters. It’s the only thing that lasts.”

(Ashley) “Something you love better than me, though you may not know it: Tara.”

(Somebody else, I think maybe her second husband) “It’s this from which you get your strength: the red earth of Tara.”

Rousing herself from her hysterical torpor, Scarlett makes a decision:

“Tara! Home. I’ll go home. And I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, etc.”

THE END

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100 Comments »

  1. Retrospectively what a repugnant celebration of white supremacism and the colonial mentality. The vulgar tart is going to forget about all the Niggas they’ve killed and maimed and she’ll wake up tomorrow and go to Iraq.

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    Comment by parodycenter — 14 July 2008 @ 4:55 pm

    • Dick!

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      Comment by Milla — 13 January 2011 @ 3:28 pm

    • “…is going to forget about all the Niggas they’ve killed and maimed…”

      Were people from the North better, those ones who set the slaves free? They didn’t want to set anybody free. The yankees wanted to use the slaves in their own way. The yankees needed the voters!!! “… we are your friends, we will give you 40 acre of land and a mule. Vote for us!” Was that real desire to help the slaves or give them freedom? At least people from the South didn’t lie or pretend to be friends.

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      Comment by Milla — 14 January 2011 @ 1:52 am

      • Of course this is a debatable point, Milla: “yankees” can refer to everyone from the old aristocracy to the industrialists to the factory workers and miners, including free blacks. And of course most Southern whites were 40-acres-and-a-mule small farmers who had about as much in common with the slaveowners as did the slaves. There was a vocal and influential abolitionist movement in the North which had at least some impact on national politics. It’s argued that the Northern factories had less use for slave labor than did the Southern plantations, but I can’t see why that would be true. Northern workers, like Southern slaves, were exploited, and the slaves freed by the Civil War may have experienced deteriorated fortunes. Still, slavery imposes a significantly heavier burden of oppression: bought and sold, families broken up, physical beatings and rapes by the owners, etc. I’m reading anarchist Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States, and the next chapter deals with slavery and emancipation, so I’ll no doubt learn a few things. From the perspective of GWTW, the North is portrayed as the destroyer of the old gentility and the source of the crude white trash pouring into beloved Atlanta.

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        Comment by ktismatics — 14 January 2011 @ 9:06 am

      • ktismatics, I side neither with the North, nor witn the South. Of course I truly believe slavery had to be destroyed. I don’t try to excuse it in any way. Maybe my view on tne situation is based from the perspective of the movie (the South). Because we were shown the best part of using slaves in the movie. The owners were polite, friendly… But not all slave owners were as gentle as O’Hara or Wilkes families. I completely understand that.
        So, thank you for your reply. it was very helpful for I don’t know much of the USA history or the Civil War (my knowledge comes only from different movies).

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        Comment by Milla — 16 January 2011 @ 3:10 am

      • After the Civil War the Yankee carpetbaggers went south and grabbed up the plantations, built factories operated by underpaid workers both black and white, and otherwise economically exploited the opportunity presented in the postwar chaos and devastation. Surely many if not most of the freed slaves experienced terrible financial hardships and yearned for the good old days almost as much as did Scarlett O’Hara. This is probably true also in places like South Africa and Poland and Russia, where political upheaval turned into an opportunity for further exploitation by the “haves” of the “have nots,” and where deteriorating living conditions stir sentimental longings for the good old days of apartheid or the Soviet Union.

        Your English is excellent, Milla — certainly better than I could do in any language other than English.

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        Comment by ktismatics — 16 January 2011 @ 11:08 am

      • ktismatics,
        Thanks a lot (as for my English).

        I’ve got your point very clearly. Thank you for explanation.

        “This is probably true also in places like South Africa and Poland and Russia” – it is DEFINITELY so true! I’m from Ukraine (It’s former the USSR republic that borders on Russia and Poland), so I’m perfectly aware of what you’re talking about.

        Thinking about political and economical situation in my country I recollet Rhett Butler’s words from GWTW:

        “…what most people don’t seem to realise is that there is just as much money to be made out of the wreckage of a civilization as from upbuilding one…”

        “…there’s good money in empire building. But, there’s more in empire wrecking…”

        “…only most fools won’t see it and take advantage of the situation created by the collapse.”

        So, I guess, this is what is happening now. And many people really miss the old times – not the cruelty of Stalin or detachment from the whole world or the Cold War – but the stability, order and obedience to law and many good things that has gone with the USSR.

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        Comment by Milla — 16 January 2011 @ 4:38 pm

      • I confess that I know little about Ukraine, Milla, but I’m very interested. When countries in the former Soviet bloc experienced economic hardship, many in the US attributed the problems to hard-line communists who could not adjust to the new superior capitalist system. However, I have recently been reading that several of these newly independent countries were forced to adopt strong capitalist “reforms” as requirements for receiving loans from the World Bank. The people wanted the state-run industries to be converted into worker-run cooperatives, but the people’s democratic preferences were ignored and the industries were privatized. They were sold for ridiculously low prices either to Western investors or to old communist party apparatchiks. As a result, a few people were made very wealthy while most found themselves worse off economically than under the Soviet system. Has this been the case in Ukraine?

        You refer to breakdowns of law and order in the post-Soviet Ukraine. What is the cause, do you think? Is it Mafia? Is poverty causing more theft? Are the police more corrupt?

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        Comment by ktismatics — 16 January 2011 @ 7:43 pm

      • Has this been the case in Ukraine? – It has been exactly the same case in Ukraine. The Russians and the Ukrainians are fraternal nations. In addition we were the same country, well, different republics but still… Historically these two countries have always been together notwithstanding some difficulties between them. People, traditions, mentality and the problems are the same. That’s why the case is the same. But Russia is recovering (is taking a turn for the better) much faster than Ukraine.

        It is difficult to single out the cause. There are many reasons… Among the others it is corruption, of course. Poverty is causing more theft, more bribes. The police are as corrupted as Mafia itself. Actually there are two types of Mafia here: legal (the whole our government, politicians) and illegal (the criminals) – but it’s the same.

        Surely, there is corruption in every country in the world. But people try to fight it… Here it is enormous. Big mess.

        Not many people know about Ukraine in the US. So, it’s very nice you know that much. :)

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        Comment by Milla — 17 January 2011 @ 3:30 am

      • (Somebody else, I think maybe her second husband) “It’s this from which you get your strength: the red earth of Tara.” – It was Rhett Butler

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        Comment by Milla — 17 January 2011 @ 4:53 am

  2. Everything was about ownership in this movie: land, business, the bodies of slaves, the hearts and minds of gentlemen. The honor and chivalry of the Old South are shown to be weaklings, a thin veneer on top of a ruthless will to possess: some have it; some don’t. From an entertainment standpoint, Vivian Leigh is perfect in playing this role, while Clark Gable is dashing and actually gets to do some acting toward the end, and the scope of this melodrama is vast indeed.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 14 July 2008 @ 7:43 pm

    • the scope of this melodrama has been vast indeed for 70 years already!!!!!!!!!!

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      Comment by Milla — 13 January 2011 @ 3:33 pm

  3. Oh would you say the movie was critical of the ownership structure? I never thought about it in those terms, maybe out of prejudice (because it was made into a ”Christmas classic” like Ben-Hur). Is there any evidence for this. I agree Vivian, whose real-life persona was sheer vacuity, stole the show simply by being herself. In Serbia the novel was considered to epitomize the superficiality of the American temperament, where history can be erased on a whim (”I’ll think about it tomorrow”)

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    Comment by parodycenter — 14 July 2008 @ 8:06 pm

    • “Vivian, whose real-life persona was sheer vacuity”

      What on Earth do you know about real-life Vivien Leigh persona???!!!

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      Comment by Milla — 13 January 2011 @ 3:37 pm

    • Thanks for stopping by, Milla. I’m intuiting that you’re a big fan of GWTW, but not so much of parodycenter’s commentary.

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      Comment by ktismatics — 13 January 2011 @ 4:34 pm

    • Ktismatics, You’re right. I am a big fan of GWTW. And I don’t understand how one can make any parody of GWTW? I was quite surprised to read such comments on the movie and the actors and their characters. It’s the first time in my whole life when I read or hear such ideas about the movie.
      But then again, maybe I misunderstood the purpose of this very site…

      Ktismatics, I failed to find any description or the ideas of the parodycenter. Could you be so kind to explain this to me, please?
      Why are you people on this site? Do you just comment some movies or there is some other purpose?

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      Comment by Milla — 14 January 2011 @ 2:18 am

      • I too wonder about the purpose of this site. I put up posts on a variety of things that interest me, including movies. The movies I post about are ones I happen to have watched recently and that had an impact on me. Usually they are movies that I enjoyed and that I think are good. Some movies prompt no discussion, others (like this one) generate a lot of conversation. Sometimes there’s intense interpretation of the film; sometimes discussion goes wildly off-topic. Almost always, however, the people who talk about movies here have strong thoughts and feelings about movies.

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        Comment by ktismatics — 14 January 2011 @ 9:12 am

    • Oh, sorry. I’ve noticed already. “parodycenter” is the person who left offencive comments about GWTW.
      And yes, I’m not fan of parodycenter’s commentary.

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      Comment by Milla — 14 January 2011 @ 2:43 am

      • Dear Milla, or should I call you ”Scarlett” darling, OFFENCIVE is spelled OFFENSIVE and since you used that derogatory term on my ass I must tell you that I already consider you an idiot, an impression I doubt you can remove by delving further into the ”merits” of this kitschy American piece of patriotic sentimental crap – whether from a Southern, or a Northern perspective.

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        Comment by parody center — 16 January 2011 @ 4:48 am

      • Dear parody center,

        firstly, thank you for correcting my spelling (I always appreciate it as a non-native speaker) I’ll try to be more attentive in future.

        Secondly, I don’t give a damn about the impression I’ve made. You may consider whatever you like. I doubt I would bother to remove any of your impressions.

        by delving further into the ”merits” of this kitschy American piece of patriotic sentimental crap – I was sharing my ideas with ktismatics

        Don’t flatter youself. My comment wasn’t posted to moderate or amend anything mentioned above.

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        Comment by Milla — 16 January 2011 @ 7:46 am

      • P.S. youself = yourself

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        Comment by Milla — 16 January 2011 @ 7:51 am

      • And Milla, it was ”frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”

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        Comment by parody center — 16 January 2011 @ 9:49 am

      • parody center,

        I remember perfectly what it was. It wasn’t my intention to cite.

        It’s none of your business to remind me any quotations from the movie.

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        Comment by Milla — 16 January 2011 @ 1:44 pm

  4. matter of fact already from the still you’ve chosen it looks like the ”honor and chivalry of the South” are being romanticized in bright intense nationalist colors so that it seems like Scarlett’s fickleness is a source of power (of the pioneering spirit, able to push any boundary).

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    Comment by parodycenter — 14 July 2008 @ 8:11 pm

  5. Was it critical of ownership? No, not really. I’d say that Scarlett wanted to own everyone and to be desired by everyone. Rhett did too. Neither of them could own the other and so they came to a tragic parting. Do they epitomize the Southern aristocracy? Yes, but only in part. The real heart and soul of the mythical Confederacy were the Ashley the honorable cavalier and Melanie the kind-hearted but delicate maternal figure. Scarlett loved Ashley; Rhett admired Melanie. But Ashley and Melanie were doomed, while Rhett and Scarlett could survive but only on their own. I suppose you could say they made the transition to the new South, forsaking honor and gentility in order to grab what they could and hold onto it. But each was too strong for the other — they could dominate others only as individuals.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 14 July 2008 @ 8:51 pm

  6. forsaking honor and gentility in order to grab what they could and hold onto it. But each was too strong for the othe

    and indeed the new (Republican) South of America grabbed on to what they cold and held onto it. A prophetic film indeed!

    I have started reviewing Southland Tales but it will take a while as I am making this complex connection with my parody memoirs.. of war… and the complex issues surrounding the World Order…

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    Comment by parodycenter — 14 July 2008 @ 9:51 pm

  7. The family and I are on our way to the South beginning today for family visits. The itinerary includes a stop in the old capital of the Confederacy where we may rendezvous with a blogging associate if the timing works out.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 15 July 2008 @ 2:22 am

  8. It doesn’t matter what anybody thinks of this film, it doesn’t care. People always go back to it. Attempts to do a sort of ‘ebonics version’ some years back, in the form of ‘The Wind Done Gone’ did surely achieve just that, and no further goals outlined (‘death of the Southern myth via death of Gone With the Wind’, such as outlined by W.J. Cash in ‘The Mind of the South’, replacement in the public consciousness of ‘Gone With the Wind’ by ‘The Wind Done Gone’ was notably inefficacious; I don’t think it’s been quite 10 years since that rather paltry affair was given some reviews that amounted to an affirmative action temp position).

