9 August 2008

The Movies We Deserve?

Filed under: Culture, Movies — ktismatics @ 10:32 pm

It is of course undeniable that television is an example of Low Art, the sort of art that has to please people in order to get their money. Because of the economics of nationally broadcast, advertiser-subsidized entertainment, television’s one goal — never denied by anybody in or around TV since RCA first authorized field tests in 1936 — is to ensure as much watching as possible. TV is the epitome of Low Art in its desire to appeal to and enjoy the attention of unprecedented numbers of people. But it is not Low because it is vulgar or prurient or dumb. Television is often all these things, but this is a logical function of its need to attract and please Audience. And I’m not saying that television is vulgar or dumb because the people who compose Audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests. It’s all about syncretic diversity: neither medium nor Audience is faultable for quality.

– David Foster Wallace, “E Unibus Pluram,” 1993

What Wallace says about television applies equally to cinema. It’s striking how many of the top-grossing movies are cartoons, fantasy/scifi, and adaptations of superhero comic books. I started liking this sort of entertainment when I was a little kid, and I suspect that for most people the taste for it develops early or not at all. Fantasy lets the movie-maker exploit what the big screen does best: depict spectacularly the kinds of adventures that couldn’t possibly happen in real life. You’d think Audience would grow out of it, and certainly some do. But as Wallace notes, more sophisticated tastes tend to diverge and to become less predictable, commanding smaller audiences. Besides, high-art tastes are often built on low-art foundations: the gourmet probably still enjoys a burger now and then, while the habitual burger-eater might find haute cuisine not at all to his liking even if he could afford it. Ensure as much watching as possible: that’s the goal. Offhand I can’t think of a big fantasy movie that hasn’t been a huge success.

In brief, I had fun watching the new Batman movie, and I’d probably have had even more fun if I wasn’t so busy trying to analyze it and my own reactions to it. While it might be overlaid with fascism and informed by queer theory and the generator of enormous profits for the already-rich investors, it’s still just a freakin’ comic-book movie.

There’s a convergence between what people want to see at the theater and what the movie business sells them. So is the marketplace working effectively, spontaneously and in the aggregate selling us the movies we deserve? I’d be more prone to believe it if the production companies weren’t spending so much of their budget on advertising. Why not just make the films, distribute them to the theaters, and see how they do? Presumably the companies wouldn’t spend the money on expensive ad campaigns if they weren’t effective in driving traffic to the ticket counter. The invisible hand moves in a vicious circle: the most expensive movies to make also carry the most expensive ad campaigns. One might expect things to work the other way around: it takes money to turn out a superior product; cheaply made movies aren’t as good, so they need more push from the marketing department to fill the seats. But it doesn’t work that way: the most expensive movies are usually Low Art genre productions deemed mediocre by the critics, AND these same movies spend the most on advertising, AND they get the biggest crowds. It begins to appear that the separation between production and marketing is an artificial one — that the ad campaign is part of the production, part of the movie-going experience.

Here’s a movie concept: what if Hollywood suddenly went sort of socialist? Instead of being owned by investors and run so as to maximize profits for the investors, what if the movie workers — writers, directors, actors, etc. — owned and controlled the means of production? And what if the highest-paid workers (studio executives, big movie stars) could earn at most, say, ten times as much as the lowliest production assistant? And what if there were limits on how much money the movie production companies could distribute as profits to the worker-owners? And what if the whole American economy worked this way? Would the production companies still turn out the same lowbrow mediocre movie spectaculars; would they still put the same kind of money into promotion; would the movie-going public still want to see them?

Then comes the sequel: Hollywood Goes Socialist II. Movies are regarded not as commodities but as national cultural resources. Now movies are distributed freely, so any theater or individual can download any movie without paying a fee. The public pools the money it’s prepared to spend on new movies. There’s some sort of collective purchasing co-op that decides on behalf of the public which movies it wants to buy and distribute, allocating the pooled money accordingly. Maybe there are a lot of coops around the country making these decisions, or maybe there’s a single centralized coop for the whole country…



  1. You can do your Socialist Hollywood, I don’t think it will ever exist, nor even needs to, despite the ca-ca that is occurring. And why would you particularly want it if you liked Batman?

    Most worrisome are announcements of remakes of truly important classic films. They are now going to remake ‘My Fair Lady’–yes, the musical, not just ‘Pygmalion’–with Emma Thompson directing, and starring Kiera Knightly as Eliza and, if he’s not to busy doing hostile buyouts of Batman, Nine, and all other leading men’s properties as he becomes the Undisputed Male Meryl Streep–yes–Daniel Day-Lewis as Higgins. This is truly disturbing. In the 90s, this started with ‘Sabrina’, which needed no remake even though hardly a masterpiece; and ‘Born Yesterday’, which is not a great play but is totally identified with Judy Holliday’s singular performance. This was re-made with Melanie Griffith, and this kind of thing proves how effective the marketing is, although I don’t know how well either of those did. But re-making ‘My Fair Lady’ is much more extreme, and we can easily now see re-making ‘Gone With the Wind’ and ‘Citizen Kane’ or even revamping ‘Birth of a Nation’ so it won’t offend anyone. This is total death to all art if they go that far, and they might. It does prove the stuff, or rather non-stuff that Emma Thompson must be made of, and they are going to do it ‘on location’, which is sheer idiocy, because except for Ascot, ‘My Fair Lady’ is about the Great Indoors. I suppose the prune-faced Ms. Thompson will want to make it more like ‘The Sound of Music’ and ‘Mamma Mia’, with the ads embedded (Dejan’s clip of Mamma Mia is much like Sound of Music Alpine Frolics, Pied Piper of Hamlin and the old Coca-Cola ad ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, I’d like to buy the world a Coke to keep it company’) as you point out. That ‘Dancing Queen’ clip is pure ad and immediate bombardment. This is what I noticed with ‘Hairspray’, as it evaporated from memory over the year since I saw it, it had only Michelle Pfeiffer’s super-bitch and that lasts for me. ‘Dreamgirls’ has not even one lasting memory for me, although I thought I enjoyed it well-enough while watching it. ‘Rent’ is so bad I couldn’t even be engaged while watching it–it’s so repulsively photographed you cannot tell but once that it is even in Manhattan (one makes out a Nobody Beats the Wiz at one point, but it’s always like a wintry overcast day–an atrocious film). There have always been remakes, and already ‘Breathless’ and ‘The Postman Always Rings Twice’ were wastes of time. Remakes are almost always inferior, but they serve the purpose of blotting out memory when they get to the point of remaking films that were great to begin with. I can imagine somebody deciding to remake ‘Les Enfants du Paradis’ or even Ingmar Bergman films at some point–or just turning them into loud musicals, which is only less bad, because they aren’t competing with the original.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 10 August 2008 @ 9:28 am

  2. “And why would you particularly want it if you liked Batman?”

    I want a little sprinkling of Batman-esque product, not a constant deluge of it. Comic books were cheap; their movie equivalents should be as well.

    “This is truly disturbing.”

    Remakes must be particularly lucrative productions: they wear the patina bestowed by the original, then strip it off like one of those commercials where the staid and proper woman whips off her glasses, loosens her bun hairdo, and is transformed instantaneously into the contemporary version of a hot babe. Kind of pornish.

    The commercials at the theater before Batman were all nostalgic: Coca-Cola being drunk in more innocent times, kids playing baseball in a 50s set, high schoolers modeling fashions in what was clearly meant to look like the Breakfast Club set. A lot of the American youth demographic seem to regard themselves as stuck in a declining culture, so even Low Art revivals like Mamma Mia and Hairspray and Batman betoken the innocence — even Waters’ somewhat perverse innocence — of a bygone era. But My Fair Lady? That’s going too far.

    Speaking of The Wiz, the Wizard of Oz and Love Affair both lost 1939 best picture Oscar to Gone With the Wind.


    Comment by ktismatics — 10 August 2008 @ 9:47 am

  3. Howzabout a remake of My Fair Lady starring Le Colonel Sherbert where John Steppling tries to reform the Parisian flower girl but ends up getting ”reformed” by her instead. The plot thickens until it escalates into a horror story, a cross-breeding between Cronenberg’s ”The Fly” and Shakespeare’s ”The Taming of the Shrew”.
    Patrick could write the Libretto and Clysmatics can do the PR. Directed by Dejan Nikolic of the Parody Center ™…


    Comment by parodycenter — 10 August 2008 @ 10:00 am

  4. I read today’s continuation of the Steppling/Arpege Olympics, and it’s very impressive on both parts by now. She finally listens to him, but his being a professional and being impressed with ‘There Will Be Blood’ is too much. If it makes any sense, I can understand looking for something even in ‘Southland Tales’, which I find garbage, than in thinking TWBB is anything but an obscenity. It is totally false, a freak show.

    perezoso aka lustmolch writes most amusingly. I’d still talk to him, but he gets upset sometimes if I get too New Yorkish. You’ll note that it’s hick-blogger parlance to even write it as ‘Noo Yawk’–traxus does this even though he lived here for awhile. I think I have diagnosed traxus’s problem, at least in the form it most disturbs me: He has almost no sense of place at all. People like me don’t exist without the importance of place.

    Steppling is very good except for his bad taste. My taste is much closer to Arpege’s, which reveals itself when she forgets about Karl Marx, and then re-conceals itself when she remembers that she happily forgot about Marx for a few minutes courtesy of Giuseppe Verdi. Even though her point about how these movies tell us about the people who make them does identify the only thing that is by now really interesting about them, she typically overemphasizes and exaggerates this until one has a hard time remembering her better points on these things. That explains why a basically sharp brain like hers would see conspiracy even in the stupidest forms, and pretend that ‘physicists she knows’ were about to visit and she would discuss how the WTC could not have collapsed without explosives planted there by African-American Bikers Hired by Dick Cheney.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 10 August 2008 @ 11:00 am

  5. I just read the Chabert-Steppling discussion, and it was very good. Steppling presents the case that popular movies reflect popular culture, while Chabert argues that they reflect capital’s manipulation of market demand. While Steppling wanted to interpret this specific movie, Chabert wanted to talk about all Hollywood product. Both agree that the results are generally crappy, which makes sense since I think they’re both High Art enthusiasts. Neither offers the opinion that Low Art popular movies really do reflect the tastes of the people, really are what people demand, and so really are “good art” liberated from aristo aesthetic elitism, but that that these pop movies should be liberated financially from the capitalists who profit from them. I.e., if the means of movie production wound up in the hands of the workers, the result might be even purer commitment to low/pop culture stripped of all remnants of the high/classical tradition. This was I think somewhere near DionysusStoned’s position regarding Western high culture in that discussion of Coetzee’s book Disgrace we had awhile back. Maybe for the comic book genre that would be a good thing: let the danged thing be a comic book movie without any Nietzschean or Marxist or Freudian subtexts to please the critics.


    Comment by ktismatics — 10 August 2008 @ 2:12 pm

  6. “I.e., if the means of movie production wound up in the hands of the workers, the result might be even purer commitment to low/pop culture stripped of all remnants of the high/classical tradition”

    This is what me must now all strive for! A pure low culture! lol


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 10 August 2008 @ 3:18 pm

  7. She only started listening to Steppling when I walked in and told him not to try and reform the trailer trash. This is how low one must go in order to force My Fair Ladybitch into a semblance of conversational politeness.

    Yes Lady Mullins I know that O for Opera has been able to cast her sordid spell on your gayness because of your Madamme Butterfly lingerie. But you have already paid a sorry price for this enmeshment. I understand your dire need, for I really do not feel myself frequently inspired to ponder elite cultural product, while Perverse Egalitarianism is by no means as vivid an interlocutor as the Queen of Lies.

    Clysmatics in this comment you might want to censor ”sordid” because it might be a bit of a harsh word for your new socialist Puritanism ™.


    Comment by parodycenter — 10 August 2008 @ 4:04 pm

  8. Don’t be ridiculous, I’ve been involved with opera for years before I discovered the mystery that is Arpege. Perverse Egalitarianism gave me some refresher ideas for listening, but he’s got his own callousness, which I discovered very quickly. On the other hand, I am deeply involved with monstre sacree Maria Callas and watched the DVD of her Tosca in its first Paris performance in 1958, and that is a PRESENCE. This was a genius with few equals in history, the gift was so prodigious. Even after her weight loss of 80 pounds, which ruined her high notes due to breath support problems, she is still, on a CD of Tosca, her last from Covent Garden in the mid-60s, so powerful that it is like a snake got into your house and announced itself. Then, when she kills Scarpia, it is FANTASTIC when she snarls ‘DIE!! DIE!! DIE!!’ Voice never as naturally beautiful as Price or TeKanawa, but she was the greatest of them all, this force of nature.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 10 August 2008 @ 4:54 pm

  9. “She only started listening to Steppling when I walked in”

    And what thanks did you get? None, I wager. The ingrates.

    I just went to Perverse Egalitarianism and realized I’d visited there before a couple of times before. One of the guys there has written a series of posts on the Meillassoux book: I wonder if people got as little out of my posts on M. as I got from his. Maybe it’s because he’s a philosopher while I read it from the scientist’s point of view. Probably best just to read the original.


    Comment by ktismatics — 10 August 2008 @ 9:03 pm

  10. Steppling insisted that popular movies reflect the contemporary culture in which they’re embedded, even if not consciously, in a sort of immanent rhizomatic fashion. Chabert didn’t buy it, contending that the filmmakers construct films according to the interests of the financers. Both argued that, if the other was right, then Hollywood would make the same movie over and over again. I don’t think that’s necessarily the case: there are plenty of rhizomes flowing through the society, and capital can target any number of niche markets to exploit. I suspect that Chabert is reluctant to credit the rhizomatic cultural reflection theory because she regards these movies with distaste and doesn’t want to attribute the fascism etc. to “the people” or any subset thereof. From David Foster Wallace’s perspective, the violent fascistic theme in TV/cinema is part of mass lowbrow taste: simple to produce and easy to satisfy. I suppose a point of agreement could be achieved by saying that capital’s pervasive influence induces violent fascistic rhizomes that permeate the society, and these mass tastes for fascistic violence are in turn catered to by cinematic capital.


    Comment by ktismatics — 10 August 2008 @ 9:52 pm

  11. Indeed. Communists have the hardest time understanding that the common people adore Fascism. Why else would they vote in Ronald Reagan, which was the logical continuation of the decadence begun by ‘The Sound of Music’.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 10 August 2008 @ 10:05 pm

  12. The problem with Sherbert is that she always acts from vulgar-materialist premises and this makes her critique reductionist. It is of course utter nonsense that film studios, especially on such a large scale, cater only (or even primarily) to finances. There always needs to be that little extra, whether in the form of innovation or a new angle, to sell the product. And they do minute research on cultural trends *I am sure they also read stuff like what we write here.

    The angle I wanted to explore more is the Reich-Deleuze thing, the energetics of Joker, but for that I will have to see the whole film (much as it’s painful; the first half hour was really poorly made)


    Comment by parody center — 10 August 2008 @ 11:29 pm

  13. The marketplace is customer-driven AND it drives customers; companies conduct market research to figure out which products to develop AND they conduct marketing campaigns to sell those products. The Reich-Deleuze thing is what the marketing department is all about: both identifying AND manipulating the myriad forces, conscious and unconscious, individual and collective, that move the customers. Scientists and artists use different means, but they’re all trying to tap into the same forces.

