‘Sequels’ paper

The paper is ‘finished’. By that I mean it has been submitted for the PhD level course I am doing in Sweden. I realised my paper was testing the internal thresholds of the ‘essay’ medium in its attempted becoming-book. I had to discipline it through a code of spatialised scholarly convention. My argument was not going to spill from my pages into others. It was to be trapped!!!!

HU HA HAHAAHAHAhahahah HUHAHAHAhahahaha HUAHAHAhahahahah… [that was an evil laugh]

Anyway… so I have all these other examples that I have started on and could easily be turned into chapter length pieces, for example, one is on Pulp Fiction and the other is on the Matrix frachise (in both I explore sequel as repeated simulacra, albeit in different ways). I treat them both to the hot light of my ‘sequel’ interrogative methodology. Then there is a chapter on the political economy of enthusiasm (that I am going to have to write for my thesis), perhaps this can be my back burner project throughout my thesis. Some of the ideas are very similar. Plus it allows me to explore concepts in a different milieu.

I have contacted a few journals to see if there is any interest in publishing it. It is something of a mongrel paper, not quite cinema studies and not quite philosocultstuds, there is even a becoming-political economy about it, too. I am feeling very tired just thinking about it. Below is a copy of the email I sent off to one journal:

Dear editorial collective,

I am enquiring about the possibility of submitting a paper for submission. The problem is I have very little experience in the ‘cinema’ field. The only thing I have had published remotely related to cinema is an article I wrote for Street Machine magazine on the 100 Best Car Movies of All Time (the top five were selected by readers). I can send you a first draft of this if you like, although the published version and my initial version are quite different in some aspects. The paper was written for a PhD level course on ‘Mediated Cultures’ I am taking in Sweden as I am here on exchange. In some respects my article is a response to having to ‘deal’ with media in my thesis. My PhD thesis is on modified-car culture. I also have an interview with Mr A, the executive producer of the Getaway in Stockholm series of films, soon to be published in Autosalon magazine. Meeting up with one of the makers of GiS was a central reason for coming to Sweden.
Needless to say the sequels paper is more of a hoon understanding of cinema than a cinephile understanding (if that at all makes sense). I found the ‘problem’ of the sequel very intriguing and something that has not really been dealt with in the current cinema literature. I outline what is at stake for fans of film series and the ‘Hollwood cinema machine’ that makes them. I am not sure what to do with the paper, but I think it is at least worth finding out if you might be interested. Below are the title and abstract details.
Ciao,
Glen Fuller.

Title: movie sequels, movie events and the political economy of enthusiasm

Abstract: This paper is written in response to fan backlash against the Alien vs Predator movie. I explore the conundrum of the ‘inferiority of the blockbuster sequel’. The contemporary state of Hollywood cinema allows for and indeed encourages the production of sequels due to the emergence of the movie as ‘media event’: the blockbuster. The ‘blockbuster’ is defined in terms of how it is and is not what Dayan Katz and Elihu Katz’s call a ‘media event’. The specific problem for fans and the Hollywood cinema machine is the period between the ‘original’ movie-event and the ‘sequel’ movie-event. There is an affective momentum building/manipulation process associated with this in-between period and it is explored using the conceptualised tools of anticipation and expectation. The relationship between fan-based enthusiasm and what Jonathan Beller calls the Cinematic Mode of Production is explored in relation to the specific role of ‘desire’. The Hollwood cinema machine and the enthusiasm of fans have different stakes in the problem of the sequel. The Spiderman franchise is offered and explored as an example of the successful blockbuster sequel.

I am not sure how this will ‘fly’ with editors of a cinema journal… Also, I have sent a copy to the guy I was arguing with on IMDb message boards about the Alien vs Predator film. I stick the boot (book?) into Paul W.S. Anderson in this article. I am not sure if he was to ever read the paper he would actually understand what I am talking about (that is not a slight against his intelligence, it is just my argument draws on so-called ‘high theory’ that requires extensive reading just to get a grasp of it).

very tired… need some food… fuck, Pimp My Ride is on tonight… new series! very tired…

Sequel’s paper is cranking

I have been doing some research on the Matrix franchise as it is my prime example of a series of ‘sequels’ that are not so much the the mimetic reproduction of a series of attributes, but a series of repeated differences that make each its own example or simulation. This includes the three movies the Animatrix series and the videogame.

Anyway, I have been reading various fansites, and I found this cracker Q&A.
Whoever wrote this obviously has not read Jean Baudrillards Simulation and Simulacra (which appears in the first film as an ironic ‘false’ copy for Neo to hide his computer disks). This is some of the funniest shit I have ever read, obviously it was written by Dubya’s speech writer:

Q: Why does the Architect talk funny?
A: All the other inhabitants of the Matrix that we’ve met so far (Agents, Seraph, The Oracle, etc) may be programs, but they interact regularly with humans. They need to be able to communicate with normal people on a regular basis, and their programming reflects that in the way they speak. The Architect is a machine that never has to communicate directly with humans, therefore he tends to talk like a machine would when talking with other machines. He uses big words, overly complicated sentences, and purely logical expressions of his message – not exactly the way people talk to each other.

Team America, ‘fuck yeah’ or ‘get fucked’?

US Narcissism: ‘Pimp the World

The real puppets in Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s latest effort are the right and left of politics.