    I’m about half an hour into the earlier version of ‘An Affair to Remember’, which is ‘Love Affair’ with Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne, and may put some more on that thread tomorrow. Two things come to mind, due to seeing a number of versions of several films recently, and their differences; as well as some commentary by the composer Virgil Thomson on film scores. He’s written some of the very best, including the Pulitzer Prize winning score for ‘Louisiana Story’, Robert Flaherty’s last film, and a most strangely beautiful work. You should see it. Flaherty became famous in 1922 with ‘Nanook of the North’, after living with Eskimos for many years, coming with a film he found ‘poor’, and then going back for yet more. He also made ‘Tabu’, which was filmed in Bora Bora, and is partly fictional, and ‘Louisiana Story’ is considered ‘documentary fiction’. Thomson uses early hymn tunes in his scores which have a separate life, as opposed (in some discussion features on the DVD) to Max Steiner, who wrote the ‘Gone With the Wind’ music and many others; as well as Erich Korngold, also a concert composer. Thomson’s scores are in some ways more moving, and he also has done ‘The Plow that Broke the Plain’ and ‘The River’, the first of which uses very unusually harmonies in ‘The Doxology’, when showing poverty which does not seem to ‘praise God from whom all blessings flow.’ Nevertheless, Thomson’s thesis that the orchestral incidental music that is the more familiar sort is ‘corny’ and ‘tells you what to feel’ really doesn’t mean anything, because music in dance, opera and just music anywhere tells you what to feel. You don’t have to respond to the ‘musical counterpart’ of the action anyway. But it is true that Thomson, as a major composer of serious music, has written for Flaherty a score which is especially handsome. So I then quickly listened to some more Steiner scores, which I won’t enumerate here, but I wasn’t able to exclude them. Steiner is even skilled enough to write a great deal of instrumental music which sounds like an imitation of Wagner-lite, and this would often be referred to as a ‘corruption’, but is not more so than film acting as being a corruption of stage acting. (It isn’t nearly always, which I’ll get to in a moment,in regard to some of Vivien Leigh’s other roles.) There is already in orchestral music like that of Bruckner a sound which pre-dates film of even nickelodeon variety by some decades, but when you hear it, it sounds exactly like what we think of as certain ‘romantic movie music’ sounds. The 9th Symphony of Bruckner has a first movement which is instantly striking as such, and so it is obvious that this was a sound that would later seem to ‘match’ film. The 3rd Symphony is called ‘The Wagner Symphony’, and has some quotations from Wagner, I believe the famous opening motif from ‘Tristan und Isolde’.

    Some copies of ‘Nanook of the North’ have Flaherty’s widow, who is most impressive, interviewed about her husband, and these are most impressive. Thomson said that working with Flaherty was more rewarding than with Pare Lorentz, who was less experienced with the 30s movies ‘The Plow…’ and ‘The River…’ These were made with the government and ‘Louisiana Story’ with Standard Oil, a subtlety which will surely escape the value hierarchies of all anti-corporate, anti-imperialist types (for lack of a better word such as ‘marxist’), almost in the same way as the Innocence of Southern Capital in ‘Gone With the Wind’escapes them; there have been bloggers to explain the non-identity of Mammy, and after a year, they are claiming that this is still so, not apparently having taken not of Barack Obama or Oprah Winfrey.

    The other matter comes up from having watched the two ‘big-actress’ Anna Kareninas, the first by Clarence Brown with Greta Garbo and Fredric March, and the second by Duvivier, the important French director along with Carne and Renoir, in 1948 with Vivien Leigh. Which then reminds one of Love Affair/Affair to Remember, although only the photography is similar in the two cases, while in the case of ‘Anna Karenina’ the difference is egregious. The similarities are in the beautiful black-and-white photography of Brown and also in ‘Love Affair’–the late 30s does have a lot of these very vertical shots in closeup and staying like that, with sets and people not being squashed down and reduced. Both cases have almost identical scripts, both ‘Affairs’ and both ‘Kareninas’. Everything in Duvivier’s film seems to be reduced to Ms. Leigh’s tiny range of ‘my dah-ling..my dah-ling…’ and she flounces just like Scarlett, petulant and spoiled. It is perfectly dreadful, as are most of her works. She was, like Olivier, her husband, extremely snobbish toward ‘actors who are only film stars’, but this ‘Anna Karenina’ is much more like the soapers that came to be known as ‘women’s movies’ just right around then with a couple of Joan Crawford things like ‘Flamingo Road’ and later things like Lana Turner/Ray Milland ‘A Life of Her Own.’ These are just pulp, but at least they are the real thing. Ms. Leigh’s snobbism doesn’t work as well as her husband, because she has not got the talent to back it up. You are never reminded of Garbo, but rather of Susan Hayward, who would never have been so delusional as to think she could do Anna Karenina. You can’t even tell it’s Russian in that version. The Garbo version I re-viewed the following evening, and it’s one of the best of her films. Vivien Leigh is like a middle-class half-educated woman, you barely can remember that it’s a matter of counts and baronesses, etc., and other aristocratic ball-attendees. Ms. Leigh throws herself in front of a Red Cross ambulance in ‘Waterloo Bridge’ with Robert Taylor, and in front of a train in ‘Anna’. There’s no difference in emotion, and there is no emotion in either. The Garbo one is inexorable, it tells the story and she can carry this kind of thing to its logical death. Ms. Leigh seems to think that even with suicide you get tomorrow as another day to reflect on (there’s even some appalling quote almost to that effect about how everything came ‘all clear’ right before she found out the truth about suicide, etc.) Fucking gross! I can think of no other actress as obnoxious but Jennifer Jones, purely the product of Selznick, her husband, and still alive with more big money and serving, probably as some lunatic, on the board of the Norton Simon (her husband as well) Museum in Pasadena.

    The ‘Love Affair’ with Boyer and Dunne is filmed much like the Garbo Karenina, and there is much more from the recent wisecracking styles of John Barrymore and Carole Lombard as in ‘The Twentieth Century’, as well as some of those super comedies like Capra’s ‘It Happened One Night’ with Claudette Colbert and Gable and Preston Sturges’s ‘The Palm Beach Story’. While the Grant/Kerr version is not so ignominious when compared to the old one here, it IS interesting how soggy some of these romantic-affair films got, and how they depended purely on star power. This progressed into the colour capers of the 60s, with Grant/A. Hepburn in ‘Charade’, a vapid movie that is somehow prized, and her two other silly 60s Paris comedies,’Paris When It Sizzles’ and ‘How to Steal a Million’. These are worthless except for that face and that style (she even runs well, and that’s not all that common–you ought to see Brad Pitt run in ‘Babel’). But that doesn’t mean they are especially clever beyond their casting (Holden, Hugh Griffith, and Grant also make these vaguely palatable, but they are mostly Schweppes Fizz, and pretty soggy themselves aside from the star energy.)

    Anyway, this got very long, but I had just noticed some of these bizarre, skewed phenomena which aren’t as obvious as I thought. ‘Gone With the Wind’ is THERE, but I wouldn’t ever respect it quite as much as Flaherty’s film ‘Louisiana Story’ (not the Steiner score quite as much as Thomson’s, although there’s one Steiner score I do respect as much, but I can’t talk about that one), which uses a young Cajun boy in the bayous during the first oil drilling in the area (no, the boy is NOT exploited). And there isn’t anything soggy about the Boyer/Dunne film, it’s crisp and stylish even without my finding Ms. Dunne especially alluring. Even a half hour hasn’t got the tackiness of values that the Grant/Kerr film has. It is strange the way the closeups stopped. To see both ‘Love Affair’ and the Garbo ‘Anna Karenina’ is to be reminded of John Cassavetes’s ‘Faces’, which proves how rarely, if ever, that kind of ‘big face and figure’ closeup was used after that period. Even the vainest Hollywood stars weren’t able to get it a full film’s length. But everything in these late-30s period films has this. I haven’t enough other films in mind from the period to be sure that that is the period when this was most frequently sustained. In any case, it does put a bit the lie to Norma Desmond’s thing about ‘we had faces’, because even the silents didn’t use this kind of outsize closeup in quite this large-looking way–although I could be wrong on this. I do know that the other big Garbo films always had it, and you see it earlier in ‘Grand Hotel.’ I can’t remember any silents where there was this big-size shot, also just saw ‘Metropolis’ again, beautiful, but still not quite what I’m talking about here. And even the old D.W. Griffith masterpieces don’t have such big faces in them. By the 40s, there is more of the ‘soap opera’ feeling, which is a fortuitous term, because some of the Garbo films are still very much like grand opera.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 29 July 2008 @ 8:46 pm

  9. Thanks for your observations about Love Affair, Patrick. It was nominated for best picture but lost to GWTW (The Wizard of Oz was another loser that same year), so it must have been pretty good in its own right. What compelled the director and the studio to remake it I wonder — the promise of high box office, I presume. It’s always been a safer bet to remake a proven commodity, injecting it with new stars and new cinematic sensibilities to freshen it. Re-releasing the original never seems to stimulate the mass market.

    I enjoyed this recent re-watching of GWTW more than I expected to. The story is melodramatic nostalgia to be sure, but it’s able to carry out the grand sweep of the narrative without getting bogged down and losing momentum. English Patient is a more recent version of the same idea, where a love affair trumps all consideration of war and politics. In that movie the loving couple are far less sympathetic characters, so the contrast between self-absorption and commitment to larger societal causes is more starkly rendered. In GWTW the Civil War is extremely cinegenic as it adds grandeur to the backdrop of the love story. The war also conveniently serves up plot points to advance the melodrama, which is always the foreground. And certainly we see the war only from the South’s perspective, with the benevolent white masters and the loyal slaves woven together into a benign rural aristocracy that’s besieged by urban and Yankee vulgarity, violence and economic exploitation. Even opportunistic Rhett Butler finally joins up with the Confederate Army, not just because he’s a patron saint of lost causes but because he regards it as a long-delayed gesture of honor. But of course this is the milieu in which the story unfolds, and while this cliche-ridden parochial worldview limits the movie’s greatness it is after all the storyteller’s prerogative. And there are enough great things about it — not least the performances, magnificent in their embodiment of stereotypes — to give it staying power so many decades later. One could say similar things about Casablanca, which might still be my favorite movie ever, although Ingrid Bergman brought more nuance to their characterizations than did Vivian Leigh, partly because she was more capable of it. And of course Casablanca does set the love story directly against political ideals, giving it more intrinsic dramatic conflict than just the love triangle. Perhaps propagandistic, but successfully so. Maybe GWTW would have benefited from being filmed post-WW2.