    Movies aren’t fundamentally different from any other kind of product when profit becomes the driving motivation of the industry. The movie business benefits greatly from having access to tens of thousands of people doing their R&D for them, developing new movie treatments on their own dime and then hoping to sell them cheap to the moguls. It works like this in other industries too: crackpot inventors come up with new ideas and inventions then present them to venture capital investors for development; then the VC firms package up these new ideas in order to resell them to big corporations. The big corporations might have to pay a premium for that 1% of new product ideas they really like, but they get the benefit of widespread rhizomatic R&D work done throughout the society without actually having to hire all these inventors who come up with clever schemes that can’t readily be exploited for large profit margins. They just skim the cream off the top.

    This I think is the problem with Deleuze & Guattari and Hardt & Negri: big money already relies on rhizomatic flows through the multitude both for its creative energy and its customer revenues. Capital deterritorializes variables like artistic vision, creativity, discovery, excellence, truth, beauty, justice, etc., collapsing it all onto a product development spreadsheet with investment on the X axis and revenue on the Y axis.

    It’s utopian thinking, but I can’t help but wonder what sorts of cultural products Hollywood might come up with if profit wasn’t driving the decision-making, if movies were made based on their value as expressions of fimmakers’ visions and as cultural resources benefiting the people.


    Comment by ktismatics — 11 August 2008 @ 4:30 am

  14. It’s utopian thinking, but I can’t help but wonder what sorts of cultural products Hollywood might come up with if profit wasn’t driving the decision-making, if movies were made based on their value as expressions of fimmakers’ visions and as cultural resources benefiting the people.

    First of all you can’t run a 100% reliable marketing research on complex variables like cultural trends (you know that yourself with your backgr in empirical psychology) and second of all the most successful movies, like WALL-E, always operate on that x-factor which makes their charm unpredictable (for example, Pixar’s character animation skills), but more importantly, because they lend concepts from avant-garde cinema (e.g. Wall-E is based on apocalyptic science fiction, stuff like Philip Dick). This is not to nullify the existence of commercial dreck, which drives half the industry, but the industry would go bust very quickly without the creative impulse which does not lend itself to predictions and statistics all that easily…


    Comment by parody center — 11 August 2008 @ 4:46 am

  15. No question that trendspotting and profit forecasts aren’t 100% reliable, in Hollywood or in any other industry. Sometimes the x-factor is unexpected excellence; sometimes it’s something far more banal that drives Audience into the seats. I’m sure that many kinds of excellence drive Audience away. That’s Wallace’s point about “syncretic diversity”: rhizomatic flows tend to converge in Low Art aesthetics; in High Art they often diverge and thereby become unpredictable. Unpredictability isn’t what investors want to hear about.

    I’m sure that a lot of filmmakers are motivated by art and truth more — perhaps far more — than by money. I’m sure that many of them try to build unique excellence into their projects, and many of them succeed. But for most Hollywood movies the decision-making about which projects to develop are based on projected Audience. The uncertainty of market forecasts is a financial risk that’s minimized by betting mostly on sure things and by driving people into the seats through advertising. The upshot is the list of the biggest-grossing movies of all time, which look mostly like variants within a very narrow range of possibilities. The rhizomatic branching gets drastically pruned in order to minimize risk and maximize tapping into widespread primal appetites.


    Comment by ktismatics — 11 August 2008 @ 5:08 am

  16. Take a very different industry: pharmaceuticals. The unlimited array of rhizomatic confluences generated by chemists and gene splicers can generate potentially effective treatments for all sorts of disorders. Not all of these compounds actually work the way one might predict based on lab research: there’s big money and big risk involved in moving compounds through the R&D cycle to the marketplace. So what do pharmas do to minimize risk and maximize profit? They focus on widely prevalent disorders like heart disease, make incremental improvements on existing drugs, then market the hell out of them to persuade customers (patients and doctors) that these marginally better drugs are breakthroughs of modern science. And they also invent new diseases, then persuade Audience that they’ve had this disease all along without knowing it: social phobia, ADD, BPH, EDD, etc. Marketing marketing marketing. Meanwhile, drugs that might offer big improvements in treating real diseases that affect only a small percentage of the population never get developed: too much risk with not enough reward.

    New and widely marketed drugs surely have excellences built into them, but the decision-making is driven not by improved health but by profit. As a consequence, many kinds of potentially achievable pharmaceutical excellence never get out of the chemists’ labs, and many trivial forms of excellence get overly hyped by the vast sales forces. Industry-wide, pharma marketing outspends R&D at something like a 4 to 1 ratio. The marketing people can persuade themselves that they’re educators, and in part they are, but the marketing mantra is always “what’s best for the brand.”


    Comment by ktismatics — 11 August 2008 @ 5:24 am

  17. On a mostly unrelated note: Dejan, did you see that Psychoanalytic Field is back in the saddle? He’s launching a new series of posts on Winnicott and object relations. It seems he’s been finishing a book on Deleuze & Guattari, then he took a vacation.


    Comment by ktismatics — 11 August 2008 @ 5:28 am

  18. well now that dr. Sinthome seems to have abandoned the blawgosphere, I do need to continue my online therapy (towards some kind of a subjective destitution) so I might pay Dr. Field an unexpected visit … in my Joker costume…

    I vaguely remember learning a lot about the object relations in psychology school but ten years down the road I’m starting to forget (even the basics). I will read the new posts to refresh my memory.

    you know I think part of what you describe as marketing trends in your comments is often the fact that humanity has been telling the same stories in different variations since the dawn of time. but it is only an original combination of the old elements that makes for a truly financially successful film, and so even the most commercial blockbuster has some kind of a creative twist. I remember that at the time of its release Indiana Jones scavenged an incredible number of 1930s movies but what made it really stand out was dr. Jones’s PoMo sarcastic attitude. That one they had to invent, they could not have copied it from existing movies.

    as for the pharma industry, I believe in that case you are absolutely right, dad

    I can’t believe k-prank is still going on about the Joker!


    Comment by parodycenter — 11 August 2008 @ 8:26 am

  19. Message for Miss Mullins: this made me quite happy – a Southern-style musical in 2D from Disney!



    Comment by parodycenter — 11 August 2008 @ 8:51 am

  20. No thanks, Fatso!


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 11 August 2008 @ 9:32 am

  21. but I LOVE the sheer concept! And Menken wrote some great stuff like The Little Mermaid…


    Comment by parodycenter — 11 August 2008 @ 11:02 am

  22. I’m glad you loved it. I shall reserve the highest possible opinion of it by not watching, which was what my previous message was about, so you were talking to yourself. Now, John already reminded you that maybe I don’t like your calling me these names, so just cut it out now.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 11 August 2008 @ 11:41 am

  23. K: There’s a convergence between what people want to see at the theater and what the movie business sells them. So is the marketplace working effectively, spontaneously and in the aggregate selling us the movies we deserve?

    Coming from a very conservative Christian-American background, I learned to be suspicious of the movie industry. They were a part of “the media,” a group of worldly-minded heathens who were deliberately producing material that would undercut wholesome American/Christian (the two being more or less equated) and destroy one’s biblical foundation. The art (whether music or film or television) was only used as a medium to sell an anti-Christian or atheistic message; better for a young Christian to stay at home and read the Bible or get involved with the good folks of the church than to waste time and money on corrupting influences.

    I mention the above b/c it represents a spiritual/moral interpretation of low art that doesn’t interpret the art for art’s sake so much as it evaluates the perceived threat to the institution or culture or the soul of humankind…..but this seems to be one of the functions of movie critique as well, though, does it not? For example, you said, “American youth demographic seem to regard themselves as stuck in a declining culture, so even Low Art revivals like Mamma Mia and Hairspray and Batman betoken the innocence.” So, movies can be seen (to some degree) as an influence on society. I just think (in what I perceive is agreement with you) that the main motivation is $$$,$$$,$$$….most of the religious right understood this, hence James Dobson always rallied his audience to support “good” movies like Prince of Egypt and The Passion of the Christ.

    I guess I’m suggesting that our support of movies is also a desire to not just see good art, to be entertained, or to relate with a motif; rather, it seems to me that we also want movies to succeed that advance our vision for humanity. On some level, I think we all want movies that will manipulate others to agree with us.

    K: It’s utopian thinking, but I can’t help but wonder what sorts of cultural products Hollywood might come up with if profit wasn’t driving the decision-making, if movies were made based on their value as expressions of fimmakers’ visions and as cultural resources benefiting the people.

    Or maybe we all just want to see a thoughtful vision to give us something to think and discuss more thoughtfully; to hell with whether we agree with it?


    Comment by Erdman — 11 August 2008 @ 12:21 pm

  24. Incidentally, didn’t Lucas recently say that it was the end of the big budget, high-return-from-the-box office movie?


    Comment by Erdman — 11 August 2008 @ 12:28 pm

  25. t’s utopian thinking, but I can’t help but wonder what sorts of cultural products Hollywood might come up with if profit wasn’t driving the decision-making, if movies were made based on their value as expressions of fimmakers’ visions and as cultural resources benefiting the people.

    It’s actually thinking that ignores history to a great degree, because there already have been many examples of ‘expressions of filmmakers’ visions’ and ‘cultural resources benefiting the people’. Just because ‘Batman’ and ‘Mamma Mia’ or even ‘Laura’ don’t doesn’t there would be something necessarily better either qualitatively or quantitatively in this ‘utopia.’

    And in a utopia, how do you know that there would be movies anyway? I know that there are uses for movies in a euphoria, which E. M. Cioran calls an ‘authentic utopia’, which I thought most profound, even though the ‘full enjoyment’ against which that fucking idiot Zizek warns is kept in check by its temporariness, not its better quality due to Euphoria over commonplace Utopias, which are always collective and are also almost always temporary. On the remainder of the 1st group of films from ARTE (there are 5 and I intend to see them all, they are phenomenally good), is about 25 minutes on Godin’s Famillistere from the mid-19th century in Guise, France. This was all early Socialism, and it is very interesting how it lasted with much scapegoating for minor misdemeanours (Godin had built this project for the workers in the nearby factory), and Godin lectured adults on Sundays about morals–because he thought working-class people were like children. That’s probably why it laste as long as it did, although by the 1960’s it had been coopted by the bourgeoisie, and there may be a museum in it, but there’s now bourgeois ownership. Dictatorial use of one’s living quarters is always ultimately resisted. The St. Louis apartments by le Corbusier were decidedly, among others, not a pleasurable way to live. And another group of apartments in France from the 80s was supposed to have no walls and no privacy, and it was even written into the leases the tenants signed; but they always reclaimed their own space and kept people out. The Pompidou Center has been more successful at various kinds of openness, because there is the huge forecourt and the placement of all those functional things on the outside of the building make the music, library, and art floors bigger than 2 football fields. I can’t believe they pulled it off, because it really does loom over Central Paris, and is by now the most frequently visited single location in Paris, bringing in 25,000 people a day. The design of the early Socialist apartments in Guise was very impressive in some ways, though, and even now, you can see how big the apartments were for the working class people, and their space could be enlarged or reduced according to the size of their families, taken into consideration births, deaths and marriages. When I hear talk about ‘walkways meant to encourage encounters’ I always cringe, and most of these radical buildings have something along those lines. What was perhaps most interesting is that the original Bauhaus Building in Dessau has had a resurrection, and is again a school as well as public museum, although details were sparse on its current status. In architecture you find another means of manipulation of people, and it’s far more illuminating to me than how movies manipulate, at least right now it is–because it’s immediate and knowable, not just something you can postulate.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 11 August 2008 @ 1:48 pm

  26. “the perceived threat to the institution or culture or the soul of humankind”

    Erdman, I think the evangelical mistrust of movies you note is paralleled by certain strands of Marxist-leftist thought. This isn’t as paradoxical as it might seem, since in both cases the mistrust is based on perceived ideological incompatibilities. If a movie depicts racism, personal greed, sadistic cruelty, or any number of other bad human motivations, it can be regarded as a temptation planted by the moviemakers advancing their own corrupt ends. In evangelicalism the temptation is to “give in” to one’s sinful nature — this position assumes that the bad motivations are already in us and are being coaxed to express themselves by the moviemaker’s desire to turn people against godliness. For the Marxist the cinematic corruption is external to human nature but is being instilled by capitalist filmmakers in order to create attitudes within the populace that are compatible with the capitalists’ goal of economic oppression of workers, minorities and women, foreign nations, etc. I think to an extent movies do shape popular attitudes, as you say, but they also reflect popular attitudes. Since it’s all mashed together it’s hard to say which direction of influence is more powerful. (Gotta go — more later probably.)


    Comment by ktismatics — 11 August 2008 @ 1:54 pm

  27. Steppling is now being as boring as the rest of them, with perezoso the only normal one (and believe me, he is NOT normal.) What is always interesting about the leftist blogosphere is how they figure out a way to turn everything into an anti-U.S. thing, and that is what it is because it is the only thing that ties all of their ‘policies’ (which are without any effect) together. Steppling’s a stupid Marxist just like Arpege when it comes to power politics in the world. They are better sticking to movies. All of, just unbelievably idiotic, deciding what Russia is or is not guilty of based purely on whether it’s ‘not as imperialist as the U.S.’ Well, they’re outcasts anyway, and probably will never come back to the U.S. Good fucking riddance. It never occurs to any of them that imperialism may have its virtues, and that they enjoy the fruits of imperialism. (Of course they wouldn’t have to if Zizek’s and Badiou’s ‘disastrous failure of Communism’ hadn’t proved to be all too true. They are disgusting.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 11 August 2008 @ 5:19 pm

  28. All of, just unbelievably idiotic, deciding what Russia is or is not guilty of based purely on whether it’s ‘not as imperialist as the U.S.

    Furthermore it’s simplistic as a plank to think for even a minute that the US and Russia aren’t but two sides of the same imperial spectrum competing with each other, and this is because the Marxian darlings always have to have their safe utopia where there’s Disneyland JUST FOR THEM and the good fairy does really exist (Steppling is suffering from some kind of a chronic depression related to the fact that he didn’t win the case for Milosevic or something, as if that could ever have been won)

    I am really pissed at you for not appreciating Menken’s new frog masterpiece with a black Haitian wyman in the starring role, and because of that I am going to call you a Vanessa today.


    Comment by parodycenter — 11 August 2008 @ 6:36 pm

  29. You have to download the latest version of Flash Plug-in to see it, and you know how exhausted that would leave me. Is that you in your pensive mood on the Zizek post?

    Jodi won’t answer me because she knows she is by now writing a lot of tripe herself if she posts Zizek doing a Woman’s Day interview. I hope you realize that it’s not just Yugoslavia that determines how finally intolerable Zizek is–he’s egregious in many more ways than that. By now I simply abhor him, and think he definitely must be given a place at the table–with Julie Andrews and Meryl Streep.

    I hate traxus too. He wrote about David Lynch that ‘he has a shot at canonization’, which is just such sleazy prose. I can’t believe the way the Brooklyn experience makes some of the proles write. ‘A shot at canonization’! Gawd! Have you ever heard a more repulsive English phrase!!


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 11 August 2008 @ 6:52 pm

  30. here’s a version for which you don’t need FLASH, and Vanessa, you should do this whenever you bump into a FLASH-requiring page: go to youtube.

    Nowadays the internet is user-friendly enough even for a lazeee Southern bum like yooz.

