We are now living in the end of the world. There’s no doubt about it. The social, political, economical (re)arrangements of the West has exhausted its livelihood. We are today witnessing the end of an epoch in which the exploitation financial capital is becoming more and more appearant. We are unable to imagine a way out of our present predicament because the debt economy, that’s constitutive of financial capital, restricts our prospect of any hope for alternatives. Today, any attempt at conjuring up an alternate political program is immediately labeled as extremism or just out right impossible. The predominate ideology (in the way Slavoj Zizek uses the word) is that of the Fukuyama “End of History”. Although himself not a “Fukuyamaist”, the American political economist Francis Fukuyama used to claim in the nineties that Capitalism is the system, that it’s just a matter of tweaking the it here and there and everything will run smoothly, that capital would go on indefinitely. But today we are witnessing the antagonisms within global capitalism itself, namely it’s inability to deal with the social multiplicities (multiculturalism, ecology, the exploitation of third world countries, financial crises, and so on). With the approach to an epochal end, a new subjectivity has emerged that accepts debt as its essential ideology. It structures the very way we are foreclosed to any other future without capitalism. (more…)
Hemingway can always cheer me up on the rainy days. I can sit here all day telling you how great Hemingway is, and it would still not do justice to the magic of his works. I can only ask you to read his books yourself. And maybe when years pass after you read them, you’ll wonder if it was only some story, or did these things really happened to you.
Video: “The Dot and The Line” by Chuck Jones, 1965.
Through out my boyhood of watching cartoons on TV, I always find myself staring at shows like the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, Bugs Bunny, and Daffy Duck, without taking much notice to the creators of these incredible animations. The front man behind stage, as it were, is of course Chuck Jones. Besides his impeccable timing for the movements of the characters, what makes Jones an animation Godfather is his sense of storytelling through these moving pictures. He’s able to make you laugh and cry in the same clip, for he understands the logic of tragedy inevitably always turn into comedy (and vise versa). (more…)
Most of today’s mainstream animations are, for me, disappointing. It’s very common to see animated shows fully blown with lightening speech and outrages jokes, yet something feels wrong with the movements of the characters. Their gestures seem stiff and clumsy. Their bodies are floating through space, limbs hanging like a rag doll. The stories are kept to a minimal for fear that kids might get bored. Just jokes. Back-to-back jokes for the attention deficient generation. Fast and funny is what the audience want, so they give it to them. I don’t over exaggerate.
Animation is a world. A world not belonging to the one we currently dwell in. It’s another world. As a kid growing up watching animation in the 1990s, it provided magic to an otherwise mundane, dreary universe. As science dominated the ideological field of the social space (ideology in the Marxist sense of the word), the protection of miraculous magic seemed to have vanished. There was not even room for superstition. However, animation (good animation) lit up the world for me. It enveloped me in hope.
Good animation for me is never just jokes or how fast can one say the jokes. It’s the story that opens me up to believe in the world that the animation has created. And when I think of a good story in American animation, Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant always comes to mind. Is not the movie ultimately about an innocent boy trying to protect himself from the fraudulent passage of growing up? Was not the giant robot a sort of guardian angel we all long for, indestructible and childlike? It is a film that offers a well-wished promise in regard to the world. The film gave me a sense of wonder without the horrific abyss that’s so well recorded in science. It completed a world for me.
What we need today is not merely frantic distractions. What we need is a new narrative that offers us protection once again. We need a new Iron Giant.
Helloooo people of tomorrow. I’m sorry for my absence. I’ve been trying to un-digitize myself. I’ve been struggling with writing some short stories these past months. The work is tedious, and writing is a dark universe. I had to step away from the digital cloud for a while.
More than ever today we’re experiencing a narrative deficiency. It’s so fashionable to say that today we don’t have just one narrative, that we have multiple ones, of which each one has its own unique place in the world. We are all, so it goes, just stories that we tell ourselves, that each of us can have a little piece of the universe. But what if this is the wrong way to approach the problem of multiplicity (or multiple narratives)–whether it be the multiplicity of political parties or the multiplicity of races. What if instead of saying that you have you’re culture, and we have ours; what we should say is that we need a new grand narrative?
The other day I was re-watching “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” the 1920 Robert Wiene horror film. It’s about the story of a Dr. Caligari using a somnambulist as a instrument of murder. But the films twist is that the entire incident was merely the hallucination of Francis, the protagonist, who is finally reveal twards the end that he’s a patience of the asylum. The film was made during the Weimar Republic, the short Democratic-trauma of the WWI aftermath of Germany. What if we’re in the same situation today?
What if we live in one big insane asylum, and all of our contingent experiences are just a mere hallucination? I think this is the horror we are facing with today: to discover that our so called “permissive-liberating society” is actually a hox, a hallucinatory ideology. We live in a era of inconsistencies, of what Peter Sloterdiyk calls sphere implosion. It is when the protective dimension of our grand narrative breaks down. At the level of personal freedom, we seem to have limitless possibilities (we can read anything we want, we can travel anywhere we like, we can have as many sexual partners as we desire, etc.), but on the level of political freedom we’re more and more constrain in a straitjacket, as if changing any small parts of the political-economic system will result in a domino effect towards disaster (e.g. universal healthcare, raising the minimum wage, etc.). I think this so call “liberal-permissive society” is deeply ideological, in the Marxian sense of the word (i.e. ideology as a essential illusion that mystifies a certain problem). While, yes, we have freedom on the person level (and this level is also important), we loose the fundamental choice of the frame work that determines these personal choices. As Jane at the end of the film says, ” we queens…are not permitted to follow the dictates of our hearts.” Do we not live in an age of disheartened individualism?