    I don’t remember Brad Pitt’s running style in Babel, but having watched a couple of Dustin Hoffman movies lately I’m reminded by how often he’s shown running and how good he looks doing it. Louisiana Story I never heard of, so I’ll investigate further.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 30 July 2008 @ 5:52 am

  10. But of course this is the milieu in which the story unfolds, and while this cliche-ridden parochial worldview limits the movie’s greatness

    No, it is this very cliche-ridden parochial worldview that MAKES the movie’s greatness. It’s only because the Deep South is part of the U.S. that we are bombarded in ‘social studies’ classes (do they still use that term for high school history classes?) with the horror of the South’s slave-owning. While slaves did last longer due to the economic structure of the South and the planters, it is only because the North was victorious in the conflict that the popular perception is that the North was united in deep solemn high dudgeon against slave-owning–nevermind that they had had slaves themselves until only a few decades before the Civil War and still would have to had they been set up for them and felt they’d needed them. Why would basically Anglo-Saxon populations in two contiguous parts of a nation have different ‘moral’ judgments about something like that? Of course, the North had advanced into a more crass commercialism of the sort we enjoy the fruits of today, and the South had to as well, but the way it is told to us, you would think that the Yankees were themselves intrinsically virtuous, and the Southerners just selfish and evil. That’s why the huge success of Gone With the Wind is a real document of how ruling-class Southerners were also people just like everybody else (‘document’, not ‘documentary’, even though this is purely fiction). The other reason that ruling-class Southerners have an even worse reputation with all other American liberals is that there was, as well, an exaggeration of this ‘cultural greatness’ of the South, which really can be found in Faulkner for what this culture really was, rather than in the virtually Marxist combination of W.J. Cash: Over time, you find that some of these old plantation houses really did exist (because many are still extant, especially in Louisiana, which was least victim of ravaging destruction of all the Southern states, hence all that large area of old estates above New Orleans), but they were mostly a matter of provincial comfortable country living. As far as the usual term of ‘culture’ goes, this is not really fully realized as a unique mutation except in New Orleans itself, where the Old South mixed with the African and Creole and French and Spanish cultures to produce jazz and this was different. Those ideals of ‘chivalry’ and ‘honour’ are overdone, but they are not so different from what one sees in rural English houses as in Jane Austen, although the latter would have undoubtedly had much more refinement due to contact with London, etc., an older, established and accomplished culture. If the Confederacy had won the Civil War, there would be no more condemnation byt the establishment types of slavery than there is of slavery in ancient Greece–the much greater sin was to seem limp in the face of greater Yankee expertise and sharpness. When the steel cannon of the Krupps made Germany finally break France’s spell of its divine superiority, nobody was worried that the Germans still were ‘rustics’ who liked the woods and had by then already come up with Wagner’s ‘German art’, which was then used by an increasingly ambitious nation to become more and more so, and as long as they were succeeding, that is what prevailed. There are lots of nuance in there, but no reason to cover it all at once. But you get the OTHER viewpoint everywhere else, while with ‘Gone With the Wind’ you at least see something that was so well-made that it resists the fake look back at the history of both sides by asserting one of them as not being nearly as Gothic as portrayed in 8th grade classes. And all of the actors, including Leigh, are exactly right for this. It’s pretty rare for something with so much advance publicity to be able to live up to the hype, but GWTW did.

    That plantation house for Tara was built in Hollywood, and the one on the logo of Selznick studios is, however, a real ‘houwe’: It is in Culver City, CA, close to Santa Monica, and I saw it from a bus a few years back. It’s on all the Selznick pictures of the time.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 30 July 2008 @ 8:07 am

  11. I think it’s a great work of craftsmanship and a great entertainment, paradigmatic of a Hollywood era where cinematic pretentions to great literary-style art weren’t really given much serious consideration. It’s all of a piece, without ambiguities or loose ends, without conscience you might say — completely laid out there shamelessly for everyone to love. So yes, I suppose I’m being anachronistic in deeming GWTW less than great, because I keep expecting movies to transcend themselves and become “films.” This is related to other discussions about art that could be had: is it possible to call a well-crafted melodrama, musical, comedy, Western, scifi etc. “great” within the self-limiting boundaries of genre? Is it possible to have a “great” pop song, or comic book, or china service, or toaster, etc.?

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    Comment by ktismatics — 30 July 2008 @ 8:26 am

  12. I thnk so, and even think ‘film’ maybe be the most subtly false of all the terms. Movies and films are the same things, but we know that people don’t refer to Bergman’s ‘Through a Glass Darkly’ as a ‘movie’, nearly as often as they do ‘Citizen Kane’, even that’s more often considered a masterpiece. I think ‘Gone With the Wind’ is even a great film, and part of the reason is that I like it more for its excellence than for my own personal enjoyment of it. It’s got brashness and guts all the way down the line, but I prefer Welles’s ‘Touch of Evil’ personally, and even if you leave out sci-fi among the ‘genres’ you’ve listed (since I have less interest and knowledge than most in this area), ‘comedy’ to be sure has ‘great films’ in it, including things like ‘Some Like it Hot’, which I both think great and is one of my personal favourites. The same for ‘Les Enfants du Paradis’ and several of the Garbo pictures–movie-making started out hokey, and all the Griffith masterpieces like ‘Intolerance’ are hokey. Someone on the ballet board said that none of Garbo’s films were ‘in the front rank of pictures’, but were, rather, a matter of just that ‘they had Garbo in them’. So that then takes in your ‘melodrama’, because I suppose I see ‘Camille’ as a great film; that some of those films were ‘hokey’ is beside the point in terms of great movie storytelling. Musicals, only very rarely, and usually if not Broadway adaptations; ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ is generally thought to be the best film musical, and a few others, like ‘The Band Wagon’. Bergman’s ‘The Virgin Spring’ is a good example of a great auteur’s work being wonderful storytelling as well, and certainly Fellini pictures like ‘La Dolce Vita’. The grammar of Robbe-Grillet is no longer so foreign, but I wouldn’t quite call ‘Marienbad’ storytelling of the ‘enjoyable sort’.

    Sure, there are great pop songs, and probably even china services and toasters. The Metropolitan Museum of Art already has ‘modern’ chairs from the 50s being held up as artistically ‘great’–if they’re old enough and have lasted long enough for enough people to have decided it. And if you look through any big museum like this, you are always seeing antiquities of daily things, whether Greek or Mesopotamian or Chinese, that are priceless–and these are often cylinder seals or plates or cups or ornaments for ladies’ hair–so why not a toaster? I never thought of one as such, but by now the Costume Institute probably even thinks Mary Quant minidresses from 60s Swinging London are ‘classic’, and therefore ‘great.’

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 30 July 2008 @ 9:03 am

  13. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/21671

    Since off-topic, I would have pasted this in but lost the rest, but speaking of cylinder seals, etc,. this article is must-reading when you have time. I mentioned the Met Museum, and there is no part of it I have loved more than the Near Eastern permanent collection, where both new and old Babylonian periods are well-represented, as well as Sumerian artifacts and superb Assyrian works from the Ashurbanirpal time. An amazing country Iraq is, and I remember it was no more than 10 years ago that I realized just how many periods of artistic splendour, and how stunningly set off each one is, that the territory now known as Iraq has had. Article is especially good since it seemed bad enough about the museum in Baghdad, but that’s all most of us knew.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 30 July 2008 @ 9:09 am

  14. I’d feel more confident about the “brashness and guts” of GTWT if I believed that the filmmakers were consciously defying anti-southern bigotry. I doubt that’s true — David Selznick sounds like a stereotypical producer, in it for the fame and the dough. I understand that Hitchcock couldn’t wait to sever relations with Selznick because of his ham-handed Hollywood interference with “art.” Here’s a funny thing: remember when we talked about Cary Grant’s character in North by Northwest, Roger O. Thornhill? He’s kind of a cipher as a character: when someone asks him what the “O” in his name stands for, Thornhill says it stands for “nothing.” This it turns out was a Hitchcock slam at David O. Selznick, who had no middle name and adopted the “O” because he liked its punctuation. I think a lot of Yankees then and now admired the antebellum Southern aristocracy, even while ridiculing the accent as emblematic of ignorant hickdom. We visited Monticello on our trip through Virginia, and while the docent makes more concessions to Jefferson’s slave-dependency and duplicity about “all men are created equal” than used to be offered on the tour, the main theme persists: here is an elegant Southern gentleman who was one of the true elite produced by America. One gets the sense of his entire dissociation between espoused political ideals and his own life, though he probably regarded himself as a beneficent slaveholder and a good provider for Sally Hemings and their children all things considered.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 30 July 2008 @ 10:15 am

  15. if I believed that the filmmakers were consciously defying anti-southern bigotry.

    why should they? That’s not what the film is even supposed to be about. If anything, it’s good that they didn’t ‘defy’ it, if only because there’s not only ‘beauty everywhere’, as Kathryn Grayson sings in some musical, but also ‘bigotry everywhere.’ In the U.S., the Southern version of bigotry was long the most fashionable, but you can go to Bed-Stuy in Bklyn and see the old slave quarters.

    Leni Riefenstahl’s ‘Triumph of the Will’ would not be considered the great film that it is were it to ‘defy Hitler’.

    Films can be about ‘defying bigotry’, but only Marxists would say that they should all be anti-capitalist. Should ‘Anna Karenina’ be reduced to ‘tragedy-deserving’, because since they were rich people anyway, and living atop ‘an evil structure of exploited workers’, their personal malaises are not even important? Such is the filth and evil of Marxist propaganda. They’d erase all human evolution if they could, saying that, well, Alexander didn’t HAVE to be heroic and act like John Wayne onscreen while in the battlefield. That Socrates should have defied Alexander’s monstrous ego by refusing to teach him. That all the great Greek philosophers were essentially just the same as Wall Street capitalists because they were living atop a slave-owning system.

    “even while ridiculing the accent as emblematic of ignorant hickdom.”

    There are many Southern accents, and they have never all been associated with hickdom. Anyway, many Northeastern and Midwestern ‘extreme Yankee’ accents could be called hick as well, since they are not even related to European English, and have a nasal quality to them, as in Western New York State. They are not Park Avenue accents, etc. There has always been a refined Southern accent, it just isn’t widespread, and the poverty that ensued after the Civil War naturally created the rednecks and their low accents and savagery.

    “nd while the docent makes more concessions to Jefferson’s slave-dependency and duplicity about “all men are created equal” than used to be offered on the tour,”

    Well, docents are always interesting, aren’t they, trying to individualize each tour as if it weren’t yet another truckload of meat just like the last. Anyway, since all men weren’t created equal’, as everyone knows, I have no idea why people were deferring to Marx’s idiocy even long before his birth.

    “One gets the sense of his entire dissociation between espoused political ideals and his own life,”

    That’s because he was an important man, it is like when a slight sexual slip occurs by some religious person–it is considered worse, whereas if a mere hypocritical blogger goes on and on about capital, everybody knows that the catastrophic results are not going to be earth-shaking.

    “though he probably regarded himself as a beneficent slaveholder and a good provider for Sally Hemings and their children all things considered.”

    And he would, of course, have been right. Nobody’s perfect, I once heard (except the real hicks will tell you that the only perfect person who ever lived was Jesus Christ, which has always seemed a bit much, since he was not very polite to his mother nor his siblings, and was overwhelmingly ambitious.)

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 30 July 2008 @ 10:43 am

  16. Sorry, it was Aristotle who taught Alexander, not Socrates.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 30 July 2008 @ 10:44 am

  17. What I am saying is that it has always been a somewhat leisured and prosperous class which has produced the culture that has lasted, and the freedom of the Greek thinkers is as perfect an example as I can think of. They never questioned their slave-owning evil any more than Scarlett and Ashley or even treacly Melanie did. Nobody in Vanity Fair cares about the Indians England rules while eating their curry. And nobody among middle-class Marxists has any point to make at all about ‘evil capitalists’ except one of degree, as when they start talking about billionaires. I wonder that, since Communist nations like the Soviet Union and Mao’s China have made the entire nation slaves except a dull and anti-intellectual elite that oppresses people mercilessly, if it is therefore stupid to pretend that some people won’t suffer, if only because in those systems, almost everyone did, and there was nothing but endless paranoia, drunkenness, murder and filth. We’ve got plenty of that elsewhere, but it seems adult to accept that things can never be perfectly fair. And that there are just different cultural configurations. Just think–people all over the world in other countries are NOT thinking about the special horrors of the slave-owning South, only Americans really. Not that there wasn’t much horror in it, of course there was. And one can then make stories about that horror, as has been done. ‘Sounder’, ‘Miss Jane Pittman’, Spike Lee, ‘Beloved’, are all about the bigotry of white Southerners. There is no reason why ‘Gone With the Wind’ has to follow this perfect ‘honest-ideological’ model. And I am very pleased with my continued association with Marxists, as I intend to devote the rest of my life, at least one particular project, to resisting the foul ‘honesty’, which is in fact, a total dishonesty about humanity’s very nature, of Marxism, with all its attendant evils.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 30 July 2008 @ 10:57 am

  18. So was Riefenstahl “brave” for portraying Hitler in messianic terms, for neither defending nor criticizing him but rather idolizing him? I suppose something like that could be asserted, that firmness of personal conviction is more important than the substance of the convictions themselves. Fuck that: she was a collaborator and a willing propagandist. Riefenstahl may actually have believed Hitler was a great man, rather than just putting her artistry at his disposal. Would it have made a difference to her legacy if she had been less buddy-buddy with the Nazis? Probably so, even though conceivably nothing would have changed about the film itself.