    I feel a cartoon character brewing, Traxus as a Taiwanese Betty Boop, complete with a Vietnamese Bwooklyn accent!


    Comment by parodycenter — 11 August 2008 @ 6:59 pm

  31. “He can masquerade as one of bland corporate america’s few authentic products by stylizing the fantasies of bland corporate america”

    That’s traxus again, and reads like a bad imitation of Maureen Dowd.

    And that part you quoted from Luke: “Penguin is sort of degenerate capitalist in the Rockefeller/Mellon mold.” HIDEOUS! They have decided that ALL of their writing should have a SLANG rhythm to it. That’s it. And I have been trying to find the write description of it (traxus is guilty of it endlessly, Arpege is mainly stupid on politics and sometimes good on culture, but at least writes it up in literate enough fashion), and it IS sleazy, but that’s not quite accurate enough. SLANGY. Gawd, both of those examples, and I don’t even read traxus’s whole posts anymore.

    I mean, do they write like this in their STUDENT MODE?


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 11 August 2008 @ 7:02 pm

  32. Jodianne made me day today:

    with the added dimension of the inevitability of the mutual imbrication/determination of stupidity/reflexivity.


    Comment by parodycenter — 11 August 2008 @ 7:02 pm

  33. Oh, yes, I have to admit that is hilarious, especially since it’s really about how it should have been a human-size frog so she could have fucked it somehow or other. The singing was quite heaven.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 11 August 2008 @ 7:05 pm

  34. For some reason I imagine Luke as porky pig (Benny Hill or that character Rodney the petty cockney thief from the BBC series ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES) hence his identification with penguin as a degenerate Britisher. This because he’s always trying to be as smart and pretty as his Marxist idols.


    Comment by parodycenter — 11 August 2008 @ 7:06 pm

  35. I’m totally bored by Jodi’s complaining about how voting is not important politics, but we now need to discuss how Obama is not a good candidate for progressives since the election is coming up. That’s the thinking of a fucking termite.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 11 August 2008 @ 7:07 pm

  36. The firefly character is perfect, the music is great and I love it that they’re going back to 2D, because this 3D shit is just repulsive


    Comment by parodycenter — 11 August 2008 @ 7:08 pm

  37. I watched it again, and I definitely does think they has used dem a singah with a BLACK voice…and they ain’t no sech thing, you know…Johnny Cochran said so durin’ da O.J. trial…yes, that character had teeth missing, it has perfectly rude.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 11 August 2008 @ 7:12 pm

  38. Ursula the sea witch is a tremendous creation, and Menken was really at a peak in this period (although he’s always good) … always fascinating how the cutesy wootsie characters in Disney are counterbalanced by gay divas who would think Disney is a gay patron of the arts

    As for Jodianne, I fear it is the inevitability of the mutual imbrication that led to the voting… although it could be an imbrication of stupidity/reflexivity as well


    Comment by parodycenter — 11 August 2008 @ 7:22 pm

  39. matter of fact seems like Disney’s undergoin’ a Rena-ihsaance coz this is also good – a cross between Barbie and Paris Hilton: (”end sekend, I don’t believe in megick”)


    Comment by parodycenter — 11 August 2008 @ 7:38 pm

  40. sekend

    yes, that’s how many dumb young people talk, including always ending their sentences with an interrogative like I’m asking permission?

    I also like ‘foh-kin’ fag-git’, the way butch dumb townies over by the old Strap and Toilet Bar used to say it. I nearly got beaten up by about 10 townies one time, but I outran them and got into a restaurant where there was a very pansey queen who didn’t want me to make a scene. They were definitely going to beat me up or rob me, but I didn’t like it that the barmaid said ‘you were on your way to The Strap, weren’t you?’ People are just so prejudiced (of course that’s where I was going…)


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 11 August 2008 @ 7:49 pm

  41. ike I’m asking permission?

    no, rather this:

    Lake I’m askin’ permi-shinn?

    (yes, they pronounce ‘like’, that must evil and degraded of words, like ‘lake’ by now–it’s lake, I din’t know whut ‘e wun’ed me t’even dooooooooo?” What bimboes.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 11 August 2008 @ 7:52 pm

  42. I just had to inform them about Schreber. They no more know what is delusional than shit. Louis XIV had erotic conversations with God all the time.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 11 August 2008 @ 8:00 pm

  43. P.J. Mullins at I Cite: “Schreber just had no self-confidence, otherwise he could have easily had a conversation with God, it’s just he had to be the TOP. I swear people stopped believing in God because they feared him when he wanted to be submissive.”

    Lol. Clearly this is the remark of a stupid person who probably couldn’t even see the divine sunbeams shining out of Schreber’s ass.

    No, on second thought maybe your excessively self-confident pronouncement can bear fruit. Said the good Judge Schreber to the good Doctor Freud: God demands a constant state of enjoyment… and it is my duty to provide him with this… in the shape of the greatest possible output of spiritual voluptuousness. And if, in this process, a little sensual pleasure falls to my share, I feel justified in accepting it as some slight compensation for the inordinate measure of suffering and privation that has been mine for so many past years. This is the enjoyment of the bottom, the consumer, the vessel prepared for receiving a little measure of pleasure with the pain thrust into him. Instead he should have become the Inseminator, shooting rhizomatic threads of fecundity throughout the universe. In the Revolution everyone is a Top.

    So Patrick, you think Jesus was a Bottom?


    Comment by ktismatics — 11 August 2008 @ 10:18 pm

  44. Okay, I’ll go along with Traxus and forget utopia. The idea is to RESIST the cheapening corruption of integrity of all sorts — artistic, scientific, political, religious — by refusing to compromise either with stockholder ROI or consumer demand. There must be some standard of excellence. Certain structural arrangements make it easier to resist, but absent those structures one does what one can. Allies might help, though in my experience this benefit remains hypothetical and utopian.

    Dejan the cartoons you posted do remind me of your style. Yes maybe this is the way to go: don’t try to replicate the 3D world; generate some other world instead.


    Comment by ktismatics — 11 August 2008 @ 10:30 pm

  45. “In the Revolution everyone is a Top.”

    In their DREAMS!!!

    “So Patrick, you think Jesus was a Bottom?”

    Of course, but Louis XIV was a top. The problem with Jesus is that it’s hard to figure out what you really feel about him, because it all scares the bejesus out of you to peel away the layers and find out you had a lot more to learn from Louis XIV!

    And in so doing, you have the keys to immorality, which you always searched for in vain. There were always people like KARL FUCKING MARX in the way, and then Lyotard opens the way for you a little in Libidinal Economy. I’m talking about REALLY preferring another born-in-body human being more than Jesus–and Louis XIV isn’t nearly the only one, but I know he had erotic conversations with God all the time. Schreber’s problem as a bottom was that he felt he needed to ask permission.

    Freud’s answer to everything was always a resounding ‘Oh GOOD! Now that we’ve got it straight that the snswer can’t be ‘YES!’, we’ll put it to you slowly and infinitely boringly that the answer to anything but the spiritual part (even though I, Sigmund, am as godless as Arpege, and any of YOU out there who are listening should be too, of course, if you plan to be any more than a minor rustic..)is definitely a cheerful and resounding NO!!! Just who do you think you are? You REALLY think I’m going to let you MASTURBATE???!!!


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 11 August 2008 @ 10:39 pm

  46. I think almost all psychoanalysis is about getting permnission to be delusional while conferring you on a kind of ‘brotherhood’ of analysandship which allows to speak in dark plastic-mask sober tones, because you felt the need to ask somebody if you could enjoy yourself. Haven’t you ever seen the facial mask that appears on the over-analyzed? It has always been so recognizable to me: Overweeningly serious, but fakely so. These people don’t want to have a good time and they don’t. Then they propagate this by trying to make sure nobody else does.

    The other problem with Jesus is that he turns people into atheists, because of his miseries and demands that you worship him in a skewed way while also tending to God the Father. But you can then find this very un-corny God if you realize Jesus was just another body like a lot of others in a certain basic definition, and he has claimed so many rights over God that you can’t ever be allowed to enjoy God without Jesus–who claims to be both a man and God as well. Then there’s this business about the Holy Spirit, but if you just get Jesus to mind his own business (which he is supposed to want to do anyway, isn’t he, so you can experience God?), then there is really very little that needs to be said about the Holy Spirit. You can then have all the sensual pleasure with God that you want, and you don’t even have to call ANY of it spiritual!

    I mean look how guilty and pitiful: “And if, in this process, a little sensual pleasure falls to my share, I feel justified in accepting it as some slight compensation for the inordinate measure of suffering and privation that has been mine for so many past years.”


    That’s why you went to Sigmund and others didn’t. And who cares if people like Zizek or Lacan or Jodi Dean think you’re stupid or psychotic? or Mahmet Cagatay, who has delightfully sealed up my comments so I won’t need to write anymore. ‘Surplus enjoyment’ is psychosis, and the pervert and the psychotic are, however, differentiated by Zizek in so breathtakingly asshole a way that they are surely everything idiotic that could possibly ever exist. Anyway, Zizek is totally guilty of surplus enjoyment, he just has atrocious taste and I must reiterate–it was not 1968 that was the watershed year, it was 1965, when ‘The Sound of Music’ proved to be the death knell of the American culture! I should point out, since I keep forgetting it, that Arpege LOVES ‘The Sound of Music’ too. It is as evil as ‘Mein Kampf’.

    I loathe ‘Edelweiss’. That is excesssive non-enjoyment.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 11 August 2008 @ 10:54 pm

  47. to go back to Lynch for a minute, whom Steppling just pompously termed an ”uber-capitalist”, I found this deleted scene from IE which is just undeniably tremendous. The Ghost of Love sounds both tragic and sarcastic in the scene, but what really hits you deep are the moments of absurdist humor, like one of the whores creating some kind of a weird magic tableau out of little junk and cigarettes, in what seems like a desperate attempt to introduce some order in the completely loony situation on the street; then the hysterical optimism in the whore who pronounces FIFTY YU-ROO! FIFTY YU-ROO!, to which the other one, the more ”rational” one, retors ”We are in America here… we use DOL-LAR here, not Yuropean dollar”. All the while the camera seems to be pulled by an invisible magnetic field so that you get the impression that however few steps the whores try to make, they will never escape those two square meters where their work takes place. It is truly staggering; I wonder why he took it out of the movie.


    Comment by parodycenter — 11 August 2008 @ 10:55 pm

  48. You can also see in Schreber’s sad little speech that he thinks ‘giving all the spiritual voluptuousness’ in ‘psychotic excess of enjoyment’ is just fine–but that he clearly prefers the ‘sensual enjoyment’, even though he feels guilty about it. That is hilarious, and most people’s problem.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 11 August 2008 @ 10:58 pm

  49. You can forget about me watching any more Lynch clips. The cartoons were one thing, even though the second one was vastly inferior to the first, but I could not care less about IE, and I think he should have left out an enormous number of more scenes from it! I hate that movie.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 11 August 2008 @ 11:04 pm

  50. ‘Uber-capitalist’ is not accurate, but it does suggest something interesting–a kind of decorative adjunct to the billionaires, I guess, is what David Lynch is. But you stop giving me links. I’ve got Wagner to listen to and other important things, so I don’t want to be bothered by you Links Number, which is always balanced toward you, and you never pay any attention to my links, so I will never give you another one.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 11 August 2008 @ 11:06 pm

  51. Steppling is now being a total boor and just insulting lustmolch. Sounds a little under the influence. Lustmolch’s funny spelling is actually very original and amusing most of the time, and he’s very intelligent. He gets a little uncomfortable with certain subjects, but he has the right idea and Steppling doesn’t. He is just trying to find the proper politically correct leftist scenario, as if people had not learned to ignore this sort of thing by now.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 11 August 2008 @ 11:12 pm

  52. The link was meant for Clysmatics – you don’t a-haa-ve to click on mah links if yoz don’t want-ah!


    Comment by parody center — 12 August 2008 @ 3:33 am

  53. Here’s a pertinent section of the Socialist Party USA‘s platform:

    Arts and Culture

    The Socialist Party believes that art is an integral part of daily life, and should not be treated as a commodity produced by the activity of an elite group. All members of society should have ample opportunities for participation in art and cultural activities.

    1. We support the formation of collectives, arts centers and schools, independent media, theaters and festivals to advance such cultural endeavors as music, poetry, prose, drama, dance, storytelling, visual art, and videography.

    2. We support guaranteed incomes and grants for artists and performers.

    3. We support making schools and workplaces available as cultural centers.

    4. We call for full funding of community and school arts programs for people of all ages.

    5. We call for full funding to keep libraries, museums, cultural centers, and historic sites open and accessible to all.

    6. We call for the preservation of literature, art, music, dance, oral traditions, and audio and video recordings that have arisen out of people’s experiences: young and old, of all nationalities and colors, sexual preferences, working, un- and under-employed, and disabled.

    7. We support the autonomy of artists of color, women artists, and disabled artists in their creative work.

    8. We support the right of artists to join and form unions to protect their labor rights and to form collectives to advance common artistic visions.


    Comment by ktismatics — 12 August 2008 @ 6:31 am

  54. Dejan, the deleted Inland Empire scene you posted remains ambiguous to straightforward interpretation, as does most of Lynch’s material. It directly depicts two things: the tawdriness of the streetsex industry, and the debased lasciviousness of the whores. Other connections are possible: the sex industry is like the movie business, women are debased by the unfettered market, customers (=audience) are attracted to the debauchery and so are complicit in capital’s exploitation and debasement of workers. It’s impossible to assert what Lynch’s intentions were in staging this scene, or for that matter in leaving it on the cutting room floor. Some argue that he films this sort of scene solely because he gets off on it. Is it enough for a filmmaker to open the doors of perception and self-awareness, so that there’s room for the viewer to think about what things mean without being manipulated into interpreting it in only one way? Yes, I believe it is. Would I have recommended that Lynch leave this scene in? I don’t know — the movie is already way too long to sustain my persistent interest, and this scene too could have been cut to maybe 1 or 2 minutes and given us its truth.


    Comment by ktismatics — 12 August 2008 @ 6:42 am

  55. Yesterday I was able to find what I needed to do along such seemingly pretentious lines as I’d described before. Anyway, Socialist Party USA is going to interest you more than me–it sounds little different from a brochure for a Settlement School in a ghetto to me. Or really almost any of the elite manifestos and syllabuses as well, the Juilliard Catalog or the Pompidou Center. Those things are all alike. I continue to work my way into something which is more ‘cine-musique theater’ by now, with cinema and cine-musique subsumed for me, and so yesterday there was a lot of expressionistic stuff due to finishing the book on Edith Evans and watching her film ‘The Whisperers’ where she plays an impoverished old woman. I didn’t realize this till I’d written all those blog entries at Icite and here on Louis XIV and Jesus and stupidity, which proves I got it right: It always is proved after the plunge into new territory for me, it is not something I set out to do and then make it happen, although that it legitimate for other endeavour. This will now give me the framework for many things, including reading your book you sent, and seeing what I think it is, whether it’s a real object that stands up by itself.

    Meanwhile, on the hot blogs, I’m through with Jodi’s scene, and am not going to continue to read and write there, which I’m sure she is tired of anyway. I imagine the Mehmet person is of questionable existence anyway, but her fixation on Zizek is real, and I will not tolerate his presence anywhere in my life after that ‘interview’ she put up. I do NOT consider these the serious people, and all the talk of idiotism, of psychotics and perverts, shows how frankly reactionary they are. It is false and stupid pandering work, and her posts while travelling have been strictly cancelled out by her rage that the progressives be allowed their petulant little nowhere of specialness from which to talk about the Meanies–of course, Arpege and the others all do this too, but who says I’ve gotta be bothered by any of it.

