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Monday, January 12, 2015

Reading Neil Burger's Divergent Through Deep Green Resistance

Reading Neil Burger's Divergent Through 
Deep Green Resistance

First Scene in Divergent Displaying Acting Credits
This is Lake Michigan in the future all dried up.Rotting, rusty hulks of huge ships are stranded on what was once a 
mighty lake.
There is no voice over telling us what happened only the beginning music of Philip Glass I think, as the shot goes over the fence and floats towards Chicago's buildings, people walking in their different color faction clothes as Beatrice tells us there has been a war and their city is divided into separate factions.
For anyone who has seen Lake Michigan this is imagining the future time in the novel/movie to us.

But it is also revealing the recent past to us.
A sea once so huge all of Ireland could have fit into it.
A Sea of 1000 islands.
Beautiful, rich with fish and sea animals
Ruined by USSR dams blocking the water for industrial use.
1000 Islands between New York and Ontario - Resorts and homes for wild animals and people
A Comparable body of water.
The ARAL Sea
In 44 years less than 10% is left.It is saline.All life is gone or dying

Aral Sea with crumbling buildings looking like Chicago in

Around the Aral Sea now is a Desert.The camels like it.

See it to the East of the Caspian Sea

Chicago in Divergent
Crumbling buildings in disrepair

I would say that this is one of the most profound scenes in any film in decades.Time is twisted so that the future is past and the past is future. Time as a continuum, conceptualized as linear, progressive has been spiraled into a
 Mobius Strip destroying all conventions of 

 Reality has been confabulated by the Imaginary.
Simulated Reality is Reality and Reality is Simulated.
The REAL is coming from the future and the past.

This is the message of the book Deep Green Resistance. We are all fixated on our favorite tragedies, fragmented, divided by our emotions, our ideologies, our political beliefs.
This is the way they want it so they can continue to plunder the planet until ...


This is VIOLENCE and it will not be stopped without force.It never has and it never will - Frederick Douglass

Our worst enemy is our neo-liberal ideology

Saturday, October 4, 2014

REVIEW:Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - A Reading Through ZIZEK

They are not interchangeable - The Players
Darren at them0vieblog.com in Dublin is my go to person for blockbusters.
He seems to have seen them all multiple times, loves them but critiques them wonderfully and integrates them with each other. 
He truly loves them.

But the real deep readings come from UnemployedNegativity

I never used to watch them, I have no history with them, but I have started to go based on what Darren says. I recommend him for anyone. And do take your children.I now see why Jean Baudrillard used to go to multiplexes when in the US instead of independent art films. It is far more interesting to see what Hollywood wants the young - testosterone parade - to be injected with. We watch the Invisible Real from Hollywood's POV.

Not intending to see this film I hit it on my last night at the discount theater The Palace in Springfield MO. What a surprise for me. I loved every minute of it.

I am assuming you know the plot if you are reading this. The asshole breaks trust between Caesar and Malcolm when he pulls out a gun that was supposed to have been confiscated. On the surface this looks like what starts everything and in a way it does. But there is always someone who breaks the trust so count on it as a cliche. Reading a little deeper we are introduced to the betrayal of the Native Americans by the White Man. There always was a White Man then who had integrity, became trusted by the Native Americans, negotiated the treaty that led to the betrayal he had never intended. In other words he was the "trusty" that fronted for the duplicitous generals, leaders, et al who had other intentions. We see this in govt today. At the moment this "trusty" is Elizabeth Warren. She is being watched to see if she breaks the faith. (Clue: she already has by supporting the recent increase in war in the Middle East.Women cannot appear soft on war if they want to win elections.)

And so war begins between the apes and men, then conflict among the apes themselves and rivalry and conflict among the humans. And so it begins. 

And as this war plot unfolds we see the same-old, same-old story.

Here it is in a 2 minute video:

127,000 have watched it it's that good.

What comes through in this movie when watching through Zizek eyes is the Zizekian INVISIBLE REAL.

The men want power to continue the lifestyle they used to have before the viral disease decimated the population. The apes have acclimated to the world that exists now. Men want to create the same simulacrum all over again, based on capitalism.

