X-Men 3

X-Men 3: The Last Stand was not that good. Why? It was not because of the utter lack of consistency regarding the mutant world (who has what powers and can do what when, but doesn’t), that only affects the nerds, but because of the utter lack of consistency regarding the human one. X-Men 3 is a fantasy about neoconservatives attempting to eradicate difference. It was the opposite of radical. As if the problems in contemporary societies were those of accepting difference?!?! On the contrary, it needs difference!

Most of the social machinery of today is an expression of the neoliberal market rationality of exploiting the differentials of age, class, gender, ethnicity and so on. The State enters into synergistic relations with business, not to produce a ‘cure’ that rids the world of ‘difference’, but to legislate certain markets into existance that capture differences, and splay them out like singular patterned animal skins that are slowly treated, worked and turned into leather. Why would it suddenly change with the rise of mutants, as if their differences were not worthy of being exploited?

(On the tension between US neoconservatism and neoliberalism rationalities listen to Wendy Brown’s lecture.)

So to combine neoliberal market-political rationality with the neoconservative moral-political rationality where difference is not so unproblematically ‘good’, what sort of film would this be? Would it be a boring, soul-destroying film without any super heroes about how mutants are exploited for their special talents by the machinery of neoliberal capitalism? Maybe. However, it would’ve been an awesome film if ‘difference’ itself had been the problematised tension. Sure have the brain candy of the Magento-cure plotline for action-hero simpletons, but then back it up with a much more subtle critique and plot line. How about mutant kids being pursued by ‘talent scouts’ and written into contracts by their parents. How do you fight against a decentralised business? In a less spectacular manner than the stupidities of Magneto, that is for sure. The 2000s equivalent of the 1950s absence in cinema of toilets and bodily movements is the absence of capital and the tangles of commercial interest that wrap themselves around everything.

Please, movie people, get some better writers for the next one.

Street and Drag Split, Paradise Found

From the November 1973 issue of the Australian Hot Rodding Review (AHRR), page 4, Rodjots column:

ONE of the biggest changes in the history of Australian rodding occurred at the recent annual general meeting of the AHRF in Sydney. The street rodding and drag racing factions split completely and went their separate ways. The drag racing group, headed by national director John Storm, will be known as the Australian National Drag Racing Association (ANDRA) and the street rodders, under the guidance of national director Bob Dykes, will be known as the Australian Street Rod Federation (ASRF). The ultimate result of the splitting of the two groups will probably be the finish of the Australian Hot Rod Federation as the sport’s controlling body. Good luck to both groups. 

Contact was made recently with the first editor of Street Machine magazine, Geoff Paradise (see my blog post.) Paradise also contributed to AHRR (from 1971). He wrote in an email that AHRR became Van Wheels, which I didn’t know. I already knew Van Wheels became Street Machine magazine, but I didn’t know about the earlier connection. We will hopefully organise a time for a longer in-person or phone discussion sometime soon. I am interested not only about this early stuff but his later work setting up another iconic magazine within modified-car culture as the managing editor, Fast Fours and Rotaries. I have all Street Machines of which he was an editor, and all Fast Fours, too. I am waiting on a lot of a third magazine he set up in between Street Machine and Fast Fours, called Performance Street Car. In the end, all his later magazines shifted ownership to what I believe is a Fairfax controlled company called Federal Publishing Company (FPC). However, I am not certain about this. I know the first Performance Street Car published after the ownership shift listed the publisher as John Fairfax. FPC is still a player in the magazine industry, too.

Biochemical Refineries

News from the Green Car Congress:

Researchers from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico have genetically engineered the bacterium Bacillus subtilisto ferment glucose sugar directly to ethanol with a high (86%) yield. This is the first step in their quest to develop bacteria that can breakdown and ferment cellulose biomass directly to ethanol. 

This is fantastic news. One of the crazy ideas I had (along with the locality dependent, wireless, rhythm/beat-generator for MP3 players, so everyone listens to their respective music to the same beat; hello Foucaultian disciplinarity!) was a hope that one day there will be local-scale ethanol refineries that transforms the biological rubbish from suburbs or city sections into ethanol. This would not produce enough fuel to sustain such areas (at current levels of automobility anyway), however, the locally made ethanol could be blended at point of sale fuel stations.

Beyond the question of urban populations, small scale biological refineries could be built for remote population centres across the 3rd world (internal or external to the 1st world). To enable populations to synthesise enough ethanol to power small generators in combination with other sustainable energy sources would be a massive step towards self-sustainability in the contemporary world, that is, with power for contemporary technologies.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, see Reckless Kelly.