    What I said about other human bodies besides Jesus’s is not at all unimportant though. What they were saying about Schreber was completely within the context in which psychoanalysis rules and is considered authoritative. Artists don’t nearly always consider psychoanalysis that interesting; I know I don’t, and this is to say nothing of my mental health, which many think I don’t have. It’s one’s life, and I can’t imagine Christ being the kind of role model I actually have, but rather being the one I have been told I should have. My real role models are very specific historical figures if they were very singular, Dame Edith and Mmme. Callas, as well as Jacques Casanove and Louis XIV and Wagner. I’ve no more time to produce ‘product’ that will handle everybody with kid gloves.

    You’ll see that perezoso is actually saying the real truths about most of the stuff on Russia, and sometimes he has good moments like this over the years.

    Jodi has done things like this before, with the Mehmet character. I can understand perfectly, and I’m glad, in fact. But I’m limited as to how much interaction I am going to have with someone who thinks Zizek is of major importance.

    It’s strange–he has no class on top of the rest.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 12 August 2008 @ 9:04 am

  56. You should note that Arpege and Cie. are really not saying anything new with these new developments from what they always do. They are merely writing that the media is ‘this time, it’s even more brazenly pro-U.S. than it even was before’, but they’ve been saying that for years. You’d think that an entire fiction had been invented by the NYTimes, not just slanted by virtue of being in its own nation to begin with. She says something about how any media person who deviated ‘from this line’ would be thought a ‘conspiracy kook’ or something like that. Well, not if they are NOT conspiracy kooks like she is! She is really opaque-brained, and Steppling is little better. This sort of thing used to fool me into thinking that they really had something hot going in their little cauldrons as they pulled apart everybody in the media, but they don’t. Liberal Woggia is exactly the same. They are practising their own cronyism precisely as does the Bush cronyism do its! And it is interesting that perezoso thinks it is worth the time to remind them, as he has been doing for many years, about the differences between Stalin and ‘evil America’. Because ultimately, the anti-U.S. propaganda they spout (irrespective of the fact that some of it is true) is always the unifying theme of every single one of their critiques. There is not once where you will find their Marxism-love or their newly adopted child Islam-love to be as powerful and unifying as ‘always blame the imperialist U.S.’ Jodi is very much the same, although it seems more ‘respectable and toned-down’. To be a member of this kind of leftist club, you have to see only what the U.S. has done wrong and none of the other players. You have to accept as a given that imperialism and capitalism do not have not anything in them of any use, despite having dominated the lives of these and all others in a way that failed Communism has not.

    Zizek’s ‘Communism will win’ is actually interesting as a sort of lens through which to see these leftists and their adoration of weakness: in THEIR interpretation of world events, you can see a tiny duchy in which Communism HAS already WON–because everything is about dullness, witlessnes and stupidity, while talking about stupidity as if they could know. Jodi would not even answer my support of this guy Clement, who had written that it was important to make the difference between ‘voting for Obama and supporting Obama.’ That really should be inarguable, but Jodi would not respond to that either, which is a typical leftist stance, and proves that they are not interested in solutions. They are just fine in their counting-house of grievances, and they want their own status quo to be left alone. But Mr. Clement gave an excellent PRACTICAL solution, and should be the one everyone should look to. It even makes me a little more open to some things I wouldn’t have before. But the Communists are not going to do this.

    that’s the end of Zizek’s line about Communism winning having any merit. What is so stupidly vainglorious about it is that HE could have THAT as a secret! Incredible. And that’s how he gets his sheepish followers. Even if Communism ‘will win’, he the fuck sure doesn’t know it will. He’s just a creep, swarthy and clumsy.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 12 August 2008 @ 9:22 am

  57. Here’s Jodi responding to Mahmet: you said that the enjoyment of certainty is the essence of stupidity. I want to claim that the enjoyment of certainty is the essence of psychosis. What about the enjoyment of UNcertainty — what diagnostic label should be affixed to THAT symptom?

    I just returned from voting in the Democratic primary for local office contests. Looking at the platforms of the candidates I decided that my decisions were based on two issues: Iraq (GET OUT NOW rather than in due course) and health insurance (SINGLE PAYER rather than universal availability). On both of these issues I have achieved certainty. None of the candidates had anything whatsoever to say directly about arts/culture, so proximity to the SPUSA platform didn’t come into the decision matrix.

    Regarding Jesus, I liked Badiou on Paul, who regarded the resurrected Christus Victor as paradigmatic rather than the Suffering Servant advocate of obedience and avoidance of punishment that so dominated the Gospel writers’ characterization. I did like his anarchistic socialism though, as well as that of the early church.

    “I’ve no more time to produce ‘product’ that will handle everybody with kid gloves.”

    Of course I’ve recently recommitted to the kid gloves treatment, at least as far as personal slurs go. I thought you reacted abruptly to Mahmet’s content (which I found mostly impenetrable) without demeaning him personally. He got defensive, and Jodi reassured him at your expense. Now Mahmet may be a sensitive soul, regarding sarcastic remarks about his ideas as personal insults, and it was probably good that he returned in order to clarify his intentions. I suspect Jodi knows you well enough to feel like you can take her rebuke, in order to keep the door open for other sensitive souls who might have something interesting to say. Anyhow, I regarded it as a minor slight to you, though I’ve not been back today to see further developments.


    Comment by ktismatics — 12 August 2008 @ 9:38 am

  58. I agree generally with what I read from Chabert and Steppling: the US media presented the Georgia story as if they were propaganda agents of the US Administration. Based on my understanding of the way this crisis began, I think Russia did the right thing in stopping Georgia’s attack on civilians in North Whatchamacallit. That Russia would use its superior force of arms to secure the area and to prevent further incursions by Georgian troops seemed like the right move. I wish the US would have retained its integrity and slapped Georgia’s president, maybe even helped Russia stabilize the situation. Russia does throw its weight around of course, but in this situation that’s what was needed.

    Now if Russia decides unilaterally to annex the breakaway regions and to depose the Georgian government because of its crimes against humanity, then I’ll have to revisit the issue and they can all wait for my decision. For now I regard the whole incident as further indictment of allegedly independent American journalism. I’m one of those effetists who doesn’t watch television so I can’t say about that source of news, but I bet it’s representing the same spin I see in print.


    Comment by ktismatics — 12 August 2008 @ 9:49 am

  59. ‘this time, it’s even more brazenly pro-U.S. than it even was before’

    i am really hard-pressed to imagine an empire, or for that matter a country, that would be pro-its enemy instead of pro-itself… what a truism

    besides socialism is no solution to this situation; the solution is that excessive american power be counter-balanced, and these skirmishes are probably signs of balance being established in a multipolar world. Let’s hope we don’t go to Hell in the process.


    Comment by parodycenter — 12 August 2008 @ 10:48 am

  60. Dejan, the deleted Inland Empire scene you posted remains ambiguous to straightforward interpretation, as does most of Lynch’s material.

    yes of course but i find the scene particularly successful in conveying this feeling that the trouble with the world is that we’re only left with the ghost of love in what is ubiquitous exploitation. there’s also this brilliant effect of entrapment accomplished by the ”magnetic” camera. i find it deeply disturbing and moving. and it is choreographed better than the whore scenes that were included in the movie. i understand the problem with the timing, but as i told you around halfway through the film it picks up, mounts in tension, and compensates for the losses in the first half. but anyway not to go back to an old discussion… just wanted to introduce this new missing element


    Comment by parodycenter — 12 August 2008 @ 10:54 am

  61. Patrick I noticed in your overall commenting that you don’t really understand psychoanalysis, which is probably due to your not having read all the material. It does take at least an undergraduate study, or undergoing analysis yourself, to understand the mechanism. Hence the conclusions you make are based on a false image generated by the blawg discussions. Half the commenters I’ve read don’t understand analysis either, and think that Dr. Zizek gives them access to it. Of all the available blawgs, the one by dr. Sinthome is best when it comes to explications of Lacan. So should you be interested that’s a place to explore.

    It is somewhat of a truism that analysis and art come in conflict. Analysis does not change your personality, it merely allows certain mis-translations to be corrected and allows you to be less hampered. This is an oldfashioned vision from the time of classic (American-style) analysis, but this evolved over time.


    Comment by parodycenter — 12 August 2008 @ 11:00 am

  62. Analysis does not change your personality, it merely allows certain mis-translations to be corrected and allows you to be less hampered.

    How wonderful to know this.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 12 August 2008 @ 12:24 pm

  63. Patrick I noticed in your overall commenting that you don’t really understand psychoanalysis, which is probably due to your not having read all the material. It does take at least an undergraduate study, or undergoing analysis yourself, to understand the mechanism.

    Oh, does it now? And neither of you had the slightest understanding of why I might think Louis XIV had something non-kitschy to offer as an alternative to Jesus. I INCLUDED Edith Evans, that should be enough for anyone intelligent.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 12 August 2008 @ 12:26 pm

  64. On the other hand, I didn’t mean to be so rude about the Lynch link. What I am saying is that I can no longer remain interested in Jodi’s emotional attachment to one so obviously clumsy and B-list as Zizek. Whatever his serious crimes are, he doesn’t even know how to be presentable when offered a woman’s magazine interview. Her posts about Obama are also amazingly stupid, and she refused not only to respond to me (understandable) but to Mr. Clement, who gave her what is easily the most intelligent viewpoint a progressive ought to take toward the election, if they not only really do want to view it as a reality that is going to occur in real time, but also if they simply cannot find it in themselves to shutup about how unimportant it is (if it were not important, they would find this very easy indeed.)


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 12 August 2008 @ 12:31 pm

  65. I looked over there again, though only through dejan’s links. She has now answered the question about Nader in the most solipsistic imaginable way, ignoring Clement completely, and accusing the Democrats of not being ‘an opposition’. This is babyish, because the ‘progressives’, if an ‘opposition’, are still ALL TALK. Jodi and Arpege are basically like Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine at this point, and neither of those has induced from me more than an indifferent glance.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 12 August 2008 @ 12:36 pm

  66. Jodi and Arpege are basically like Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine – yeah this is even funnier than the comparison i had made with Linda Evans and Joan Collins

    what i meant to say is that there are a number of misinterpretations of psychoanalysis stemming from the commonly held view that it’s about endless interpretation: finding hidden causes behind words and symptoms. Though this does constitute a part of it, the thing is that analysis is very much a lived experience: it takes place in constant dialogue between the shrink and the client. The last thing the shrink wants to do is to interpret the client’s words; he wants to give the client the opportunity to interpret them himself – to translate, as it were, the misinterpreted link between the repressed thought and its symptom. And the point is not to remove the symptom, because the symptom is not an indicator of illness, but rather the client’s singular way of expressing him- or herself. The point is to TRANSLATE it so that it is not hidden, stuffed into the unconscious. This is what gives one a certain degree of freedom in life; it doesn’t deliver you and it doesn’t change your personality. It merely allows you more awareness and hence the opportunity not to do things without knowing why.


    Comment by parody center — 12 August 2008 @ 1:04 pm

  67. and politically speaking I’m always behind analysis because it is subversive; it tells you what you don’t want to hear – the unpleasant, the impolite, the inopportune. it doesn’t subscribe to any political system but is against all of them, because political systems suffocate freedom per definitio. it is still an indispensable discipline in this regard and i think the french are able to maintain a reasonable degree of liberal democracy amidst all this Puritan nonsense because they still practise analysis instead of the behavior control therapies that perfectly fit the needs of the corporate system.


    Comment by parody center — 12 August 2008 @ 1:06 pm

  68. clysmatics while shopping today in leiden i saw a poster for batman which had escaped my attention. the slogan was: ”welcome to a world without rules” so to go back to the previous discussion, i think the marketing team took note of the ”trend” that after the collapse of communism, the world has been thrown off balance and there is the lurking danger of chaos breaking out. a diffuse sort of chaos, where you no longer know where the danger is coming from. so the movie plays on those fears. and the chaos is the deleuzian affect or reich’s collective Orgone energy which at the moment is unchanneled because there are no rules. it floats about reaping creation as well as destruction.


    Comment by parody center — 12 August 2008 @ 1:28 pm

  69. to translate, as it were, the misinterpreted link between the repressed thought and its symptom. And the point is not to remove the symptom, because the symptom is not an indicator of illness, but rather the client’s singular way of expressing him- or herself. The point is to TRANSLATE it so that it is not hidden, stuffed into the unconscious. This is what gives one a certain degree of freedom in life;

    Thanks for the tutelage, but your problem is making it seem like an indispensable part of life. Some of us do not need a shrink to give us freedom in life or find our personal self-expression. Most people who go to shrinks do not give evidence that they are finding it. If they do, then fine. But they mainly are troubled, and then get interested in psychoanalysis as such. I don’t need anybody to find my ‘symptom’ which would be my ‘unique and singular self-expression’, having found it in other ways. But such talk at icite is a bore, means nothing and I’m not going to be nice about it. The two times I spent with shrinks amounted primarily to grief counselling, and I fired them both after 5 sessions. I don’t have any belief that they have any power to do anything unless you think they can and also need THEM. If you do need them, then you do. If you don’t, you don’t. Just that. It is not de rigueur, and I don’t even want to talk about it. I’ve GOT a ‘certain freedom in life’ and none of it has come from psychoanalysis. I see it advertises itself much as does EST and scientology, as though there is surely some missing ingredient. You simply have to accept that not everybody needs the same things that have convinced and helped you. You don’t need Wagner, for example–and that gives me a lot more freedom than those two shrinks did (and one of them was indeed intelligent, the first was a theologian who just wanted to cruise my crotch.)


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 12 August 2008 @ 5:39 pm

  70. but your problem is making it seem like an indispensable part of life.

    no I was just reacting to the misinterpretation in your comments on psychoanalysis and did not claim either that you needed it or that everybody needs it. i studied clinical psych before i studied design and worked also for a while as an apprentice shrink. i was also hopin’ to explain that dr. zizek himself misinterprets p-a as this interpretative tool to be applied randomly to pop culture, which i deeply believe both freud and lacan would have been firmly against (at least judging by their comments on similar attempts before zizek).

    i just admonished the Southern Belle for being especially withdrawn and dismissive this week, and told her that I would ask you to write the dialogue for Jodianne’s choice in an especially strong hick’s accent.


    Comment by parodycenter — 12 August 2008 @ 6:02 pm

  71. I mean it’s not my blimming job to be the victim of the Diva’s hormonal imbalances especially not when she’s prayin’ at the frigging Church of the Marxist Christ!