With Keri Russell's medical knowledge and the power of anti-biotics, saving Caesar's mate, we see the marvelous benefits medical knowledge has brought. No one has nay doubt about this in the movie or now with us. Capitalism brings many benefits. 

It is the Trojan Horse.

It also brings weapons and the military and war. And never have I seen this so clearly imaged, so simple to see, in a movie before. I know it from reading Zizek of course, but to see it concretely is thrilling for me. 
Power/Knowledge is a relation
The two cannot be separated and each needs the other.Because it is a relation you cannot reify it, nounize it, give, take, trade, etc whatever. It seeps through the interstices of the Foucauldian Grid and is irreversible. It is a relation that metastasizes.

This is what makes it so difficult to challenge the ideology of capitalism.

And this is what we see happening in the movie. Caesar cannot resist. Humans have taught apes sign language - which they use with subtitles throughout the film - and words are a gift without compare for him.
Koba who has learned signing from other apes after being released from the torture of experimentation, distrusts them all.
He mistakes humans for The system of power/knowledge that has not yet intersected with capitalism in the movie.

The system will grow stronger as power/knowledge feed each other. Humans will grow stronger and then the apes will lose, -  just as the Native Americans did -  so they must war now. Humans will want more and more and more. The power/knowledge relation will be cumulative, progressive, linear, unending. And isn't this what we are living today. It cannot be fixed although most people still think it can. We can slow it, have revolutions that then incorporate the revolt making it stronger. This is the meaning of Snowpiercer.
This is what unemployednegativity describes in his review of  Bong Joon-ho's

What Unemployed Negativity says is that no one inside the train can imagine life outside the train in the ice-age out there. And we in our world now cannot imagine our way out of it. Only one person on the train knows about snow.

None of the humans in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes can imagine a different way of life than the one they used to know.They cannot create a different world.As one character says, "They are stronger than us because they don't need power."

So they will go to war for the ideology of the capitalism they used to know when it had intersected with power/knowledge/capital in the Foucauldian Grid.

This is the ZIZEKIAN INVISIBLE REAL, the system Koba only senses, displacing his feelings and awareness on the humans themselves. And this is what we ourselves are also doing. We cannot see the Invisible Real because it is invisible. The humans cannot see it and the apes cannot see it and this invisibility is what drives war through history. Our differences with the Middle East are the same as they were with the Native Americans. Our way of life will devour all before it including ourselves. And the toys of capitalism are so fun, we want to keep them to play with.Just as those on the train with privilege enjoy them.

It will be Caesar that understands there are differences in humans as well as apes, that neither can be stereotyped. But this reasoning will do him no good.As Simon Critchley has lectured at GCAS, in times of heightened violence, reason is useless, which he traces from classical times. An important concept to understand.

When violence is aroused, reason disappears, dissolves, gets trampled on, is of no use whatsoever. (Think going to war with Iraq over weapons of mass destruction that weren't there, if they ever were.)Malcolm and Caesar cannot influence the mobs on either side.Violence will triumph.

As long as we see our differences in terms of us and them, we will have war.This is binary thinking. We must change the way we think. Only then will we be able to see all the different kinds of snow because then we will have the language that allows us to think differently, perceive differently, and talk differently with each other.

This is what Benjamin Lee Whorf and Edward Sapir were after.

Moving to Slavoj Zizek's reading in his The Year of Living Dangerously (p.101) He refers to Jameson's  reading of The Wire:

The Wire is a whodunit in which the culprit is the social totality, the whole system, not an individual criminal (or group of criminals). But how are we to represent (or, rather, render) in art the totality of contemporary capitalism? In other words, is not totality always the ultimate culprit? What is so specific about contemporary tragedy? The point is that the Real of the capitalist system is abstract, the abstract virtual movement of Capital - here we should mobilize the Lacanian difference between reality and the Real: reality masks the Real
I think this is at the core of the wild pouring of emotion over the dolphin slaughter at Taiji Cove in Japan. The reality of it is so excessive, so much horror for us to watch, that the Lacanian REAL is masked. The REAL is Capitalism which abstractly demands Taiji Cove exist. 
Slaughter of Dolphins in Taiji Cove
We cannot see the Real because we are so emotionally wrought by reality. In this way it is not addressed, nor confronted.
stealth poison pill