    Is this a hypocritical aesthetic, to allow the artist’s political confictions or personality to influence the way the work is received and the artist’s reputation qua artist? On this score I’m more ambivalent. Literature and cinema entwine art with something like truth, in ways that are more direct than is the case for music or dance or the plastic arts. The artistry of word and image interact with the content. It’s not pure form and structure; the signifieds count as part of the work’s meaning. When Reifenstahl creates a beautiful Nazi propaganda film she’s consciously using her artistry to bestow power and glory on her subject. This is true whether she’s a true believer or just a hired talent. The same principle holds for artists who work on commercial advertising: it’s artistry in service of the product and those who are trying to sell it. Should I admire the artistry of the work regardless of the context? Should the artist be absolved from guilt by association because s/he’s just trying to make a living? I used to believe this more than I do now.

    GWTW isn’t really about slavery, as you say, but it depicts slavery in a one-sided fashion: the devoted darkies, almost part of the white families they serve, who stick around even after emancipation; the slave brigade fighting for the Confederacy. Is this propaganda in service of the antebellum South? Sure. Is it entirely false? No: the mutual dependency of white employers and black servants, going back through generations within the same families, persists in the South to this day. Was it important for the filmmakers of GWTW to present this one-sided picture of asymmetrical racial relations in the South? It was probably true to the novel, which I’ve not read. The movie glorifies this way of life which never fully disappeared and which many whites in the North and South admired. To that extent it’s partly a propaganda movie — beautifully wrought, but morally complicit in its beautiful depiction of a corrupt social order.

    But… Scarlett and Ashley and all the rest are depicted as flawed characters, due largely to their unquestioned sense of entitlement and superiority not just to blacks but to Yankees. Scarlett is a manipulative bitch at heart, who enslaves men’s hearts without giving it a second thought. Rhett’s downfall begins when he allows himself to be captivated by Scarlett’s hearless hauteur, but for most of the story it’s a battle of the wills. When he starts actively trying to please the Southern gentry, in order to give his daughter all the advantages of high society that he previously disdained, his duplicity becomes intolerable and his downfall is assured. So there’s nuance without overt preaching in this depiction, which is partly what makes it a compelling story.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 30 July 2008 @ 12:41 pm

  19. The tour guide cited Jefferson as saying that slavery was a horrific institution. The Greeks managed to persuade themselves that non-Greeks weren’t fully human, or else that they would fulfill their end in life by becoming slaves to the Greeks. I don’t think Jefferson was this sort of racist; I think he just liked the high life and took advantage of the despised institution. He wanted to look good to the Europeans, to show that the New World could produce gentlement of taste, so in a sense he was creating a personal lifestyle as a kind of nationalistic advertisement. The tour said that Jefferson’s land got dramatically devalued after the English sold off their holdings en masse, which meant that its collateral value on his massive borrowings was diminished greatly. He would sell off slaves to offset the debt, and he didn’t liberate them on his death so that his heirs could sell them to get Monticello out of hock.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 30 July 2008 @ 12:49 pm

  20. “I have no idea why people were deferring to Marx’s idiocy even long before his birth.”

    I had no idea your definition of Marxism extended this far, Patrick. Does elite culture depend on and derive from socioeconomic elite status? This is the case you’re making of course, such that democratization of society leads to degradation of cultural product to the least common denominator. But this mass taste is catered to, manipulated, exploited by the marketplace, so taste and money seem inextricably linked. The aristocracy are buffered from this sort of gross-level financial competition, allowing tastes freer reign. But a socialistic arrangement can also create this sort of buffer, by decoupling value from market value in the collective commissioning of art, science, techonology, etc. So on some level we agree: crass mass tastes promoted by populist economics and politics militate against elite cultural manifestations. If the masses were released from this sort of manipulation they might even find themselves broadening their tastes. In my mistrust of populism I’m neither democratic nor Marxist, but I’d say I am socialistic.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 30 July 2008 @ 1:39 pm

  21. So was Riefenstahl “brave” for portraying Hitler in messianic terms, for neither defending nor criticizing him but rather idolizing him?

    No, she was being at least as true to her herself as an artist or as a collaborator–and so what if she was–as any of these people who still aggrandize Lenin and Marx. When she made that film, the death camps were weren’t yet going in full swing, or not yet known to her.

    “When Reifenstahl creates a beautiful Nazi propaganda film she’s consciously using her artistry to bestow power and glory on her subject. This is true whether she’s a true believer or just a hired talent. The same principle holds for artists who work on commercial advertising: it’s artistry in service of the product and those who are trying to sell it. Should I admire the artistry of the work regardless of the context?”

    Yes, if only all you do is compare it to cynical ‘capitalist product’, and not to all the filth the Marxists turn out in their virtuous self-righteous (nevermind their failure). If Lenin and Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung were great men, then so was Hitler. I am not interested in allowing Marxists to determine all of the contexts of debate, discussion and evalutation, and they are fully assured that they must do so. It is certainly merely more conscious to propagandize for a Nazi like Hitler than equally loathsome killers like Stalin and Lenin. All these idiotic trifling arguments making the difference about what precisely ‘genocide’ is, how it differs from mass murder. Apparently such matters as body count don’t matter if you are on ‘the right side’, and the wonderfully egalitarian Marxists always are, in their endless pursuit of all things mediocre, watered-down and ‘fair’. They never talk about the mass murders of Stalin or Mao or Pol Pot, but only the evils of Bush and Gordon Brown. Why is that any worse than being a Nazi collaborator; isn’t one infantilizing Chinese and Russians by saying that Germans, by their greater intellectual and cultural accomplishments, ought at least not to have killed the highly educated Jews? None of the arguments are worth a hill of beans. Riefenstahl made the movie she knew how to.

    “Is this propaganda in service of the antebellum South? Sure. ”

    So what’s the big deal if it is? The only ‘greater sin’ of this type is class superiority. And in Proust you find that Marcel is in no way immune to all the delights which have been left over from the ‘ancien regime’. That is where ALL of the most charming and magical things come from.

    You say ‘The Greeks convinced themselves that non-Greeks were not fully human.’ So there you have it. Everybody does some version of being unfair, and accmplishing what they do or don’t. Most think, on balance, the Greeks did a goodly amount toward civilization, and E.M. Cioran, a Romanian, seems to think that Romanians didn’t satisfy him as much as either Hungarians or Parisians.

    The problem has been that in the 20th century, people have come to feel guilty about their appetites and bloodthirstiness and greed to the point of impotence. They are not MORE liberated due to some small-time ‘sexual revolution’ of the 60s. Marxists have made people think that imperialism is ‘bad’ because it is about SUPERIORITY. It matters not who or what the situation is, only that one identify with what seems or IS inferior. Snobbism of Parisians is fashionable as long as it’s successful; when it no longer is fashionable, it will be equally condemned. In the meantime, all sorts of Marxist slobs love to live in Paris and get as close as possible to all the most supercilious Marxists who have manage to drink and smoke themselves to death.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 30 July 2008 @ 1:48 pm

  22. had no idea your definition of Marxism extended this far, Patrick. Does elite culture depend on and derive from socioeconomic elite status?

    I hardly need to make the case that elite culture depends on all things elite. I didn’t say that there cannot be other kinds of excellent culture. But OF COURSE elite culture depends on elite socioeconomic statue. Without it, there is no elite culture. The argument that there should BE no elite culture is another argumeent, and it is the only one the Marxists ever make. They are boring, hypocritical, corrupt and certainly as much so as anyone elite, moneyed and more educated, they just have this taste for populist culture, which seems more ‘honest’ and ‘close to the earth’ and ‘human’.

    “In my mistrust of populism I’m neither democratic nor Marxist, but I’d say I am socialistic.”

    There are many aspects of what I think of as socialism that I support, but we have talked about that. I am saying that all the societies are corrupt, and the emphasis is on how one tells a story. I am also saying that ‘Anna Karenina’ and ‘Gone with the Wind’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ are all equally illegitimate in terms of taking their privileged characters’ lives seriously within Marxist critique. ‘Gone With the Wind’ is about the Deep South, not what Marxists think should happen and should have happened.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 30 July 2008 @ 1:58 pm

  23. Marxists never take the lives of any of these characters seriously, they are always the products of their ‘corrupt societies.’ And yet, in the 20th century, they made by far the most successful corrupt societies in the Soviet Union and China. Hitler failed more quickly–he did not get a long run of his show. Therefore, I now declare that Hitler, due to his defeat by the Allied forces, was nowhere near the menace of Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung and Pol Pot, who even managed to live for about 20 years after he was finally thrown out of Phnom Penh.

    And yet very few are zealous followers of Hitler. There are dozens of Marxists everywhere, and none of the manifestations of the 20th century evils of Marxism bothers them at all. This is because they are NOT humane, they are NOT anti-cruelty, they are anti-excellence and they have hurt feelings because they have been snubbed. So that class cruelty, in any form, even not overtly violent, is a far greater sin to all Marxists than bloodletting. Why else make such a ridiculous and ongoing distinction being mass murder and genocide? And they never stop doing. Anyway, lady Brackness was right that ‘Society is criticized only by those who cannot get into it.’ not very nice, but true. If they were really interested in ‘humaneness’, they would give charitable contributions even to Evangelical charities and Catholic charities galore, but they don’t want the benefits to accrue even to the poorest unless it has the imprimateur of Marxism on it. Fuck THAT is what I say.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 30 July 2008 @ 2:10 pm

  24. dozens of Marxists everywhere

    I should have said ‘millions’.

    Also it is ‘Lady Bracknell’.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 30 July 2008 @ 2:14 pm

  25. He’s kind of a cipher as a character: when someone asks him what the “O” in his name stands for, Thornhill says it stands for “nothing.”

    I think you should publish this in the context of Slavoj zizek debates, for Zizek would immediately say the O stands for petit objet a, when here it turns out it was a PUN. And not ALL puns have a deep hidden meaning!

    that the North was united in deep solemn high dudgeon against slave-owning–nevermind that they had had slaves themselves until only a few decades before the Civil War and still would have to had they been set up for them and felt they’d needed them.

    You see I would completely agree with this, and if you weren’t as American-parochial as you are you would realize it’s the same story in Yugoslavia (replace the South with Serbia and the North with Slovenia). But I don’t see Gone With the Wind as a ”Southern” story at all, I see it as the story about the triumph of the Protestant enterprise spirit and a celebration of the obsessive neurosis, all of which makes me simultaneously love and hate the story (this surely due to my own Scarlett personality).

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    Comment by parodycenter — 30 July 2008 @ 3:18 pm

  26. Anyway, I’m not interested in infinite analyses with politics and social infirmities always the only key to a piece of creative work. If you prefer to do this, most of the people in these blogs are more than happy to give a reading based on everything that has happened since–this has to do with their inability to enter into the work itself. You can say Margaret Mitchell is not an important writer nor David O. Selznick not an important artist-producer, but they both knew what they were doing in this and subsequent (though separate) ventures. I am simply not going to continue talking about it in this particular case, except to say that ‘The Birth of a Nation’ is overtly racist, and played to record audiences in New York and the rest of the country. There is this incredible pressure to expect old works to be like what they would be forced to be in order to suit political ‘manners’ today. That is why you’re saying that the film should have ‘defying Southern bigotry’ is so unfounded. That is for the documentary, the film that comes when the bigotry is not saturating the entire society in the same way. Old Victorian literature is NEVER anti-imperialist. And this is always Marxists, who want to sanitize works, except for the idiots who go to operas that are all upper-class and hope that they can arrange the dates so that they can see the token ‘minority divas’ in the big parts.

    I recently read ‘Wuthering Heights’ and this past weekend saw the old ‘classic film’. But this is what interests me, and I can’t even get a fucking word in edgewise, because everybody has to read it through ideology or psychology and cannot approach art without saying it’s a by-product, and that politics is everything. In the meantime, they cheer when they think Mrs. Thatcher is dead (this had been wrongly reported, and somebody on the asshole blog Lenin’s Tomb was upset that it wasn’t true.) But this cheering at the death of the authoritarians is considered perfectly politically correct. I can’t WAIT till some of the members of the SWP are dead! Those assholes even said they hoped all American soldiers in Iraq, including my nephew who went there as a paramedic would be killed, because this meant mathematically that there would be fewer Iraqi civilian casualties! Have they been studying Communist mathematics with Badiou or something? Well, my nephew is not very bright, but he served a year and is home for good now. Since his refusal to die caused no Iraqi casualties, I do hope therefore that both Richard Seymour and his stupid bitch commenter Rosa Lichtenstein, the cheerleaders for dead soldiers on that filthy blog, BOTH DIE–just to keep the Badiouan Communist math straight.