    Comment by parodycenter — 12 August 2008 @ 6:07 pm

  72. Furthermore, she thinks that Democrats literally have to be on the fucking defensive about progressives, and is pissed as hell right now. Absolutely refuses to answer that smart guy Clement who was catering to both her ‘purism’ needs and the obvious need to oppose Mccain. You know what? Since ‘the Democrats would not oppose’, then SHE CAN! She and her progressives can not only oppose in their totally ineffective way, as they have been doing, but they can prove that they can also DEFEAT both the Republicans and Democrats. Until then, I am not going to post anymore, I consider her no more intelligent than Arpege…I DEMAND that they DEFEAT, not just endlessly bullshit, about the Democrats. This weird idea that everybody else was really on the defensive, not the weakling Marxists, was very much at play before you arrived, Dejan, and Arpege and warszawa were the chief purveyors of this (much more even than leninino). They have since been kicked upstairs, much like Harriet Miers when she tried to become a Supreme Court judge. Arpege is lucky she can still pull off a long thread on Batman…


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 12 August 2008 @ 6:15 pm

  73. You have to explain what you mean under ”progressives”, my understanding of political factions in the US is rudimentary because my head is already swimming from following the Dutch and Serbian political scene at the same time, and then also what exactly Jodianne’s argument and your response is.


    Comment by parodycenter — 12 August 2008 @ 6:19 pm

  74. I mean Arpege is certainly no progressive, and since Steppling is getting progressively enmeshed in the viper’s machinations (I found it nauseating how they complimented each other on the civility and niceness of their conversation), I’m not sure about his progressiveness either. As for the politics, I told you what my opinion is: the real show is who’s going to get the money and run (energy resources) so all these domestic musicals including Batman are more-or-less geared towards deceiving the general public as to where the real show is located. All politicians, left and right, do it all the time. So the new developments in Russia could actually also have a positive effect in that they might wake up the public a little bit, shake them out of all the declines of symbolic efficacy and all the Apocalyptic fantasies and the like.


    Comment by parodycenter — 12 August 2008 @ 6:32 pm

  75. Her progressives are super-leftists, Marxists, Green Party people, 3rd party people. The biggest figure in these movements has been Ralph Nader, whose 3rd party votes are partially responsible for the loss of the 2000 election to Bush. None of them will even take responsibility for this, and blame it all on the corrupt officials, skipping all the way now to Chief Justice William Rehnquist, an old fart now enjoying death, who would not grant a recount. It was purely partisan, and it is most likely that Gore would still have had the electoral votes had not Nader taken a lot of his votes away. It is also well-known that Nader, who is supposed to oppose both parties, was nevertheless snubbed much more by the Democrats than the Republicans. It is obvious that his ego is such that he doesn’t care that Gore lost, and is even glad. And this is who Jodi and Arpege (if she was in the U.S. at the time, in any case, she defends him hugely) vote for and support. Meanwhile, Mrs. Dean has been having a great deal of trouble with my telling her to stick to just criticizing the Democrats and shutup about criticizing the Republicans, because any idiot knows that, no matter what else, the Democrats oppose the Republicans politically more than anyone does, how could they not, they want to win? That they don’t always oppose them virtuously enough in the various policies is these ‘progressives’ total excuse for therefore refusing to support either one, and to constantly have some cheap sophistry to sustain them with their daily bread when smarter and smarter people keep going over there and telling her why it makes no sense to keep harping on Obama’s faults in terms of the vote itself. She says it’s ‘not just about the vote’, but then just talks about the goddam vote. it is a pain in the ass beyond belief. I’ve no more time for administering medications for it. Nader was a great consumer advocate, exposed a lot of fraud and went up against corporate filth very effectively. This reputation he completely through out in his part in indirectly getting George Bush elected in 2000. He also ran in 2004, but he didn’t have as much effect on that race. But none of this ever stops all these people from going on about how not just some reporters, like Judy Miller of NYTimes, lie like hell for the Republicans and/or Democrats, but that ALL of them do. In 2005, before you started blogging, Arpege and warszawa were writing post after post that PROVED that the only place you could get the TRUE NEWS was at Chez Arpege, Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now, or the Qlipoth Toilets. It was weirdly hypnotic, but they were gradually reined in. I was called a ‘paid government shill’ at all times, these people are simply too, too tawdry.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 12 August 2008 @ 6:40 pm

  76. I mean Arpege is certainly no progressive,

    No, she is by this definition. Her currency trading is actually beside the point. She supports the Marxist candidates that leninino tells her to and only the most extreme-left causes, whatever her personal habits are. I mean, I don’t call them ‘progressive’, they do, and by that definition, both hysterical lady-blogstars are ‘progressive’, and they are now in the process of being punished…


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 12 August 2008 @ 6:42 pm

  77. Judging by Fossey’s upset reaction, I think she cares about your opinion more than you think; not that I feel obliged to moderate after she left me in the cold when we were having our own argument, but darn I have a soft spot for the Alabama tit!


    Comment by parodycenter — 12 August 2008 @ 7:06 pm

  78. well, of course I like her personally, but I haven’t got time for her to work out her problems post-psychoanalysis while also doing psychoanalysis, while also doing blogging, while also failing as a mother, etc. No, of course, she’s a sweet gal, but take it back to the psychoanalysis business–hers may not be working due to the election and having to vote 3rd Party or commit suicide!


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 12 August 2008 @ 7:10 pm

  79. enough in the various policies is these ‘progressives’ total excuse for therefore refusing to support either one, and to constantly have some cheap sophistry t

    so is your complaint that by doing nothing, they will cause yet another electorial disaster like the last one with Bush? You didn’t explain why you think that, and why Fossey thinks otherwise.


    Comment by parodycenter — 12 August 2008 @ 7:20 pm

  80. Oh dear, I see the spotlight has for a brief shining moment turned its beam on me, and not without some pleasure do I see myself commended for interpretive acumen. I think the latent message is directed not at me, nor even at her immediate interlocutor, but at our friend Patrick. “Come back to me,” she coos in subtle and self-possessed seduction.


    Comment by ktismatics — 12 August 2008 @ 7:49 pm



    Comment by parodycenter — 13 August 2008 @ 1:37 am

  82. The candidate for US House of Representatives I voted for in yesterday’s Democratic primary lost in an all-too-predictable manner. She (my preference) was president of the Colorado State Senate, he was a successful entrepreneur making his first run for public office; she supports immediate withdrawal from Iraq, he wants to leave gradually; she wants single-payer healthcare, he wants universal access via tinkering with the existing piecemeal system. Most importantly, he vastly outspent her on publicity by pumping $5.3 million of his own money into the campaign. He received 19,942 votes total: that’s $266 per voter.


    Comment by ktismatics — 13 August 2008 @ 7:40 am

  83. Steppling and Arpege are now joined at the hip in their propaganda. She’s quoted Lievan in the Times of London in her increasingly silly way, having found a way to see some sort of racism in the uniforms of someone who, by the way, was IN the area. Notice all the war-torn places Arpege visits–places like the Cafe de Flore, the Chateau de Vincennes, Place Vendome, the like. Steppling told me to stay on topic–which amounts in this case to rudeness, because Batman is the topic, and I am no longer interested in either of their opinions on that either. It always circles around like this with Arpege, and the men that get caught in her web quickly experience a deep loss. They’re pretty papery, though. This is their excitement–to find out ways in which the Western press is ‘being unfair’, such recreation being a sign of total indolence.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 13 August 2008 @ 10:44 am

  84. I noticed that our friend Dejan asserted yesterday that the Serbian war was harder on him living in Holland than on his family living in the war zone — that actual war is never as bad as the anticipation of war. In that case maybe they should start distributing Purple Hearts to all of us who’ve been traumatized by thinking and talking about Georgia.


    Comment by ktismatics — 13 August 2008 @ 10:52 am

  85. No I did not say ”actual war” because actual war is horrible from whichever angle you look at it, I was talking about the bombing, which wasn’t really a war, more like a Halliwud spectacle involving loud sounds and images of planes flying over, as in dr. Fossey’s apocalyptic imagination. You gotta realize most Serbs knew all the time the bombing (at least in the first three months) was meant as a kind of a maffia beating to extort a political concession – delivering Kosovo to the Emprie – and never reached the level of Russian brutality in dealing with Georgia. After all Western technology is more sophisticated and the democratic standards slightly higher than in Russia. But my observation on the anticipation factor is derived from wellknown psychoanalytic writing that soldiers who were neurotic in analysis before they went to war end up re-experiencing the symptom of the neurosis even though in war, they felt and behaved healthily. Meaning it’s mostly all in the head how you respond to crisis situations.


    Comment by parodycenter — 13 August 2008 @ 11:02 am

  86. “I was talking about the bombing, which wasn’t really a war, more like a Halliwud spectacle involving loud sounds and images of planes flying over,”

    I’m sure those in the immediate area picked up this subtlety and realized it was only a spectacle for which they’d need little more than a Sominex.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 13 August 2008 @ 11:14 am

  87. I’m sure those in the immediate area picked up this subtlety and realized it was only a spectacle for which they’d need little more than a Sominex.

    I didn’t say that people were not seriously hit by it, especially in the fourth month when the Emperor saw that we weren’t giving Kosovo away so they cranked up the volume until bombs started falling on hospitals and the like, I am saying that it was not a real war as what you have now in Georgia, or what transpired in Bosnia.


    Comment by parody center — 13 August 2008 @ 11:19 am

  88. I didn’t say that people were not seriously hit by it, especially in the fourth month when the Emperor saw that we weren’t giving Kosovo away so they cranked up the volume until bombs started falling on hospitals and the like, I am saying that it was not a real war as what you have now in Georgia, or what transpired in Bosnia.

    Anyone knows that’s what you were talking about, but nobody THERE cared at that moment whether it was a ‘real war’ by your own definitions or not.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 13 August 2008 @ 11:25 am

  89. I mean, it’s not like I knew until John finally wrote something why you kept asking me all these questions about Progressives. You just had some blog shit going on, and you wanted to use it for your blog soaps. Nobody else cares about these, you know. So when I wrote in my own style over there, it didn’t fit what you were looking for, and you just tried to trash it. The Mehmet person is probably just a cute kid trying to find out what’s going on, there are worse things, you know.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 13 August 2008 @ 11:32 am

  90. Serbs had wars for like 500 years – this was a relatively small skirmish in comparison – but I have no intention of edifying you on the subject because you’re in the sadistic freak mode and losing your humor on top of that. Time to withdraw from the stage.


    Comment by parody center — 13 August 2008 @ 11:36 am

  91. and you wanted to use it for your blog soaps.

    I was trying to make vaudeville of your fight with Jodianne so that the fight would be over, but apparently you are SERIOUS about the ”issue” (and that freaks me out more than Mehmet’s Romantic jibberish). And besides despite my question you didn’t really answer at all what your complaint was about.


    Comment by parody center — 13 August 2008 @ 11:38 am

  92. Yes, I did, but who cares. You just imagine you’re sincere.

    No you didn’t. You said that you had a problem with Jodianne rallying for the progressives, and then I asked you is that because you think that not voting for Obama would amount to doing nothing or in other words that the progressives are impotent to change anything about the situation. You didn’t respond to that you just repeated something about Fossey and Arpege being sisters in this regard.


    Comment by parodycenter — 13 August 2008 @ 11:52 am

  93. Whatever.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 13 August 2008 @ 11:54 am

  94. Look if your point is some kind of a defense of the US, and if you want to convince the world that no America is no aggressive empire, I just can’t follow you – because I think it is (although one doesn’t have to be a radical Marxist bitch like Arpege to come to that conclusion). The mistake of the Marxists is that they would say Russia isn’t (imperialist), and I think Russia is that as well. And now we see two superpowers in a conflict which never really ended with the fall of COmmunism. I don’t really know what one should do about the voting. I remember that at some point in the Serbian elections you’d come across situations where it was better to choose the lesser evil than to abstain from voting, and I can imagine that since it is now of vital importance to remove Bush from power, it would be well-advised to vote for Obama. But the situation is too local for my insight.


    Comment by parodycenter — 13 August 2008 @ 12:08 pm

  95. Whatever..


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 13 August 2008 @ 12:33 pm

  96. I liked Mehmet’s vignette. It seemed to loosen him up from excessive obscurantist theorization and enter into a different register where he can express himself more successfully and strangely. Patrick your response to him was graceful and exotic, personable and sophisticated. Dejan my kneejerk reaction to your psychoanalytic wartime remark was triggered probably by my having had many conversations with ex-soldiers and knowing their experience of Vietnam was far more real than mine when I marched, got teargassed, etc. Obviously your life has been touched more directly than mine by war.


    Comment by ktismatics — 13 August 2008 @ 2:09 pm

  97. WASHINGTON (AP) – John McCain’s chief foreign policy adviser and his business partner lobbied the senator or his staff on 49 occasions in a 3 1/2-year span while being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the government of the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The payments raise ethical questions about the intersection of Randy Scheunemann’s personal financial interests and his advice to the Republican presidential candidate who is seizing on Russian aggression in Georgia as a campaign issue. McCain warned Russian leaders Tuesday that their assault in Georgia risks “the benefits they enjoy from being part of the civilized world.”

    I haven’t read Obama on the Georgia issue, but I hope he and the Dems don’t get baited into jumping on the bandwagon like they did with Bush’s saber-rattling about Iraq. I bet McCain’s poll numbers go up because of this issue, since he’s clearly the warmonger candidate.


    Comment by ktismatics — 13 August 2008 @ 2:42 pm

  98. I have no idea what Tanita was adumbrating… it was something Sweet and Romantic in any case… and she upset my plans to spend the night swooning under Fossey’s balcony. And why should I talk to an interlocutor who doesn’t respond to random insults? By the way if you see Patrick floating about with the other LA airheads tell him that if he does another sadistic-paranoid-9-11 fit on me here, I’m calling KGB AND you’ll have to choose, dad: either a brilliant Serbian son or a hysterical Alabama pansy. I’m not in the mood for abuse this week.

    I just freaked out having heard that Bush decided to up the ante on the Georgia thing and send military help. This is exactly what I fear, that they will start upping the ante on both sides until something accidentally goes off, like a random N-bomb.


    Comment by parody center — 13 August 2008 @ 2:47 pm

  99. I think I’m going to retreat into the safety of Ktismatics for awhile and let the rest of the blogosphere handle its own internal affairs, except for ordinary commenting of course. Bush sending troops? I thought it was aid for refugees. However, there is this ominous messaging:

    Bush said he was sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice first to France and then to Tbilisi to reinforce U.S. efforts to “rally the world in defense of a free Georgia.” For her part, Rice said: “This is not 1968 and the invasion of Czechoslovakia where Russia can threaten a neighbor, occupy a capital, overthrow a government and get away with it. Things have changed.”

    If the Democrats don’t say something responsible and opposing-partyish pretty quickly to bring some perspective to this conflict McCain will snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.


    Comment by ktismatics — 13 August 2008 @ 2:57 pm

  100. The domestic battles don’t matter because the goal of any foreign policy is to get the goodies. Whoever ”wins” will have to follow that road. The difference will be who will do it more intelligently.


    Comment by parodycenter — 13 August 2008 @ 3:01 pm

  101. “No I did not say ”actual war” because actual war is horrible from whichever angle you look at it, I was talking about the bombing, which wasn’t really a war, more like a Halliwud spectacle involving loud sounds and images of planes flying over,”

    “didn’t say that people were not seriously hit by it, especially in the fourth month when the Emperor saw that we weren’t giving Kosovo away so they cranked up the volume until bombs started falling on hospitals and the like, I am saying that it was not a real war as what you have now in Georgia, or what transpired in Bosnia.”