Friday, September 19, 2014

Help Us Stop the Murderous Slaughter at Taiji Cove in Japan - FORM LETTER OF PROTEST

Taiji Cove Slaughter

Japanese Business Name:

Your name:
Your Address:
Your email:
Your phone:

Dear ( name of business, owner,someone you know there):

You may not remember me but I have eaten many times at your restaurant. (Or am planning to buy a car, etc) and for a number of years I have been deeply disturbed by the murderous slaughter of dolphins especially at Taiji Cove in Japan. We have organized nationally now to protest this horrible bloody despicable killing of these beautiful creatures. We have decided to use more force in our numbers to stop them at Taiji Cove. We are concentrating on Taiji Cove as we think it is wiser to focus all of our attention on the place in the film The Cove instead of spreading to many different places where it is also going on.

Documentary Awarded Many Honors
This is to tell you we will not be eating at your restaurant, (buying a car from you, etc) until this slaughter stops. We need to make sure you are feeling it here in the US so you will add your voice to our protests. We would like to ask you to write to the Japanese Embassy in Washington D.C. to flood their office with letters and emails. We need to get them involved. Below is a form letter for you to download, print out, and send to the embassy to inform them.Please feel free to personalize it to suit your needs and desires.

Thank you and I hope we can soon do business again with each other.


sign and print your name.

  1. Enclosed is a sample letter for your download/printed copy. Please enclose the letter to the Japanese Embassy that is below for your convenience to give to your local Japanese businesses with your own letter above. An addressed and stamped envelope will also help to speed it  up. You may print it with images or not as you choose. Or add your own.I am just trying to make this as easy and fast as possible.
  2. ______________________________________________________________

  3. Japanese Embassy
  4. Address2520 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
  5. Name of your business:
  6. Address:

We are experiencing an extension of the protests concerning the dolphin slaughter at Taiji Cove in Japan.Our regular customers are incensed over this bloodbath of dolphins which have become dear to the hearts of  many Americans. We understand that many are sold to SeaWorld to live under torturous conditions and made to entertain customers. The dolphins sold for meat in Japan are contaminated with mercury leading to the most terrible birth defects in Japan where it is consumed. We are asking you to help us as it is now affecting our business in the States. America is already in a deep recession and we have felt it. This situation is going to worsen it for us,  so again, please see what can be done to help us through diplomatic channels. We thank you very much.


Monday, August 4, 2014


Review Here
A Most Wanted Man              
I find the designs of these posters echoing each other for these two films quite interesting.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is about an American educated superstar Middle Eastern financial genius beginning to shine on Wall Street when 9-11 happens to him and he starts to become scapegoated. Then his girlfriend "betrays" him and that is the end of his time in the US as he goes home, becomes a religious leader. The Americans with their ham fisted approach to everything turned him into a formidable enemy.

There is also a true counterpart to these two stories of a religious leader who was assassinated by drone I think  and his US educated son was also assassinated - In A Most Wanted Man he is kidnapped. This is the meaning of our present strategy of pre-emptive threat. They figure the son will want to avenge the father, so they take out both.

Almost all of the reviews of AMWM have emphasized that both POV are understandable and blame cannot be assigned to either side.

People know what they do.
They frequently even know why they do what they do.
What they don't know is what they do, does.
Michel Foucault

American intelligence is drowning in information.

Information is not knowledge.
Knowledge is not made for knowing. Knowledge is for CUTTING.
Michel Foucault

Bachmann does understand that what the Americans want to do will have catastrophic consequences.While working in espionage he maintains as much of his integrity as is possible for him under the circumstances; his human moral sense of ethics. He realizes that his generation is no longer in charge, and he is confronting the Deleuzian Body Without Organs, the machinic. He tries to deal and decides to trust.
And he makes one fatal mistake.

In his last meeting with Robin Wright he deals. He accepts his perfidy and says to her that something must make it worthwhile. What is it that she tells herself that makes it worth while for her.