    And that’s all that needs to be said about that.

    Anyway, the movie of ‘Wuthering Heights’ is very faithful to the strange and unique book by Emily Bronte, then whacks off right in the middle. There is no ‘little Linton’ and no ‘Daughter Catherine’, it is just this cheap shit with Heathcliff and Cathy (the first one) as ghosts after she dies. There is absolutely zero of the incredible darkness and brutality and merciless sadism of Heathcliff, and none of the isolation. The balls at the Lintons are like the fucking balls in ‘Gone With the Wind’ ! These are way up in the north of England. And although Heathcliff comes back in the novel with the acquired appearance of a gentleman, he is no less the total beast than he was before–but fucking Olivier plays him exactly like he plays the fey Mr. Darcy in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ a year later. And this shit is nominated for all sorts of Oscars. I’m talking about this, because what interests me about ‘Gone With the Wind’ is nothing political, social, I’ve been nice and talked about all that stuff–it tells ITS OWN STORY very well, and it does not owe any ‘social problem seekers’ an apology for being itself. ‘Wuthering Heights’ needed the GWTW treatment itself, and is indeed an artistic disgrace. I found out today that the 2005 Paris Opera Ballet of Wuthering Heights is dark throughout and that the characters who continue after Cathy and Heathcliff’s deaths are in it. I mention this only because a full-length ballet of real quality hardly even exists nowadays, and this one is apparently the rare masterpiece, perhaps the only one in 20 years.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 30 July 2008 @ 4:47 pm

  27. “I don’t see Gone With the Wind as a ”Southern” story at all”

    Certainly it’s transposable to other places and times, and themes of obsession, possession and acquisition do take center stage. It should be acknowledged that the lost paradise theme dominated the Southern writer’s psyche for at least the next two generations after the Civil War, and this sense of loss (of self, of mother, of possession, of place) seems to affect the Southerners more than the Northerners in this regard. In most variants the Southerner leaves the South, heads for New York or Europe, then comes back only to discover that you can never go home again. Scarlett stays in the South throughout and she really does think she can go home, which is how the story ends, so Margaret Mitchell isn’t in full fealty with the Southern writerly tradition. Decoupling story from context would keep issues of political correctness from dominating the viewer’s response, and this should be done.

    On a related note, the Deer Hunter (recently posted) is often regarded as a fascistic racist movie about American involvement in Vietnam, but it turns out that the guy who wrote the Russian Roulette torture at the heart of the controversy originally intended the game to be set in Las Vegas. Certainly Cimino intended there to be at least a metaphorical association of Russian Roulette with the characters’ going off to war, but the premise is more universal than that.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 30 July 2008 @ 4:56 pm

  28. Certainly it’s transposable to other places and times, and themes of obsession, possession and acquisition do take center stage.

    That it’s transposable to other places and times is artistically beside the point. The same is true of Faulkner’s novels that take place in the South, and they, like Gone With the Wind, are ‘Southern stories’, because they ARE. just like ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is an English story and Anna Karenina is a Russian story. it’s because people can’t think in specifics and want to think in types all the time that they can’t see the uniqueness in things.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 30 July 2008 @ 5:04 pm

  29. t’s because people can’t think in specifics and want to think in types all the time that they can’t see the uniqueness in things.

    I would agree with Patricia in that an exclusively sociopolitical reading tends to extinguish character (personality) in a work of art, which is nearly always unique, even in grand-scale productions like Gawn With the Wind. I am curious as to what you see as unique in Gawn with the Wind, because indeed the film has acquired a kind of an individual character through the ages, at least in the sense that there isn’t and hasn’t been anything like it. As for your underlining the creation of lasting art in privileged circles, if you are saying that in order to counter vulgar Marxism of the reptilian-Parisian variety, I’m all with you; privilege for the sake of privilege is mostly boring (and ends up futile, as Stanley Kubrick nicely noted in throughout his anti-fascist statements).

    Clysmatics I have just returned from a viewing of WALL-E and was struck by the following: the opening part of the movie is shot like a reality TV show (the camera keeps zooming in and out, restless around the scenery) or a live report, and yet the only camera that could possibly exist on an abandoned planet must be robotic. This means that the audience is not identified with the camera, and that the camera belongs to a third entity between the director and the audience. This is a fine example of the way avant-garde developments (what we discussed in relation to Cigarette Burns and less recently Cache) gets adopted by the Halliwud industry even as the industry feigns scorn at the avant-garde.

    Patricia, I was also very interested in the film’s juxtaposition of musicals and futurism (the time of your youth with that of mine – Hello, Dolly meets ET The Extra Terrestrial). But I don’t know if you already see WALL E.

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    Comment by parodycenter — 30 July 2008 @ 6:01 pm

  30. I’m neither democratic nor Marxist, but I’d say I am socialistic.

    Strange that this admission coincides with your abandoning Christianiness to follow the Karamazov path. But looking at your picture, Clys, I tend to see you more as Raskolnikov, to tell you the truth.

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    Comment by parodycenter — 30 July 2008 @ 6:09 pm

  31. I am curious as to what you see as unique in Gawn with the Wind,

    I’m not sure what the uniqueness of it is, but I think part of it is what I’ve been arguing during the day–it takes its own story and tells it without asking permission of the police. A film can ‘teach and preach’ just like anything, but this is a requirement of no one but Marxists. But I’ve never read the book, I’m sure it’s good pulp. Therefore, like Rebecca, another example of what John and I have talked about (with ‘The Shining’ as well) of film adaptations of often being very good when they are made from pulp novels. The Godfather another example. You won’t find any good Faulkner or Proust or Joyce, to my find, on film. Hemingway has sometimes worked, that goes more naturally to big colour and Gary Cooper, things like that.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 30 July 2008 @ 8:05 pm

  32. I never read Proust, but Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness style can only by captured with an avantgarde narrative model, such as the ”Moebius strip” or some such other mindfuck with multiple reality levels. I am sure someone like Tarkovsky or the new Russian wonder Aleksandr Sokurov could adapt it very well. Hollywood narratives would have to depart from linearity significantly, which they are doing (under the influence of the avant/garde) but not enough.

    At Leninini’s Benevolent Tumor I was attacked not only by standard islamophiliacs, but also, by Kamarad Fox, who came in with some snide remark about me being a racist for saying that Albanians reproduce like squirrels and do so most often because their fundamentalist leaders teach them that their power is in their numbers. Kamarad Fox was doing the Ashley number, with me in the role of Scarlett, stubbornly expecting warmth from his frigid lordship. This got me thinking about a conversation I had at work where some personnel bimbo confided that there´s a huge problem with workforce in Europe right now because the population is getting older by giant steps. And yet if I so much as suggest that the Albanian´s squirrel power is biological superiority – if I call a spade a spade – I will instantly be labelled a suprematist, and doubtless also an imperialist. I believe this kind of an exclusionary position is in itself worse racism than racism.

    By the way the reason I stand behind K – prank is that he often wrote that Marxism shoudln´t commit the mistake of populism i.e. equating lack of education and stupidity with the exemplary proletariat. I guess if any sane Marxism is possible, then this would be it, the idea of an intelligent working class. I just don´t see how Sherbert´s zombie proles could ever change anything in the world, except her stockings.

    Meantime Infinite Nymphomania is simply shocking with her new writeup on fashion. Well worth the laugh.

    The reason I mentioned Wall/E is that a new commenter was explaining how the distance between Hello,Dolly and the current moment is so vast that the film isn´t evoking the 1950s, but some other era. I didn´t quite understand what he was telling me.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 30 July 2008 @ 8:34 pm

  33. Didn’t Faulkner have some gigs as a screenwriter for awhile? Not adapting his own books, but others’ — Hemingway, Chandler, etc. It probably paid better than novel writing. His own books I agree are too contorted to make movies from. A movie can cover only a short story’s worth of material effectively, unless it’s a pretty straightforward tale like No Country for Old Men.

    Dejan have you seen The Saddest Music in the World, by Guy Maddin. I didn’t put up any screen shots because it didn’t really grab me, despite the very stylish retro-cinematography and gratuitous psychoanalytic hooey and the strange appearance of Isabella Rosselini as a double-amputee Canadian beer baroness. What was amusing though is that the two nations competing as finalists for the title of Saddest Music were the American and the Serbian. The American was very show-biz savvy in staging spectacles of mawkishness, whereas the Serb was the “real thing,” wearing an enormous black hat with a veil and playing weepish cello music. And it turned out that the American and the Serb were brothers.

    I’ve seen neither Wall-E nor the Batman movie, inasmuch as I spend all my movie money on old releases from Netflix.

    Sinthome’s recent post about what it takes to get someone to “hear” a different idea is I think related to this populism versus elitism issue. Is it possible through rigorous schizoanalysis, deterritorialization and negating the negative to arrive at a point of receptivity? Or is this the democratic dream, that everyone can attune themselves to excellence if they just have the right opportunity? I believe in Sinthome’s project to an extent, but perhaps only for those who have incipient but untapped elite tastes already in them waiting to be released. The thing is, I don’t think it’s possible to predict with much confidence who’s going to respond to treatment.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 30 July 2008 @ 8:51 pm

  34. Patricia, I think that Gawn with the wind does capture something GOOD about the American esprit, for despite all my complaints there´s always something good in everything, and in America, too. And Vivian manages to make the obsessive neurosis likeable. I really sympathize with her for standing up at the staircase and saying ´´I will think about it tomorrow´´ even as deep down I know she´s a superficial cow and a colonial pig. We´ve all had those moments when we had to rise above our repulsiveness. Because in life, we do keep constantly rising above impossible circumstances. Life, in itself, is impossibly hard.

    However this pales in comparison with the moment from a Bette Davis and I will kill myself for forgetting the title, it was playing on TNT once, where Bette is this old woman , completely ruthless, who at old age meets her BLIND lover from the old days, and just when you´re expecting a sappy climax, decides to LIE something to him again – totally ignoring his blindness. There has never been anything like that performance in movies again.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 30 July 2008 @ 9:14 pm

  35. I saw Saddest quite recently and thought that the movie flopped on Isabella Rosselini, who´s never really been good in anything but bailed her ass out by good looks or by good casting, as in Blue Velvet. I am quite sure Isabella was so envious of her mother´s looks (and talent) that she decided to become ´´transgressive´´ as a kind of a rebellion, and this is why we always see her in weird movies. Here she is completely miscast as a hysterical dominatrix, I didn´t believe her for a moment. The movie started quite brilliantly, that leg amputation scene is astonishing, but after that became kind of tepid. At the Parody Center I wrote a review, and noted that the most interesting aspect is indeed that the appearance of a Serb coincides with the Apocalypse, this being a reference to Gavrilo Princip and the murder of Prince Ferdinand.

    Shaviro told me that Maddin´s other movies, such as My Winnipeg, are all masterly.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 30 July 2008 @ 9:19 pm

  36. It´s not necessary that you see Wall/E, which is only interesting for the first fifteen minutes, but this one point is essential – the camera is spectral (robotic) and this is the real source of the film´s social critique. The implication is that in the future society will be uber-surveillance and run by evil robots. After that the film satisfies only Happy Meal consumers. There´s been so much la la about the new Batman, but I disliked the previous one, which opens with some lurid conspiracy theory stuff about Free Masons and other secret societies, and then proceeds in a lame Hitchcock/dark Doppelganger key. Enough of fucking comic book fucking ADAPTATIONS!!!

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 30 July 2008 @ 9:23 pm

  37. found an interesting blawg through the statistics, http://compenetration.wordpress.com/

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 30 July 2008 @ 9:28 pm

  38. Some other works that work into movies that persist in being towering and excellent despite their propaganda for corrupt societies (by the way, I’ve never really thought Ms. Riefenstahl’s film was quite as beautiful an object as people carry on about it.)