    “Serbs had wars for like 500 years – this was a relatively small skirmish in comparison – but I have no intention of edifying you on the subject”

    Add these three together, and you see that, even though it was not a ‘real war’, merely ‘Halliwud bombs’, that he nevertheless suffered in Holland more than his parents suffered in the ‘non-real’ war. And so you write a palliative to him


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 13 August 2008 @ 3:31 pm

  102. Maybe this thing will self-destruct due to the Georgian president’s lunacy.

    Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili conducted a blitz of interviews with news outlets at home and abroad and made a series of claims, some of which were disputed as inaccurate or exaggerated. He said on national television that the U.S. arrival of a military cargo plane with humanitarian aid “means that Georgia’s ports and airports will be taken under the control of the U.S. Defense Department.” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell stressed the United States had no plans to take over Georgian airports or seaports to deliver the aid. “It is simply not required for us to fulfill our humanitarian mission,” he said. “We have no designs on taking control of any Georgian facility.”

    In a sharp response to Bush’s speech, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called Georgia’s leadership “a special project of the United States. And we understand that the United States is worried about its project.” Russian news agencies quoted him saying the United States would have to choose “support for a virtual project” and or “real partnership” on issues such as U.S.-Russian cooperation on Iran and other world tension spots. Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili criticized Western nations for failing to help Georgia, a U.S. ally that has been seeking NATO membership. “In a way,” he said, “Russians are fighting a proxy war with the West through us.”


    Comment by ktismatics — 13 August 2008 @ 3:35 pm

  103. The word ‘military’ is just what the Georgian is emphasizing. Nobody but the dumbshit bloggers thinks there’s going to be a war there–I mean the nuke one they all want, because of their sci-fi predilections. Even ‘lenin’s’ link says that, the one he links to to prove that ‘THESE ARE TWO NUCLEAR POWERS!’


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 13 August 2008 @ 3:36 pm

  104. “And so you write a palliative to him”

    I’m sure Dejan knows more about Serbia and its troubles than I do. Still, it’s hard to reconcile the vehement defense of the homeland against Western incursions with this minimization of bombing as not constituting real war.


    Comment by ktismatics — 13 August 2008 @ 3:42 pm

  105. Exactly. And then calling it a ‘minor skirmish’ makes his Proustian pain in Holland, which he knows to be greater than what his own people in Serbia experienced, all the more ridiculous.

    Meanwhile, here’s the article where ‘lenin’ gets his hysterical reaction. I think that the Irish pig has been hitting the beer ‘n’ pork pies diet with a big emphasis on the beer this time:

    US forces to deliver Georgia aid
    Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.

    Mr Bush says the US stands by Georgia’s ‘democratically elected government’

    President George W Bush has said the US will use military aircraft and naval forces to deliver aid to Georgia following its conflict with Russia.

    Speaking in Washington, he expressed concern about reports of continuing Russian action in Georgia, and urged Russia to respect a ceasefire accord.

    Mr Bush hinted that Russia could be jeopardising its international ties.

    The Kremlin said the US must choose between partnership with Moscow, or with the Georgian leadership.

    “At some time it will be necessary to choose between supporting this virtual project and [a] real partnership on questions which actually require collective action,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

    The BBC’s Caroline Wyatt, in Moscow, says the Kremlin’s reaction suggests they have been bitterly stung by Mr Bush’s comments.

    But she says Mr Lavrov spoke in the knowledge that the US is unlikely to back up its verbal support for Georgia with any more concrete action.

    The crisis erupted late on 7 August when Georgian forces bombarded South Ossetia to restore Tbilisi’s control over the region, where the majority of people hold Russian passports.

    Russia quickly became involved, bombing targets in Georgia and sending in troops. Some 100,000 people are estimated to have been displaced by the conflict.

    Russia must keep its word and act to end this crisis
    President George W Bush

    A French-brokered ceasefire has been in place between Russia and Georgia since Tuesday, but each side has accused the other of breaking the accord.

    Mr Bush said Russia’s actions had “raised serious questions about its intentions in Georgia and the region”.

    “To begin to repair the damage to its relations with the United States, Europe and other nations, and to begin restoring its place in the world, Russia must keep its word and act to end this crisis.”

    He said he had ordered a series of steps to demonstrate “solidarity with the Georgian people”, including sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Tbilisi later this week, and launching a “vigorous and ongoing” humanitarian mission.

    A C-17 aircraft with humanitarian supplies was already on its way to Georgia, Mr Bush said, and in the following days military aircraft and naval forces would deliver humanitarian and medical supplies.

    The BBC’s Natalia Antelava, in Tbilisi, says Mr Bush’s speech was the first piece of good news the Georgian government had received for days.

    But she said Tbilisi’s schools and nurseries were crammed with refugees, many of whom were angry with their leaders for dragging them into a conflict with Russia.

    ‘Dismantling artillery’

    Following Mr Bush’s statement, Ms Rice, who will hold talks in France before heading to Tbilisi, also had tough words, saying Russia had “seriously overreached” itself.

    She told a news conference: “This is not 1968 and the invasion of Czechoslovakia where Russia can threaten a neighbour, occupy a capital, overthrow a government and get away with it. Things have changed.”

    Mr Lavrov responded robustly to US criticism of Russia’s continuing military action, admitting that his troops were still inside Georgia near both Gori and the town of Senaki, near the other secessionist region of Abkhazia.

    He said Russian peacekeepers were dismantling a “huge amount of armaments, ammunition and explosives” that had been left unattended.

    “This arsenal has to be defused of course so that it cannot pose any threat to civilians,” he said.

    ‘Massacres on our doorstep’

    France, which currently holds the EU presidency, has been spearheading diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis.

    President Nicolas Sarkozy visited both Tbilisi and Moscow on Tuesday, and succeeded in getting both sides to agree to the principles of a peace plan.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had announced a halt to military action shortly before meeting Mr Sarkozy.

    EU foreign ministers have been discussing the peace plan, and have agreed to send a group of monitors or peacekeepers to Georgia to monitor the ceasefire – but they want the UN to back the proposal first.

    “The European Union cannot be indifferent to this war, these massacres on our doorstep,” said French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the UN was ready to facilitate international talks and contribute to possible peacekeeping arrangements in the region.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 13 August 2008 @ 3:47 pm

  106. I don’t believe Russian and US leaders are stupid enough to go into full-scale warfare over Georgia of all places. Still, somebody in the Democratic Party needs to point out the ridiculous posturing of Bush and McCain on behalf of a country that unilaterally started bombing its own civilian fellow-countrymen. Humanitarian aid is the right move, as long as the US doesn’t start deploying tanks and shit to deliver it.


    Comment by ktismatics — 13 August 2008 @ 3:50 pm

  107. But this is how rabid they are, from the article above:

    “But she says Mr Lavrov spoke in the knowledge that the US is unlikely to back up its verbal support for Georgia with any more concrete action. ”

    HOW did ‘lenin’ think this backed up his claim that CHENEY WANTS BIG NEW WAR! I mean, he might, but this certainly doesn’t sound as though the Russians are worried about that part.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 13 August 2008 @ 3:55 pm

  108. It sounds like the Russian government wants to use the situation to cement stronger relations with the US government. Bush, Cheney & co. want to ramp up the rhetoric on behalf of the Republican Party and its wartime presidential candidate. I thought that Russia’s allusion to diplomatic cooperation on Iran was a telling remark. Bush and Cheney would like that tinderbox to blow up just a little to add a little more oomph to McCain’s momentum. This revelation that McCain’s top adviser lobbied for money on Georgia’s behalf should at least give the public pause.


    Comment by ktismatics — 13 August 2008 @ 3:59 pm

  109. Yes, and they are surely aware that Obama’s lead is much smaller than it should be, or rather than was expected. It’s probably mostly political, but I don’t see it working for McCain really, ultimately. This is more of a snoozer than I would have thought. By the way, Arpege and Steppling’s guy I wrote about earlier, Lievan, was describing the uniforms in 1989 when he was in the region. I have to check and see if she was trying to pass it off as if it was today…


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 13 August 2008 @ 4:10 pm

  110. A year later, after the election in Georgia of a pro-independence government led by the extreme nationalist Zviad Gamsakhurdia, the same assembly declared South Ossetia a Soviet republic separate from Georgia. The Gamsakhurdia Government then sent thousands of Georgian armed police and nationalist militia into the region. These were fought to a standstill by local Ossete militia backed by Soviet Interior Ministry troops.

    I was in Georgia at the time, reporting for The Times, and could hardly have imagined that this obscure conflict would one day create a major international crisis. Tskhinvali was a typical grey Soviet Caucasian Nowheresville, of bleak, crumbling concrete offices, potholed roads and faceless compounds. The only colour I remember was on the uniforms of the Georgian fighters: one was wearing a blue and white bobble hat, another had made for himself the uniform of an officer in the Georgian forces of 1918-21.

    The Russian conscripts by contrast were not colourful at all: drab, demoralised and loathing the whole situation. They were, however, much better armed than the Georgians – and still are today. [end of Times of London excerpt quoted by Arpege]

    Here’s Arpege:

    “So, we know we don’t root for the drab conscripted hordes in unrelieved grey, the totalitarian sartorial style; we must be on the side of the scarlet pimpernel individuals.”

    She did allow for the first paragraph, which few would know about. and barely notice, but she didn’t link to the whole article, which I had to Google with Lievan’s name after finding that it was the London Times. ‘in the Times’, when you’re writing for mostly American readers always means the New York Times, not the U.K.

    Her remark is also ignorant, because Russian does not any longer mean Soviet, demoralized and gray-uniformed–or even it does, it’s purely coincidental. That is the extreme degree of her bias. Steppling went on to agree that it meant ‘pimp’. I think Arpege’s sphere is the most extremely anti-American propaganda I have ever seen that pumps out its shit regularly (it’s more extreme than ‘lenin’, i’d say even, but this is mainly typical of how these types take advantage of urgent situations: I used to find it hypnotic, but it’s meant to keep you from seeing what is happening.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 13 August 2008 @ 4:20 pm

  111. Speaking of Americans in Paris, I just read that Julia Child was a secret agent of the OSS, the US international spy agency prior to the CIA.


    Comment by ktismatics — 13 August 2008 @ 5:03 pm

  112. Still, it’s hard to reconcile the vehement defense of the homeland against Western incursions with this minimization of bombing as not constituting real war.

    LORD have you even read what I’ve been writin’ about in the past two years? I was telling these Western Marxist pansies that Georgia was going to happen, because, namely, the game is not human rights, nationalism, racism and feminism, but Russian oil. Provided we believe something can be done about it (which I’m not nearly as sure about as the Marxist darlings), then we should stop these reckless imperial excursions and find a way to share the resources fairly. Because these things have a tendency to boomerang back on the perpetrator. The bombing of Serbia wasn’t even officially a war, because NATO never declared a war; it was a military intervention. And I wasn’t trying to diminish the pain of the sufferers, but to tell you that Russian interventions are in general far more thorough and brutal (like they will really go through with the scorched earth policy).


    Comment by parodycenter — 13 August 2008 @ 10:16 pm

  113. “And I wasn’t trying to diminish the pain of the sufferers, but to tell you that Russian interventions are in general far more thorough and brutal”

    I hadn’t recognized this as being part of your message. I had focused on the breakup of Yugoslavia, in which American and W. European support of self-determination in Kosovo seemed closely akin to economic cherry-picking. I also heard your message about totalitarian communism under Tito in the old Soviet bloc. Still, Serbia positions itself as an ally of post-Soviet Russia. Is this because the Serbian government wants to participate with Russia in its thorough and brutal interventions elsewhere? Do you regard Serbian intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo as modeled after the Russian style? Do you regard the relatively mild interventions of the West as a sign of weakness, irresolute in its grab for the “goodies”?


    Comment by ktismatics — 14 August 2008 @ 3:01 am

  114. Look the Ruskies don’t have as much money as America and their military systems are nowhere as sophisticated technologically.furthermore there’s not such a long tradition of liberal democracy as in the West – even if that democracy is a truism in terms of foreign policy, domestically in the past 20 years America has been a more comfortable place to live. I know this has changed in the States well, but comparatively it’s still a ”softer” environment. Anyhow I know for sure what the Ruskies did in Chechnya was a helluva lot worse than the American bombing of Serbia, which for all of its madness and brutality in the second half, was meant as a disciplinary measure rather than a protracted civil war. What I consider real war is Bosnia – four years of incessant shelling, gunfighting, explosions and massive civilian deaths.

    Serbian expansionist ambitions were completely mythologized by Western propaganda, because it was paramount to portray the situation as if Serbia didn’t want to save the socialist federation but was out to ”conquer territories”. In reality Milosevic wanted to prevent the seceding, but ultimately I think he was thwarted by the fall of Russia primarily and the defeat of Communism as a principle. Those opportunistic ex-republics didn’t see an economic future inside the federation – which by the way wasn’t entirely correct, because I am convinced if we stayed together we would have pulled out of the crisis successfully, by adopting some kind of socialist capitalism along the lines of social democracy and relying on our common market. Yugoslavia together was fairly rich in resources as well as brainpower.


    Comment by parodycenter — 14 August 2008 @ 3:20 am

  115. You know this is why I find the Leninists and the Zizekians a hair-rising phenomenon: they actually think the disintegration of Yugoslavia was welcome as a manner of deterritorialization on the way to the Fourth International. This fantasy is even more psychopathological than digital capitalism. And self-determination as the primary tool, as you can see right now, is the culprit of Hell. Because, self-determination in practice means that strong federations in the East are broken so that Capital may come in and conquer. So when they start rallying for the Moozlim and for the poor oppresid wimman I get a kind of a rash; I feel the need to throw them in a big Dutch pool of shitmud and throw feathers on them. None of the republics that left Yugoslavia are better off alone – and they were not repressed by Yugoslavia in the first place. Just as I’m sure Georgia vastly exaggerated the amount of their unhappiness under Russia in order to collect Western ”democratization” funds.


    Comment by parodycenter — 14 August 2008 @ 3:25 am

  116. Do you regard the relatively mild interventions of the West as a sign of weakness, irresolute in its grab for the “goodies”?

    No, just more perfidious (and successful). But tables could turn now any minute, Clysmatics, because the Russian bear is awake.


    Comment by parodycenter — 14 August 2008 @ 3:34 am

  117. (I meant to say: your e-utopia. And I forgot to mention he shooed Erdman away from the Parody Center, while Erdman is really a nice guy and someone I’d like to have as a friend!)

    More on the self-determination: whatever the political constellation, and the one under Tito was a hypocritical totalitarian lie, Serbia has always been a very heterogeneous territory, containing several nationalities who mixed and mingled for CENTURIES. The accusation of Serbian ‘nationalism’ is rendered completely ridiculous by this fact alone, but especially vis-a-vis the fact that Western proxies in Yugoslavia (like Slovenlia) have very homogeneous territories. So when the Trotskyists and the Leninist Marxists groped for self-determination, that played ideally in the hands of Euroatlantics: the Empire was able to use the Moozlims (about whom it cares much less than Serbs, witness the enormous anti-Moroccan racism in Holland) as a Joker card, an empty signifier conveniently attached to fairy-tales about schauvinism and ethnic cleansing.


    Comment by parodycenter — 14 August 2008 @ 4:23 am

  118. Okay those are helpful summaries of your political position. Piecing it together from diverse conversations, on many of which I’ve stayed at the periphery, leaves some gaps. Part of your thought is that smaller countries are right to fear the totalizing tendencies of both Russia and the US/Western Europe, and that they’re better off allying with each other than to choose sides between the superpower axes. So a place like Georgia is already lost because its internal dispute is between alliance with the US or with Russia rather than, say, with other former soviet republics. This sense of resistance is what you want to assert. It brings you into temporary alliance with some of the radical left who would like to see successful local resistances to neoliberalism. But your form of resistance isn’t Marxist; it’s actually more capitalistic in the sense of “third way” alliances gaining control of resources. So it’s an uneasy truce even without factoring in the personality quirks and interpersonal styles.