Wright says, "To make the world a safer place."
And in his last meeting with all of them he ends with his final statement to them,
"To make the world a safer place." 
Is Bachmann mocking her or does he really believe it, does he want to believe it, the sentence is ambiguous.

He is mirroring Wright's words to all of them including Wright.
What he doesn't know is that she didn't believe what she said, or did she? It was a "floating signifier" acting as a mask denying the utterance, the jargon of ideology - propaganda. Or did she perceive her own false belief in that ideology when he mirrors her in the meeting. Her face is a marvel of ambiguity at this moment. 

She will make him pay for mirroring her whichever way it went for her: mocking her or sincerely felt words that call her use of that sentence to him as sham.

Le Carre's real name is Cornwell. Members of his family took part in the making of this film and you will see them listed in the credits. Knowing a number of interviews he has done, he believes that the facts of our present world can best be understood in the context of fiction. 
His fiction is permeated with bitter truth.

We are seeing this film post Snowden and that makes all the difference. 
Snowden is an EVENT whose irruptions and echoes will be felt for as long as anyone now living is alive, and beyond. 

It is not possible that Seymour Hoffman did not know that the World is so damaged that it cannot be fixed. This movie reveals and conceals that awareness. We view the horror of the ending, the reality we already know is coming for them but we do not see the Zizekian INVISIBLE REAL.

All of them are totally evil. And their evil is total, so permeated and embedded in each one of them that EVIL IS INVISIBLE. 
These people are obscene. What they are doing is an obscenity.

They are all doing their job to "make the world a safer place."
The way Herzog writes about the jungle so drenched in sin that sin is invisible. The jungle is OBSCENE

Clearly Seymour Hoffman sees this. And as Russell Brand says to an audience about his own heroin addiction - 10 years clean he says.

Heroin is not my problem. Reality is my problem.

We have this ideological belief that people suffer from addiction. They don't suffer from addiction. They suffer from reality. Our world is a reality no awake person can tolerate, cope with, or live in. Survive yes, but always there are those who desire and demand to live, 
not to survive.
No one has ever said it better than 
David Foster Wallace 
in his great novel
Infinite Jest.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

REVIEW Snowpiercer: A Reading Through Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged

In reading this review from Unemployed Negativity more resonances emerged. I love his reading BTW. I am reading the film Snowpiercer through Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, a sort of different reading.
In the early 1960's I attended Objectivist Lectures in Philadelphia given by Barbara Branden. (1960-1962) and sometimes Rand herself came to the Q and A time after the lecture. I never asked one question in two years. I didn't because I had read her fiction and newly published non-fiction (For the New Intellectual and The Objectivist Newsletter) and any question that was asked I already knew what my answer would be and waited to see what Barbara Branden, Nathaniel Branden, Leonard Peikoff, Alan Greenspan, et al and even Ayn Rand herself would reply.The questions were most often stupid and were posed because, well, IDK why........maybe just so they could stand up and ask her a question?
So while Barbara and Nathaniel were cool and poised, Rand would begin to show irritation, frustration (me too) and would sometimes get angry or at least emotional.

Ayn Rand testifying at HUAC-House UnAmerican Activities Committee
In Mason's speech to the people in the "tail" she perseverates by repeating
So be it.
It is so.
over and over again
When Rand was stressed at a Q&A session being the flyswatter that Nietzsche said he wasn't going to be:
("I am not a flyswatter!")
Rand would say with finality:
A Is A!
Inversion of the quote is Nietzschean trope and Rand started with Nietzsche when she was 16 memorizing him

So when Tilda Swinton gives her over the top speech as Mason in Snowpiercer, my immediate association was not Thatcher but Rand in all her outrageousness. Her hair, her facial expressions, all exaggerated of course. Much like the teacher in the classroom car is all Reese Witherspoon in her 1999 movie Election, so much so that I thought young Reese was in the movie for a second.
And less you think these train cars are too too.....
The New Japan Cruise Train
Another car on Japanese train
Here is a clip of Tilda Swinton as Mason. A man's arm is being attached to a "sleeve" to plug into its gasket in the train to have the arm held out to the way below arctic freezing temperature outside to demonstrate to the "tail" section the danger in revolting and stepping outside the safety of the train. Mason gives her speech and she is quite mad and wonderful.