    Now–not only the above, although I’ve no doubt that another viewing of Olympiad will yield more visceral sensations–it is also true that I, like Arpege, like some of the best minority opera singers. If I didn’t know Kiri was a better Countess in Marriage of Figaro than Leontyne Price is, I would hold it against her for not liking to do the title role of ‘Carmen’, that ever-popular work that coincides with being a masterpiece, I mean this piece is just amazing. Anyway, Kiri didn’t feel comfortable in her few performances in the title role, and went on to do Micaela, which is lovely, but nowhere compared to Carmen. And Ms. Price can make Carmen appealing despite Carmen’s very REAL sluttishness and commonness by virtue of her incredible voice and gifts. But a recent viewing of an Met DVD of a Carmen from the 80s with Agnes Baltsa is totally unsympathetic–Ms. Baltsa is so ugly and pock-marked-type face, she looks like what Carmen would be in real life, and deserves her fate–she’s as hateful as Don Giovanni, deserves hell.

    Kiri and Leontyne have the voices I most love, and both are extremely rich and versatile, Kiri’s ever-so-lightly lighter, not quite as much spinto.

    THEN–there is this absolute FECES musicalized, watered-down version of ‘Carmen’ for the screen, with gorgeous Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge and the always-heavenly earthy Pearl Bailey. The music is played like bits of cheap Muzak orchestration, with stupid new lyrics. I mean, Carmen as it is is about as easy as it gets–easier than Tosca or La Boheme even. So, here is this all-black cast fucking a totally great opera into total FECES. Now, is this not the far greater sin than presenting GWTW as what it is, instead of some political statement designed to keep the leftist bloggers off? To prove my point, an all-black ‘Swan Lake’ is just fine with me if they can get the good enough dancers to do it. I don’t like self-consciously mixed-race productions, these always have that cheap ‘multi-cultural’ look which is kind of like ‘Mamma Mia’ and other extremely low items.

    Or even an all-black ‘Carmen’ would certainly work. But ‘Carmen Jones’ is so awful, I couldn’t even quite finish it, and Dandridge only emphasizes the crudeness and distastefulness of Carmen. Who needs it? So these things are not nearly so ‘racistically obvious’ as the half-wit Marxist will tell you. Ms. Price in an otherwise white production has still not upset Arpege from her glorious gift just because they didn’t allow ungifted people in the supporting roles. Now, an all-black Gone With the Wind, with Scarlett played by Pearl Bailey and Mammy by Ms. Leigh is another thing–of course, there is the racism, but you have to leave it in, or you falsify history. There’s some fuckhead insisting upon doing a Madama Butterfly and ‘getting the racism out’ (I can’t even remember how, but has to do with Jap-bashing I guess), but the racisms of history should always be left in old works. In any case, the market definitely determines this: Modernized operas, whether Puccini or Wagner or Pelleas and Melisande, never last more than a season or two, people want to see the original. They are always complaining about ‘La Bayadere’, which exoticizes Indians and therefore treats them as inferior to Europeans or some such horror. Well, it’s not going to help the ineffective SWP Revolution to ban la Bayadere from the repertory.

    Anyway, these matters of nationalism and racism in art have a lot of subtlety to them. Otherwise, ALL the works become victim to the unbelievably pernicious wickedness of Marxist critique!

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 2 August 2008 @ 11:08 am

  39. I have a recording of Carmen with Anna Moffo, who sings quite brightly and somewhat airily for the role but doesn’t embarrass herself, though I’m no expert in such matters. When we lived in Nice our daughter’s 4th grade class studied this opera and were scheduled to see it performed. However, somehow they ended up 6 tickets short and so as to leave no child behind the teacher decided to cancel. C’est dommage. We lived in the Musicians’ District of Nice, where most of the streets were named after musical figures. I remember rue Halevy and rue Gounod were right next to each other, but I don’t remember a rue Bizet.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 2 August 2008 @ 4:23 pm

  40. Anna Moffo was a wonderful singer at the time of her Carmen recording.

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 2 August 2008 @ 4:30 pm

  41. This is where it would be helpful to line up a series of singers performing the same aria. I’m currently listening to the Carmen: Moffo sounds consistently fine throughout the range; Corelli pushes with great force.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 2 August 2008 @ 4:54 pm

  42. Corelli is wonderful on the Price recording too, probably better than that one even, because the Price/Von Karajan recording is early 60s. An old friend told me that Moffo was the far greater singer than Price, but I never saw it. Price’s voice alone has amazing power, like Kiri’s. Price also has a stunning Tosca with Von Karajan in the same period. The sound is still glorious on both of these. I just remembered I was introduced to Moffo on an early 60s recording with Mary Costa as Mimi, but I think she also did this with Callas.

    Arpege and warszawa cannot get around the fact that Ms. Price sang ‘God Bless America’ most wonderfully and powerfully a few weeks after 9/11 (I couldn’t believe she had that much voice left), which proves she was conspiring with the CIA and FBI and the taxidrivers and jamitors, all the millions of whom signed in blood that they wouldn’t let on that Bush dunnit…lol…I love it that Ms. Leontyne Price was in on the 9/11 conspiracy.

    The other great black opera singer that Arpege and I both like is Jessye Norman. There was a period when the voice was stunning, but I didn’t think it remained quite so beautiful as Price’s. But it was a bit bigger, and she has done some Wagner. Recently I heard her Sieglinde in Die Walkure. What is hard to find is good Tristan und Isolde with both of the parts really well sung–which is de rigueur, because the endless duet in the 2nd act can be pretty fucking boring. The one I’m listening to now has Waltraud Meier as Isolde, which is still a lot better in sound quality than Nilsson and Flagstad recordings I’ve heard–but I haven’t been able yet to get to the really early Nilsson recordings, which should be pretty great.

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 2 August 2008 @ 5:16 pm

  43. My predictions about the weekend may not be too far off, now that Steppling has had the gall to actually see the important, storied new EVENT of the world, that of ‘What the Joker Means to Me’. Here is Arpege in response, getting venom ready for the dentist:

    “this is what I mean; you of course can license Nolan as your representative, expressing your feelings, but you can’t assume everybody else has done so. Just the demographics suggests you have to leave out the majority of middle aged women, who neither endorse nor enjoy this vision. Every viewer is permitted to recognise his own psyche in this film, but not to then impose this on those who do not. It’s almost like people are being convinced they willed this ubiquity of the ads and posters, which is nothing but a function of (private equity financed) a huge advertising budget.”

    She has finally hit the nail on the head. Communist regimes ARE Fascist regimes (she says it without knowing it, of course). Everything she has described about the ‘billionaires and their millionaire employees’ working on this fabled masterwork–which all of the protesting bloggers have helped finance the re-propragation and sequelization of by paying admission so they can stay chic–is equally true of all Communist ShitArt from the old Soviet Union, in present-day North Korea, in Cuba’s moth-eaten ballet company, run by arthritis-ridden Alicia Alonso, even in the fucking decor you see in the photos of the Beijing Olympics–Chinese Synthetic Style is so ugly and hateful it induces guilt in precisely the same way as does the inverted and perverse sadism of Julie Andrews: You try to include China in the ‘cultural league of nations’ because they put you to sleep with fear and guilt, and then you wake up to realize that almost anything in Rome would look better, even some slum; and you look at ‘Dame Andrews’ (the gluttonous bitch managed to even get this in 2000, as reward for malpractice suits against the doctors, tearful cameramen when she finally retrieved an octave of voice with which to sing simple tunes–Dame Commander of the British Empire, even though she hasn’t lived in Britain for at least 50 years of her life) while listening to the Brahms’ 2nd Symphony and you feel guilty that you know that is the only time in entertainment history that such a minor talent made such a huge killing by acting pitiful all the time. I felt sorry for China’s ugly sets for the Olympics yesterday, and I felt sorry for Ms. Andrews again this morning after telling the ballet board that ‘I agree with critic David Thomson that Julie Andrews is never interesting…’

    Just look at this again: “That films like this, with the mastery of huge resources and their ubiquity, palstering themselves everywhere, seem to demand a certain authorisation from the audience, to set themselves up as a kind of embodiment, declare themselves The Nation and The Society, is an aspect one can call fascist.”

    Precisely what is different about this from North Korean and Soviet ShitArt except that it’s more expensive ‘product’, and the plebes who found ‘room at the top’ in Russia for over 50 years still couldn’t get money for private Hollywoodisms, so they stuck with ‘quaint rickety state-apparatus’ kitsch. Even when the little Trots and Leninists try to divorce themselves from Stalin and Stalinism, they never include any of this in that much more damning category of ‘Fascism.’

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 9 August 2008 @ 9:49 am

  44. Arpege continues:

    “the very idea of a collective national psyche is fascist no?”

    Why should the Kollektive by Fascist, instead of so pure and innocent, dimply and adorable, just like MayDay with Anthony Smith’s cats photographed with ‘Kapital’ or the time Arpege walked out on her balcony, heard ‘L’Internationale’, and Leninino agreed that ‘this was a beautiful moment…’

    “it’s like zizek on the abu ghraib tortures – just a spontaneous erruption of the “obscene” american national essence. our volk is sick…the inevitable conclusion is its time for cleansing and renewal.”

    And, in this case, what Zizek said here is probably half-true. Nobody said billionaires didn’t have spending power, but that didn’t answer everything, and Arpege still has absolutely no credibility when she will talk about how Billionaires financed the Demolition of the World Trade Center by using African-American Biker Messengers in Tight Shorts to Plant Explosives in the Buildings. It’s obvious enough that ‘our volk is sick’, at least somewhat (but whose isn’t) even though his writing style is always and everywhere graceless and unreadable English. The very fucking idea of using the term ‘volk.’ And he’s not a fucking American any more than warszawa is.

    “the inevitable conclusion is its time for cleansing and renewal.””

    Huh???? She could no more tolerate cleansing and renewal than a hole in the ground. There is no career for a Fascist Marxist without constant crimes committed by one group and exposed even if smallish, and huge crimes committed by other groups and covered up to a farethewell.

    So this proves that Fascist Communists do not, in fact, want more revolutions.

    What they want is more cartoon movies so they can lure overly trusting real filmmakers like Steppling. Arpege already at the ready now that he’s stepped out of bounds and seen the film and seen how Batman founded Communism in the American psyche, and yet this discovery of how the revolution had already taken place in the U.S. was unwelcome because middle-aged women and ‘other demographics’ didn’t enjoy this vision. But in the revolution, such ‘feelings’ are not to be taken into consideration–we need people to iron uniforms, not go around and act like PoMo version of Gloria Fucking Steinem.

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 9 August 2008 @ 10:09 am

  45. i was banned from lenino’s benevolent tumor, they told me that my ”ruling elites are nationalist”. the current war in georgia, you see, is caused by the russian support for the secession of ossetians in that country, who do not wish to cooperate with NATO’s groping for georgia. this is a kind of a parody reversal of the kosovo situation, where NATO called on the albanian moozlim’s right to secede from serbia. in this we see the features of a really dangerous new cold war which could put america and russia in overt conflict again.

    but you see whatever side you support, the MECHANISM which makes all this possible is the leninist-trotskian ”self-determination” of peoples which fits the idea of a global socialist empire, the Fourth International.

    NAIVETTE CAN BE FUCKING DANGEROUS.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 9 August 2008 @ 11:20 am

  46. “Every viewer is permitted to recognise his own psyche in this film, but not to then impose this on those who do not.”

    I haven’t been following the thread, but it sounds like Steppling must have been saying “we” when he meant “I.” I believe I mentioned getting caught making this overgeneralization in blog discussion when I said something like “we Americans tend to identify with the winners in international disputes. It’s not unlike saying we Americans mistrust foreigners, or are optimistic, or are naive, or whatever. So I suspect Steppling made some overly broad attribution to the American moviegoing public, and Chabert said to him in effect “speak for yourself: you might love Batman’s fascism, but I don’t.” I think that’s fair enough: every individual has a right to his or her own opinions; trying to capture “the American way” and to make it normative is at least akin to fascistic thinking, don’t you think? I suppose Soviet-style totalitarianism is an attempt to substitute top-down control for bottom-up enforcement of the national character. I could also picture an attempt to substitute proletarian solidarity for ethnic solidarity creating a sort of communistic fascism: “we the workers” think this, do that, believe the other, etc. But this is beyond my experience.

    I suspect Steppling found this argument annoying, because he wasn’t intending his general remark to apply to every single moviegoer. Just because 30 million Americans love Batman doesn’t mean everybody does — of course not, but a whole shitload of Americans DO love Batman and either embrace or disregard his fascistic nature.