    Regarding my newfangled socialist utopia, no doubt some of it is personal style. I find myself most productive when working in solitude, but there are times when synergies lead me into areas I’d never have explored on my own. Conflict and resistance don’t come naturally to me, nor in general do I find them personally fruitful. For political and economic reasons, maybe for aesthetic and ethical reasons as well, conflict and resistance become essential. This is part of the critique of Deleuze and of Hardt & Negri: the free flow of immanence through the multitude might result in both individual and collective breakthroughs, but these flows can easily be exploited and co-opted. But fighting with you or Patrick seems pointless to me, even if we disagree on substantive grounds. Maybe you and he find more personal stimulation and inspiration from conflict than I do. If so, I hope you’ll take your battles outside, because for my own self-interests I’ll try either to accommodate, ignore, or suppress the interpersonal disputes.


    Comment by ktismatics — 14 August 2008 @ 4:36 am

  119. “Serbia has always been a very heterogeneous territory, containing several nationalities who mixed and mingled for CENTURIES.”

    So too with Iraq, which the US has now effectively partitioned into three self-determining, ethnically cleansed regions. I don’t know much about the Ottoman Empire, but I can see how Islamists would regard shared commitment to a politicized religion as the basis for uniting diverse ethnic groups in a single coalition. The other unifying options currently in play are economic rather than ideological, mostly playing into the hands of multinational capital concentrated in the hands of the very wealthy. In this regard most of the existing alliances are all competing in the same game rather than offering any viable alternative to the game itself.


    Comment by ktismatics — 14 August 2008 @ 4:44 am

  120. ut your form of resistance isn’t Marxist; it’s actually more capitalistic in the sense of “third way” alliances gaining control of resources. So it’s an uneasy truce even without factoring in the personality quirks and interpersonal styles.

    I don’t think this is a terribly important issue, because unlike the Marxians who participated in the discussions, I don’t localize the main issue in the functioning(s) of capitalism. We regard all discussions from the perspective of the current (dis)balance of powers and think as though America and Western Europe HAVE TO exist, have to be successful and have to be the measure of all things. Why not a Balkan-Byzantine Empire for whom America and Europe are slaves? For me the problems started back with the fall of Byzantium, to be honest. I find it less important which economic system such an empire would use. I groped for ”some kind of social democracy” because at the moment noone knows what the real third solution is, however, when these ex-Byzantine spaces were hacked up that also ruined or delayed the possibility of finding a new system.


    Comment by parodycenter — 14 August 2008 @ 8:15 am

  121. IN any case, i started ‘PROP O’GANDHI’, and now realize why it took me so long to get started: Once you find out why Ulrich Daley chooses this alternate name, it makes sense within the text, and becomes very charming and funny. But as a TITLE–use it if you feel that strongly about it, but it does not come across there as ‘charmingly eccentric’, but rather tacky, like a kind of entry name into a contest for a new name for peanut butter or something. I can’t say much more now, because it’s going to develop, and I’ve just gotten to the coffee break part. But the character’s ‘loser-identified’ status thus far will be all the clearer with a number of words and sentences and phrases that are sleeker, smarter and sharper–these are somewhat related to what I’ve described about the title, so that we finally have one thing to thank Michel Houellebecq for, who is good about writing about depression and dingy places of torpor and dark intertia, but in a style where it lasts at least for the duration of while you’re reading it. These are not extensive revisions I’m talking about, and think it flows along very nicely. I’m going to be interested to see how it moves INTO something portalic or not. Thus far, it is talking about doing that but not quite getting there, unless Prop O’Gandhi in itself is already the beginning of the portal. An example of what I meant to make it sharper is that there is one false sentence even within the matter of its being fiction: that about the patronage system and Mozart being dead. This does not render it ‘neither here nor there’, but rather was once the answer and now maybe there is another answer, these alternatives of going in to choose from musical objects, some of which were not usable (this was very clever), but the word ‘songs’ is not, for example, good after using a sophisticated term like ‘musical object’. Until you find the right one, even just ‘piece’ would do. Otherwise, it is like when I played the first of the Bach 3-Part Inventions at an offertory at church when I was visiting once when I was about 22, and my beautiful but half-educated cousin Mary Helen, of honeyed Southern belle tones, came up to me and said ‘Pay-att, I liked your song…’ You know, things like that. It becomes funnier when the wife and daughter come into it, and the fact of the LAB’s haphazard structure within your house is hilarious. You are an interesting kind of weird-oh, and all I can do for it is suggest ways to ‘spiff it up’ if you happen to want to. What you do to make it public after that I am not sure. You may have to find some sort of hand-in-glove situation such as I have with Christian. While I did send a few things out in the ‘pavenment-pounding’ way early on, the very idea of what I think you meant by ‘portalic’ precludes expecting that to be much more likely to succeed in terms of targeting markets than just driving on the freeways endlessly and getting a narcosis from it.

    But this is already one movement, and you can mention whether others have read it and what suggestiong they have made if they have made them. I’m apparently the first that demanded a printed copy, and this already ‘publishes’ it–from the moment you printed it out–beyond what it was just sitting here in all the grease of the internet. Another step was taken by me when I intuited that I must read the autobiography of Edith Evans in order to read your book with ME reading it. That turns out to have been right. It also helped me get over the dread of reading something with a title like that. This title made me think the book would not be very good. Where it goes I don’t know, but there is already much that is good in it. The Mozart concerto probably needs a fuller traditional description–just a few extra pieces of informantion, like the key, not just Kochel numbers, characters of the different movements, why it stands out somehow from the others that the character would have also heard, etc. And things like ‘the world’s coffee’ don’t have quite the right sound, but those are the kind of details that take only the smallest alteration to make sparkle. Again, like Houellebecq, whom I do not otherwise like, you want to get a sharp picture of the shabby (when it is) as well as a sharp picture of the sharp (if it becomes more so, although there may be a subtext of non-publication that afflicts you and/or the character), rather than a shabby picture of either. But most of it is not shabby, and I was able to see the connection between your blog-writing and this more formal writing–it’s often very silvery, and so therefore especially here, it all needs to be that way.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 14 August 2008 @ 9:46 am

  122. You could possibly use ‘prop o’gandhi’ in a subtitle, or ‘the story of Mr. Prop O’Gandhi’, etc., which is better than without the ‘Mr.’, because it is the pun status of the invented name by itself that is going to annoy with its identification with ‘propaganda’, unless you want people to be wondering when the propaganda comes in at some point, or if that is, in fact, all of what the text is.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 14 August 2008 @ 10:02 am

  123. I had gotten lax on blog management but it’s better late than never I suppose. Any further comments that contain personal remarks — clarifications, insults, analyses, etc. — directed at each other or at anybody else on other blogs will be deleted. Despite the comment Dejan made on his own blog, I don’t think anyone in particular lost control: it’s just that I failed to enforce my own rule upholding politesse and cordiality in what was otherwise an interesting discussion.


    Comment by ktismatics — 14 August 2008 @ 12:24 pm

  124. Patrick I’m pleased that you’ve started the book, and that thoughts are coming to your mind about it. I think it would be better to discuss this by email inasmuch as nobody else will know what we’re talking about.


    Comment by ktismatics — 14 August 2008 @ 12:55 pm

  125. Are you sure? Don’t you think they’d read the excerpts here? I can do that, of course, but they didn’t know my book either, and it seems as if you should now try to get it more public. That’s what you seem to keep tending to do, is try to keep hiding it away. Why should, for example, there be anything wrong with doing a post on your own book, with us discussing it, as opposed to mine. Because thus far, I don’t object to any of it, and my criticisms have only been details that will make what you have already written more polished. Also, yours originates on the computer, and this is the first time you’ve gotten it off. That may or may not mean something. I’m just asking, aren’t you being unnecessarily modest, given that you’ve got the book advertised up there anyway? You can always keep several other threads going at the same time. If I thought you had written shit, I would agree, but I certainly don’t think it’s shit. In other words, I just think it would open it up, and I am not going to be doing much other commenting anyway.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 14 August 2008 @ 2:18 pm

  126. Okay, I’ll put up a separate post about the book and import your initial comments into it.


    Comment by ktismatics — 14 August 2008 @ 2:38 pm

  127. Oh, great! I can’t believe you agreed to do it. This way, also, I can work at it in stages much more methodically and quickly. I’ll know when I have something more to post while I am still in the early stages, insofar as I’ll try to post only about things I can be sure about–or , not wanting to be too careful, you can just tell me I’ve gotten ahead of myself. We can use the emails too, but is then more like groups who meet while their works are in progress, which I usually haven’t gotten to do. I think this should develop just like it did with my book.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 14 August 2008 @ 3:52 pm

  128. I’ve read that people in former Soviet republics and “satellites” have become wary of Russian influence in light of its Georgian interventions. While Georgian government actions against the separatists precipitated the crisis, and while US and Western sources have slanted the story in favor of the Georgian government, I can see how the citizenry in places like Ukraine and Czech would be concerned. If all the major wielders of power in the region organize their economies capitalistically, I think I’d be inclined to favor alliance with the one that seems least threatening and most respectful of national autonomy: not Russia, not the US, but the EU. While other sorts of affiliations are possible, including those they make among themselves, the vulnerability of these smaller nations is exposed. The Asian former republics are in a more awkward position, since they can’t qualify geographically for EU membership. Georgia is very strangely positioned between Russia and Turkey — between a rock and a hard place.


    Comment by ktismatics — 18 August 2008 @ 3:09 am

  129. Did you catch perezoso/lustmolch at Arpege’s? He absolutely DEMOLISHED the whole crew, and the most amazing thing is that the thread ends with them claiming victory! Quite incredible. He points out most cleverly all of Arpege’s hyperbole and Steppling’s attempts to find ‘good things’ in Mao’s regime to counterbalance the mass murders that hard leftist reporters say ‘just can’t be true…’ pitiful. Mainly, he tells her a number of times that it’s just a fucking BOOK REVIEW and what matters is what Hallward said. Of course, one could also say ‘well, you know, Hitler DID kill many Jews, but hey, ever hear of the Autobahn?’

    But that’s DIFFERENT, say the Communists. Mao killed for something that wasn’t so ‘hypermasculine’. And while they called perezoso/lustmolch on having a ‘hypermasculine attitude’, there is no way anyone would call a one of them hypermasculine–including the woman.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 19 August 2008 @ 8:42 am

  130. I haven’t followed the Zizek on Hallward discussion at Chabert because I don’t know enough about the history of Haiti to evaluate the arguments. All in all I’m woefully ignorant about world history and politics, so I find these discussions stimulating but I rarely have much substantive to contribute. I suppose I shouldn’t let that stop me though — I notice it rarely stops you.

    (I just figured out how to turn off the algorithm that converts character strings like “…)” into smiley faces. So you’ll have to imagine a winky smiley guy at the end of my last remark.)


    Comment by ktismatics — 19 August 2008 @ 9:18 am

  131. Yes, I don’t write at arpege and traxus but on the rarest occasion, so it is like watching a good football game. this one time lustmolch never wavered, so the ridiculous ‘Pinkerton’, who is one warszawa clearly enough, enjoyed closing the absurd thread with a quotation from Harold Pinter. It is like having a Broadway show close and claiming that it is a SMASH HIT! They had no arguments in that one–EVER, not at any time.

    Yes, glad you turned off that smiley wink thing. That is horrible for it to happen without one’s choosing it.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 19 August 2008 @ 9:25 am

  132. Yesterday I commented at Traxus’s place — about the flatness of acting which we discussed here recently — but he seems to have gone missing. I didn’t really have much to discuss with him; rather I wanted to give him the benefit of some of our insights on this subject.


    Comment by ktismatics — 19 August 2008 @ 1:10 pm

  133. Yes, you had been right about the flatness as opposed to the amateurishness we were talking about with ‘Southland Tales’. That style of acting for what is passing as a major feature, not just genre, is absurd, and that’s the main reason why there was zero suspense in the climax (if there was any.) anyway, they are talking about provocative things which aren’t worth answering, down to how ‘Torn Curtain’ with Ms. Andrews, deconstructs all Hitchcock.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 19 August 2008 @ 1:39 pm

  134. I saw your excerpt from David Bordwell at traxus, and it’s very poor. It’s wrong, because it only applies to certain actors and not others. Even in the Big Star era, there were Big Stars who were acting and disappearing into their roles–Gary Cooper, Greta Garbo, Lillian Gish (going back to silents even), Katharine Hepburn, Robert Mitchum, Bette Davis (yes, Bette Davis, you simply have to see enough things like ‘Now, Voyager’ and ‘Dark Victory’ to know she wasn’t always apparent as Bette Davis), Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman. There were stars who did not become their roles so much, but played themselves in different guises: Vivien Leigh, Claudette Colbert, Marlene Dietrich, John Wayne, Cary Grant (who is not a good example for Bordwell, because everybody knows he’s always Cary Grant), Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow (this was often to very good effect, but that’s not the point.) It’s just not comprehensive enough, because the most important point is that a ‘film star’ does not HAVE to act as well as a stage actor–in that the performance can be effective onscreen even without deep delving and just delivering persona and presence, whereas it cannot onscreen. The old 1939 Boyer/Dunne ‘Love Affair’ is about the characters; it’s not at all impossible to forget those actors are Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer, even with his accent.

    I don’t see that that has changed that much today, except that there are fewer charismatic Big Stars. There are more highly technical actors in films, and certain things–accents, for example–are considered important to get right (but Joanne Woodward was already very good at this long before Ms. Streep, so she is just known for what is really just a recent expertise at this sort of thing). Overacting like Day-Lewis as we’ve discussed is popular and he is considered a Star although he’s not one, because he’s no personality. There are a lot of ‘Stars’ without Star Personality, and the ones that are Big Star People, like Tom Cruise, are less highly prized than some of these who may be trying to take the stage actor’s craft to the screen more than in the past. Actors like Nicole Kidman are stars by current definition, and usually considered good actors–she can do good American accents from what little I’ve seen, which you can easily tell by hearing her on a talk show.

    The ones who are able to go the Glamour Route, like Michelle Pfeiffer and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie still don’t seem, even in their comparatively fewer populations (which ought to make them stand out more), to have quite what their predecessors had for the public–movie stardom is no mystery any more, so fewer are needed, and those even seem to be running out of steam. Al Pacino might be an example of a Big Star and a fine film actor, yes I guess so. There are good actors like Laura Linney, etc., and you don’t think ‘OMG that’s Laura Linney’, etc. Anyway, some of this I’m going to have to accept not being an expert on, because I have no intention of seeing anymore of the cartoon films just so I can keep up with blog discussions.

