Viewing posts tagged bourgeois ideology

No Crime and No Punishment

Aww, don'tcha just love the bourgeois mainstream?  I mean, ain’t they precious and priceless?  Isn’t their disingenuous, blithe, untroubled faith in recieved opinion; and their unquestioning belief in the fundamental goodness and honesty of the world they live in; just kind-of adorable?  Like toddlers who treat Mummy and Daddy like all-knowing, ever-protective gods.  And aren't they sweet the way they get all serious about pondering the eternal verities they take for granted, like the way little kids are when they get all serious about a let’s-pretend game they’re playing.

I mean, look at this...



Dostoyevsky’s characters “justify murder in the name of ideological beliefs” which, according to the BBC, means he “foresaw the rise of the totalitarian state”.

Because it goes without saying that ‘democratic’ states never ever justify murder ideologically.  Nuh-uh.   The idea

Mindless, vacuous, unconcerned contentment of this type is sort-of cute, like the way cattle just mooch aimlessly around fields taking in the same sights over and over again, and happily munching on the cud.

Public Service

Might as well put this up too...


Been watching a PBS documentary about the Scottsboro Boys.  The narration does everything it can to infantilise the Communists who got involved, to downplay their contribution, to chalk it up to cynical opportunism, to suggest their involvement did more harm than good, etc. 

The basically accurate account of events makes it clear, however, that it was the involvement of communists (and other people who got involved because communists made the case an issue) which ultimately led to the Scottsboro defendants getting even the meagre amount of justice and freedom they did. 

Towards the end, the narration says “not protests or marches or newspaper articles but simply time itself” brought Alabama to free most of the defendants… which, if you stop to think about it, is an absolutely out-fucking-rageous thing to say.  As if just waiting for a while would’ve freed the defendants by itself.  As if the Alabama ‘justice system’ would’ve seen the light eventually even if nobody had ever kicked up a ruckus about it.  As if the Alabama racists didn’t need to be opposed and fought and exhausted and embarassed into submission ...

Harry Potter and the Popular Consumption of Hegemonic Bourgeois Moral Ideology

Killing people.  It's a tricky one, isn't it?

We... (and, in this instance, by the word 'we' I mean that rather narrow band of people who produce and consume the artefacts of the Western narrative culture industries) ... we want to tell ourselves - in those bourgeois morality plays we call entertainment - that killing is WRONG.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.

The killing curse is an 'Unforgiveable Curse'.

"Make the foundation of this society a man who never would".

Luke can't be won to the Dark Side because he won't kill his father.

"Coward.  Every time."

"Stop!  I command it!  There will be no battle here!"

Etc, etc, etc.

But lookity here... our heroes kill people, or they support the necessity of killing people.  Even the 'moral' ones (i.e. the ones who aren't James Bond) do so.  Luke is nobly refusing to kill his father even as Han and Leia and Lando are killing loads of Imperial soldiers in the big battles.  The Doctor refuses to kill the threatened people of Earth even as the survivors of the Gamestation are fighting and trying to kill Daleks, and Rose solves the ...

Koba the Ape

Post-Spoilerocalyptic.


I went to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.  Banalities first:  A well-crafted film.  Cogent and coherent in terms of aesthetics and plot (though there is a pleasingly bathetic moment when, following lots of atmospheric shots of apes engaged in social interaction, one ape suddenly addresses another in sign language as "Maurice").  Nicely acted by the principles. 

Now.

In The Dark Ape Rises, the 'good' ape leader is Caesar and the 'bad' ape leader is Koba.

Caesar is the reasonable one, the compromiser, who wants peace with the humans.  Koba is the nasty one who can't let go of his resentment of humans, who doesn't trust them, who betrays Caesar and launches an all-out war against the humans.

Thing is, Koba is fucking awesome.  Because, unlike Caesar, he understands that when you have the oppressor on the floor, you don't help him up and dust him down.  No.  You stand on his neck.

