Day to Day

There are days when the sickness of capitalism is put into stark relief. The day to day soul sucking mental torture and emotional starvation of modern life in the West. In particular, however, in the United States. Today, for the working class in the U.S. daily life is simply endless frustration of one kind or another. The grind of low wage slavary, the fatigue that comes from longer hours and less pay, and less job security is linked to spikes in various illnesses, but also it is etched in the faces and bodies of the working poor. Layered over this is a general corporate de-humanizing of existence. It takes many forms. Try to buy an item on-line. Try to fill out forms on-line. Try to … [Read more...]

Among the Scavengers

I have suggested before that as the hegemonic world power, the U.S. influences the way in which narrative is interpreted. The values it expresses are those of the ruling state. With the U.S. that means the military is the always the engine for high moral purpose. Alongside this is the increasing scavanging of the lower classes. The corporate culture industry feeds off the lower classes. It does so in a variety of ways. There seems to be no end to the constant stream of "gritty" crime films, all of which seem to announce their own "edginess". There are cartoon versions such as The Expendables and their are the prestige versions such as the recent Killing Them Softly. One might reasonably … [Read more...]

Imago Mundi

Watching what appears to be the final act in the ethnic cleansing of Gaza, I was struck again by the need for an aesthetic resistance, the development of skills needed to deconstruct the Empire. There are narratives that instantly smell like State Department creations. They arrive fully made, and carry with them a sort of Conde Nast vibe -- meaning they have a carefully crafted shiny wholeness about them. There are no dark shadows, no ambivilence, no warts or moral ambiguity. The sense of actual history is missing, leaving a strange sense of vertigo in the viewer. These are characters in a pre-formed story-line, and the anitromic feeling almost leaves a hole in the image, the photo … [Read more...]

Role of a Lifetime

It's all the same, just a little bit different. Jean Luc Godard There seem a whole host of issues this week that are coalescing for me in terms related to my interest in aesthetic resistance...an effort to deconstruct aspects of the cutural production of Empire, for lack of a better description. The sense of social hypocricy was formed, as we understand it today, in the 18th century. The idea of acting one's role in daily life pervaded the culture of that time. The viewer or audience and his or her relationship to the performance, or artwork was solidified, in a sense, around the time of Diderot and Goya. Theatre came to focus a good deal on social hypocrisy, and one's private or … [Read more...]

Interview, Molly Klein talks to John Steppling /Theatre, part 1

http://john-steppling.com/interview-molly-klein-talks-to-john-steppling-theatre-part-1/ … [Read more...]

A Story of Capital

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The great electoral spectacle is over. I have been trying to analyse just why so many, at least outwardly, intelligent people I know seem to suspend critical judgement when it comes to things like elections. In particular though, the Presidential elections. When you think about it, Obama is clearly a war criminal, a mass murderer, and a shill for wall street. I mean this is obvious, and yet people will wring their hands and cluck nervously about how scary the idea of Romney is. What actually is worse than signing away the rule of law? What is worse than terrorizing a population with … [Read more...]

And the Bodies Piled Up

There is a continuing sense of life in the United States, in particular, being experienced as a film or TV show. This is obvious. The question is really to map where the far reaches of this hyper-reality extend. To listen to a large class of the U.S. public is to listen to recycled television and film dialogue. Someone said this week, or wrote actually, during an argument with friends, "I am a fan of drone warfare". He later explained this by saying he felt it protected American lives, and was a more accurate way to kill "terrorists". Of course the now viral Joe Klein comment, echos the same … [Read more...]

Cop Stories

The film and TV world are useful studies because of exactly how they both reflect social reality, and at the same time, create social reality. But it's not that simple. Let me just make a few observations, or really, just ask questions. How do films that cost fifteen million dollars get made? How do films that cost eighty million get made? Is is the same process? How do films that cost one hundred and sixty million get made? How do one million dollar films get made? When I was last in Los Angeles, I made the rounds of studio's new micro budget divisions. I found them run by the same morons who run any division at a studio. Same people. Same gold rolexs, same myopic world view, same … [Read more...]