    Main reason I wrote this is that Bordwell does not have a comprehensive understanding of silent and early Hollywood acting. He has reduced it to much less than it is, based merely on the fact that, of course, there IS a lot of that–as with Dietrich, Wayne, Robert Taylor, Grant, etc., but that just doesn’t cover it sufficiently. And now–there are many technical advances and certain kinds of acting wouldn’t be allowed in certain kinds of films (although in the old days, shit acting as in Southland Tales would NEVER be countenanced), acting purely based on a kind of melodrama-oriented persona like many of those of the 40s especially, the main difference is not greater acting (although in some ways there is greater, more skilled acting now than in the past), but that there is no aura of the film star (which Benjamin deplored, but might not think is as depleted as what we have left), and there aren’t any stars to ‘carry films’, except here and there a few have a moment. Someone, for example, like Kim Basinger, who started out as this up-and-coming bosomy and voluptuous actress back in 1989 or so, and was much like an old-fashioned star, was able to take it a certain distance, and do some nice work occasionally, but nothing to set the woods on fire. But her ex-husband is the perfect place to see the total decay: There’s hardly ever been such a plunge from leading man into the abyss of fat drunkard second banana as Alec Baldwin has demonstrated.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 19 August 2008 @ 6:15 pm

  135. whereas it cannot onscreen.

    should be ‘whereas it cannot on stage.’


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 19 August 2008 @ 6:17 pm

  136. “He has almost no sense of place at all.”

    i am aware of this fault, at least.

    after having recovered from my victimization by ‘there will be blood’ i’m inclined to agree with your opinion of it as disgusting and sleazy. DDL’s performance is of a kind with the whole movie — a lot of theatrical prevaricating. even the equally circuitous lynch takes some actual risks, with his actors at least. the much-discussed last scene just tries to turn the film’s failure to go beyond suggestive noise-making into a virtue by escalating its inanity past the point where it might be excused.

    southland tales is also horrible, except for a the rock monologue that got leaked months before release and is available on youtube (his delivery reminds me of obama, the only viable candidate, whose failures should be expected by anyone with realistic expectations). the justin timberlake bit is fun, but it’s just a music video.

    good DFW quote, btw.

    i think my malaise about popular culture is because i am no longer able to enjoy its stupider products, at least not the big corporate stuff, whereas that used to be possible before CGI. the criteria for ‘elitism’ have been dropping at an exponential rate.


    Comment by traxus4420 — 19 August 2008 @ 6:53 pm

  137. He has almost no sense of place at all.”

    i am aware of this fault, at least.

    Well, I’m glad of it, not that I know what can be done of it (or that anything should be, just that I’m so attached to ideas of place that that probably caused us some problems before), but you’ve got a whole lot of things that are hard to grasp: the placelessness, political uncertainty, desire for compassion (or perhaps real compassion), lots of brain,

    Malaise about popular culture I’m the least equipped to talk about it, because I’ve always lived in the classical bubble, and am right now listening to a circa 1950 ‘Aida’ with Maria Callas, no matter how antiquated this makes me–I don’t care, I just like the way she sounds with the power-trumpet. But I hate most of the movies too. I sometimes think of young people and feel that they’ve been deprived of an age when the low and high cultures were divided enough so that they could at least more easily choose. But you could, too, of course. I haven’t quite understood why you won’t pursue classical culture for the pleasure that it gives more than you do. After all, you can play the piano, so that means you already have the opening to all that music. I wouldn’t have any idea how to live without it, but I’m listening to perhaps 20 times as much as when we met last summer.

    I can’t believe how fast the summer went by, it was such a beautiful one.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 19 August 2008 @ 7:07 pm

  138. I agree, Patrick, about Bordwell’s remarks being off the mark — they didn’t even seem internally consistent, let alone valid. Something about how Cary Grant is always the same, but he isn’t the same — like he hadn’t thought it through fully, or felt the urge to pontificate in generalities but realized mid-course that he disagreed with his own argument. Watching more of these old movies I get a sense of greater investment in the portrayals, an earnestness in staying true to the craft. Recently watching Joseph Cotten play a sociopath in Shadow of a Doubt, he put himself into both his charm and his cruelty in a way that neither called attention to himself nor to his own virtuosity. He committed himself to doing what the role called for.

    Not all is lost. I just watched the first two episodes of Deadwood, and I probably won’t see any more, but the acting was first-rate. Patrick, you might like to know that Keith Carradine plays Wild Bill Hickock in this program and he’s very good: tough, vulnerable, on the downhill run but firm of character, flaws and all. Granted he’s old-school, but the younger fellas in the cast seemed capable of finding the nuances in their performances. I was encouraged. The writing too is very good, but at the same time it’s just carrying on the Old West violence in a more chaotic setting. Two hours was enough for me.

    Thanks for stopping by, Traxus. We’ve been discussing acting performances with some frequency lately, admiring the older movies not just for nostalgia’s sake but with a sense of prior excellence that’s been compromised for no good reason. I’ve got some DFW quotes about Lynch that are relevant to the gnostic immanence position on both the flat and the ecstatic acting in his movies; these might be of use in your ongoing project. Maybe I’ll just put it up as a post in its own right.


    Comment by ktismatics — 19 August 2008 @ 9:09 pm

  139. Oh, thanks for ‘Deadwood’. Naturally, I hadn’t even heard of it, and see the NYPL has the first 2 seasons on DVD. Keith had done an absolutely appalling 30-minute sitcom just before that, as he’s very extroverted and likes to work all the time. I think he was the father of 5 bratty boys, anyway it was just nowhere. He’s good at cowboy types, not a heavyweight, of course, but had done well in a mid-90s series based on McMurtry’s ‘Dead Man Walking’. I always get the odd feeling he never thinks back to that time he was something briefly adored and idolized. This is possibly because he has always been a part of Hollywood, and realized as he matured that he wouldn’t become a big star. But in one of her essays on Hollywood, Didion mentions Fitzgerald’s unfinished ‘The Last Tycoon’, saying ‘insofar as The Last Tycoon, it is about Cccilia Brady, not Monroe Stahr.’ Although Monroe Stahr was what the book was about, I believe based on Irving Thalberg. But that ‘dream factory’ thing of Hollywood is NOT a dream ONLY to those born there and seeing it as their first impressions (Cecilia has been; she’s played by Theresa Russell in the film with Robert DeNiro). Actually, she exaggerates this a bit too much, because it shouldn’t cover all cases, but it does make one understand what the ‘Hollywood Native’ might be, which is an interesting idea. Keith was, therefore, able to go through a very intense ingenue period and then cut his losses. He was no Robert Mitchum or Gary Cooper and he would not have had much difficulty realizing that he couldn’t expect to ever be seen that way.

    I just watched half of ‘Sumurunn’, this silly 1920 silent by Ernest Lubitsch and including the old star Pola Negri as the ‘dancer of great beauty’ desired by the sheik. I found myself looking at the rickety-looking sets and seeing them as part of Los Angeles now, as opposed to ‘movie sets within the Hollywood Industry’. Sometimes I’d even stop and study a frame. They were mostly ‘plaster and lath’, as Nathaniel West would depressingly say in ‘Day of the Locust.’ That’s one of the earliest examples of ‘deadly Los Angeles/Hollywood’ and he has very little feeling for what the place really is. He was talking about a little ticky-tacky home decoration of the zany Los Angeles type–the same type that would have the restaurant built in the shape of a hot dog–but murky underbelly Hollywood unhappiness has little or nothing to do with the fanciful and very imaginative eclectic styles of architecture and ornament of Los Angeles. He had his own problems and died at 37, but someone who was not depressed could not have made their complaint about Hollywood, as Tom Carson once pointed out (about this specific N. West passage I’ve cited), based on a little matter of real estate. What West had seen was merely a style of visual ornament that had been inspired by the movie sets themselves and placed on residences. The whole book is full of this kind of extreme revulsion at a young style, which is what Los Angeles has done so brilliantly. This probably explains how it is by mere chance that a place has a specific character, and Los Angeles’s is indeed unique: It is so malleable and creativity-inducing on even the most elementary levels, that it will seem to cause one’s current mood–but it really is one’s mood that causes IT. Carson,in this old 2001 article in Los Angeles Magazine said that, with Los Angeles, you start doing something with it immediately, that ‘all you have to do is show up.’ Of course, one can go on and on, and this would also explain why it really can be so dangerous, because the forbidden fruit seems more available than it really is. Run out of money out there and it is really just soooooo much more over even than usual.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 19 August 2008 @ 9:45 pm

  140. A niece piece of cine-musique, Patrick, redolent of images and subjectivities from your book. In Deadwood, Carradine’s Wild Bill Hickock is a legendary figure whose heyday is over, and though he’s not lost his skill with a six-shooter he gets by mostly as a celebrity. His manager cuts a deal with a saloon-keeper: in return for Bill being seen drinking regularly at your place and so increasing its panache, management agrees to stake Bill at the poker table. Though he’s living on his reputation, he’s still Bill Hickock, his distinctiveness still shining through his mere celebrity. Carradine does it well. Though the town of Deadwood is wide open, its anarchy draws mostly outlaws and opportunists and it breeds mostly the new corruptions unchecked by the old traditions. “Its mood causes it,” as you say. A type of Las Vegas I suppose, and also LA. The cynicism is ameliorated only a bit by certain small gestures of human integrity performed by characters who are certainly no heroes. So it’s a good show, but it is TV, and even the Wire becomes mostly a rerun already within its first season.

    I neglected to remark that, in Bordwell’s piece on acting, while he was confused about the old stars he was accurate in describing the more highly-regarded recent movie performances as “impersonations.” He’s talking about Ledger’s Joker in the piece, but he’s implicitly citing Day-Lewis’s Plainview as well.


    Comment by ktismatics — 20 August 2008 @ 5:35 am

  141. Sure enough: McCain has overtaken Obama, not just eliminating O’s 7-point lead from mid-July but actually taking a 5-point lead himself. This is almost surely the aftermath of the Georgian situation, in which McCain ascended the bully pulpit prepared for him by the administration and the mainstream media. Meanwhile Obama is on vacation and the rest of the Democratic leadership silently warm the back benches. It’s an all-too-familiar pattern: by trying not to rock the boat the Dems just blow with the breezes and sink into the sand.


    Comment by ktismatics — 20 August 2008 @ 7:09 am

  142. http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/08/poll_mccain_takes_national_lea.php

    I think I remember Zogby poll often being off, but it definitely gives pause. But this post notes that Obama’s still up in most polls. My deepest wish is that the Lenin’s Tombalists will be able to effect worldwide change at the grass roots level, due to their manifest incompetence–including the Arpege… but she’s just spouting the usual ‘all plutocrats being equal’ stuff, whereas this one little puh-son in there has called Obama this ‘right-wing candidate!’ Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I think the answer must be ‘Zizek’ to her riddle about New Orleans or something–naturally, the post is drenched in ‘this is a mere footnote to history by now’ sort of thing. Well, she never thought about New Orleans at all till Katrina! Too into Woody Allen. I wonder if she wants a Moment of Silence.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 20 August 2008 @ 8:27 am

  143. Sumurun turns out to be a much more worthwhile piece than I expected, having chosen it just to see what Pola Negri looked like on screen. Very grandiose, and some of the sets are that very plaster and lath look outside, but this was made in Berlin. This would be a couple of years after Griffith’s staggering spectacle ‘Intolerance’, so that that look of cluttered sets that have a sort of dingy-Persian overdone quality to them. This one was a beautifully restored and tinted one, with high-quality piano accompaniment–which is inauthentic, of course; it needs to be tinny, which I’ve occasionally enjoyed at film forum here. Lubitsch plays a Pagliacci type clown who is pining for Negri and there are other romances and many ridiculous things, including a crew of very queeny German fat-titted eunuchs, and at least one of the glamour girls shows the maximum amount of female armpit hair I’ve ever seen photographed in a picture. Was a homage to Max Reinhardt. I should have known that elaborate spectacle sets would have been done elsewhere, although they are not as huge as the Hollywod ones even so. ‘Birth of a Nation’ ahd whole armies filmed in Hollywood outdoors–it was still mostly rurat at the time, 1915 I think. There’s an old PBS series which shows how quickly Hollywood, the geographical place grew–developed Hollywood is not even a hundred years old.

    I hope the birthday lunch went well, I meant to ask about it then forgot.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 20 August 2008 @ 6:51 pm

  144. I was thinking just how extraordinary it is that the silent lasted so long–because this caused a totally exotic form to emerge that has many elements of mime and dance to it. It’s very arty, much more so than ‘talkies’, and seems so strange that so many of these marvelous ‘creatures’ got made. There was nothing like them before them, and there has been nothing like them since.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 20 August 2008 @ 6:56 pm

  145. The lunch was fine; thanks for asking. It’s a new restaurant owned by the same guy who used to run our favorite place in town. He and the head chef parted company, so this was a different cook. Very nice Tuscan fare, including the slow-cooking of braised beef and time consuming side dishes like risotto and crispy polenta, as well as a delicious sauce with the trout that was, I think, red bell pepper, garlic, lemon, and fish stock based. I waited until the night after to cook the birthday dinner: grilled pork tenderloin; stir-fried green beans, mushrooms, red bell pepper and garlic; and sweet potato pancakes — something I’d never heard of before but which turned out very well indeed. For dessert: tiramisu a la Chez Panisse, flavored liberally with dark rum to complement the coffee and sweetness.

    “Show don’t tell” is the usual injuction to fiction writers. Silent movie makers were forced to tell stories visually, which must have helped the medium move beyond just filming stage plays. The most unacceptable aspect of watching foreign movies is having to watch and read at the same time. I’m nearly persuaded that dubbing is to be preferred even if the voices don’t match the lips. Movies can both show and tell; writings can do neither (at least not literally) — so I think it’s a mistake to use cinematic standards when writing or reading fiction. Writers should focus on what the written word does best — unless, of course, what they really have in mind is selling the rights to Hollywood.


    Comment by ktismatics — 21 August 2008 @ 8:09 am

  146. What do you mean that writing cannot ‘show and tell’? Of course, it doesn’t visually ‘show’, but it certainly does tell, as far as I understand the word.

    I’m surprised you find subtitles annoying, I never even notice them. And dubbing I can’t bear, it’s almost never the actor’s voice. I’d gotten a copy of Truffaut’s ‘Les Baiser Volees’ with the sublime Delphine Seyrig off eBay, and then never watched it till recently. It had been dubbed, saved only by Delphine’s voice having been used for the English here. But I gave it to Jack anyway, I want to hear French with a Truffaut film. Dubbing completely ruins it for me.

    The food does sound sumptuous, I’ll say. I thnk I’ll do Pork Tenderloin myself in a few months.


    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 21 August 2008 @ 9:52 am

  147. I’m distracted especially when there’s a lot of dialogue in scenes with a lot of rapid cuts, so that by reading I can’t devote enough of my visual processing to the images. Last night I saw 2046, a Hong Kong movie, very beautiful — I’ll put up some shots tomorrow. The dialogue was sparse and the camera lingered over every shot. In this case the sound of the incomprehensible Chinese voices becomes musical rather than linguistic, adding yet another texture, while I had plenty of time to read the subtitles without feeling visually rushed.

    Show and tell — exactly: the written word can’t visually show or aurally tell. If you want someone to tell you, then a good actor is better able to achieve it than a string of words printed on a page. Proust is descriptive in a way that seems exhausting to the reader who’s used to looking briefly at screen images. But he gives us his subjective sensibilities about these things, observations that can’t be savored quickly enough in a film and about which the characters would never speak aloud. Or the obsessive worries he never speaks aloud and that cannot be seen. And the use of language itself as something beautiful or strange. Too often contemporary fiction, especially American fiction, reads like a movie — or like it would be better if it were turned into a movie.


    Comment by ktismatics — 21 August 2008 @ 2:05 pm

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