Here's Koba, riding straight at the enemy (who are armed with rocket launchers by this point) while simultaneously holding (and firing) two machine guns instead of the reins of his horse ...

Force Decides

Israel is currently killing hundreds of people in Gaza.  As they do from time to time.  To make something Abba Eban once said true by simply inverting his meaning: the Israelis never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity for peace.  Though even that is too kind to them.  As even White House senior staff acknowledge, the Israelis don't want peace.  Give them everything they've ever wanted, and it still isn't enough - because what they say they want isn't what they want.  What they really want is to continue the war until they have finally completed the work that David Ben-Gurion left unfinished, and eradicated the Palestinians.  The mindset of Israel is genocidal, and becoming more openly so by the day.

It is now clear to a great many people that what happened to the Native Americans as a result of the institution and independence of the United States of America was a scandal, a holocaust and a tragedy.  The idea is so commonplace it's become a sentimental truism in pop-culture.  Well, Israel had not done very much that America didn't do in the process ...

Apropos of Nothing

Bourgeois law sets up a system which seems, superficially, to draw its moral force from the common sense morality of ordinary people (in the West this is filtered through the formal Christian ethics internalised by our civilisation).  Its actual function, of course, is to promote and enforce a social orderliness which allows the relatively untrammelled existence of social hierarchy.

(This isn't a conspiratorial view, by the way.  Conspiracies undoubtedly happen - the ruling class, and their adjutants, are as capable of getting together and discretely working towards their own agendas and advantages as anyone else - but conspiracy is not the basis of the system.  Conspiracies are often criminal and, though frequently winked at by The Law, they are theoretically punishable.  They are, in a very real sense, an aberration.  An endemic aberration certainly - and more endemic the more confident the ruling classes get - but an aberration nonetheless.  It's important not to be too cynical about the concept of law, to imagine that it is just a sham, and that everyone at the top knows it to be.  That isn't how systems of control endure.  Systems of control endure by being ...

Sarcasm and Chips

Every time I read The Prince I become more convinced that it is a work of sarcasm.  Not conscious sarcasm perhaps, but sarcasm nonetheless. 

It is the product of bitter disappointment and disillusion.  This man, Machiavelli, had been a fierce Florentine patriot, a republican, a defender of the revolutionary city after the popular ousting of the plutocratic Medici psuedo-kings.  He lost the game and, having been tortured and exiled, he sat and wrote what is supposed to be a job application to the triumphant Medici... and it turns into the first open admission (in modern European letters) that ethics and politics are separate and often irreconcilable. 

It is coded, deliberately or not, to imply that the failure of Republican hopes in the face of the Medici stemmed from a failure to be sufficiently ruthless against them, to be as utterly cynical as the Medici themselves.  In the process, Machiavelli praises Cesare Borgia as the perfect Prince.  The Medici had regained their status in Florence partly owing to an alliance with the bellicose Pope Julius II, who had been one of the Borgia's most implacable enemies. 

Gramsci famously argued that the book ...

7

The Doctor has refused Enlightenment.  Turlough is nonchalantly (rather too nonchalantly) picking at his fingernails when the White Guardian offers him a share.

"It's a diamond," he says, staring at the massive, glowing crystal, "The size!  It could buy a galaxy. I can have that?"

The White Guardian tells him he can.

"I would point out," interjects the Black Guardian, "that under the terms of our agreement, it is mine... unless, of course, you wish to surrender something else in its place. The Doctor is in your debt for his life. Give me the Doctor, and you can have this," he indicates the crystal, "the TARDIS, whatever you wish."

Turlough is evidently extremely tempted.  He has to struggle with himself.  When he shoves it towards the Black Guardian, it couldn't be more obvious that he is angry and disappointed with the choice he feels have has to make.

"Here," he shouts petulantly, burying his face, "take it!"

Even so, he does make that choice.

The Black Guardian bursts into flames and vanishes, gurgling and screaming.

"Light destroys the dark," comments the White Guardian.  "I think you will find your contract terminated," he tells ...

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