    Whether they’ve been programmed to love Batman by high-finance marketing campaigns is another question. I suppose some have, but not everyone. I suspect that, if asked, most (not all!) Batman-lovers would tell you that they’ve not been brainwashed by the ads, that their own individual psyches interacting with the movie generated their enjoyment. That’s not to say they’re right, of course: at least some individuals are unaware of the insidious influence of advertising on their choices. Probably this has been the case in those subjected to government propaganda of either the totalitarian Marxist variety or any other. Five years ago, most (not all!) Americans believed that Saddam had WMDs and hung out with Bin Laden not because they’d been subjected to American governmental propaganda but because they’d looked at the facts and made their own independent judgment.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 9 August 2008 @ 1:55 pm

  47. “the current war in georgia, you see, is caused by the russian support for the secession of ossetians in that country”

    Are Lenin’s audience saying this (not necessarily all of them, of course)? But if they’re for self-determination they’d regard Georgia as the cause of the war and support the secessionists. Why did you get banned? Weren’t you already banned before? Or does Lenin ban you one discussion at a time?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 9 August 2008 @ 2:03 pm

  48. I just read the comments at Lenin’s Tomb. Recently Lenin put up this brief comment: “This is quite an interesting piece,” followed by this link. So I think Lenin is leaning toward the Dejan doctrine.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 9 August 2008 @ 2:21 pm

  49. Five years ago, most (not all!) Americans believed that Saddam had WMDs and hung out with Bin Laden not because they’d been subjected to American governmental propaganda but because they’d looked at the facts and made their own independent judgment.

    I don’t see it that way, because there weren’t any ‘facts’ to look at. In this case, it was definitely governmental propaganda by Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rove about the WMD, and even I had no reason to doubt them. Where would anyone have ‘had these facts’, anyway, since it turns out these weren’t the facts. As for the Bin Laden connection, I already knew it wasn’t there, but the WMD lies were convincing enough to get most of us to follow the wave that led up to the war. And since the Anthrax attacks happened so quickly after 9/11, it was more confusing as to who was allied with whom. But it was the presentation about WMD that swayed those of us who were reading. And for those who weren’t reading, how could it not be governmental propaganda that made them think there was the Bin Laden/Hussein connection? They didn’t have time to read or think about these things, so there was no real reason for them to doubt it. In this case, the Bush administration is guilty all the way down the line, and are themselves totally corrupt. They knew what they were doing. But this is different, of course, from the 9/11 truth bullshit Arpege and warszawa used to spout with much frequency; once in a while you’ll still hear a little bleat, but they’ve had few comers, except a couple of students at leninino.

    Yes, Steppling would be annoyed, and probably Arpege won’t rectify the situation by going to see the film–they are now on different pages, since he’s seen it and she hasn’t. He’s also a professional, and when he talks about what the technical aspects of the film are, he should be listened to. All I can say is it must be the fucking desert in Poland if he wants to talk to Arpege for several weeks about Batman…

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 9 August 2008 @ 2:38 pm

  50. I would, however, agree with your assessment about why people want Batman, but that in that case, it’s an intertwining of their psyches with the plastered ads everywhere to catch the particular mostly-poor and/or young audience.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 9 August 2008 @ 2:43 pm

  51. Steppling has continued quite nicely, refuting Arpege’s claim that it’s the way the moviemakers feel, neglecting the all-important fact that moviemakers are some of the biggest moviegoers and always are huge Movie FANS. I am surprised she missed this. So the Wimbledon match is Steppling’s this time.

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 9 August 2008 @ 4:27 pm

  52. But if they’re for self-determination they’d regard Georgia as the cause of the war and support the secessionists. Why did you get banned? Weren’t you already banned before? Or does Lenin ban you one discussion at a time?

    We get to the hotspot, which is always the following issue: were Kosovar Albanians prodded by the Communists to multiply so that at a certain point they would outnumber the Serbs and claim independence? I am dead convinced they were, not only because I HEARD about it a lot, but also because my granddad, who was a Communist Minister of Transport for a long time, told me about it. (Note my granddad was a devout internationalist and condemned any nationalism vehemently) But then also if you think logically, it would be pretty hard to convince such a large mass of people to hate Serbia and to want to leave it if it wasn’t put in their blood as it were by decades of anti-Serbian propaganda. To this the Leninist trannies always conclude that I am a racist nationalist, like the Serbian (and now Russian) ruling eschelons. There are certain Holy Subjects that must not be questioned under any circumstance: nationalism, the purity of the Muslim civilization and the oncoming Leninist Revolution (which never happens). Once when I said I thought Kosovar Albanians would have been better off in smaller numbers that is to say if they adopted the Serbian way of living simply because Kosovo is very poor which makes it difficult to maintain its economy with such a large population, they told me that the expression ”overpopulation” which I used is bigoted racistspeak that someone like Cheney would use. If you’ll remember Sherbert stopped commenting at my place when she came to the conclusion that I am an anti-wimman nationalist creep.
    I like the link Leninini put up to the EU debate site, but it has to be underlined next to this that the socialist ideals being put forward as an alternative (i.e. the brotherhood and equality of all men) are impossible to defend because they are empty or because the socialists themselves do not adhere to them consequentially. In other words the main point is that socialists themselves, by supporting the self-determination policies, caused the crisis to a large extent. They agree with NATO on this point, namely.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 9 August 2008 @ 5:38 pm

  53. How do you like my new cartoonery? You have to imagine LEninini’s shrill little voice: Take your hands OFF me, you fascist PIG! (but all the while she moves her butt a little bit in Batman’s direction)

    I also like Steppling assessed the film negatively on its moviemaking merits, which are practically null and it is kind of shitty that that doesn’t seem to bother the moviegoers, who are obviously losing taste in large numbers.

    Clysmatics Sherbert’s thesis is kind of mechanistic and fascist in itself, she proposes the audience as a bunch of brainwashed robots into whose heads the Corporation can plant anything they want, and this is totally in line with her vulgar Marxism as well. But the real driving motor is her feeling of moralizing superiority (her feeling of diva superiority in general).

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 9 August 2008 @ 5:51 pm

  54. I thought leninino loooks prettier as a little fucked girl than any other times you’ve used that picture.

    But Steppling also went ahead and described the film better than anyone else had. He understood the Heath Ledger performance in its outlaw quality, not that I care to praise Ledger, since I don’t give a shit about the movie, period. But he simply said it without giving a shit what Arpege thought. She no more wants to hear that Heath Ledger did an extraordinary performance than another hole in the ground. That will irritate her hugely. But even before Steppling told her that the moviemakers were all a part of this society as well as everybody else, I had immediately spotted it as completely ridiculous that she LOVES to imagine this evil elite in the sky, that has fully and totally successfully separated itself off from everything except new means of having meetings to manipulate the dunces. The theater, movie and television industries are all populated by people who are FANS of these entertainments. She has reduced it to purely ‘they think out things to be cruel to certain demographics because that is how these evil elite people feel about life.’

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 9 August 2008 @ 6:47 pm

  55. I don’t think that her having her opinion is something to be derided; everyone’s entitled to an opinion, even Communists. In fact reading through the things she’s been saying I think she’s being quite fascistic pig for someone who claims to have these socialist views. She has this elitarian taste for culture, she does understand aesthetics but she only wants to discuss the privileged product, as if beauty may not exist outside of the Met. Everything else is either ”kitsch” of not worthy of her attention.

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    Comment by parodycenter — 9 August 2008 @ 6:58 pm

  56. …and her view is informed by this macho economism I’ve noticed; it’s very reductive and reductionist – she keeps talking as if people have no other desire or need except to eat shit and sleep and engage in brokering. Like for her it’s impossible that people would react to Batman in a way unrelated to their health insurance!

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    Comment by parodycenter — 9 August 2008 @ 7:09 pm

  57. Like for her it’s impossible that people would react to Batman in a way unrelated to their health insurance!

    Yes, the desperation to include a mean HMO was her at her most divine. I can’t think of another person who has developed this magical elite who has meetings where they discuss nothing but genocide and how to keep people from knowing that that’s what it is–they spend all the meeting discussing ways of actively impoverishing people. Not that there’s not a big drift in that direction, but her own arguments are so silly that it really makes no sense to be bothering with the elite culture either since that too was masterminded by the evil elite. Anyway, to make a long story short, she is herself a FAN, made by the Corporation too, but claims that she somehow knows how to enjoy corporate product too (although lofty corporate product, because elite culture is either private and corporate or government, it matters little which if you’ve got a supernal omnipotent elite), but in a very special way while reading many new works and deciphering with the help of Little Girl Marx, and refusing to enjoy them in any way except the way Miss Marx would want her to. This way, when she lets loose if somebody is really good at ‘Tosca’, she can punish herself by not cleaning up her living room piled with Gramsci and Schmitt texts, as well as a tearful bow to Badiou from time to time.

    Shit, I found the most fabulous DVD of short films made by artists from the Pompidou Center, wanted to know about the Bauhaus Building in Dessau, but also includes the Pompidou Center itelf, which I saw in 1997. I’ve seen two of them thus far, wonderful stuff about Siza’s architecture school in Porto, Portugal. Oh well, I like ‘elite product’ myself, obviously, but I’ve always been oriented that way. I use talk of ‘Batman’ more as a Straight Fascist than a Marxist Fascist, though, because there are more benefits in terms of liberation that way–you get past all feelings of sin, because you find that sin has to seek you out more than you thought. Life is not just a struggle against sin and injustice. After awhile, you can just lie back and let other people do what you used to have to all of.

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 9 August 2008 @ 7:23 pm

  58. there are various kinds of elitarianism, you know. The elitarianism on display in the BATMAN series is for me the wrong kind, because BATMAN takes the indicators of class and privilege (such as BATMAN’s leather fetish costume), in this case lifted from German futurism, and sells them as a kind of an American trailer trash elitarianism – while it is only a superficial copy of the Euro cultural product. But there is also informed and cultivated elitarianism, where people who have money actually made really good art and intelligent culture. In this latter case it would be pertinent to consider this product a model to use as inspiration, regardless of its privileged origins.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 9 August 2008 @ 7:30 pm

  59. as for your adolescent – Nietzschean posturing in the last comment, it reminds me of the time when I was seventeen, reading the Steppenwolf and feeling that the world should wash my feet because I’m so darn intelligent (and better than the rest of the world). it’s not a bad position to take.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 9 August 2008 @ 7:33 pm

  60. I went to Pompidupi last year and it struck me as an intricate web of colons organized around an empty asshole – it was a very Marxist building, in other words. It also had similarities with the design for Alien, which didn’t surprise me because it’s a very 1980s contraption. They were hosting a pretentious expo on the Dadaists, but I did like it that the French were attending it in such massive numbers there was a line all the way to Notre-Damme for the tickets. Here in Holland you could bring the Dutch to stand in line for a museum visit under gunpoint.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 9 August 2008 @ 7:36 pm

  61. My adolescent posturing could be correctly construed as 17-year-old Nietzschean, except that they can’t do it and always end up having to go to the business school or the junior college.

    ‘n this case lifted from German futurism, and sells them as a kind of an American trailer trash elitarianism – while it is only a superficial copy of the Euro cultural product.”

    That is so true, and you can literally smell the paltriness in it. It is this kind of tourist we often get here from the buses, and they act just like the people on the reality TV shows. And they try to affect being native New Yorkers, thinking they can pull off Brooklynese (which is not that prestigious anyway) while asking for directions. This makes little sense.

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 9 August 2008 @ 8:03 pm

  62. This post seems to have hung up technologically on the last comment, making it impossible to navigate further. So I’ll force this new comment onto the bottom of the thread and see if it fixes the logjam. Some part of me hopes the repair job doesn’t succeed, inasmuch as discussion got sort of hung up conversationally too, veering too much toward personal insults for my tastes. In fact, while I’m making repairs I think I’ll go clear out the personal slander too…

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 10 August 2008 @ 5:29 am

  63. Looks like adding the new comment fixed the problem. So, Dejan, regarding your recent Batman photoshop job: I thought you’d given up parodying the theory bloggers because they didn’t deserve your attention.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 10 August 2008 @ 6:08 am

  64. Well after all it is a clysmatiser’s job to clean up the mess, innit? Make sure you wear gloves while you’re doing it!