Tilda Swinton as Mason in Snowpiercer.

The Sacred Motor is the "sacred" motor Dagny finds at the defunct Twentieth Century Motor Company, where Galt was working and designed it. It is an engine of the future and it is in need of serious repair which Dagny gives to - I forget - to fix. Dagny has plans to put this engine into her locomotives of Taggert Transcontinental. Dagny's engine will ride the rails made of Reardon Metal a metaphorical image irresistible to someone who thinks Lacanian. The engine in Atlas is patterned after Nicola Tesla's engine built for Westinghouse when he was inspiring Edison who stole all his ideas. It was an engine that had no fuel needs, just evidently air, that car accelerated in a few seconds. It was scrapped, its existence hidden, a secret. After all Standard Oil of New Jersey was a powerful corporation at that time. An eternal engine like that would not have been welcomed by the players of the game. Anyway it is gone and we just imagine and guess about it and some try to reinvent it in their garages.

So here it is in all its magic glory in Snowpiercer. A train that circles the earth once each year, like a sort of ground satellite. The Eternal Sacred Engine is everlasting, irreversible, just like Capitalism. It continually goes. The social structure inside the train is confinement of classes. The beggars of the earth are in the "tail" - nice symbolism here - and the Sacred Engine is at the front with its designer who is now getting old. He is wearing out.

The point that Unemployed Negativity brings out is Zizekian thinking. So I urge you to read it. The humans inside the train are confined within the Foucauldian Grid of power/knowledge. Resistance is possible and revolutions do happen but do not overthrow the system. The system devours them like Pac-Man (Marcuse) and is strengthened by them. (Vija Kinski will tell Eric Packer the same thing in DeLillo's Cosmopolis.) Baudrillard will challenge Foucault in his book
telling Foucault to go to the edge of the abyss and continue the pressure until it all implodes into the chasm. Until it commits suicide. 

And this is Snowpiercer, as well as Atlas Shrugged

What Unemployed Negativity says is that no one inside the train can imagine life outside the train in the ice-age out there. And we in our world now cannot imagine our way out of it. Only one person on the train knows about snow. A nice wave to that wonderful novel
Smilla's Sense of Snow
Just in case you never knew this book it is a marvel
The Asian drug addict Kang-ho Song in a wonderful performance has observed that the snow is melting. That they can exist outside the train. 

He wants to create an explosion

that will avalanche the mountains of snow. Curtis now the Curtis Revolution of 18 (years 

they have been on the train) gives in on continuation when Trainbaby shows him what is 

under a hatchlock. He sees what he will have to continue doing and he cannot.

He agrees to the explosion, gives her the match, and these last few 

huddle together waiting for the detonation.

Then when Trainbaby 

Curtis and Trainbaby born on the train 17 years ago

who knows nothing about what is in the world or how people lived, she is the

tabula rasa, she and the rescued child dress warmly and go outside. Her footsteps

 sink but she does not. Nothing is there but mountains of snow until she sees a white 

movement far off.

 It turns and we see a polar bear. Is the bear out hunting for food? She has no weapons,

 no place to go for shelter as the train was burning inside. She and the child are the only 

survivors. That wonderful moment as she pushes her hood off her head bared to the air.

A helpless human. 

A return to the beginning. Eternal Return - Nietzsche

The last frame is the polar bear looking at us.

This is a gorgeous film made by a visionary auteur director Bong Joon-ho

Chris Evans
Tilda Swinton
Jamie Bell
Ed Harris
John Hurt
Alison Pill
Octavia Spencer

Arturo the Polar Bear in Arizona Zoo. - Help Rescue him

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Only one time in the movie do we see Four's entire tattoo.
We see it in the scene directly following the one where Four takes Tris into his own Fearscape and Tris sees Four's deepest fear, being beaten with a leather belt and buckle by his father Marcus starting in childhood.

Usually Four stands and calms his breathing and heart rate. (This is standard technique for "flooding" developed by Edna Foa.) Tris however grabs Marcus's belt, punches Marcus and Four protects her from Marcus, thus initiating a new response in Four.