The flick is a comical polemic (or polemical comedy??) that allegedly sticks the boot in to the patriotic neo-cons and F.A.G liberals. Instead it sticks the boot into politics as an institution.

“The right just likes to think the left is stupid and the left just likes to think the right is evil. [laughs]”
– Trey Parker http://movieweb.com/news/news.php?id=5406

Something of a narcissistic take on what it is to be an ‘American’ (rather, US citizen, for those north and south non-US Americans), Trey and Matt seem to have decided that it is more funny to poke fun at the current situation, as Trey says, “where everyone hates us [the US]” than really asking, why does everyone hate the US? Maybe the film makers do not even realise the utter narcissism of their own film. When asked “What should people take away from watching it?” Matt says, “I want people to take away the strees of making it.” (Comments found in the ‘Meaning’ video here: http://www.cinema.com/article/item.phtml?ID=3058>)

The world is seen as a terrain of pussies and assholes that the global dick of the US goes around fucking and fucking up. I really wonder how much ‘quality time’ the duo have spent in any other country? The utterly US-centric world view indicates less about the state of the world and the role of the US in it, than it does about the sorry state of politics in the US. It is shocking that in the most powerful nation citizens are not forced to vote, and therefore not forced to engage in a meaningful way with US politics.

The rhetoric coming out the US at the moment seems like they want everyone to be ‘free’ and without ‘terror’, but to me it all seems like they don’t just want to ‘Pimp my ride’, but ‘Pimp the World’. Who would be the pimps that set up all the pussies and assholes for the US-penis to fuck? Trey and Matt!! With their comedic-penis that hunts for every popular culture nook and political cranny to stick it in and fuck up. Good work guys, you bunch of fuckers.

I understand the film as evidence of the US nation’s Hollywood complex, you know, the stories about whinging, bitching actors who think they are ‘special’ and ‘important’. Just because the US is the most powerful nation in the world does not mean it is the ‘best’ or ‘special’ nation. Stone and Parker attack the actors of the hypocritical Hollywood left (which is understandable!), but they fail to realise (maybe?) they have set up the US to have all the qualities of the arrogant, stupid, self-consumed, and stereotypical Hollywood ‘star’ of the global stage. What is absent from all the debates about the US in any discussion I have read is discussion about the complete absence of US humility. What the fuck has happened to that?

The terror attacks in 9/11 on the WTC were taken to be shock to the US nation. Some of the rhetoric I have heard is that it is like Pearl Harbour, where a slumbering giant awakes and really (to use the rhetoric of Team America) ‘fucks all the pussies and assholes in the world’.

What the terror attacks in 9/11 should have done is make the US more humble, not in the face of the power of terrorists, but in the face of its own power. Instead it did the opposite.

Three years later, now we have a couple of clowns who think this utter lack of humility is funny. It is not funny. Now we live in a global situation where the US has forgotten its own power, not because it is not aware of it, but because it has become totally subsumed by it. Now we live in a world where the future, for some, is terrifying and horrible.

It is not without some irony that politico-puppetry and puppet politicality of Team America got hammer(head)ed by the vacuous Shark’s Tale at the box office and the high school football drama Friday Night Lights kicked Team America down to third place on the box office rankings. It speaks volumes about the priorities of ‘Americans’: politics comes after entertainment. Why? Because they are ‘Team America’ and such dicks don’t have to worry about politics, just fucking things up.

For box office figures:
http://www.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/Movies/10/17/box.office.reut/index.html

On the pussy, dick, and asshole rhetoric of Team America:

“There are three kinds of people in this world,” Johnston says. “Dicks, assholes and pussies. We’re dicks, and the rest of the world are pussies. But sometimes an asshole comes along and wants to shit all over everyone, and the only kind of person who can fuck an asshole is a dick, because pussies are just an inch away from being assholes themselves.” (Diplomatically, Johnston concedes, “Sometimes dicks fuck assholes at inappropriate times, and they need pussies to guide them in the right direction.”)
– from: http://www.corporatemofo.com/stories/041015teamamerica.htm

Ode to my beautiful Samantha…

We met at a franchised coffee house,
During breaks in our working days.
Hiding behind a book and an academic long black,
She wanted peace and quiet,
Which I disrupted with a clumsy interjection.

“Post-colonial theory, eh?”
[PAUSE]
[BLUSH]

To which she replied with a look of who-is-this-boy?

Exchanges of over-the-counter coffees,
And over the counter accounts
That she thought of dubious accountability.
I had previously regailed her with stories,
Of drunken toga parties, illicit late-night trists,
And later-night drag racing in the back streets of Fremantle.

Proud and proper in my service industry,
service-station, ready-to-serve-you uniform,
She replied with a look that said out-of-service;
I must have smelt like cigarettes, petrol,
And seven hours of a ten hour shift completed.

[COUGH]
“I have a few readings about identity that I won’t need anymore.”

A mere curiousity or a monstrosity?
Delicate questions running through her delicate person.
We caught each other’s eye,
As if we were criminal to the other’s policing.
Love isn’t an interpellation,
But a feedback loop of depthless intensity,
A polarity between a tension tensing.

“Oh.”
[BLINK]

Word. She spoke. ‘Oh’ means nothing,
Besides as an order-word, ordering the event,
To modulate, like the soft flutter in a nervous voice,
From an embarrassing soliloquy,
To a becoming-dialogue of fragile futurity.

And without intending to,
Without helping it,
Without knowing how,
We still speak,
To each other’s heart.