Viewing posts tagged ideology

Margaret on the Radio

This is post is kindasorta both a Tricky Dicky and a Psychic Landscape entry. It doesn't quite fit into either series, but should - hopefully - be read in the context of them.

 

When Margaret Thatcher died in 2013, so many people downloaded the song ‘Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead’ from iTunes that the BBC were seemingly forced into the position of having to play it on Radio 1, in line with their usual practice of giving airtime to songs that are currently in the charts.  (In the end they copped out and played a clip - of a song that’s under a minute long anyway - with an explanation.  I didn’t hear it but I’d stake internal organs on it involving use of the word ‘divisive’.)  This awkward situation for the BBC, very much not of their choosing, created what is called a ‘row’, or a ‘controversy’, or a ‘scandal’.  This is when the right-wing media, rather than report the facts with headlines like ‘Thousands Celebrate Baroness Thatcher’s Death by Downloading…’, instead publish stories with headlines like ‘Outrage as BBC plans to Celebrate Baroness Thatcher’s Death by Playing…’.  The ‘outrage’ the paper is supposedly reporting is always illustrated with ...

Tricky Dicky, Part 6: Dress Modern

We are now in an odd, reversed position when it comes to William Shakespeare and Richard III: all of a sudden, and for the first time, we seem to know where Richard III's head is, but not where to find Shakespeare's.

I’ve written in previous instalments of this series about the relationship between Richard III (the man), Richard III (the play), William Shakespeare, and history. 

Essentially, my argument is that William Shakespeare was, for various reasons to do with his class position, his family, his career, and the historical moment and social milieu in which he found himself, peculiarly well placed to dramatise social energies, feelings, anxieties, and vertigos, which still speak to us today.  He was writing at the dawn of modernity, during the years immediately following the end of the medieval, in the immediate aftermath of the English Reformation… all of which is related to the fundamental fact that he was writing during the transition from feudalism as the dominant economic form of English society to capitalism.  We still live with the energies and dystrophies of modernity, since we still live in capitalist society.  Indeed, Shakespeare has in some ways only become ...

In the Loop

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the British Labour Party, recently asked Seumas Milne to be his director of communications. Milne is one of the few journalists currently working in the British media who is genuinely worth reading. Milne, for instance, wrote The Enemy Within, which is not the novelisation of the 1996 TV movie (Gary Russell courageously tackled that one), but rather a rigorous investigative expose of the way the Tory government - with help from the ‘security services’ and the tabloid press - set about trying to covertly undermine, smear and frame the NUM and Arthur Scargill during the 1984-5 Miners’ Strike.

Certainly, when you recall that David 'Pigfucker' Cameron’s choice for an equivalent post was Andy Coulson, you see evidence of a stark division – authentically based on a decency and honesty gap – opening up between the parties for the first time in quite a while.

Milne, however, is one of those Left-wing journos who has been repeatedly (and rightly) criticised by Media Lens for being less than brave about criticising the paper he writes for, even as he savages bias elsewhere. So he will already have ability to ruthlessly criticise other people for doing stuff that his own employers do ...

Solid Dick

NOTE: This article has been amended to correct factual mistakes and clarify arguments.

 

Iron Man (2008), starring Robert Downey Jnr. and directed by Jon Favreau, is objectively one of the most evil films ever made. Possibly the most evil, actually.

 

Boilerplate

 

I’ll get around to justifying that opening statement in a bit. But first, I just want to say… ahem… fuck Tony Stark. Seriously, fuck him. The arrogant, smug, privileged, sexist, immature, selfish, capitalist prick. The rich, preening, self-satisfied asshole. The callous, self-involved, vainglorious, narcissistic wanker. This guy isn’t charming or funny or lovable. He’s scum, masquerading as humankind’s best friend. He’s the 1% as saviour of the world, at a time when the 1% are directly and knowing destroying the world. He’s the smiling face of the anthropocene (or rather capitalocene) extinction. He’s genocidal imperialism as (lone) humanitarian intervention. He’s neoliberal capitalism and neoconservative foreign policy as a series of bad-boy quips. He’s private capitalist industry as heroism. He’s mega-wealth as heroism. He’s white male privilege as heroism. He’s militarism, imperialism and American exceptionalism as heroism. He’s the War on Terror as heroism. He’s everything sick and twisted and rotten and filthy and evil and insane ...

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.

Secret Reality

Spoilers



The last episode of The Blacklist was hilarious.  Red describes an international cabal - comprised of people in government and the private sector - who run the world behind the scenes, start wars, control the media, kill to protect their power, etc.  It’s supposed to be so edgy.  Dark, terrifying conspiracy.  He has to get loads of investigate journos to attend his briefing in secret.  They’re all stunned by what he says.  But… he’s just describing the ruling class!  Seriously, the ‘Cabal’ is just the capitalist military-industrial-media-government complex.  But we’re supposed to be shocked by the existence of this group.  Once informed about it, the Washington Post runs a front page story telling everyone of the breaking news.  SHOCK NEW REVELATION: SMALL NUMBER OF POWERFUL PEOPLE ARE POWERFUL AND GET UP TO STUFF FURTHERING THEIR OWN POWER WITHOUT TELLING US!  The evil director of the CIA looks at the paper in horror, like he’s thinking “oh no, now everyone knows!”  It’s like structuring the big, dramatic denouement of a drama series around the astonishing revelation that water is wet, and having all your characters suddenly back away in terror ...

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 ...

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 ...

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