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July 25, 2008

Shifting over from http://www.cinemaelectronica.com, forum which had a nice run of 8 or so years, thought to skip the $250 a year fee for something that seems to have devolved into a kind of blog, and do it here instead.  So, welcome to a new leaf in cinemaelectronica, where I’ll post things on arts, culture, politics, empire and whatever, and where I welcome a conversation, so please use the comments section.

So to kick things off here, I thought the above combo found in today’s newspaper offered a succinct view of America in the Time of Bush.

9 Comments

  1. “So to kick things off here, I thought the above combo found in today’s newspaper offered a succinct view of America in the Time of Bush.”

    The aftermath of hurricane Dolly, and a victim of an auto accident. What has this got to do with Bush, I mean really? Just askin’.

  2. Well, I guess my filmmaker artsy side got the best of me and I was thinking metaphorically: the shot of the guy in front of his damaged shack of a house seemed to figuratively stand for the wreckage of the economy, the tsunami of foreclosures (of home mortgages, factories, etc.), and the guy on the blacktop – not by the way a car accident victim, but he’s handcuffed, and is a bank robbery suspect being treated by the local police (Serve and Protect) post-Abu Ghraib-Guantanamo style – there I thought it a visually rich depiction of how in Bushtimes your rights have been manacled and tossed in the dumpster (perhaps for Wall-E to find some centuries hence). Anyway that’s what I was intuiting.

  3. Dude, that’s a stretch, yeah? A metaphor can only provide so much elasticity.

  4. Well I think its kind of the artist’s job to stretch things, push boundaries, open eyes. Certainly from some viewpoints those two images summarize BushTime America: we have the world’s largest per capita incarcerated population, highest number of legal executions, our basic infrastructure is a crumbling mess, our economy has been outsourced, the divide between rich and not rich is wider than ever and getting worse.

    Of course from another viewpoint I could have picked an image of a classy dinner or a golf course, SUV in background, and a servant (unpapered foreigner working for rich whomever) at hand for the above. That too would be an accurate picture for 1 or 3% of Americans, but I think those I chose reflect a much bigger sector, metaphorically. You may have a fancier house, say, but if your mortgage isn’t paid off and the banks are coming to repossess (along with the SUV you can’t afford to drive anymore), the images I picked metaphorically fit your pickle, no?

  5. “Well I think its kind of the artist’s job to stretch things, push boundaries, open eyes. Certainly from some viewpoints those two images summarize BushTime America: we have the world’s largest per capita incarcerated population, highest number of legal executions, our basic infrastructure is a crumbling mess, our economy has been outsourced, the divide between rich and not rich is wider than ever and getting worse.”

    No argument there.

    “Of course from another viewpoint I could have picked an image of a classy dinner or a golf course, SUV in background, and a servant (unpapered foreigner working for rich whomever) at hand for the above. That too would be an accurate picture for 1 or 3% of Americans, but I think those I chose reflect a much bigger sector, metaphorically. You may have a fancier house, say, but if your mortgage isn’t paid off and the banks are coming to repossess (along with the SUV you can’t afford to drive anymore), the images I picked metaphorically fit your pickle, no?”

    Whoo-whee! Damn! This is the point where that metaphor of yours begins to groan under such presumptuous weight. It simply wasn’t clear. I’m sorry, there wasn’t, from the visual information chosen, any way to know this. I mean, I could throw up a photograph of a Fritillaria imperialis, or crown imperial, a flower native to Iraq, which had been damaged by a bomb or stomped by many feet, to suggest innocence destroyed by the folly of war, or some such. And while that might be a better use of metaphor, it still isn’t sufficient, because you’d still have to be able to identify that flower, or it just becomes a wrecked flower. I’d have to identify it at the outset and then hope that one would contemplate its destruction in the manner I’d intended.

    So, that’s all I’m saying. But I hear you- shit is looking dodgy out here. I figure that relief legislation for endangered homeowners, which our President has agreed to sign “with reservation”,is the result of Republican House members telling this fool, “Look, we’re about to get our asses kicked but good in a hunnerd days, so you got to do something. We’re dying out here. Help us. This country’s about to give the whole damn show away to this sumbitch Obama. Help us, dammit! Just pretend these threatened homeowners are big ass corporations about to go down the shitter. That should make this bill easier to sign.”

  6. Well I’m glad you agree on the State of the Nation. In my films I am often accused of being far too oblique, not underlining story points sufficiently, and in many cases just told that I don’t know how to tell a story. Of course I differ, and prefer my story-telling to be subtle, open-ended, and leaving ample room for those on the receiving end to fill in the blanks, engage their minds, and figure things out for themselves. Might it be, given the exchange here, that my 2 image metaphorical sketch of America ended up working in your case?

  7. Hell, I don’t know. I personally hate on-the-nose storytelling. Being lead to an easily summarized conclusion, topped off with a tidy little moral takeaway.

    “Subtle”? “Open-ended”? “The engaging of minds”? You kidding me? Distributors can run fast enough from that kind of fare. People want to be lead about. The unfortunate thing is they are usually brought to some seriously f’ed up conclusion. You know, like, Saddam did in fact have WMD’s, and that the tall skinny fellow from Illinois with a wicked three-point shot is, in fact, a Muslim, and, what’s more, he will summon universal jihad once elected. No one wants to deal with reality.

    That’s why everyone is racing to see a movie wherein one weirdo in a cowl and cape does battle with another weirder weirdo in psychotic pancake makeup, as they ponder the complex moral issues within. Shit, man, your 2 image metaphorical sketch of America doesn’t stand a chance. You need to prostrate yourself before the titans of Hollywood, get your hands on one of them $100 million budget packages, and in between scenes of spectacular mayhem and weirdos kicking much ass, you can slip in subtle messages about how many of us are living our lives circling the abyss of poverty. That ought to be good for box-office.

  8. I did, briefly, in 1978, have the delusion that there was some possible room in Hwd – I was interested primarily in their excellent global distribution capacity. However I was quickly cured of this delusion, as well as repelled by the kinds of people I met and their ways of thinking, and fled as far away as I could. (See CHAMELEON as a taste of why.) I long ago learned to content myself with an audience so small it would not figure on any Hwd scheme.

  9. Just a bit surprised for find CE here.

    about the clips above I am reminded of the poem “Tale of Tales” by Nazım Hikmet

    We stand above the water – sun, cat, plane tree, me
    and our destiny.
    The water is cool,
    The plane tree is tall,
    The sun is shining,
    The cat is dozing,
    I write verses.
    Thank God, we live!.

    -rajiv


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