In these two images we have the complete history of Four/Tobias's childhood, in reverse sequence for the viewer.

The Tattoo

The tattoo is a record of his beatings. On a child's skin, a leather belt is going to leave terrible welts, cuts and permanent scars. Not like Patsy's beatings in 12 Years a Slave nor like this slave:
A horrifying explicit vision of Nietzsche's Torturous Inscription of  the Body
But you get the idea. To a child it is a terrible thing to endure beatings that leave permanent markings. 
Down the center of Four's back on his spinal cord are the five faction symbols. 
So with this piece of dialogue we know that every time Tobias displayed curiosity - forbidden in Abnegation - which is linked to intelligence, or bravery, honesty, happiness or kindness Marcus forbid it. And he not only forbid it - the way Beatrice was forbidden - but he was also punished unmercifully for being a curious, kind, intelligent, honest, brave and happy child until he learned never to show any of those feelings. Ever. 
The tattoo clearly shows the lash marks probably covering some scars. It clearly shows all five of the factions, desires, attributes, a well rounded person who was emotionally mature might have. 

But exposing the tattoo reveals both shame and desire.

In revealing what he has concealed to Tris in his Fearscape and on his back he is confessing shame and opening himself to vulnerability. (Badiou:In Praise of Love)
Tris carefully runs her fingers and hand down Four's back touching him tenderly and admiringly
And Four is being touched tenderly for the very first time in his life. He does not wear his tattoo openly nor share it with anyone as he is a very private person.
"Not approachable."

This is an explicit Inscription of the Body - Mind always included in this concept - that Nietzsche details for us in The Genealogy of Morals. 
Four has turned his torture into body art. He has carved the memory of it onto his back to be there forever. 
All you have to do  is look at the lashes as they curve around his arms, neck and rib cage, how the belt falls on his shoulder blades and back to understand this. He never wants to forget it. He never wants to forgive. He always wants to remember the terrified child he was. 

Is this why he keeps going back into his Fearscape? Has it become erotic for him? 

Actually in terms of Behavior Therapy Four chooses flooding - implosion - to confront his fears (Edna Foa). With flooding it is necessary to re-experience the "flooding" on a semi regular basis to keep the fear manageable. It doesn't go away forever. 
Spontaneous recovery is a fact of psychological learning theory.

BTW this works really well to desensitize your dog to thunder and Fourth of July explosions. Tape similar sounds, go to confined room with your dog, play the tape very low (read a book or something) until your dog ignores it. Every time you do  it increase the noise a little bit. Until you can play it as loud as possible and your dog ignores it. You will have to do it semi regularly to condition your dog as Four is conditioning himself.

Back to Four and Nietzsche and The Inscription of the Body/Mind
Four's body/mind is inscripted by Dauntless when we meet him. He is carefully gendered masculine: he walks forcefully into every scene or exits purposefully. All his movements are deliberate. His dialogue is all truth. No extraneous small talk. He exhibits a frightening awareness of being a killer when he acts in that capacity. He is deadly.
Nietzsche on The Inscription of the Body which also includes the Mind.

192 How does one create a memory for the human animal?
192-193 ....there is perhaps nothing more terrible in man's earliest history than his mnemotechnics. "A thing is branded on the memory to make it stay there; only what goes on  hurting will stick"...It is the past - the longest, deepest, hardest of pasts - that seems to surge up....Whenever man has thought it necessary to create a memory for himself, his effort has been attended with torture, blood, sacrifice. ....sacrifice...repulsive mutilations...the cruelest rituals in every religious cult....all these have their origin in that instinct which divined pain to be the the strongest aid to mnemonics.

Nietzsche says more and he says pages about punishment. Festinger's work has showed that the stronger the initiation procedures, the more adherence to the group. Is this the rule for punitive families also?

Engraving your back is not  pleasurable. And culturally now, tattooing has become a wide practice. These people are engraving their body/minds. This is a surface Inscription of the Body. Ask anyone who wants to tell you why they have this one, where they got it, how they chose it, what it means, when they got it, who was the artist who did it. Each one is a MEMORY.

Going through a reading of Badiou it is only Love that opens him to vulnerability.