    I had a kind of an epiphany last week as I felt myself exploited by all the entertainment value extracted from my work, but then I realized my desire to break the rules is too deep to stop. Maybe like Patrick says, the world should be washing MY feet!

    I don’t know why you feel the need to protect the Cobra. She doesn’t care herself about anyone, why should I care whether or not I insult her.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 10 August 2008 @ 6:35 am

  65. Actually Clysmatics I’m startin’ to wonder whether you dig the message at all. Don’t you see how the world is building up towards General Consensus? That’s the whole point. Lenin critiques the actions of the US government, but then hushes up the propaganda against Serbia. These teachers at the academies call on Revolution, but whenever you so much as touch a sensitive subject, they start fearing their tenure. And all the while some weird kind of a Puritanism has crept in – sshhssh don’t be RUDE. Don’t UPSET me. Quiet! Be nice. Kamarad Infinite Nymphomania writes: I want a PLEASANT atmosphere. No cock pictures. Don’t declare politically incorrect opinion. Don’t smoke. Be careful. What the fuck? Is this supposed to be LEFT and DISSIDENT on top? And then k-prank comes out in a Batman costume and he declares:

    The world has ended.

    And they all pull out their handkerchiefs and begin to sob.

    THAT is how totalitarianism creeps in: everyone agrees! Left and right whining in a chorus. Poor us.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 10 August 2008 @ 6:55 am

  66. And you know Clysmatics I’m a Serb; Serbs were always pissing against the wind. I have to live up to my heritage.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 10 August 2008 @ 7:06 am

  67. Again the thread has crashed; again I’m forced to force a comment (by clicking on the GWTW post listed in the “recent posts” on the right side of the blog). Maybe WordPress has a bug.

    Why protect Chabert? Of course I don’t believe she really needs protection, any more than anyone else does really. I want to uphold the dignity of all visitors, even if they don’t visit, and even if they might not extend the same courtesy to me. I value civility in discourse, and in exercising my right to self-determination I’d like to maintain civility as the general tone at Ktismatics.

    “THAT is how totalitarianism creeps in: everyone agrees! Left and right whining in a chorus. Poor us.”

    I’m down with disagreement. It’s the personal slurs that seem unnecesary, and they tend to obscure the substantive issues on which disagreement arises, turning it into a war of egos. Fuck that.

    “And you know Clysmatics I’m a Serb; Serbs were always pissing against the wind. I have to live up to my heritage.”

    Sounds like fascistic nationalistic collective thinking to me. Be free! Exercise your right to break the mold of the Volk!

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 10 August 2008 @ 7:18 am

  68. My intervention didn’t work this time. For some reason further comments on this thread can only be registered by clicking GWTW on “recent posts.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 10 August 2008 @ 7:20 am

  69. Again it’s fixed. Who knows?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 10 August 2008 @ 7:23 am

  70. I’m down with disagreement. It’s the personal slurs that seem unnecesary, and they tend to obscure the substantive issues on which disagreement arises, turning it into a war of egos. Fuck that.

    I am sorry I won’t be parodying your masochism anymore. You may exercise your right to self-flagellation. I don’t know why Patrick doesn’t want to be called a darling when it’s such an essential ingredient of the ”two misanthropic queens” comedy act which got us so many clicks last year as well as my favorite line from Ab Fab. But if she doesn’t want to, she doesn’t want to.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 10 August 2008 @ 7:41 am

  71. I thought the personal slurs amounted to very little, but if John wants to censor things like ‘Communist —–‘ that’s his business. What I’d like him to respond to is why he thought Americans informed themselves of ‘facts’ before deciding to support or not the Iraq War. Because they couldn’t have, given that the ‘facts’ were fictions made by the Bushies, and there was no way they could all be talking to Hans Blix.

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 10 August 2008 @ 8:10 am

  72. “But if she doesn’t want to, she doesn’t want to.”

    I’m not sure whether Patrick wants to be called darling or not, but based on his prior general objections I decided he didn’t. He probably doesn’t want to be called “she” either, so my censorship will probably always remain incomplete.

    You can of course parody me on the Parody Center, inasmuch as it’s your bit of territory in the Baltisphere. I got rid of your comment about how I feel guilty for things I didn’t even do mostly because I didn’t understand it and also because I figured I shouldn’t subject myself to more abuse than anyone else on this blog does. Also, by purging the comment I have given myself something tangible I can feel guilty about, or worry about whether I should feel guilty, etc. etc.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 10 August 2008 @ 8:12 am

  73. I think I got rid of “Communist fascist bitch” or some such personal remark. These censorial judgments call for instant and ruthless decision-making.

    “why he thought Americans informed themselves of ‘facts’ before deciding to support or not the Iraq War.”

    It was an example that came to mind: nobody admits that they support something because they’ve been brainwashed by a marketing campaign. Probably what happened is that a majority of Americans were convinced by media and administration proclamations and Democratic head-nodding that the WMD and al-Qaida stories about Iraq were true based on their faith in presumably reliable sources. They regarded as factual what turned out to be propaganda.

    On the other hand, it was possible at the time to debunk the bulk of supposed evidence that Colin Powell trotted out at the UN. Various other sources (and not just Marxist or Islamist ones) were available about these supposed facts, most of which had been put forward and knocked down as counterfactual well before Powell lined them all up on stage. I didn’t hear the speech; I read the transcript the next morning. My reaction at the time: wrong, wrong, probably not true, wrong…

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 10 August 2008 @ 8:21 am

  74. patrick I don’t know Clysmatics’s opinion on the question you pose, but as I told dr. Fossey yesterday, I think the chief problem is that whether in right or left lingerie our leaders are running geopolitics while they tell us it’s about terrorism, human rights and/or global capitalism. In a sense it is about these things, but the main thing is that humanity hasn’t evolved much since the Second War and it’s still a wolf eat wolf world out there, so the LAST FUCKING THING we need is this politically correct quasi-Marxist faux-utopia where people sit and discuss soberly about human rights, gay marriage and who killed Laura Palmer (the weapons of mass destruction). The longer they blather on about it, the longer our leaders will keep us in the dark as to where the real show is occurring, namely, who will ROB and STEAL more. I’m not saying that there’s much we can do about it, but at least we can be clear about it. Awareness is the first step to healing. Who knows maybe it reduces the number of victims in the long run.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 10 August 2008 @ 8:24 am

  75. “nobody admits that they support something because they’ve been brainwashed by a marketing campaign.”

    They do if they didn’t have any idea that’s what it was at the time. I didn’t know the WMD lies were just that, although I did know the Al Qaeda connection was false, but it didn’t seem to matter so much if the WMD was true. But it wasn’t, and they definitely knew that it wasn’t.

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 10 August 2008 @ 8:53 am

  76. “so the LAST FUCKING THING we need is this politically correct quasi-Marxist faux-utopia where people sit and discuss soberly about human rights, gay marriage and who killed Laura Palmer (the weapons of mass destruction). The longer they blather on about it, the longer our leaders will keep us in the dark as to where the real show is occurring, namely, who will ROB and STEAL more.”

    That’s a mess. Fix it.

    The matter of the WMD is not an unimportant matter, and it needs to constantly be re-clarified on, even if the robbing and stealing is going on as planned. Because that’s part of the robbing and stealing. But that’s not correct to talk about discussions of the WMD being in the same ‘faux-Marxist-utopia’ as hypocritical-liberal discussions of gay marriage, human rights–those are vague general things, even though they signify important facts, but the discussion of WMD is a matter of now-known facts. And the Bush administration has been completely able to get away with it. There is no possibility of doing anything ever without keeping these facts in the forefront of all debates, no matter that John McCain says ‘that’s old stuff about the Al Qaida not being in Iraq’, because another group that is referred to as ‘Al Qaida in Iraq’ does now exist, but definitely did not at the time the Hussein/Bin Laden connection was being made in order to make the case for war. McCain is clearly a completely incompetent candidate, and he must be defeated. Talk of Obama’s faults is thoroughly unimportant at this point. McCain is simply grotesque, I am only now convinced he is almost as poorly-equipped as Bush, although he’s not the personal coward Bush is.

    Maurenn Dowd is very good this morning on John Edwards’s incredible sillinesses. We didn’t know that the silliness was quite this trailer-trash.

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 10 August 2008 @ 9:02 am

  77. “But it wasn’t, and they definitely knew that it wasn’t.”

    Agree. I also believe that the Democrats in Congress also knew it wasn’t true, but either they didn’t have the nerve to stand up or they were in fundamental agreement with the Republicans. After all, even before 9/11 a majority of Americans favored further military intervention in Iraq to overthrow Saddam. Yesterday I read a reference by Chomsky to the “Clinton Doctrine,” dating back to 1996. In this document Clinton formalized US policy of taking military action, unilaterally if necessary, to support vital US economic interests in the world. In this document Clinton specifically regards access to Middle East oil as vital to US interests. And of course it was Clinton who kept softening up Iraq, baiting them with military fly-overs then bombing strategic targets when Iraq launched its puny counter-attacks. I think Clinton knew that Iraq was decimated militarily before Bush took office.

    Another thing: Psychological research has demonstrated that “we Americans” are more prone than people of some other countries to continue believing something is true even after the supposed truth has been retracted by the original source. Somehow it’s the original spin that sticks in people’s heads, overriding subsequent contrary information. That’s why most Americans will continue to believe that expansionist Russia aggressively initiated the Georgia conflagration regardless of what the truth turns out to be.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 10 August 2008 @ 9:17 am

  78. To clarify: whether with Bushies or Hillary-Billary (or Obama) (or anyone for that matter), at the helm, the sustainment of capitalist economy is impossible without expansion; this expansion necessitates further conquest – primarily in the ex-Soviet space. The plot is GET THE MONEY AND RUN rather than TWIN PEAKS. To disguise this fact, our leaders have come up with numerous MacGuffins, including: Serbian nationalism… the Weapons of Mass Destruction… Feminism * Gay Rights Situation in Turkey… Achmed the Dead Terrorist…and so on. In this situation there needs to be some kind of a buffer, and this has traditionally been socialism. But socialism continues to talk about the McGuffin. In this way Americans right now are getting the same shit that Serbs got in the past 20-odd years. I don’t know how to make the leaders less corrupt or how to make the world a better place, but at least we can stop lying to each other. From that point onwards there is at least hope for betterment.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 10 August 2008 @ 9:21 am

  79. I think Obama is eager to shift focus from Iraq to other places of strategic economic interests for American business, including the former Soviet satellites and Russia itself. I think if he gets in he’ll take a page from the Chinese book, cutting financial arrangements pragmatically with less saber-rattling and less ideological pontificating than Bush or McCain. Obama will keep Iraq partitioned, retain a military presence, and get some of that oil, but otherwise he’ll offer some token reconstruction money and leave the governing of Iraq to Iraqis (whether it stays one country or not). That the race between Obama and McCain remains so close suggests many possible interpretations, but it must be remembered that Kerry wooed McCain as a possible running mate.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 10 August 2008 @ 9:24 am

  80. “but it must be remembered that Kerry wooed McCain as a possible running mate.”

    Kerry is completely ridiculous, looking back. Even when he ‘won’ the debates, he lost them. Bush could look like a hayseed and he still was not a weakling like Kerry. Looking back, it is startling we ever paid eny attention to him as a serious candidate at all, given the rapacious nature of the Bushies. Kerry is another total embarassment, and had lost all his fire by the time he ran for president. He almost fucked up the mid-term elections by idiotic remarks he made to confirm his patrician status (although he got it by marrying it.) Obama is not really attractive either (I don’t mean in looks, both are attractive physically), but his yuppie elitism is at least backed up by at least a bit more spine than Kerry had. And in those debates, it was not enough that he was using facts, but that he was even incapable of showing any real annoyance and outrage at Bush. He was simply pitiful, and yet many of us refused to believe it.

    as for ‘original spin’, that has lots of variants and it’s true that most people believe this anywhere, maybe more in America, but really anything that has a 2-step structure is doomed to anyone but the intellectual or at least moderately-reflective person. All elite arts, which we’ve talking about, do, for example, require attention and real labour to appreciate , sometimes they cannot even be understood minimally. But the percentage of people willing or capable of doing this is so minimal that for something to really sell it has to be totally up-front and convincing immediately, and part of this is even understandable: There is simply not time to explain and even less to re-explain.

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 10 August 2008 @ 9:43 am


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